Skills and business knowledge will only take you so far, says techpreneur, Rapelang Rabana, your principles, values, as well as your personal growth outside the business, matter more than just what you know.
“Business [and] entrepreneurship, is not some intellectual or mental exercise – it takes everything of you to make it work – it is a life exercise. The more congruent the business is to who you are as an individual and what you value, the deeper your capacity to persevere and outlast,” says Rabana in an interview with The Legacy Project.
This is just one of many lessons that Rabana learnt through her 11-year entrepreneurial journey working as a young, black, and female entrepreneur in tech.
Rabana is one of Africa’s most respected entrepreneurs. Referred to as “Africa’s Marissa Mayers” by CNN, Rabana is the founder of the online education company, Rekindle Learning. Launched in 2013, they provide mobile and computer learning solutions in corporate and schooling environments. She also co-founded Yeigo, a Cape Town-based company that developed some of the world’s earliest mobile VoIP applications, and is a partner and executive director of the financial advisory and private equity firm, Nisela Capital.
The Botswana-born entrepreneur was named among World Economic Forum’s latest cohort of 100 Young Global Leaders, and was selected as a Fast Company Maverick. She has also been featured on the cover of Forbes Africa magazine, as well as being named Entrepreneur for the World by the World Entrepreneurship Forum.
Want to add more purpose to your business? Here are 5 Quotes from Rabana on why entrepreneurship is a life calling from her Legacy Project interview.
“The key differentiator [between being good and being great] is whether that person is following their calling, if they are doing something they believe is part of their life journey … or whether they are just doing a job, or doing something because they believe that is what they have to do. Not everyone operates from the realm of understanding that life is about choosing … about putting your will out there and spending your life making it a reality. Not everyone realises that by not choosing, life chooses for you and that is never the ideal outcome. Those who become great are deliberately creating their life path as opposed to allowing life to happen to them.”
“Entrepreneurship is far more a personal journey than it is a business journey. The extent to which you are willing to grow as a person, has a direct impact on your business because in the early stages so much of your business is about you. I believe that true success comes from operating from an authentic space and being true to your own goals and aspirations. If you try to behave like someone else, you deviate from that authentic space where your real power lies. Understanding of self, what truly motivates you, what your strengths and weaknesses are, building self-awareness are critical qualities. This is a skill available to anyone who seeks it – it’s about reflecting, reading, listening to yourself, exploring your hunches or ideas, even if they don’t seem like much.”
“You will need a lot of perseverance to keep going. No matter how prepared or smart you are, the real test is the ability to keep going. As an entrepreneur, you will give and give and give so much of yourself, and after that… give some more. If you don’t know why you are doing it (which comes back to understanding of self), you will battle to make the kind of long-term commitment that will see you through the challenges.”
“It is important to be close to the people and things that anchor you. For me it’s my parents, my family, my close friends to have a laugh with. Being reminded of who you are, and regardless of the circumstances, that someone thinks you are great.”
“It is about maintaining good health, physical strength and mental strength through healthy living, exercise and meditation. Negativity comes from the mind which is affected to a large degree by your physical health.”