CEO Adventure Racing World Series, Owner of Expedition Africa

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When it comes to inspiring entrepreneurs in South Africa, Heidi Muller, has taken this challenge to a whole new adventure.  An adventure race to be exact.  And she is not going to settle for runner-up!


As CEO of the Adventure Racing World Series (AR World Series), Heidi Muller has expanded this global series of Adventure Racing events by building relationships, sharing her knowledge and experience, mentoring race directors, and infusing her commitment to the sport into every interaction. With more than 25 years in sport and business, navigating the way forward for the global AR World Series brand is a new era for this visionary businesswoman.

Over the many years, Adventure Racing has taught Heidi lessons and skills that she implements in her daily life – from raising her children, nurturing friendships, and developing partnerships, to confronting challenges, and running her business.

Her ambitious drive together with her experience in business, and as a competitor and Race Director establishes her pedigree and sets Heidi apart as a woman leading the way with the global Adventure Racing World Series brand under her stewardship.

Christél Rosslee-Venter had the privilege of talking to Heidi about the highs & lows of her entrepreneurial challenge.

  1. Would you consider writing a book about your romantic endeavors with adventure racing?
  2. Do you agree with Magda Wierzycka, who talks openly in her autobiography 
    Magda about the value of making an effort with your appearance, even though you often find yourself in some pretty rough terrain?
  3. How do you manage to bring up your children in such a hectic, nomadic lifestyle?
  4. What are the fun & exciting ways that you use to regroup, refocus & rejuvenate?

  5. If you could be your 20-year-old self again …. And you could change anything …. What would that be, and a whole lot more.

Heidi also talks extensively about the value that her mother and God play in her business journey!  A story in progress.

View the Expedition Africa Namibia 2024 trailer here: www.expafrica.net
Find more info on AR World here: www.arworldseries.com

Look out for ‘Arthur the King‘, a true Adventure Race story, based on the true story of Mikael
that raced the Adventure Racing World Champs and the dog that followed
the team over the distance and then he adopted the dog and took the stray dog
to Sweden.  


#southafricanentrepreneur #heidimuller #adventureracing #arworld

#expeditionafrica #entrepreneurpodcast #entrepreneur


Episode Transcript

Welcome to another edition of Expedition Business, where we talk to inspiring South African entrepreneurs about the highs and lows of their business journey and how on earth, they manage to keep the flame of business adventure burning. Of course, facing your day with a smile is sometimes the toughest thing you have to do. My name is Christél Rosslee-Venter, your host and the one in the pound seat.

because I am talking to Heidi Muller, Adventure Race Organizer extraordinaire. But before I introduce Heidi to you, I would like to remind you to subscribe, like, comment and share this podcast with as many of your friends and family as possible. Without your help, we cannot continue to share the amazing stories of our South African entrepreneurs. But back to why we are here today.

Heidi Muller is the founder of Expedition Africa, the premier adventure racing organization in South Africa. And she has also recently become the CEO of the Adventure Racing World Series. Heidi’s start in sport began at school level as the SA Hurdles champion. And then there is the modelling career where she has been amongst others the Miss South Africa runner-up.

Heidi, welcome to Expedition Business.

Heidi: Oh, thank you. Thank you for having me this time of the year. It’s wonderful to speak to like-minded people and have the opportunity to share a little bit of one’s story with others.

Christél: Oh, fantastic. The privilege is definitely ours. Heidi, but something that interests me, your biography, which by the way is available.

in the description of this podcast and on our Expedition Business website, reads like a fairy tale. But the part I really like is how your now husband roped you into the sport of adventure racing. And it almost sounds like a real Hollywood romance story to me.

Heidi: Oh, it sounds like that. I always say to people, you know, it doesn’t matter who you are, you know, like,

said in your intro, the ups and downs and the highs and lows. Nobody has ever escaped some hard times in their lives. So yeah. But to come back, it is definitely. I mean, when I met him when I was 21, obviously I was always into sports and the school level, highly competitive. And it was just like a perfect match. When I met him and-

he did all his Comrades and Climb Kilimanjaro and he was obviously, you know, in a much more endurance sporting. And I think I’ve met him. And then the second weekend of our sort of relationship we went to for diving. I had to do my diving course and we went to dive in Sodwana. A week after that, we went to Climb Kilimanjaro and I should have then already knew in for the outdoors and for the life of, you know, into adventure.

I didn’t even think about it twice. It was just so in love and just like, yes, let’s go and do that. And yes, let’s go. So I got into it very quickly. And yeah, when he came, he actually went in the team who went to Eco Challenge those years, South African team, and I supported the team in their training. And I thought, oh, wow, this is awesome. You know, hiking through the night and then mountain biking and then kayaking and sort of.

ongoing. I kind of liked the idea of it and when they came back from Eco Challenge, they said, oh there’s like a 120k adventure race, maybe we should do it together. I said, oh fine, we can do it but I don’t have a mountain bike. So we got myself a mountain bike, we got you know adventure racing, you should be three men and one lady, that is the you know the sport is grouped together and we got two other guys who was then you know like

Pro, very good mountain biking guys. It’s just in that time when mountain biking really became very popular. And they still joke so many years later that I was falling around every single corner. I couldn’t even go around a little turn on a gravel road. I never cycled in my life. I never had a cycle, you know, bicycle. You know, I was doing athletics and netball and that was my sport. Anyway, long story short, we won the race and that was the beginning of a whole new life for me.

I just obviously excelled and loved that challenge where you just take yourself to the next level of, yeah, I can say fatigue and suffering and decision-making and all the parts that comes with adventure racing. But anyway, that is how many years … 25, what … Gonna give my age away, 25 years ago.

Christé: That was three years before your marriage.
Heidi: Yes, yes. The main opposite, you got married when I was 25. And yeah, that’s, that’s the end of the story. But in a nutshell, speaking about business, I mean, for people, I always say to bring a relevance to where I am today, just remember that, that the dream, the business, the sport, the love, the career where I was in now was born, you know, my, when I was 2021.

I don’t have the experience or the knowledge that I have now. It was 25 years of experience that you build up to form you where you are, obviously now.

Christél: Would you ever consider writing a book on all your adventures together with hubby?
Heidi: Everybody always asks us because people can hardly keep up with our lives. And every year, it’s a new adventure and a new story.

then people always ask me, will you write a book one day? And I said, yeah, sure. I just can’t remember all the chapters. I should keep track. I will have to go back maybe to social media one day and try to keep up with how many events and how many destinations. But yeah, most probably one day the time will come for that. But yeah, definitely, definitely very worth it, I think.

Christél: I would definitely want to read that. But.

Heidi, you’ve got Expedition Africa Namibia 2024 coming up and with a price ticket of R60,000 per team, but you’ve already got 19 teams on the waiting list. Just quickly in a nutshell, why should people want to join in on this challenge?

