Daniela Wingate: Researching her way forward in business

"...your trust in yourself is the principal factor."
Where are you currently located on the planet: Johannesburg, South Africa
What is your business called and what does it do? The business is called ‘Vula Vula Research Services’. At the moment we are focusing on providing a good, reliable and honest fieldwork force to the research industry. In other words, we conduct the actual interviews for the researchers. We are also setting up an online and mobile survey market research group and trying our best to pioneer some more creative and innovative research and interviewing techniques in South Africa.

How long have you been operating for? Just over a year and a half.
Why did you decide to start your own business? A couple of reasons:  
1. I’m not great with authority. I like to do things my way and get frustrated when other people always think they know best!  
2. I believe very strongly that if you choose to live in a developing country, like SA, you should do as much as you can to help the country mature into the place you dream it to be. It’s pointless and unfair to expect the government to do it all for you.
3.  Directly related to point number 2 – I wanted to create jobs, for myself and others. And I have a great desire to set up various community projects in education and environmental affairs for which I would like to raise money for. As soon as my business is making a real profit, I will develop a foundation into which a portion of that profit will go each month, to be used for all my projects.
4. I really want to be a full time novelist someday! And, as we know, most novelists do not turn over even a 5 digit salary. So, in my effort to save money for my own future and dreams, I decided to build a business as a long term investment that will eventually, hopefully, support me while I write.
Name the toughest challenge of starting your own business? Trying to persuade other people that you can do it. Often you’ll find that others try and hold you back because of their own fears. You just have to remember that your trust in yourself is the principal factor.
Do you see your business going the distance? Definitely. I believe that if you start slowly and ease yourself into the relevant industry by being honest and reliable, and delivering great service, your name will always be a comfort to clients and the business will steadily flow.
What ambitions both short term and long term do you envision for your business? My short term goal is simply to reach a stable point at which my business is financially secure and I have a few more clients that are steadily on board. My long term goals involve training up a management team that can operate without me and then going full steam ahead with the community work and writing.
What has been the most insane moment of running your own business? The day I quit my job with nothing to go to because I believed so strongly that I could make something work on my own! I pretty much built the foundations for the company in about two weeks ‘flat’ and rocketed straight into it. After that, I had many a sleepless night worrying about when my next project would come in and how I was going to make it through the next month. But it always worked out and I’m still alive, with a fridge full of food.
Do you believe that business is kick-started on a cup of coffee in the morning? Sometimes – it really depends on the person and the type of business. (The FirstStep.me team collapses…we need coffee!)
In terms of business which country do you feel is setting trends that people should take note of? I hate to say it, but I really can’t answer this question. I’ve been so wrapped up in my own little world for the past while that I haven’t been keeping abreast of worldwide business trends. I’ll make a note to start doing so soon!
Do you have any business mentors and what are they like? Yes, I have many. In fact, pretty much everyone is a business mentor to me as I believe that running a business is much the same as running a family or nurturing a relationship just like you would a friendship, for instance. There are certain things that bring positive results and others that don’t. You can learn a lot of these things by watching and talking to other people in your life and observing what practices make their lives function well. If you apply the same principles to your relationship with your business and those associated to it, I am positive you will succeed.
Any business inspirations that make you want to keep your business going? The difference that the work I have created has brought to the lives of the people I employ. Most of them were without work for a minimum of a year before I employed them and they are completely different people now that they have a purpose and earn their own income again. Money may not solely bring about happiness, but it does open up a lot more doors that lead that way. (FirstStep.me gives a thumbs up!!)
Finally if you weren’t in business what would you be doing and two if you could name your own planet what would it be called? If I wasn’t in business, I would probably be doing something creative, related to writing and publishing. And I have never thought about having my own planet so have no idea what it would be called!