Q&A with Jonny Field

Q&A with Jonny Field

By Jonny Field

Posted on 6th March 2019

I am Jonny Field, your average quirky tall person! I was raised in Windhoek, Namibia but moved to Cape Town for a fresh start at life in 2011, and it was one of the best things that happened to me. As a person that attended international schools, most of my friends deserted the country after leaving school and I have a thirst for travel as a result of that ordeal. I studied Interaction Design at the Cape Town Creative Academy in Woodstock, which was the most influential choice of my life, as it set me down a path I never knew I wanted to go down, and now here I am working in the design industry in one of the design capitals of the world… I love it! I have always been a creative and abstract person, so I always knew that art and design would be where I ended up in my working life.

My interests on a personal level really resonate with what one considers “geeky”, as I am a fanatic for fantasy, Sci-Fi and all things adventure. I think we can all agree that Harry Potter is the best thing ever, maybe a little Riddikulus to some, but not me. But don’t get me wrong, I would like to think I am quite a rational person who can look at things from several perspectives before going forward with things. I believe neutrality and a more empathic approach to life is what everyone should strive for.

 

Other than that, you’ll either find me hiking, reading, playing board games and just outright chilling. That’s me!

What is your position in the Yellow Door team?

Interny intern.

How would you describe your role?

To help out with various tasks, liaise with suppliers and learn as much as possible about the company.

When did you start working at Yellow Door?

The 4th of March, 2019.

What part of your job do you enjoy most?

Learning new things as well as gaining new skills in the world of web and digital design, also the people here are fun to be around!

What part of your role do you find the most challenging?

Learning all the ins and outs of what each client wants us to do for them, how to handle all the different situations at the company and the daunting task of starting working life.

What do you enjoy most about being part of the Yellow Door team?

The team seems inviting and ready to help me understand how the industry works, all while being fun and warm.

What do you do when you’re stuck for inspiration?

I usually go to Pinterest and type in the topic of my mental block if it’s visual inspiration I need to find, otherwise I will do a searching session on Google for the info I need.

What is your pre-work routine?

I usually have a slow morning with my cat and a good book while I have my coffee, then I do all the basics and get going.

If you could be any superhero, who would you be and why?

An unconventional choice; I would be Avatar Aang from The Last Airbender series:

As a public figure that has to portray neutrality and resolute care for the world, I believe this superhero to be one of the most caring, amazing and talented heroes out there. He always looks at things from an unbiased perspective and displays a neutral footing on any topic before drawing a conclusion, which I like to say we have in common.

Plus, the added benefit of having the ability to make infinite ice cubes on a hot day and start fires really easily for cold ones is pretty cool.

What’s your favourite way to spend a weekend?

Sleeping in, reading my book, seeing friends and playing board games, walking my dogs on the beach or hiking a mountain and probably watching a movie with my family to end it all off. Oh, and of course lots of good foodies!

What music do you like to listen to while working?

Usually something relaxed and without lyrics if typing out words is the task, something like Chill Radio or Lo-Fi Chill Pop because it is warm and unobtrusive. Otherwise for design work I like to listen to anything from generic pop to the golden oldies, my feel-good track would be anything from Fleetwood Mac.

Introvert or extrovert?

Introvert, with a desire to be more extroverted, but also not really, introverted-ness is cool.

Cats or dogs?

I’m a cat person with cat like tendencies, but still love dogs much the same!

Shoes or barefoot?

Depends on the weather, however foot freedom is always amazing.

What’s your favourite spot on Kloof Street?

Unframed Ice Cream, because they have ice cream that won’t make me sick, yay!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Recently on the blog

Behind the yellow door: an intern’s view

Behind the yellow door: an intern’s view

By Yellow Door Collective

Posted on 1st March 2019

If the name Yellow Door Collective was anything to go by, I should not have been surprised to be met with an office door painted bright yellow. But I was. Why? Even though Yellow Door is a small agency and I should have been prepared for an intimate working atmosphere, I was fresh out of university with no office experience. I had a picture in my head that the corporate world was one of dull office spaces, professional attire and uninspiring small talk in the office kitchen.

On the day of my interview, I realised I was wrong. My experience at Yellow Door was to be anything but dull.

