Ah the dream. Managing a business and team successfully from your home. Nthabiseng Nkosi is living it. Together with her husband, Nthabiseng built and now runs a proudly South African design agency called Jutsu Design.
Even though Jutsu’s first clients were friends and family, the agency now offers services ranging from web design, digital solutions, mobile apps to photography. SLA caught up with Nthabiseng to learn more about Jutsu and managing a business from home.
Nthabiseng, tell us, how did Jutsu Design come about?
Jutsu Design started out as a concept to build a small design agency that would offer affordable designs through the line services for SMME’s. My then boyfriend, now husband, and I worked on building a name for us – Jutsu.
The name ‘Jutsu’ came about as a result of the team being avid anime fans. ‘Jutsu’ is a Japanese word meaning technique or skill. Once the name was decided on, the company was then officially registered in 2011.
Friends and family were our first clients and we grew from there. Fast forward to five years, the company offers web design, digital solutions, mobile apps as well as photography. Jutsu also developed our first two title sequences for e.tv’s Heist and SABC 1’s Dreamworld.
How large is the Jutsu Design team? What are the challenges of managing your team?
Jutsu Design is a team of a husband, wife, web developer, PR manager, freelance writer, and photographer. The team was initially made up of four members when we started out in 2011. Two members left to pursue other career paths and the rest of us continued with business.
One of the major challenges we face at Jutsu is keeping up with the workload. Most times, it gets a little too much to handle, but we try to meet deadlines. In the earlier years, it was difficult, but every project has been a learning curve.
Did work from home from the start? How did you manage that?
Being a micro- enterprise, Jutsu Design has always operated from home.
We are able to save money that would otherwise have been used for rent. We keep costs at a minimal because our company is small.
How do you create awareness or reach clients for Jutsu ?
The funny thing is, we don’t. We get new clients through word of mouth from our loyal clients.
We have a website up and that too has been working for us. Active promotion of our company might mean getting extra hands and moving to bigger premises.
How do people react to your working from home?
I think working from home is the norm now in South Africa. Some people can be a little envious, but it takes a lot of self-discipline to be self-employed.
You may think you have all the time to just chill and work later, but you actually don’t.
How do you draw the line between work and running a home?
At first, it was extremely difficult working from home. I used to want to make excuses with that, but with deadlines closing in on me, my head would spin. So, I have learnt to be a lot more disciplined.
If possible, I work half days on Mondays to Wednesdays. Thursdays and Fridays, I do house chores; laundry, cleaning etc. This schedule works for me as I do not have a housekeeper.
But if things get too hectic, with meetings and events to attend, I leave house chores to the weekend.
What’s the best way to unwind when your office is also your home?
My husband and I sometimes, go on dates, engage in fun activities and fetch our little one from the crèche.
I have my spa days and he has his boy’s night outs with his friends. We try to do this once or twice a week.
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