How the Founder of MadWorld Achieved Success with a Little Craziness

How the Founder of MadWorld Achieved Success with a Little Craziness


Vital Stats:

  • Player: Adelaide Potgieter
  • Company:  Mad World Group
  • Contact:
  • Turnover:  R60 million

Adelaide Potgieter is not a conformist. She started Mad Advertising (which has since become just one company in the Mad World Group) because she looked at an industry in dire need of energy and a different way of doing things. She wanted to shake things up.

For her, real wealth isn’t the money in her business or her bank account; it’s the fact that she did something about her irritation with a stagnant industry and started something that matters.

Today, what was once a one-woman-show is now a 50+ mad team of talented and passionate people who aren’t afraid to be themselves.

What is your version of success, and how has it evolved over the years?

I’ve always valued the small things. For me success is to be healthy, happy, and thankful. It’s taking simple pleasure in enjoying a meal.

Today that meal sometimes leans towards novel cuisine, but the spirit is the same. My motto is ‘TODAY’. I focus on trying to live each day fully, which is not as easy as you’d think. It takes constant reminders to live in the here and now.

I see success as focusing on harnessing your own personal talents and abilities, but also recognising and battling your weaknesses. For me that was learning patience, discipline, and concentration. It’s a work in progress, but one I never lose sight of.

Do you view yourself as a wealthy and successful individual?

I do if I’m contributing to the world around me. Wealth and success should constantly be evolving. The point should keep shifting.

My children used to love repeating the Buzz Lightyear quote ‘To infinity and beyond’, and this is how we should all view the world. What’s more important is our definition of what wealth and success are. Wealth in particular is always in flux.

You’ll never have enough, you’ll never be first, so concentrate instead on valuing what you have, and using it wisely. As our business grows, so we’re contributing to our industry, our clients and the economy. We’re building up our employees, and enriching their lives too.

We should be aiming to set benchmarks, be leaders, visionaries and pioneers, and then pushing beyond societal concerns to bigger and more human things like wisdom, love, mercy, and grace.

Have you managed to balance work with life?Adelaide-Potgieter-2

No. Balance is overrated. It’s defined in modern terms as having everything under control and compartmentalised. That’s rubbish. I follow a different philosophy: All in good time. I want to enjoy the varieties of experiences that cross my path.

I like to live, and if work feels like work, then I don’t live, no matter how well my pilates, yoga, gym, sun tanning or waxing sessions worked out.

Throw yourself into everything you do. Be crazy and passionate. And don’t forget to lose yourself sometimes – stop worrying about problems, issues, other peoples’ insecurities and power struggles. Just live. Embrace life.

If you could pin your success to one key characteristic, what would it be?

To be the light. If you walk into a room, light it up. When I walk into a room I make sure it feels like the curtains have suddenly been flung open.

This isn’t everyone’s cup of tea – people either love having me around, or they hate it.

I made the decision a long time ago to be myself to the fullest  – I give, say, think, dream, jump and shout what I think needs to be communicated, and I follow the principle that you can take it or leave it, love it or hate it. I’m 100% myself, 100% of the time.

What thinking do you believe is limiting to entrepreneurs?

Doubt and fear. It’s natural to feel these emotions; we all do. If you really want to realise your full potential though, you need to push through them. Always remember that in business and life, the most valuable lessons are learnt when confronting fear and overcoming doubt.

What’s your growth mindset?

Keep creating ideas and thinking of new possibilities and opportunities. I make a point of always paying attention to what can be improved on or bettered around me. Don’t just think out of the box, think out of this world. And focus on other people – what will add value to their time and lives?

Something that has worked for me is plotting down a daily plan, and then throwing it away and just doing. It’s not about throwing all planning out of the window though.

Each night I reflect on the differences between the plan and my day, and how they were either better or worse, which then gives me focus for the following day.

I’ve learnt that by adding spontaneity and differences to routine and discipline, I’m more creative, and I can spend time thinking about the next big or small idea – those ideas that get me excited, and that I can see stirring and shaking things up.

Nadine Todd
Nadine Todd is the Managing Editor of Entrepreneur Magazine, the How-To guide for growing businesses. Find her on Google+.