My Background

I am a freelancing entrepreneur who is task-oriented, pay attention to details and a team-worker. I'm also an avid investor in small ideas, keen reader and social activist who is enthusiastic in finding new opportunities by combining creative and analytical skills. I'm also a strategist who is systematic in approaching challenges. I grew up around farming communities, urban townships, mining towns and city metropolis within the various provinces in South Africa. This exposure lead me to be interested in human interaction and to appreciate what the human mind is capable of achieving. Through my vast interaction with different people, I managed to increasing my personal network. It became clear at an early stage of my life with the ability to spot opportunities which made me by nature, to become a social enterprenuer.....

Social Entrepreneur:
noun
  1. defined as a person who establishes an enterprise with the aim of solving social problems or effecting social change.

As an individual with a positive outlook towards my challenges, I've embarked on the most interesting journeys in my life which I intend on documenting. These are the glimpse of my trials and tribulations because I believe that: "You must believe you are the best and then make sure that you are...".. I was once told that: "If you don't have enough money then you haven't helped enough people yet". The road to riches is paved with acquisition of specific knowledge.

Favorite Quote:

“A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.”
― Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

My Work Experience:
Technician | Draughtsman | Project Planner

Previous Position(s)

Executive Director | Dihlakanyane Trading (Pty) Ltd. t/a Instructor Labs
Tshwane, South Africa | February 2012 - April 2016
Director of Operations | Dithokeng Cleaning Services cc
Tshwane, South Africa | August 2006 - December 2007
Managing Director | Keyamo Management Solutions (Pty) Ltd. t/a Keyamo Technologies
Johannesburg, South Africa | April 2003 - November 2016
Managing Member | Mamphake Office Supplies cc t/a Mamphake Designs
Rayton, South Africa | July 1999 - February 2017

Sole Proprietor | Mamphake Mabule t/a Documan Consulting
Rayton, South Africa | 2012 - 2017

Current Occupation(s)

Mechanical Electrical Piping (MEP) Systems Technician:

Specialising in systems design and installation of Fire detection and Alarms, CCTV and Electronic Article Surveilance, Remote Access Control, Electric pumps and motors, Electric security fencing and Solar power, Central Heating Ventillation and Air-conditioning, Video and Audio systems, Programmable Logic Circuits Controller as well as Computer Networking.

Freelancer & Entreprenuer
My Education and Skill(s):
  • Managerial experience:
  • I have Operational, Production and Marketing management skills specialising in operations within the engineering and construction environment using Building Information Modelling, Microsoft Office & Project, ACCPAC & Pastel (SAGE) Accounting softwares. I studied B-com: Management including a Programme in Financial Management at UNISA - I evaluated and prepared bids as well as compilling project programming while assisting clients with the approval processes. I also prepared reports including project costing/estimates and quantitative statistical calculations. I also supervised and monitor in-house and on-site production while planning and allocating work using work orders and production schedules. I marketed electromechanical products, liaise with customer while developing new and improving existing range of products and services.
  • Technical experience:
  • I have computer-aided draughting, manufacturing as well as computer programming skills specialising in operations within the engineering and construction environmemt using AutoCAD, SketchUp Pro, CoralDraw, SQL Database Design, G-code programming, HTML, Visual Basic, Python, and Javascript. I studied course(s) in Architectural Draughting and AutoCAD at Inscape College; Mechanical Draughting and Technologies at Tshwane South TVET College; and N-Dip: Electrical Engineering at Tshwane University of Technology. I designed databases while providing computer network support using MySql and File servers, Active directory, DHCP & DNS server applications. I also procured, installed and commissioned equipment, wired premises, supervised workshop repairs and fabrications, prepared detailed drawings, schematics including construction documentation while training end-user in the correct use and maintenance of systems, as well as interpreted CAD/CAM detailed drawings according to the South African National Standards including the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations.

