One thing I have learned is that for the most part, people express the same idea but they express it in many different ways and with many different words. It is the details in the expression, the words, and combination of words used, that give a story its colour, its texture, and brings it–and its lessons–to life.

We are unique combinations of our beliefs, values and life experiences. Differences notwithstanding, we, and our experiences, are important. Therefore, there is value in compiling and sharing these stories and the multitude of ways in which ideas are expressed. Combined, these stories weave a wonderful tapestry that exemplifies just how rich and beautiful life can be.

And who knows? An inadvertent remark or detail in the retelling of a story can stand to attention and have an impact in the world of a reader. And with that exciting possibility, perhaps the most valuable thing I can do is create the space where the stories of those whom I admire and respect can be shared.

Below are people that I have come across on my own life journey whom I deeply admire and respect. Whether it be their tenacity or courage, or relentless drive or passion, each individual generously reveals a different lens in response to the questions I regularly pepper them with.

As we continue on our sharing over this anthology, I will share tidbits and anecdotes as to why I hold them in such high esteem, and what I love most about them. In turn, I hope that you do too.

What does success look like to you?

Success on every front can often be tied to the books we read and the people we meet

Arnie Malham, Founder and President of BetterBookClub.com, Author and Speaker at Worth Doing Wrong. Nashville, Tennessee.

There are many forms of “success”: personal; parental; spiritual; spousal; and financial (just to name a few).

For me “business success” appeared when I began to understand the difference in being a “solopreneur” and being an “entrepreneur” #TheEMyth. “Entrepreneurial success” appeared when I began caring more about asking the “right questions” than having the “right answers” #ScalingUp. And “leadership success” appeared when I began thinking more like a “leader” in my company and less like a “boss” #GreatbyChoice.

Ultimately, success on every front can often be tied to the books we read and the people we meet. I certainly wish everyone great and abundant adventures in both.

Success is the ability to find time again so that you can do all the things you really want to do

Ash Rathod, Managing Director of Digital Focus Creatives. Leicester, United Kingdom.

I define success has the ability to find time again so that you can do all the things you really want to do. Whether it be personal or business, these are things that you do not because you need to do them, but because you want to do them.

The true meaning of success is asking yourself every day, “Am I living a life of Intentionality?”

Finnian Kelly, President at Entrepreneurs’ Organization, Founder at Intentionality, Founder at Wealth Enhancers. Boulder, Colorado

Success to me is about not having regrets. This doesn’t mean you can’t have mistakes—mistakes are natural—but rather how you respond to the mistakes and set yourself up for a different course of action in the future.

For me, the true meaning of success is asking yourself every day, “Am I living a life of Intentionality?” This means deciding how you want to feel and then taking deliberate action forwards.

I believe that the key to success is when one can identify if their entrepreneurial journey is aligned with their spiritual journey. That’s much more important than scaling a company to $100M.

The amount of financial success won’t matter at all if my home life, my health, or my mindset isn’t good

Katty Douraghy, President at Artisan Creative, Author at The Butterfly Years. Los Angeles, California.

Success means inner and outer harmony; personally and professionally. The amount of financial success won’t matter at all if my home life, my health, or my mindset isn’t good.

Success means happiness, fulfillment and contribution to something bigger than me.

Success is the creation of a life where we all walk each other home

Kym Huynh. Founder at WeTeachMe, Former President at Entrepreneurs’ Organization. Melbourne, Australia.

Success to me is the realization that every one of us have agency i.e., the ability to decide, and that we have the ability to determine how we see, and how we experience, the world.

Firstly, the understanding that when we change the way we see the world, our world changes. This understanding has given me choice in how I look at my life experiences, and subsequently how I experience life.

Secondly, the realization that we can’t change our past but we can create our future. And that we have the ability to envision a future; one that is hopefully so bright and vivid that it becomes a guiding light for all our life decisions.

Thirdly, the empowerment in knowing that the great thing about life is that we don’t have to look like what we want to become but rather, it’s all about heart and desire and skill. Satisfy those three requirements and the destination is inevitable.

And finally, the grace in knowing that as per the wisdom of David O. McKay, no success in life compensates for failure in the home.

And whilst home can mean “home” in the nuclear sense, if we include our friends, our communities and the lives we touch, and build a life where we lift each other, then perhaps we can create a life where we all walk each other home.

My philosophy is you need enough money to do the things you want to do but you also need enough time to enjoy it

Richard J Bryan, Founder at The Bryan Group Inc., Keynote Speaker and Author. Denver, Colorado.

Success is all about the freedom to choose how I spend my time both personally and professionally. When I became the CEO of our family business at the age of 28, I did it out of a sense of duty and not necessarily because it was what I wanted to do. My philosophy is you need enough money to do the things you want to do but you also need enough time to enjoy it.

I measure success in my late 40’s by what sort of legacy and positive impact I can leave behind

Steven Ziegler, Founder at Z3 Talent, Founder at ConstructionJobsColorado.com. Denver, Colorado.

In my 20’s and for much of my 30’s I was consumed with how much money and financial wealth I could create. Although those items are still important to me, I measure success in my late 40’s by what sort of legacy and positive impact I can leave behind. I’m certain this has a lot to do with the fact I have 3 kids and I am getting older!

I judge my successes by the positive effect I have on the wellbeing of others

Stu Swineford, Founder at Relish Studio, President at Anabliss, Partner at Forty105 LLC. Denver, Colorado.

I get the most joy out of knowing I have helped someone level up. Whether that’s making an introduction, shining a light on a solution to a problem they are facing, or helping them reach their goals and establish even bigger objectives, I get a ton of good vibes knowing that I was part of that success.

I judge my successes by the positive effect I have on the wellbeing of others. That and knowing I have given my all in an activity or objective. Because at the end of the day, that’s all we can do.

At the start I wore 20 hats. I drew a line in the sand and stated that once successful, I would be wearing 1 hat, and that hat is “owner”.

Tim Glennie, Co-Founder & Managing Partner at BridgeView. Denver, Colorado.