Heidi: Well, first of all, you need to be, you won’t just wake up one day and do an adventure race. Adventure racing,

for the listeners who’s new, you know, it’s a sport of four people, mostly three men, one lady. It is all the sports combined in one. So obviously it’s trekking. We call it trekking, trail running, you know, mountain biking, kayaking, and the whole team does it together nonstop. So, it is kind of the sport you either somebody else introduced you to the sport, if you’ve done somewhere a shorter distance one at 25k or a 50k adventure

some on TV or, you know, some way somebody introduced you to the sport and a team and you fell in love with it. Or you’ve done orienteering, you know what I mean? It’s not just like you wake up and you’re gonna say, oh, let’s do tomorrow. Like we most probably a lot of people will do road run. And that’s where you will start a road run or a straight-line mountain bike race. It is sort of the next level event. And then, and again, maybe most people defend, depend on who you are. Some people will do, let’s say.

you’ll do all the big mountain bike races. If you’ve done Ironman or the Epic, like the more extreme events, and then you start looking at something new, something that really can push you to your limits or take you to the next level of excitement. And that is how you will sort of get into adventure racing. And then you still need to do a race somewhere. There’s not so many races in South Africa. We have the African series, there’s five of these weekend races where people can get into the sport.

And then you get hooked somewhere you get hooked and then you start looking at the bigger ones. And that is how the levels, you know, you got up in the levels and you get to the expedition races. Now, if you look at AR World Series in the world, there’s around 12 to 15 of these expeditions around the world. And we have now, of course, the African license. So, we’ve been the world champs this year was the 12th, the 11th edition. And then maybe I will be next year, the 12th edition.

So hard works is, yeah, I mean, we need to look at new destinations. That’s a different, another thing to adventure racing while it’s so difficult. It’s not like other sport where I can just go every year and organize another trail run again in my backyard, the same trail run or the same mountain bike race. Adventure racing is always a new destination. It’s people who seek new things that the thrill of a new area excites you. It’s a new route. The race director can never do the same thing again. Now the hard part

with that is for business of course is you can’t build relationships and I can just go back to the same people and say okay what have we done wrong this year let’s make it better next year how can we go back I go every year and I have to go with all my energy and all my selling techniques and all everything I have in me and go to a new place try to get new sponsors from the beginning so that is definitely one of the hardest things to do and I have to

Create this course and again that takes me months to do especially if you’re thinking of a 500 kilometer adventure race. Now we’re going to a new country, new permits. Everything is new you basically start this puzzle. We say building it from scratch and in the meantime while you building this puzzle from scratch, you don’t know if anybody is going to enter your event You keep on promoting

in the hope that you will get hopefully between 30 and 40 teams. And that is what we sort of talking about. So yes, now we have 20 at this point subscribed. We have not yet opened entries. We opened it in January. Everybody is now going on vacation on holidays. So we just use this time to promote it and to plan and then we of course as a family is moving in January to start planning this adventure in Namibia.

Christél: Just speaking of the move, so you move to that location with your entire family, how on earth do you manage it? You’ve still got kids at school, how does that work?

Heidi: So just to put it into perspective, when I mean, this is 12 years, 12 edition, obviously in COVID we had a lapse of two years, but when they were smaller, obviously much easier, the children is on my hip.

and you know, they just travel and come with me. So the first five years before school, six years was for me very easy. We have a base in Joburg and then we just moved. So, let’s say the first race was an harmonious, the babies were basically still on the boob, if I can say it like that. And I organized the races with them, with me, like with the one hand and the microphone and the other one, a child in the hip, like all of, you know, like the way we all do it as mothers. And then the second one came.

And we did the same thing every year. We just moved from Joburg back and forth, back and forth to the destination where we have the event. And I mean, if you look, we’ve been all over South Africa. So every year it was a new destination and even in Swaziland. And then we went to Lesotho. So all the years, the base were in Joburg. Now they started school. They were in school year in Bryanston. Um, and it was easy, but then. You know, even Lesotho, we needed Lesotho just before and after COVID.

let’s do six hours from Joburg. So, it’s okay, I can leave the kids for a week, go and scout, come back. I could manage it. But I was just constantly traveling. And also, we used every single school holiday. So, July holidays, December holidays is scouting. Our children come with us, we take the three weeks and they travel with us and scout with us. We basically build every holiday around, we call it working holiday.

So we’re always working, it’s always holiday for other people. So if you look at me on social media, it might look at, we’re always on holiday. We call it working holiday. And that is how we just functioned. But with the world championships, I had to move and I made a decision basically in six days. We just were sitting and I said to my husband, there’s no ways I’m going to pull off over a hundred teams from around the world, doing the biggest events race ever, like 14 hours away from home.

And I basically got on an airplane. We were actually in Cape Town at that moment. And instead of flying back to Johannesburg, my husband flew back to Johannesburg. He’s still got the business here. I flew with the kids to Cape St. Francis. And we got a house, stayed at the Cape St. Francis resort. I asked where can I put the kids in school? And within a week later, my children were in a new school. And…

I can clearly remember if there’s any other mothers listening to this conversation, I was crying my eyes out on the first day because I was just like, what are you doing? What? I mean, I had to go buy everything new, living like out of my suitcase in an apartment and thinking, you know, are you, you know, is this the right decision or not? And I just obviously had to believe that God is sending us on this journey and my gut is telling me it’s better to stay there.

and it’s gonna work out for the best for us. Two years later, I’ve stayed in there for two years, my husband travelled in and out, massive sacrifice for us as a family. But, you know, again, that’s a story in my storybook and my book that I’m writing, and I would not change it for everything, for anything. I’ve learned so much, and I think that is what it’s all about. You know, it doesn’t matter who you are and how old you are, if you have an open mind and you always see every day as

It’s a new day, it’s a new learning. Wherever you’ve met, you’re gonna learn and improve and get better. It’s a continuous process. And it sort of yields me from a lot of things. It yields me that, you know what, you don’t need a house, you don’t need nothing. You can basically function from different coffee shops and boardrooms, and you basically don’t need nothing. I’m completely free from any earthy stuff. And I’m…

know that I can go wherever the wind blows me and our household and our security and our stability is within the family and it’s not any earthy stuff that we have. But yeah, we did the world champs, now we’re back in our house in Joburg and it’s so easy for me now to say well I cannot fly in and out to Namibia. It’s impossible, financially it doesn’t make no sense. I prepared my children, I told them that

we’re going to go to Namibia for the next race. This is now mommy’s work. Um, that is what we do. And they like, just like us now, they’re like a hundred percent mom. We cool. They’re going to meet new friends, you know, and it’s, I think as a parent is how you sell it to your children. If you share your anxiety and your fears with them, they pick up on it. They can hear and they can feel it. But if you only share with your kids, the positivity and the new energy and it’s a new country and it’s new.

friends and it’s going to be exciting and we’re going to make it work. They don’t know anything else. And every time when they cry for their friends or they say bye, you say to them, but it’s okay. You’re on the phone. You can call them every day. Technology changed. They play games today. They can phone each other. It’s just completely different than like they’d say when we were kids. So anyway, I can talk forever, but it’s over to you.

Christél: You are very, very passionate about the subject.

but you’ve got your mom that also helps out as an au pair for your children.

