Award Winning Copywriter, International Keynote Speaker & Teacher

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If you’re impressed by award wins, you should know that Tiffany Markman was the Most Effective Copywriter in Southern Africa in 2022…and the best in Africa in 2023.

Happily self-employed for 19 years, Tiffany has written for 570 brands in 16 countries and trained 36000 people so far.

A sought-after international keynote speaker, she’s known for her energetic, practical and humorous talks and keynotes on creativity, digital marketing, branding and business.

Tiffany loves strong black coffee, sharp pencils with erasers on the end and beginning sentences with conjunctions like “And” and “But”.

Roughly summarized, we spoke about:

  • Why the hell you should not be an entrepreneur?
  • What to do if you do make the mistake of becoming an entrepreneur?
  • How you should thank overpaid business coaches who had the nerve to advise you that you should be an entrepreneur?
  • How not to be an entrepreneurial dick?
  • And why you should not sign up for her training.

Or did we get it all wrong?  You be the judge and the jury.

If you have any inclination about how amazing this brilliant mom of one is, you should not miss this episode of our conversation with the first-ever recipient of the Expedition Business World’s Best Copywriter Award:  Tiffany Markman!

To find out more about this Word Magistri, follow the links below
(after you have listened to our episode!):



REMEMBER TO SHARE our episode with Tiffany Markman with ALL YOUR FRIENDS & FAMILY!!  The world’s future entrepreneurs depend on you! 

If you want the standard version of Tiffany’s Bio, ask Perplexity ‘Who is Tiffany Markman.’

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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. Because 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 seats today, because I have the privilege of talking to Tiffany Markman. But before I introduce Tiffany 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.


Christél: Tiffany, welcome to Expedition Business. We are ecstatic to have you with us today.


Tiffany:Thank you for having me, I’m looking forward to chatting to you. 

Christél: Tiffany, I just have to read your intro on your website to our listeners. I’m Tiffany Morgman. I’m an expert in writing, writing that tells, writing that sells and writing that matters. Every day I try to be a better writer than I was the day before. Some even say I’m the,


best copywriter in the world. Truthfully, if you go by award wins in 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023, I could be the best copywriter in Southern Africa. Please just elaborate on all the awards that you’ve won and what it means to you.


Tiffany: Look, awards are amazing, but they’re much more amazing for marketing purposes than anything else, because as with anything in life, awards are relative. I have had the privilege and honour of winning a couple of industry awards, copywriting awards over the last few years. 


But, because I’m a corporate and commercial writer, predominantly I’m not a candidate for the luries or the cams lions or any of the sexy awards and so the awards that I won tend to be quite low key and not very well known and very very specialised so the most recent one was last year’s one where I won best copywriter in Africa but in the corporate and commercial space. So that is a very very very small point and I’m proud to be a very big fish.


in that very small pond, but let’s not think for one moment that it’s the Pulitzer Prize, because of course it isn’t. And the real benefit of those kinds of awards is credibility building and marketing purposes. I mean, they want to people who have actually heard of these organisations, but by and large, it’s just very nice to put on a website to be able to say that you’ve been recognized by your peers for anything. Yeah, but awards are relative.


Christél: Well, the reality is there is an insane amount of copywriters out there that we just wish they can win all the awards that you have won. So whether it’s a Pulitzer or not, it is definitely something to be seriously proud of. But tell me something, you’ve always been a freelancer as far as I know. Did you not? Almost. Okay. How did that work? I…


Tiffany: I began my sort of employment career quite young. So my first job was 16. I was a waitress at the very first fishmonger. 

Christél: Yes. 

Tiffany: I then took a year off after my trick, but not just to travel because I didn’t have any money. I took a year off work because I wanted to save up to buy a secondhand car. And so then I had a job, a real job job, a nine to five for a year. Then I went to university for four years and I worked


throughout, but not in traditional employment. I was a tutor. So I taught English, Afrikaans, Hebrew, French, and other extra lessons. And then I got a real job in publishing. After my honours degree, I was in publishing for two or three years, and then I became a freelancer. So I’ve been a freelancer for 20 years, but I have had, you know, traditional jobs in the past.


and still flexible. 

Christél: So what made you going for freelance work as opposed to a full-time job? 

Tiffany: I never intended to be self-employed. It was never something I wanted. It was never something that was on the cards for me. In fact, when I left my job in publishing in 2005, I went to see a business coach. And business coaches weren’t really a thing back then. This is 19 years ago.


And I remember the business coach charged me R500 for the hour consultation, which was a fortune in 2005. And she said to me, you know, you, with your personality and your skillset, you should go on your own. And I said to her, I’m 25. Well, I was 24. I’m not, I can’t go on my own. I don’t know anything. You know, I’m not on. I don’t know anything about assets or liabilities or tax or that, or books or.


you know, anything like that. I can’t possibly go on my own. What stupid advice, you know, drove home thinking, what a waste of money. But actually in the time between leaving that job and finding what I thought would be my next traditional employment job, I started freelancing just to make ends meet, you know, to tie it over until whatever the next job was, which I, I think I thought would be in publishing again.


It just so happened that the market was ready for freelance copy and freelance editing, which I did a lot in those days. And within three months, I had stopped going for interviews. Within six months, I had doubled my salary. And that was almost 20 years ago. So it happened by accident. And if I had known what I was doing, I wouldn’t have done it. It only happened because I didn’t realise that’s what I was doing at the time. 

Christél: Why would you not have done it? 

