20 years ago the dream began. Lynne and I were about to embark on a new journey, a new chapter in our lives, we were about to navigate uncharted waters.

Little did we know that this would result in a thriving and prosperous business filled with successful and ambitious professionals with a passion to change lives.

We took a leap of faith in establishing the business. We took an idea and made it our own. The business combines the best of the rigour and structure of my Agency Management days, with an entrepreneurial vision few would have considered possible 20 years ago.

We acquired space, recruited, trained and inspired people towards a common goal of success and changing people’s lives.

It wasn’t always easy. In the beginning we had little if no support from Liberty; understandably so, the venture was brand new, they were worried about accountability and liability. I personally had to find advisors and once recruited, I was solely responsible for all the training i.e. product, skills, technical, legal technical, financial planning computer programmes and how all the Liberty systems operated. I had to develop a commission paying system and a full operating business including administration staff that I had to train from scratch. On top of this there was no income so I had to go and sell to generate earnings. Once I had recruited an advisor, I had on top of all the training go into the field with him or her to train them how to operate on top of all of the above. Lynne was the receptionist/ accountant in the mornings and I was all of the above and the receptionist in the afternoons.

It was exhilarating, stimulating, challenging, scary and exhausting. I ran from 6 am in the morning until I fell asleep in the bath late at night, every day for 18 months.

What was it that kept me going? My perseverance, known work ethic and sheer belief in what I was doing and what I was going to achieve and above all, the 100% support from Lynne and her total belief in me and my abilities that we would succeed.

Did I ever have doubts along the way? I knew as Lynne did, that we would succeed, but I had many sleepless nights. I knew that if I continued to do everything that I had done in the Agency division and worked as hard as I physically and mentally could and always did everything for the right reason, then we would succeed.

We were based on the Foreshore in Cape Town for our first 5 years and in 2001 bought our first building, which we are still in today. Once again I was nervous. Interest rates were at an all-time high; Was I being too adventurous? Many companies don’t last 5 years, let alone 10, never mind 15 or 20! Would we last long enough to see out the bond repayment term? My answer to me was, continue to do what you have done and more and you will succeed.

As I reflect back on the 20 years and realise the impact we have had on so many lives, it is truly humbling.

To quote from our Mission Statement written 20 years ago was “ TO HAVE BUILT THE MOST PRODUCTIVE , PROFESSIONAL,DYNAMIC AND PROFITABLE AGENCY FORCE IN SOUTH AFRICA THROUGH THE ONGOING RECRUITMENT AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE HIGHEST CALIBER INDIVIDUALS IN THE MARKETING OF FINANCIAL SERVICES. I truly believe that this has been accomplished. We have won every team competition that Liberty has had for the Franchise Division, visiting places such as Sodwana, Victoria Falls, Mozambique and Mauritius. We have had the highest number of qualifiers at the overseas conventions held in Bali in 2013 and most recently New York in May. We had the highest number of Executive Consultants at the first combined Executive Consultants Conference that was held in Zimbali in 2015. We have the highest number of Certified Financial Planners who hold a Post Graduate Qualification in Financial Planning, an NQF 8 qualification, of any branch or franchise in the country. We were also the Inaugural winners of “Franchise of the Year” and when Liberty divided the Franchises into categories we were the “Gold Franchise of the Year,” 3 years in a row.

The family has played huge role in our success and I am blessed to have had them involved; from Lynne running the financial side and Samantha the staff, Nicola has looked after the catering side and is married to Daniel our Number 1 Advisor and also Liberty’s number 1. My son, Craig, has assisted considerably in achieving most of the above and has a fierce determination to grow the business into a very unique offering; a business with a strong value proposition and brand to match.

A 20 year milestone in any business is significant, but to be successful for 20 years is even more so. This, however, could never have been achieved without the unique culture that Enriching Life has and the high caliber of financial advisors we have that have allowed us to achieve our dream.

Here’s to the next 20 successful years .

Des Yeats

MD and Founder