Chesre Schnell,24, from Seawinds, Cape Town had dreams of becoming a soccer star and a musician. His dreams however never manifested, but they gave birth to something he never thought he would do, become an entrepreneur. Chesre now makes the dreams of others become a reality. This is his story:
“I was born and raised in Seawinds, Cape Town; an area that is surrounded by poverty and bad influences. I was brought up with enforced discipline because I believe I learned everyday through those small life lessons from my parents, family members and teachers played a big role. This was regardless of being surrounded by gangsterism, drugs and other bad influences.”
Chesre explains that although they had financial struggles growing up, they always had enough.
“I wouldn’t say that I had many struggles growing up because I know there are many others going through things 10 times worse on a daily basis. I try to remain appreciative of everything I have and I believe that I always had enough. Growing up we were not always financially well-off and if it seems as if we are, I guess we’re just trying to fake it until we eventually make it. The faith we have is and will always be strong.”
It was during his high school years when things got tough for his family:
“During my high school years things were a bit more hectic than expected, having to deal with the loss of a few family members, it caused us to move around a lot. My parents eventually settled within Steenberg while I continued to stay with my grandmother so that I could focus on my school work.”
After school Chesre had the dream of becoming a singer, but he also had a passion for soccer.
“I always tried to make the two work together but it just didn’t happen. I decided to take on music at COPA (Campus of Performing Arts) but I dropped out by the 4th or 5th month because we simply could not afford the fees. It was devastating because you’re deprived from excelling in something that you’re so passionate about.”
Chesre said he realised that dreams are expensive, but he had another opportunity to pursue music and soccer this time at the University of Stellenbosch:
“Another opportunity came up for me to take on music while playing soccer at Stellenbosch University, the amazing thing about this is that I was pre-approved for a soccer scholarship after successfully completing soccer trials for their varsity team, all I needed to do was get into their music program. My audition was great but I had no idea what to do during the theoretical exam, I could not read music at all. So that was another missed opportunity. It was at that time that I felt at my lowest.”
Although Chesre’s dreams of pursuing music and soccer were just not working out, yet again another opportunity knocked on his door, but this time something completely different.
“A family member told my mother about AFDA – a film school in Cape Town to study business. I wasn’t really into it because I always focused on soccer or singing, but I thought about it and decided that it would be great to add something behind my name. It was probably one of the best life decisions I made, because I fell in love with everything I learnt and ultimately fell in love with business.”
Chesre now holds a degree in Business and he runs his own company called, Schnell Business Solutions. It is a small, consulting agency, which provides businesses and individuals with digital business solutions.
“The inspiration behind starting this business came from getting my degree and deciding to provide people with the knowledge and tools to grow their businesses. Many people in South Africa have the craft, talent and experience to do anything, whether it be doing nails, home renovations or catering, the only problem is that they do not know how to turn that craft into a business and build a legacy. This is why our slogan is “Empowering Your Future”.”
Chesre says that it is his surroundings and the people who love him that motivates him:
“The people I love and my surroundings is what motivates me every day. When you have people that pray for you and encourage you to always do your best, it lifts you up. I thank my parents for that because, even though we weren’t always financially stable, they always made sure that there was food on the table and got me to every opportunity they believed I’d do well in. So what motivates me is to be able to give back to them, provide my future family with a better life and to be able to provide better opportunities for people within the community I was brought up in.”
Chesre’s words of encouragement to anyone wanting to pursue their dreams:
“It’s never going to be an easy ride. Write your goal down, plan it and start. You won’t know unless you start because you’re always going to fail at something, the important part about that failure is that you will learn from it. Educate yourself by trying to read as much as possible. Start your day by feeding the body and then feed the mind. Knowledge is power and there’s thousands of ways to access information. Google, get yourself a mentor, watch the news, read newspapers, books and magazines as often as possible. Lastly, I find it important to pray about your dreams and goals. I’ve already prayed and continue to pray for a successful future and to be surrounded by happiness, it’s up to me to work towards it every day.”
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Tell us: What did you learn from Chesre’s story?