Mentor 2 - Ettiene Pretorius

Photographer: Ludwig Sevenster

MBOMBELA - The mentee who is having her life changed bit by bit, week by week by the Lowveld Bring Change programme, recently had her long-awaited sit-down with the founder of the programme. Ms Phephsile Maseko has been selected to undergo a weekly mentorship session with leading business people in the Lowveld in a variety of fields to help her grow her start-up business. Last week she spent some time with Lowveld Bring Change founder, Mr Ettiene Pretorius.
While Maseko has the privilege of spending time with each mentor over 26 weeks, the wisdom of each one is also made accessible to the wider public in the sharing of the 10 most important lessons they have learnt, and live by.
This week, Pretorius, a social entrepreneur and real-estate developer, shares the principles according to which he works to achieve success.

1. Keep things simple
Today things move too fast, there is too much information and there are too many options. Simplicity is the ultimate recipe for success, but to simplify something is the most difficult thing in the world because things are so complicated. Minimising options makes it easier to make a decision.

2. Create sources of passive income
Having sources of passive income is not there for when you retire. "It gives you the confidence to take a little bit of risk in your business," Pretorius explains.
To create multiple and passive sources of income, he recommends investing the surpluses you generate through your business in real estate (a safe option) or equity portfolios. "Put your surplus cash in an investment that keeps making money and don't lose value." Start doing things more regularly.

3. There is no such no thing as easy money
Be very suspicious of people claiming to be able to go from R0 to R20 million fast. "It has never been done before. Even people who win the lotto, they lose it all. There is no such thing as easy money."

4. Lead conversations
Always lead conversations with good quality questions, not a statement.
"People like to talk and share information and knowledge. Guide them with questions to the conversation you want to have. When the person deviates from the topic, bring them back with another question. It is a good strategy to keep people on track."

5. Take good action
Pretorius says it is very important to be proactive. "A proactive person usually gets there first. Make sure you take action with the right team behind you and in an industry you know well."

6. Don't forget to live
He says it slowly: "Live life to the fullest. Treat yourself, go on holiday. Do adventurous things - push yourself mentally and physically.
"The biggest problem with people is they're overworked. At the end of their lives they regret what they haven't done: they've worked too hard and neglected important things."
Pretorius recommends spending time alone with your thoughts at least once every day for 30 minutes.

7. Create context
Every person gives you something you can apply to your life. And while Maseko is undergoing an intensive mentoring process, it never stops in the real world.
"The only way to make a good decision is for you to experience multiple different situations, on multiple levels, with different people and cultures," Pretorius says. "You need to create context throughout your life and never stop."

8. Confidence
Confidence allows you to break through certain barriers. But how does one become confident?
"It is in direct correlation with your knowledge about a certain industry. I still don't make decisions about my finances. I'm not confident in that area."
Pretorius leaves this to experts in the field, while he focuses on doing what he knows best.

9. Be persistent
"The battle between rock and water has always been won by water, not because of its power but its pure persistency. It is unbeatable, throughout history. It is a fact of life."

10. Give
"Make sure you always give first," Pretorius says. "What you have at the end of your life will be determined by how much you gave."
Make sure the main focus of your business is not to make money, but to change people's lives for the better. "If you believe in your product, the sky is the limit."

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