Chrissie De Villiers | Purposeful goals are key to great achievement
1. Give us a brief background of what you do?
I’m the Marriage Success Mediator and I train couples on strategies to enable them to have a successful marriage. I hold face-to-face courses in Cape Town, South Africa and have an online course published on Udemy and Skillshare. The face-to-face training and online course are suitable for engaged couples and newlyweds as marriage preparation and for married couples looking for a marriage enrichment course.
2. What are the key factors that got you to where you are today?
Two key factors:
Firstly, moving countries from England to South Africa forced me to change direction. In London, England, I had worked as an attorney and law lecturer. But I could not continue my law career in South Africa. There is no conversion course to practice as an attorney in South Africa if you qualified as an attorney in another country. So, I retrained as a commercial mediator and family mediator.
Family mediators liaise disputes between separating and divorced couples. Both my husband and I had been married previously. He made the observation that I should rather train couples on marriage, so they could have a greater chance of staying together (and being happy!). My JT Foxx business coaches also helped me to find my focus. Although I do keep up my accreditation and work as a family mediator, my passion is marriage success training.
Secondly, my daughter. I wanted to be able to spend time with her whilst she was growing up (and still earn my own income).
When I was a child my parents ran a Post Office and shop in a village in the Peak District in England. They worked very long hours and could only take two weeks holiday each year. I didn’t get to spend a vast amount of time with them during the school holidays. I want to have the freedom to be able to spend quality time with my daughter. Children spell love as t-i-m-e. I got to the bottom of this “why” with the help of my business coaches.
3. Name 3 business principles that are of core value to you?
Successful businesses are built on the actions that you take every single day. You must keep taking those actions every day - even when you don’t feel like it - or are short on time. No-one is going to help you build your business (unless you employ them). The responsibility is with you alone, which means you must always follow up. Many of your customers and potential business partners will be time poor and, therefore, unwilling to engage with you if effort is required. You must make the effort and make it as easy as possible for them.
Self-management of where you focus your time and effort is crucial. What is important to build your brand and business? Marketing, for example, is a major aspect. If you don’t know how to market your business, or you don’t have the time to focus on marketing, rather outsource this part of business building to a specialist company.
Too many times it is easy to get side-tracked by apparent urgent tasks. When I want to focus, I turn off my cell phone and internet. I also leave my administrative tasks to the early afternoon and I don’t allow them to take over my entire day.
I am a big believer in goals, but they must be SMART goals. Specific, measurable, action-orientated, realistic and time-bound.
For example, I set myself a goal to adapt my face-to-face course and produce an online version over a period of 90 days. When you have the overall goal, you are able to break it down into smaller parts. What do you need to achieve each day to reach your ultimate goal? It also brings great satisfaction to celebrate your small achievements along the journey.
4. What has been the hardest part of being an entrepreneur?
The hardest part of being an entrepreneur for me is being different to most of my friends, family and wider community. It is hard-wired into our brains to fit in; to search for connection with others. It can be scary to paddle your own canoe and not conform to the usual. It can feel very uncomfortable to be doing something different, i.e. not having a regular job or being a stay-at-home Mom. I am still getting used to the discomfort and feeling that way without judging myself.
5. How do you overcome rejection?
I have to credit my best friend in England, Nicola Buckley, for how I overcome rejection. She also runs her own business, The StrongHer Revolution. Her advice is to identify your core values. Once you’ve identified those core values, any decision that you take, or any experience you have, can be put in context of those core values. My core values are love, hope and joy. Whenever I experience rejection, I go back to my core values and also why I started my business in the first place. My why is my daughter and my passion is to help couples have happy marriages.
6. How do you juggle motherhood with your busy schedule?
My daughter is now at school age and I do pay for her to go to the aftercare at her school until 14.15 every day. I drop her off at 7.30 in the morning and then focus on my work until I collect her. I then spend time with her in the afternoon. She goes to bed between 19.00 and 19.30. I will then do more work once she is asleep. I will work into the evenings, especially if I have a specific deadline.
School holidays are more difficult. I do have friends and aunties who help by having her for a morning or a day. I am then able to concentrate on my work during that time. My husband is an independent financial planner and also has control over his time and he helps me too.
I really do enjoy the time I get to spend with her in the afternoons and try to do fun things together. She loves drawing and painting, so this holiday we’ve started a paint by numbers oil painting. We also like swimming and running together.
7. What is your favourite quote and explain why?
My favourite quote is part of the Paradoxical Commandments written by Kent M Keith. “People are illogical, unreasonable and self-centred. Love them anyway.”
I love this quote because it reminds me that I need to love and help people, even when they are not being particularly lovable. This is true for both running a business and being married.
8. What does success mean to you?
Success to me will be when I have achieved financial freedom; when I have passive income that covers all my expenses. Then I will have a choice whether or not to work. My time will truly be my own. Until that day, I am very happy to be working on a business that is both my passion and my purpose.