Heidi: Oh, I cannot do this without my mom. I mean, my mom is my pillar of strength. She obviously, you know, we always speak about it. I was a child in eight schools. My dad was a salesman and we had to move every year wherever you find a job. And I was that kid who just did everything in school, you know, my mom was just…

driving everywhere after me to all the sports and all the activities. And I think she just never stopped. I think she just from after school, then it was the beauty pageant years and all the sport continued. She sort of dedicated her whole life just to help me. And, you know, I could not have done this without my mother. She gives 200 percent of her life to help us and support our family. And, you know, it would have been so much different if it was just an

au pair with somebody else, but with grandmother fully emerged, she is like a mother to my children. They need to listen and respect her. It’s not just a grandmother who comes in for an hour and they need to listen to her. It is from manners. It is, she’s very strict, but the good thing of a grandmother, she got other skills and gifts that I can’t get to. So, for instance, she loves Spanish and piano and…

guitar and music, so she instilled those things in my kids. She’s teaching them every day, they’ve got an hour. If they like it or not, they’ve got an hour Spanish class. If they like it or not, they have an hour piano class. And she just says, that is the gift she can teach as my kids. And I mean, they don’t even know what a wonderful gift it is. So she’s giving them all these other things that you as a parent maybe don’t have time for. And she will look into it and say,

No, she can give them a little bit more. So, we’re very blessed to have my mom with me and I can just pray for many more years that she can help me, you know, as long as the story continues. I’m very aware that, you know, life, nothing is forever. So the challenge is just to embrace every moment and every destination that I have, because you never know how long it’s still going to be there.

Christél: Absolutely.

But I suppose that patience does it also continue when the teenage streaks come in?
Heidi: Oof, you know, listen, my kids are now going into the teenage stage and that is very, it is of course very difficult. So, it definitely comes with the good times and the bad times and the ups and the downs. Omar is very strict, so yes, there are a lot of conflicts in the house when the teenagers start rebelling.

So yeah, but you know what? We are just a normal family. There’s some shouting going on, there’s some tears going on, there’s a lot of love going on. So, we’re no different than any other family.

Christél: That is very good to hear. Heidi, I just want to quickly get back. You mentioned your modeling days. As far as I know, you were Miss Hillbrow many, many years ago.

Heidi: No, not Hillbrow. Pretoria.

Christél: Pretoria. Okay, I got my information wrong.

Heidi: And Gauteng, yes, Gauteng was Pretoria, all that sort of name.

Christél: Oh, fantastic. And then you went on to become Miss SA Runner-up. To what extent do you believe your experiences in the world of beauty helped your business today?

Heidi: I think fundamentally that was where it all started. That is most probably…

I will encourage my daughter to do any, you know, as much as she can as well in promotions, in eventing, in, you know, hostessing work, modelling. You know, it’s not always, there’s not really money into it these days. It doesn’t matter, but it’s about the experience. You know, those years, I mean, I came from school, always had a dream to be Miss SA, because I just loved my whole, my message then was to create entrepreneurship because I studied business.

to instil in people to have their own businesses so that they can be independent. I always had this thing for women, you know, like maybe it comes from my parents that always just try to tell me, Heidi, you have to make your own money. You have to be independent. I never really realized the importance of that message when I was 17, 18, 19 years old. And now that I’m in my 40s, it’s the same thing. I look at my kids and say, you have to be able to look after yourself.

And that was my thing while I wanted to be like Ms. SA, I wanted to teach other young women, you know, like get your own thing, be independent. You can’t just always look at somebody else for income. But in that journey when I was studying and I did modelling for extra money on the side, those hours of running around and doing hostessing work, studying for hours on the high heels, how to smile even if you’re not feeling well, have to be on time.

how to behave yourself, how to have confidence to speak to different people. It might even be a hostessing night where you just give awards out or you just direct people to go and take a seat. I can never take that away from my future experience in life. And things you totally take for granted now when I’m doing this and then I look at young children I’m like, don’t you know how to treat people or how to greet them or even how to plate

them or sit them down or stand back when all the people person come in or you know things you just learn when you do that kind of work which people of today just don’t know. But yes that was most probably one you know definitely the plumb of my life in the sense of it was wonderful at those years there were so many fashion shows and beauty pageants. I did it because it was fun. You know you have to excel. You have to.

learn how to speak, how to improve, I had to do English classes and speech classes and exercise, you know, to be in the best shape you can be. You also in that time, you get to learn yourself, you know, people you actually don’t know. When somebody asks me what’s your favorite color or what do you feel about this topic, you know, I don’t even really know how I felt about topics. I never really watched the news. I never really knew what’s happening in the world.

And when you go into that world, suddenly you need to listen to the news. You start questioning things and your general knowledge improve. But that is what I will say to young people. You can never, people are so judgmental, and a lot of people will say, oh, it’s just ridiculous to be a model, to do beauty pageants. And then I’m like, just think about it. And I say, no, nobody can ever say that to you because the experience you gain.

And you notice people really know what pressure it is to go and reveal and expose yourself and to go and open yourself and stand in front of other people to say how you feel about things. Or let alone walk in a swimsuit on a stage. You know, it is difficult. It’s not easy. I never found it easy. And I was so shy of school, you know, so it was a massive thing for me. Wow.

Anyway, it was amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing. It was wonderful. It was, I was Miss Gauteng and then at the end, first runner up in Miss SA and that’s another chapter on its own, but it was amazing.

Christél: Just coming back to you mentioned promotions work, I believe you were also at some stage in Verimark Adverts.

Heidi: Advertising. Yes, yes, yes I did a lot of commercials. Steam cleaners. Yes.

the steam cleaner, oh my goodness. I should actually go and get all those videos and keep it for one day. Yes, I did the very mark, a little steam infomercial. But again, all of those things, you know, you learn. It was not a year like today. Today, children 18, 19 are so different than what we were, you know, like confident, they can speak. You know, I have to say I was very late.

developer, I was very shy. I excelled on the sports field, but you know, sort of this part of my life only developed later. And again, there I was forced to learn a script and to, you know, do TV commercials and it was extra money. It was wonderful.

Christél: Oh, fantastic. Heidi, just quickly coming back to the beauty part of everything. While you were…

I was thinking back of Magda Wierzycka that was talking in her biography Magda about the value of making an effort with your appearance. I assume you agree with her on that, even though you often find yourself in some pretty rough terrain.

Heidi: That is actually very, like you say, how do I match the beauty pageants to where my life is today in the sports world? And

You know, it is an integral part of who I am today. I am very much, you know, you have to dress for success. You have to, I have to wear heels when I go to a meeting. It’s just, I wear makeup. I, I, I’m a businesswoman. I play the part. It is, you have to find your essence. And even though many years, I always felt out of place, like most of the sport women don’t wear makeup or they’re very natural.

And then I come to an event. And that is actually when my husband always came in and he said, but be yourself. Just always remember that when you are yourself, like I said, you’re authentically yourself. And that I also needed to find in my business many years later. If you look now at the World Champs, I will be dressed up completely at the opening ceremony. I had an African dress on, I had red lips, big earrings. That is me. You know, like it’s…

confident and bold and I own the space because this is my event and that comes maybe with age but that comes back you bring the beauty and you bring your business all actually you know it goes a full circle. So I’m very much into you have to look after yourself you have to you know if you if you want to be Miss World you need to ultimately dress and look and be a Miss World.

