Step. Away. From. The. Computer.

When your work revolves around the bright and shiny space that is “the internet”, and digital platforms that are constantly evolving and popping up all over the place like mushrooms after a soaking rain, it’s hard not to get sucked into your screen and forget that there is actually a real, live world out there. I’ve found that, when working from home where there are no office happenings to distract you, it’s important to remind yourself to take a moment to step. away. from. the. computer. From time to time.

During September, we were pretty busy with client projects and kept pushing some internal Pomegranite work aside. I’ve also found myself becoming increasingly jealous of all the runners taking advantage of the beautiful weather in Cape Town. I glare at them malevolently out of my car window, crutches firmly on the seat next to me. Most of the time, all I really want to do is climb a freaking mountain.

So, when I woke up on Wednesday and the sun was shining, cabin fever was in full swing, and there was a gap in our diaries allowing us to give Pomegranite some love, it was pretty clear what needed to be done.

I got hold of Liz. “Pack a picnic and the sun cream. We’re working from Silvermine today.”

(She forgot the sun cream – sorry shoulders.)

It was so lovely to be in such a beautiful place, surrounded by peace and quiet (except for the frogs – and you can’t get annoyed with frogs when you’re blissed out next to a lake in the sunshine).

The result of dedicating a day to getting away from our desks and out into the (natural) world – apart from working on our tans – was that we were in exactly the right mindset to focus on the work we needed to do on Pomegranite. And we were ridiculously productive, if I do say so myself.

It was such a great day that we decided to make it a regular outing. Once a month, we’ll go somewhere beautiful in Cape Town and spend the day working under a big sky, taking stock of Pomegranite and life in general.

Yip – being your own boss is tough. It comes highly recommended. As does Silvermine.

Silvermine 2 Silvermine 3 Silvermine 4 Silvermine 5 Silvermine 6

Pomegranite first quarter

Coaching, crack and foot massages: A look back at Pomegranite’s first quarter

Pomegranite started as an idea keeping me awake one night when I felt particularly lost and unsure of how to make my way in the world. It quickly became a business plan in an old notebook by lamplight with the working title, Pomegranate, because it’s my mum’s favourite fruit and I needed something that would give this fragile idea a sense of life and vibrancy.

Very soon, I had a conversation with Sarah about this crazy idea I had thought up and invited her to join me. She worked her seemingly-never-ending notice period and we’ve been working together ever since. Here are my top five memories of our first quarter together as Pomegranite.

5. Accidentally deleting our first website 48hrs before showing it to the client

This is number five because, while I’ll NEVER forget the feeling, it wasn’t particularly pleasant! Sarah did well to keep a firm grip on tranquility. Very firm. We did some amazing crisis management, delivered on time and the client loved it. Whew.

4. Business coaching and seeing how far we can go

We went to see fantastic business coach and the experience deserves a whole blog post in itself – that’ll be coming up soon – but what struck me was how far I felt we had come in one day. The workshop took how we thought about the business to a whole new level and we’re still feeding off the motivation.

3. Laughing and laughing together

One of my favourite comments from Sarah came last Friday talking about a troublesome CMS: “It makes me want to shoot crack into my veins or whatever you do with crack!” That Sarah, she’s such a badass.

2. Getting our Pomegranite business cards

It was a gloriously sunny Friday. They had been delivered to Sarah’s house and we were meeting a client together. They were so clean, so bright! But most importantly, they were ours.

1. Reaching our first financial milestone

Seeing the businesses grow makes us pleased as punch but reaching our first financial milestone earlier than expected – that’s a really special feeling. Its confirmation you’re on the right road, that the work is good and that clients are happy. To celebrate, we’re off for our first incentive – a fabulous foot massage!

Should you be on Twitter?

As far as social media platforms go in South Africa, Twitter is way up there. In fact – it’s third, with 5.5 million users, as of 2013. (In case you were wondering, Facebook is tops with 9.4 million users, and Mxit is first princess in the pageant with 7.4 million users).

The growth rates of active Twitter users in South Africa are phenomenal, jumping from 2.4 million in 2012 to 5.5 million in 2013. Saffas post 54 million tweets a month. I’ll give you a minute to get your mind around that figure.

Impressive stats aside, if you aren’t already on Twitter – in a personal or professional capacity – the big question you need to ask yourself is: Should I be?

To make your life easy, here is a flow chart to help you solve the conundrum. Because we’re nice like that.

If your answer is ‘yes’, and it terrifies you – give us a call. We’re happy to help you as much as you need, whether it’s with a few tips and a kick-start, or taking the whole thing off your hands entirely.

Twitter infographic

Life lessons from my gran

Don’t be afraid to raise eyebrows: Life lessons from my gran

Just over a week ago, my gran died. She was 84, and she was one amazing lady.

As the messages poured in from people who knew and admired her, I particularly loved hearing about people’s favourite memories of her. These memories – and the ones shared by family at her memorial service – paint a picture of an extraordinary life, and have given me a lot to think about.

These are the lessons she taught me; this is what inspires me – at Pomegranite, and in the wider world.

1)       Never be afraid to raise eyebrows.
In fact – my gran would actively encourage this. She was a gracious, charming woman. But man, she would relish any opportunity to cause a bit of a stir (in the best possible way). When I was a teenager, I was given some (very bright) purple and green, (very high) platform takkies for Christmas. Gran laughed when I unwrapped them. She thought they were quite ridiculous – which, of course, they were. Seeing her reaction, I dared her to wear them to church (she was an active and respected member of the congregation). And she did. Happily. Many an eyebrow was raised that day. And she loved it.

2)      Know who you are, but never take yourself too seriously.
My gran had the most infectious laugh. It would bubble out of her and fill the room, leaving everyone laughing too. She was always ready to laugh at herself, and I loved her for it.

3)      Enjoy yourself. This is very important.
It was always clear when my gran was having fun – which she did, often. Because she filled her life with people and things that made her happy. Life is short. If there’s something that is making you unhappy, change it. Actively build the life you want to live.

4)      Make the most out of every situation.
When she was in her 70s, my gran flew to Bucharest, Romania, to visit my aunt who lived there for a while. When the plane landed, she discovered that she was, in fact, in Budapest, Hungary. Not one to waste an opportunity, she quickly made some Hungarian friends at the airport, who took her on a city tour and put her up for the night, before she flew to the correct city the following day. She had the time of her life.

5)      Celebrate other people’s success.
My gran made sure that this was something that was cultivated in our family. Jealousy – big or small – was not tolerated. You knew that your turn would come, and as a result, you could take immense pleasure in celebrating with the person in the limelight.

6)      Be brave, be bold, be independent.
My gran’s life was not a walk in the park – although she would have been the first one to tell you how completely fabulous it was, and mean it. Difficult things were thrown her way, but she was undaunted. A feminist ahead of her time, she was fiercely independent. If the car broke down on a family trip in the middle of nowhere (they were always going to the middle of nowhere), the family would pile out and (husband included) would watch her fix it. She carved her own path in life, and encouraged us to do the same.

She would have been so proud of Pomegranite. I am.

Life lessons from my grsn