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Cheyne Butler Is Redefining What a "Real Job" Is

26, director of Tumbling Tigerz, a child-development programme

Cheyne Butler has always loved working with children and has a strong passion for fitness. With a degree in communications and a Personal Training and Group Fitness course under her belt, she started work as a personal trainer. But she wanted to do more and so, combining her passions and skills, she launched Tumbling Tigerz with her husband, Daniel. It’s a specialised child-development programme aimed at children between the ages of three and nine, and incorporates physical techniques drawn from boxing, Pilates, gymnastics and soccer. Tumbling Tigerz is growing throughout South Africa and currently offers its programme in more than 100 schools around Johannesburg and 20 schools in Cape Town. Tumblingtigerz.co.za

On choosing to be an entrepreneur…

As a young person struggling to find your place in the world, you are always told about ‘real jobs’. So I studied hard and I worked at a few of these real jobs, but always found myself incredibly unhappy and without passion.

On learning as you go…

Starting out, we made some silly mistakes such as using bad suppliers, who would give us either bad service or poor-quality products, hiring too many or too few people, and not having systems in place to train or show employees what is expected. We initially had white-and-gold shirts as our uniform! What were we thinking? Wearing white and working with children is not the best idea…

On initial concerns…

The obvious concern when starting a business is that it fails and you’re left either in debt or with a bruised ego. But those fears are rational, and they keep you motivated to ensure every effort you put into the business is the best.

On her achievements so far…

We have grown at a constant rate every year without fail, and we have some amazing high-profile schools that we have been servicing for a few years, such as K.E.P.S, Reddam BCC, St David’s, King David, Saheti, Coopers College and more. Also, a huge achievement for us is the Cape Town branch, which is also growing like wildfire. We are very proud of every school under our brand and we hope to be in every school in the country – and other countries!

On female entrepreneurs…

I think female entrepreneurs need to get out there more and jump in with both feet. We are talented, charismatic and driven. There is no reason that with a good idea and some planning, we can’t achieve whatever we want.

On the best advice she’s ever been given…

My husband told me this when I was really having a hard time: ‘Don’t work in the business, work for the business.’ Learning how to delegate and let go of smaller tasks can free up pressure on yourself so the business can grow.

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