Meet our Merchants | Ben Francis

June 29, 2022

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Meet our Merchants | Ben Francis

First, please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I'm a 15-year-old filmmaker, photographer, and artist based in Cape Town. I sell photographic prints online, but I also create digital media for companies and individuals.  

 

What inspired you to start doing this?

It started in lockdown. I'm an only child, so my entire life I've had to keep myself busy. Lockdown, funnily enough, gave me the time to rethink the opportunities I have. I'm very fortunate to live a great lifestyle, lockdown made me realise that I've got a lot of things around me I can use to make content. I consider myself a creative person and I just remember during lockdown, there was a lot of negative energy overall and I found that through content creation I could make people happy.  

What would you say to other people your age who might want to start a business, but haven’t taken the plunge yet?

The most difficult part of starting my business was starting – putting pen to paper and writing out a business plan, then doing it. My advice: don't think about it. Just start right now and see how far it goes, if it fails, you’ve got nothing to stress about. There's no easy way to do it. You just have to do it.

We've got such little expectations as young entrepreneurs, and I think that should be one of the driving motives for anybody to start a business at my age. You shouldn't let other people's opinions about whether you can or cannot do something determine whether you do it or not.

What keeps you going in the face of criticism and judgment?

You have to drop other people's opinions quickly. My biggest problem was I cared way too much about what people thought. It's a big part of business – we cater to other people. As a photographer, I'm trying to make stuff that other people like, but sometimes you have to, in a selfish way, make stuff that you like more.

In a creative industry, we have to really think about what we're doing, but other times you just have to make a blatant, impulsive decision and just show it to the world then see what happens.

With that, you find your own audience. I think in any sort of business, that's what you have to do – make what you like first and the crowd will follow. Through experimentation and a lot of trial and error, seeing what works, seeing what doesn't work, constant research with all the time that I had, that is how I learnt what I liked.  

 

How did you find out about Ozow?

I was given a promotional hoodie at my school from a friend. Funnily enough, it was the most comfortable hoodie I've ever had. So, I got curious and then found out about Ozow, and what you do. For my business, I was looking for a payment provider that didn't need a card. I wanted a cardless services and instant EFT. Ozow seemed to be the best at it.

 

What was the process of becoming an Ozow merchant like?

The process of becoming a merchant with Ozow was super quick and easy. I emailed Ozow directly, then sent the necessary documents and within a day I got an email back. They told me they were reviewing it and the next day I was verified. It then took me about a day to integrate the Shopify API with my website.

 

How do you think Ozow will benefit your business?

Optimisation is the biggest part of what makes or breaks a good business. I'm always trying to make it easier for my customers to make purchases quickly and easily. So, when I can offer my clients a service where they don't have to pull out their card to make a transaction, I'm all for it.

If you are an existing Ozow merchant and want to be part of our Meet our Merchant series, reach out to us at marketing@ozow.com.  

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Staff Writer

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