‘Just a small-town boy, living in a lonely world, he took the midnight train going anywhere’ – Journey, ‘Don’t stop believin’.
That is the theme song for Andrew’s life. Born, raised, studied and articled in Port Elizabeth, the moment he qualified, he headed for Johannesburg.
Post articles he first worked for a national franchise in the office automation industry, followed by a franchisor in the motor service industry, which exposed him to the needs and challenges of small businesses as well as their owners.
Five years post articles, there was a bit of a bump in the road. It was all work and no play, and having an interest in interiors, Andrew enrolled for a programme in interior design. The course went well and he finished top of the class with a resultant opportunity to decorate an apartment in Dubai. That was the catalyst that he needed to follow his dream of being an interior designer – launching Andrew Hector Interiors. People commended him for taking the risk, but being a CA(SA) it was mitigated by guaranteed employment should this venture have failed.
On breaking the news to his parents, his mom had one condition – he needed to start giving back. Through a friend he got involved in a tutoring programme, Seeds of Hope, for Grade 9 to 11s in Tembisa, eventually heading up their accounting programme. If your hand is open to give, it is open to receive, he says. The greatest return though is seeing a kid’s face light up when they finally understand a concept.
As time went on, Andrew realised he still enjoyed helping business owners in the SME environment, so he slowly started taking on clients, purely through word of mouth within his network. He now counts national franchise winners and businesses seen on Shark Tank as part of his base. For some clients he has become a one-stop shop − I will do your tax and your renovation simultaneously.
‘When it comes to marrying your skills with your passion, listen to Journey, and don’t stop believing’, he says.