Archives For What I Learned From..

The word “entrepreneur” actually sucks. Being an entrepreneur is not cool. Building something successful is cool.” — Alex Louey

Being an entrepreneur is hard. You have no money and it’s a struggle. It’s hard but if you continue, and you persevere, and you keep on pushing to find different angles, you will succeed. With your ideas, don’t be precious about them. The reason why my business partner, Nick, and I work together well is because we are not precious about our ideas. In business, there is no place for egos.” — Alex Louey

Culture and values are actually the most important part of our hiring process. If we have two candidates and Candidate B is less skilled but has an awesome personality, will be a benefit to the culture and there is drive, we’ll go with Candidate B, even if Candidate A is a superstar. The team doesn’t win with one person.” — Alex Louey

Just because a customer says, “I want this done,” or “I want it by then,” doesn’t mean we say “yes”. If we can’t achieve what the customer wants, then we can’t create the desired experience, and so we need to make our expectations clear. The hardest thing to do is to actually say “no”. For too long I was surrounded by people who said, “Yes, Shan,” and that didn’t help. It may stroke your ego temporarily but it won’t help. I now look for people who say, “You know what? It’s not gonna fly. Not today. Maybe next week but not today.”” — Shan Manickham

Putting together a bunch of core values, that’s a piece of cake. Get a whiteboard, get everyone to put up their concepts and ideas, pick the most popular, put a few emojis up, and bang you’re done. That’s easy. The next thing you need to do is believe in them and get them instilled so that they are being used on a daily basis to make a decision within your business. And once that happens, things become a lot easier.” — Shan Manickham

A key thing is believing in the people that work for you. If you’ve selected the right people, you got to believe in them. You’ve got to be able to hand over reigns. It probably feels like you don’t want to hand over the reigns and you probably feel like you can do a better job but at some point, you have got to be able to say, “I’m gonna hand this over. I’m gonna believe in you. I’m gonna put the right measures in place.” So you’re going to trust and verify, but you’ve got to start with the trust first. Verifications come later.” — Shan Manickham

I don’t think you will ever know if it’s the right move, but I think you can make it the right move. You can sit there and do a lot of research, it all tells you the right stuff but if you can’t execute on it, all that research means nothing. Did I know the moment? Absolutely, not.” — Alex Louey

With thanks to

Alex Louey is the founder of Appscore, the team behind Yarra Tram’s 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 the 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 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 that 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.

People decide if they’re going to stick with the podcast in the first minute or two; they will decide if they’re going to stay on or not.” — Corey Layton

Word-of-mouth is the most dominant way that people get recommendations from podcasts; it’s all about your friends’ recommendations.” — Corey Layton

Analytics are essential. One of the realms you can get some stats is via Apple analytics which will tell you about the time people spend listening to your podcast. Now if you make an hour and 20-minute podcast and your time spent listening is 20 minutes in, you’ve got a problem. Equally if people are skipping over certain segments that you think is really funny every week, you can see that skip and then you like, “Maybe I’m not so funny.” Via Spotify you can get an understanding of your demographics based on gender and age. It helps you understand where your stories are resonating most, and the sort of demographic that you need to continue to pitch at or grow. Analytics are key.” — Corey Layton

Before you start your podcast you need to ask yourself, “What’s in it for my listeners, and what’s the problem that I’m trying to solve for them?” You need to really know your audience. Who are you talking to, and what do you want them to get out of it? You need to be passionate about the subject matter that you’re talking about, or at least have done research on the subject so you are engaged in the actual topic that you’re talking about. And you need to bring in great storytelling elements. So knowing your audience will help you shape your whole podcast that will dictate what themes you choose what topics you choose.” — Serpil Senelmis

It sounds like it’s technically easy but there are a lot of considerations in making a podcast that’s of high quality. The thing that I can say that is the same or similar is other markets such as advertising or search engine optimization or website design. You can basically have a crack at all of these things. And in fact, we probably all have had a crack at all of these things. But once you call in the experts, you’re going to get better results. Because you are competing with radio stations, you are competing with newspapers, and you are competing with commercial brands that are pumping out podcasts. So to be able to play in their league, you need to think like they do.” — Serpil Senelmis

The most important thing are the answers to the following questions: (1) who is your audience; and (2) why are you making this podcast? If you don’t have a purpose, what’s the point of it? You really need to know what is your purpose and who you are going to service with your podcast. If you can’t answer those two questions, go write a short story or do something else.” — Serpil Senelmis

Who else is doing the same, and how can you do it differently? Given with how many podcasts exist, there’s so many people on their own tangents. If you’re just mimicking someone–which most often is, “I’m in X industry, I’m going to talk to ex-experts from this industry about their experience”–chances are that it’s already covered. Find your shtick.” — Corey Layton