The office

The space is inviting and full of colour. The Yellow Door team work in one room together and office chats range from what we did on the weekend to ‘you look like a superhero with those arm braces, Ant’. If that wasn’t enough entertainment, the first time I heard a phone alert ringing I soon found out it was only a reminder that it was time for Dom, one of the co-founders to stretch! Well, that was pretty non-corporate if you ask me. Oh, and did I mention that there is an in-house singer?

Into the deep end

Besides learning that the business world doesn’t necessarily align with the cubicle offices you see in Suits, I was thrown into a fast-paced working pool and kindly told ‘now swim’. Yes, I performed typical intern tasks such as collecting the post and restocking the fridge with yoghurt, but I was also given the opportunity to take on real-world responsibilities.

I learned how to conduct competitor research, schedule social media updates and write blog posts that are aligned with a brand’s tone of voice. I was tasked with creating content for clients. I was even trusted in putting together marketing strategies and brand style guides. They were edited, of course, but I was a part of it.

I think that’s the essence of Yellow Door. You are part of the team no matter your position. Team members help each other and lean on each other. I was the new girl. But I was made to feel like an old friend.

If there was one suggestion I could make to Yellow Door it would be this: place a ‘welcome’ mat at your office door, because that’s how I felt from the minute I walked in to the day I waved goodbye.

 

By Lindsay Llewellyn

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Recently on the blog

2018 highlights reel

2018 highlights reel

By Emma Donovan

Posted on 19th December 2018

This year has been an absolute whirlwind! There have been lots of challenges, but each one has come with some form of silver lining, and I’m proud to say that we’re ending the year strong - as an agency, as a team and in terms of our vision for the year ahead.

Here are a few of our highlights from 2018:

YDC-FB-Image-1812-002-1
YDC-FB-Image-1812-002-2
YDC-FB-Image-1812-002-3
YDC-FB-Image-1812-002-4
YDC-FB-Image-1812-002-5
YDC-FB-Image-1812-002-6
YDC-FB-Image-1812-002-7
YDC-FB-Image-1812-002-8

What I love is that each one is different, yet they all speak to the fact that we have been inspired, challenged and developed new skills. We have supported each other and become a real family – one that Dom and I are proud to lead and continue to learn from.

 

So, what does 2019 have in store for Yellow Door? We don’t quite know yet to be honest… but what I can tell you is that we:

– are about to launch our new and improved website

– plan to facilitate more strategic workshops (for current clients as well as new ones – pop me an email to find out more: emma@theyellowdoor.co.za).

– will continue to collaborate with like-minded agencies and creatives that complement our marketing products and services.

– intend to tackle each day with purpose and strive for a sense of fulfilment in everything we do.

 

We’d also love to hear what you want to see more of, or have us add to the mix, so post a comment and let us know.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Recently on the blog

Taking the time to build your team (and other necessities)

Taking the time to build your team (and other necessities)

By Danielle Scheepers

Posted on 28th November 2018

‘AK, have you managed to finish that report yet?’ ‘Guys, we have a meeting in 5 minutes.’ ‘Kirst, where did you save the file that I need for the flyer? And did the client say anything specific about the tone that they wanted?’

If you have ever wondered what really happens behind the Yellow Door, this is it. Most of the sentences we say to one another during the day revolve around getting work done – obviously. Most of the time it is silent with only the sporadic pattering of keyboards and clicking of mice, we are one productive team. We have to be - we're in marketing.

A quote by Henry Ford comes to mind, ‘Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.’

 

What you won’t see at first glance is the support we give one another, the teasing, the vulnerable moments. As with any relationships, those in the office need to be worked on and invested into. These may seem of secondary importance in a marketing agency, but are the lifeblood of what we do as we need to be a cohesive unit in order to produce good work. 

 

What’s our secret? Simple – team building activities are woven into the culture of the company. Wait a moment before the inevitable eye roll, allow us to explain.

It’s not all trust falls and motivational cheese

Most of our activities as a team are spent doing interesting things we enjoy. We have gone hiking, bowling, running (are we too active?) and eaten many meals together. ‘Team building’ doesn’t necessarily mean there have to be awkward moments of building towers with toilet paper rolls or helping each other across a rope bridge – unless that’s what you are into. You would be amazed at what simply splitting a pizza could do for your company.

