Find something you’re naturally adept at and make a living from it

Find something you’re naturally adept at, and make a living from it

Introduction to the business

I’d been toying around with the idea of starting a business for years before founding Four-Leaf Consulting (FLC). To be honest, I tried and failed at quite a few ventures before establishing FLC, a copywriting and content writing agency that serves clients across the globe.

Meet the founder and discover the motivation behind the business

Before I go into more details, it’d be rude of me not to introduce myself. My name is Sannie Nkosi, founder of Four-Leaf Consulting. Now, there are many reasons why people start their own businesses; some are solely motivated by how lucrative it can be, others by the sense of accomplishment that comes with building something from the ground up.

For me, it was because of a life-long desire to escape the rat race and gain more control over my life, my time, and my finances. Apart from the fact that I’ve always had an interest in entrepreneurship and business, when my last job and work environment started affecting my mental and physical wellbeing, I knew something had to change.

So, months before parting ways with my last employer, I started actively pursuing clients and taking on more work after hours. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was already building Four-Leaf Consulting and gaining loyal clients, some of which I still work with to this day. 

Fortunately for me, I’ve always been someone that’s enjoyed keeping busy and getting things done. In fact, I describe myself as a retired perfectionist and overachiever. I could say that those late nights were a small price to pay in the process of building something I could call my own.

I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing. Yes, I was one of those nerdy kids that always had a book in hand and actually enjoyed those long essays we used to get in English class. Although I studied Finance, starting a writing agency just seemed to make more sense because it’s something I enjoy wholeheartedly and am naturally adept at.  

Business challenges

As exciting as the idea of starting a business can be, there is always a sense of uncertainty and fear. You can never be fully prepared for unprecedented global conditions – and by that, I mean that thing that shall not be named that had us all wearing masks and social distancing.

As a relatively new founder, starting Four-Leaf Consulting in the past year was truly a baptism of fire. A lot of companies and potential clients either cut their budgets, closed certain departments, or had to shut down operations entirely. Through it all, I realized how much like marketing and PR, the copywriting element is often among the first to be disregarded when push comes to shove.

I get it, everybody can write, but that doesn’t mean everybody should. In an effort to cut down costs, some entities have opted to do their own copywriting and content writing. Now, my challenge has been helping them change that mindset by highlighting the importance of consistently sharing insightful and quality content, in order to increase engagement and generate new leads.   

Opportunities that exist for the business

With many companies adopting a more hybrid approach to their operations, the need for a digital footprint and online presence has never been more important. With that comes the opportunity to help them direct their messaging and share valuable posts with their audiences. 

The use of digital tools has also made it possible to work with people from across the globe, which is perhaps one of my favorite things about the work that I do. Not being limited to only local operations, while getting the chance to interact with clients from all over the world and across various niches and industries is exciting. It means that there are no boundaries, but rather, room for massive growth and a wider reach.

Advice to others about business

As a new founder myself, I don’t shy away from asking questions, constantly learning, and where possible, seeking guidance and mentorship. Regardless of which industry you operate in, there are some universal truths when it comes to business. These are lessons that those who have walked the road can share with you, so you don’t have to make the same mistakes they made or learn the hard way.

I’ve been fortunate enough to cross paths with some great minds and esteemed business founders, so I’ve gained much knowledge from them. That’s the thing about entrepreneurship, you never stop learning. 

Below are just some of the key business lessons that I’ve learned from clients that have become friends and provided guidance on this exciting, yet daunting journey.

  • Even mentors have a mentor

This goes back to the point I previously made about not thinking you know it all. In business, there’s always something to learn and be cautious of. Having a mentor is a bit like having a second pair of eyes, another way of viewing things. Mentorship is not about who makes the most money in their business. 

Some of the most established business people have mentors who make less than them. However, because of the invaluable lessons and advice they have to offer, they become their mentors in certain aspects of business.