If you want to be a businesswoman of the year, you actually, you need to feel it and dress it and play the part. And, and even before you’re the businesswoman of the world, I believe completely in that you need to dress for success. And that is how I find my inner strength. So you know, put the business women thing to the side and the beauty pageant and bring it all together. It’s definitely for me, a complete circle where I now may be in a space stand completely out because

I will arrive and of course look different than most people will expect in my industry a person will look. It’s got its negative because you will also get many times judged just like maybe a pretty face or she’s just a kind nice person because you are always friendly and you are always kind to people and people will only really know that you are serious when they really work with you.

They maybe walk the path with you. But yeah, that is again a chapter on its own. But you know, it is difficult for a woman, you know, to find your place and find yourself and to be 100% confident and happy with yourself. And once you get to that part, you can really be yourself in your space.

Christél: It almost sounds when you say that you were a shy person at school, it almost sounds

complete opposite of what you were.

Heidi: Complete, yes, I was very shy. I could not even raise my hand at school and ask a question. I blush, I walk past any boy. I could not really stand up and speak in front of people. And people will not, if they see me today, they’re like, it’s impossible. I said, no, you can ask my parents, you can ask anybody. I had to go for coaching, I had to force myself. I had such a big desire.

let’s say after school to be Miss South Africa, that I knew I had to learn how to stand up. And, you know, we, you know, my mom had a list of millions of questions and forced me to stand on a little box with, you know, anything in my hand, a hairbrush, and just, you know, keep on answering the questions and how to talk. It was really that kind of coaching I had to do and force myself. And I can honestly tell you, even…

in the last 10 years, how much I’ve improved from then to now. And even up to today, sometimes when I go and stand in front of people who I have a big meeting or presentation, you are still nervous. You are still need to just take a moment and have a deep breath and tell yourself that you are good, you’re okay. You’ve got it. It’s never, you know what I mean? That’s what I’m trying to say. It’s people look at you and you think you just got it all, but you’re still developing and improving and mentally.

psyching yourself up that you can do something. I don’t think it will ever change. And I think to have a little bit of that nervous energy is actually very good. It is. Because that just pushed you a little bit further.

Christél: Well, the professionals say without that nervous energy, you can’t be at your best.

Heidi: Exactly. I believe it as well.

Christél: It almost reminds me, we had an interview with Ryno Griesel a couple of months ago.

And he said the words, it’s not fun because it’s fun. It’s fun because you decided it’s fun. And it almost reminds me of that. I think he was talking more in terms of racing and running and all those sports. But I think when it comes to standing up and doing your presentations, it’s not always fun. You just have to do it.

Heidi: You have to do it because the thing is, so you’re too positive because

We organize the event and I need to make sure the event is successful. There are many parts to it. So the event is, I need to get sponsorships in order to financially make it viable. We have to design a route. We have to test the route ourselves, which is like you said, not always fun, but it’s fun. We have to make sure it works out. And the good thing is when you test the route yourself, you’ve got a feeling for it. You can feel what the teams and athletes will go through. You also know the route.

by hand, you know, it’s not just like my husband created the route and I don’t know what’s happening because then you disjointed it to the event. But like you say, it is so many components to it and you need to deeply, deeply for me and our business and I think it’s this is relevant for any business, you must have a deep connection with your business and your event. And from if you sell it, you put it together, you do the full course.

the teams do it, you plan the media around it and the event is happening. You know, it needs to be all in synergy and together. And when you get to the finishing line, when, and this is where the saying coming from Ryno, it’s not fun, but it’s fun. But when you get in the race, there’s so much suffering involved and you push your limits. And when you get to the finishing line, it’s where all the emotions come back together. And maybe a week or two, even later, when you realized, what have I done?

You know, I’ve achieved this thing, you know, wow, this is amazing. This is so big. Or that is when you sort of get the realization that you’ve done something incredible. And for me as event organizer, that is when the full circle comes in. When I see the reports and the photos and I’ve seen that I’ve really changed people’s lives, that my event did more than just an event. And the same for athlete or a person who’s participating. You do it. And after it, you realize.

Wow, I’ve done something so great. I’ve pushed my limits. I’ve improved. I’ve developed. Every event you do, you’re actually just getting better and better. I’m not just talking performance better, but in personal development better as well. And that is most probably the most incredible thing of sport. And of business. Of course. Of course, the combination of both. Of course, business, you circle back off to it. You come back to the drawing board, and you’re like,

wow you know what have we done or what was the mistakes what’s the damages how what must we change for next time.

Christél: I’ve looked at your media report after your last Kouga event and it is pretty impressive of what you guys have done.

Heidi: Thank you. Thank you. We will keep updating it. We haven’t got some TV coverage and stuff on there.

I’ll share it with you when we get the program on. It’s coming in January on SuperSport. Then some of the listeners and our friends can see the complete world champs will be broadcast on SuperSport in January.

Christél: Heidi, just quickly, something that I found quite interesting. All the people that I know.

And yes, I’m in the world of entrepreneurship. So, most people I know is entrepreneurs, but most people I know that have been taking part in your races are all in the field of entrepreneurship. To me, it sounds like a massive PR opportunity.

for your business, what do you think?

Heidi: Yeah, of course, for anybody to PR with our event, of course, anybody that have a relevance to it. I think if you did follow our event, you will also see that we do try and boost and support local businesses. I had a big draft this year as well before the World Champs to reach out to people and say, so what is your business?

share with me like what do you do is there an opportunity and it is quite significant that like I mean two three specific smaller brands came in in the last week or so before the event which was pure product sponsors or partnerships but it was again like you say a lot of local South African businesses which got a product and they never really thought of that could use my event the one for instances of coffee.

So they never really thought that the coffee have a synergy with our event. And I said, well, my media room, if you know, you can see my media report, that media sits in HQ and work 24-7. There’s nothing better than coffee sponsor for them. And the best part is the media is the media who’s posting on social media, oh, I’m drinking a coffee. Oh, thank you for the coffee. Oh, the coffee is filling me. And that is how people need to always look at other events and other businesses.

You know, you have maybe a brand and in some way or other, it’s not gonna cost you an arm and a leg, it’s maybe just a product partnership and we can utilize it and give you exposure in my event for you, especially if you work with me, but my even benefits because I can give somebody something in kind, you know, it might be a coffee, it might be a bag, it might be ice cream, it might be anything.

But yeah, that is obviously your PR exercise partnerships with these events. Mine and I’m sure many of these other sporting events can be a great PR exercise for any other small business.

Christél: It definitely sounds very, very interesting and it almost reminds me of interview Mark Collins, the organizer of Otter Race a while back. Yeah. And shortly after our conversation I entered Otter for 2024.

So I might just start recruiting a team to do the Namibia race.

Heidi: Well, why not? You know, you’ve got five, six months. I think you know all the right people. You can just go to all the businessmen you’ve met and adventure races, you know, and say to them guys, I’m ready. I just need a navigator. Um, put a business team together and, um, yeah, for sure. Come and, come and try something new and travel to Namibia.

Christél: We just need to work on those rules that says only one woman per team. Or can we change that?

