1.Can you please tell us more about your business?
A. Fulla Consulting specialises in identifying human resourcing needs that are inadequately met by any given company’s existing vertical and horizontal integration network, especially in the complex, rapidly evolving global market and social atmosphere we are navigating right now.
We are not mere recruiters – although that forms part of our service portfolio; what differentiates Fulla is our holistic approach to staffing and personnel management.
Fulla attempts to harmonize the social and legal responsibilities of companies in their quest to find skilled individuals. Fulla’s overarching philosophy is one of social justice and respect for the dignity of an individual as a valuable, productive citizen who does not merely exist for the ends of a potential employer’s profit motive.
We believe that the fulfillment, happiness, and loyalty of employees can only be achieved by viewing them as indispensable parts of the whole, and not as mere “resources”.
2. When, how and why did you start your business?
A. I started my own consultancy in 2014, after having worked for a number of multinational agencies who were primarily target-driven. At first, the challenge to achieve goals was very exciting, but eventually, the chase to “get close to the Rand” meant losing much of the “humanness” of what we were doing.
I started feeling like I was operating a meat grinder, where human candidates ended up being a mere packaged product for clients. Unfortunately, South Africa has a lamentable history of exploitative labour practises and, despite the progress we’ve made in the last 25 years, many companies still operate using outmoded models and ways of thinking, and I wanted no part of that.
I excelled at what I did but risked sacrificing my own humanity in chasing the bottom line. I instinctively knew that there was a better way to do things, and Fulla Consulting is the end result of that passion.
3. What is your role in the business?
A. I am the driving force behind the philosophy and strategic vision behind Fulla. In short, I’m the boss lady! 🙂
4. Where did you study and what did you study?
A. Like so many others, I was unfortunate in not being given the opportunity to study further after school. However, fate was kind in other ways by granting me other opportunities and letting my path cross with other passionate people who had an eye for talent of their own!
5. How did you finance your business?
A. I had one months’ salary to work with plus some savings tucked away. Unfortunately, I could not rely on an angel investor or start-up funding, and so I worked hard… no, I slaved! The first six months were very tough. Everything I earned had to be spent carefully as placements weren’t flowing steadily. My partner would help out with expenses here and there but luckily running an office from home does not require much funding. Planning for everything is key. There is a phrase well known in the start-up culture: “Ramen profitability”. This should be your first and only goal when you start up – the rest will follow on its own.
6. Describe your average workday, if such a thing exists.
A. My work week consists of a mix of site visits, company meetings and interviews, depending on my clients’ requirements and the availability of job seekers. Generally, I am an early bird and like to have things like CVs and background checks out of the way, first thing. It often is the case that I have to work late because of the dictates of job seekers’ personal and work lives in an effort to accommodate everyone.
7. How do you balance your home life and your work life?
A. Working for yourself and working from an office in your home makes balance almost impossible as you never really leave the office. It has taken me years to practice cutting myself off from my desk at a reasonable hour. It also doesn’t help that I continuously have to edit my cats’ typing.
8. What drives you and inspires you?
A. I am passionate about people and placing the right person in the right job for them is what drives me. Often, a fit is not ideal but there is always scope to “panel beat” the role to become a better match for the incumbent. Needless to say, this is always a management culture challenge – especially in SMEs – but it’s precisely the kind of thing that I love getting my teeth into. It gives me great satisfaction to see companies reach compromises that they had never dreamed would result in an overall win for everyone.
Many of the people whom I deal with come from heart-wrenching township environments, yet they come to work with smiles and positivity and they do this five, six, sometimes even seven days a week. Their humility is awe-inspiring and very humbling. I have developed friendships with many of these individuals and seeing them succeed despite adversity always remains a great inspiration.
9. Where and when do you have your best ideas?
A. I would say first thing in the morning in the shower and often while stuck on the M1, going nowhere slowly.
10. Where and how do you market/advertise your business for sales leads?
A. I am privileged enough to have grown a substantial client base over the years, but all those leads were built the old-fashioned way – hardcore relentless cold calling. I also like marketing myself in the flesh. 😊
Wherever I go, I listen and I sell wherever I can. I rarely use advertising platforms. I like to think that Fulla and I are our own advert.
11. What is next for your business?
A. 2020 is all about Integrity and trying to adapt conservative business environments to the millennial wave.
12. What advice would you give to female entrepreneurs hoping to start their own business?
A. The word Fulla, which translates loosely to “bountiful”, comes from Germanic mythology. Fulla was a Goddess who is believed to have represented healing and fertility. This name has power and imbues what I believe ALL women are – Goddesses. Starting up your own business is not for the faint of heart but, if you channel your inner power in all its glory, you are guaranteed to succeed in anything you do. It takes unyielding courage, conviction, dedication, and determination – you must simply believe that you are up to the task. Be deliberate!