I left school in 1981 and started working, have not stopped yet. My first real job was as an apprentice Millwright in Edenvale. I moved on from this after a change in journeyman and a personality conflict. I trained as a cabinet maker and when the company closed down in 1986 I decided to try and go it on my own after working a a counter jockey for a hire company for a few months.
I started a sales agency and travelled the Eastern parts of the country selling toys, seed and knives to small retailers on a commission basis for 5 different clients. This worked well and I liked the job but my girl friend was not delighted with the fact that I was gone for 4 out of 7 nights a week.
I went to pick her up from work and was approached by Alan Burger with a proposal. "I hear you can sell well" said Alan, "can you sell computers?" As I had never seen a computer before and advised him as such, he responded, "I will teach you all about them if you will sell them." I was also offered a salary and package that could not be refused.
I sold payroll packages and computers often butting heads with Arthur, his father, but was promoted to sales manager and started training a small team. One of my clients wanted a database and stock control method as well as a payroll, Alan told me to build it, it was rather simple. Johnson Crane Hire managed their fleet with that database for a while. I had learned a little coding and was curious.
I was approached by another company and offered a huge increase in package, but unknown to me, this company was in financial straights and were hoping to keep the wolf at bay with my selling skills, they survived for about 6 months, the problem was a fairly limited market for the product.
I started Reflections Joinery works in Edenvale and worked hard, but I had gained a love for the computer and started fixing and selling them on the side. I never took the computer thing seriously because the Joinery works was making money hand over fist. A few years later in 1996 I bought a modem and found the web. I built a web site for myself and then a couple for some people I met. My first commercial website was for Remax at this time.
In 1998 I and my family visited the work shop to pick up something on a Sunday morning. On the way home they were victims of an attempted hi-jacking. We left for the UK less than 2 months later. I got a job selling computer hardware, and built websites on the side. One of my clients had a problem and I quickly sorted it out during working hours.
I soon found myself without a job because a colleague that was unhappy that he didn't have my list made waves. Greg, the owner of said business was to tell me a few years later that this had been his biggest mistake ever.
I was between jobs and was advised by a friend to send my CV focusing on IT to his "pimp". I gained a contract with Warner Lambert Pfizer as a Support Technician. Convinced that I didn't have enough experience I went along and did the job. Convinced I would be fired in days rather than weeks, I realised I had way more knowledge than previously thought.
When the contract was up I moved on to the London Underground for a short contract, and added web design to my CV. This led to a contract at Reed Elsevier, and then to Virgin Net. I learned new skills at Virgin Net and started doing websites for local businesses while travelling to work and back by train.
I left Virgin net in 2002 to return to South Africa.
Between contracts I built and installed a few kitchens to keep the pot boiling. I installed only four kitchens in the UK, One of which was built with hardwood. The others were knock down units bought from a major supplier
I started designing websites in Nelspruit and found a fairly competitive market, with a limited client base. All of my clients benefited from my skill and all gained great results from their websites from the search engines, I also had not yet learned the value of my skills and survived the next 6 years rather than developing a successful business. By 2011, after trying various ideas to supplement my income, and hearing just one two many times, "my cousins daughter can do it cheaper, she learned web design in high school", I decided to start a wood working business.
In 2011 Wood Guy was launched and in a matter of months I moved from working under a carport to a workshop in Nelspruit. I focused on building solid wood furniture and restoring the same.
In 2016 my Mom passed and the kids had left Nelspruit. The funeral was the first time in 6 months I had seen my daughter and a decision was made to move to Pretoria. I started my new business in Pretoria with 2500 flyers, some of which are still in my office. The web looked after me.
In 2017 I had surgery for an Inguinal hernia and this went septic. I spent six months recovering. Within 4 months of getting back to work the hernia came back. I had surgery again early 2019. I got back to work a few months ago and my biggest issue is finding reliable help. My focus is on quality workmanship and good service. Pretoria Kitchens and Bedrooms pty ltd was officially registered with CIPC earlier this year. It's time for growth.
TagsHistory, Wood Guy, Reflections Joinery Works,