It is important to define success at the start of your entrepreneur journey.

My goal was simple. At the start I wore 20 hats. I drew a line in the sand and stated that once successful, I would be wearing 1 hat, and that hat is “owner”.

Success meant creating a business that could scale and have the proper processes and systems to operate without a dependency on an owner.

What do you think?

Do you agree or violently disagree with anything shared in this article? Or do you have any of your own stories that you want to share? Pop them in the comments and I will personally reply.

Call to action 

My goal is to help 1,000,000 people. My wish is to have these articles shared 1,000,000 times through the various social networks. For this reason, I provide this collection online for free and all I ask of you is this: If any of these articles have helped you in any way, please take a moment to share on social media, email to someone you think will find benefit, or print and leave it on the desk of someone whom you believe has the motivation, but lacks the tools to take themselves to the next level.

Don’t miss out on any new articles. Subscribe via email using the form at the bottom of this post and I’ll have the articles delivered straight to your inbox. Alternatively, you can also follow me on my various social media accounts: FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, and Twitter.

Foreword

One thing I have learned is that for the most part, people express the same idea but they express it in many different ways and with many different words. It is the details in the expression, the words, and combination of words used, that give a story its colour, its texture, and brings it–and its lessons–to life.

We are unique combinations of our beliefs, values and life experiences. Differences notwithstanding, we, and our experiences, are important. Therefore, there is value in compiling and sharing these stories and the multitude of ways in which ideas are expressed. Combined, these stories weave a wonderful tapestry that exemplifies just how rich and beautiful life can be.

And who knows? An inadvertent remark or detail in the retelling of a story can stand to attention and have an impact in the world of a reader. And with that exciting possibility, perhaps the most valuable thing I can do is create the space where the stories of those whom I admire and respect can be shared.

Below are people that I have come across on my own life journey whom I deeply admire and respect. Whether it be their tenacity or courage, or relentless drive or passion, each individual generously reveals a different lens in response to the questions I regularly pepper them with.

As we continue on our sharing over this anthology, I will share tidbits and anecdotes as to why I hold them in such high esteem, and what I love most about them. In turn, I hope that you do too.

How did your business come to be?

Old ways have got to give for new beginnings to happen

Ai-Ling Wong. Founder at The Decorateur, President at Entrepreneurs’ Organization. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

My entrepreneurial journey started at the age of 25 where I worked in one of my family businesses; a trading business which had no family members running it but only hired people. Thrown in to the deep end, it was a steep learning curve. In spite of the little experience I had, slowly but surely I increased sales 30% year-on-year.

After 12 years running the business, our Singaporean business partner started meddling and telling us “what to do”. Not surprisingly, it didn’t take long for us to reach the point where we could not see eye-to-eye.

Not wanting to cause more stress to my father–who was Chairman at the time, I offered the Malaysian Managing Director position to the Singaporean partner, and gave him 3 years to prove himself (as he claimed he could increase the business turnover). I then embarked on my new interior design business which took off swiftly.

Fast forward 3 years, the Singaporean partner did not manage to meet targets, and I was asked to return. By that stage, I was too entrenched with my growing interior design business to return to run the trading business.

A negative experience sometimes happens for a good reason. In other words, old ways have got to give for new beginnings to happen. In this case, despite my dissatisfaction towards the Singaporean partner, I have him to thank for the better opportunity to start my new business.

Little did I realize how much my company would grow to improve the lives of our supplier partners, team members, and many others around the globe

Andrea Grisdale, Founder and CEO at IC Bellagio, Board Member at Entrepreneurs’ Organization. Bellagio, Lake Como.

My business was created out of my love and passion for all things Italy and travel.

When my company was founded back in 1999, it was a great opportunity to live the life I wanted to live, that is, improving the lives of others through travel and all things Italy. This gave me opportunity to enjoy not only all that this beautiful country has to offer but be able to share the best of it with those from afar.

Little did I realize how much my company would grow to improve the lives of our supplier partners, team members, and many others around the globe.

My business came to be from of a mixture of: (1) a pinch of chance; (2) a hint of right timing; (3) a bag of hard work; and (4) the audacity of sticking through challenging times

David Fastuca. Founder at Ambisie, Founder at Locomote. Melbourne, Australia.

My business came to be from of a mixture of: (1) a pinch of chance; (2) a hint of right timing; (3) a bag of hard work; and (4) the audacity of sticking through challenging times.

My business partner and I almost gave up on our efforts to create a business for ourselves after struggling in our very early days with a variety of other businesses.

Sticking “with it” and having the courage to persevere led us to opportunities in industries we knew nothing about. Isn’t life funny?

Serendipity has been a strong theme throughout my career

Jamie Skella. Chief Operating and Product Officer at Mogul, Former Chief Product Officer at Horizon State. Melbourne, Australia.

Serendipity has been a strong theme throughout my career. I focus intensely on the things that I’m interested in, then keep an open mind about the opportunities that present themselves without deliberate planning. In the case of my most recent project, Trax, it came to be on these same familiar terms.

Trax combines esports, cryptocurrency, and digital product to capitalize on a gap in the market; each of which I have accumulated vast amounts of knowledge in during past years.

I deeply admire specialization yet having a “broad T” has enabled me to combine knowledge sets to identify and seize opportunities that would have otherwise been missed. I imagine this is how many of my future businesses will come to be, as the effects of a broad T only continue to compound positively over time.

Knowing what I know now, would I do it all again? Absolutely. Without question. Without hesitation.

Kym Huynh. Founder at WeTeachMe, Former President at Entrepreneurs’ Organization. Melbourne, Australia.

WeTeachMe was born from: (1) a chance encounter between strangers at a weekend hackathon; (2) the sharing of an idea that the strangers believed in and could get behind; (3) a bag full of enthusiasm and dreams; (4) a sprinkling of youthful optimism and nativity; and (5) a willingness to throw caution to the wind and give things a good go.

