4 important signs you’re in a toxic work environment

Our work environment affects our happiness, productivity, and success. Through my experiences and discussions with colleagues, I understand how different workplaces can affect you positively and negatively.

If you’ve been contemplating whether your work environment is the right place for you, here are some key points that could help you: 


1. Low Employee Retention

If you realize most of the employees at a new workplace are new, this can affect how you fit in. Sometimes, for certain start-up environments, the case of low employee retention is prevalent.

The structure in a start-up environment is different. So before you make the decision to join an organization where most of the employees are new, you have to consider what your main goals are and what you hope to achieve at the company.

It’s best for you to take this into consideration before you make a decision. You should be prepared for how you can fit into the role and the organization.

At one of my former jobs, I noticed that a lot of employees were new. I remember a co-worker told me there was a “revolving door” at the organization. As the months rolled by, I understood why.

There was a lot of negativity in the office. After various discussions with my colleagues, I found out that most like myself were unhappy and also seeking other jobs. I eventually left that negative work environment. 


If you’re about to take a new job, I suggest you ask (in a subtle way of course) how long the former person held the role you’re about to take. Another option would be to ask generally the amount of time their employees stay with the company.

2. Lack of free speech/ expression of ideas  

One of my favourite work environments was an internship I had back in university. I was an editorial intern for the school magazine.

What I enjoyed most about the internship was my experience with my boss. She created a very open environment where I was encouraged to present my ideas and actively participate. Having an encouraing supervisor who supported my progress enabled me to accomplish quite a lot in that job.

Now, I’ve also been privy to work environments with a rigid structure, where you don’t feel open to discuss your ideas, and your superiors show no interest in your growth or progress.

Though one can still thrive in such an environment, I don’t necessarily believe it helps you be very productive. You may not feel content in your workplace because there’s no good rapport with your colleagues.

One way to fix such issues would be speaking up. You will have to make an effort to express your ideas and opinion. This matters because unless somethings are communicated, not everyone will pick up on whether there is a problem or issue to be addressed. Communication is key in contributing to a positive work environment.

Communication is key in contributing towards a positive work environment Click To Tweet

3. Constant Tension in the Office

In any workplace, there are going to be high-pressure days and low-pressure days. Pressure in the workplace is normal because different situations arise and demands have to be met. However, if you’re in a work environment with constant tension among co-workers, that is definitely not a good sign.

If there is consistent tension in your workplace, it would be best to bring it up to your supervisor or take it to the Human Resources department.

The HR department often addresses the communication issues between the management and staff. They can advise you and your co-workers on how to resolve issues.

4. You Always Leave Work Feeling Emotionally Drained

Yes, work is just a part of our lives and adulting really isn’t a vibe sometimes, but if you always feel terribly sad, drained, or anxious at the thought of going to work – that’s even less of a vibe and a major issue.

This negative work environment can end up seeping into your personal life and take over your mind. If most days at work are causing you depression, you have to consider if that’s the right environment for you. Word of advice: get a new job sis, you can’t come and die just to meet KPIs. Start looking for a new place of work and do intense research on the environments those companies possess, I promise you when you leave and start afresh, you’ll be much happier.

Another option, if the specific work is the problem, communicate with your supervisor about a challenge you might be encountering. They could provide you with some resources to make things efficient. If the negative emotions are due to the people around, also be open to communicate that with a mentor or your HR department. They could best advise you on how to move forward.

Have you had experience with problems in the workplace? What were the signs, and how did you rectify such issues?

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10 Reasons Why You Should Get a Job Before Starting a Business

When starting a business, it is important to know that entrepreneurship is a growth process that you ease into, rather than rush in. There are a lot of processes that are often skipped with the hope that things will turn out well. Sometimes they don’t!

Because of this, we can’t skip crucial processes and expect success to fall on us like ripe cherries. Success in business naturally comes to people who have paid their dues in full. If you’re experiencing serious issues with your startup and you’re considering quitting altogether and getting a job, I think you should too. Yes! You read that right, QUIT!  

We have a lot of half-baked, unskilled and rebellious entrepreneurs all over Africa today who are frustrated with their full-time jobs. They escape into entrepreneurship hoping to find some solace for their undisciplined minds. Truth is, if you can’t handle a job successfully, then a business would be harder. 

