23rd September 2016
Interview with Wilbert R. Mutoko
Today at Success in Business & Career (SBC) we speak to Mr Taka Sande (TS) the founder of It’s My Footprint Blog and author of 3 books. He is a great dreamer who puts ideas into action.
Taka Sande is an author, an entrepreneur and development activist. These three areas clearly represent his passions.
He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) with the Project Management Institute (PMI) who holds a BSc Civil Engineering degree from the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU). He also have a Diploma in Church Leadership from Nehemiah Bible Institute (NBI) in South Africa.
(SBC) Mr Taka Sande, welcome and thank you for spending time with us at Success in Business & Career.
(TS) Thank you for having me here. It’s an honour.
(SBC) Can you start by giving our followers a brief background of yourself, your experience, education and current career status?
(TS) My name is Taka Sande. I am a published author, an entrepreneur and development activist who resides in Pretoria, South Africa.
I am a real estate development manager by profession. I run It’s My Footprint blog, http://www.itsmyfootprint.com/ and I have published three books; ‘The Discipleship Series,’ the ‘Little Tough Tips on Marriage’ and recently ‘The Blessing Scriptures.’ These three Christian books are all available on Amazon and major bookshops in both print format and kindle versions.
I am a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) with the Project Management Institute (PMI) in USA. Some of the tools I hold who hold include a Diploma in Church Leadership from Nehemiah Bible Institute (NBI) South Africa, a BSc Civil Engineering degree from the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU).
I have a passion for making a difference by influencing and adding value to people’s lives. I believe in living a result oriented and purpose driven life. After all life without a purpose is a waste.
(SBC) What is your motto and what drives you?
(TS) My common quote is, ‘After all life without a purpose is a waste.’ I believe everyone on earth has a divine purpose. This is the reason each one was made. Life is not an accident. You have to find your purpose and calling. And these are always linked to your gifts and talents. If you are not yet there; with time you have to drift towards your calling.
(SBC) Wow Taka! Is there a set of values that you live by such as integrity, teamwork etc?
(TS) The value that I live by are best summed up in the article that I posted few years ago called My “Ten Rules!” – http://www.itsmyfootprint.com/my-ten-rules/. They include;
- Living life purposefully.
- Have the bigger picture in mind.
- God first, my wife second and then everyone else.
- Live a life of honor.
- Understanding that ‘I reap what I sow.’ Hence I determine what I get.
(SBC) WOW! Taka, this is amazing so far. Now, to get where you are there is a story, how did it all start?
(TS) I never considered myself a writer or an artist. I was told at a young age that you are a good in science related subjects so you are a scientist. Later on I discovered that perhaps science is an art.
At the university I started to write and edit a magazine for the youth group. That’s how I got hooked onto writing. I never stopped writing. Ten years later I have a number of manuscripts. That’s when I started to publish the books.
(SBC) What were some of your main challenges in the process of schooling? How did you overcome them?
(TS) I come from a large family and an underprivileged background. My father had to fight to get us all to school and to make sure our basic needs are met. And all the children had to help. During the school holidays we work in the fields in our rural home. Most of my teen year was spent selling goods for my parents to make ends meet. This is how I got to understand the principle of sowing, reaping and multiplication. I saw my parents doing it. We had to work hard. I learned to survive and to be resourceful.
(SBC) What were some of the leadership roles that you took in school?
(TS) In our days leadership in in school was based mainly in presentability. Children from poorer background like mine did not stand a chance. Hence I focused on doing what I came to school for, that is to get good grades. This I achieved well. It is only in high school that I discovered that I can inspire other people, outside formal leadership channels.
At the university I was in youth leadership. I was the treasurer and administrator for most of the years. The resourcefulness that I developed in our family became handy.
(SBC) Taka, did you have any life-changing experiences that put you on the path that led you to, what you’re doing today?
(TS) Yes. When I turned 19, in High School it dawned on me that I am responsible for my future and that I cannot expect my parents to continue to fund my life. I discovered that I could build a better life if I cut off dependence on other people. Dependence is a limitation. The following year I left High School and started to live an independent life.