The following years saw these strangers: (1) bond over weekly meetings at local cafés eating complimentary biscuits and cake the staff brought over; (2) spend their days, evenings and weekends hunched over dimly lit computer screens obsessing over the business, the strategy, and the product; (3) chatter excitedly about grandiose ideas and what the future could bring; and (4) experience joy as their vision came to life before their very eyes.

What these strangers didn’t anticipate, however, was: (1) the many hard lessons that would need to be learned; (2) the overwhelming stress would at times cripple one another and cause burnout; and (3) the difficult challenges that would need to be navigated as part and parcel of the journey.

Knowing what I know now, would I do it all again? Absolutely. Without question. Without hesitation.

The learning curve for me was steep… but life-changing. The relationships and friendships I had were tested… but the ones that survived will last a lifetime. The experiences tested me… but have changed me for the better. All these things are things that no amount of money can buy.

I consider myself an accidental entrepreneur. I just started walking and just continued walking.

Raymond Chou. Founder and CEO at Infront Consulting APAC. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

I consider myself an accidental entrepreneur. I started selling cookies when I was 14 to help the family, and a lot of the “entrepreneurial spirit” was learnt along the way.

In my working life, I could somehow never hold on to a job for more than a year. I would join a company, work to improve the systems and efficiency, and once achieved would get bored. After some years of this, I went into self-employment and established myself as an IT trainer. I started off by teaching Microsoft Project, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint.

After some years of this, a friend coaxed me into starting a business of my own and said that he would invest in me. I jumped on this opportunity and have never looked back.

Did I plan it all? Did I have a grand vision? Not at all. I just started walking and just continued walking.

Sometimes we’re hard on ourselves in regarding to having a plan. But do we even have enough knowledge to even have a plan? As a young 24-year-old, I did not possess the knowledge of business, and did not have enough life experience to create a grand vision. Is that wrong?

Perhaps it is more important to not stand still, and to take steps forward until one day you can see what your grand vision is.

My business came to be by asking myself one big question

Ron Lovett. Founder and Chief Alignment Officer at Connolly Owens, Founder and Chief Community Officer at Vida Living, Author at Outrageous Empowerment. Halifax, Nova Scotia.

My business—VIDA Living—exists to revolutionize affordable communities, and came to be by asking myself this one big question: “What if I had to restart the affordable housing industry? What would it look like?”

From there the second question was born: “What if we treated tenants like customers?”

The rest, as they say, is history.

My company was purchased for $1 and now has a market capitalization of about $80M. Not a bad return on $1.

Tony Falkenstein. Founder and CEO at Just Life Group Limited, Founder and CEO at Just Water, President at Entrepreneurs’ Organization. Auckland, New Zealand.

I once worked for a publicly listed company, and started a division to rent out fax machines. The public company went into receivership, and I purchased the fax division for $1.

From renting faxes, we moved to water coolers, water delivery, ventilation systems, Solatube and hot water cylinders.

Just Life Group is now a public listed company in its own right and has a market capitalization of about $80M. Not a bad return on $1. (And I still own/control 80% of the company.)

My business started on a bet

Tui Cordemans. Co-Founder at Koh Living. Melbourne, Australia.

For some reason, I expect people to have serious and purposeful responses as to why and how they started a business. For me, it started on a bet. I was an unemployable twenty-something-year-old and wanting to live my highest values (travel and fun).

During my twenties, I left a business behind in Germany and when I moved to Australia, I had to get a job. 3 short-term jobs later, I decided I was not made for the employment market.

During that time, my best friend (now business partner) were planning our holidays. She wanted to go to Vietnam but didn’t have the funds. I offered to give her some to which she responded that she would only accept if I started a business when I came back from my 3‑month stint travelling Nepal and south-east Asia. With that at the back of our minds, off we went on our travels.

Towards the end of our respective trips, we reunited in Bangkok. Sitting outside an Israeli restaurant, we drank ice-cold beers and shared photos of our holidays. We were bent over with laughter, so much so that a lady approached us and asked if she could join us. She was curious as to why we were laughing so much you see.

As fate would have it, we ended up having way too many beers and started talking about business. This lady turned out to own a distribution company in Melbourne, Australia selling homewares. She had been travelling around the world sourcing new products and was on her way home.

We both thought that this sounded amazing, and sounded like the best job in the world.

After this encounter, my friend went home and I was left with the task of finding product. On a budget, I trawled the Chatuchak market and came across some colorful unique candles. Not having ever bought a candle in my life, I put $1,000 worth of candles on a credit card and my friend went about trying to work out how to get them to Australia.

We don’t sell those candles anymore, but a lifetime later, we have one of the most recognizable tourist brands in Australia. And true to form, our business continues to fulfill our highest values of travel and fun!

What do you think?

Do you agree or violently disagree with anything shared in this article? Or do you have any of your own stories that you want to share? Pop them in the comments and I will personally reply.

Call to action 

My goal is to help 1,000,000 people. My wish is to have these articles shared 1,000,000 times through the various social networks. For this reason, I provide this collection online for free and all I ask of you is this: If any of these articles have helped you in any way, please take a moment to share on social media, email to someone you think will find benefit, or print and leave it on the desk of someone whom you believe has the motivation, but lacks the tools to take themselves to the next level.

Don’t miss out on any new articles. Subscribe via email using the form at the bottom of this post and I’ll have the articles delivered straight to your inbox. Alternatively, you can also follow me on my various social media accounts: FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, and Twitter.

Foreword

I have a confession to make: I get extremely excited every time I come across a creative person, or a person that holds within them such exuberance that it often manifests itself in a delicious cacophony of quirky character traits, unique stylistic choices, tangential thought patterns and behaviors, and an uncanny knack for seeing the world in a way that most do not, that when all combined, I find equally intoxicating and endearing.

For me, it’s the creatives that push the boundaries of what we collectively believe is possible. They dare to imagine, dare to dream, dare to believe, and in their own process of creation, create the world as they see it.

