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From Freelancers to Entrepreneurs: How Christine and Warren Bernard Made the Jump

Husband and wife team Christine and Warren Bernard are shaking up the creative world with great ideas and lots of caffeine and their start-up, Flat White Concepts.

Monique Verduyn




Vital Stats

  • Company: Flat White Concepts
  • Players: Warren and Christine Bernard
  • Est: 2013
  • Call: +27 (0)79 701 4661
  • Visit:

If you’re a freelancer aiming to do more than sit in front of your computer and deliver projects to clients, you may be thinking about becoming an entrepreneur.

Making the move from freelancing to entrepreneurship can sound a little daunting. Freelancers generally focus on delivering work and getting paid for it, whether it’s per hour or per project. Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, are more focused on building long-term businesses.

They earn money while they are sleeping. In return they accept the risks involved and have to be open to new challenges. Entrepreneurs usually focus on creating value that is derived by something larger than just focusing on the task or project at hand.

That’s what drove Christine Bernard and her husband Warren a year ago when they launched Flat White Concepts, a name inspired by the blank page that is the start of all creative work and of course, strong coffee, the fuel that drives great design.

“I have a background in magazine and graphic design and Warren is a retoucher and photographer,” says Christine. “After we moved from Durban to Cape Town, I wanted to take the plunge and start a business before I found a job and got stuck in a rut. We decided to combine what we know into one company.”

Focus on your strengths

Picking an area of specialisation, like this team has done, is a great way to move into entrepreneurship. It’s best to pick one area in which you shine and narrowly focus your efforts to win clients that need your expertise.

This will make it less costly and time-consuming to market your business because you’ll focus on fewer, better-qualified prospects. It will also help you compete against the larger, jack-of-all-trade firms.

Do the maths


The biggest challenge for Christine and Warren was financial. “It’s been said that it takes at least two or three years to really see a profit in your own business,” she says. “Knowing this and deciding to do it anyway is a massive decision. Finding clients for the new business forced me to get out and see and do as much as possible. I’m looking forward to us having a solid company in the future rather than flying solo.”

She stresses that it’s important to keep an excel spreadsheet with your finances on it. Make sure it is kept up to date, so that you have a detailed idea on how much you made and how much you spent. “Don’t become complacent,” she adds.

“Just because you have one really good month doesn’t mean the next month is going to be the same.”

Get your brand out there

That desire to build and grow resources, scale and, of course, revenue, is what ultimately gives entrepreneurs opportunities to drive more growth without always being involved in each and every task they take on.

Christine strongly believes in marketing Flat White Concepts online. That meant ensuring the business had a good online presence from the start. “We market the business mainly through social media, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest. We also attend monthly networking meetings. I believe in social interactions and letting people see your personality. I want people to know that they are talking to a person and not a machine.”

Stay in the game


Measuring growth is a challenge for a new business, but Christine says that every design, photo shoot and image they do for clients is a milestone. They also publish a free online magazine which is growing its readership at a pace. “When you’re having a bad day and someone emails you to tell you how much they enjoyed your magazine, you realise that it’s all worth it.”

She says that having gone into the business knowing it would not be easy has helped.

“I understand why people choose to work for someone else – the constant cash flow is tempting to say the least. Working for yourself is a rollercoaster ride. You fly high one minute and come crashing down the next.”

“It’s constantly changing and you have to keep your head above the water at all times. Do I get moments when I’m wondering what on earth I was thinking? Sure. Do I want to quit? Never. The good far outweighs the bad. And plus, I can walk around telling people what a cool boss I have.”


Monique Verduyn is a freelance writer. She has more than 12 years’ experience in writing for the corporate, SME, IT and entertainment sectors, and has interviewed many of South Africa’s most prominent business leaders and thinkers. Find her on Google+.


27 Of The Richest People In South Africa

Here are 27 of South Africa’s richest people, but how did they achieve this level of wealth? Find out here.