(SBC) One may want to know how it came to your mind to rise up as a young man and do exploits as you have done. Let’s go into some of the work you have done. How did It’s my footprint come in to play?
(TS) It’s My Footprint came about as an experiment of my passion. In 2010 I visited Lovemore Nyatsine and the 10 minute conversation sparked it all. He mentioned in passing that ‘Taka if you do projects of your passion outside work, no one can stop you.’ Those days he was running a blog called the Seedbed Institute.
That year in April/May I ran the first ‘Men’s Fraternity’ online programme with 55 men. The success was overwhelming. In April 2011 I run again the ‘Men’s Fraternity’ programme with 79 men. This was followed the first ‘My Footprint’ personal development programme in July with 98 people. The results were thrilling. The list of subscribers keep growing daily for the 24 week duration of the program.
This gave birth to It’s My Footprint. I knew that people need support to live better life, to enjoy everyday life and to fulfil their callings.
(SBC) Wow! Wow! Taka! What are some of the success stories and challenges of It’s my Footprint?
(TS) It’s My Footprint influences thousands of people annually from different backgrounds and religious belief. The truth of the wisdom for life cannot be challenged because it is real. It is authentic.
Over the past five year our numbers have grown to the following;
- 118,600 website visitors annually with 1,295,337 visits,
- 5,709 Email subscriber,
- 5,011 Facebook page likes,
- 17,595 Facebook group members,
- 11,281 Twitter followers.
We are so blessed to be influencing and mentoring so many people. I give credit to our team; Tichaona Chitsinde our dedicated Editor and Thabo Mosisili our IT guru.
Our greatest challenge has been to generate income. For the past five years we have not yet break even.
(SBC) You are on the way brother. I hope soon you will break-even and go beyond. Where do we see It’s My Footprint in the next 5 to 10 years?
(TS) The message of Its My Footprint is authentic. It cannot be shut down. We look to increase our revenue by offering diverse services. We recently launched the speaking and the publishing platforms called Self-Publishing Africa. We have roped in Kelvin Tinashe Mutize to boost these programs. Through these initiatives we have already stared to see signs of better results. It is so great to work with an open minded but focused person like Kelvin.
I believe that we all have a message. A message we were born to speak. Most of us are not pros at speaking, but deep down in our hearts we all have a voice wanting to shout out a message. A message we want to go out there. It can be a message of hope or profound wisdom or deep knowledge that you have or even a story. I believe that you are not meant to be silent. You have a word, a message you were born to speak, to speak with your voice, to speak with your gifts and talents. You all have treasure in you. Awesome treasures to display to the world. This is the message people read through your life.
Africa has a voice and a message. This message is best expressed in writing. The Self-Publishing Africa initiative assists emerging authors to get their voice out to the international platform. Economic challenges must not limit someone with a message.
(SBC) Amazing work! They say ‘iron sharpens iron.’ Did you have any remarkable mentors or advisors who boosted you to where you are today, what you believe in and what you are committed to in your work and life? Share with our followers about it.
(TS) I always say that there are three men in my life besides God, that is, my father, Kenneth Copeland and Karl Winter. You know about the first two. Karl is a retired German architect, but of cause you will not find him on social media. He replaced my late father. His words and advice changed my life in a great way. His spiritual and financial integrity really fascinates me. I believe ‘it takes another man to make a man.’
There is also Rabison Shumba, who pushed me to bring out my writing into the public arena. Dr Rapheal Kasonga and Dr Rodwell Jacha who are always ready to give me personal and business insights. My close advisers include Peter Lifa, Mike Mureyani, Tendai Chikwata and Misheck Mundondo.
(SBC) You are so proud of your team Mr Sande. Now, I read one of your books – ‘Discipleship Series’ and I was so impressed. Your writing is simple. The content and design of the book is awesome. Can you tell us more about your books, why you wrote them, when and your experience with readers so far.