In this editorial series, I reach out to a curated list of creators who not only live and breathe the art of creation but undertake to pass on their learnings to the next generation of creatives. I find this combination of creativity and education noble, and use this editorial series as a way to delve deeper into these minds in the hopes that we too, can get a voyeuristic glimpse into the lives of such noble creatives. Who knows, perhaps we will learn something along the way too.

How did your classes and workshops come to be? Why do you teach?

I started teaching these techniques initially to my own trainees, then in TAFE and University courses then in my small Fitzroy studio as a way to pass on the important things I had learnt. Now, three decades later, and having established Slow Clay Centre nine years ago, I am still teaching these techniques!

Jane Sawyer, Founder at Slow Clay Centre. Melbourne, Australia.

Slow Clay Centre is known for teaching the Japanese techniques of wheel throwing and that’s because I trained, in part, in Japan and really want others to learn the benefits of these wonderful techniques!

I trained to become a potter straight after finishing an art teaching degree where I majored in ceramics. I was introduced to Japanese techniques during a traditional 3‑year studio training with the wonderful potter, Andrew Halford, in Sydney and he then formally introduced me to fabulous pottery in Japan called Shussai Gama where I spent a further two years in hand-made production of studio pottery.

I also learned wood firing in a massive kiln, natural rock, and ash glazes, and mixing bespoke clays from local materials.

When I came back to Australia in 1990 I was surprised that no one was teaching the Japanese methods of wheel throwing because they are so wonderful! The methods enable a lovely workflow and have the added benefit of ergonomic positions.

So I started teaching these techniques initially to my own trainees, then in TAFE and University courses then in my small Fitzroy studio as a way to pass on the important things I had learnt. Now, three decades later, and having established Slow Clay Centre nine years ago, I am still teaching these techniques!

Over the years by using my educational background, I have been able to package what I have learnt into a logical and refined method. I have trained many, many potters over the decades in these techniques and since Slow Clay Centre started I have also trained others to teach these techniques under the Slow Clay name.

The lovely thing about it is you can see the difference in the pottery! The pots are immediately fresher and more expressive whilst also allowing for refinement as the student develops their skills.

Wine is as much an intellectual pleasure as it is a sensory one. Wine works on many levels, wine aids digestion, and wine stimulates civilized conversation.

Matthew Hansen, Founder at Fine Wine Appreciation. Melbourne, Australia.

I teach wine appreciation because of the pleasure that wine gives to people. The pleasure that I speak of I see that all the time around the table be it in a wine class or a wine dinner.

Wine is as much an intellectual pleasure as it is a sensory one. Wine works on many levels, wine aids digestion, and wine stimulates civilized conversation.

I’m particularly a fan of Louis Pasteur’s saying: “A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine. With food wine is not just an accompaniment but a part of the meal.

Trying to explain something so mysterious as wine is doomed to failure, it must be experienced. Hence that is why I decided 30 years ago to become a wine educator.

I was screaming out for a creative outlet and became really interested in the art of taxidermy when I found out that you had not been able to learn it in Australia since the 1970s

Natalie Delaney-John, Founder at Rest in Pieces. Melbourne, Australia.

When I first decided that I wanted to learn taxidermy it came from the simplest of curiosities. I was screaming out for a creative outlet and became really interested in the art of taxidermy when I found out that you had not been able to learn it in Australia since the 1970s.

In order to get involved in the industry I harassed a mentor for 3 months until he took me on. I then spent every weekend there for 3 years to pick up some basic skills and also travelled to Spain where I was fortunate enough to help build some works for a museum on the history of hunting.

Upon my return to Australia, I wondered if there was anyone else like me that might want to learn. That is how Rest in Pieces (RIP) was born.

We believe that wine-course education and events is a great way to increase our database and connect with people who really want to delve into fine wine (our main offering) as well as have participants understand our passion and commitment towards our vocation

Phil Hude, Founder at Armadale Cellars. Perth, Australia.

I met Demi and Kym soon after the formation of WeTeachMe after seeing the concept raised in the press and straightway thought, “This is the new version of the “Centre for Adult Education”!” The Centre for Adult Education is an old-time paper version of education that was released bi-annually and hosted many courses in Melbourne city center for decades, and where wine courses, amongst many others, were sold to the general public. I thought the WeTeachMe concept was a great way to offer wine classes and workshops to the world.

We are first and foremost wine merchants/retailers. As part of the “marketing mix and offering” we believe that wine-course education and events is a great way to increase our database and connect with people who really want to delve into fine wine (our main offering) as well as have participants understand our passion and commitment towards our vocation. During COVID-19, wine Zoom tastings (6 x 187 ml wine bottles) became a reality and were incredibly popular adding another style of forum that we believe is now here to stay!

We found our classes grew from not only for teaching the basics, but for creating classes for advanced decorators wanting to upskill and learn how to use new cake tools in the market

Rachel Gilbert, National Retail Manager at Bake Boss. Sydney, Australia.

With the first Bake Boss retail store opening over 9 years ago, there was a very high demand for cake decorating classes to teach beginners the tips, tricks, and techniques required to master the basics for decorating cakes, cupcakes, and even cookies.

We found our classes grew from not only for teaching the basics but for creating classes for advanced decorators wanting to upskill and learn how to use new cake tools in the market.

We also introduced kids classes for the young creative generation, with the skills taught setting them up to become advanced cake masters later in life!

As it turns out, cake decorating is not only skillful but super fun for all ages!

I never wanted to be a teacher but on the set of an ABC TV production in 1993, an actor said to me, “You direct in a different way to other directors. I want to learn how you do that.”

Richard Sarell, Director and Creator of The Rehearsal Room (Acting Process). Melbourne, Australia.

I never wanted to be a teacher but on the set of an ABC TV production in 1993, an actor said to me, “You direct in a different way to other directors. I want to learn how you do that.”

I cautiously took up the offer to run an acting class.

Seven years later that hesitant step had turned into a full-time job and I had discovered that I was a good teacher. Now I am about to publish my first book on a new and uniquely practical acting technique.