Tiffany: I wouldn’t have been brave enough to go on my own at 24. Like,


It never occurred to me. Self-employment wasn’t something that I thought was real. My understanding of the world was you got your degree or your qualification or your diploma or your certificate and you got a job and you, I mean, this was 20 years ago, you work your way up and eventually you get promoted and then you get promoted again and maybe you stay in that job or you move to another job. But my understanding of myself was always that I would be an employee. You know, be a manager one day, but certainly a salary, an office, KPIs.


That’s how I understood myself. And I think if I’d realised that what I was doing was actually building a very, very small business, I don’t think I would have done it. 

Christél: Okay. But knowing what you know now about yourself and how amazing you are, and all the entrepreneurial skills that comes with it, would you not make the same choice? 

Tiffany: I would not change.


wouldn’t change a single thing. It was, it took, look, I’ve been freelancing almost as… I’ve been freelancing for half my life. So my understanding of myself is as a self-employed person, right? So I can’t say I would have, I would do the same thing again. I don’t think I would be me if I hadn’t been self-employed all this time.


being self-employed and having autonomy and being independent and being the boss is so much an intrinsic part of my personality and my brain that I wouldn’t be myself if not for 20 years of self-employment. And in 10 years when I’ve done it for 30 and in 40 years, you know, when I’ve done it, it’s more, self-employment is so much more me than anything else. But I think that’s because I’ve evolved into it, not because I was always meant to be employed.


Christél: Sorry, have you gone back to the business coach and say, to say thank you. 

TifFany: I would love to, I would really love to. I rack my brains over the years to try and remember her name. So if you are listening to this, and if you were a business coach in 2005, and a young girl of 24 came to see you in her white Uno, her third-hand Uno that didn’t go into second gear.


and had a fluffy Winnie the Pooh hanging from the back window and a Winnie the Pooh cushion in front because her legs were too short to reach the pedals. If you remember that girl who had giant hair, I mean, I still have giant hair, but now it’s gray. So it was brown back then. And if you remember her, then you may be the female sort of mid-30s coach that I went to see that day. And please look me up because I have some big thanking to do. 

Christél: Whoa, whoa. I have goosebumps.


Tiffany, just quickly, why copywriting? 

Christél: Again, accidental. Copywriting 20 years ago was a thing that only happened inside ad agencies. The only people who knew what copywriting was were agency people. And so the idea that I could go freelance as a copywriter was not really being done. If you were a copywriter, you were a junior and you were employed by an agency and you were managed by a creative director and you worked on a team with designers and whoever.


You certainly were not self-employed. Again, I didn’t know the rules because I didn’t know what I was doing. But because I’d spent two and a half years in book publishing, the only thing I really knew how to do well was write and edit and commission work. And so that’s what I started doing just because that’s what I knew I could do until I found the job. 

Christél: A real job. 

Tiffany: Over the years, what happened was the editing side of things


became less of a focal point for me. And the writing side became more of a focal point for me to the extent that I now do no editing at all. I mean, I’ll edit as part of a bigger project but I don’t offer editing services. So I won’t like edit a manuscript or edit a report or edit a book or anything. And also what happened was because I was a soloist, the work that I kept getting wasn’t agency kind of work. It wasn’t…


fast moving consumer goods, it wasn’t FMCGs and retail and stuff like that. It was corporate and commercial work. So financial, medical schemes, insurance, law, engineering, construction, about which I knew absolutely nothing. But I was young and I was a very, very quick learner. And the market was quite generous with, with young new people in those days. So they gave me chances that I probably wouldn’t give to a 24 year old. And so there was a lot of corporate and commercial work.


that needed to be done that wasn’t being done by agencies. And so for some reason, I just found myself in that area. And that’s where I’ve remained. And I’ve now become quite knowledgeable on, you know, economics and finance and the markets and healthcare and insurance and wealth management and things that, you know, never occurred to me would be a field that I would work in, but that is where the bulk of my work comes from. And I’m almost exclusively B2B now. So I only work.


companies are very seldom will work for or write for consumers or individuals. 

Christél: Just quickly, speaking of ad agencies, don’t you think one of the reasons why they come to you is because ad agencies are just completely overpriced? 


Tiffany: Maybe now, but they weren’t always. But remember that in a traditional agency model, it simply doesn’t make sense to have a corporate writer on staff.


It makes sense to have a whole lot of juniors who are generalists on staff. So the reason that the client will come to me is not because they can’t afford the agency, it’s because the agency doesn’t have a heavyweight writer who writes about the things I write about. And of course I am much cheaper than any agency because I have minimal overheads. It’s me and my little office and my personal assistant and one junior writer, and that is the extent of this business. It’s tiny. I mean, it’s not even an SMME, it’s a nano-corp.


And it has no growth aspirations. So I have no intention of being an agency or growing into a firm or having a team. I’ve done that. I hated every minute of it. It lasted about a year. And then I went back to just being alone and both my PA and my junior are remote. So the only person who sits in this office all day is me, which is the way I like it. And so yeah, the agencies can’t compete on price.


But I can’t compete on specialty, but I can’t compete on speed. So because I’m only one person and not 10 juniors, everyone’s project has to fit in between everybody else’s project. So it’s not a do this by tomorrow situation. If the client is after speed, I’m the wrong writer. If the client is after quality or strategy or very technical work, then I am the right writer. And that’s fine. There’s enough work out there for lots of us.