Heidi: No, it doesn’t need to be one woman. No, no, no. It’s just one of the opposite sex. So we have found very, very interesting in our sport that over the last maybe four, five years, it has increased significantly to two women and some even to three women. Because especially in the longer distance races, it is the woman who

persevere? Yes, we persevere, we can handle maybe the pain management better, the relationships, the teamwork, the conflict, you know, and our sporting code, adventure racing, it is carved, in my opinion, for women. And you will also see if you looked at very, very interesting, you know, the top 10 teams, maybe in the world champs, the woman looks the best. At the finishing line, all the women in those top 10 teams are looking

the freshest, the best at the finishing line. So it’s quite, it’s very, very interesting to see how there’s been quite a big shift in especially these more extreme expeditions. I think the biggest challenge up to now is the confidence of women. I will see many women who’s doing a 121, 150K race and then I’ll say, you know what, you’re gonna be perfect for expedition and then the first thing is no, oh no, I can’t do it, it’s too far.

And then I looked at her and I’m like, you don’t know, you only get better after day three. If you do now 120, 150 K raise, you suffer. You know, you suffer the first two days. Your body has not yet got into that kind of shuffling, kind of long-distance mode, which we are made for. And it’s maybe just a mind shift woman needs to go through to understand that in fact, you are made for it.

And I think that the women now in the world, the people who’s doing adventure racing, they all realize that the confidence is there. They know they don’t need to be the fastest. They just need to be able to survive the first day. I mean, when I raced with my husband, we always just said to the team, Heidi, just need to survive the first day. I need 24 hours where I’m going to suffer so badly. They’re going to push me and pull me and drag me. But once we hit over that 36, 48-hour level…

it starts leveling out and after especially if you go into your 60, 70 hours, that is where I will come to my where you’re now better maybe even than the men. Interesting. Very interesting. So for me, advanced racing is made for women.

Christél: Heidi, what would be the worst thing that has happened to you while organizing a race?

Heidi: Sure, so many. Many challenges. You know what? No, you know what? It’s not, I don’t keep count of any bad things. Likely I’ve got such a short-term memory that.

I kind of erase or forget immediately about what happened yesterday. So, it’s impossible for me to keep track. You know, I always say in a big event like us, because we work with these extreme conditions and weathers and situations, if, if nobody died in your event, that is the first right mark. And that’s something nothing immediately, you know, like that extreme happened for me, it’s just the only thing I pray for that please can, can, you know.

everybody gets safe to my finishing line. But that is the first thing. Obviously, there’s many accidents or people break or fall or whatever. Those are all fine, but you know, as long as nobody dies. And then also remember we have a massive logistical line of people trolling and driving cars and trucks and trailers nonstop through the day and the night. And if none of my volunteers or my husband, you know, fall asleep behind the steering wheel.

Because the problem with adventure racing is we don’t stop at night. So, like this World Champs, it’s six, seven days where none of them really sleep. If they sleep an hour a day, it’s a lot. And then even when you start off the day three and four, not really sleeping properly, your brain function is really so low. Your decision-making is not always at the best and your function at a capacity, which is not healthy, I would say.

And that is now again, of course, your adventure is that goes through the same, but one must always understand your event organizers go through the same. And I mean, how many people really use now listening to other conversation, if I tell you keep on working for the next three, four, five days, and you only maybe sleep an hour, you can’t go home, you can’t go have a shower, you can’t go and sleep. And you tell me on day two and day three and four, if you are still friendly, if you don’t have a fight with anybody, are you grumpy? And how can you?

Keep your personality for six, seven, eight, nine days with hardly any sleep and you must make decisions the whole time. You need to rescue teams which are in trouble. There’s a problem, there’s a problem. This truck broke, this wheel had a problem. This farmer’s upset, there is some litter. This gate is now closed. It’s a constant stuff of things that happens which you need to address as it happens. That’s things you couldn’t plan beforehand. Or the truck breaks.

and now the gearboxes is late for the next transition. Or the truck that’s supposed to bring the water to the next transition had a failure and now there’s no water at the next transition. Or the power is out, now there’s no electricity. And it’s just a constant problem solving. And that is what we go through for seven, eight, nine days. So after something like this magnitude, nothing is actually a problem for me, nothing. You can give me anything and it’s not really a problem. Because…

you we just so trained that you need to solve all the problems. So the level where we actually function is just that there are no car accidents. I’m not talking about minor car accidents. We’ve bumped this car, this trailer bumped into that car. I mean, many of those things happen in a race. Nobody died, nobody got seriously injured, and everybody is healthy. And, you know, in the sense of fun, that is for me. So no major problems. Like I said, so many things happen in

In our eventing industry, I try to forget anything that’s bad. I’m sure if you can ask me a month from now and I really go and think about it, I can pick top three, but I tend not to look at it. I tend not to even if something ever happened bad, it’s already erased from my memory. I don’t I can’t hold on to any negativity. There’s absolutely nothing. That I do want to remember.

Christél: I suppose you never lose your temper.

Heidi: I never lose my temper. I must be honest.

I don’t know. I need to go and think back even. I will never in an event. I might lose my temper for my husband. That is very, that can happen. I think, you know, somebody needs to get the brunt of it sometimes. And the same for him. I think he won’t lose his temper, but obviously you might like say, why have you done this? Or we should have done that. And I think that is again normal, but yeah, it’s not that kind of business where you lose temper. You just can’t. Just there’s no.

time in our business to ponder about you should have, you must have, or we could have. There’s no let’s call the boardroom meeting together and let’s have a discussion and a deliberation about a decision. There’s nothing like that. It is you have to make a decision on a moment and you have to take the consequences of that decision. There is no space. It’s immediately happening. I’m not talking

before the event or after the event, I’m talking when the event is actually happening. So it is very, very difficult and you just need to sometimes make a decision on your gut feeling and roll with it. It might not be the right decision, but you don’t have a choice, you know? You can’t lose your temper, it’s unacceptable. There’s nothing, it doesn’t exist.

Christél: It almost sounds like you can give training in crisis management.

Heidi: Oh yeah, and I think I’ve passing that one with a high degree or high diploma.

That one is my… That is my… You know what it is? It is how to function under immense pressure. When everybody looks at you, you must make decisions the whole time. And you need to smile at everybody the whole time. This one wants his box, that one wants his room key, that one has lost this, this one needs the doctor, that one needs that, that media filming crew is stuck somewhere on a mountain. This one doesn’t got internet, this one run out of money, this car is without fuel. It is like…

I just cannot tell you. It’s like, and then a line of 10 people standing in front of you and everybody wants something from you and you just need to work through them one by one, get through the list, again under high immense pressure. I mean, that’s running constantly.

Christél: And I suppose they don’t always ask nicely.

Heidi: No, adventurous people, people know everybody. I must say, we in the most incredible space, you know, mostly, well.

I know people who work with us. I mean, I think in our sporting code, because it’s so hard, the people who does the sport understands what you as event organizers going through. And yeah, I’ve just had incredible love in my whole journey. That’s maybe why I’m still here. It is just so much appreciation and people are always kind. I’ve never had somebody who’s unkind. I might.

get maybe in the AR World Series, the international world, some hate mails, you know, like people who’s unkind. And it’s purely because that person is sitting in another world and another place in the world. And it’s a keyboard warrior or somebody who doesn’t really understand why certain decisions was made or what’s happening. You know, it’s very difficult, it’s very easy to sit in America and make a judgmental decision on somebody sitting in Africa or South America.

