“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” These were the insightful words of Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States. The story of business owner Anouska Combrink really makes these words ring true.
Before becoming a business owner, Anouska worked at an Audi dealership in Port Elizabeth. There she wore many hats which unknowingly equipped her for her future role as a business owner.
Anouska was always aware of Edublox as Audiblox (a previous Edublox program) helped her as a child and her mom used the Schoolblox program when she was still a teacher. But in 2016, she decided to take the leap and open her own business.
“I felt I was ready for a new challenge. I always wanted to work with children, and I knew how much Audiblox helped me. I believed in the Edublox product and knew it would help me sell it. The same way I believed in the quality of Audi, which helped me sell their vehicles.”
As with many new businesses, it sometimes feels like a rollercoaster ride, and for Anouska, it was no different. But then the thing no one could anticipate happened: The COVID-19 pandemic. Similar to other business owners, Anouska was doing everything she could to keep her business afloat, but she also had to cope with the unexpected absence of her husband. “My daughter was a couple of months old when lockdown level 5 happened. My husband worked overseas and could not come home for about nine months due to restrictions. Balancing running my business, moving to online classes, being a new mother, and missing my husband was sometimes overwhelming.”
Despite this, Anouska managed to focus and keep her business afloat. “I formulated a plan to implement the necessary COVID protocols once we were allowed to open. Although there were many challenges, some changes we made during this time have benefitted my business, and we will continue implementing them in the future. I could not have survived this trying period without the loving support of my husband, all our family members, my tutor Sonja, and the loyal support from our Edublox and EASY (Edublox Academic Support Years) parents, whom I consider part of my family as well.
In the face of these challenges, Anouska showed real grit and resilience by focusing on why she decided to open her own business in the first place. “At times, when I felt like giving up, I kept wondering what would happen to the children who overcame so many challenges and needed the Edublox program. Especially my EASY students, that have been with me for many years. This thought motivated me to find the strength to carry on.”
Today few business owners can say they have achieved the goals they set for themselves pre-pandemic, but for Anouska, there is light at the end of the tunnel. She has not lost focus or inspiration, but her persistence in running a successful business has only grown – a remarkable skill she hopes to pass on to her students. “I hope to open my own school and to be able to make a difference in more children’s lives; to give them hope and the assurance that there is nothing wrong with them if they battle. They shouldn’t put their dreams aside if they struggle since they can overcome challenges with the right tools and perseverance.”