And what often happens is that I will work with clients directly. So it’s very seldom that the agency will bring me in. It’s often that the client will come to me directly and then introduce me to the agency and say, Tiffany, this is our creative agency agency. This is Tiffany, the corporate and commercial writer, and she will work with your team. And most agencies are quite open to doing that. So I also think, yeah, I think there’s something to be said for both. I like working with clients directly, but I like working with


fellow creators as well. 

Christél: Tiffany you’ve mentioned that you have a lot of projects to fit into your schedule. How on earth do you manage to do all your work and still fit in your normal private life? Being a mom, being everything else, how on earth do you fit it in? 


Tiffany: Well my private life is what happens in between my work projects, not the other way around.


So my work doesn’t fit in where my life stops. My life fits in where my work stops. And I’ve always been like that. I don’t think that’s something to try and emulate. I actually think it’s extremely unhealthy to work as hard as I work. But I am aware of that about myself. So over the last couple of years, I have tried to take my workaholism down several levels and I have succeeded, but I’m still an absolute workaholic and probably always will be. So you get people who stress eat or stress exercise or stress shop, I stress work.


Christél: Okay. 

Tiffany: I love my work. I would do this for 12 hours a day if I could. And I also don’t believe that work-life balance is possible, or certainly I’m not capable of it. So what I try to do is work-life integration, which means I only work four days a week. I don’t work on Fridays. I don’t work on weekends. I try to stop at 6 p.m. when my husband will typically say, it’s enough.


Yeah, I don’t really take my work home emotionally or intellectually. That’s really it. We have my husband and I have one child. So, you know, there’s, we outnumber her. So there’s two of us and one of her, which means she’s always got someone. I don’t think I could work this hard if I had more than one child. I don’t think I could work this hard if I had a, you know, a workaholic husband. You can, I think you can only have one workaholic parent in a marriage or in a family and that’s me.


Okay. So tell me quickly when it comes to your work, which you say you are a workaholic, what makes you feel on top of the world? Uh, that’s such a lovely question. I don’t think I’ve ever been asked that before. What makes me feel on top of the world? So many things. Learning something new. So, um, and it can be something really tiny, like I recently discovered


Time boxing, which is a technique of planning your day so that things get grouped up into little boxes, which just appeals to my left brain. So that just makes me so happy. I love learning. What else makes me happy? Nice people, intelligent conversations. What interesting copy makes me happy, whether mine or someone else’s. I love teaching on stage. So I love teaching big groups, big audiences about things they don’t know, like.


you know, bare bones, social media or, you know, basic writing for AI or uninstalling imposter syndrome. I love standing on stage and teaching sort of two, three, 400 people at a time. I love being efficient. I love ticking things off my list. I am a manic and obsessive and I color code everything and I like ticking off when things are done. And I like stationary and I like fine art.


And I like the stock market. Oh, wow. What do you do on the stock market? Well, learn. I learn and make mistakes. I was almost entirely financially illiterate until I was quite old. And I decided to take that in hand. And so I taught myself a bit about equities and a bit about…


ETFs, exchange traded funds, and a bit about commodities and diversification and stuff like that. And now I’m completely fascinated by shares and stocks. And I think in another life, I might’ve gone into finance maybe. Wow. I love that. But that only came later in life. And then in my thirties, I discovered that I really liked fine art, buying it, looking at it, doing it. Yes, but I’m very bad at it. So it’s one of those things that I do, even though I’m objectively poor at it.


I think it’s very healthy to do things you are bad at. But as long as you enjoy it. Yeah. So I don’t need to be good at it for it to be fun. I also run and I run slowly and clumsily and I enjoy it even though I’m bad at it. Oh wow. What do you run? Very small races, 5Ks. Okay. Well, that is very, very good to hear.


and it’s definitely much better than doing absolutely nothing. And sometimes a 5K is the absolute most fun you can have. Yeah, look, I went from zero to 5K. So 5K for me is like a big achievement. And I’ve recently, my daughter does powerlifting. Wow. So I’ve recently started powerlifting with her, which is quite something. Wow, wow. A woman of many, many talents. Some talents and some mediocre abilities.


Well, as long as you try it. Yeah, Tiffany, I just want to quickly ask you because I do some writing myself. I want to ask you. How does it feel? when you’ve written a piece and you reread it a second time when you finished and you think wow that I do this That is a wonderful feeling. It usually doesn’t have for me. It usually doesn’t happen immediately


So very seldom will I read a piece of work, you know, within a couple of days of creating it and think, oh, that was so good. What will usually happen is I’ll write something and then years later, I’ll see it again and I’ll think, did I write that? That’s really good. So usually there’s a much bigger gap between the writing of it and the being very impressed by it. But it is an absolutely wonderful feeling. And it’s bittersweet because you think.


Jeez, that was really good. I don’t think I’m that good anymore. You know, I’ve gotten old, maybe I’m not that sharp anymore. You think you’ve lost it and you probably haven’t. No, you haven’t. But that brings me to another topic which you talk about quite a lot and that’s AI. And do you get the same feeling when you have used AI for writing? I don’t use AI for writing. No, I use AI for research. Okay. So I love


Well, I can’t say I love AI because I only use LLMs, which are large language models like Chatchie PT or perplexity or Bing. I absolutely love them because what they do is they, they move me away from my own biases. So for example, if I’m writing a, a deck of web copy for a client, and let’s say the client is in supply chain logistics. The client has briefed me, I’ve asked my questions, I’ve spoken to the development team, so I have a site map.


