Juan Volschenk - I think that each aspiring entrepreneur needs to understand their 'why' before they start with the 'how' and 'what'

Juan Volschenk:Chief Executive Officer of Ec3

JUAN VOLSCHENK, CEO of Ec3, says, "As cliché as this is going to sound, people inspire me. Having the ability to witness the growth and eventual success of an underdog motivates me to work harder, aim higher and as a result, achieve more." Volschenk started off in the call centre industry purely due to a need to pay off student debt for his drafting degree. At the tender age of 20, the allure of opportunity and success is what enticed him to continue in the industry and a mere five years later he was awarded his first promotion into a leadership position. Through hard work, determination and grit, he moved his way up the ladder and progressed to general manager, COO and eventually CEO. However, after years of building and shaping other companies, the entrepreneurial bug bit and he decided to forge a name for himself in the industry and start his own call centre business with nothing but the belief to succeed, the support of his family and the notion/comfort that many great organisations were started in a garage, and so, Ec3 was born.

Volschenk soon realised that leadership and entrepreneurship is a lonely road. As he says, "Starting your own business is something that is easy to set in place and carry out, it is the growing and sustainability that becomes the true challenge. Building a business means you always eat last. You're ostracised because your beliefs and dreams are too farfetched and out of the ordinary. At the beginning, making the decision to start the business was an empowering one, but as the months went along the eventual, inevitable fears began to set in. You were no longer accountable for the livelihood of yourself and your own family but also those families of ten other employees. Twice in the beginning of the journey, we came extremely close to calling it quits, however constantly reminding myself of the initial goal and the fact that I had people depending on the success of the business enabled us to persevere on."

Volschenk says that a definite strength is "having the ability to never look at a situation with a glass half empty mindset. Perseverance and clearly drafted goals are certain methods to gaining success with any task taken on. Having belief and trust in the people you work with also played a major role in the above."

"Working in an industry which absolutely disrupts the ideology that one has to have a great education or constant early yearly grooming to achieve true success or financial stability is truly an amazing opportunity. Each day I am awarded the gift of being a part of something phenomenal."

Since inception, there are a few highlights which deserve mention, this includes Ec3 being nominated and winning the best call centre in KZN and nationally (under 150 seats) through BPESA. When competing against other countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, Ec3 took first prize.

In 2017, Ec3 was awarded first place by Hellopeter as South Africa's most responsive company in the telecommunications space.

Volschenk says, "Personally, I think my biggest achievement has to be the successes of the people I was able to mentor and help shape through the years. As silly as this may sound, browsing through Facebook or LinkedIn and seeing these guys now in pivotal positions in other great organisations brings me immense joy and satisfaction. Something I live by is that any leader's success is only truly measured by the success and happiness of their people.

I think that each aspiring entrepreneur needs to understand their 'why' before they start with the 'how' and 'what'." He is firm on leadership. "My leadership style can be described as strongly transformational and mildly democratic. I often delegate and allow our people within the organisation to make decisions ensuring that they understand their contributions, decisions and opinions are valued as I believe that this promotes a range of behaviours such as fairness, creativity and honesty. Something that inspires me is seeing the underdog become successful. When working with people, future leaders included, it should be almost the rule of thumb that one should always motivate others to do more than they thought possible for them to do. I try to set exceedingly challenging expectations with hopes of higher performances from key individuals. It should be noted that we should never deny someone the privilege of struggle. Having someone exceed their own expectations creates a massive amount of certainty and confidence which almost automatically radiates throughout an organisation. The goal is always to empower and create self-belief and worth.

One of my main goals was to create a business built on trust, not on our methods but on our people. Something that could be respected for its upfront notion and transparent processes.

I believe that one of our greatest strengths and weaknesses sit with the fact that we treat our partners' customers as if they were our own and that truly becomes the differentiator in any business. That sense of personal involvement is what sets many businesses apart and something I believe should be promoted more often in our industry."

He believes in building for the future, "My vision is to truly build something sustainable for many generations to come, so that long after I have perished the same dream we had at inception will continue to live on.

I want to continue to give people of all walks of life an opportunity to develop themselves and ultimately achieve their dreams and most importantly, never forgetting their will our 'why'."

When he is not at the office, he thoroughly enjoys spending time with his family, especially his two daughters who bring him immense joy and are always full of life. Volschenk is an avid rugby fan and enjoys both television broadcasts and live matches. "Go Stormers!". "Whilst not as often as I would like to, I indulge in listening to audio books covering a variety of genres however my go to always being leadership and people focused topics."

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