Team-building-2

One size fits all

In terms of personalities, our team could not be more diverse. We are varying ages, have different cultural backgrounds, vastly different interests and religious viewpoints. Far from hindering our team it adds texture, interesting opinions and of course helps us create content for a varied audience. Unfortunately, it also means that our approaches to work techniques and styles of communication differ, which can lead to frustration and less productivity.

 

Our recent year end function involved a lot of chats around the braai and sharing our views. It was refreshing and provided insight into the motivations and actions of others. The difference in the office is marked, as everyone is now taking into consideration feedback that was given and applying it to the best of their ability.

Happy people work harder

According to the book ‘The 7 Hidden reasons Employees leave’ by Leigh Branham, 89% of employers think that people leave the company for more money. 12% of employees actually leave for more money.

 

So why do people choose to stay at a company? I believe that those in leadership have a lot more influence than they realise. Of course it helps that both my bosses have a top Woo strength, but simply making an effort to gauge what kind of activities your employees would like to be involved in and actively engaging in those is enough to boost morale and increase productivity.

 

In conclusion, I would just like to say that we hope these reasons are enough to convince you to take your team out once in a while, be it for a jog or just a simple dinner. If you are not sure where to begin, check out our Instagram account for inspiration. Happy bonding!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Recently on the blog

How to effectively manage a distributed team

How to effectively manage a distributed team

By Janine Langheim

Posted on 21st November 2018

These days it’s common place to have a distributed or decentralised team, made up of people working from many different locations around the country and even around the world.
This is true of the Yellow Door team. Although our main office is situated in the heart of Cape Town, we have team members and partners based in Stellenbosch, Clanwilliam, Knysna, Harare and London.

We have chosen a distributed team as we believe we have created a stronger team by hiring and collaborating with the best people – regardless of location. That said, it most definitely has its challenges and we have had to be intentional about overcoming them, and making it work for everyone involved – including our wide client base that also expands over provincial and international borders!

 

Here are a few tips that could be of use: 

1) Stay clear of information silos

It’s natural for team members who work in the same office to share information more easily. They attend meetings in person and often work across from each other – hence they know what is happening almost all the time.

 

However, if you’re not very deliberate and strategic in making sure the bigger team is always kept up to speed, information silos can form. What becomes common knowledge in one location, might not even reach other locations or individuals. This can lead to confusion and frustration on large projects that include the greater team.

 

We’ve worked hard to counter these ‘information imbalances’ through the use of Google Drive, and putting weekly rhythms in place to make sure everyone is up to speed with the latest developments of each project or client.

2) Avoid inbox overload

As not all team members are in the same office to simply pop over and ask a question, the temptation is to revert to writing a ‘quick email’. These however, fast accumulate, and lead to overloaded inboxes!

 

To save the time that goes into responding to each of these ‘quick emails’, we’ve moved over to a communication app called Slack. Each of our services has a dedicated channel and it allows for quick and efficient correspondence, which also centralises all information. It also kills the ‘I’m sure I sent it to you’ elephant in the room.

 

Although you address a specific person, all team members see the communication and account managers are ‘CCed’. This has made a big difference in preventing information silos.

 

All task allocations are also made through the task management system Asana. Once completed, the person responsible simply clicks ‘task completed’ and the manager is notified without any manual, time consuming communication.

3) Leverage the power of face-to-face and telephone communication

Communicating via email and online communication apps like Slack, Trello, Evernote etc. is the primary way distributed teams liaise every day. However, as casual ‘water cooler’ or ‘corridor moments’ aren’t a possibility, it’s important to pick up the phone or plan for face-to-face team moments every now and again.

 

This is a human, more emotive element to relationships, which builds trust and creates the opportunity to iron out any misunderstandings or misperceptions.

 

We make this work through scheduling weekly phone or Skype calls, and planning workshops and in-person gatherings at least once a year. (Read up on the most recent workshop which Emma and I ran in Knysna)

art-board-game-challenge-163064

4) Respect work hours, time zones and availability

Working across international time zones and different work capacities can be a challenge for even the most organised team manager. It requires a lot more forward planning, anticipation of possible problems and curve-balls, and making sure lead-times are realistic and achievable.