So I know what the sections are that should go in for this client. And also I know what best practice looks like both for Google and for the industry. So, you know, I’ve got a rough sense of, of what’s going on, but there is the risk of them that I’m operating off the back of my own assumptions, because what if there’s something I would never think of? And the best way to find that out is to ask, to ask a large language model and to say to chat GPT or whoever.


I’m a copywriter writing website copy for this client in supply chain logistics, their audiences, Australian yogurt manufacturers. Here is the list of sections that I’m intending to include in this website. What have I missed? And then it will make suggestions, some of which will be objectively terrible. And maybe one or two little golden nuggets in there. So I will often use AI for that. I will often ask my assistant to use AI. So I will send her off to one of them and say,


I’m going to be working with this brand on their brand voice process on Monday. Can you please ask AI to ask an AI platform to, to write up a little summary of the personality that comes through in their web copy, their Facebook profile, their LinkedIn and their Instagram. And then my assistant will do that and send me the document. And then I will have the bare bones of an idea of what that brand’s vibe is currently like so that I can work with them organically to change it.


So as a research tool, it’s wonderful. You can’t really trust anything it says though. So, you know, you can’t sell the output of an LLM to a client because it isn’t yours and it’s not original. But if you are comfortable taking everything it says or suggests with a pinch of salt, then I think there’s huge value to be gained from AI, but again, I don’t use it for writing and I think that I would, I and most other writers would find it very hard to be blown away by what we would produce if we were relying.


AI is amazing and fast and quick and cool and whatever, but it’s not nuanced and it’s not unexpected and it’s not flawed or vulnerable or any of the things that copy and content and comes need to be today. But the reality is there are people out there that use AI for writing. Yes, but those are not writers. Uh-huh, but I think they are. Do they? I don’t know if they really think they are.


I think that they might market themselves as writers. They might, there might be a gap in the market that they can currently exploit. But do those people really believe deep down that they are copywriters or I doubt that very much. There’s a world of difference between a content creator and a copywriter. It’s two very different brains. It’s two very different outputs. I would be very suspicious of any


person relying on AI to generate copy content or comms and calling themselves a copyrighter. It’s like having a premium Canva account and calling yourself a graphic designer. It’s just nonsense. I like that thought. But Tiffany, when I hear you speak, it sounds like you’ve got no worries. You always on a high. You never have challenges.


or have I missed anything? No human being on earth is always on a high and never has challenges. And you also have the unique perspective of catching me in a 90 minute window where I was prepared to talk to you. And in the, you know, so if you wake me up at five in the morning and ask me these questions, you’ll get very different answers. But no human being is free of challenges. No human being has not gone through fire at one time or another. No human being has.


marched out of a pandemic or a global financial crisis or load shedding or a dubious global political climate unscathed, that’s just not, that’s not a human, that’s a robot. And everyone that I know has had hard times or is having hard times, certainly at my age now, the early 40s, we are very much the sandwich generation. So between our teenage children and our ailing and elderly parents,


And people have a lot going on. I like to think that most of my traumas hit me early and I now have the rest of my adult life to work through them in therapy. But I was very, very young when all my bad things happened. And so I’ve had many, many years to work on them. And have you already worked when all the bad things happened or was it before?


I was 10 when, well, I was six when my father passed away and 10 by the time my grandfather had passed away. And we were very financially challenged for my whole life until I was about 18 and started earning money. So things were complicated when I was very, you know, from six to about 16. But I mean, again, what that did was it created a, out of absolute fear of poverty, it created the most.


unbelievable work ethic. So, you know, there’s a lot that you’ll do when you’re scared of being hungry. And also a lot of risk that you will not take. So I’m debt averse. I don’t, you know, I don’t believe in car finance. I don’t believe in loans. I don’t believe in credit card debt. I don’t. I’m totally, totally, totally debt averse. And if I don’t have the cash, I can’t afford it.


And that’s not a very exciting way to live, but it certainly gives me the peace of mind that I need. You know, I’m very conservative. And I think all that made me a better business person, but of course, I mean, I could have done without some of, some of the, some of the lows and maybe a few more. And maybe a few more? A few more highs. Okay. I think when I was, I had to, I turned into an adult very, very early. I’m not really,


comfortable having fun. I don’t really like fun. So what would be your definition of fun? Reading.


Okay. And genres that you read? Um, I read purely for entertainment. So I don’t read much nonfiction. And I don’t read much good literature. I read airport books. Okay. Interesting. I can just tune out, you know, like it’s like, I read the Netflix of books. Okay. Okay. No autobiographies about all the


great entrepreneurs and scientists. I’ll read business books as part of my work to learn. But that’s a very different experience because that is, I mean, I’ve got the bookshelf full of business books here and that is a very different experience. There will be a highlighter and a pen and I will make, it’s a very hands-on, it’s not reading, that’s learning. Those books I don’t read for pleasure. For me, there’s no pleasure at all in that kind of.


I want to read Harlan Coban and John Grisham and I don’t know, Karen Slaughter and…


That sort of thing. But you’ve mentioned the airport books. You are on airports quite often because you speak all over the world. You do training all over the world. I suppose, yeah, obviously you love it. Otherwise you wouldn’t have done it. I love speaking and I love speaking internationally. For someone who’s quite adventure averse, I am getting my head around international travel.


I did quite a bit of it before the pandemic and then none during the pandemic. And now a lot of international speaking and a lot of South Africa, you know, around South Africa and Africa. We are speaking to international audiences is absolutely wonderful. I do miss my family when I travel, but I suppose it’s got to be a downside. And I like art a lot, a lot. So any excuse to go and visit art galleries in other countries, that’s almost entirely what I do when I travel for work.


