For some of us, health and wellbeing do not come to mind every day. For others, health and wellbeing is an ongoing journey. The inspiring story of Ilze Wiid, 35-year-old CA(SA), successful franchise co-owner in a franchise business, wife, and mother of two daughters, is a testament to embracing health and wellbeing and making it part of one’s daily journey
Overcoming stuttering and aneurysm
How Ilze Wiid CA(SA) takes care of her and her franchise business’s health and wellbeing
‘I have been stuttering from the age of four and had to accept that it is part of who I was created to be. Stuttering is seen by many as a physical disability and yes, it did have an impact on my life since childhood. One of my life-long dreams was to become a lecturer at university. Another dream was to be a successful business owner and to work for myself. And yes, the perception of what a stutterer cannot do caused limitations in achieving this dream! However, with love and support from family and professionals, I faced it head-on, and my dreams became my reality. I attended a speech programme that enabled me to manage my speech in such a way that I could become a lecturer, which I did, and I had the blessing to teach accounting, auditing and taxation in the chartered accountancy degree at university level. The speech programme also equipped me with techniques to deal with and communicate with clients confidently in such a way that I could start and build my own business.’
The recent health challenges that Ilze had to deal with surfaced during the COVID-19 pandemic and constituted a life-changing event for her and her family.
‘In May 2020 I suffered a miscarriage at nine weeks. Even though it was still very early, it was still a loss as per my belief, as there was a life that we have prayed for and never got a chance to meet.
‘Then, in August 2020, I experienced severe headaches. My tongue also started to swell, which was a reason for concern at the time. I went for various brain and CT scans and ended up at a neurologist where an aneurysm was diagnosed in the main artery that supplies blood to the brain. With medicine, the physical recovery took about two months. Emotional recovery took longer − once one is faced with the possibility of death, one’s perspective and outlook on life change. I was forced to take a step back and re-evaluate my life and where I was heading. If I were to die, would I be satisfied with what I had accomplished and the difference I had made?
‘The aneurysm is still sitting in my artery and due to the location and condition of my veins, the specialists advised that they cannot remove it. To reduce the risk of blood clots I take medication to keep the blood thin. Due to the time that has elapsed since it was formed, the risk of the aneurysm rupturing is slim.’
Business franchise – pros, cons and advice
Ilze and her husband co-own a franchise called The Tax Shop Accountants Midstream since 2017. They provide accounting, taxation, payroll, and related business consulting services. Before they opened their franchise, her husband owned franchises in the takeaway food industry and Ilze was an audit manager at an audit firm and lectured part time.
‘The CA(SA) qualification provided me with the technical skills and experience to start my own business. I think the most value that it brought me was the soft skills – endurance, discipline, professional judgement, a questioning mind, a desire for continued development, a passion for people and businesses, and an ethical conscience. My partner in the business is also my husband, and I truly believe that being part of a husband-and-wife team contributes to our business’s success.
‘We decided to invest in a franchise business for the following reasons:
- We could combine our experiences into one business model and offering.
- A franchise offers you the credibility of a brand that is already established.
- You get the best of both worlds − run your own business on the one hand and still get quality support in terms of technical advice and updates, access to software programs, intellectual property and being part of a business network.’
Their franchise is five years old and won an award for outstanding performance in 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, their franchise was also recognised for exceptional growth since the inception of their business. Ilze is grateful that their business survived during the COVID-19 pandemic: ‘I think the diversification of our clients and the fact that we have very good and sound relationships with our clients carried us through lockdown. Our clients are from diverse industries that still needed the services that we provide, and that ensured our survival. Our relationships are built on trust and value, and we believe that is the glue that keeps relationships stick through difficult times.’
Ilze is a firm believer in paying it forward, and their franchise services a non-profit company free of charge, ensuring they remain statutory and tax compliant and enabling them to make a difference in their community. They also employ youth who are in the process of qualifying as accountants, contributing to their development through training them on the job and providing them with the experience and skills needed to become successful and well-rounded accountants.
We learn from Ilze Wiid’s journey that one’s health and wellbeing and its impact on one’s career is something that many in our profession are faced with every day. Ilze accomplished her career dreams and is successful and fulfilled because she learned how to face, accept and embrace her health challenges from the age of four, and continues to do so every day.
Adel du Plessis CA(SA), MHEd (cum laude)