For me, becoming an entrepreneur and starting my business was not an intentional decision. I did not wake up one morning and decide, “I am going to start a company. This sounds exciting.” I simply took more and more steps away from the formal economy, without realising it because of what I believe. I was a diligent employee for 7 years and followed the traditional trajectory in studies, work and career planning. Then I left it all and took a personal development break.
After travelling to Korea and teaching English for two years, I realised that I am a person driven by purpose. And purpose resides in the heart. I have always loved nature, people and healing. Seeing people sick worried me. Seeing them recover gave me the deepest joy. After spending 3 years in the NGO sector and working with vulnerable children, communities and vast tracts of arable land, left uncultivated, while poverty was all around, I realised that tending the land and working with sustainable health solutions is one of the most powerful interventions we can use. Simply, there were no companies doing what I wanted to do. Every time I applied for a position in another field, I felt sick to my stomach. I constantly thought about the needs I saw in people’s lives, communities and countries. I seemed to care about these needs more than most people I knew, and yet, I knew that I was not a better person: I just had a different vision, for my life, and the life of our world. There was a point that I came to, the signpost of “It’s now or never.”
So I took the step, filled with all sorts of dread, but knowing that courage is forged in the valleys of fear. I first started my nutritional therapy practice, Better4Life, and then after 3 years of researching, product formulations and testing, I registered Africa Grace as a company to take my heart for Africa, our natural resources and my vision for every person to have the CHOICE to use pure, organic skincare and healthcare. It’s a company that encapsulates many different aspects of my vision for my continent and appeals to the human spirit. I took many small steps, a few big steps. Sometimes, just standing where I was and reflecting. People encouraged me. I did a great deal of inner questioning, reading, experimenting, studying. I needed to make sacrifices: buy a small car, move back with my parents for a while, learn to live with far less and spend whatever I had on studies and starting my two companies.
It has been the most extraordinary journey of faith, perseverance and patience. It still is. Sometimes, I’m not sure where it will lead. But, I know, as long as I choose this ship, I will learn the most about myself, what I believe and what is truly, honestly, uniquely important in life.