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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+.

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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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Company Posts

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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