Mahlodi Legodi reigns as the ‘Queen of PR’. The title was bestowed on her when she was working for Ogilvy South Africa. She was skilled and experienced, focused and driven, and had a network of people to help her bring her visions to life.
So when she opened her own PR company in 2017, she called it FR Communications. Why? “FR stands for ‘Fellow Royals’,” she says. “Everyone we work with – our team members, consultants and clients – is part of our royal family of strategic thinkers and creatives, and together we deliver important, meaningful and award-winning work.”
Here, Legodi shares her business journey, the lessons learned, the skills acquired and the wisdom she’s paying forward.
Why did you decide to branch out with your own business/venture, rather than work for other companies or corporates?
I grew up under very tough conditions, my late mother was a housewife, my father had a great job before he lost everything and to make ends meet, he started his own little barber shop nearby our local sports ground in Moletsane/Tladi, Soweto.
My late father, Jack Legodi, was the first entrepreneur in my eyes and more than anything, a true inspiration and supporter of my success in all spheres of life. In 2010, I studied advertising management at Varsity College and my entrepreneurial spirit grew to greater heights as my team and I won the best advertising campaign awards for two years in a row. I had no doubt I was destined to one day run my own creative agency.
I also knew that I needed to find work in the industry, put the theory to practical, learn and understand all that it would take to start my own business and I was really blessed to have worked with people that believed in my craft and recognised it.
Give us a brief history of your media venture? What gave you the idea? How did it begin, and how has your business journey unfolded?
It was during my time with Ogilvy South Africa, one of the world’s largest marketing communications networks that I first received the title, ‘The Queen of PR’. The name was well deserved: I was passionate, skilled and experienced, focused and driven, and had a network of people to help bring my visions to life.
By the time I opened my own business in 2017, calling it FR Communications just made sense. “FR stands for ‘Fellow Royals’. Everyone we work with – our team members, consultants and clients – is part of our royal family of strategic thinkers and creatives, and together we deliver important, meaningful and award-winning work.
What challenges did you face as a media entrepreneur and how did you overcome them?
In all honestly, I haven’t really faced much challenges. I was and still am fortunate enough to be supported by some of the best people in the industry, guiding me along the way and equally giving me an opportunity to work with and on their brands.
Has there been a moment of success that has really stood out for you and that is your favourite on your journey? To what do you attribute your success?
Yes, we have had a few of those moments. Landing one of the biggest account in Africa and working with some of the best industry players such as Wavemaker South Africa, the fifth largest media agency in the world.
All the glory and honour goes to the God. The true owner of FR Communications! I attribute all my success to Him for not only blessing me with the spirit of knowledge and understanding but also bringing the most reliable, trustworthy, hardworking team of consultants and clients that equally want to see FR Communications grow.
What characteristics do you think make a successful media entrepreneur?
- Great people skills and management
- Perseverance: my father would always remind me that ‘perseverance is the mother of success’
- The hunger to learn: in this industry you can never stop learning and as we constantly evolving and need to adapt to changes
- You need to book and street market: I believe this goes a long way in our industry. You meet the nerdy nerds and that ‘pantsula ya se kasi’, both so different yet they run successful businesses and need your creative expertise and counsel to take their companies to greater heights.
Your advice to young media entrepreneurs or those looking to start new media businesses?
Go for it! The only thing stopping you from achieving your dreams is YOU.
Be open to learn, to get your hands dirty, to really crappy moments filled with lots of NOs and those fulfilling YES when you finally pull it off.
Enjoy the journey and NEVER burn bridges.
What next from you and your media company/venture? What can people expect? Exciting upcoming projects?
We are working on some really exiting campaigns with a client in the water and technology space. A great opportunity to be part of a new narrative that will be carried and shared across Africa and the rest of the world. As for new ventures, you can expect some amazing collaborations venturing into Africa.
What, in your view, needs to happen to encourage more media entrepreneurs, and not just that, help them stay the course?
I would say, keep on knocking on doors, believe in yourself and in your team, and continuously strive to deliver your best to clients. Be open to learn, adapt with the times and invest in your business.
How do you ‘pay it forward’?
I give passionate youth not necessarily in the media space or with qualifications the opportunity to gain some work experience – giving them an equal opportunity to not only succeed but thrive in the career development in future.
What quote or passage do you think encapsulates you and your approach to business and success?
In the world of entrepreneurship, hustling and grinding will earn you a badge of honour. In the Kingdom of God, it is an inferior substitute for working by the supernatural power of God’s grace.
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