So I was in New York the year before last and Washington, and about 90% of my free time was spent in art galleries. I was in the UK last year, Manchester and London. 90% of my free time was spent either in art galleries or at the theater. I was in India now in February, and I hunted down every art gallery I could find in Delhi. Yeah, so I will usually go in search of fine art. And do you…


Ever journal what you see, make notes, take a lot of photos? I do take a lot of photos of art and of artsy things so often I’ll take photos of street art and things that I see while I’m traveling. Yeah so that’s my Instagram is a great source for all of that. I don’t journal, I don’t write much unless it’s for money.


Okay. I don’t journal like for my own edification. I write because a client wants something. Okay. And writing your own book about all your experiences, your life. I don’t have a book in me. I don’t think I wrote five nonfiction books when I was quite young, before I was 25, but they were commissioned by the Department of Education at the time. So I wrote books about


Leaving school and the importance of voting and social welfare services and emotional intelligence and career development. So those are the five little titles that I wrote when I was young. Those were obviously nonfiction. Do I have another book in me? Certainly not a novel. Like I will never write fiction. There are enough really good writers out there. You don’t need me to write fiction and nonfiction. I don’t know. I guess.


I’m one of the only speakers in the world who doesn’t want to publish a book. And I don’t feel like the world has to hear 30,000 words of my stuff. Like if they want to hear my stuff, they can come watch. That is very, very good to hear. Tiffany, just quickly, we touched on challenges in your life, but on a day-to-day basis, what would typically be something that would distract you?


to be a major challenge? I think this is true of any mom or any parent. You can only be as happy as your least happy child. So if my daughter is having a bad day, I can’t think straight. And I don’t mean if she’s just a bit grumpy because she’s 13 and grumpiness is the standard for 13 year olds. I mean, if she’s having a bad day, then I can’t really function. Happily, that doesn’t happen very often.


And if one of our parents is ill, you know, one of my husband’s two parents, one of, or if my mom isn’t well, um, yeah, then, then that’ll throw me off totally. But aside from that, it’s only the big things that really upset me. It’s ill health in our, in our parents or my daughter being unhappy. There’s not a lot that I can’t withstand beyond that, you know, little things are irritating, but yeah, things are, things are things. And I suppose.


You never get writer’s block. No, writer’s block is, you can’t afford writer’s block when you get paid to write, firstly. And secondly, there are so many techniques to prevent it that no professional writer gets writer’s block. Novelists will get it because they’re not, we write for 10 hours a day. We don’t get writer’s block. If you’re trying to write something for the first time or you have crippling imposter syndrome, you may have writer’s block, but there are ways.


out of it. No, it’s not something that I’ve ever experienced. Okay, now suppose you do training on getting through writer’s block or all of this. Yeah, I mean, I do have a couple of courses that include elements of overcoming writer’s block, overcoming editorial imposter syndrome, how to convey your message, you know, the way that you intend so that what that people understand is what you meant. There are loads of techniques for overcoming writer’s block.


And some of those are in some of my courses, but I do have 25 different courses. So, you know, they don’t all contain every. And where can people find out more about us on your website? On my website, which is, there’s a section called training. And there are three categories of training. There is business writing training, there is social media and there is web copy. And then all of the other courses sort of fit underneath that. But.



most of the information will be there. Okay we will also put the link in the description below so I think people definitely need to check that out. But just getting back to your challenges, what is and we sort of touched on it earlier the fun and exciting ways that you use to regroup, refocus and rejuvenate your soul.


Used to or still do? Still do. Art exhibitions, art galleries, being outdoors. So one of the things I realized last year that really makes me a happier, better person and a more creative professional is what I call open space. So that’s being outside or being in nature or even being on my own patio or being…


Open space in my home, which means keeping it clutter free as far as possible. Open space in my diary, which is not over scheduling. Open space in my head, which is meditation and yoga. Open space for my friends. The open space thing is a big sort of way to remind myself what fun looks like. But also, as I’ve said to you before, and you may have thought that I was joking, I wasn’t joking, my husband, my daughter and I are not fun seekers.


All three of us are big nerds. All three of us read books. All three of us like things to be calm and quiet and peaceful and tidy and organized. We don’t like chaos. We don’t like noise. We don’t like spontaneity. We don’t like adventure sport. We don’t scuba dive or, you know, bungee jump or go rollerblading.



We like to read and we like to think and we like to talk and we like to watch brilliant television and we like to hike and we’re not fun loving. But hiking is quite adventurous. No, not the way we do it. We do it slowly and slowly and cautiously. Well, as long as you do it. Yeah. That is the most important part. I think so. But.


Tiffany, and again, we sort of touched on this earlier on, but if you were 20 years old again, what would you do differently? I don’t know that I would, I started this business just after 24 and I got married at 25. So I don’t know that I would change anything, but if I had to choose a different path entirely, I think I would study finance.


and fine art, rather than a BA in journalism and international political risk analysis. Not because I didn’t love them, but because I think that might have taken me in an interesting direction. I was offered a very, very interesting scholarship at the end of my honors year to study in the UK, which I turned down because I was the only child of a single mom and I wasn’t prepared to leave her. In retrospect, maybe I shouldn’t have said no to that quite so quickly, because I think it would have, you know, would have…


probably change the course of my life, but then I wouldn’t have done all the cool things that I’ve done. So I wouldn’t change anything. I don’t think, uh, maybe just learn more about, about money sooner. Cause that was empowering and fascinating and amazing. I feel like I got married to the right person at the right time. I feel like I had my daughter when I was ready. I feel like I started my business very young, but it turned out to be the right time.