  • Take advantage of your network 

Personally, this was something I used to be terrified of doing. I always felt like I had to do everything on my own and not ask for help, but I soon realized that no matter how resourceful you are, you can’t quite operate in isolation. The people closest to you can really make the journey less stressful and more enjoyable, but only if you tap into what they can offer you.

I’m sure we’ve all heard it being said that your network determines your net worth, which is true. If you surround yourself with driven and ambitious people, chances are, you’ll develop similar traits. The adverse is also true, so keeping a valuable network will definitely do you good in business.

  • Don’t be afraid of collaboration

I know a lot of business owners that have been wired to see others as competitors, which isn’t always the case. I’m big on collaboration and partnerships, even if it involves people in the same industry as me. There’s a sense of confidence that comes with knowing what you have to offer, as well as understanding that some clients might not be the right fit for your business.

Collaborations are a great way to expose your services to a wider audience, while also establishing potentially long-term relationships. 

  • Worry less about how successful you look and focus on actually being successful

Thanks to social media, it seems like there’s a new wave of pressure to look successful. Many new business owners also tend to fall into the trap of putting on a façade and spending more money on appearances and looking successful, rather than actually being successful.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe in looking shabby or unprofessional when engaging with clients. However, spending money frivolously on cars, gadgets, and designer clothing that you think will impress clients and the public is not the way to go about it. Spending more than your business makes is one sure way of falling into debt and staggering growth.

  • Underpromise and overdeliver

This one is a gem. In fact, it’s something I’ve always lived out, but it’s good to know that I’m not the only one who sees merit in in. I like the idea of being an underdog and surpassing client expectations every time. Nothing gives me greater joy than that. I’m always very honest about what I can and can’t deliver from the onset, which is why I think I’ve been able to retain the clients that I have. 

One of the biggest mistakes that you can make as a business owner is overselling yourself, lying, or claiming unachievable things in an attempt to land a client. I always say that getting the client is one thing, but keeping a client is another thing. If your work isn’t up to standard or you can’t meet client expectations, just don’t pitch. 

I’m always very honest in my engagements with clients to avoid disappointments or unrealistic expectations. 

  • Have boundaries

This applies to clients, employees, co-founders… basically, all stakeholders. What if I told you that you can actually reject a client? Unpopular opinion, right? As a business owner, your main goal is to sign up as many clients as possible and make heaps of money, right? Wrong!

Business is a two-way street. Never sell yourself short by thinking that the potential or existing client doesn’t need you as much as you need them. That’s a common mistake amongst some businesses, especially small businesses. The client needs the products or services that you’re offering, so much so that they’re willing to pay for them!

So, if you feel that a client isn’t quite sticking to their end of the bargain or that a potential client just doesn’t align with your core values, it’s okay to say “no.” Having clear boundaries and knowing what you can and can’t tolerate will make the decision-making a lot easier for you. Trust me!

Taking the road less travelled

Once you decide what you want your life to be like, your actions need to be in alignment. There is no growth in your comfort zone and doing what you’ve always done. Starting a business is not easy, otherwise everybody would do it, but enjoying the fruits of your labour make it all worthwhile. There will be failures and challenges along the way, but the ability to weather the storm and make it to the other side is what makes some businesses more successful than others.


Sannie Nkosi is the founder of Four-Leaf Consulting. After a few years in journalism, she ditched the newsroom to write about things that really matter (like family, finances and travel). On a regular day, you can find her creating content, listening to podcasts, or engaging with small business owners. 

MS, University of Tartu
Sleep specialist

Using the acquired academic and professional experience, I advise patients with various complaints about mental health - depressed mood, nervousness, lack of energy and interest, sleep disorders, panic attacks, obsessive thoughts and anxieties, difficulty concentrating, and stress. In my free time, I love to paint and go on long walks on the beach. One of my latest obsessions is sudoku – a wonderful activity to calm an unease mind.

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