I (Tania Diekmann) am married with 3 children (22 and 20 year old girls from my 1st marriage and a 9 year old son) and we all live in Cape Town.
What is the name of your company and when did you start your business?
I started SA Kids on the Go in 2005.
What inspired you to start your own business?
In 2004 my husband, 3 children and I moved from Luderitz (Namibia) to Cape Town. It was a very big adjustment for all of us and finding thing to do with the children was not easy. We started driving round visiting and discovering lovely places and I decided that more parents should know about these venues and services out there. My knowledge of the internet was very limited, but I decided that I would create a site were parents could get up to date information on family venues and child orientated businesses. Thankfully I found a webmaster that understood what I was looking for and could talk to me in simple English and not computer lingo as I had to learn a lot very fast.
Keep in mind I lived in a town where we watched TV a week later than the rest of the world,(it was recorded for us) we had no cell phone reception till 2004 and only just found out what the internet was used all about.
I have always worked to support my 2 girls and found it rather new to be a housewife with nothing to do. I had to find another project that would allow me to be at home but also earn a bit extra for the rainy days. SA Kids started out as a hobby and has grown into what it is today. Small enough to manage on my own, but with a bit of help here and there when needed, from my eldest daughter. I can grow much bigger but then I would have to employ staff and that is another headache all on its own!
What are the challenges you face or have faced being a working Mom and how have you overcome them?
Working from home was and still is a big challenge! I try and to be around for my 9 year old and family as much as I can but sometimes the work takes over and my family gets rather annoyed that I work weekends and even some evenings. You have to learn to switch off the computer and close the study door!! I am still not getting that part perfected.
What is the hardest part or have been some of your struggles starting your own business?
Internet advertising was a rather new concept to businesses in 2005 and I had to convince people that this was the way to go about promoting their companies.
How do you balance your business and your family?
With difficulty but we manage.
What or whom has been the greatest support for you and your business?
My husband and my eldest daughter are my greatest supports but my son and 16 month old grandson are my motivators. I also get really lovely e-mails from some of my clients and parents and that just makes it all worth while.
If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
I wouldn’t change a thing.
What advice can you give other Moms out there who are starting a new business?
Once you have done all the ground work and 100% ready for the big commitment, you let the river in you come out and go with the flow. If something falls in the stream, go right ahead and create a new stream.
If at all possible save up and start small rather than borrow money or get a family member or friend involved! If you do go into business with a friend make sure you go in with the same amount of finance and no matter how close you are – get a contract drawn up. I learned the hard way and lost a good friend in the process but saved my business with an agreement on a piece of paper we both signed.
Finance always looks good on paper but in reality it very seldom ends the same. Get advice from the professionals if necessary. Set up your accounting system from the start, even if it is on an excel sheet and don’t throw away anything that can be put in a file.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us that I may have missed?
The first few years are the hardest, but if your family is behind you, you will succeed!
If other Moms would like to keep in touch, how can they contact you?
They are very welcome to e-mail me:
Email: info (at) sakidsonthego.com
Cell: 082 558 5315
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