Felicia Buthelezi | CEO of Fisokuhle Multiservices
Felicia Buthelezi, also known as “Mrs. B”, is a wife, a mother of two boys and a successful entrepreneur. Her many accolades are testament to her personal motto: LIVE, LOVE, LAUGH.
From humble beginnings, Felicia successfully established a facilities company called Fisokuhle Multiservices at the age of 22 after working for Old Mutual group schemes as an administration consultant. Her business has enjoyed meteoric growth and she has won a number of business awards, including the Business Women’s Association Award, a Zululand Chamber of Commerce Award and Umyezane Award to name the few. With her business acumen and personal drive, Felicia launched her media company Fisokuhle Media in 2011.
The Johannesburg-based company publishes ‘I do’ Magazine and hosts an annual event called I do Awards. Its mission is to bring back marriage into fashion and reinforce the integrity of family values. Felicia feels strongly that one of the main problems facing our nation is the instability of marriages and the proliferation of divorce. She saw a gap in the market and was determined to take advantage of this niche.
She has applied her business and organisational skills to create a platform where individuals can discuss, share and learn from one another, all with the view to rebuild a stable society. Felicia believes that we need to recreate a national culture of stability and this stability begins with the commitment to marriage vows, when a couple says “I do”.
The Media industry is well known to be male dominated. Felicia has become fearless knowing that the industry expertise she has acquired over the years and the reality she has created for herself, will stand her in good stead and nothing will be impossible.
My Definition Of Success | The meaning of success has evolved over time. When I started my business I wanted financial freedom. I wanted to escape the possibility of poverty since I lost a parent who was a bread winner at the age of 16. I’m glad that I achieved that kind of success that I was longing for. Success to me now means finding your purpose on earth; it is when all areas of my life are stable. Myself, family life, and everything else I am involved with. I now find more fulfilment in adding value in people’s lives through my vision.
I Am Driven By | Life with a meaning drives me; I love life and the possibilities it provides to everybody. My life purpose keeps my spirit alive.
My Highlights | I’m proud of the fact that I have risen above every circumstance that was meant to break me, nothing could have prepared me for losing my mother. My world came to a stand-still, but I managed to see the light through it all. I am proud to have a family I call my own, I am passionate about family and through my vision – I advocate marriage.
A Key Talent | Discipline is one of my greatest strength that is where the power lies. Discipline made me to be consistent, to identify areas of growth and to come up with supporting systems that will keep me going in my business. I am very proud to say, I am successful because of my disciplined nature. I always tell young aspiring entrepreneurs that it’s impossible to run a business if you are not disciplined with your school work. You can’t expect to keep the balance sheet – if you are still struggling to keep your own bedroom clean and tidy. Discipline begins in your home – what you do when you wake up and how you manage your day will one day take you to higher places.
You can be successful without pulling anybody down.
To support my daily business life – I make sure I create a TO-DO-List; it has worked for me for the past 14 years of business. An entrepreneur mind is different in a sense that it is always thinking about new things, new ways of doing things and more. Somehow, you need to have a strategy on how you are going to dream and act it. This will help you to avoid being a dreamer without action. As your business grows you need it more. It has forced me to work on something daily even if I don’t feel like waking up in the morning.
Identifying what you are good at is important – I find that it is easier to work on something you are passionate about rather than something you can just do. Passion fuels you even in tough times. You don’t give up easily.
Research your subject – You need to put an extra effort to know and understand your industry and subject. Be an expert on that subject. There are books and a lot of online information available. Taking classes on specific areas of your business will add so much value on your business credibility. Each year, I make it my business to register with institutions that will add value on my self- development.
Focus and consistency is very critical. Once you have identified your gift and your contribution to the world, you need to focus your energy on that one thing until people start associating you with it. Like in my case, when people talk about marriage or they need someone who is passionate about family and marriage issues, they think of me. You need to create a brand that people in your lifetime will relate to. Marriage existed before my time but I packaged it in a way that will be relevant to the now generation and left the space for it to grow with other generations to come.
