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Behind the personas
Ettiëne made his first million at the tender age of 21. He’s rubbed shoulders with highly influential businessmen, spent time with Sir Richard Branson on Necker Island, won international business awards, and established himself as a real-estate tycoon.

He is supported and equalled in his drive by his wife Erichia, an expert in branding and strategic positioning. She is just as shrewd a businesswoman as her partner, and together they are a force to reckon with.
Press coverage on the pair would lead one to sum them up as a hotshot young couple. This is all true, but they are also just another couple of kids who grew up in the Lowveld.
This is an image that Ettiëne strives to maintain for himself, and having spent so much time with big names, he has experienced first-hand that people we tend to idolise are normally, well, normal. “Once you meet influential people like Richard Branson and the likes, you’re almost a little disappointed to realise that they’re just like you and me. I also want people to look at me and be disappointed, thinking this guy is just normal, and if he can do it, then I can too.”Team on a mission
Ettiëne firmly believes that being influential isn’t about making a lot of money, but rather about positioning – something that Erichia is brilliant with. She helps position Ettiëne as strategically as she would any brand account she works on. Erichia says his talent lies in identifying what people need, and that’s exactly how she markets him. “He’s absolutely a genius at discovering what people are about, and what they need, and I think that’s what his success is built on.” She encourages him to position himself based on this attribute – one of the main reasons why he has made such a name for himself, and introduced the Pretoriuses into the right circles.

Business philosophy
He believes being an entrepreneur is not a choice, but rather a title you deserve once you’ve discovered your passion in life. “It’s about taking your talents, improving it, and ultimately through that, adding value to the lives of people around you – and businesses are born out of that.”

He’s also convinced that success isn’t about being a billionaire, but rather applying a certain blueprint to your life and finding success in your own way. “Money isn’t what drives me. For me, it’s about what echoes, what stays behind, and what you mean and leave behind. That’s what drives me.”Summiting Ben Nevis

Ettiëne and Erichia are truly a power couple – smart, great at what they do, and above all, they are pleasant, willing to give to others and add value in every sense of the concept. It’s no wonder that they were invited to join 2015’s Strive Challenge, summiting the highest peak in the British Isles with a select group of 60 influential entrepreneurs. Strive was founded by Sam Branson, in support of Big Change Charitable Trust, which is an annual, invite-only event. This year the group collectively raised close to £80 000 in aid of the development of young entrepreneurs.ettenie (Large)Erichia describes it as an experience of a lifetime. “It’s pushing the boundaries quite a bit. You hike for long distances, more or less 32km a day and you never ever stop, only for a quick lunch. But there’s just so much energy going around!” She ascribes this to the fact that the people involved have an absolute growth mentality. “Unless you talk to people, you don’t know how influential and significant they are. They are not there to brag, they are there to make a change in the lives of others. We left with the message that they are normal people with an extraordinary drive and purpose.”

It was a gruelling physical challenge, but they left inspired. Ettiëne was slightly amused with the Scots and their understanding of distance. “They kept telling us that it was only 30 minutes to go, and two hours later they would say exactly the same thing!” For him, the highlight of the excursion was the people – and the fact that the majority of conversation along the way wasn’t about business or success, but about adding value. “Both of us could breathe in those conversations. You feel at home with like-minded souls who believe that you have to give in order to grow.”

The pair planted their flag on the peak; made their mark by contributing R60 000 to the charity; and learnt valuable life principles which they are determined to apply in future. “We learnt to think big, think global. Don’t focus on changing 10 lives if it’s possible to change the lives of thousands of people.”erichiaa (Large)About Big Change Lowveld How do you position yourself? How do you get to rub shoulders with influential people and learn from them? Ettiëne and Erichia believe it’s not about being rich and that there’s no way that you can move in such circles if you don’t have anything to contribute.

They want to give something back to the Lowveld community by teaching their life and business philosophy to a worthy candidate. This person will get the opportunity to meet Sam Branson in London, and will participate in a six month mentoring programme with Ettiëne and other top Lowveld business brains. Join him at an exclusive motivational session on September 17 to find out how you can participate in Big change Lowveld

Visit www.lowvelder.co.za to reserve your seat – only 500 sports available for this opportunity of a lifetime!

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