An offer rejected is an opportunity missed. Say “yes”!

We use our gelato classes as an educational tool so that people understand our product, can meet the people being the scenes who make the gelato, and so people get a special insight into how we do things at Gelato Messina

Sian Bishop, Brand and Marketing Manager at Gelato Messina. Melbourne Australia.

Messina has been running gelato classes for over 10 years now! We started them as we put so much effort into making our product the best we can, and we wanted to show people what goes on behind the scenes.

We use our gelato classes as an educational tool so that people understand our product, can meet the people being the scenes who make the gelato, and so people get a special insight into how we do things at Gelato Messina.

We also can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday morning than indulging in a gelato class!

Working with clay is like mediation in a way, it’s a beautiful way to center the mind from this fast pace life a lot of us live. My studio is a sanctuary for students to enjoy, to be inspired, and to create.

Sarah Schembri, Director of Sarah Schembri Ceramics. Melbourne, Australia.

I’ve been teaching for approximately 10 years at other studios. It wasn’t until I moved into my new larger studio in Fitzroy, Melbourne 4 years ago that I fully appreciated just what I could offer and certainly, never envisioned my classes would be in such demand as they are.

I really love teaching and sharing my knowledge and experiences. Seeing student development each week and learning new skills–and knowing I had a part in this–is very rewarding to me.

Working with clay is like mediation in a way, it’s a beautiful way to centre the mind from this fast pace life a lot of us live. My studio is a sanctuary for students to enjoy, to be inspired, and create.

I love that I’m not “just” a music teacher. My tiny students learn real-life skills such as sharing, turn-taking, motor control, and their parents concurrently gain an insight into how their children learn.

Sophie Maxwell, Founder, and Teacher at Leaning Note. Melbourne, Australia.

I had been a violin and viola teacher for 7 years when I had the experience of teaching a 2‑year-old viola. Whilst the experience was one that I consider successful, and whilst the 2‑year-old still learns from me 8 years later, I thought that there had to be an easier way to teach younger students.

I was lost at a Suzuki music conference one rainy day and stumbled across a baby and toddler class, and was immediately hooked! I couldn’t believe how involved those tiny children were, and what they were achieving.

I love that I’m not “just” a music teacher. My tiny students learn real-life skills such as sharing, turn-taking, motor control, and their parents concurrently gain an insight into how their children learn.

It’s an amazing process to be a part of, and after 8 years, I’m still enthralled by it!

What do you think?

Do you agree or violently disagree with anything shared in this article? Or do you have any of your own stories that you want to share? Pop them in the comments and I will personally reply.

Call to action 

My goal is to help 1,000,000 people. My wish is to have these articles shared 1,000,000 times through the various social networks. For this reason, I provide this collection online for free and all I ask of you is this: If any of these articles have helped you in any way, please take a moment to share on social media, email to someone you think will find benefit, or print and leave it on the desk of someone whom you believe has the motivation, but lacks the tools to take themselves to the next level.

Don’t miss out on any new articles. Subscribe via email using the form at the bottom of this post and I’ll have the articles delivered straight to your inbox. Alternatively, you can also follow me on my various social media accounts: FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, and Twitter.

 

Foreword

I have a confession to make: I get extremely excited every time I come across a creative person, or a person that holds within them such exuberance that it often manifests itself in a delicious cacophony of quirky character traits, unique stylistic choices, tangential thought patterns and behaviors, and an uncanny knack for seeing the world in a way that most do not, that when all combined, I find equally intoxicating and endearing.

For me, it’s the creatives that push the boundaries of what we collectively believe is possible. They dare to imagine, dare to dream, dare to believe, and in their own process of creation, create the world as they see it.

In this editorial series, I reach out to a curated list of creators who not only live and breathe the art of creation but undertake to pass on their learnings to the next generation of creatives. I find this combination of creativity and education noble, and use this editorial series as a way to delve deeper into these minds in the hopes that we too, can get a voyeuristic glimpse into the lives of such noble creatives. Who knows, perhaps we will learn something along the way too.

How did your classes and workshops come to be? Why do you teach?

I didn’t anticipate that students would want to continue after the course ended. I never intended to continue Fitzroy Painting long-term but here we are

Adriane Strampp, Founder at Fitzroy Painting. Melbourne, Australia.

Fitzroy Painting started in early 2009 as a small 8‑week beginners’ course in oil painting. The Great Financial Crisis was in full swing, and my art classes were a means of keeping the studio, and the proverbial wolf from the door, until the art market picked up again. As a painter with previous teaching experience, it was a no-brainer to hold a class in my studio. What I didn’t anticipate, however, was that students would want to continue after the course ended. I never intended to continue Fitzroy Painting long-term but here we are!

The students had other ideas, and so the original Monday night painters became an ongoing weekly class (many of whom are still with us today), and another beginner’s class was added. That soon filled too and demand for more classes continued as our reputation spread, and more people wanted to join. It’s been a slow and very organic growth, growing with demand. More classes have been added, along with more tutors, each of us professional practicing artists foremost, with a passion for teaching and sharing our knowledge.

The power of food to bring people together is both so simple and natural and yet so surprisingly wonderful

Angie Chong, Founder at The Humble Dumpling. Melbourne, Australia.

I had worked in the world of commercial cookery for multiple decades and was feeling burnt out. I took a few years off to really give myself time to think about what was important to me, what inspired me, and what brought me joy. I knew it was something to do with food and with people.

I was fortunate enough to have learned so much about food and food culture from my family and in particular from my mum. I grew up in a very large extended family and every weekend we gathered in the kitchen to cook and eat together. Sometimes that would mean 40–50 kids, aunties and uncles gathered around the kitchen, sharing a meal!

It was the memories of these times; of laughing, cooking, sharing stories, and eating together that inspired my classes at The Humble Dumpling. The power of food to bring people together is both so simple and natural and yet so surprisingly wonderful. Setting the classes in my home felt more like inviting friends over for a fun family lunch. Really, I didn’t so much create these classes as much as I just provided a canvas for people to do what comes naturally.

