Rachelle Best is the founder and CEO of FYI play it safe, a downloadable app that helps parents protect their children from online harm and potential physical danger. Here, she tells Go Hustle all about her career journey – and offers up incredible advice for aspiring techies along the way…
FYI play it safe monitors the actual content of children’s communication and online activity, then informs parents of any potentially harmful situations, regardless of the application the child uses.
While tweens and teenagers are focused on having fun and meeting new friends online, parents need to balance respecting their children’s online privacy and navigating the risks presented by social media platforms, online gaming and other chat apps.
FYI play it safe benefits parents by alerting them of potentially harmful events, such as cyberbullying, depression, self-harm, suicidal ideation, interactions with potential online predators, or engagement with adult content. In turn, it benefits children by giving them privacy because their parents don’t have to read through all their messages and go through all their social media content.
“I’m very fortunate in that I’ve found my purpose and passion in creating this app, which has the ability to help parents build a better relationship with their children, and also to save children from potentially harmful situations,” says Rachelle.
Internships are a great way to get into the industry
Many universities require a six-month internship towards the end of the last year of studies. This internship is part of the final scoring for the programme. “I believe there is no better way to learn than doing it on the job,” says Rachelle. “We took in one intern for four months in 2021 and are considering doing it again. If you’re keen to do an internship, apply to a company whose products or services you can relate to and are really interested in. It makes it easier if you can align to what the company does.”
Learn as much as you can about the product or the service. Be curious. Ask lots of questions and do your own research. In the app developing world, practice, practice, practice, says Rachelle. “Try to learn how different technologies work and what differentiates them,” she adds.
Women in tech
The tech world has traditionally been more of a man’s world. But that’s changing – fast. “Fortunately, we’ve seen many great women coming into the industry, a lot of them as innovators and true leaders. I believe we’ve made good headway in breaking down these traditional barriers and that career growth is up to each individual, regardless of gender. Dream big, be motivated, work hard. You will succeed,” says Rachelle.
Persevering through hardships
After Rachelle matriculated, she couldn’t afford to go to university as a full-time student. “I started working straight after school and studied part-time through UNISA. It was hard, but it taught me so many lessons about resilience, perseverance and chasing your dreams. With enough hard work, very early mornings and late nights and lots of support from my family, I qualified as a chartered accountant – in the same amount of time it would’ve taken if I’d studied full time,” she says.
Today, Rachelle is grateful that her path worked out exactly as it should’ve. She believes it’s the lessons she’s learnt and the people she’s met along the way that are the true keys to her success.
Advice for the next generation of female leaders and entrepreneurs
“In the words of Brené Brown, even if someone else has done it before, it’s never been done by you. Starting a business from scratch is not easy, there is a lot of competition and you will encounter hurdles along the way. Keep going and from the start, find like-minded women to collaborate with,” says Rachelle.
Making big things happen, especially in technology, goes quicker and is much easier if you work with people with shared values and a shared purpose. When you’re an innovator, don’t be scared to talk about your idea, says Rachelle. If you’re going to make it happen, no-one else will steal it, and talking about it stimulates more thoughts and ideas to help you build out the solution.
Get your hands on these books…
The one book she’d recommend every woman read? “I’m a bookworm, so there are many,” says Rachelle. “From a psychological perspective, every woman should read Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés. A friend recommended this to me when I’d just turned 30 and I still go back to it often. Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic is an absolute must. And no, it’s not too girly! This book is all about making your big ideas happen. Lastly, I’ve read most of Brené Brown’s books, but The Gifts of Imperfection and Braving the Wilderness really stood out for me.”
How Rachelle practises self-care
Rachelle believes in a good work-life balance. “I have a strict rule to stop working at 18:00 every day by the absolute latest. This means that I will rather get up earlier in the morning and spend some time when it’s quiet to get things done. Evenings are prioritised as sacred family-time, having dinner, catching up with each other, listening to music with a glass of wine, or watching a movie. Hiking in the mountains and space for mediation also give me energy,” she says.
Connect with Rachelle
I personally read all the messages on the FYI play it safe social media profiles (@fyiplayitsafe on Instagram and Facebook).
Her personal email address is [email protected] – and she’d love for you to connect with her!