 

Post everyone’s availability, time zones and daily ‘office hours’ in a central place for easy reference.

 

We also make use of a time tracking app, called Tickspot, which monitors time spent one each project and client. This is especially helpful for those team members who have very limited hours per month.

5) Build a team of ONE

Make sure that it never becomes ‘them’ and ‘us’. Ensure that unity and a sense of being part of one core family is at the heart of your team’s culture and values.

 

Regularly create the opportunity for team members to give feedback both formally and informally in order to pinpoint any pressure areas. Also clarify each team member’s responsibilities and expectations in relation to other team members, as this goes a long way in preventing misunderstandings.

6) In it to win

Keep the goal of ‘winning’ as the core, unifying focus of the entire team and always clarify ‘the win’ for each project.

 

Each person should aim to ‘win’ personally, by developing their skill set and delivering excellent service. The team should aim to ‘win’ collectively by providing a top-class end product or campaign, and the client must ‘win’ by seeing real results following the implementation of our work.

 

This central purpose keeps the distributed team connected and unified, especially on complex, long-term projects.

 

In summary, working in a multi-site or distributed team is fast becoming the norm, and as technology advances, it most definitely becomes easier. However, managers and business leaders will always have to be intentional about the relational dynamic and keeping a team unified in more ways than their email signature. Perhaps the question should not be ‘How do I manage these challenges?’, but rather ‘How can I maximise the opportunities and benefits of working in a decentralised set-up?’.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Recently on the blog

Q&A with Blessing Katona

Hi, my name is Blessing. I’ve just started at Yellow Door, which is my second experience working in an agency. I love the fact that you get to deal with different types of brands and people, and get to experience a completely different atmosphere to the everyday working life. My life can’t be explained in a paragraph but all you need to know about me is that there are three words that describe me best: passion, love and cars!

What is your position in the YDC team?

I am a fresh intern.

How would you describe your role?

At the moment my role is to learn as many skills and experiences as possible and show the team that I am eager to learn new tricks anytime.

When did you start working at YDC?

On 1 October 2018.

 What part of your job do you enjoy most?

There is a number of things that I enjoy about the job I do, but out of everything, I enjoy coming to work and always learning something new and engaging with people from different backgrounds the most.

What part of your role do you find the most challenging?

The most challenging part is the pressure. As an intern I feel like when given a task, I need to show my colleagues quality workmanship at a productive rate.

What do you enjoy most about being part of the Yellow Door team?

They are all close knit, help is literally always a desk away and everyone gets to know each other on a personal level.

What do you do when you’re stuck for inspiration?

I either go hiking with my girlfriend or meet up with a few friends, pick a road and just follow through and see where the road takes us.

What is your pre-work routine?

A phone call with my girlfriend. This is really important to me because she is the person that inspires me to wake up every morning and give my all at work.

If you could be any superhero, who would you be and why?

Superman – because he can fly. I am always moving around and if I could move around without being worried about traffic and petrol prices, it would definitely be flying.

What’s your favourite way to spend a weekend?

Spending time with my girlfriend or going out to spend the day at a car show or the race track.

What music do you like to listen to while working?

My ears are versatile. I listen to anything from deep house to soft rock.

Introvert or extrovert?

Introvert with a little bit of extrovert. I am talkative when I need to be but at times I can be very quiet.

Cats or dogs?

I would say both but at the moment but I am more in love with cats because I have one.

Shoes or barefoot?

Barefoot. I like walking barefoot. There is just something fascinating about being barefoot and just having your feet out in the open or with some flip-flops on.

What’s your favourite spot on Kloof Street?

Yours Truly because as a student or a young person, that is the spot to be at.

You are a creative genius, you just don’t know it yet

I used to hate being called a “creative.”

Like I was a rare breed of human that was somehow more interesting than the rest of humanity.

I guess the term excuses my retro/ pirate cum homeless fairy wardrobe, but surely that is just personal taste? Women who carefully curate their elegant wardrobes are rarely referred to as creative even though these same ladies spend hours literally sculpting the raw material of their cheekbones, eyebrows and lips into something completely new.