I think I started speaking at the right time. I think I started teaching at the right time. You know, it all works out. Well, it really sounds like you’ve got everything well and truly organized and together there. I am organized, but I also have a wonderful therapist that I see every Thursday, which helps. Okay, okay. And that’s something that you can advise for other people.


I don’t know that psychotherapy is necessarily for everyone, but I do think that life is hard and the world is hard and we are dealing with levels of complexity that our parents could not imagine. And I think that if you can access regular psychotherapy and if it is something that’s possible for you to do either because of a very particular crisis or just because you feel that you need that in your life.


I can’t recommend it highly enough. I started having therapy when I got postnatal depression after my daughter was born. At the time I had no idea that I would stay in therapy for 13 years, but that is what happened. And will I ever stop? I don’t know. Maybe, maybe not. But for now it works. So I’ll keep doing it as long as I can. I don’t believe we can do everything alone. I think we need…


some kind of support. And I do think that looks like different things for different people. I think some people find that maybe in sport or in religion or in spirituality or in a coach of some kind or a mentor of some kind. For me, the managing and the coping of everything is eased significantly by weekly therapy.


you know, sitting across from somebody who doesn’t tell me what I want to hear and asks me hard questions and doesn’t go easy on me. And, you know, you have to really look at some of the things about yourself you didn’t necessarily realize. I can’t recommend it highly enough. And I actually think that I’m pleased to say that when I had PND, it was very much a non-thing. No one spoke about it. It was very…


under the radar behind the scenes. The only person I knew who’d had postnatal depression was Brooke Shields. And I’m pleased to say that that is not the case now and that in the 13 years since I had it, people talk about it openly. There are all sorts of resources available. It is not a secret. I don’t think the level of stigma is attached to it anymore, but goodness, I remember feeling like I was the only person on earth who had ever had postnatal depression. And now every second person I speak to,


has had a bit of it at some point or another. And I promised myself at the time that when, when and if I survived it, which happily I did, that I would never not talk about it. And then I would never be shy to say that I’d had it and that I would never not talk to people, strangers, about it. So it’s just something that I’m… While you spoke now, I was thinking that the number one reason why we’ve started expedition business is


because of all the entrepreneurs out there that literally have a case of entrepreneurial depression from time to time, and thinking that they are alone, and it’s only them that’s suffering. And we like to share stories of amazing people like yourself that’s also going through highs and lows, and how do you cope with it? And I think the more we talk about it, and be open about it, the better everyone would be around us.


Hmm, I agree. I think that self-employment can be very lonely. And the entrepreneurial journey can be very frightening. And the only way through it is community, which is extremely hard to find when you are working all the hours that they are, and you don’t actually know how to express the things that worry you. Yeah, you’ve really got to, you need a brain’s trust. And not a formal one. You need a series of informal brains trusts. If I think about


The role models that I had very early on and then the mentors that I had later, couldn’t have done it without them. And I made a list of them because I was thinking about this yesterday. So there were three early life role models who changed everything for me. And then six later on mentors who didn’t even realize they were mentoring me, but were. And yeah, it makes a difference when you can phone someone and say, am I mad or…


Is it like this? Or what should I do about… You really do need that. And that’s something years ago you mentioned that our parents didn’t have the complexities that we deal with. But they didn’t have access to all those things. In those days, you don’t do that. Well, I think access comes with its own challenges. I think that access makes things very overwhelming.


I think that one of the reasons that we face the levels of stress and trauma and PTSD and you know social ills that we do is because we have so much access to media and social media and other people and opinions and conflict and multimedia imagery and TV and video and the internet and AI and profiling and opinions and you know I think access in itself is problematic. And yes there are things that are okay now that weren’t okay.


in our parents’ day, but there are also things we have to think about that our parents never even considered would be an issue. I mean, our parents’ generation didn’t even worry about seat belts and sunblock. And access to all of this information can make people and does make people very overwhelmed. Take, for example, an entrepreneur who’s experiencing depression. They don’t know whether to go to their church, to their parent, to their partner.


to a life coach, to a business coach, to a therapist, to a counselor, to a social worker, to the internet, to a chat group. It’s, there’s so much that option, there’s so much access that there’s no access. You know, it’s a whole nother set of complications. And becomes overwhelming. I think it really does. I mean, I feel overwhelmed by my email. So, you know, I have to…


Yeah, I have to design systems in order to minimize the overwhelm that I get from the email that I invite into my life. That is very true. But I think what’s very important is whatever you do, don’t cancel the email from Tiffany Markman. Well, no, I mean, some people might not be interested in what I have to say. So if I’m solving your problems,


or telling you stuff you didn’t know, then by all means keep reading. But if not, life’s too short. Find something else to read. Doesn’t have to be me. Don’t read me if I’m not adding value. That would be terrible. That’s like your life that you’re selling to me for what? Go find someone to read valuable. Well, I find you valuable and I love everything that you write. So definitely just quickly, you mentioned earlier you had an opportunity to go and.


for a project in the UK, if I have it correctly. Last year was the UK, the year before was the US, and this year was India. But when you were just finished with your honours degree. Oh, you mean the scholarship? The scholarship, yes, yes. I was offered a scholarship at the end of my post-grad degree, study at a very prestigious…


institution in the UK and I turned it down because I didn’t want to leave my mom. Oh that is so sweet but the question that I want to get to is things could have been completely different if you went for that scholarship but what is your opinion about South Africa and living and working in South Africa at this point in time?


