After I launched my business online, I started selling cupcakes at the markets. I set my market-selling date before I registered my home kitchen because I knew that if I set a date, and put down a deposit to sell at a farmers’ market, I would be pushed to tick off all the tasks on my list: (1) create the product line; (2) create the flavours; (3) create a menu; (4) register a business name; and (5) get the food registration etc. I wanted to work backwards with a timeline. If you have a goal and don’t set a date, you tend to let things drag it on. That’s how I made myself accountable to making my business work.” — Sheryl Thai

I started thinking about how other entrepreneurs work because I didn’t feel like an entrepreneur. I didn’t think I was an entrepreneur. I knew that I had a “small business owner” mindset because I wanted to do everything and didn’t want to delegate. That realisation was a defining moment. There was a time when I was so tired, I was taking cupcakes out of the oven, and my arms couldn’t life the trays because of how heavy they were. I remember dropping them and I broke down and ran off to the cupboard upstairs. I locked myself in there and cried for an hour. I needed to change and figure out how to be an entrepreneur. That’s when I started finding other people that was doing what I wanted to do and started learning from them.” — Sheryl Thai

I picked up the phone, called up a law firm, and said, “Hi! I can build websites for you.” The lawyer said, “No. You can’t. Good luck.” He hung up on me. I was crushed. After that, I felt like I was a terrible sales person for a very long time. When I consider sales with WeTeachMe, I find that WeTeachMe touches on who I am and my core values, so I don’t really need to “sell it”. I talk about the “why”. Why am I passionate about WeTeachMe? Why am I passionate about learning? Why am I passionate about education? And why did I start WeTeachMe? I found that our first 100 customers bought into me.” — Kym Huynh

One of the most exciting things about starting your own business is that you get to create the world as you see it. You get to instil it with the values that are important to you. And you get to fill it with people who align with your values.” — Kym Huynh

Our decisions on who we hire, celebrate or fire are based on values. When your values are clear and simple, they provide a framework for people to make decisions; what to do and what not to do.” — Kym Huynh

Our lives are so short. Things can happen through no fault of our own. We might be at the wrong place at the wrong time. I do not want to spend an iota of time doing something unless I am incredibly passionate about it.” — Kym Huynh

I believe in this idea that learning is something that you carry with you for the rest of your life, and it’s one of those things that no one can ever take away from you without your consent. In life you can lose your job, your house, the clothes on your back, but you will never lose the knowledge in your head, and with that knowledge you can always start again.” — Kym Huynh

The one you want to listen to is the one that has achieved you want want to achieve. I say to this person, “Teach me everything you know. I’m going to sit, I’m going to absorb, and I’m going to be willing student.” — Kym Huynh

With goal setting, the most amazing thing is when I have clarity in my 10 years goals, and break that down into years 5, 3 and 1. I started achieving my 3 year goal in 1, 5 year goals in 3, and 10 year goals in 5. Every year I reset the 10–5‑3–1. It’s this incredible accelerated pace of achieving goals.” — Kym Huynh

Sometimes you can be your own mentor by reading. I love reading. I listen to podcasts nearly every day. It’s about continual growth. I ask a lot of people what they listen to and what they read. I believe that success leaves clues and so you find people that have done it or created something that you want to create, and you can learn from them. It’s a shortcut.” — Sheryl Thai

Before I was made redundant, I had already starting little things on the side and baking cupcakes for friends and family. When starting a business, sacrificing your Friday nights is just one of those things that you have to live with. I was at home and waking up and thinking about my business way past midnight. Weekends were dedicated to improving my baking skills and to learning as much as possible. I did for that a good year before I was made redundant at my job.” — Sheryl Thai

There really is no concept of “full time”. It’s all encompassing. It’s all I think about, all the time; from the moment I wake up to the moment I fall asleep. It’s not segmented 9–5 5 days per week. It’s just… life. Life melts into this big cacophony of everything.” — Kym Huynh

The days are long and the years are short.” — Kym Huynh

What’s really helped me is realising that a lot of entrepreneurs go through the same thing.” — Sheryl Thai

The bigger my businesses is, the more money I make, and the bigger my challenges are. For me, I now see my challenges as a privilege to deal with them because it means that I’m growing. The challenge is a learning for me.” — Sheryl Thai

With thanks to

Sheryl Thai founded Cupcake Central (and League of Extraordinary Women) because guess what — she loves cupcakes! Her passion has risen out of her kitchen to 5 store locations across Melbourne with millions of cupcakes served and just as many diets broken! Sheryl describes how she discovered her passion and what she did to be able to enjoy the sweet taste of success.