(TS) As I have pointed out earlier, that I have published three books; ‘The Discipleship Series,’ the ‘Little Tough Tips on Marriage’ and then recently ‘The Blessing Scriptures.’
‘The Discipleship Series’ is a book that takes you back to the Christian basics. It contains basic Christian faith Bible based teachings essential for every believer. It will answer questions that you may have about the Christian faith. As you have your quiet time or personal devotion the teaching can help you as reading material. And if you are a leader the lessons are good for teaching and discussion in Bible study groups.
Besides this, the ‘The Discipleship Series’ takes you back to the basics. No matter where we are or how long we have been there, the basic things must not be forgotten. Basic principles are the ones that make our foundations. And once in a while we go back to check our foundation, because the whole building sits on it.
This book presents basic Christian life teachings. It’s a good book not only for a new Christian but for anyone who what to know more about the basics of Christian faith. If you really want to enjoy your Christian life, this is the book to read.
‘Little Tough Tips on Marriage’ book helps you put your marriage relationship where it belongs. Marriage is supposed to be fun and enjoyable. Every couple can have a fun and enjoyable marriage and they can have this if they are brave enough to pursue the Little Tough Tips on Marriage.
Marriage is a lifelong commitment that is made without an option to turn back. It is like a garden that needs constant watering and great care. If you really love your spouse then, your love is worth fighting for. This little book will revolutionize your approach to your marriage relationship. It will prepare you to navigate traps that can block the smooth flow of marriage, by reorienting your heart and attitude. The following tips covered in this book will help you improve your relationship with your spouse and will move your spouse from being an enemy to being your ally.
‘The Blessing Scriptures’ will help you read the Bible effectively. This book will make it easy to maintain a constant devotional life because as you read it you will be reading verses that benefits you immediately. The collection of scriptures in this book relates to your personal life. Meditate daily on these scriptures that speak to you directly in The Blessing Scriptures, and experience the difference.
You need a very positive mind to realize that big dream of yours. Few encouraging scriptures a day from The Blessing Scriptures will help you maintain a positive mind throughout the day. They will energize you to get out of bed to fulfill your calling with a purpose.
This collection of scriptures will speak to your tough situation, turning your trails around and give you a new outlook to your future. Speak these scriptures daily as you pray.
The Blessing Scriptures will change your devotional life. Every scripture in the book has a direct meaning to your everyday personal life. Every scripture is specifically intended to encourage and restore hope and faith to face any daring circumstance. This is the book you ought to start and end your day with!
As you read The Blessing Scriptures you will feel faith rising inside you. This is how this book will help you face and conquer your giants. It’s time to slain the giants. It is time for victory. The Blessing Scriptures will redefine your spirituality.
(SBC) Wow Taka! That is a mouthful! Where can readers find your books?
(TS) All my books are available on amazon and major online stores. You can see them on my Amazon Author page.
(SBC) Amazing isn’t it? And how does one become part of your vision on the blog – It’s My Footprint
(TS) Thank you for asking. As you have noticed It’s My Footprint has become a great force for transformation and better lifestyle. In order not to miss our offerings subscribe to the blog, join our Facebook group, like our Facebook Page, follow us on Twitter and keep following our initiatives.
(SBC) When you think of the future of the kind of work you’ve talked about here, what gives you a sense of hope for your future?
(TS) I believe that there is no sky to limit someone who has made up his/her mind to walk in his/her God given calling. I believe as long as you are operating in your gifting and talents you can do the impossible. This is who I am and this is what I am made to do. The results speak for themselves.
(SBC) Which countries have you affected with your work so far? What other countries are in the pipeline?
(TS) In terms of statistics, about 40% of our followers are based in Southern Africa mainly Zimbabwe and South Africa. The next largest group of about 30% comes from East Africa, that is, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. This is the fastest growing group. We are planning programs for that geographic group. The remaining followers are from the rest of the world with a considerable number in the Australia, USA and the UK. I also want to mention out followers in Ghana and Liberia we are passionate about us.