Peoples’ attention spans, particularly on social, are not there. The work we did with Facebook was about taking broader content, which are 60-minute discussions, and cutting them down to 20-minute podcast episodes, which were then accompanied by 60 to 90-second videos. Each content piece did different jobs. The video is there to give you an essence and to hook you in. The podcast is to sit alongside it. And if you wanted to dive deeper, it was there was an option. The differing mediums are complementary because they have different roles.” — Corey Layton

With thanks to

Serpil Senelmis is the co-director of content creation agency Written & Recorded. As a journalist for hire with decades of experience in radio, television, newspapers, and marketing, Serpil helps organisations to tell their story. She steps through the podcast creation process from concept to publication.

Corey Layton is the Content & Marketing Director with podcast hosting platform Whooshkaa, where he has led the production of successful podcasts from Mercedes Benz, Facebook and the City of Sydney. Corey warns of the pitfalls in podcasting and names the secret ingredient in reaching your audience.

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 that 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.

Start tracking your time and see where you are spending your time. You don’t need to do it in a complex way. Just start by bucketing it. Email, admin, bookkeeping, just bucket it and see where time is going. Do it for 1–2 weeks and don’t give up; even if it’s difficult.” — Ben Sze

Taking the leap into my own business was very daunting because I didn’t want to give up the paycheck or a potential career in finance that I enjoyed. I recommend you keep a full-time job if you can, and moonlight on your startup so you can get it started. Doing this also has the benefit of not stressing your cash flow situation. We had a period where we were not paying ourselves and it was very tough.” — Ben Sze

Are we going to give this another crack or are we going go get full-time jobs, work half as much, and most likely earn more? What is the worst-case scenario in anything that we do; what is the worst that can happen? We are very fortunate here in this beautiful country in that we can easily take a chance. And if all fails you can go back and get a job. So the take a chance to go and pursue a passion and to pursue a dream. It’s a privilege that we all have. If you’ve got a dream or you’ve got a burning desire, take that chance because the worst-case scenario ain’t that bad.” — David Fastuca

Surround yourself with people that had been there and done that, and can help guide the way. You will still make a hundred mistakes; we made plenty. I remember in a year, we almost shut shop over 5 times. Then there were moments where is was Sunday, and payroll was Tuesday. Business causes a lot of stress. One of our proudest things throughout the whole Locomote journey was that we were able to fund the company, pay everyone, and never miss a payment even when things were dark. For us, Locomote was our opportunity, we didn’t know if we are going to get this opportunity again, we were not going to let it go.” — David Fastuca

Think of all these lateral sort of ways on how you can get financing. For example you don’t need $5M from day dot; you can start small to begin with until you get to that. Try and think laterally. If you have a gun to your head and couldn’t spend that sort of money, how would you do it? This is important because there will be times when you don’t have that money and you need to think like that.” — Dave Fastuca

Having mentors is important. We have mentors now, and had coffee with one of ours the other day. In that coffee we said, “We want to be cash flow positive in X amount of time,” to which he replied, “Be patient. If you can hold out in the long run and be patient, you can build something a lot bigger and better. It is good you have your goals and want to hit those milestones–we all want that hockey stick curve on that growth graph–but just make sure you have patience because then you can really build something great as well.” — Dave Fastuca

Go out and talk to your potential customers and pretend that you are going to sell them something. Get confidence that way. There’s no harm in speaking to potential customers. Maybe, don’t go speak to your premium, gold clients; go speak to your middle tier clients, and cut your teeth on figuring out how to pitch your business, and figure out if people will actually pay for the product or service you offer.” — Ben Sze

With thanks to

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 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 that 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.

Revenue sounds great but being profitable is a lot more difficult. You’ve got to understand the details and the reality is that if you are in a business, or starting a business, you really need to understand the backend of things. It can’t just be just about turning over a lot of revenue and thinking, “I turned over $4M and that means I’m great.” No, it’s not like that at all.” — Jeffrey Gore

People have fantastic brand ideas or business idea, but don’t put in a lot of commercial thinking. This is where people get caught out; they’re in that fun phase of launching an idea and seeing it come to life, but then quickly discover that they have to think about cash flow. We’re the first to admit that we fell into that trap.” — Mia Klitsas

You need to understand the things you’re not good at and the things that you don’t know, then don’t try to do those things. Find people who know that stuff and talk to them the best way you can, or hire them if you can. It took us a long time to figure out. There are certain things that we are not good at yet we try to do them because we’re the boss and we try to do everything. However, it’s not our core skill set and it is better to pay someone to do it.” — Jeffrey Gore

