Johannesburg - Ruan Oosthuizen and Jacques de Bryun speak to IOL about the frustrations of starting your own business.
1. Is Flume your first startup?
Ruan: No. I started a company while I was in university. It was a company which helped students with research. This went quite well, but it got to a point where my studies had to take priority.
Jacques: Yes. There have been other initiatives in the past, but Flume was the first business that myself and Ruan successfully launched.
2. What gave you the idea?
Ruan: I want to lie and say that the digital advertising market was on the rise and I saw the boom on the horizon. But that’s not true. To be honest, I just thought it was a good starting point at the time and really just wanted to get my hands dirty in the digital space.
Jacques: The internet is growing. It has been for a long time. More and more people are becoming connected, which means the opportunity to make money online is increasing.
3. How is it doing?
Ruan: We are doing very well. Some days I look back and wonder how we got to where we are now and then other days I want to pull my hair out with frustration. I suppose that is the name of the game, especially when it comes to business in general. That said, we are loving what we do and are very optimistic about the future.
Jacques: As far as we can tell, so far so good. We’ve realised the need for an online marketing agency that delivers leads and actually helps their clients grow their bottom line – that’s the role that we are playing and this is what we actively seek and to set out to achieve for clients and brands.
4. Did you always want to be an entrepreneur?
Ruan: No. I wanted to be a portfolio manager but I soon realised that the corporate world was not for me. Rather, the thrill of entrepreneurship is what keeps me going. I really can’t imagine myself doing anything else right now, even if I tried.
Jacques: No, not always - and then I dreamt about it, but always thought I’d be the guy that wanted to, but never did. Today I’m that guy.
5. What made you choose this career path?
Ruan: Initially I was very lucky to land up in the corporate finance industry and I thoroughly enjoyed the thrill. That said, after a while I noticed that that was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. As a result, I started looking around to see what the next step was and what opportunities were out there for me. It was scary starting (Flume) from scratch, but it has definitely been worth the effort over the years.
Jacques: The want to be bigger than myself and affect change in my industry and people around me.
6. What's next on your list?
Ruan: Getting Flume to the point where it can run and work well without myself or Jacques and then I want to start looking at other opportunities in the tech industry.
Jacques: Growing Flume and starting a similar business that services a niche.
7. What would you say to someone who wants to be an entrepreneur?
Ruan: Plan, plan, plan and then jump. The jump is always the hardest and scary part but it is well worth it.
Jacques: You’re never too late to start. You’ll never feel qualified enough to start. Just start.
8. Please explain what your business does.
Jacques: We essentially help our client’s market themselves online, with the purpose of driving qualified business leads to their business.
9. Would you say you need a degree to get started?
Ruan: While education does always help, you don’t need a degree to start a business. Sure, a university degree can help in laying the foundation and providing you with useful theory, but most successful start-ups are built on passion, experimenting, taking risks, trial and error, and sheer determination. That said, from a working/job perspective, a degree does give potential employees an indication that you have some brains and commitment to see it through.