by Lizl Naude, founder of Lilly Loompa
There is a saying that goes, “Every time you buy a product from a small business, someone literally does a happy dance!” This is certainly very true. Throughout my life I have had an interesting relationship with money. Like some of you, I’ve never had a time when I’ve ever had enough. I grew up in a fairly modest home, and I remember my mother all too often used the term: “Money doesn’t grow on trees!”
Fast forward thirty plus years and things are more or less the same. My family and I have traversed some rough patches over the last decade or so. But all is not doom and gloom, through these troublesome times, my business was birthed!
To be really honest, I hardly worry about money. I don’t mean I’m irresponsible, I have just made a conscious decision to not let it control my life. The other day I had a really interesting conversation with a dear friend of mine, Eddie. He played an instrumental role in my life when I was in my early twenties and I really value his opinion. Eddie has a passion for youth development…and his life-long dream is to own a youth-farm where he can run his programs and a safe-haven for youth and young adults. We spoke about a lot of things, but living a purpose-driven life, and people’s insatiable love for money took over the conversation.
It was an interesting talk. He spoke about some of the challenges he faces working with government agencies and the lack of vision of some institutions when it comes to empowering the youth. He also explained how eager and desperate he was in the beginning when schools and institutions enquired about his services. He relayed how he sometimes settled for little or no money when rendering services in the hope that it will bring him closer to his dream. It came to the point, where he was home one day and a great depression came over him. He was worrying about money. He thought of all the bills that needed to be paid. Then, in that moment, he realized that he hated this feeling, and a great courage arose in him. He took out a R10 note from his pocket, found a fire-lighter and burned the note. He spoke to the spirit of money and rebuked it. He vowed to never again allow money to rule his life and decision making.
For him, living his God-given purpose-driven life was much more important than the love of money. He lives a modest, but comfortable life, but he makes a profound impact on so many youths, as he did on me. When he told me this story, it really touched me.
I could totally relate to his belief system, and it made me ask questions about my relationship with money:
Why do I do what I do? I run a for-profit company but I make sure to check in with myself every time I have to make a big decision. I do not allow money to be the decisive factor. I consider how it will impact my family’s life as well as my community.
Capital is needed to grow a business and make it sustainable. But is this the only reason I run my business, or do I really want to make a lasting impact and leave a legacy?
Am I living my purpose? Like Eddie, I have made a conscious decision to live a purpose-driven life first. This is not the easiest life, but it is so much more rewarding than chasing a six-figure job that is unfulfilling.
Can money make me happy? My answer is a resounding NO! I need it to sustain myself, but it does not define me.
Do I take every job/opportunity that comes my way? No! Sometimes I walk away from prospects because I don’t agree with the terms or conditions, even if it is a lucrative deal. Living in my purpose is much too important for me and I don’t want to be side-tracked!
Am I tempted to go back to a corporate job? Nope! I am an entrepreneur because I believe this is what my country needs. It is so liberating to have moved past that temptation. Yes, I do sometimes miss the comfort of a good-paying job, but building my business is so much more satisfying! If I come across as arrogant, I apologize that is not my intention. I just believe I cannot waste the valuable lessons I have learned through my life experience. There is nothing wrong with making money! Make money, but always remember not to lose yourself whilst doing it. Remind yourself often of your value system and know that chasing money only can lead to an empty and meaningless life!
Lizl Naude is the founder of Lilly Loompa in South Africa, a company that creates beautiful and usable products made with recycled material. Lilly Loompa's “Rubbish Range” is the result of Lizl's craving to deliver pieces that are completely "green". Lizl is a self-taught designer and initially started designing and making furniture because she couldn’t afford to buy new pieces to furnish her home. She started to scout and source for budget material and quickly realised that most people discard of very usable materials. The company manufactures a variety of products, from storage holders, lamps, to dinner table accessories, among others. All materials are carefully sourced from waste and sustainably reimagined as beautiful, yet purposeful products. Eco-friendly, handcrafted and 100% South African, each Lilly Loompa piece, once trash, is now a meaningful piece of treasure.
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