Well, I’m still here and I have no intention of going anywhere. I’ve lived here my whole life. My husband and I are in it for the long haul. And we have no, you know, no secret plans to extricate ourselves. We have no, you know, this is it. I think in this country, you have to be resilient and you have to be robust and you have to make your own luck because the government’s not going to help you one little bit.


In fact, if anything, you’ll get the rug pulled out from under you more often than not. So you have to be you have to be self-led and self-driven. Having said that, I think that South Africans are some of the hardest working, nicest, kindest, most generous, most authentic, most interesting, funniest people on Earth. I could think of nowhere I would rather live. I don’t think the grass is really greener anywhere else. And I would just like to I mean, I think that this country. Has a very problematic history, but has.


has the potential to be paradise if we are led properly by the right people who have the right priorities, with the right systems in place. Honestly, I would absolutely love to die here.


with all the issues, this is the devil that I know, and this is the devil that I prefer. And I think we have all the raw material and all the ingredients of a spectacular country. We just are badly led by individuals who would eat their own young if there was something in it for them. And the answer of course is mobilizing those who don’t vote and the young people to…


understand that those in power are those we put in power. And if we are unhappy with the leaders, then we need to change that. And actually I’ve been dreaming about volunteering for the IEC for so many years as an independent electoral whatever, you know, the person who shows you with this. And I’ve decided that this is the year that I’m actually doing it, but I would love to die here. Fantastic. Just quick question, have you ever thought…


Shibit, I wish I could rewrite your speech for you when you hear our politicians speaking. I try not to listen to them speak because within the first 30 seconds they I can tell that they’re usually talking nonsense. I don’t listen to our politicians when they speak, I’m sorry to tell you. And also I mean one or two of there are a couple of presidential speech writers who are exceptional.


President Ramaphosa has the most magnificent writer on his staff, a woman that I worked closely with many, many years ago. A couple of my lecturers when I was at university subsequently became speechwriters in the president’s office. So those are the days of Mbeki. So I mean, you know, there are some skills in there. I don’t think the problem is the how, I think the problem is the what. I do often hear speeches that I think, oh, I’d really like to change that introduction or why didn’t you weave your narrative all the way through to the end?


But most often, if I’m listening to a speech, I’m listening for the content, not so much for the structure, unless I’m being asked to audit it, in which case that’s a very important. People often say to me, they didn’t wanna email me because they’re scared they’re gonna make a mistake in the email. I’m not looking for mistakes in your email. I’m not getting paid to edit your email. I’m not looking for errors. If my job is to look for errors, I will look for them. But if not, don’t worry about it. Okay. Well, luckily there’s a thing like Grammarly.


that sort of helps a bit. I think you should use whatever tools give you confidence, but it’s important to still sound like yourself. Absolutely. You’ve mentioned earlier you like hiking. So if you put on your hiking shoes and you could climb a metaphorical mountain, what would be the summits that you still want to reach within the next three to five years? So this question is…


is a tricky one for me because I don’t like to think in terms of three to five year goals. I like to think in terms of six to 12 months. Okay. And whenever I’ve been asked this question in the past, and I do get asked this question a lot, my answer has always been more of the same. But in 2024, with AI having changed a lot of things, with the pandemic having changed the way the world works with


global conflicts and water issues and power issues, the world has changed. So I don’t think that answer actually works. I don’t think the more of the same answer actually works. I think three to five years, what, what success or what the pinnacle would look like for me would be having evolved sufficiently to remain relevant. I don’t know what the specifics of that are in a three to five year window, but I do know what the specifics of that are in a six to 12 month window.


So it would be to remain relevant. It would be to still have people wanting my insight and my output and my work. It would be a happy teenager. It would be a happy marriage. My husband will tell you that we have one of the world’s great loves. So I would, we’ve been married 17 years. I would like to have one of the world’s great loves in 20 years. You know, my goals are very small. In six months, I would want to be lifting, I want to be deadlifting more weight. I’d want to be bench pressing more weight. I’d want to be running faster.


I’d want to be meditating more. I’d want to be drinking more water and swearing less. No, that’s very unlucky. And I don’t know, having more pedicures. I don’t really think like that. Can tell you that I’m obsessed with South African bats. And so whatever would be inside that mountain, I would hope that it would be African micro bats in bulk.


because that’s what I like to see bats. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone being obsessed with bats. I am a volunteer bat rehabilitator. And how does that work? I have been trained to rescue, rehabilitate, treat, flight train, wean and release orphaned, injured and ill African bats.