I hope that everyone who comes to a class will be inspired to continue to bring people together through food in their own homes.

Bree, Sarah, and I established The Windsor Workshop to help us unleash our unexplored inner creativity and to help us slow down and team up.

Belinda Galloway and Bree Hankinson, Founders at The Windsor Workshop. Melbourne, Australia.

Bree, Sarah, and I established The Windsor Workshop to help us unleash our unexplored inner creativity and to help us slow down and team up.

We wanted to bring together like-minded people to partake in artistic pursuits that nurture our wellbeing. The promotion of local artists was also at the forefront of our minds in addition to being able to provide a talking point and a sensory experience for those who attend.

We all have backgrounds in artistic industries so when the opportunity to fuse our creativity and education arose, we simply could not refuse!

I asked my grandma to show me how to sew. At that time I was also bought a sewing machine as a gift. I was immediately smitten.

Danielle Francis, Director at Thread Den. Melbourne, Australia.

I have always had numerous creative hobbies, and in my early 20s, I dove deep into vintage style, mid-century furniture and décor, and 40s/50s fashion. So that I could reproduce patterns from that era, I asked my grandma to show me how to sew. At that time I was also bought a sewing machine as a gift. I was immediately smitten.

From that time until 15 years later, I never put my sewing machine away. It was always out on the dining table, or a desk, or now a dedicated space.

I was working in a corporate job and I had this dream of one day owning a haberdashery store. The job I was employed for had evolved over the years into that of training, and I discovered a joy for teaching people.

In an effort to balance work and life, I had a habit of participating in creative workshops, and one of those was a knitting workshop at Thread Den. Through that knitting workshop, I subscribed to the mailing list and attended other workshops as well.

One day an email popped into my inbox saying that they were looking for a new owner for Thread Den. It was my dream. It was about 15 years ahead of time but I decided to take the plunge i.e., leave the corporate world and run a business teaching people creative endeavors.

I’ve never looked back. I love it.

As a deaf person, with training on how to teach Auslan and develop a curriculum, l sought to combine the passion l have for Auslan, my deafness, and the opportunity to work from home

Darren Roberts, Founder and Director at The Auslan Company. Melbourne, Australia.

The Auslan Company came about for two reasons: (1) l wanted to work for myself in my own time and with my own hours so that l could look after my young children following separation from their mum; and (2) l was finishing my Bachelor of Education (Auslan) Languages Other Than English course at La Trobe University and was considering what the next step was.

As a deaf person, with training on how to teach Auslan and develop a curriculum, l sought to combine the passion l have for Auslan, my deafness, and the opportunity to work from home. Thus I created The Auslan Company in 2004.

Today my children have all grown up and l still have the passion and love delivering Auslan to workplaces, to families of deaf children through the NDIS program, to childcare centers, and in schools as an Auslan Languages Other Than English subject.

I really see it as my responsibility to inspire and mentor the next generation of coffee professionals

David Seng, Director at The Espresso School, Board of Directors and Head at Barista Guild for Australian Specialty Coffee Association, World Certified Judge WCE WBC. Melbourne, Australia.

The Espresso School was born out of the back of a cafe I was working in more than a decade ago. The owner graciously allowed me to run classes after hours which was how The Espresso School got its start.

There are plenty of reasons why I love teaching people about coffee, and one of my biggest motivations is I really see it as my responsibility to inspire and mentor the next generation of coffee professionals.

This is my way of giving back to an industry from which I have gained so much. I love seeing my students make their mark on the coffee world. Nothing makes me prouder.

There is nothing quite like putting your hands in the mud and creating something completely new from the earth

Denholm Lappas, Studio Manager at Clay Talk @ Montsalvat. Melbourne, Australia.

Clay Talk’s creation is a natural extension of Montsalvat’s already rich history as a place where art is made, taught, shown, and experienced. What started as a humble studio to reinvigorate the love of clay at Montsalvat has grown to include some 80 students and studio artists, and 6 kilns including gas, electric, and wood firing.

There is nothing quite like putting your hands in the mud and creating something completely new from the earth. The final process of transforming your material through the process of heat permanently solidifies your artwork and is an incredible experience. Nothing quite compares.

Clay Talk’s goal is to provide a place to engage with the art of ceramics and provide a holistic learning experience to a complex and multifaceted art form by providing regular classes, studio time, and advanced workshops taught by practicing artists who are experts in their field.

I take inspiration from others and I hope that my students can come away from my workshops confident and full of enthusiasm

Frosa Katsis, Founder at The Early Settler Aromatherapy Melbourne, Australia

I love science and how understanding it can explain processes and why things work. When I started making and teaching candle making it made sense to me that if I explained the science of my “cool” method, students would get it.

As to how we got started, I found a love for teaching and sharing my knowledge. I love to see other candle makers succeed in hobbies and small businesses.

I take inspiration from others and I hope that my students can come away from my workshops confident and full of enthusiasm. Most of my students are women who seek a hobby or seek to start their own business, and we have a growing number of men entering the industry.

One day, my students asked if they could see my studio which was located in those days inside a nearby warehouse. They saw it and immediately they wanted to move the classes there!

Graham Hay, Expert Ceramics Educator. Perth, Australia.

Soon after graduating from Edith Cowan University with a BVA majoring in ceramics and then a BFA honors (also ceramics) from Curtin University I was receiving more and more requests to give workshops with artist groups, art teacher associations etc. (now over 300 in a dozen countries).

So I decided to set up flexible adult pottery and sculpture classes at a local community center which proved to be very popular. One day, my students asked if they could see my studio which was located in those days inside a nearby warehouse. They saw it and immediately they wanted to move the classes there!

A few years later we moved the classes to a light-filled building in a nearby inner-city park. That was 20 years ago!

What do you think?

Do you agree or violently disagree with anything shared in this article? Or do you have any of your own stories that you want to share? Pop them in the comments and I will personally reply.

