#WIB- Q&A With Naledi Mashego Founder & Managing Director at Cherry Republik

Naledi Mashego Founder and Managing Director at Cherry Republik
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1. Can you please tell us more about your business?

A. Cherry Republik is a Digital Marketing Agency, we specialise in graphic design, social media management, and website design. I am the sole founder of the business and we have been running for over 4 years. I started the business in 2015 as a one women show and the company has now grown to 3 full-time employees in a year. I love what I do because we show our clients that marketing is not just about making everything pretty but also showing results. 

2. When, how and why did you start your business?

A. I started my business in 2015, in my apartment. I would work from home and only leave when I had a meeting with a potential client or a networking event. Once I built up a steady client base, I got a desk in a co-working building called TBE(The Business Exchange). I started my business because I felt that marketing was becoming more digital and a lot of South African companies had not started using digital channels so I felt I could help them use these channels and get the desired outcomes digitally. I also like the idea of saving trees.

3. What is your role in the business?

A. I am currently the sole Founder and Managing Director at Cherry Republik so my role is mainly focused on business development, client relationship management, and project & team management. I enjoy the business development aspect the most, mainly because I am a peoples person and closing a new deal gives me joy. 

4. Where did you study and what did you study?

A. I studied at the University of Curtin. I did digital marketing and engagement.

5. How did you finance your business?

A. I saved before I left my job and I personally financed my business when I got started. Since we are a service business finance became easier along the way. Before I left my job I made sure I bought myself a laptop and I covered most of the business expenses before I made the leap. I saved a lot of money by building my own website when I started and doing what I could myself. 

6. Describe your average workday, if such a thing exists.

A. My workday constantly varies. I work all the time but I don’t consider it as work. So an average day starts off with me working on e-mails and other business admin at home from about 7 am, then I get to the office around 9:30 am and I work right through till 5 pm with the team. I then head to the gym till about 6 pm, then I go home and start working around 7 pm till late.

7. How do you balance your home life and your work life?

A. I have a strict no working on Saturday’s policy just to ensure that I have a social life because I give my business my full attention weekdays and this can be overwhelming if I work 7 days a week. I use Sundays to prepare for the week ahead and finish minor tasks. Also, I make an effort to attend family/friend’s events and networking events because you can end up working all the time and not be social because there’s always a lot to do. It was much harder in the first 3 years to get this balance going because I felt the pressure to always be “on”. I think I got the balance right now. 

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8. What drives you and inspires you?

A. I get my drive from seeing fellow entrepreneurs do well, hearing their stories and when I look at my team and I see how much they have grown individually, that always inspires me to keep going for their futures at Cherry Republik. Youtube is also another inspiration pillar, there’s a lot of content from people who are also on their entrepreneurial journey and that makes me realise we all have challenges just on different scales but you can overcome them to reach your goals. 

9. Where and when do you have your best ideas?

A. My best thinking moments are always in the shower. There’s something about the shower that just fuels my creativity and ideas. I came up with great business-changing ideas in the shower such us our rebrand from Black Cherry Media to Cherry Republik two years ago, client pitch ideas that were signed off and my business strategy.

10. Where and how do you market/advertise your business for sales leads?

A. We mainly get referrals from previous clients and that’s how we have grown the business. Networking events are also great for us because I sometimes meet someone who needs our services there and then. Social media has also been a great tool for our lead generation internationally. 

11. What is next for your business?

A. Next for us is growing internationally, we would like to grow globally with clients in different parts of the world. 

12. What advice would you give to female entrepreneurs hoping to start their own business?

A. The best advice I can share is, just start because where you start isn’t always where you end up, you might think you have a brilliant business plan but you can only tweak it and understand your business once you get started. Once you have started, always remember why you started when the tough times hit. This entrepreneurial journey is rewarding. 

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