It’s thrilling when you receive a message from someone in French Guiana reading our blog. I had to go on Google Map to see were this place is. Only to discover that French Guiana is a small French colony in South America. It’s really exciting to see the extent of our readership.
(SBC) So impressive! Let’s talk about Taka the man! Give us a bit of your social and family life.
(TS) I am married to Beatrice and we have three children. As a family we go hiking once a month. We enjoy adventures, swimming, cycle and walking. I intend to learn golf soon. We enjoy community development projects, developing and supporting individuals by mentoring and coaching as well as building authentic relationships.
I currently serve as a leader at Hatfield Christian Church and I am involved in discipleship and mentoring. We recently with my wife we started to present in marriage seminars. As we speak we have seen marriages and people being healed and restored. We are excited about this new initiative.
(SBC) U-uum, what a family man! What about your wake up time and sleep time? How many hours do you normally sleep and why?
(TS) I am a creative person hence I need my body, soul and spirit to be working at optimal level. I make it a habit of sleeping an average of 7.5 hour each night. I sleep at 10pm and get up early at 5.30am. From studies and my personal experience this is the best hours to sleep effectively and efficiently.
(SBC) Which book are you currently reading?
(TS) I am currently the book of Daniel, reading through the Bible and I am also reading How To Win Friends Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
(SBC) What is your favorite meal and drink?
(TS) You have to prepare a medium to well done rump steak with Greek salad and mushroom sauce followed by a cappuccino with cream.
(SBC) U-uuum! Tantalizing! What is on your playlist currently?
(TS) I listen to Bethel music. The music inspires and keeps me positive.
(SBC) How do you develop yourself mentally to succeed?
(TS) Continuous meditation keeps me focused and gives me the discipline and composure to face any situation.
(SBC) Taka, what impact has your career choices had on your loved ones?
(TS) I was the first person in our family and village and one of the few in my township to go to a university. So from my background, doing what I am doing is unheard of. You find that many young people look up to me as a role model and mentor, which is quite humbling.
(SBC) How would you describe your character?
(TS) I am a gentle but tough person. I try to be diplomatic in my approach and to have the end in mind. Honesty and integrity are non-negotiable. Because of this I end up surrounded with friends holding similar qualities.
(SBC) What is the craziest thing you’d like to achieve/attain?
(TS) Do you think that a voyage to the North Pole is crazy? Well it’s on my bucket list.
(SBC) How do you define success?
(TS) Success is to do what you enjoy. It is to live for a purpose. It is to enjoy everyday life.
(SBC) If you could spend time with someone who has attained the kind of success you are looking to reach, what questions would you ask them?
(TS) I am fascinated by biography of great leaders. So I would be interested in knowing their daily habits. I believe success is based on habits.
(SBC) What social cause(s) do you support/advocate for?
(TS) I am an advocate for marriage and family. I believe family is the basic unit of a nation. And family revolve around the marriage. My wife and I speak frequently in marriage seminars.
(SBC) What economic cause(s) do you support/advocate for?
(TS) I believe in empowerment as the solution to the world’s economic problems. Giving people fish has not helped. Let’s teach them how to fish and give them weapons to fish.
(SBC) Wow! What kind of friends do you have and how have they influenced the person you are?
(TS) I surround myself with good people. I am usually impressed by a person’s heart rather than skills, because skills can be acquired easier than a good heart. My friendship circle shows a higher than average integrity.
(SBC) So true isn’t it Taka? If you weren’t doing what you are doing now, what would be your occupation?
(TS) I will choose nothing else. This is my life. I love it.
(SBC) Who was your first hero? Are they still your hero today?
(TS) My first and greatest hero is my father. I am because of him.
(SBC) Financial stability, intelligence, emotional maturity and attractiveness: which would you pick if you could only have two of the four?
(TS) Intelligence and emotional maturity. I choose these two because they speak to the soul. And the condition of one’s soul determines everything.
(SBC) What characteristics do you look for in a partner, business or personal?
