‘Bigg’ Joel calls himself a hustle activist from a small town in Limpopo called Nylstroom. From the tender age of 7 Joel has had an entrepreneurial spirit. His sole mission is to encourage more young people to work harder and dream. He is the founder of creative advertising agency called Highly Dedicated that he founded after being unable to complete his university degree due to lack of funding. With nothing to his name he designed a logo and created a email address, and started his agency; cold calling prospective clients and setting up telephonic meetings to raise capital.
In July of 2015 he came across an opening for an accelerator program for start-up businesses in Johannesburg called the Awethu Project where he applied’ and when his application was successful he decided to move to the big city dreamers with a suitcase filled with clothes, a laptop bag and R140 in his pocket he moved to live in his grandmother’s backroom in the township of Soweto.
Joel share some insights into what he learned about the hardships of starting out in the creative industry with nothing, and what it means to be a successful creative director.
- As a creative director, your job is to understand what the customer pain points are and then tailor your messaging to that
- Save some runway capital before starting your business
- Before starting your business, first understand how much resources you need to get up and running
- When times are tough, you need something to help you get put of your own head – take a break, breathe, and come back with a sound mind
- Business is not having an office. In the beginning, find spaces that will allow you to keep costs low and run your business
- When you are going through a tough time, you need to be in a space where you can share your problems with other entrepreneurs who can relate
- Entrepreneurship is like building a house. In the early days you have to build a foundation. The bigger you want to grow, the deeper your foundation needs to be. Have a vision of how big your building has to be so it can keep you going when you are still digging
Links and resources in this post:
Co-working spaces in Johannesburg:
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Opening jingle: Original composition produced by Bradley Peters
Theme music: 'Nice to you' by Vibe Tracks