Izak’s story

I was born in Pretoria, South Africa. A passion for technology led me to North-West University in Potchefstroom, where I obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Economics and Information Technology. At the time, the Dotcom Bubble was still growing exponentially, and I decided to pursue opportunities further afield. I arrived in London in 2001 with high hopes of launching my IT career. Unfortunately, after a period of rampant hype and investment into technology stocks, the Dotcom Bubble abruptly burst the same year. IT jobs were suddenly scarcer than ever before. I had no choice but to accept employment as a security guard.

UK CENSUS

Whilst working as a security guard, I continued searching until I was finally offered an IT position working for the UK Census in Witness, a town in North-West England.

I soon discovered that the position was completely different from that advertised and entailed mainly data entry. I had left a comfortable environment in London for a job that fell short of my expectations.

After a few months, I received a call from a friend who put me in touch with a Central London IT firm that was recruiting. Months of struggle seemed to be paying off. My iron-willed determination and passion were rewarded. I got the job!

LONDON IT JOB

While the IT exposure provided by my new position was more than I could have hoped for, I found that I lacked the experience and skills to meet the demands and expectations of the new job, and no sooner than I had landed my dream job, I had lost it.

What followed were the most turbulent months of my life. Once again looking for work, I could not even return to my previous security guard job. There were just no jobs available.

ONE MORE CHANCE

During my job search, I contacted my former employer to resolve a payroll issue. As he was about to hang up, I said to him: “I wish you gave me one more chance!”

A few weeks later, he phoned me, asking if I would be interested in temporary employment. The company was looking for an extra pair of hands for a small job.

I started working for the company again on an ad-hoc basis for £50 per day – hardly enough to survive in London. Eventually, I was offered a full-time position for £12,000 per year.

I now knew things could not get worse – living on £1,000 per month in London is near impossible. The only good news was that I was in IT!

LIFE DOES NOT MAKE SENSE

At this point, life did not seem to make sense. I kept thinking: “The harder I try, the worse things are going. Life is no longer do-good-to-get-good. I am good to people, I have worked hard, I got the degree – but things are consistently spiraling downwards. Yet, other people land opportunity after opportunity with hardly any effort.” I was about to give up entirely.

I vented towards with a housemate one day and her response was to drag me off to church. I remember how someone in the church talked about all the great things in life and the many promises we have each been given – above all our dreams! All you need is faith. At that moment, I thought: “I am going to try this – I’ll give it a go. I am going to test this”.

THE TEST

As a declaration of faith or test, I aligned my personal finances with the principle of giving and started attending church more
regularly.

Things started to change almost immediately. My salary doubled in the first year! Three years later, in 2006, an opportunity came out of the blue and I was able to start my own IT company, Exec-Sys.

Izak’s Success

Exec-Sys quickly expanded from a one-man show to a business with more than 25 employees, serving dozens of clients in the Greater London area. During this time I obtained several Microsoft certifications and qualified in Check Point Securities and Vmware.

In view of the growth of Exec-Sys my next qualifications were management focused. I completed a mini-MBA in Management and Leadership at the London School of Business & Finance and a Certificate in Key Account Management at the Cranfield School of Management.

Suitably equipped and with this phenomenal success under my belt, I decided to rebrand Exec-Sys. In 2015 Zhero was launched. Zhero expanded its base of IT services and solutions and has since grown into a multi-million-pound enterprise.

Zhero Business Cybersecurity & IT Support is headquartered in London. The company also has operations in France, Germany, and South Africa and is planning to expand to New York and Los Angeles. Today Zhero is in the top 3% of IT support companies in the United Kingdom.

Izak’s mission

My purpose in life is to help people by enabling them to solve their complex problems, thereby giving them the freedom to work on what matters the most to them.

I use my wisdom, intelligence, expertise and experience to help people find, and implement, the best solutions for their complex problems.

I’m determined to get the job done. My sense of humour makes me an accomplished ‘connector’. I always ‘know someone’ and my humble past allows others to relate to me personally. My ability to simplify life’s complexities instils trust and inspires those around me.

I don’t only believe in helping by resolving corporate problems. I’m also a firm believer in directing one’s focus towards others, whether by making a difference financially or by giving your time to help others in need. I’m truly a proponent of the Biblical philosophy described in Proverbs 11:24: “The world of the generous gets larger and larger…”

“The world of the generous gets larger and larger….”

Izak’s InsPiration

Chuck Feeney inspires me. Chuck was ‘The Billionaire Who Wanted to Die Broke’ – a businessman who believed in “the joy of giving while living”. Like Chuck did, I have many years of giving left in me! (Chuck reached his lifelong goal at age 89 when he succeeded in giving away all his money.)

My challenging past has made me determined to help people shape a better future for themselves. My business endeavours have been, and continue to be, remarkably successful. I will continue building a company with a Christian ethos and a strong sense of purpose that not only brings hope but also plays a part in breaking the cycle of poverty. For me, the best is always still to come.

Above all, I have faith in the Christian message that has the power to change generations. The core message – rooted in John 10:10 and Ephesians 3:20 – is life in abundance until it overflows above and beyond what you can ask or think or imagine! 

when not doing IT

Beyond the world of IT, I am a devoted husband and father and a faithful supporter of the purpose and power of the church. I am a volunteer and a director at House Regeneration (HR), a faith-based rehabilitation centre for drug addicts. My property investment portfolio includes Maison du Cap, a boutique guest house in Franschhoek, South Africa, which I manage with my wife, Annamaria. Currently, my family and I are exploring the world from our bases in London and Franschhoek.

Husband, Father, Entrepreneur

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