Michelle Buthelezi and Bongani Khumalo were both involved in their own separate ventures until they met each other. The rest was history and their joint venture, Techno Freaks sprang to life. Focusing on social media and online marketing, the pair brings something else to the table as they also specialise in IT solutions.
Michelle Buthelezi grew up in the township of Ennerdale in the far South of Johannesburg. “The area was filled with young people with most being unemployed and serious drug abusers. I recall our house being broken into over five times when we moved there.” Even though Michelle’s family couldn’t afford to send her to university, she was dead set on pushing herself to the top. “I took a chance that needed three years of experience, it was a large company, well-known for selling event tickets and seemed like the dream place to work in,” Michelle eventually convinced the manager over the phone to hire her, and just like that she started up the corporate ladder.
“I absolutely hated having a boss and life gave me one of the worst bosses,” Michelle recalls, “but it was ultimately for a good reason I remember constantly thinking ‘if I had a company, I would do this differently’ and so I unconsciously wrote notes in my mind on how I would run my business.” Michelle started behaving like a manager in this regard, becoming an expert on each sector of the company, whether it was working on the switchboard, rewriting the training manuals and learning the company systems. “Agents from the company would come straight to me to assist with client queries, I would handle irate customers, I almost felt like I was running the office. I learnt from my manager what not to do in a leadership position, and I learnt from the people what they really need from the company.” Three years after starting, Michelle cut the cords and started her own social media company. Although social media and marketing was were Michelle succeeded, she lacked on the IT side, and that is were Bongani came into the picture.
Bongani Khumalo grew up in Tembisa, raised by a single parent. “Being raised by my mother made me the man I am today, I was taught from the start to be independent and always make a plan when the going gets tough,” Bongani explains. After high school Bongani went to study IT and worked a couple jobs as a technician. “I figured if I open my own company I’d make more and the idea of being my own boss appealed to me,” and soon after going solo Bongani was able to sustain himself. “Being an entrepreneur is survival of the fittest. You constantly need to innovate and be flexible to adapt to any changes in the environment.” After designing a website for Michelle the pair decided to team up, and so a big ‘change to environment’ came to Bongani. “I needed something extra, a spark, some ‘oomph’, and Michelle just brought all that and more to the table.”
Michelle and Bongani, the ‘freaks’ from Techno Freaks offer a range of services to reach targeted audiences, sharing valuable information focused on retaining costomers whilst delivering a combination of IT solutions and online marketing. “We create online experiences and communities for brands to have people who believe in their product to become proud ambassadors of their brand,” Michelle explains. Although the BT/ISUZU/Rennies workshop was the pair’s first MEDO experience together, Bongani has previously taken part in MEDO programmes and it was thus that he was sure Techno Freaks would benefit. “Previously I learnt a lot about governance and managing a business holistically, and I see great potential for MEDO to channel us in the right direction towards our growth,” Bongani explains. “The programme made me answerable to the uncomfortable and hard questions of my business. It taught me to section and order my business and to keep a steady head,” Michelle chips in.
The Freaks don’t only have a passion for their craft, they also have experience that perfectly balance with each other’s strengths and weaknesses ready to set the online marketing world alight. “Being an entrepreneur means sharing the untapped, rich, valuable and potent resources that are locked away within me. It means making a difference in the world on my own terms with no-one telling me what my limits are,” Michelle adds. No, there’s no telling what the limits are for this potent company…