And once you only speak to those people that understand, oh, well, maybe I was a little bit judgmental, whatever. But yeah, in South Africa with our events, people who knows us just have never had any negative person in front of me or people who’s unkind to me.

Christél: I must say, I like your term keyboard warrior. That is a new one.

Heidi: Oh, my goodness. People are…

Have you seen that picture? Always, every time when I get some negative email or somebody complaining about a race, let’s say in another place in the world, because now obviously I get all the complaints of any event in the world that comes to my table. And then I will read it and I’m thinking, ay, you haven’t raced for 15 or 20 years. You’re sitting in your first world country and all you do is you’re typing, you know, like something, oh, that guy’s race wasn’t good.

or that RD is doing something wrong or this or this or whatever. And I’m like keyboard warrior, you know, you’re not sitting on the ground. You don’t know really what happened. You know, there’s a picture, my husband showed it to me once. It’s a, you know, when you look at a beauty pageant, you look at the girls walking in their swimwear, like a Miss Universe, and you will sit at your house and you will say, oh, that one is a bit fat. Oh, that one, oh no, she talks ugly. Oh, the hair, yeah, look at that one’s mouth, oh no.

She does, she’s not pretty. And then there’s a photo when they make these comments, it was like a meme, you know, the person is doing the, was sitting in front of the house is like this big fat guy sitting and having a cool drink with the tummy bloated and you know, like very not attractive person. And when you put it into perspective, you always look at that picture and you’re looking at this most wonderful person walking in front of the stage and this one commenting on that person.

You know, it’s like all of us, let’s say commenting on Kim Kardashian, you know, we’ll have something to say, or any other celebrity in the world. But I mean, have a look a little bit at yourself. I mean, do you every day dress up and walk on your high heels and look your best and go out, imagine paparazzi follows you every day. So I, I imagine, you know, like we all have something to say about other people. But I mean, look just a little bit in the mirror. And so you have to, I mean, in business. Just.

Just for a moment, always get silent and just remember who is typing and where is that person typing from? And I call it keyboard warriors. And just relax about the negative comment or the negative email you get and really put it in perspective and just think, you know what? You don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. I’m not even gonna waste one minute of my energy.

Christél: I need to come and get lessons from you on how to stay calm. But Heidi.

You’ve mentioned the international athletes and adventure racing world series, but nature is a globalist organization. Would you ever consider leaving South Africa for the jungles and mountains and deserts elsewhere?

Heidi: I don’t need to leave South Africa because with AR World Series it’s a global company. I’m running it from South Africa. I can run it from anywhere in the world.

Remember, Adventure Racing World Series is a global marketing platform. It’s pretty much like Iron Man. And we unite all the adventure races in the world. They are part of as a member and they are a member of the Global Series. And the Global Series goal is to enhance and promote all these races in the world. So it’s made in South Africa, Australia, doesn’t matter where it is. We have a big media team and obviously on all the social media platforms.

and we give guidelines on races, how to improve, how to develop. It is very difficult because we don’t have an office, because my media director, admin person, accounts, somebody sits in America, somebody sits in India, somebody sits in the UK. So we are basically pretty much the team is spread around the world. So, and it doesn’t matter where we are. Anyway, basically every second month travelled to a race somewhere in the world. So.

At this point in time, it is not a, it’s not an option for me to move anywhere because it won’t make any difference. And also, like I said, every year I’ve got my race, let’s say Namibia, I’m moving anywhere now to Namibia. And again, Namibia, you can’t just move there. I’m just now fortunate that I can move to Namibia because I’m actually Namibian. I’m born in Namibia. Oh, cool. So I have a Namibian passport. So that gives me now the opportunity to go there.

So, you know, like, I mean, it’s also not so easy, just like people ask you, oh, will you go and live somewhere? I’m like, you can’t just go and live anywhere. You don’t have a visa. You don’t have a, you know what I mean? It’s not that kind of company where the company sits now in the UK and they employ me and I go and sit in the UK. So it is a global company. It’s registered in America, but basically there’s no hard office where I can say, oh, everybody now sits in the office in America.

At this point in time, AR World Series is a global company and all the staff and all the non-executive board and everybody is spread around the world.

Christél: It almost sounds like you’ve got one person on each continent.

Heidi: I have. I have regional managers in South America, in America, in Asia, in Australia. I have. The whole team is around the world.

Christél: Just quickly, you’ve mentioned earlier all the stresses and strains of organizing these amazing events, but what do you do except for racing? What is your fun and exciting ways that you use to regroup, refocus and rejuvenate?

Um, I do, I must be very honest at this specific time when you know, I do the interview with me. I can honestly say that I’m completely unbalanced. So for anybody who’s listening, yeah, I am. Um, even my mom will say to me, Heidi, you’ll have to just get away a little bit. You just, it’s too much of it’s been adventure racing and business and sport and people in this race and that race and, and all of that.

I do tend to say that after the World Champs, it was such a big build up in our lives and such a big commitment. I just kept on saying, I just need to survive until, in my brain, it was like, I just need to survive until after World Champs. I just need to survive until December. I just, everything I did is like, if I’m so tired, I couldn’t anymore. I was just like, just hold on to December. You know, like, no, I can honestly tell you, I’m just like…

Just get everything done this week. Do the last interviews, do the last finances, do the last year-end meetings. Kind of just hold on to next week. So that is where I am currently. And I mean, if you have this interview with me, let’s say in January, I would have told you, oh, well, now I at least had a good rest. So I think very much these interviews are also very interesting because it’s so interesting when you do an interview with a person because it’s where that person is at that point in time in their life.

So I’m now there where I think like most other people, you’re just hanging on for the last week or two, and I’m trying to push to get everything done and sort it out for the years so that I can at least have a little bit of a family break. And for me, it’s very important to, I need to get back into shape. I need to start exercising. I need to make time for myself, and that is what I need. I need to go and run every day. I mean, so we do plan to go a little bit away.

so that I can, and I also then stay away from social media. Now a lot of my work is social media because I have to promote and see all the events around the world, but I do tend to completely switch my phone off just to get some time with my children. We have a place at the dam or on the ski with the children, just lie at the pool a little bit, play puzzles, do the normal family stuff. I love watching movies.

You know, I would love every movie at the movie house. Just don’t have time for those things anymore. So I always just try to go back to go and do your hair a little bit, go and do a facial. Just, like I say, just be. And you need a day or two or three, two to wire down, if that is the right saying. I don’t think I will ever get back to the phase where I actually pick up a book and read a book. I don’t think that kind of calmness and…

that will ever happen because I can’t just go for two weeks and not think because the more I’m resting, the more my mind is thinking about the next race and all the things I need to do. So unfortunately, I think that happens with an entrepreneur. I find that that’s the most difficult part. You’re not working for a salary. So I’m not five o’clock locking my door of the office and I go home. I always look when we have now, obviously now it’s family time and we have all this Christmas.

functions and get togethers with friends. I always seem to look at other people and I’m thinking how does it feel to actually lock the door and go home and tonight I can just talk to my husband about, I don’t know, about the kids maybe. How does it feel just to be like that? Because I need to stop the whole time to say, okay, now that we have to do this, okay, I’m gonna see that sponsor, how can I do this? Okay, have you seen what they did in that race? Maybe we should implement that in our race.

