All4Women Entrepreneurs is a monthly feature where we put the spotlight on amazing female entrepreneurs starting businesses in South Africa. This month we spoke to Farah Fortune (who started communication and PR company, African Star Communications) to find out her top tips for turning your day job into a business.
Before African Star Communications, Farah Fortune had already built her reputation in the PR and communications industry. It was through that reputation and experience that she gained the trust of her first clients.
Starting a company in an industry where your skill set is well renowned and your reputation has been established makes getting your foot in the door easier.
Your name is your brand
Over the years, Farah has worked hard to make sure that the name “Farah Fortune” is synonymous with communications, efficiency and continental influence. When Farah left the employ of a communications company, she walked out with her name and her reputation. These invaluable assets are the foundation of her company today.
“I started African Star Communications literally with just R1000 to spend, my cell phone and my laptop. I had worked in communications before so I knew exactly what I needed. The most important thing was to be able to communicate to get started,” says Farah.
Ten years after Farah first started her company, she was recognised as the most influential woman in media in the SADC region in 2018. She attributes that success partially to always preserving her good reputation in every interaction she has.
Make contacts who are willing to pay for your work
While working in the communications industry, Farah didn’t just gain experience, she also impressed clients with the quality of her work. She knew that some of those clients would follow her to African Star Communications.
Three years into starting African Star Communications Farah Fortune became AKA’s publicist. Before he became a household name, he approached Farah to represent him, and she agreed. There is no doubt it had something to do with her reputation as a dedicated publicist who has contributed to the success of many up and coming artists.
“I only take on a set number of clients so I can maintain the standards my clients expect of me. I prefer to do my work well rather than do more work poorly,“ says Farah.
Do your business your way
There’s almost no point breaking away from a company you work for to start your own business if you’re going to do things in exactly the same way as everyone else. Think about what you could change to give your new company an edge.
When Farah started her company, she was aware of the glass ceiling placed above women in the communications industry.
“There are many women working in the communications industry. Only a few own communications companies or occupy senior positions” says Farah.
Wanting to be part of the change that sees women excelling in the corporate environment, Farah’s African Star Communications hires only women both as permanent staff and freelancers. Farah’s policy holds firm in both her Johannesburg and Nigerian office.
Read the rest of our All4Women Entrepreneurs series here:
- The Lazy Makoti’s guide to finding your spot in the market
- 3 things small business owners should look for in an employee
- How Liz Senior built a 65-franchise business from her backyard
- 5 things to consider when turning your small business into a franchise