A lot of entrepreneurs need to swallow their pride, dust their CVs and go get themselves some more training.  A lot of the issues we face as startup business owners can be prevented if we are humble enough to stay somewhere and learn.

Before starting your business, take the time to objectively define your true motivation Click To Tweet

1. It Will Help You Find Your True Motivation

Why are you starting a business? Think about this for a moment before you read on and be sincere with yourself. Are you starting a business because you don’t have a job or because you can’t stand working for someone else? Is it that you want your own work schedule and no instructions? 

These are wrong motivations for entrepreneurship. So, before starting your business, take the time to objectively define your true motivation. Is there a passion you have that you cannot fulfill your current job?

2. You will Master Your Skill and Hone Your Craft

When you’re just starting out in business, you don’t always know everything you need to know about your target market, products and industry. Running a business is not the time for trial and error else you would have ruined your reputation while still trying to gain grounds.

But if you take on a job, you will have superiors that can correct you when you make mistakes and they can help you get better. Just make sure you get a job in an industry that can enhance your knowledge and exposure in your field. You will never be able to quantify or pay for the volume of experience you will get from there.  

3. You Will Build Confidence

Have you ever met the CEO of an organization jittering in the face of a problem or challenge? Entrepreneurs are bold people and their confidence has a way of winning others over to their side and inspiring trust in their employees and clients. This confidence arises from the experience and knowledge they have acquired over the years.

That boldness doesn’t just drop on anyone, it is built over time of making mistakes, being corrected and taking to corrections. You need that confidence to run a business successfully and you can get that from your job.

5. You Save For Your Startup

Savings is one of the biggest sources of funding your startup. With a job, you can save enough initial funds and deposits to get your business started. If you’re smart and disciplined enough, you can join a co-operative society so your savings accumulate and give you access to more funds.

6. Build your Network

A lot of entrepreneurs run a one-man show without external influences and inputs coming from anywhere. While doing your day job, you can start building solid relationships with your superiors and associates. Their inputs will come in handy when you eventually start your own business. 

Your network is your net worth Click To Tweet

7. Learn about your industry

Having a skill is not enough reason to start a business which is what most entrepreneurs do nowadays. Once they acquire a skill, they open a business immediately. There are also other key areas you need to put into consideration before launching your business.

Those areas include your target market, industry trends and competition. Then a good knowledge of your products and services and other opportunities that might be open in your field. Take your time. You can get it right once and for all

8. Learn how to build a business or how not to.

Running a business is an art that must be learned if you are ever going to make it. You need to learn from people that have gone ahead of you and organizations that have achieved what you’re hoping to achieve someday.  

You will also be able to learn the inside operations, behind the scene activities, financial and people management that goes into running a business. While learning, if you discover any great idea you love, imitate it.

But if you come across an uncomfortable experience that opposes how you think things should be done for instance the way the management deals with staff, then at least you would have learnt how not to handle things when you start your own business. 

Take to corrections and watch out for subtle things that can cause your downfall. Click To Tweet

9. You’ll Learn Discipline.

Many entrepreneurs are undisciplined in the way they handle their businesses. They see entrepreneurship as an opportunity for less work and to work anytime they like. I wish that is true but it’s not.

Entrepreneurship means more work and more discipline than a regular worker. Your 9-5 job is where you get the basics of personal and organizational discipline.

10. Law of Karma

 Lastly, while doing your job make sure you are faithful. Do it wholeheartedly and give in your all. Don’t reserve your best until when you start your own business. Use your best ideas. Use your creativity. You’re sowing a seed you will reap very soon when you start your own business.

Take to corrections and watch out for subtle things that can cause your downfall. A lot of businesses are failing today because of the wrong seeds their owners have sown while working with other people. Remember the law of Karma and always ask yourself, would I want someone to do this to my business?

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Sharon Moatshe: A PR Business Must Not Over-Promise and Under-Deliver


From the dusty streets of Kagiso township in Gauteng, South Africa, Sharon Moatshe has  tapped into the world of entrepreneurship at a young age, and believes that she can create whatever door she wants to open. After many months of looking for a job after graduating, the solution was simple, start a business with the limited resources that she had and survive.

Currently, she is the Director and Co-founder( along with Unathi Dingiswayo) at PR House of Creatives, a motivational speaker, wife and mother.