Call to action 

My goal is to help 1,000,000 people. My wish is to have these articles shared 1,000,000 times through the various social networks. For this reason, I provide this collection online for free and all I ask of you is this: If any of these articles have helped you in any way, please take a moment to share on social media, email to someone you think will find benefit, or print and leave it on the desk of someone whom you believe has the motivation, but lacks the tools to take themselves to the next level.

Don’t miss out on any new articles. Subscribe via email using the form at the bottom of this post and I’ll have the articles delivered straight to your inbox. Alternatively, you can also follow me on my various social media accounts: FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, and Twitter.

Foreword

One thing I have learned is that for the most part, people express the same idea but they express it in many different ways and with many different words. It is the details in the expression, the words, and combination of words used, that give a story its colour, its texture, and brings it–and its lessons–to life.

We are unique combinations of our beliefs, values and life experiences. Differences notwithstanding, we, and our experiences, are important. Therefore, there is value in compiling and sharing these stories and the multitude of ways in which ideas are expressed. Combined, these stories weave a wonderful tapestry that exemplifies just how rich and beautiful life can be.

And who knows? An inadvertent remark or detail in the retelling of a story can stand to attention and have an impact in the world of a reader. And with that exciting possibility, perhaps the most valuable thing I can do is create the space where the stories of those whom I admire and respect can be shared.

Below are people that I have come across on my own life journey whom I deeply admire and respect. Whether it be their tenacity or courage, or relentless drive or passion, each individual generously reveals a different lens in response to the questions I regularly pepper them with.

As we continue on our sharing over this anthology, I will share tidbits and anecdotes as to why I hold them in such high esteem, and what I love most about them. In turn, I hope that you do too.

What was your first entrepreneurial project? What was your biggest learning?

I had to learn to accept and work with differences in thought and methodology, reset my brain to embrace diversity, and to see the differences as opportunity and not a challenge

Andrea Grisdale, Founder and CEO at IC Bellagio, Board Member at Entrepreneurs’ Organization. Bellagio, Lake Como.

The first entrepreneurial project was becoming a tour guide in Italy. Italy was a country that was not my own, I was taking exams in a language that was not my own, there was non-stop paperwork, complex protocols, and never-ending answers that were not set in stone or black or white.

Back then, I wanted everyone to work in a way that was aligned with my brain and work methodologies. Experience in the field taught me that accepting other people’s way of work can bring the same, if not better, results.

I had to learn to accept and work with differences in thought and methodology, reset my brain to embrace diversity, and to see the differences as opportunity and not a challenge.

You don’t know what you don’t know, and if I had known the enormity of the task ahead, I may have been too frightened to go for what was in both by my heart and my gut

Daniel Dickson, Managing Director at Amarco Enterprises. Sydney, Australia.

My first entrepreneurial project was one that I was unaware would take me on a 23-year journey.

I, and my business partner, saw an opportunity to secure a distribution agreement for a product and service that we are passionate about, and we pursued the international headquarters located in the United States for 5 months before receiving the horrible fax message (yes a fax) that the idea of us being a distributor was no longer being entertained. They thanked us for our time and recommended that we continue our purchases through the normal distributor.

We were devastated because we were near-obsessed, and had formulated a clear plan on how we could make this venture work. I woke up at 11.30 pm one evening, went to a 24-hour printing business known as Kinko’s Printing, and I sat there with my 1 GB laptop and wrote my first business plan. I subsequently printed it, bound it, and by 11 am that same morning my sister (who was travelling to the United States) had it in her hand to present to Headquarters.

One thing I learned is that you don’t know what you don’t know, and if I had known the enormity of the task ahead, I may have been too frightened to go for what was in both by my heart and my gut; the knowledge of what we could achieve together.

My sister—naturally we did not present her as my sister—presented the case on behalf of our company, said that they needed to consider this business plan, and that we are not taking “no” for an answer. Headquarters agreed to a face-to-face meeting and subsequent training but with no promises. For the next 6 weeks while we prepared to go to the Los Angeles-based Headquarters, we borrowed $120,000 (23 years ago) against my parents house so that we could make the launch of this in Australia as big as we possibly could.

In that 6 weeks, we expanded on the business plan, hired the staff that we did not have, and invested in the infrastructure and resources that we also did not have. The preparedness that we put into the plan, combined with the enthusiasm and passion, enabled us to pull the entire thing off.

After coming back from our training in the United States, we executed on the $120,000 launch. We spent the entirety of the money in 7 days with not one guaranteed account on our books. We had media, we had PR, we had celebrities attend our launch, and within the next 18 months we opened 118 accounts with a 3‑staff business.

Fast forward 23 years and we now have nearly 300 high functioning accounts, a team of 40, and we have undertaken some amazing initiatives that allow our company to be one of the leaders within our industry. I look back at the lessons learned and know that if I knew all the things that were ahead, I may not have enthusiastically jumped into. However, the knowledge and passion we had for something that we felt was underdone was enough to fuel the creation of a team, a following, and an amazing client base, and a business.

I look back with a smile and a warm heart when I recognise the saying “fake it till you make it” has so much more relevance than what people give (with a caveat). Our moves were well-calculated, we knew our numbers, and we threw our inhibitions to the air and recruited like-minded, passionate people.

Greatness requires passion not just for the monetary ends, but for the means that gets you there

Jamie Skella. Chief Operating and Product Officer at Mogul, Former Chief Product Officer at Horizon State. Melbourne, Australia.

I left school at the age of 15 to pursue the running of my own small business. I created custom PCs for consumers, built networks for small businesses, and developed websites for anyone that needed one.

I learnt two key things in those early years of business. The first lesson, unsurprisingly, is that focus is essential. Spreading myself too thin meant a lack of specialisation and a lack of ability to effectively market myself as a credible expert, given the breadth of services being offered.

The second lesson was a reinforcement of the need to shed offerings that I didn’t love: while you may be good at something without loving it, you’ll never be truly great at it unless you do. Greatness requires passion not just for the monetary ends, but for the means that gets you there.