Nicole Crampton



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Learn the secrets of SA’s most successful business people, here is the list of the 27 richest people in South Africa:

In a world with growing entrepreneurship success stories, victory is often measured in terms of money. The feat of achieving a place on this list is, however, years of hard work, determination and persistence. “One has to set high standards… I can never be happy with mediocre performance,” advises Patrice Motsepe.

From the individuals that made the 27 of the richest people in South Africa list, actual entrepreneurs and self-made business people dominate the list; while those who inherited their fortunes have gone on to do even bigger and better things with their wealth. Over the years, some have slipped off the list, while others continue to climb higher and higher each year.

  1. Elisabeth Bradley
  2. Sharon Wapnick
  3. Bridgette Radebe
  4. Irene Charnley
  5. Wendy Ackerman
  6. Paul Harris
  7. Wendy Appelbaum
  8. Mark Shuttleworth
  9. Desmond Sacco
  10. Giovanni Ravazzotti
  11. Markus Jooste
  12. Gus Attridge
  13. Gerrit Thomas Ferreira
  14. Cyril Ramaphosa
  15. Adrian Gore
  16. Raymond Ackerman
  17. Michiel Le Roux
  18. Lauritz Dippenaar
  19. Jannie Mouton
  20. Stephen Saad
  21. Patrice Motsepe
  22. Allan Gray
  23. Koos Bekker
  24. Ivan Glasenberg
  25. Christoffel Wiese
  26. Johann Rupert
  27. Nicky Oppenheimer
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Watch List: 50 Top SA Black Entrepreneurs To Watch

South Africa needs more entrepreneurs to build businesses that can make a positive impact on the economy. These up-and-coming black entrepreneurs are showing how it can be done.

Nicole Crampton



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Early-stage South African entrepreneurial activity is at an all-time high of 11%, according to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, and entrepreneurial intentions have also increased to 11.7%. With both activity and intentions growing significantly year-on-year, there are more businesses opening up around South Africa than ever before.

The increase in entrepreneurship has seen the rise of more black entrepreneurs across numerous sectors. From beauty brands to legal services and even tech start-ups, these are 50 top black entrepreneurs to watch:

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Watch List: 50 Top SA Small Businesses To Watch

Keep your finger on the pulse of the start-up space by using our comprehensive list of SA small business to watch.

Nicole Crampton



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Entrepreneurship in South Africa is at an all-time high. According to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), total early-stage entrepreneurial activity has increased by 4.1% to 11% in 2017/2018. This means numerous new, exciting and promising small businesses are launching and growing.

To ensure you know who the innovative trailblazers are in the start-up and small business space, here are 50 of South Africa’s top establishing companies to watch, in no particular order:

  1. Livestock Wealth
  2. The Lazy Makoti
  3. Aerobuddies
  4. Mimi Women
  5. i-Pay
  6. AfriTorch Digital
  7. Akili Labs
  8. Native Décor
  9. Aerobotics
  10. Quality Solutions
  11. EM Guidance
  12. Kahvé Road
  13. HSE Matters
  14. VA Virtual Assistant
  15. Famram Solutions and Famram Foundation
  16. BioTech Africa
  17. Brand LAIKI
  18. Plus Fab
  19. LifeQ
  20. Organico
  21. 10dot
  22. Lenoma Legal
  23. Nkukhu-Box
  24. Benji + Moon
  25. Beonics
  26. Brett Naicker Wines
  27. Khalala
  28. Legal Legends
  29. The Power Woman Project
  30. Aviro Health
  31. AnaStellar Brands
  32. Data Innovator
  33. Fo-Sho
  34. Oolala Collection Club
  35. Recomed
  36. VoiceMap
  37. ClockWork
  38. Empty Trips
  39. Vula Mobile
  40. SwiitchBeauty
  41. Pineapple
  42. The Katy Valentine Collection
  43. OfferZen
  44. KHULA
  45. Incitech
  46. Pimp my Book
  47. ART Technologies and ART Call Management
  48. Prosperiprop
  49. WAXIT
  50. The Sun Exchange
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