And I suppose the reason why the organization is there is because they’re endangered. I assume. Bats are not endangered. I mean, humans are very dangerous for bats, but bats are not endangered. Bats are an absolutely critical element of the global ecosystem. So with our bats, we all die of malaria. With our bats, forests and jungles don’t get pollinated. With our bats, there is insufficient nitrogen in horticulture. With our bats, medicine doesn’t have…


sufficient anticoagulants to stop, to cause clotting. With our, I could go on for hours, without bats there’s no tequila because they are the sole pollinators of the agave plant. There are all sorts of reasons, they are not endangered, but they are misunderstood. You get single predator is the human followed by the cat. And without them, nature is in serious, serious trouble. So particularly if we’re gonna live in Africa, then African bats need.


little bit of a nudge to make up for the fact that buildings are coming down and forests are being chopped down and people are renovating and taking down their Wendy house where a colony of bats have lived for 40 years and people are you know putting on a new roof and bats are being just you know relocated and all sorts of that sort of thing and then there’s a whole lot of cultural things about bats both before and since the pandemic.


that all bats have rabies and bats actually don’t carry rabies. It’s a rabies like virus. Um, that is extremely rare. Only 0.02% of bats carry Lysovirus. Yeah, they need it. They need a little bit of help. And there are lots of people who are doing dogs and cats. Um, but very few of us who are not afraid of bats and who will work to splint a broken wing and who will wean a bat off milk onto solids and who will teach a baby bat how to fly and who will weigh it and see that it’s


you know, that it’s growing and who will check its teeth and… Oh my goodness! Wow, I am learning a lot here. This is absolutely, absolutely amazing stuff. Have you ever… you haven’t, I assume, considered writing a book on bats? No, there are scientists and very wise conservationists who should write books on bats. I’m just a volunteer. I’m just a bottle washer and a…


And I do it because they’re cute. They really, really cute and they’re little mammals. They like little dogs with wings and they, they sweet little animals. So I do it for the cute factor, not for the. Right. Yeah. I don’t, there’s not a lot. I, it would be a very short book. It would be, they are cute to the end. Okay. I think we must put that in our notes. Tiffany, just quickly, if you could recommend a book.


to our entrepreneurs? Would there be anything that stand out? Oh, so many, but I think for business people, I’ve learned a lot from this, which is the self-reliant entrepreneur by John Jansch. And I don’t actually have a copy of it here, but there’s a book by…


It’s called crack the client code. And I think the author is Mike Derwent, the former CEO of fresh books. And that’s the book. And then of course, wouldn’t be me if I didn’t recommend how to manage your money, like an effing grownup, which is by Sam Beck Bessinger, which is probably the book that has most changed my life. Oh, well, and how long ago did you read that?


How to manage your money. I read it in 2018 for the first time. And I’ve probably read it once a year since I’ve probably read it five or six times. Um, it changed how I understand money and my relationship with money. And yeah, it’s just, if you grew up feeling like you didn’t have your dad to tell you what to invest in, and you didn’t have a grandfather to leave you money in his world and you didn’t have.


a circle of uncles around you to advise you on business. And if you really grew up feeling like no one was telling you the stuff you needed to know about saving and investing and security and retirement, if you feel like you really never got that ever from school or from the people around you, you got to go get that book. I will probably continue to read it once a year forever. It changed my whole life. Wow.


I will definitely go and get that copy very, very quickly. If you have teenagers, there’s a version of it called How to Manage Your Money Like a Grown-Up, which is the same philosophy, but without the swearing. And so it’s a very good book for young people. I actually gave a copy to my husband’s two god sons who went and opened EasyEquities accounts and are investing in ETFs. I mean, they’re 16 and 18. Amazing. If I had known…


then what I know now I’d be rich and traveling the world looking at art galleries. But I think that’s also something different about our youngsters. They grow up much, much different and if I see, I think that’s one of the reasons my son didn’t really study for his matric because he was busy with shares and easy equities and dealings and yeah.


you name it, except schoolwork. Easy equity is a wonderful, wonderful thing. I do love it. There’s so many cool things. Yeah, I worry about the world, but I don’t worry about the generation that’s coming after us. I think they’ll be okay. I think so too. Just some final words for people who’s considering going more or less into the same.


industry that you are. What amazing advice would you be able to give him? Well I’m risk averse so my advice would always be don’t leave your current job unless you’re really sure that self-employment is for you and you need three to six months of money as a runway. I was very young when I started so I didn’t really have risk. I had no kids, I had no partner, I had no debt, I was 25 so


It all could have gone horribly wrong and it wouldn’t have affected the course of my life. But if you have people depending on you, then don’t jump without a safety net. The creative industry, my industry is a fantastic place to be, but it’s a very volatile place to be now, particularly with AI. So I would not encourage anyone to start a content creation business because I think AI will do that more cheaply and more quickly than we can. I think that as long as you have…


soft skills, human skills, then you become indispensable. And so if you are gonna go on your own, make damn sure that what you’re planning to offer the market is future proof, or at least as close to future proof as you can get it. And you’ll never be done. You’ll never be finished. You’ll always be finding stuff you didn’t know, finding stuff you’ve been doing wrong, finding stuff you wish you’d done differently. You know, I wish somebody had told me however long ago that I should…


whatever, get more sleep, I don’t know. They did tell me, but I didn’t listen. And you still don’t listen? No, I eventually listen. I don’t listen the first, my husband will tell me something for two years and I won’t listen and then I’ll come home one day and say, I’ve decided to, he’ll say, but I’ve been telling you this for two years, but I do have to come to it on my own. You can’t tell me what to do because then I will do the opposite. Sounds very similar to a lot of entrepreneurs. Yeah, I suppose.


But I think the biggest piece of advice I can give any budding entrepreneur is find your people, not just one group of people, find different groups of people to give you support in different areas and be a support. You know, you know, Christelle, that I work at the Trist. So you will have heard Mark Sham say this a million times. Don’t be a networking dick. Don’t be in a network for what you can get. Forget getting. Just give advice, be generous, be kind with your time, with your input, whatever.


And then, yeah, I think people are inherently good and most things work out well, I think.