Or what about people that take pride in how they plate their food or hang photographs on their walls? Surely sportsmen, business people and stay at home moms have a strategy and tools to help them make it through the day?

I think what I am trying to say is: the term creativity is broader than what we allow.

Truth

Creativity (noun) the process by which one utilizes creative ability. – Dictionary.com

All human beings have the ability to create, and they do, daily. Anything that didn’t exist before and is now in existence because you put it together was created by you! No individual is exactly like another in every single way. This means that no matter what, you will always have something to contribute to every situation that no one else does. Processes can be improved, fresh perspective introduced, in short, we all have the ability to make things better.

Lies

The reason we don’t expand on our creative abilities is very simple actually.

Fear.

I recently watched a TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat Pray Love. The talk was titled, “Your elusive creative genius.” She shared many insights, but one in particular caught my attention: Gilbert shared about the beginning of her career and how those around her had a fear-based reaction every time they discovered she wanted to become an author.

They would ask things like, “Aren’t you afraid you’re never going to have any success?” “Aren’t you afraid the humiliation of rejection will kill you?” “Aren’t you afraid you’ll work your whole life at this craft and nothing is ever going to come of it and you’re going to die on a scrapheap of broken dreams with your mouth filled with the bitter ash of failure?”

Her short answer to all of the above questions was “yes.” Despite this, she decided that there was no point in fearing the thing you were put on this earth to do, and I completely agree.

Chances are that you have all the tools needed to accomplish the task. Worst case scenario, you try and fail, no biggie, try again. There is one thing that is much worse than fear – regret.

Decisions

Being creative may appear to be unicorn made of rainbow fluff, but in reality, it is more like a wild stallion that needs to be broken. In order to do that, you need to commit to chasing it down and holding on tight.

True creatives are not elusive, waif-like weirdos. They are visionary, hardworking weirdos. Below are a few practical things that will help you tame the bucking bronco within.

Own your stuff

Find something that you care about and commit to it. Sometimes, as in the case of a copy writer in an agency for example, you will be told what you care about at any given moment. Roll with it.

Try different angles

A great tool for creating something is exploring ways that you have never tried before. Take risks, they really offer the greatest rewards. Good rule: try finding out how things are usually done and go completely in the opposite direction. Or whatever direction you want really, just don’t drag yourself down the same path day in and out. This is creative suicide.

Show up and slog

Gilbert describes herself as a mule. She says her creative process involves showing up and churning the work out systematically. I used to think that nothing interesting could possibly come of this – until I started working at a marketing agency.

On average I write about 3 blogs a week. That’s roughly 12 a month. These average 450 – 700 words, excluding the title and various social media posts to promote said masterpieces. All in all, it can be tedious work and I frequently hit walls, but am slowly learning that they are not houses, and I don’t have to live there forever.

Live

“Creativity about life, in all aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people.” – Leo Burnett

All circumstances, experiences and those you come into contact with – shape who you are. Especially, for whatever strange reason, the negative experiences. Use these as opportunities to grow and learn. Be present and enjoy the good things. You never know when you will need to draw on them for inspiration.

Coffee, printing and papercuts: an intern’s perspective

I was fresh out of college, branded with my new degree, and very unsure of what my next step would be. So, I did what many marketing graduates do (or have to do) and started looking around for an internship, honing my printing skills, and finding the best way to carry ten cups of coffee at a time.

I am now in my fifth month of interning at Yellow Door Collective and if I was to sit down and pep talk past-Simon with some pointers I think it would have gone a long way in avoiding countless CV version/ updates, some minor second-degree burns, and many paper-cuts.

So, here are the six things I wish I had known going into my internship.

You will do much more than fetch coffee

The stereotypical intern experience seems to be going on coffee runs, printing mountains of documents and being consumed by mountains of admin. My internship experience has been anything but that; I’ve haven’t ever been asked to get coffee or print a single page (yet). In an agency like ours you will work and collaborate with creative minds, write blog posts, manage social media accounts, draft a communication strategies and much more.

It’s as worth it as you want it to be

If you want to get the most out of the experience, then you have to work at it. The trick is to not feel like you’re an intern and rather treat every task get like it’s up to you to make happen.