Okay, when are we going? It’s like my mind cannot stop. Like I’m so completely emerged in what I’m doing. I think that is for me the most difficult part. So I physically, we actually, me and my husband need to tell each other we’re not talking about adventure racing. And I promise you, it maybe goes for one day. We can maybe, and every time when he says something, I’m like, uh-uh, no, mm-mm, no. And then it will maybe be for a day. And then before we know, it’s like.

Oh no, we still have to do that. Okay. We haven’t sorted that out. Okay. Do we have the maps for next year? And then we start again. Hectic. It’s hectic. What do I do? I try just to be a normal mom, be with my children. I don’t know. Just for me, that is it. Just, just do nothing. Just have a braai. Just wash clothes. Pack, pack my house. My house is a disaster. Sort out clothes. Just. Yeah. Just be.

That’s not normal!

Christél: No, no, normal is you get somebody else to come and do everything that needs to be done.

But Heidi, you said that we’re obviously at literally at the end of the year. If I asked you in January, the answer would have been different. What would be your answer in January?

Heidi: In January, I might, I don’t know, spark a with new many more bubbly ideas of what I’m going to do. Now, yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know. In January, it is I’ve had a holiday. I have a tan.

Um, I’m fit. I’m fit. I’ve got, I can suck a little bit again. Um, uh, yeah, maybe that will be kind of where I’m in January. Um, I’m excited for my next move. I don’t know. I just, yeah, I think that that will be more, I will be just more, you know, like now your battery is kind of flat and you know that you need resting time. And in January, it’s just the same Heidi.

and just like, I’m ready for this year. I’m gonna conquer more mountains, more races. And that is important why you need to get this little bit of a two week break to just go back a little bit to the basics, you know, have Christmas family time, just connect again with God and connect with your life and connect with silence and just focus on what is your four or five year dream and goals.

You know, as an entrepreneur like us and many other people, you know, you need to turn around every cent and you need to manage it so carefully because you never know what’s going, what’s coming. There’s no, nobody’s paying your salary. You know, you have to work it out so carefully. What is happening after Namibia? You know, always look at your life and I’m thinking, you know, where are we going in two, three years’ time? You know, it all sounds all so wonderful and great, but. But.

somebody needs to work it out. And it’s me, you know, I’m the one who, my husband looks at me and he’s like, well, you tell me where’s the next destination and we’re going. And I’m like, well, I need to go and find the next destination. You know, so Namibia is not where it stops, that’s 24. What happens in 25 and 26? And you have that fear as well, you know, thinking, I don’t have all the answers.

You know, like any entrepreneur, you have to have faith, you have to believe in what you’re doing, you need to believe that, you know, God will send me the next destination and the next country will come and ask for us to come and have an event there. And somehow something is going to happen to open the doors. You know, if that is not your personality that you can function on that kind of unknown, you know, this will be a very scary thing for you to do in your life.

Yeah, it’s not for everybody. For me, I’m just completely emerged, and I know God’s going to show me the next way to go. And I must don’t question it. I must just believe it.

Christél: Super, super inspirational because people very often tend to steer away talking about God in their business. But I can just see you sitting somewhere at the top of a mountain talking to God.

Heidi: Oh, yes. I feel always look at…

actually go and look at my promo videos. I don’t know if you’ve looked at a world change promo video.

Christél: I have, I have.

Heidi: Yes and even if you look at Namibia, I mean Namibia is the starting clip that says it all. You will see it’s actually if anybody’s listening and looking at it I’m like standing on the dune with the sunrise and looking over the dune fields. Now if you look at that clip

feel all the emotion and all the passion and all the love and faith I just need to give into that moment where I say to God, here I am, here I am, I don’t know what’s coming for us. And I just need to look into the distance and see your beauty and believe that people will follow us and believe that the sponsors will come and the doors will open for us and that’s just how it is.

Christél: think in Afrikaans you would say this is ‘hoendervlies’ stuff.

Heidi: Yeah. Very, very. Yeah, I mean how did I know when I was 20 it’s going to turn out like this, but yeah.

Christél: Speaking of being 20, if you could be 20 years old again, would you change anything? And what would it be?

Heidi: No, I always think about that and I think when I was 20, you know, you just go with the flow and do everything and like I said, I was diving and beauty pageants and racing and just everything, the same craziness as now, but just, you know, in a different format. No, I’m not changing everything. I cried for many, many years, if I can be very honest, because I didn’t win Miss South Africa.

That was in that space in my life, maybe for me, the biggest failure. You know, I just wanted to so badly be Miss SA and being first runner up, people, everybody said to you, congratulations, congratulations. So great. And, and God really had to walk this journey through me to understand that by not winning Miss SA, I’ve actually won so much in life. I’ve realized.

how badly you want something and sometimes, you know, it was just that I had to believe it was not meant to be for me. And I’ve won so much more by not winning. But if you just keep on winning and winning, winning everything in life, it’s so easy. Life is just so easy. But sometimes by not winning and by having failure, you just get, it improves. It makes you so much better. So in a way, when I was steady, you asked me this question, I would have taught you straight, yes. I would have changed something. I should have won, Miss SA.

because I could have maybe gone to Miss Universe and I could have done TV presenting and other modelling things and I could have done completely other stuff. You know, your life could have been completely different. And now in my 40s, I say to you, no, it was perfect. Everything was just perfect. And then, you know, I’ve met my husband and I raised and I had children and I lived life. I mean, I’ve had races, I’ve cried. I’ve like, I don’t know.

you know, it’s this, this, this, you know, and the up and down and the ebb and flow of life. I just love it. Every time when, when times is a little bit hard, I know it’s just the chapter where I am, because you know, God is grounding me again and he’s like telling me, hey, come back to me or listen to me. Like I’m in charge and like, it’s just how I go. No, I don’t want to change anything. I’m, I’m so grateful for.

this incredible journey we’ve had. I don’t know many other people who’s got our lives and I mean there are many sporting people, many events people in the world but well you know for those who really know everything we do and and how we the world we see and travel and the complexity of it I mean I don’t know I wouldn’t I wouldn’t have changed it for anything I’m so grateful and I think it is one of a kind you know.

I have not met another family like us. It’s so special. So no, I wouldn’t have changed anything.

Christél: That is super, super inspiring just listening to you. But Heidi, if you could give a message to an entrepreneur somewhere today that is feeling down and miserable, haven’t achieved what they should have achieved throughout the year, what message would you be able to bring them?

There’s so many messages we always can share when you sit around a table of entrepreneurs. I think it’s so hard in our country. It is really so difficult to be a financially stable business. We need to, you know what I mean, if anybody is in my space or not even in my space, it doesn’t matter what business you have.

It is hours and hours of believing in dedication and what you do. I think to understand that it doesn’t come in one, two, three, even five years. We really only made the change in our business stability wise after five, six years. Um, if you have bonded my house, I’ve borrowed money. I paid money back. I cannot tell you what we’ve done to survive. I think.

