‘I’ve learnt that reputation is key; you need to be trusted with the small things’
EVETTE BARNARD, 31, LIVES WITH HER HUSBAND, ABRI, IN PRETORIA. SHE’S CO-OWNER OF TRANSPORT SOLUTIONS COMPANY, SOCCERMOM, AND ALSO OPERATES THE PRETORIA BRANCH
I was an architecture student looking for a part-time job to help fund my studies, when I came across a flyer for Soccermom on the varsity notice board. They were looking for responsible students who had a driver’s licence to help families by collecting their children from school and taking them home, or to their after-school activities.
Evette Barnard, Entrepreneur and Owner of Soccermom Photo Gallery
I applied for a position, and soon I was matched with a family in Pretoria. I worked as a driver for a number of families over the years and worked my way up in the company. By 2009, I was assisting the then-owner of the Pretoria branch of Soccermom, Ardin. In 2010, I qualified as an architect, and that meant I had to give up my part-time job to find full-time work in the architecture industry. It was what I had studied and I felt that I needed to give it a fair chance.
I lost touch with my workmates from Soccermom, until last year when I got an unexpected phone call from Ardin. She said she was considering selling the Soccermom Pretoria franchise, and wondered if I would be interested in buying it. I immediately said yes. It took us two weeks of negotiation to reach an agreement that suited both of us, but before I knew it, I was the brand-new owner of the Pretoria Soccermom branch. The fact that it was already an established business meant that areas such as the marketing and finance elements had already been taken care of, which was a huge help.
Throughout this journey, I’ve come to realise that, although the funding of a new business is often a major challenge, it should never be seen as the end of the road. I’ve been blessed to have financial help offered by many open-minded and trusted individuals, and I will forever be grateful to them. I’m also hoping to do my part and to pay it forward one day. It hasn’t all been smooth sailing, though.
I’ve worked hard to build solid relationships – both personal and in business – and it’s been a goal of mine to work for myself. I’ve learnt that reputation is key – if you can’t be trusted with the small things, it’ll be difficult to convince anyone to trust you with the more important stuff. As of March this year I’m also the owner of the Soccermom Head Office, and my goal is to expand the number of drivers, as well as our client base. We’re incorporating new tech that’ll not only increase safety, but also offer exciting new services as we enter into our second decade of business. Watch this space!
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