  • My main focus is building my own product brand and finding energy efficient sustainable solutions.....

Saturday, July 2, 2016

My Freelance Journey | Entrepreneur

Just as it is for big companies, successful branding is essential to the success of a freelancing business and to just one self-employed worker like myself. It is often times overlooked, most likely because many of us don’t realize the large benefits that can come from it. The first thing we think of when we think “brand identity” is a good logo. Well, A good logo can do wonders for a self-employed freelancer, but branding identity goes far beyond that, into entire website development, content, business cards, and even into offline scenarios.
In this post, I took a closer look at ways I define a brand for something as unique as a freelancing business or busenesses, and what I need to do to get started on the right track to a successful brand. Before I get into the specifics, I took a look at how a brand can help any sort of business. A good brand will lead to success now and in the future, and that is essential for a self-employed person that doesn’t ever want to be forced back into a 8-5 job. My objective is to create a good brand that will:

1. Defining My Business Goals
Before I get started in the design process of branding, I had to define what I want the brand to communicate. In order to do that, I had to define a few specific things in general, the first being the freelancing business’s goals. Beyond helping to develop a brand, I defined my business goals which helped in a number of other ways. For one, it helped me visualize the ultimate goals of my business, helping smaller goals become more proactive in reaching my long-term accomplishments.
I also need to be kept on track, from personal self-management, to anyone I may be managing in the future. Getting off track is why many businesses fail, and why many freelancers eventually go back to a day job they hate. Goals and a business plan helps me to stay on track. I took some time aside to set goals properly by writing them down, detail them, and thinking about them critically. Goals are helping me plan the future of my freelancing career for years to come. These are items I keep in mind when setting my goals:

2. Defining My Target Audience
After defining business and career goals, I needed to define who I’ll need to attract to keep the business alive. These people are, of course, the clients. Who is my ideal client? Beyond clients, am I willing to work with others on group projects (i.e. developer and designer)? Who would that ideal partner be? I found that my target audiences are often more related to one that sells properties, or to a developer or other form of professional person that relies heavily on other service providers. However, selling my services is no different. I recognized this and took the necessary steps to define my target audience.
I knew that how a brand is designed visually and how it is presented professionally will lean towards a certain type of person. This person should be someone I’d like to work with, as well as the type of person that will help my brand grow. When I was seemingly ready to open up my home inspection service and start on draughting services, I waited one more second and got prepared for the visual aspect of the brand-to-be. I asked some questions about my target audience before jumping into the design phase of my brand. What is my style? I'm more creative, so I want to appeal to groups that would need a creative service. I also considered a more sleek look which would appeal to business owners or vendors of “high-tech fields.” Consulting engineers, architects, and other professionals of the like are great targets.
To What Level was I Willing to Help and Communicate? It’s true; all clients have varying levels of understanding technologies, or processes and well, design in general. I also want to attract a client that knows nothing of the property world, in which I will be responsible for providing an easy to maintain process. Or, I also can communicate with a group of professionals, sending while out the final project to one client. This can dig deeper into clients as well. Attracting a client, for example that is maintaining a property may be easier to communicate with about inspections.
What work would I like to be responsible for? Many of us don’t like all the work that comes from freelancing. Especially in the world of paper work, many clients want us to do it all — designing, testing, and more. I would like to specialize in one area though, and I know it may be beneficial to have part of my target audience be those looking for partnership projects. For example, when I'm working on a design project, I may want to include developers in my target audience so that they could contact me to partner up on a bigger project. This way, I won’t be stuck without any properties and I can just stick with what I
love.
How I define it on Paper - After asking questions and researching a bit more, and writing out my target audience in a list. I don't put down each item in a single-line type of person, like “Clients with a lot of property experience”, but rather a small very descriptive paragraph. The more detailed the description, the more success I have once it’s time to start the process of my brand.

