Founder and Director at Azania Public (PR), we chat to Bonnie Meslane to get an inside look at her entrepreneurial journey.
Describe entrepreneurship in a few words
Liberating, excruciating, fulfilling, eye-opening, tumultuous, delightful.
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
I was tired of being unhappy working for agencies that did not appreciate what I brought. I found myself doing more for very little. I wanted the freedom to pick what I wanted to work on and also to contribute to the entertainment industry on a different level.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about the work you do?
They think that we have a lot of money, that we are always out and about and that we know everyone and that we can make them stars overnight. Unfortunately, that is far from the truth.
Hardest lesson you’ve learnt on your journey thus far?
PR is a thankless job, the expectations are super high for less. It is also a high-pressure job that requires one to perform at all times, we don’t have holidays or days off, we have to show up, no one cares that you are not doing well.
Best memory as an entrepreneur?
Getting the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz PR account as well as the Universal Music contract, those were jobs I prayed for and God delivered.
How are you innovating in your business?
I hire people that are as creative if not more than me, I allow people to be free and have fun while they work and I get the best results. I also find creative ways to write and pitch stories. Writing is my first love and comes naturally. I also take on challenging jobs and workshop many ideas to get the best results and oftentimes, I win.
A song that perfectly describes a day in your life?
Okay by Adekunle Gold. A carefree black man who just wants to excel and live his best life, has no time for drama.
What are you reading?
I am reading “White Teeth” by Zadie Smith.
The best business advice you have ever received?
Do not settle for the first offer, do not operate from a place of lack or desperation. You are gifted, respect your gift and demand what you are worth.
What advice can you give to people who are new to business/entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurship is not easy but do it, go for it. It is rewarding, be smart with your finances, save, save, save. Work with people that respect you and respect yourself by being able to say no or walking away from deals that are not worthwhile, your mental health will thank you. Be reliable, honest and always show up prepared.