Surround yourself with smart people. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it and don’t be afraid to have people who know better than you. When you are open to ideas of others, they go an extra mile for you.
Never ever down play your gift. I am coming from a back ground where we were never taught to celebrate ourselves and gifts. We tend to confuse humbleness with arrogance. I find that for most people who don’t celebrate themselves, they never know when they have achieved and never get satisfied with all they have. It is very important to know when you are successful in every areas of your life and celebrate it, if possible make it known.
Respect money, what has kept me in business over the years is the respect I have for money. In 14 years – I have experienced both the up and the down side of business. What has kept me in the game is the respect I have for money. There are years when my business existed because of the business decisions I have made in the past. Financial management is essential and never take it for granted. When you are in business you will work with money and your need to be financially empowered.
The last one, have a relationship with your bank. I have heard stories of people celebrating the rise after losing everything. It is something that I secretly feared because I have worked hard for all I have. I have also observed that most business people, especial black business people hardly understand their consumer rights in terms of the dealing with banks. Once they encounter financial challenges they run away, they don’t attend to their calls and bank letters.
My experience has taught me that if one does that you are making it easy for the banks to attaché your properties you have worked hard for over the years. If you go to them negotiate and restructure, it shows that you are a responsible person and banks won’t have something against you.
All my points point back to one strength – Discipline. If you are not a disciplined person, you won’t even notice when you are about to hit the wall.
Lessons I Have Learnt | I have learnt that everybody has a potential to greatness. You need to surround yourself with people who will speak life to the hidden potential inside you. You need life igniters not life drainers. If your family is not supportive – you need to find way of dealing with that because this is your life. I have learnt that bad and painful circumstances are like fertilizers, we need challenges in life to accelerate and reveal the beauty, capability and hidden potential in us.
I have learnt that no one gives you sustainable power in anything – It is within you, all you need to do is to claim it. I have learnt that courage is not the absence of fear and it can work to your advantage.
Dealing With Doubt | When I started I do Magazine, I was never exposed to the media industry before and let alone done any journalism course. The only think I had was the dream. The day when I realized what I have done was during the launch day. The response to the magazine launch was amazing – the realization on how people took that concept seriously, killed me. I knew I wanted a big successful launch but I couldn’t prepare myself for such response. On that day, I realized that there is so much that is expected from me and I was the confused host. I tried to hide it well.
One thing that really made me scared was also the subject at hand. Talking about marriage needs braveness, when you are alone it is different because you see things your way but when you have to present it to others, you realize that people see things differently and you need to be at peace with that and maybe learn on how to address people who you don’t agree with without losing yourself or being poisoned by their opinions.
How I believe I conquered my fear is by being realistic with what I could offer. I had to rework my business plan to suit my financial reality and the resources I had. I know many people were disappointed that the magazine was not monthly but the reality is I didn’t have a funder – The magazine is self- published. The reason it still exists today is because of the strategies I had to come up with to keep it alive.
Resources I Use To Stay Inspired | I used what I had and was patient with my reality. One of the things that have kept me inspired is the culture I started to celebrate myself every week. I take myself out to a restaurant and I don’t have to spend a lot of money. I take a good inspirational book with me to read. I have managed to keep my life simple yet sophisticated. Sometimes, I buy myself a cup of tea with a massage to myself. I love the women I am becoming and she loves to be celebrated from time to time.
My Future Dreams And Ambitions |There is so much that I would like to achieve but all will be aligned to one vision “I do” the one that focuses on promoting healthy marriages and happy homes. The I do brand is successful on print, social media and we have launched the brand extension annual event called “I do Awards “ which celebrates love and recognized inspiring married couples . My next project is to take it on TV and believe the three will be in harmony with each other.
Advice On Building Wealth | It requires a huge amount of discipline and focus. Great things do take some time, if you want to grow rich you better be willing to take one step at the time. Wealth is achieved when you have invested on people. It is impossible to build wealth on your own and when you don’t have that one thing that you stand for or passionate about. Find something that you can die for.
The Legacy I Would Like To Leave | I would like be remembered as a brave black woman who defended the institution of marriage gracefully.
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