3. My Business Name
Is it my own name, or a more formal and creative name? This is often times a step overlooked, but it is incrediblynrelevant to the final goals of the process. I plan to be the owner of a firm someday, or develop a team of propety professionals in any other way, with a given name as a brand that may become a regular house hold name. However, many freelancers chose to grow their business by always freelancing solo, while still outsourcing some of their work. There is a difference in each situation, and a personal name tends to thrive in my type of business.
I learned that bigger names tend to attract bigger projects, while a personal name tend attract many smaller clients. Depending on what I’d like to do in terms of work greatly depends on the brand’s name. So, in the plainest sense: an alternative name is more versatile, but my own name as a brand is more personable and each leads to a different type of client.


4. The Logo

My logos are the first step into the design process of the brand. It is the one graphic that my businesses will survive upon. My website, content, and all other design elements must compliment my brand’s logo, as well as work with it towards the ultimate goal of making the sale to the client. Whether I've designed it myself or I hired someone else to do it for me — I needed to be the one that decides how it will look.
Many times I get clients that let me have too much creative control when it comes to their designs. While creative control is always appreciated, when it comes to a brand — that’s a bad choice. Therefore I had to research and create a plan for the brand of my freelancing businesses so I can take control. Everything I've mentioned so far will come into play for the initial design phase of my brand. The names are an obvious factor, but the target audience and business’s goals will also come into play. I also keep a few questions in mind concerning all of this when beginning the logo design phase.
5. My Website, Business Card, and Everything Else

Now that I have a logo, I’ve gone through much of the design process for nearly everything else that will require design. It only took a bit more planning to complete the design process. My brands are very personal, a  blog works well to compliment the logo and brand as a whole. For those my company brand, I want a sleek web design, sleek business card design, and sleek, high-end stationary and other printed material. Well, because the rest of my design needs would be based primarily off of the logo design, most of the target audience and business goals implementation will come into place naturally. I Still keep them in mind when developing my brand further. I try not to lose sight of the goals, and always pertain to the original message I’ve planned for. I also maintain a high level of credibility in the web design as it is in the entire brand.


6. I Write an Elevator Pitch
An elevator pitch is traditionally used offline when trying to sell a services in about 30 seconds or less. Pre-planning a small speech to sell my services helps to include everything I need to, while still having a crafted pitch that is likely to sell. However, as the technologies or work expand each year, elevator pitches are becoming increasingly important for freelancers as well.
An elevator pitch is very much a part of my brand . What is said in the pitch shares what I do, what my business does, and what me and my business can do for the person reading or hearing my pitch. When a prospect asks what I do, I do not respond with just, “I’m a freelancer” or “I’m an entreprenuer”. Instead, this is a chance to say, in about 15-30 seconds, what you do in detail. Nobody is interested in a “freelancer”, “entreprenuer ” or a “business person”.
I communicate what potential clients are interested in is “draughting services that focuses primarily on user-centric designs that are both creative and professional” or “a property developer that creates accomodation focused around users needs — uouses that are designed to sell”. Realistically, elevator pitches should be even better than the above. Furthermore, I use them as an introduction to my portfolio, or even on the About Pages on the sites to help make sales there, too.

7. Write an About Page
My about page or link is where clients and others who may want to work with me can get to know me, before having to make any sort of contact. I reflect myself, and the way I do business. Asking questions like, Is my brand fun, professional or to-the-point? Most likely, my brand so far has reflected my personality in its own sense already. It’s now up to me to write an about page that can “make the sale “.
If a person has become interested enough to check out the about page, then I know thatvI have somehow convinced them to become at least half-way interested in my services. Hopefully, I’ve attracted the right person based from my declared target audience. If so, how would I talk to this person? Content-wise, I always keep to my original style . For example, when communicating with a more company-like approach, I write more formally. For a more creative approach, I become personable and fun. My career choice as a freelancer and the work I do probably already reflects my personality a great deal, so I just become yourself which, in mynopinion, is the best option when trying to find a style for the about page.
It is of utmost importance for me to not try to sound like anyone else — my own voice is what makes me different from every other freelancer on the planet. After figuring in the writing style and how to approach the page, I then outline what to include. One thing I want to include other sections that further define my personality and business. The more a potential client feels they know me, the more likely they’ll be to make contact because me and my business will seem more approachable.

