Megan Smith is still a newcomer in the tough world of business, but already has big plans for the future. At the young age of 23, she has already learnt that hard work and unwavering passion is the key to her success – and she is determined to achieve her dreams.
Born and bred in Bloemfontein, Megan is the owner of Anderson 4 Eyecare, an optometry business with two practices in the city of roses. “If you choose a career that you truly like and that you have a passion for, it will never feel like a job to you,” she says.
“That is why I chose optometry. I have always wanted to do physiotherapy or something in the medical field and the day I had to complete my application form for university, I wrote down optometry almost unexpectedly. The eye is one of the most interesting organs in the human body and I was immediately attracted to the field. There is nothing more fulfilling than seeing a patient, who has been struggling with his eyesight, put on a pair of glasses and be able to see properly for the first time. It warms my heart every time.”
According to Megan it wasn’t easy to take over the reins of a company so soon after graduating and she had to learn the ropes pretty quickly. “The previous owner was still with me at the business during the first few months, so this gave me some time to get the hang of everything. In the beginning it was difficult. I had to learn all the names and different types of lenses before I could start to see patients, as I wanted to make sure I am able to prescribe the best possible solution for every patient that walked through my door,” she explains.
“At the same time I had to learn how to run a business. This was definitely more difficult than the optometry side of things.” She says one of the pros of buying an existing business, was the fact that the business practices were already in place and that there was already an existing client base.
The difficult part was making changes in the business. Everyone was already used to how things were done.
“The difficult part was making changes in the business. Everyone was already used to how things were done. My age can also be a bit of a challenge, because all the employees are older than I am,” she says. “It takes a lot of hard work to make your business grow and I am still learning something new every day.”
To improve her business skills, Megan turned to business coaching and joined the ranks of Action Coach under Diederik van Niekerk. “Since starting with business coaching, I have grown so much as a business owner. Diederik has taught me a lot about all the different aspects of business and how to keep control of the finances. I found business coaching invaluable.”
Megan plans to open more practices in other towns in the future where she will only be involved in an oversight role. “I am still young and right now it is important to me to work in my own business and expand my knowledge and experience in my professional career. In time I would like to be less involved in the day-to-day running of the business to allow myself more time to attend business seminars and events where I can grow as a business owner,” she says.
“I think it is every optometrist’s dream to have a few practices that run well without them having to be directly involved with the practice every day. This is a very big dream to me and I am determined to make it a reality,” she says.
People often underestimate young people. Especially older people can be a bit sceptic when being treated by a young person, especially a young woman.
“Anderson 4 Eyecare offers personal service to our clients. It is important for us to give each and every client the best eye care solution according to his or her own lifestyle. That is why we call ourselves lifestyle optometrists. We are truly passionate about eye care.”
Is her age a challenge in the unforgiving business world? “Definitely,” says Megan. “People often underestimate young people. Especially older people can be a bit sceptic when being treated by a young person, especially a young woman. ‘Inexperienced’ is a word often used! But I don’t see it that way. Young people are on top of the latest advances and discoveries in the industry and are still passionate to do their job and help people. Our careers and dreams still lie ahead of us and we are energetic and inspired to achieve our goals and make a difference in people’s lives.”
When Megan wants to relax, she likes spending time with her fiancé, family and friends. “My fiancé is one of my greatest supporters and he often reminds me to do what makes me happy. He encourages me to achieve the success I want and to be happy,” she says.
And it looks like success is inevitable for this dynamic young woman. “They say life and time are the world’s best teachers. Life teaches us to make good use of time and time teaches us the value of life. And that is why I devote every day to following my passion and growing as a person.