Billy Selekane, originally from Tembisa, tells Loni Prinsloo about the many challenges and adventures he has had while building a multimillion-rand company and becoming a world-renowned keynote speaker
Why did you pursue your current career?
Well, it was not my initial choice. I grew up a young entrepreneur with a couple of major failures. I had a talent for art. One of my businesses was a screen printing and banner-making business, which I pursued after I failed to continue with my fine arts studies at the University of South Africa.
What did it teach you about money matters?
I had an illusion that all the money I received belonged to me. I never, ever thought about cash flow and so forth. As soon as money came in, I spent it.
What was your first job and pay package and how did you manage?
My first real job was as a merchandiser for a liquor company. I was earning about R1 850. I struggled from month to month, but work incentives helped here and there. It was a struggle.
What has been your best career choice to date?
Becoming a certified speaking professional took me to the top of my game and I garnered international respect from peers and clients. Only 10% of professional speakers globally have this designation.
If you hit the "jackpot" today, what would you spend it on?
An educational centre in Tembisa, which will provide real street-savvy skills for making it in business and life.
What are some of your money weaknesses?
I used to be a watch collector, but have realised that when the music stops, the things one has accumulated mean absolutely nothing. However, the lives that one changes have a long lasting impact in the world and speak for you when you cannot.
Do you have any career role models?
Dr Nido Qubein, president of High Point University in North Carolina and chairman of the Great Harvest Bread Company, who was my coach at one time. He is so successful and yet amazingly humble and always willing to contribute to other people's advance .
Did your childhood teach you anything about money?
No, money had a negative connotation. I grew up in a poor environment, so money was always an issue and then one would hear people talking ill of money and those who had it. It took me a long time to create a positive association with it.
Have you ever been hard up?
Oh yes, too many times to count. At one point, I only owned three suits and on a certain trip to meet my coach I only had enough money to stay one night. Other times, I took my family on holiday to Durban on a shoestring budget. I have had many interesting and adventurous times financially.
What has been your best money advice?
Create multiple streams of income, live below your means and be frugal. However, always reward yourself for a job well done or a goal achieved.
What do you view as some of your better investments in life?
Investing in my own personal growth and development by working with different coaches from all over the world, my property, sweat equity in a business we started with seed capital of R80 000 and to date it's worth well over R160-million, and a host of solid blue-chip shares.
What are some of your future career or money plans?
To build a billion-dollar empire not for myself, but to fund my personal projects and to create opportunities for young, talented and disadvantaged children in Africa and the diaspora.
Billy Selekane CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) is an Author, Internationally acclaimed Inspirational Keynote Speaker, Personal, Team and Organizational Effectiveness Specialist.
He is Executive Chairman of Billy Selekane and Associates with associated footprint in Sweden, UK, USA, Middle East, Australia and Singapore an Action Learning, Strategy Formulation, Team, Organizational Effectiveness and Leadership Development Organization.
His focus is in Personal, Team and Organizational Effectiveness, which he delivers through, Customized Keynotes and Client Centric Interventions.
He works in Asia, Europe, UAE, UK and the USA as well as various African countries, including Botswana, Kenya, Namibia and Nigeria for fortune 500 companies such as 3M Sub-Sahara Africa, ADT Security, African Bank, Development Bank of South Africa, DTI, Eskom, International Youth Fund, Maps UK, Nike Southern Africa, Nokia, Pam Golding Properties, Roche Pharmaceuticals, SEFA, Swedish Institute of Public Administration, Wesbank to name but a few.
He is Past President PSASA (Professional Speakers Association of Southern Africa) 2006-2007, a Life Member of XL-Foundation a Singapore based organization with a special focus on entrepreneurship and social upliftment.
1st South African speaker to speak at a General Assembly NSA (USA) convention.
He is an in-house Inspirational Speaker at Radio 2000 breakfast show every Monday.
He is a regular featured guest at a Gauteng based radio station Kaya FM with a listenership of + 2 000 000 daily where he inspires and give advice on Personal, Leadership , Organizational and Team Effectiveness issues.
He featured as a regular Motivational/Inspirational Speaker on SABC 3's The World Today programme with a viewer ship of +3000 000.
He has inspired over 30 million people globally through his Bespoke Keynotes, Seminars, Client Centric Interventions and his book "From Barefoot to Snakeskin Shoes.
Billy believes that motivating your target audience is not enough, you should inspire them to change their belief systems and act upon decisions they make through a transformational process rather than an information sharing session.
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