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LJC

THE JOURNEY TO BUILDING MPUMALANGA’S LEADING ONLINE MARKETING AGENCY & THE LESSONS LEARNED ALONG THE WAY

Why hello there! Pour a cup of coffee and buckle up, because we’re taking a fast-forward sprint down memory lane (in the first person, no less!) to tell you a little more about how Lime Juice Communication, a Nelspruit based Online Marketing Agency, came to be.

As the very best stories do, this one features a girl with a dream, some light coercion, a stint at the Volksblad, a foray in the world of stud farming and plenty of life lessons learned along the way. Got your attention? Right-o, let’s go!

It’s A Beautiful Thing When A Career & A Passion Come Together

WHERE THERE’S A WILL THERE’S A WAY

Hello, I’m Delia, (Founder & Managing Director of Lime Juice Communication – A full service online marketing agency in Mbombela / Nelspruit, Mpumalanga). Once upon a time, I wanted to become an ad-line copywriter. While other kids watched TV to revel in the intricacies of Pumpkin Patch, I was holding out for the ads. I loved those cheeky one-liners, you see.

My parents, on the other hand, wanted me to become a lawyer, seeing as though I was in possession of what is colloquially termed a ‘gladde bek’ (glib mouth). So off I went for aptitude tests, where it was determined that I had an equally strong creative and analytical side, which may seem great in principle, but actually presents quite the predicament in practice. I’ve always been of the opinion that the makings of an unhappy adulthood lie in suppressing any part of your personality and, as such, I ventured out looking for the perfect fit for my future.

Follow Your Dreams… They Know The Way.

My dream was to go to AAA School of Advertising, but my practical parents wanted me to earn a degree, so I managed to find one that was very close to what I wanted to do: a bachelor’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communication at the University of the Free State. Jip, the laid-back girl from Jeffrey’s Bay was on her way to Bloemfontein, but to do so I had to put my nose to the grindstone. It was par for the course that I would pay my own way, and since I had been a waiter from the tender age of 13, I was ready and willing to put my back into it. I worked like a maniac, saved up, got my ducks in a row and then cornered my dad one day to lay out my plan. I was going to work in a country club in Florida and the agency I was going to work through would arrange my flights. All I needed to do is get to Cape Town for the interview, which is where my dad came in. I’d saved up the money for fuel, two nights’ stay for us both and to pay the visa fee. There isn’t much you can say to that, so off we went.

Before you knew it, it was three days after my final Matric exam, and I was on my way to Florida, where I would serve the top ten percent of the state’s wealthiest citizens at a sports pavilion restaurant situated in a country club with 40 tennis courts and 4 golf courses. My South African work ethic did not go unnoticed, and I was soon offered the option of sticking around permanently, but that would mean a minimum of ten years and I had a dream that needed chasing. So, I once again worked up a storm, saved up all my money, and returned to SA the next year to work a relatively uninspiring admin job to bolster my savings  further before enrolling in the Integrated Marketing degree at the University of the Free State in 2003.

University was interesting to say the least. Whether it was because I was slightly older than the other freshmen, or just because I’d worked so hard to get there, I tackled it a little differently than most. Instead of taking part in all the classic res activities, I loaded my course with interesting subjects that tickled my fancy (linguistics, French, German, psychology, sign language), secured a presenter position at the campus radio station and worked myself up the ladder to sub-editor for the campus newspaper.

Life was grand, and the library was my oyster. I became great friends with a funny, talented Muslim girl whose drive to succeed matched my own, and this friendship taught me a lot about tolerance and inclusivity at a time when South African campuses were not exactly either of those. It was a challenging time of immense personal growth that would shape a lot of my understanding of the world. 

THINK STEPPING STONES, NOT HURDLES

With my first year of varsity successfully passed and my bank account once again depleted, it was time to return to the workforce for a while. Off to Port Alfred I went to work as a receptionist for Lloyd Group Companies, where I learned a lot about corporate structure and also happened to meet my husband thanks to my role as phone-answering-girl. Suffice it to say, when I went back to Bloemfontein to continue my studies the next year, Riaan followed four months later.