Kym Huynh is a Founder at WeTeachMe and the driving force behind Masters Series. Kym discovered his passion for teaching after a bad car accident prompted him to think about what was important to him in this life. He’s now planning to turn his passion into the world’s biggest school without campuses.

About Masters Series by WeTeachMe

Masters Series is a show about inspiring entrepreneurs, creative thinkers, and visionary dreamers, and the stories behind how they built their companies.

Subscribe to show

Show brought to you by

Masters Series is presented by WeTeachMe.

Our strategic alliance partners: MYOB, SitePoint and Entrepreneur’s Organization.

Our media partners: Startup Victoria and Digital Marketers Australia.

Our content partners: Written & Recorded.

The views expressed by the contributors on this show are linked websites are not necessarily endorsed by the publisher.

Question of the day

What was your favourite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

I’ve had a number of competitors approach me to buy me out and I just think, “I prefer to compete with you. I believe in where I’m going and what I’m doing, and I believe in our capabilities and our capacity.” If I was 65, 70 or 80… maybe… but running my own show and owning the decisions I make gets me out of bed. It’s on me.” — Jamie Lingham

I’m thankful for every single aspect of all the things that happened because it taught me so much. For example, you trust the people you have, and I’m not saying you can’t trust people, but put systems and processes in place so you can check things. Have robust systems with redundancies in place so that if something goes wrong you’re alerted quickly.” — Jamie Lingham

I ended up spending a week in hospital burned out at the age of 31. I’ve never ever worked those sort of hours again. I choose not to. The business is a vehicle to fund the lifestyle that I want to create for me and my kids.” — Graham Van Damme

Find a mentor. Find someone who has grey hair. Who has done it before. Learn from their experiences. The learning curve is vertical. There are people out there prepared to share their time. Take them for lunch. Take them for coffee. Leverage off their lessons.” — Graham Van Damme

Put 10% away. Pay yourself first. Fight to protect that facility. Put 10% away no matter what.” — Jamie Lingham

With thanks to

Jamie Langham is the CEO of Absolute Immigration who help businesses and individuals migrate successfully. Jamie’s business in Melbourne was going well in 2008, so he decided to put on a General Manager, and expand into Brisbane with an office and three staff. The GFC peaked a week later, but that wasn’t the only challenge the universe had in store for him.

Graham Van Damme is the Managing Director of Jag Capital. As a mining engineer, he bought into the business he was working for and began growing profits immediately. In 2008 he sold the business to private equity with the promise of even more ongoing profits. When the GFC hit a few months later, he realised his promise could be a little challenging to deliver!

About Masters Series by WeTeachMe

Masters Series is a show about inspiring entrepreneurs, creative thinkers, and visionary dreamers, and the stories behind how they built their companies.

Subscribe to show

Show brought to you by

Masters Series is presented by WeTeachMe.

Our strategic alliance partners: MYOB, SitePoint and Entrepreneur’s Organization.

Our media partners: Startup Victoria and Digital Marketers Australia.

Our content partners: Written & Recorded.

The views expressed by the contributors on this show are linked websites are not necessarily endorsed by the publisher.

Question of the day

What was your favourite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

When my kids grow up the first thing I will tell them is, “Get a job in door-to-door sales. Do it for a year.” Even though it is really tough, my view is that if you’re in business, if you want to run a business, and you’re non-technical, you have to know how to sell. And by sell I mean you have to be customer facing or understand the process and not fear it. That’s a great lesson because running a business… if you don’t sell you don’t make money.” — Gary Tramer

Use Google Keyword Planner to determine if there is a need for what you are thinking about offering, or a tool called SEMrush to find out if there is a need. If there is nobody looking for what you are offering, maybe it is not a good place to start. And if you are really ballsy like me and trying to do products that aren’t in the market, then I would spend $100 on some Facebook ads to get out to the audience that you think might be interested, and see if anybody even looks or clicks on that ad.” — Gary Gramer

You have limited time to hit your goal. You really want to hit your goal. If you identify that a button on your website is critical to your user conversion, design a test that will be maximum impact. Don’t slightly change the colour one gradient or from blue to light blue, change it from blue to red. Go for maximum impact with your tests, with your results, with everything. Make everything count.” — Simon Mathonnet

