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Celebrity Jen Su On Building Your Brand

TV and radio presenter, author and international brand builder, Jen Su has built her profile from the ground up across six countries.

Nadine Todd




I was told I wouldn’t make a name for myself in South Africa.

When I first arrived in Johannesburg, the immigration consultant told me that there was ‘no way for a Chinese girl with an American accent to ever find work in this industry.’

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: How Brent Lindeque Of Chaos Theory Became ‘The Good News Guy’

He told me to stay home and not waste my time trying. I’m so glad I never listened to him. Our successes in life are based on following our dreams and trying new things, even when the people around us don’t believe we can succeed.

Believe in Yourself

It’s so important to have self-belief. Passion for success is the most important driving force to achieving your goals. Do what you do for love, and not for money.

I’ve been fortunate to be blessed with an incredible power to visualise where I want to be, which has then helped me map a path to get there. In the US, I imagined myself on TV and was on the Today Show as part of a Chinese dance troupe at the age of five.

In Taiwan, I won the equivalent of Idols after visualising my success in the competition. I’ve managed to find similar successes across Thailand, Hong Kong and South Africa.

Locally, I arrived here knowing nobody, but managed to be one of the first Chinese people on the local broadcasting scene as a news anchor for Business Day TV and the African Business Report on Sky News – in addition to my radio work with Gareth Cliff and The Breakfast Show. Don’t take no for an answer, and keep picturing yourself where you want to be.

Focus on Goals

I write down what my goals are and speak them aloud. I then visualise those goals and close my eyes, making those images brighter, bolder, and more colourful and vivid.

I’ve had to learn to also be patient; success isn’t instant, but you have to start with a firm set of goals if you ever want to make them a reality.

After being patient for a long time, things generally start moving quickly as they gain traction, and that’s where the magic happens. When things start gaining momentum, and your name is being tossed around the room like social currency, everything comes together at a rapid pace and sometimes there’re just not enough minutes in the day to be able to fulfil all the obligations you’ve set yourself. That’s when you need to start managing what you’ve created. There’s nothing worse than over-promising and under-delivering.

Authenticity and brand consistency are extremely important. These attributes, paired with efficiency and being modest, can really set you apart from the rest. A lot of well-known people in my industry love to lash out on social media or get themselves involved in some type of scandal – but I personally feel that long-term brand consistency and authenticity is much more important than notoriety, as your personal brand stays with you for life.

Make it Happen

The best advice I ever received was ‘Make it happen….with a difference!’ This has stuck with me throughout my career, but I found the opposite happening while I was writing my book, From Z to A-Lister: How To Build Your Personal Brand. I put the book down so many times over the last few years, each time having a panic attack over some part of my life that I’ve been afraid to expose.

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I finally realised that it was going to be now or never, and once I put my mind to it, I was writing every day. I just had to get over the hurdle of being afraid to share, and then I was really able to make it happen. It’s such an important mantra for me.

Follow Jen Su on Twitter @jennifer_su.

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

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25 Of The Most Successful Business Ideas In South Africa

Find out who’s making waves in numerous industries and how they managed to differentiate themselves in local and international industries.

Nicole Crampton



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“Disruption is all about risk-taking, trusting your intuition, and rejecting the way things are supposed to be. Disruption goes way beyond advertising, it forces you to think about where you want your brand to go and how to get there,” says Richard Branson.

South Africa has its fair share of innovative and disruptive businesses taking both local and international industries by storm. From cutting edge space technology to reimagined logistics, and innovative business models, here are 25 of the most successful business ideas in South Africa:

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Colin Timmis Says ‘Position Yourself For Success By Starting With The Numbers’

People pay first who they feel pressure from, so people will pay you when they feel pressure from you.






Entrepreneur Colin Timmis founded South Africa’s first cloud accounting practice in 2011, Real Time Accounting. Then, a few years after being appointed as South Africa’s first Xero partner Colin became Xero Country Manager South Africa. Xero is the emerging global leader of online accounting software that connects small businesses to their advisors and other services.

Related: Pat Pillai On How He’s Helped Over 5000 Entrepreneurs Using 3 Key Steps

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Two 20 Year Olds Reshape Entrepreneur Landscape With New Social Investment Platform

The Merge vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

Merge Connect




Vital Stats

It’s no secret that finding the right investor for your venture is a challenge that most entrepreneurs face. The current process of finding investment is one that is outdated, and limits entrepreneurs due to a lack of time, and network that is needed to find the right investor. But, this doesn’t have to be the case in today’s digital society, says Zander Matthee and Brandon Bate, co-founders of Merge.

“By making the Internet the middleman, we are able to connect with each other much simpler and faster than before” was Zander’s response. “We have taken advantage of this, and have created a digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors” added Brandon.

Merge is a social platform that connects entrepreneurs and investors. It aims to simplify, refine and accelerate the process of finding investment for entrepreneurs, and the process of finding investment opportunities for investors. From idea to developed, the platform allows entrepreneurs to present a brief outline of their venture to a network of all investor types. While doing this, entrepreneurs are able to browse through, and connect with investor profiles that suit their requirements.

Related: 8 Codes Of Success That Helped Priven Reddy of Kagiso Interactive Media Achieve A Networth Of Over R4 Billion

From Private Investors to Venture Capital, and everything in between, Merge allows all investor types to join. Investors have the opportunity to personalise their feed to suit their investment preferences, and will be able to connect with innovative businesses – that are looking for investment – at their fingertips. Only once there is a mutual interest in each other, are users able to enter a secure private chat where they can discuss further and share documents under the protection of a digital NDA.

The two boys became good friends during their time in high school at St Stithians Boys College. However, it was only in their last year, 2016, that they decided to pursue their dreams and create the platform. They didn’t know how to code, so rather ironically, they needed some form of investment to get the platform off the ground.


“We knew we had a mountain to climb, but we believed in our vision and that we were really trying to make a difference, and if we could get others to see that, they would be onboard.” said Zander.

Related: Lessons From The Rich And Famous: Manage Your Money Like Oprah To Avoid Going Into Debt Like Nicholas Cage

Chris Peters is one of these individuals that bought into their vision, and became Merge’s first investor. As a successful entrepreneur and part time investor , Chris saw how much value the platform could bring to all entrepreneurs and investors alike. His marketing and strategic background gave him insight into how Merge could play a vital role in a lucrative space, Brand involvement.

“Entrepreneurship and SME development are two key factors that drive economic growth in developing countries like South Africa. That is why brands are currently getting involved, and looking to support entrepreneurs through various means. We have built a platform that allows these brands to successfully market, and execute on the programmes they have created to assist entrepreneurs.” said Chris

Merge was created to assist all entrepreneurs and investors in finding exactly what they are looking for, regardless of age, race, sex, financial position or social status. That is why anybody can sign-up as an entrepreneur. As long as you are determined and willing to work for your dreams. For too long has the investor space been seen as an “elite club for the select few”, and Merge is here to change that. Whether you’ve gotten your bonus at the end of the year and looking for new investment opportunities, or are an active investor, you can sign-up. Whether you’re currently working, or a retired industry leader, you can join as a mentor.

Their vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

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