One learns many lessons from failure, and for Mosa Moamogoe, entrepreneur and managing director of AfriTravel International, the most important was how vital it is to know and understand who you are before starting a business.
Q: Please tell us about how you started AfriTravel International. International?
Before AfriTravel International, I had a travel company that was only focused in the North West Province, and it was limiting and my dream was to always break into Africa. So I started AfriTravel International so that I can service the whole of Africa. I want to build the biggest travel company in Africa. I did not have any funding to start the business and I had to save every cent to be able to setup everything.
Q: Soon after school you ended up in sales, how do that help you in the future to run your business.
Selling insurance in a call centre is one of the toughest jobs out there. This job taught me for life. You basically come into the office, you have to be on the phone and you have to convince total strangers to buy insurance and give you their banking details on the phone, it was tough, others would swear at you. This made me tough, after a couple of months I learned not to take rejection personally. I just did what I had to do. So when I started my own business the sales experience helped a lot. I was able to sell myself to my clients, I was able to sell my business.
Q: What made you move to marketing after that?
I got into marketing by total chance. I decided to leave the sales in December 2010. I went back to my province. And I saw a job as a marketing officer in a 5star lodge. I used my sales experience to get that job, I called the employer to make sure they recognise me when looking at my CV and they atleast call me for a job interview. When they called me for a job interview I researched, I did a proposal. I walked into the interview with a proposal in hand and I told them how I can market and sell the lodge. They took me in. Within 3 months promoted me to marketing Manager. And eventually I was poached by one of the biggest hotels in the province to be their marketing manager.
Q: Tell us more about the marketing for tourism business, what lessons did you learn from there?
Just with my sales experience, willingness to learn I became the Go to guy in marketing tourism businesses in the province. I started working with a lot of tourism companies assisting them with their marketing. I learned a lot here as I was working with different business people with all different backgrounds. I even learned from the mistakes that they were making. One of the biggest lessons I learned was that as business people we should not always try do everything ourselves. When business grows, get people to help you as you cannot focus on everything yourself.
Q: When you started making money, what happened and what did you take out of that experience.
I wasted money. I partied with my company business card. I did not know how to handle the money. I had not seen this kind of money before. I spend it as fast as it came in. As I was spending money, company projects suffered, I was not able to finish some projects, therefore I had to refund people. Then I got into debts. Deep in debt. But I am thankful I learned all this lessons at a young age. We must develop ourselves once we get into business. Read, get mentors, read, speak to people so you know mistakes that you can easily do as a start up entrepreneur. As I started talking to people after I realized that people are doing this mistakes daily. But the good thing is, its all lessons. Just learn and move on.
Q How did you get out of the depression mode?
It was a hard time, I would literally sleep day and night, just get up to go eat and go to the toilet. I would be in my bed the whole day. Funny thing is when I go out you would not say I was depressed. One time my mother was sick and I didn’t have enough money to take her to the Doctor. Then I decided this can’t go on, I started reading, started going out, started talking to people about my problem. As I was talking to people I realized that a lot of young people are suffering from this and they dying inside. I also started assisting those that were depressed to share their stories. I believe it helps a lot. I read, I listened to podcasts and started surrounding myself with positive people. I saw that people like Nick Vujicic have far more problems than me but they living their lives to the fullest. I changed my mind, changed my thoughts. I wanted to make change to my family. This pushed me.
Q: How does AfriTravel work? Can the public use it?
AfriTravel International is a travel company that specializes in leisure and corporate. We do flight bookings, conferences and meetings, accommodation bookings and other travel related services. Our leisure department offices services such as adventure camps, holiday packages, flights and accommodation bookings. Our services are available to everyone to use. We offer convenience to our clients and also save them money. We are able to beat any hotel quote.
Q: What will make this business successful compared to the last one?
As people we will fail. People like Bill Gates have failed before. Main thing is to learn from it. I have learned from my past failures and I am always very greatfull for that. AfrTravel International is already becoming a huge success. We are one of the few youth owned companies that are able to issue flight tickets, we have been accepted as a member of Sandton Tourism Association and also setup great partnerships. The lessons I have learned from previous businesses have contributed to the success of this one.