Never forget that your thoughts and ideas are a new perspective for the company you are working for. You are young, your brain is fresh, and you will bring a whole lot of new and exciting things to the table, so back yourself.

Embrace mistakes

It’s why you are an intern right? You are working to learn and learning to work. You should look at it as your first move into game where you don’t know the rules yet, at first you are going to look around you every role of the dice, but after a while you’ll be scheming, strategising and working your way to the top of the leader board. You are also not the only person who will make mistakes so learn from other people’s mistakes too and you’ll climb in double time.

Build up an arsenal of skills

Anything from writing copy to designing awesome graphics, these skills are especially important as a marketing intern. You will also learn about some cool software as you go, so take note of what you enjoy working on and let your creative juices flow.

No question is a bad question (the first couple times)

Looking stupid in the moment is totally normal, as long as it makes you wiser further down the line. If you don’t know or you’re not sure, don’t be afraid to ask, but learn from what you ask. Make notes or jot down something that will jog your memory the next time, because asking the same question over and over doesn’t look very good.

Be completely transparent

There is nothing worse than feeling like you just aren’t good enough, so when your boss asks you how a task is coming along and you, drowning in paper-work, say “all good” then I can promise you that you are very unlikely to get the help you need.  If you’re not comfortable with something or have proactive suggestions and ideas, let the team or your superior know! You’ll definitely be respected for speaking up, asking for help, or offering to help with something else.

Helen Hayes perfectly summed this up when she said “The expert in anything was once a beginner”, so be humble in praise, accepting of criticism, and most of all, go into every encounter with an open mind wearing an optimistic smile.

Q&A with Kirsten Meintjes

My name is Kirsten Meintjes and I am lucky to be born and bred Capetonian, although I identify as a citizen of the globe. I am 25 years young and have a curious history of studying, working and traveling. I enjoy throwing myself in the deep-end in almost any endeavour, as well as navigating my way through learning new information and skills.

I am deeply fascinated by psychology, especially the individual and collective human consciousness. In short, I like to examine what humans and animals do, how this varies, and why they do it. I guess one could say I’m a nerd – but I also place huge value in nurturing my relationships, exploring my surroundings, and working at being the healthiest and happiest version of myself that I can be.

What is your position in the YDC team?

I am Yellow Door’s first official digital project manager!

How would you describe your role?

“Doing all the things!” My main priority is to maintain the internal ‘health’ of our company, meaning that I am concerned with ensuring everyone has work, are operating optimally and happily, and that clients are informed and clear regarding the status and progress of their projects. I also do a bit of website development on the side 😉

When did you start working at Yellow Door?

About two hours ago…!

What part of your job do you enjoy most?

This is a new role to me, and I was drawn to it because I thrive in an environment in which I can juggle many tasks that require a variety of skills and competencies from me. I am excited to learn and grow at Yellow Door and play a real part in this wonderful company’s success.

What part of your role do you find the most challenging?

It’s difficult to comment so soon, but what I will say is that I try and see every challenge as an opportunity. The work I do here is going to be very different to what was required of me at my previous job, and so it will definitely take some adjustment in this new role and space. Bring it!

What do you enjoy most about being part of the Yellow Door team?

I feel like I have been warmly welcomed into the team already – not only as an employee here to do a job, but as an individual human with my own background, quirks and dreams. I also appreciate that we are diverse yet all communicate in a way that each other can understand, and that the environment encourages constant growth and development.

What do you do when you’re stuck for inspiration?

If feeling stuck for inspiration, I go through a mental checklist. My pre-requisites are that I have already exercised for the day (nothing beats getting over a mental block like some fresh air and going for a run), and have eaten and slept enough. On top of that I typically listen to music or play the piano for a bit until whatever answer I am looking for seems to find its way up into my conscious mind.

What is your pre-work routine?

Very regimented! I will walk or run most mornings, have a shower, get myself and my lunch ready for the day, and have a cup of green tea whilst I check my personal emails and socials. I also consume a sizable amount of coffee each morning, so am hoping to explore some coffee shops that open early in the area.

If you could be any superhero, who would you be and why?