I decided then and there that I too wanted to be drunk with power

Kym Huynh. Founder at WeTeachMe, Former President at Entrepreneurs’ Organization. Melbourne, Australia.

I was 8, and there was a girl in school who always had extra pocket money to buy treats at the canteen for herself and all her friends; Sunnyboys that was a gift from heaven on a hot day, frozen oranges cut in half that felt like the first taste of water after a long day exposed to the desert sun and heat, salt and vinegar crisps that we would squash into crumbs so that they would last longer as our fingers grew tainted with salt and grease, Red Skins that would glue your teeth shut and colour your tongue a velvet red, and addictive sherbert lolly bags known as Wizz Fizz and would send you to the highest happiness peaks known to children aged 6–8. Oh how I envied the power she yielded every time she walked around the school yard with those golden $1 and $2 coins!

I decided then and there that I too wanted to be drunk with power.

I discovered at home towers of paper; white, beige, granulated and patterned, and spent my recesses and lunchtimes selling these sheets of paper to my classmates at 50c — $1 a pop depending on the perceived rarity of the paper in question. This venture lasted just under 1 week and I had secured enough funds that would make me king of the playground indefinitely, until I was called into the Principal’s office; to which promptly brought an end to “Kym & Associates Paper Co.”.

I learned a few things:

  1. Your world changes when you have resources at your disposal i.e. the $1 or $2 coin, and sometimes, the resource is a lot closer within reach than we think it is (it didn’t take long to acquire $1 and $2)
  2. People purchase based on relationships and whether or not they like you, even if the product is widely available
  3. The sale comes from the ability to market the product in a way that makes it interesting and unique
  4. Business longevity is a concern when the business is built on foundations that are contrary to rules and regulations #outlawlogic

The acceleration of success doesn’t come by choice, but rather, it comes when we have NO choice

Raymond Chou. Founder and CEO at Infront Consulting APAC. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

I was 14 years old and my first entrepreneurial project involved selling cookies, that my mum baked, at school. Years earlier my parents separated, and the income that dad supported us with was really never enough. So I told my mum that I wanted to help.

Selling cookies in school wasn’t easy. My friends didn’t really have enough money to buy an entire box, so my teachers bought the cookies in support. Knowing that I couldn’t rely on just my teachers’ support, I floated the idea that my friends could buy an entire box if they pooled their funds.

Unfortunately, soliciting sales at school was frowned upon, and I was called up to the Headmaster’s office a total of 5 times. I consider myself blessed to be left off the proverbial hook with warnings in what I can only assume is the understanding of the Headmaster, who understood my intent behind this venture.

There were 3 key lessons here: the first being that the acceleration of success doesn’t come by choice, but rather, it comes when we have NO choice. It’s during times of crisis that we are pushed to move. And so we move.

The second being that if you have a way for people to get what they want and make it easier for people to get what they want, they will buy. My friends could not afford an entire box of cookies, and if I had fixated on my go-to-market strategy, I would never have sold any boxes of cookies. It was when I educated my potential customers that they could pool their funds, the deal was done.

Finally, if you ever get caught selling cookies at school, a good story will help.

Sometimes, one needs to look at opportunities from different perspectives to uncover value and opportunity

Ron Lovett. Founder and Chief Alignment Officer at Connolly Owens, Founder and Chief Community Officer at Vida Living, Author at Outrageous Empowerment. Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The first entrepreneurial venture I did pertains to when my mom used to take us skiing in the United States. On these trips I purchased baseball hats bring back to Canada. I learned that I could sell them for the same price that I bought them, for but with the United States/Canadian exchange rate, I would make 30% profit. This was my first lesson in arbitrage.

On reflection, the key lessons I learned from this venture are:

  1. Sometimes, one needs to look at opportunities from different perspectives to uncover value and opportunity
  2. There are advantages in being able to provide products to people that they cannot normally get their hands on themselves
  3. Store your inventory in a safe place; a hard lesson I learned when my dog stumbled upon my baseball hat collection and bit the tops off all of them

Even when you are under time pressure, don’t sign any agreement without reviewing it carefully and preferably with legal advice

Tony Falkenstein. Founder and CEO at Just Life Group Limited, Founder and CEO at Just Water, President at Entrepreneurs’ Organization. Auckland, New Zealand.

Maybe not my first entrepreneurial project, but certainly my first entrepreneurial real business.

I was working for Polaroid as a Finance Manager, and was amazed at the cost an agency charged for placing employees. So I thought I would start a personnel agency, but stay at Polaroid until the new business was making enough money to employ me.

I hired 2 mature sales ladies who had experience selling medical insurance and had the attitude I was looking for, and I called the business “Vogue Personelle”. I’m quite proud of the branding; I utilised the French tricolour in my logo, and placed Vogue magazines at reception.

We had been in operation for 2 months, and I was thinking in another month I would hand in my notice to Polaroid, but then I got offered the job as General Manager which effectively would make me the youngest General Manager in the Polaroid empire. I decided to sell the business fast, and I got screwed by another larger agency, who not only got the business for virtually nothing, but also took the incoming fees from the placements my team had made.

My learning: even when you are under time pressure, don’t sign any agreement without reviewing it carefully and preferably with legal advice.

What do you think?

Do you agree or violently disagree with anything shared in this article? Or do you have any of your own stories that you want to share? Pop them in the comments and I will personally reply.

Call to action 

My goal is to help 1,000,000 people. My wish is to have these articles shared 1,000,000 times through the various social networks. For this reason, I provide this collection online for free and all I ask of you is this: If any of these articles have helped you in any way, please take a moment to share on social media, email to someone you think will find benefit, or print and leave it on the desk of someone whom you believe has the motivation, but lacks the tools to take themselves to the next level.

Don’t miss out on any new articles. Subscribe via email using the form at the bottom of this post and I’ll have the articles delivered straight to your inbox. Alternatively, you can also follow me on my various social media accounts: FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, and Twitter.