As a tradesman, you don’t know anything about online marketing or websites. Once I reached out to a company to build for the business a website. We burned $90,000 that year and it nearly sent the business bankrupt.” — Tom Harley

Sometimes you just have to go out and learn things. Now I know more about digital marketing now than most people and now have an in-house digital marketing team.” — Tom Harley

Doors started to open once I reached out to other people; people who have their own businesses; accountants and friends whom I went to school with. What we need to know is not in here, it’s out there.” — Tom Harley

It was once just three of us; my dad, my brother and myself. Once I started collecting knowledge from others, doors started to open. After my first business coaching class, I went home and sat in front of the computer and just wrote for three hours. Twelve months later we have 15 staff and are doubling year-on-year.” — Tom Harley

I use to throw $5,000 at a marketing initiative and would sit back and hope that it worked. But testing and measuring is smarter. If you put $200 on something and the leads come in, you must log where the leads are coming in from and find out what the leads cost. What does it cost to acquire a customer? Once you get good at testing and measuring, everything opens because you know with certainty which customer acquisition channels work.” — Tom Harley

I started as a student and I really knew nothing. Arguably now, 13 years in, I still know nothing. I’m good with that because it means that I am constantly pushing myself and challenging myself. I don’t for a second think that I know everything because the minute that you get into that headspace, disruptors come in.” — Mia Klitsas

I am always learning and believe that you can learn from anyone and everyone. Just be open because learning is everywhere.” — Mia Klitsas

With thanks to

Mia Klitsas & Jeff Gore are co-founders of the feminine hygiene brand Moxie. While they have solved the problems of tampons getting lost in handbags, they have created a few challenges for themselves that have been difficult to overcome. Mia and Jeff point out the importance of profit over revenue and focus on what’s important.

Tom Harley is the co-founder of Harley & Sons Roofing. After rounding up his plumbing brothers to work with his dad, Tom has led the way in developing a business that is doubling in size each year. Tom says if you don’t know something you have to get out there and learn it.

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 that 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.

Don’t let your calls-to-action fall apart. Calls-to-action are a great place to use conversational language because it makes people feel like they want to respond and interact.” — Georgina Laidlaw

You need to dig deeper to communicate unique benefits, or to position the value you are presenting in a different way. You cannot get around this by “adding words” because it puts people off.” — Georgina Laidlaw

Think of copywriting as storytelling. That might sound a bit lame because you might think that you’re “just selling a product”, but, it is really is a story that you are communicating with somebody.” — Hannah Kallady

It’s very easy, especially in new businesses, to just want to create lots of content. But that’s not strategic and it’s not helpful. It’s important to have a strategy behind all the content you create.” — Hannah Kallady

What’s that overarching story that you want to tell your users that’s also grounded in what matters to them, what they’re thinking about, and the stuff that keeps them up night, or the stuff that makes a their day hard and frustrating? Have you considered their dreams and the things that they want to achieve? Start there and figure out what that story is, then break it up, and figure out how it plays out across a range of channels.” — Hannah Kallady

Even though we’re in a highly digital space, word-of-mouth is still one of the most important drivers for marketing. So you got to think about how can you can get your customers to tell other people about their experiences with you.” — Hannah Kallady

It’s all about tailoring the story to what the user is really thinking and how they make decisions. What we’ll do is we’ll sit with our clients and map out that process. Customer journey mapping is one way of arriving at specific story that you should be telling.” — Hannah Kallady

Scott Rosenberg from Intel  said that when you have a different tone of voice or a different brand across all your touchpoints, it makes for this semi-schizophrenic brand experience. The reason why it’s important you don’t do that is because consistency is the thing that builds trust.” — Hannah Kallady

You can’t just assume people know what your tone of voice is. I’ve seen organizations, especially startups, think that “people get it; they know what our tone of voice is”. They don’t because your version is going to be very different to someone else’s. Making sure you actually document your tone-of-voice is important. Otherwise you can’t guarantee that you’re all on the same page.” — Hannah Kallady

Think about how you describe things. Split test that as well. For example: “jobs” or “careers”? What happens if you change those words? What happens if you target different segments with slightly different language? Testing this as well is valuable.” — Georgina Laidlaw

With thanks to

Georgina Laidlaw is a copywriting specialist with the experience (and pedantry!) of an English teacher. Georgina works with brands like REA, Aconex and CyRise to help them express themselves clearly. She warns that the written word has no tone of voice which leaves it open to misunderstanding.

Hannah Kallady is a Digital Strategist with Ntegrity where she works with brands to get their words in the right place through communication strategies. Hannah believes strongly in the power of the story to connect and even stimulate our minds in ways we don’t quite understand.

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 that 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.