If your hypothesis is, “I think that my target market is 25–35 making X amount of money per month, in X target market, and having X interests,” I can design a test for that. I can use Facebook and advertise to that type of demographic. I can create an ad. I can push my product. Did I get new customers by spending $50 or $100 on Facebook ads? Yes or no? That’s a really easy and lean analytics cycle.” — Simon Mathonnet

We were using all those online marketing tools to basically work towards one single goal, and they all interacted with each other, even though [these tools] are so often treated as seperate entities. Having them all work together in a meaningful way was a eureka moment. Sales went completely exponential almost overnight. Just having the funnel really defined, with the right messaging was key. And when it works, when you find something that just works, it’s one of the best feelings ever.” — Simon Mathonnet

You’ll speak to mentors and you’ll speak to advisors that will tell you, “Don’t make this mistake. I did it. Try this.” I think fundamentally that if you don’t make the mistake, viscerally you don’t feel the stress. You don’t get it. The biggest mistake is to try to avoid the mistakes. Screw it up. Lose some money. Stuff it up. Let the business fail. You’ll never, ever learn a lesson like that.” — Gary Tramer

With thanks to

Gary Tramer is the Co-Founder of LeadChat who are responsible for those little pop-up boxes on websites that ask if you need any help. Gary explains that he’s now taking his experience with data in e‑commerce and applying it to bricks and mortar retail to provide more information about physical shoppers when they walk into a store.

Simon Mathonnet is Head of Digital Strategy at Splashbox. He’s obsessed with data and digital marketing. Simon shares how he uses data to help startups and long-running businesses to achieve their goals.

About Masters Series by WeTeachMe

Masters Series is a show about inspiring entrepreneurs, creative thinkers, and visionary dreamers, and the stories behind how they built their companies.

Subscribe to show

Show brought to you by

Masters Series is presented by WeTeachMe.

Our strategic alliance partners: MYOB, SitePoint and Entrepreneur’s Organization.

Our media partners: Startup Victoria and Digital Marketers Australia.

Our content partners: Written & Recorded.

The views expressed by the contributors on this show are linked websites are not necessarily endorsed by the publisher.

Question of the day

What was your favourite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

 

Wouldn’t it be great if you could go back in time to tell yourself the things you know now! If you’re at the beginning of your startup journey, this podcast gives you the benefit of experience from two top founders.

Alex Louey is the founder of Appscore, the team behind Yarra Trams famous Tram Tracker app. Alex knew nothing about building apps when he went into business, but he knew all about project management. He recommends working with your strengths and surrounding yourself with people who can do things that you can’t.

Shan Manickam is the MD and owner of warehouse solutions business Cross Docks Australia. Shan tried to go into business through a management buyout which failed, but it pushed up the price for the buyer, so they sacked him. That was enough to put a fire in his belly to form his own company. He recommends hiring for culture rather than skills.

About Masters Series by WeTeachMe

Masters Series is a show about inspiring entrepreneurs, creative thinkers, and visionary dreamers, and the stories behind how they built their companies.

Subscribe to podcast

Podcast brought to you by

Thank you to Jahzzar for the music.

Masters Series is presented by WeTeachMe.

The Masters Series podcast is produced by Written & Recorded.

The views expressed by the contributors on this podcast and linked websites are not necessarily endorsed by the publisher.

Question of the day

What was your favourite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

 

The best way to find out what’s involved in starting a business is to ask a founder. In this podcast, we’ve done the asking for you, with two experienced entrepreneurs who are happy to share their secrets to success — and their tips for avoiding failure.

Ben Sze is a Co-Founder of Edrolo, an educational tech company that is creating better outcomes for students. Ben points out several key things that fresh founders should keep an eye on — not least of which is time. There’s a time management practice here that you’ll find invaluable.

David Fastuca is a Co-Founder of Ambisie, a business putting entrepreneurs in front of school students to broaden their horizons. David founded his first business at the age of 14 and it has had many different incarnations since then. He says we live in a lucky country where if all else fails, we can just go get a job — so have a crack at founding your own business.

About Masters Series by WeTeachMe

Masters Series is a show about inspiring entrepreneurs, creative thinkers, and visionary dreamers, and the stories behind how they built their companies.

Subscribe to podcast

Podcast brought to you by

Thank you to Jahzzar for the music.

Masters Series is presented by WeTeachMe.

The Masters Series podcast is produced by Written & Recorded.

The views expressed by the contributors on this podcast and linked websites are not necessarily endorsed by the publisher.

Question of the day

What was your favourite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.