We have been told that we can speak things into existence, but whether you believe this or not, there are people out there who will attest to this with all might. One of those people is the C.E.O. of FlyingKing.
Joel Mohale, C.E.O. and owner of FlyingKing, one of the largest clearing and forwarding agencies in the country says, “Keeping your ideas to yourself only allows you to fail comfortably. Speak them out loud. Tell someone so they can hold you accountable.”
That is exactly how FlyingKing came into existence for Joel Mohale, just like every other success he has accomplished since he was a young boy.
“When I was a young boy I knew I wanted to achieve big. I therefore always set high goals. And one of those goals was to never work for anyone. I still set goals on a daily basis. I carry journals and set my own itinerary. This is very important.”
But it hasn’t always been easy for Mohale, who was once the president of the Student Representative Council at the Centre for Accounting Studies.
On grinding and challenges
“I didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth. I also knew that when I went to college I wouldn’t get financial support, so I had to spend my money wisely.” He said.
“When we got money from the National Manpower Development Manpower Secretariat (NMDS), which was M4, 000 back then, I would go to Johannesburg and buy clothes with all of it. I came back and sold to National University of Lesotho students and made noteworthy profit.”
He then got introduced to new friends and a new lifestyle of selling cars. Unfortunately the ride didn’t last long; one of the cars he got involved in selling was a stolen vehicle, and it landed him in jail.
“I spent four months in a cell in South Africa. It was the worst moment of my life. When I was in there I got to think about my life choices, and the kind of man I would become. I had a lot of time to think.”
Getting started with his company and other business ideas
“When I got out, I got a job at one of the schools I went to, Botha-Bothe Community High School, then I went on to attend at Centre for Accounting Studies. I then dropped out and decided to burn all my certificates. I decided that no man was ever going to hire me; I was going to create my own business.”
“I wanted to set up a filling station. I went to the bank to ask for a loan, and they wanted a lot of money. They wanted collateral, and I did not have anything.”
He was working at LNDC when he decided to buy a car in Japan. The people he bought it from told him they lost close to M75, 000 through clearing cars to be imported. This sparked his curiosity on how much it costs to import cars, and he found out that there was a middleman, hence the heavy costs of importing.
Further in his research, he found out there was a test he had to take in order to earn his license. When he applied at Customs, they asked him if he had any experience in clearing, or if he worked at Customs before. He answered ‘No’ to both questions, and took the test anyway. He failed.
Mohale went on to take another shot at the test. He said it worked like a charm, although he had to wait for six months until he had his shot at the test again.
When their contracts ended at his workplace, he went on to work for his friends and help them in the sales and marketing department and in exchange they would pay him just enough to buy himself some lunch. After he got his clearance certificate, he asked some of his friends to invest in his business, and he tried to share his vision with them, but they turned him down.
Therefore he went on to start importing cars and selling them to Basotho nationals while still working for his friends. He needed M25, 000 to start, and in three months he was able to put together M15, 000. He decided to leave nonetheless.
Mohale’s decision to start a service-based company was because he realized it does not need a lot of capital to start. All that’s needed to do is sell your skills. Even though he was broke, had just become a father, and was working for his friends, he still saw lots of opportunities in Lesotho.
“People have a lot of money; you just have to give them a reason to give it to you,” he says.
Climbing the ladder to success and scaling
FlyingKing still needed money to start, but since he had saved enough from working for his friends, part of the money that would form his startup capital would come from an investor. None of his friends backed him up. Only one person believed in him and his business, with whom he had just parted with through a buyout.
Five years later, Mohale has a number of businesses in Lesotho, Botswana and Swaziland; including a construction and catering business. He hires more than 11 people in Lesotho only, excluding his other businesses across the border managed by his other partners.
This is how he attributes his success
“What makes me happy is seeing the look on people’s faces when they get their cars. It’s priceless moments like those that make me wake up in the morning and get ready for work. I also have a dedicated team that works around the clock to meet the targets of this business.”
Mohale does not consider certificates when hiring his employees. “I look for drive in a person. I look for a person that can do the job and that will do anything to back the business. You can never put a price tag on a person’s determination to learn and better themselves.”
Advice to other entrepreneurs
“Speak your dreams because it helps when you become accountable to someone. Also, someone might help you achieve them because they are able to, especially when they see the drive in you.”
He also adds that people should stop making lack of money an impediment in starting a business. “I had to work in order to secure enough funds to pay rent for my office, and for part of my capital. Determination will get you money.”
Laziness is another factor that needs attention. “I always say for things to happen, you have to prioritize. Have a journal, clean up your desk, and have a to-do list. You can have dreams, but have goals that you will be hitting and be sure to check them frequently.”
“This will also prevent you from doing unnecessary things, where you end up confusing movement with progress. You need to prioritize and have a to-do list.”
Although Mohale has achieved what others can only dream of, he says he is still far from reaching his dreams. “I’m still chasing a dream, and I still say it loud for those near me to hear. Even my wife has become my accountability partner.”
How to connect with him
You can find FlyingKing offices at Ha Hoohlo, opposite Hoohlo Primary School on the Maseru Bridge road.
On Facebook: Flyingking Clearing and Forwarding – Pty Ltd
Phone: 2231 0889