ShapeShifter, Business Wrap

How I became one of SA’s youngest multi-millionaire entrepreneurs

(Click here for more from Bruce Whitfield's "The Money Show".)

(Click here for more "ShapeShifter" articles such as this one.)

Taking risks and constantly creating opportunities are key to becoming a self-made businessperson, says Mike Eilertsen, CEO of Live Out Loud Magazine and VAULTLife.

Build the product

“People do not buy products. They buy people, they buy the story and they buy the brand. That was probably one of my first lessons…”

In 2000 Mark Eilertsen started his first small scale venture selling R10 breakfast packs in Sandton’s morning traffic.

While studying towards a BCom Entrepreneurship degree at the University of Johannesburg Eilertsen realised that you can only really grasp the theory of business with practical experience. “I created this pamphlet that said ‘My name is Mike Eilertsen and the only way to study is to really learn it first-hand. As I’m learning these lessons I’m going to pass them on to you”. The pamphlet led to priceless engagement from prospective clients.

Grow the idea

“You spot an opportunity, you are an opportunist, but you don’t simply settle for selling the stuff on the side of the road…”

A basic entrepreneurial rule is to constantly look for a gap in the market and to fill it.

“Someone who bought breakfasts from me SMSed me one day and said, listen, we want to have coffee as well. So I started looking into that concept.”

Eilertsen then added coffee to his product mix by purchasing 12 Nestlé coffee backpacks. The idea really started taking off once Eilertsen bought the rights to the “Rocket Man” backpacks and “Major Tom” packs for beer. “By 2004 we were in every cricket stadium in the country,” boasts Elertsen.

Make mistakes

“By the age of 25 I was in R7-millon debt…”

After dropping out of the University of Johannesburg to pursue his business interests, Eilersten sold his backpack company Boiling Point and branched out into an industry he knew nothing about.

According to online magazine Entrepreneur, Eilertsen launched his magazine and publishing company with R980 000 and had to re-mortgage his house to keep the business going. In less than a year he was R7-million in debt. “I was overspending and I wasn’t being told about cash flow projections and budgets.”

Eilertsen now advises any start-up company to prioritise bookkeeping by hiring an accountant.

His way of doing business is risky but rewarding. “Would-be entrepreneurs in South Africa often misunderstand,” says Eilertsen. “They think that they need an extraordinary business plan and a loan. No. You need to determine how much money you have available and then find opportunities that fit with what you have.”

Eilersten says the advantage of entrepreneurialism in Africa is that there is less competition, making it “a playground for opportunity”.

Click on the embedded link below to listen to Bruce Whitfield’s interview with Mike Eilertsen.

Subscribe to our Business Wrap Newsletter


Recommended

by NEWSROOM AI

702 welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the 702 community a safe and welcoming space for all.

702 reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

702 is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
Need a loan? How to improve your credit score (before you apply)

Need a loan? How to improve your credit score (before you apply)

Get a free credit report, then follow these five tips and see by how much you can improve your credit record.

5 rubbish beliefs about investing that are keeping you from getting rich

5 rubbish beliefs about investing that are keeping you from getting rich

Financial advisor Warren Ingram rubbishes some popular, yet blatantly untrue ideas that are keeping people from growing wealthy.

‘Americans are brilliant at consumerism! Brilliant!’ (lessons from the US of A)

‘Americans are brilliant at consumerism! Brilliant!’ (lessons from the US of A)

Bruce Whitfield interviews Aurik Business Accelerator founder Pavlo Phitidis for his weekly small business feature.

R8 million Rubens masterpiece found in SA after languishing on a wall since 1932

R8 million Rubens masterpiece found in SA after languishing on a wall since 1932

Smuggled out of Germany in the 1930s, then forgotten in Joburg. Bruce Whitfield interviews fine art specialist Luke Crossley.

How to make your first R1 million (after that it just becomes so much easier)

How to make your first R1 million (after that it just becomes so much easier)

Rich. Wealthy. Financially free... Call it what you will; the first million is how you get there. Warren Ingram on his book...

Solutionist Thinking: In Conversation with Reuel Khoza

Solutionist Thinking: In Conversation with Reuel Khoza

In the first episode of Solutionist Thinking with RMB, Bruce Whitfield speaks with author, businessman and trailblazer Reuel Khoza.

Popular articles
Most common sex-related injuries and how to avoid them!

Most common sex-related injuries and how to avoid them!

Experts say vaginal tears, broken penises and the loss of foreign objects in the body are often seen in the ER

Radio powerhouse joins 702

Radio powerhouse joins 702

Richard Nwamba will host a new African music show between 16h00 and 18h00 every Saturday.

Celebrity chef Siba Mtongana gets vulnerable, opens up about money

Celebrity chef Siba Mtongana gets vulnerable, opens up about money

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Mtongana about her attitude to money (hopes and fears, successes and failures, etc.).

[LISTEN] Father shares how he shot the man who raped his daughter

[LISTEN] Father shares how he shot the man who raped his daughter

Johannesburg father, Chris says he had just come back from work when he walked in on an employee raping his 17 year old daughter.

Is the lovable Winnie The Pooh a boy or girl?

Is the lovable Winnie The Pooh a boy or girl?

A trending Twitter debate has left social media users arguing over whether Winnie the Pooh is a girl or boy.

UPDATE: Chilling WhatsApp from Marli van Breda's ex-boyfriend read out in court

UPDATE: Chilling WhatsApp from Marli van Breda's ex-boyfriend read out in court

Marli van Breda's ex took the stand in the trial of triple murder accused Henri van Breda.

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

WIN R2000! But only if you can prove you're a whiz of the MTN Biz Quiz by answering the following three questions...

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Is social trend Blesserfinder, where girls are allegedly matching up with rich 'benefactors' in exchange for sex, a real thing?