8. Getting Clients to Reach Me

Now it’s all about marketing and having clients find me. I’ve created a target audience, identified business goals (both present and future goals), built the brand in a design sense around those two definition, and created content that helps sell my services. This is all great, but at this point my brand is unknown and inactive. I'm not worry though — my brand is supposed to do the work for me, and given the time, it will. I let people know about my brand by getting listed on other websites, doing guest posts, or leaving messages in forums. Generally, marketing is the same — but now I market my brand as opposed to myself.
Keeping Consistent - In my own experiences with branding, I’ve found myself re-branding and trying out new things. It all came down to the fact that I had never taken the time to correctly brand my business, and specifically, that I had never taken the time to find my true target audience. That forced me to revamp my brand to meet my needs as time went on. I could have avoided the whole mess if I would have taken the time in the beginning. In the end, that has hurt my business because clients, readers, and other people that keep my business alive didn’t recognize me and my business after each revamp, and it also hurt my credibility.
It is essential to keep a brand consistent , for the reasons mentioned above, and for a number of other reasons. Once you lose the brand, you lose all of the benefits that come along with it. If you change a brand, even if it is being changes to better match goals today, it will have to start marketing from base zero once again.
Updating a Brand- As I change being a professionals and as people, there is no doubt that I'll also want to change my brand too. I may grow into a design firm rather than a freelance draughtsman, or a property Inspector more so than a designer. Much of the time a person will be focusing on one area of work, only to find over time that their skill set and interests have expanded into something completely different.
Brand creation is definitely an art in itself, and takes a lot of time to plan . Don’t rush through this essential step of a freelancing career — having a brand can not only benefit you as a professional, but also avoid fallbacks and can aid as a form of security. No matter how big your business is — how big your client base, your team, or your popularity is — develop a plan, a brand around it if you haven’t already. Then, stick to it, be consistent . It may also be helpful to take a step back if you already have a brand to analyze it. Can it be upgraded or further developed? Are you missing anything essential to your brand thus far?

Create a basis for the business to expand in new ways When launching a new project, a brand can be used to jump-start it successfully. A good brand confirms credibility and this is top concern among many potential clients. A properly implemented brand will target the right clients and this will help finding the right clients looking for exactly your style. Losing sight of where you’re going is an issue that comes from having no goals, but having unspecific goals will also create this problem.

Create a business plan in order to be a separate article in itself, but it is a great way to outline goals as well as include finances and tools into accomplishing those goals. Set short-term goals along with your long-term goals which will make it easy to turn ultimate dreams into business goals, as we should, but shorter, more technical goals can track success better. Make your freelancing business and goals associated with it as public as possible. If this means sharing with only friends and family, then so be it. It will help to motivate you to complete goals — keeping your business on track.

Being realistic: It’s ok to dream high, but I don’t set unachievable goals for a time given. But having irrelevant goals ends up providing little or nothing to the growth of the business, which is pointless. For example, don’t set a goal to take on another client each week that you can’t handle — this will likely only limit the time you have to grow and market the business in other ways. A relevant goal would be, for example, to expand to more than a 1-man (or 1-woman) operation. Create an action plan for each goal - “I’d like to someday own my own design firm”, is just not good enough. Have a goal-by-goal plan to complete broader goals like this. In other words, make the goal actionable.

Keep everything in line when working on a new goal. Reaching goals means business and lifestyle changes, so I make sure my finances and other forms of security are still tightly in place throughout the process. I took a step back to analyze the progress and I’ve learned to teach myself onto the next goal.

Mamphake Mabule
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