In her words: she didn’t believe she would end up so great; but here we are. Take a walk with us in this interview as we look into Sharon’s amazing work, and how she’s helping startups thrive in South Africa.

Take us on a walk through PR House of Creatives

PR House Of Creatives was co-founded by Sharon Moatshe and Unathi Dingiswayo after a long time spent job searching, and the resultant unhappiness of not seeing the change we wanted to see in our lives for ourselves.

We were then able to identify the necessity of PR and marketing, pertaining to brand management for SME’s within our community.


What support systems are critical to companies like yours?

Financial backing to ensure that costs are covered for: the technology used in ensuring we deliver real-time results, keeping up with current news & trends, graphics for content. As well as for our PR travels.

Another important thing is mentorship from big PR Firms and structures. PR is not an easy industry for businesses to remain sustainable, your business many come and go because of lack of mentorship.




What innovations have helped your business stand out from competitors?

For a previous client of ours, Distinkt Vodka, we made media kits with vodka bottles and we had packaged these in potato bags, because the primary ingredient of vodka is potatoes. We draw our inspiration from client products/ services, and conceptualise from that point.


What challenges have helped your company grow over the years?

We have had challenges with regards to what we charge our clients. We have had to learn that SME’s are still growing and not making much money, but ,we must still charge a price that allows us to grow and sustain our business.


Know your WHY, your business exists as a solution to a problem Click To Tweet


What values are critical for success in the PR business?

Intergrity. A PR business must not over promise and under deliver! Always be a person of your word. Execute and do your very best to match the concept you sold your client.



What is your greatest success story thus far?

Our greatest success story has to be TG Foods and Events! We started with the team in the township when they were starting out, we poured our hearts into our work with TG. After a few months of working together the team got their own shop which they cater food from in an uptown busy market! The place is big and beautiful.

The teams understands the importance of their brand, even when they keep growing they continued using our services! It’s been beautiful watching them grow from strength to strength and knowing our creative team is a part of this journey.


Always be a person of your word Click To Tweet


What’s the next step for your company? Any plans to help small businesses outside the shores of South Africa?

We would love to first help small businesses in South Africa grow and sustain that growth, then certainly the rest of Africa will have a piece of our goodness!

The first thing businesses cut-out when they sinking/struggling is marketing and PR, which is more like stopping the clock to save time. We want to re-introduce to Africa what amazing impact PR can have for a business.


We want to re-introduce to Africa what amazing impact PR can have for a business. Click To Tweet



One phrase that resonates with your business strategy?

Creative team of all trades and master of all!

Do you run a PR company?

Let us know more about you and your story here.

5 things all potential business partners must consider

#WOCinTech Chat

Starting a business can seem very daunting. So, you’re not Chuck Norris. You have a great business idea or project plan and acknowledge that you have limitations. Well, that’s okay because sometimes, bringing in a business partner makes good math.

A business partnership is a marriage of sorts. So before you seal that deal, take a moment…

In my third year at university, a close friend and I decided to start up an entertainment company together. It seemed like a fantastic idea at the time and we had a lot of fun as well as learned a great deal about the industry. In hindsight however, it would have been preferable to define the parameters of our professional relationship and consider a lot of the points on this list:

1. Look out for someone who brings something different to the table

It is important to approach a potential business partner who can complement you by bringing in something different whether it be financial power, business connections or a particular expertise.

Be sure to delineate the roles and responsibilities. Speaking from experience, it is never fun when one person feels like they are doing all the work. It is extremely important to draw up a founder’s agreement devoid of personal sentiments early on in the process.

There is no point bringing in someone who doesn’t have anything unique to offer. If the value proposition does not add up, ditch the thought.

2. You need to have a shared vision

Though your goals may differ to a reasonable extent (not so much that you want different things out of it), your potential business partner must buy into the vision you’re selling.

The last thing you want is a scenario where your partner is no longer passionate about the work or decides they have grown bored with the business. This is a risk that can actually happen to any business owner regardless of how pumped they are at the commencement of the venture.

However generally speaking, it is less likely that partners part ways if they both solidly believe in the vision behind a business and are committed to making it work.

3. Study them in their work environment

Seeing your potential partner in their professional element can help you better understand what it would be like working together. Do they have a good work ethic? Do you speak the same work language? Are you comfortable with their style and pace of work? The answers to these questions can help shape your decision when considering another for a partnership role.

