Wow, straight into it, ha ha! There are two reasons. Firstly, in 2018, we did a big relaunch of our product, and I realised then that I didn’t need to talk about myself anymore; I wanted the company to talk for itself. Secondly, I feel more protective over my personal life now – I put myself out there early on, and now I need to pull that back a little.
I’m ballsy, extremely hardworking and I’ve been called tenacious!
I never let go! I will always find a way, even when absolutely everything is against me. I will dig deeper, go further and fight harder to make it happen - and I have.
Oh, absolutely! There’s been a good dash of luck – being in the right place, at the right time, with the right product.
I’m fiercely proud of having flipped the South African Wills and Estates Administration business on its head, forcing banks, trust businesses, attorneys and recently some large insurers to take note of a gaping hole in the industry. We’ve also driven new entrants into the market. I love it when we get a new competitor be-cause it means they see value in our business and want to play in the same space.
No. When we first launched our product – our little policy to go with the Will – we were told it was illegal, that it didn’t make sense, and that nobody would buy it! I still maintain today that people feel attached to their Will if they pay for it every month. And if we can give them value in that while turning the industry on its head in the process, then we’ve done well.
I’ve always had these crazy ideas about myself and achievement. In the beginning, I was driven by money, and I did very well as a financial advisor. But as time passed, I needed something else. I needed to create something that would be useful to the financial services and fiduciary industry. I am achieving that now with Capital Legacy.
It was actually an intervention. I got too big for my boots as a financial advisor, and my father and my now-wife sat me down one day and said, "You are driving us nuts! You are so bored, so belligerent, and you need a new challenge. Please go and find something else to do!" So I did.
Creativity, in the ability to make something from nothing; good organisational skills; and being able to map out the lines of play with key people. But most of all it was having a good sense of timing, knowing when to strike and when to hold back. Such as bringing out life cover in the middle of a pandemic.
People often underestimate me; might be the boyish looks, ha, ha. But that just fuels me. I work hard to prove ‘under-estimators’ wrong, something I’ve been doing since I was young and working as a waiter. A table of patrons wouldn’t take much notice of me. Then I’d go all out to blow them away with my product knowledge, service efficiency and flawless delivery. It’s kind of like that now, but different.
I certainly don’t. Every day there are new challenges to face and new questions being asked of me. We’ve gone from scraping money together to pay salaries to paying double-inflation increases in the middle of a pandemic. Questions and challenges get more difficult the bigger you get – you never really have it all figured out.
Learn to sell in everything and anything. If you are the biggest introvert and you think you can’t sell, then learn. You will always need to sell, personally and in business.
I love that within one hour I can go from instructing re-cabling, dealing with a restraint clause, jumping into an actuarial conversation to mulling over a sales question, tweaking a product and building a new set of rules to make the lives of our booking agents easier. I also try to squeeze in a debate here and there with my business partners - they check and power me.
Being falsely accused. I don’t want people to think the worst of me. I always have people’s best interests deep in my heart. I am not a corporate dragon.
To reiterate my previous answer about false accusation, back in 2010, I was a successful financial advisor. Within 48 hours, however, I was painted as evil – there was talk of fraud, messages went out to my clients, and suddenly nobody would touch me. Fast forward nine years and a big player in the industry, someone I really respect, called me to say he needed to make an important business decision and that he was making his choice based on the fact that he trusts me and my business partners. That really meant a lot to me.
You got me! This this will forever be one of my greatest achievements.
I’ve been an autocratic leader – it was my way or the highway, which, dare I say it, worked for a growing business. But, alongside members of my inner circle, I’ve worked hard to develop the team and so now, more often than not, they are leading the evolution and development of our business. Going forward, I’ll be more focused on technical leadership - provoking thought to make the dreams become a reality.
I love to create, be it a poster for my son’s “build-a-pizza” birthday or a fiduciary solution for the industry. Not to say I’m a DIY guy, but products and systems and websites, I love to build those.
When I have an idea, I move everything else out of the way to focus on stacking that idea in my mind – cre-ating a working model or picture of the product or solution. Then, I get that model ready to show someone.
I’ve always had my own drive and have not relied on anyone to get me up in the morning, but when it comes to words, I go back to what my dad said to me in my early 20s: "If you can’t make a decision, you probably don’t have all your information’. Get all the information, and the decision will become clear. That still inspires me."
I’d like to be known as a good guy. I want to be remembered for really changing people’s lives. I’m very conscious about disparity, fairness and the need to sometimes step back and be cognisant of the reality of others. So, whether it’s a staff member who went from buying a small car to eventually buying a home or a family who had a tricky estate and needed to be taken through it personally so that they could breathe a sigh of relief – I want to make a significant and impactful difference.
Two books that inspired me on how not to be was Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk’s biographies. Both guys deserve all the credit, but I don’t like how they’ve gone about things. I was more inspired by Phil Night of Nike, and how such a nice guy did so well. I think he also had good timing.
The Pursuit of Happyness with Will Smith. We watched it as a family, and it really spoke to my own rags-to-riches story. He could sell!
I have a dream to see not just one but every Grand Prix and every soccer, cricket and rugby World Cup. I want to experience places beyond what you see in travel brochures. I want to be immersed in the culture of Italy, London, Sydney, Kenya and Russia – and that means spending proper time in those places.
Capital Legacy is one of the leading providers of Wills and Estates in South Africa, with over 370,000 clients and provision of specialist cover for legal fees of nearly R80 billion. For more information visit us at: www.capitallegacy.co.za.