Can I choose my grandmother? I know that might not be allowed, however I am privileged to have had her nearby my whole life; and her intelligence, resilience and grace have certainly moulded who I am today. I consider the times she was a young adult – in many ways it was much harder to be a mother, wife and employee back then, and I am in awe when I see the capable woman that her history has produced.

What’s your favourite way to spend a weekend?

A perfect weekend for me contains a combination of the following elements: exercise, nature, connecting with friends and family, spending quality time with my lovely boyfriend, and having some space of my own to work on my interests and hobbies. Good food and red wine go without saying of course!

What music do you like to listen to while working?

My taste in music is varied to say the least… I get very influenced by music and will tailor my selection to the energy I need to be feeling at a particular moment. I predominantly listen to trance (progressive/psy) as I find this incredibly energising and for most of the day I want to be alert and energetic. I also really enjoy more chilled, indie-style tunes, as well as some good ol’ Pink Floyd.

Introvert or extrovert?

This is definitely a spectrum, and I definitely lie toward the introverted side. Don’t believe the stigma though – I can be incredibly social for days at a time, and I thoroughly enjoy it, but after this it is critical for some downtime to rejuvenate and charge my batteries!

Cats or dogs?

I am totally a cat lady. This might be because I am allergic to dogs… 🙁 (and most other allergens tbh)

Shoes or barefoot?

I am always barefoot around the house; this is one of a few habits that I picked up when living in Asia. In addition, I personally find it incredibly difficult to find shoes that actually suit me… but I must say, I do enjoy a good pair of boots these days – especially when found on sale 😉

What’s your favourite spot on Kloof Street?

I am still exploring the area, but for now, this is going to have to be a toss up between Rick’s Cafe and Tiger’s Milk. The latter has unbeatable drinks specials, and a classy set up to match, whilst Rick’s has an inviting Bohemian-style ambience, delicious tapas, and incredibly friendly staff.

Make time for the people that matter most

‘5 ways to keep your business partnership healthy’ was the title of my latest article for Your Business Magazine and is a topic that I’m incredibly passionate about.

I’m going to share the key points with you in this blog post, and give a few examples of how Dom and I implement them here at Yellow Door. Please feel free to comment with questions, or add your own suggestions.

Work on it, all the time

Don’t let life, or work, get too busy to work on your relationship. Make time to catch up outside the office. Lunch at Nando’s, mountain walks and massages are our top three!

Have frank conversations, often. Don’t put off something that needs to be addressed, as the issue will just become exacerbated over time. Also look out for each other, support each other and give constructive feedback. It’s key to stay unified through tough decisions, don’t allow employees or clients to come between you.

Invest in leadership training

Dom and I see a leadership coach once a month and couldn’t think of a better way to spend that time or budget. We get valuable advice and practical suggestions in every single session. This is also a safe space to bring up issues that are difficult to discuss and may need a moderator to solve.

Make sure you implement what has been discussed and agreed after the coaching, and try to tackle challenges together to strengthen your relationship.

Play to your strengths

Identify each of your strengths, what the common ones are, and how to use them strategically in your role and company. Make sure that your roles play to your individual strengths and that each partner is happy with their allocation of work.

Also, be cognisant of your weaknesses and support each other in areas that require it. This Saboteur Test is a great way to identify them, and work on them.

Clearly define your roles and responsibilities

It’s normal and healthy for your roles to morph over time as your business develops – sometimes they will dovetail, and sometimes they will develop in different directions. The important thing is to discuss these changes, how they benefit the business, and how they align with your passions and personal goals.

You should understand enough about your partner’s role to be able to give input, and step in if they are away – but also give them enough space to take ownership of their side of the business. I’m having to put this one to the test while Dom takes a well-deserved break in Europe, and it’s really made me appreciate and understand her role a whole lot better.

Reassess every three-months

Pencil in quarterly meetings to chat about what’s working and what’s not. Set goals and assess which ones have been met, and how to reach the ones that are still just out of reach.

Every day as a business owner comes with a new set of challenges and triumphs, and the most important thing is to learn as you go, celebrate the small things and really appreciate the value of having a business partner that you can trust and depend on.

As LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman aptly says, “No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.”