Laurian Venter – One Day Only

Laurian VenterWhy did you choose this career?

  • I actually started my career in the Fashion Industry. I was trained in fashion design and buying and worked with the likes of Woolworths, H&M, Speedo, Marks and Spencers and various Private label swimwear and underwear brands.  I then moved into the homeware space, developing product and importing for the likes of Mr Price, @Home, Boardmans and Checkers.

I focussed on developing and sourcing great product, and understanding what customers wanted. I landed up venturing into the importing side of the business and found myself travelling all over the world which actually inspired me to start my own importing business. All the travelling was a massive challenge, dealing with different time zones, being away from friends and family, and juggling admin whilst away, but I believe it is one of the things that helped me get ahead of the game and set me up for great things.

Understanding what people wanted to buy at the right time and interpreting what sells is where my strength lay. E-commerce was new, fresh and exciting 8 years ago, (for me) so when the One Day Only job presented itself I jumped at the opportunity.

How did you start with OneDayOnly? What was the plan?

  • Slowly! I started at One Day Only 8 years ago and we were running 1 product per day. The plan was to build the very best daily deal site that we could. We always tried to make sure that the content was ‘quirky’ and fun and initially only did one deal a day. We were worried if we did more than one deal a day we would dilute the brand, but quickly realized that we could sell multiple daily deals per day, generate more income, and make the site more interesting, which has brought us to where we are today
  • What are 2-3 important lessons you have learnt in your role at ODO?
  • Building a team – finding amazing, dedicated, smart people – even if they don’t have experience but love what they do – empowering them and giving them the right tools to scale the business up is something I truly believe in
  • Finding skilled people – we have realised this is a necessity if we want to scale the business, and we have focussed on this a lot over the last 2 years or so
  • We don’t know everything, but we can figure it out. We did not have extensive knowledge in the e-commerce industry but we could definitely find people and companies who could consult and help us in areas that we didn’t have knowledge in
  • Resilience – we have been knocked down many times, and make mistakes daily, but how you get up and overcome it is what’s important

What has been your biggest challenge?

The speed at which we grew. We have had massive growth spurts and each and every time we had to find ways to react and respond in the best way possible. In order to survive you need to change and adapt. I did (and still do) wonder ‘what’s going to be the next challenge’. You can’t become complacent; you always need to find ways to be innovative and one step ahead.

How have you evolved and changed/ has the business changed you?

Joining the One Day Only team has been a game-changer in my career. I have never had to manage such a big team. I have had to adapt and change my management and leadership styles. I went from managing two people and now at One Day Only I am managing over 60 people and learning as I go along. We are busy with leadership training across the board to make sure we are giving the right training and attending to all the needs of our team / colleagues.

What was the best advice that anyone ever gave you?

My dad always says ‘Work hard and care’ and as short and simple as that sounds I truly believe in this and try live by this as much as possible.

What advice do you have for women entrepreneurs or women who may be in the position that you were in 10 years ago? 

I think people get caught up with a gender stereotype in the workplace. I believe we should all play to our strengths and use what skills we have no matter whether we are male or female, I believe we should apply the below principles and we can all be just as successful in the workplace;

  • use your skills
  • have a plan
  • set goals
  • make sure your goals are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time based)
  • take the easy wins
  • have resilience – every day is a new day
  • have passion for what you do

What motivates you to get out of bed every day?

People! I love seeing people thriving in their roles, doing what they do best.  I believe in allowing people to play to their strengths in their teams and by doing so they can achieve so much.

As a woman – what challenges do you face / have you faced; and how do you overcome them – with the view to inspire 

We all face a lot of challenges and it comes down to resilience. When you find yourself in a bad situation or have failed at something you need to pick yourself up and move forward. I believe in taking accountability for your actions and dealing with things head on. When I started off many years ago it was all hands on deck and doing whatever it takes to get the job done. We are a 24 hour daily deal site so every day is a challenge and we need to push through each challenge and learn from them.

How do you create a balance between life and work?

When I was younger this used to be a massive struggle for me. I have A-type personality so I set very high-standards for myself but I eventually came to realise that you need to slow down. My philosophy is, life is a marathon not a sprint, if you try give it your all too quickly then you will burn out. You need to learn to switch off and have some ‘me’ time. Take leave, go on a holiday, find what refreshes you and do it.

Who inspires you?

I am a committed Christian and I get my inspiration from God, leaders at my church and my husband.

What is your proudest accomplishment? 

I am proud of the team I have built at One Day Only. I have watched my team grow from strength to strength over the years.