Afua and Yasmin, SLA co-founders weigh in on what makes their partnership work:

Since we came from the same company, we have a similar working style which makes being partners very easy. It’s great having someone to collaborate and brainstorm with on new challenges.”

4. How do they handle personal crises?

Make the effort to get to know them not just on a professional level but on a personal one as well. How do they get along with friends? Are they petty and vindictive? How do they deal with the tough situations in their lives?

The last thing you want on your hands is a partner that’s messy and doesn’t know how to manage stressful situations.

5. What’s their commitment level like?

Startups are extremely tasking. In the incubation period, there’s a lot of conceptualization and planning going on. You need someone who is ready to give a 100% of themselves to the heart and soul of the business. Even if you are both unable to meet physically as often as you would like, they must be willing to keep the communication 110% just like you are. Virtual meetings, emails and instant messaging are available to compliment regular meetings.

If you notice that this person always has an excuse for not getting work done, calling like they said they would or constantly need motivation to think positively, it’s a definite red flag.

After going through this list, hopefully you feel more confident about your decision to take on a business partner. It’s a pretty exciting thing. If you have found however that you need to go back to the drawing board, that’s okay too. Like they say, better safe than sorry!


How to get discounts and sponsors for your next event

When you’re just getting started, the hustle for customers and publicity is real. You need to get your product in everyone’s face in the cheapest way possible.

Events seem to be a favourite for their ability to generate brand exposure and activate your fans. But events cost money and most companies just starting out, don’t really have any so the hunt for sponsors and discounts is on.

Everyone wants sponsors, and discounted products and brands get requests from everyone all the time. If you want to stand out and get brands on board for your event, follow these steps for your next event.

1. Start early

Give yourself at least 3 months before the event to start looking for sponsors.

This can be a long and tedious process and you don’t want to rush at the last minute.

2. Pull together your facts

Create a budget as if you were going to pay for everything. This way you are clear about what everything you want costs.

Then decide what things are the most important and what things you can afford to lose, if you had to.

3. Decide what you are able to pay for

Most of the time it is advisable to pay for the items that the event can not run without. This way no matter what happens, you’ll still be able to run your event and be in control even if a sponsor falls through. 

However having the money and being prepared to pay for them does not mean you cant ask for sponsorship. You can also use this during negotiations to let them know that you aren’t just looking for handouts.

Brands want to know that you’re investing your own resources to make the event a success as well. 

4. Determine if you want a discount, product or cash

So many start-ups request cash for their events but that is always the hardest thing to get from a sponsor.

Think about what kind of support a brand can provide via in kind services or through exchanges. By being creative in this area, you can strike deals.

5. Decide which sponsors you want to approach and why

Beyond just the financial value, think about which brands you want to be associated with your business. Even though you’re just starting out, you want to make sure you’re working with brands that connect to your values and identity.

You also want to target brands where whatever you’re offering in return actually matters to them. Most companies that provide sponsorship are looking for the advertising opportunities or to connect to your community.

Some may just be happy to support but these companies are few and far between. Generally, everybody wants something in return and you need to figure out what that is.

6. Do your research

Call people you know and find out as much as you can about other events this company may have sponsored. Look online for their values and if they have a sponsorship request form.

Use LinkedIn to find the right contacts in marketing or communications departments. 

7. Prepare a sponsorship package that is targeted at the sponsor

Do not ever send a generic proposal. That is the fastest way to get your proposal ignored. Looking for another way to get your proposal in the trash? Have another company’s information in the proposal.

That’s a big no no. Spend the time demonstrating that you’ve done your research and know exactly why you want to work with this brand. 

8. Send your e-mail

Be clear, polite and straight to the point. Ask for a meeting, whether online or face to face so you can explain further and build a relationship.

If you have chosen your sponsors carefully you should at least peak their interest in you.

9. Keep track of who you have approached and when

If you havent heard within 5 days try and follow up with a phone call.

10. Ensure you are able to fulfil the offers you provide sponsors

Sponsors can become long term partners if they like your work ethic, product and customer service. Treat sponsors the same as customers.

Ensure you have clear agreements so that everyone is on the same page and you keep in touch after the event.

Be creative, keep going and good luck with getting them coins!