Daphne MashamaiteWomen Business Achievers

Favorite quote: “I am enough and my dream is possible.”

What is your story (tell us about yourself)?
Daphne’s work for young girls was featured in Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine and recently featured as SA 2020’s Xtraordinary Businesswoman. Her love for entrepreneurship started more than 15 years ago whilst working for the Ministry of Trade and Industry. She is a published author, entrepreneur, and a radio show host for entrepreneurs.

Her book for entrepreneurs, “Climbing the Ladder of Success” has been translated into 6 languages. As the visionary and founder of Women Business Achievers she develops business solutions for women entrepreneurs through webinars, coaching, and workshops, while encouraging listeners on her weekly Radio Pulpit show to fulfil their destiny. Her passion and expertise are in SME development and in coaching motivational speakers. Being a Philanthropist, she is founder & chairperson of Leading Women Network, helping women recognize their value and validate the power of their dreams. She is a Board member of Heritage Circle empowerment organization with a vision to establish a women-owned cooperative bank in SA.

When did you start your first business and what inspired you to start?
Business has always been in my genes. My dad was a huge inspiration who taught me business while I was only a teenager. He is the first person who taught me how to manage personal and business finances from him. My first business started in my early 20’s after graduating from varsity I was teaching but also selling some perfumes to teaches and professionals. I have always believed that business keeps you on your toes and it’s not doing same old – same old.

A brief background about my dad would help you understand my background – he was a brilliant teacher, school principal and he later retired to go into business. He was also the “go to” person whenever someone needed counsel about anything, whether family related or business related. He always believed in me and I could sense it.

Whenever I made a career move, I would go home and update him, and he always supported the idea. It is because of him that I knew I could achieve anything. I have gone into unfamiliar territory many times in my life and just rocked it. I still remember one time I joined an engineering company to drive sales, without any clue as to what they do but I visited the construction site where we had an ongoing project to understand better. Within a short time, I managed to get our company as one of the top 3 companies shortlisted for a huge multi-million-rand deal.

What is the Key Objective(s) and Vision of your business? (Has it changed overtime or is has it always been this?)
My passion has always been helping women in various seasons of my business and in Philanthropy work. I believe that my one word is “Entrepreneurship”. This led me to launch Women Business Achievers a couple of years ago, whose mission is to move women entrepreneurs from the periphery into the mainstream of the economy through various interventions. As a result, we see businesswomen growing their businesses and thriving, in spite of the current pandemic. We host regular webinars and invite experts in various fields to address various aspects of running a successful business, in spite of challenges.

What challenges did you face in your journey? What’s the biggest obstacle you had to overcome (are still overcoming)?
In business, I have had so many opportunities to give up completely as it has not been easy. I started so many businesses with various partners I can’t even count right now. Learned many things and it is only recently that I decided I am called to the market place and I should embrace it whole heartedly. I always told myself that if there’s a way to succeed, then I must find it. I believe that we must not only think outside of the box but totally get rid of the box. So for me, there’s no box. No limits.

How did you manage to navigate your company through this period of the Covid-19 pandemic? (What business strategies/operational adjustments have you made over this period and how has it impacted your business model?)
Covid19 started with a bang and that affected my business a whole lot as we were growing doing live workshops and events for entrepreneurs and we suddenly had to cancel all live events that were scheduled up to about 6months. It took us several months to launch webinars and start marketing virtual events. The good news for us is that the virtual events helped us to reach international women in business who are now clients.

How do you approach networking and building partnerships in your industry?
I love networking. I am a big fan of collaborations and doing business with other like-minded business gurus. Even now I am in a few networks with other women because I believe that together we can do more. I like the verse that says one can chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight.

Do you have (or ever had) a mentor in your journey, and do you believe it helped (if yes, in what way)?

I believe in mentors and coaches and yes, I have had a lot of mentors even today. I have mentors from various parts of the world as I use online platforms to access their wisdom. A mentor helps you to see things you might not see and helps you so you don’t make the same mistakes he/she made along the way. With a mentor you can ask questions when you are not sure if it is someone you can contact.

What is your perspective on the South African entrepreneurial landscape before and after Covid-19 pandemic? (Would you say the “new normal” context drives more or less opportunities for entrepreneurs?) How can entrepreneurial policy development aid in expanding opportunities in this new context?
The South African economy has suffered so much due to covid19 and this is not only unique to our country. There are opportunities during this time to go international in serving more people than only focusing on our community.

In your opinion, what are the secrets to being a successful entrepreneur?
MINDSET. I refuse to fail permanently. I tell my subconscious mind that it is possible to succeed even though I may not know how. I maintain a positive mindset. My success is due to the mindset I nurture. The ultimate truth is that if you think you can, you will and if you think you can’t, you won’t. You become who you are on the inside. It is not what you think you are that’s holding you back. You become who you are, not what you think.

What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs? 3 Top :
• Refuse to ask other people for permission to succeed.
• It’s not easy but maintain the right attitude and a tough skin.
• When you fail, fail forward and know that it is temporary. Find what you did wrong and improve on those things.

Whatever is in your heart to do – if you set your goals and go after them with all the determination you can apply, then your dream will take you to places you never even thought in your wildest dreams possible.