We got engaged in December of 2005 and tied the knot in January 2007. I started my first post-graduate job in sales at Browns Jewellers in February of the same year and received my degree in March. It was this position that taught me a lot of what I know about the value of standards and steadfast leadership. Our daughters Ava and Lily would make their appearance in 2010 and 2012 respectively, but in the meantime, Riaan and I were focussed on kicking our careers into high gear.

Fitting In Is Not As Much Fun As Standing Out

From Browns, I made my way to Media24, where I was the account manager in charge of hooking agricultural clients to place ads in Volksblad Landbou. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the oddball from Jeffrey’s Bay had to make nice with the farmers of the Free State and this is where I learned that standing out can be a lot more beneficial than fitting in. In fact, I did such an excellent job of it that I was head-hunted! By an agricultural business no less! This is how I became the first ever marketing manager of SA Stud Book and learned all sorts of weird and wonderful things about stud breeding.

TRAILBLAZING IS DAUNTING, BUT EXHILARATING

When Riaan’s job took us to Johannesburg, I decided it was time to learn more about this online marketing thing everyone, including myself, was so excited about. The tides were turning, and I wanted to ride that wave all the way to shore. I was lucky enough to learn the ropes of this inspiring trade at iLead Online (now iLead et al), where I paddled my way from the deep end to eventually stand at the helm of 94 online campaigns that ran concurrently. It was life in the fast lane and I loved it!

The online marketing industry provided a wonderful expression for both my creative and analytical nature, and when it was time to relocate our family to Mbombela (Nelspruit), Mpumalanga, I knew this was a passion I needed to take with me.

WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT: JUMP!

So, we packed up the kids and the rest of our lives and made our way to Mpumalanga. We moved on the 1st of September and I started building the Lime Juice Communication website that very night. I’d wanted to start my own venture in Johannesburg already, but I knew I needed more experience before I went solo. That night when I sat down in the midst of a bunch of unpacked boxes, I knew this was it. I started implementing my theories about search engine optimisation, and it worked! It had to. I couldn’t rely on word of mouth in a new town, so I lassoed all my knowledge about online reach and – boom! – landed my first client in Port Elizabeth of all places.

Six months later I had to hire my first employee to help me manage the work load. That was the beginning of Lime Juice Communication as we know it, and almost four years down the line I still wake up in the morning raring to go, simply because I truly and honestly love what I do!

Your Goals Become Your Reality

Lime Juice Communication was born out of a love for this industry and grew steadily due to the experience & solid strategy our own online marketing campaign is built on. I consider myself immeasurably blessed to be able to implement tailor-made online marketing campaigns for our clients that truly do grow their brands!

Looking back on how this adventure unfolded, I’ve realised that I’d actually mapped out this course for myself years before. At university, one of the non-negotiable res activities I had to partake in during my freshman year was Miss Kovsies, the annual campus beauty pageant (almost exactly the opposite of my cup of tea). During the interview process in the leadup to the main event, a panel of student body judges asked us some questions, which included describing your dream job. I answered that I would either want to be the Secretary General of the UN (United Nations), or the Brand Manager for Woolworths – the first because I really wanted to do good in the world; the second because I want to get up to all sorts of creative shenanigans. (And, of course, I really love Woolworths!) About two years ago, it dawned on me that I am now technically doing both those things – I feel I do good by helping my clients to grow their businesses, as a company we contribute to our community by means of various CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) projects, and I am basically employed as a Brand Manager for each of my clients’ businesses. I am truly living my dream and I thank God for blessing me with such an immense privilege!

There you have it – the road that brought me here, and some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way. It’s been an absolute blast up until now and I look forward to the countless lessons, dust-offs and triumphs that await me. Here’s to living, learning and squeezing the lime of life for every drop of juice that it’s worth. Salut!

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