You’ll have to look, of course, in your business and keep, I think the bottom line is for the success of us and I mean, whoever’s listening need to look in their own businesses and what they do, but to be so careful and not to overspend. And I think our success has been that we are just very minimalistic and not overspenders. We don’t have a big house. We don’t have a luxurious life. We turn around every penny.

We are just so conservative with with our spending My husband is like a financial freak like even if I buy coffee That slip goes into the cash flow. Every tollgate fee goes in the cash flow So you you have you have to have a very solid financial foundation of what the money aspect of your event. Do you make money or not and many years you might not make money? Where do you get the money then to fund your project?

And so the financial or to run a business is not only the passion and excitement and the love of the business But you will need to look at the business aspect of it and then see okay. Where can you cut costs? I mean a lot of the consulting I do is just like can you get a cheaper t-shirt? And do you need to give a medal? It’s really really like how much fuel do you spend? You know like break it down and your financial aspect and really to make it work

So that is something you need to get a grip on and take maybe this year in time, take maybe this time to consolidate. And that is what I’m doing. Take a time where you go back to the finances and the books and say, okay, this is really what happened this year. Did I make money? Did I not make? Where can I really spend less? I mean, don’t pull a big salary, pull the minimum. You have to go back to that basics of business.

So that is one section of it and like I said, maybe take this time to really look at the essence of it And if your finances and everything then looks maybe a little bit down and depressing and you’re really thinking what to do I’m the big believer of you need to be completely obsessively emerged in your business to make it survive because when you doesn’t believe in your product. You cannot sell it to anybody else

And every time when I go into a meeting, I know many times, if I come to a person, you look at me in my sporting business, you think, oh, she’s completely crazy. I mean, who can make any business out of that? And somehow yet, I’ve made a success of it every year. Because when I come into the room and I speak to you, the passion, the love, the intensity of it is so much that if I believe in it, I can convince you to believe in me.

So if you look at investors or anybody else, of course you have to have a solid business plan and a project and a thing on the ground. But then with that come that complete immersion and love for what you do, whatever it is. So go and recharge maybe your batteries and go back and get a little bit of silence and quietness and clearness of your head. Entrepreneurs is like also creative people.

You need to go into, like I said, like you said, no, I need to go and walk over that mountain or you need to go and look at the sunsets to clear your mind. Because sometimes you’re so entwined and obsessed about the hardships and how you hustle it out every day. We are so tired of hustling. Go away with your family or going away yourself or go then if you don’t even have money for that, walk around the park and try to clear your head and get.

calmness in your heart and go back to the drawing board and say, okay, how do I start the New Year again? Um, and then of course you must have family and friends or people who can help you, of course, consult with other people. Of course, phone me if you need some, phone me or anybody else. And that’s what other entrepreneurs do. We help each other. I mean, I’ve got people I call and sometimes say, how do I handle this message? How to handle the situation? I think the biggest problem is sometimes we’re scared to ask for help.

We’re scared to say like, I need help, I need support. I’m in trouble. And by the time it’s too deep into trouble, people can’t help you. So maybe a little bit more quietness, maybe a little bit more honesty. And then go back to the drawing board and say, okay, what am I gonna do for the new year? And maybe share your concepts and ideas with others or pull in partners and consult. You know, when I speak to you, when we sit around the table,

and we share thoughts and ideas, you’d say something that either inspire me or I can think, oh, that is a shortcoming of my business. You know, nobody of us are perfect. Nobody is perfect. And yeah, I mean, overall I can say many messages, but go back to the drawing board, speak to other people. You know, us South African people, in my opinion, are amazing. We just don’t have the confidence to pick up the call or send an email and say,

I mean, can you give me advice? Can you help me? You know, we are there for each other. But of course we are always so proud. Maybe I don’t have that, it’s maybe more a male thing who’s got that feelings. Where maybe as a woman, it’s maybe a little bit easier for me because I will call a friend and I will say like, listen, I’m in trouble. Maybe it’s just a personality thing. But.

Take maybe a little bit of that confidence, maybe if I give that to you today, and it’s not a failure if you say you’re in trouble. And avoid all the future problems and reach out to people earlier or your business partners instead of hiding it until you’re so far deep in the problems that nobody can help you anymore. But yeah, I mean, it’s so easy. It is so easy to speak these things on a phone call and maybe somebody’s listening there and they are so deep down in the wrong side.

Christél: But I like the part where you say nobody’s perfect, and it almost brings me back to just looking at some of your PR photos it almost looks like we’ve mentioned earlier this fairy tale life that you’ve got but in the end nobody’s perfect.

Heidi: Nobody is perfect I mean you have to and and and

that I openly say always, I mean even when we have our media meetings and before we have a big event, I always say to everybody that remember you are gonna make a mistake some way, you are gonna do something wrong some way, really nobody is perfect, you can strive, I mean my saying is we strive for excellence and if you have that strive for excellence you are always trying to excel, I think that is why you never sleep, you always try to make it better.

Every time when we have an event, people will say to me, Heidi, but you pushed the boundary now. It was last year, yeah, now it’s there. I think it’s just a natural inner drive that like, sometimes I’ll say, can somebody just hold me on, put like weights on my feet because I feel like I’m just wanna fly, you know, forward and up. And that is how I visualize it. And then, and that’s why I always say to my husband, thank you for allowing me to fly because…

That is what’s ultimate support. And when you’re together, your partner allows you to fly and you say, no, I’m not gonna put any weights on your feet, you must just go. But I’m just fortunate and likely in that sense that I’ve got such a husband who’s like 100% supporting his wife that she can just, like I said, spread your wings and fly, my love. You know, the world is yours. And while I’m still alive and healthy,

and have how many years left, that is really just my philosophy, just to go and like I said, spread my wings and believe God will take me wherever I must go and don’t question what is the next day and where it’s gonna bring me. But for me that has worked because it’s been 12-13 years and just how I live my life. But it’s very difficult maybe for somebody else who’s not in my space and maybe this personality to live and carve it out like me. Other people are more

They need maybe more structure and they need more solidness. We, you know, we are all differently built, but yet in that I’m not perfect. You know, I have weaknesses and it is better just to, to maybe acknowledge and know yourself and say, but this is my weakness. This year is where I need help and support. And maybe it’s more the honesty, I think anybody in their business. And you know, when you, you know, when you sit around a boardroom and you have a CEO or,

somebody in the room having more empathy and having more like, like I said, nobody’s perfect. We strive more to be perfect, but there needs to be a little bit of room of where we’re going to drop the balls.

Christél: Absolutely.

Heidi: Then, you know what I mean, then we’re more forgiving. We have a little bit more empathy for another person, more understanding. I think the world is, like I say, these keyboard warriors and

People are so cruel, people are so hard.

So maybe whoever’s listening to me today, forget about other people, forget about how they do their stuff, do a little bit more introspection and fix and heal and make yourself better. And being a little less judgmental of other people. And in the end, anything is possible. In the end, anything is possible. Some is gonna work and some is not gonna work, but.

You know, if you don’t try and if you don’t dare, how would you know?