(TS) Just the way I choose my friends, it’s about a person’s heart. Skills can be outsourced but you cannot outsource character.
(SBC) Character. Character. Character. So profound! How many people do you work with?
(TS) For my day job I work in a company with 1,000 employees. As for my other projects the number of people depends on the requirement of the project.
(SBC) How did you recruit them and what challenges do you face when leading your team?
(TS) I look for good characters followed by skills. I am also impressed by people who think out of the box and are strategic. These are people with the bigger picture in mind.
(SBC) Most entrepreneurs struggle with financing (start-up capital and working capital). How is your experience?
(TS) Money and finance has been a problem since the Bible times. This is because a human being wants as much as he can get for as little effort as possible, and if possible, for nothing. This is not gonna happen. So let wisdom be paramount. You are never gonna find money stacked up just for you.
Money follows great ideas. Money follows value. So I create valuable ideas.
Mind you, there is nothing called overnight success. You have to build brick by brick. You have to build on wisdom. It takes wisdom to understand and accept that ‘starting small is different from thinking small.’
(SBC) Ok Mr Sande. Thanks for that insight. How do you network in order to increase your contacts?
(TS) I have a habit of constantly looking for sharp people that I can connect with. And over the years I have discovered that it’s actually the simple people who added more value to me.
(SBC) What sort of organizations do you belong to that support your trade?
(TS) I have memberships in various organizations in the engineering, real estate, publications and project management sectors. This forms the basis for networking with relevant people.
(SBC) When you are long gone, what would you like to be remembered for?
(TS) I want to be known as a man who enjoyed his life and influenced others. I want to be known as a good husband, a father and a friend.
(SBC) Any special words of encouragement to upcoming authors and entrepreneurs out there?
(TS) Your dream is within your reach. Your dream is built brick by brick. Do not bite what you cannot chew. Have a great dream but take it one step at a time. If you walk alone you walk fast but if you walk with others you go far. Have mentors and good advisors to walk with you. It does not cost you a dime. The greatest things one need in life are available for free. It is wisdom.
(SBC) Amazing words indeed Mr Sande! Any last words to our followers in general?
(TS) Do not give up on yourself. In order to succeed you have to fail many times. It’s all part of the process. It is only a loser who stops after a failure. A winner stops after succeeding.
(SBC) Thank you so much Taka for taking time off your demanding schedule. We appreciate and value your useful advice.
(TS) Thank you. I really enjoyed this session.
Taka Sande Links:
- Personal Social Media sites
- Website, http://takasande.com/
- Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=830388467
- Facebook Page, https://www.facebook.com/TakaSandeAuthor/
- Twitter, https://twitter.com/TakaSande
- LinkedIn, http://za.linkedin.com/in/takasande
- Google+, https://plus.google.com/u/0/117195147187742477937/posts
- Pinterest, https://www.pinterest.com/takazviona/
- Tumblr, http://takasande.tumblr.com/
- Youtube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCP2hw1nQpUHmu_FY8CcqERA
- Goodreads, https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6877863.Taka_Sande
- Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/takasande/
- Little Tough Tips on Marriage – https://www.facebook.com/LittleToughTipsOnMarriage/
- The Awesome Marriage Guide, http://paper.li/f-1312641338
- Shelfari, http://www.shelfari.com/o1514906428
- Amazon Author profile, http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00ANLNHBA
- My Book Place, http://mybookplace.net/taka-sande/
- Read Write Club Author Interview – http://www.readwriteclub.com/taka-sande/
- Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/TakaSande
- AboutMe, https://about.me/TakaSande
- News24 – http://www.news24.com/user/Taka%20Sande
- Whoswho SA, http://whoswho.co.za/taka-sande-55043
- ZMP old Linkedin page, http://www.linkedin.com/company/1415081?trk=tyah
- Self-Publishing Africa
- It’s My Footprint
- “The Discipleship Series” book links;
- “Little Tough Tips on Marriage” book links;
- “The Blessing Scriptures” book links;