But I never really came back, since my clients were states-side, I just donned my backpack and continued travelling, plugging into dialup jacks where ever I could (yes dialup days). While I was passing through Montreal to learn some French with a bad accent just before a planned French cycle tour, I started a mobile email company with an old University buddy who happened to be doing his overseas working holiday there at the time.
As we hit April, it feels like a nice time to reflect on the start of 2017 and how those ambitious goals are looking that I set on my personal retreat at Mount Cook, New Zealand in January. I was recently inspired by my good friend Amar Ghose sharing his goals for the year very publically on his personal site - something I have never done publically myself...
You have to get the brand out there and make it grow. In this case I am the brand. So I have to market myself, which at times is a bit surreal but equally exciting. My debut single has just come out so it’s now about approaching radio stations, record labels and other media platforms something my team at my studios are involved with. The challenges are all part of the journey nothing in life comes easy, the biggest reward at the end of the day would be that I never gave up.
Something that many people struggle with when it comes to business is "how much do I decide what to charge for my products and services"?
If you charge too much, nobody buys and if you charge too little, then you cannot survive and thrive.
For creatives there are some key concepts that are always relevant to how you price your offerings. Over the last 10 years of running my own businesses, including ‘Highly Flammable Entertainment‘, I have learnt a tonne about these key concepts and I have picked up a few creative tricks along the way. This article shares with you my top 10 tips in relation to pricing.
Although often if you are having a problem, it probably means other people are experiencing the same thing and you're solving it for them. You need to go out and talk to as many people as possible and make sure they feel your pain. A lot of people think it can be a good idea to launch a new idea, app or web product for free to gauge interest. That is a valid option as a launch strategy, but if you can get people to pay for your product from the get-go, no matter how minimal it is, you're proving your business has real value. If you're giving it away for free, you're not really proving anything other than the fact that people like free stuff.
I first met Trent Yeo at Start Up Weekend Invercargill in 2013. It was a memorable trip! After the Sunday judging Trent and Jose Ganga convinced/ kidnapped myself and a few others and drove us to Queenstown for an adventure! We had an EPIC few days being shown around Queenstown's best attractions and restaurants! Another time when I was down they took me up to the mountain on a surprise dinner where we had a 7 course dinner in a hutt in the snow talking about adventure and entrepreneurship and then went cruising in snow groomers at Midnight!
I was lucky enough to have friends who let me stay rent free when I was setting things up. This was vital in giving me the time to meet heaps of people about my ideas for One Percent Collective. I was also lucky enough to have a friend come up with an initial funding model from family and friends, which is essentially a model we still use today. We have 50 people who donate $20 each a week, that is how we fund our work.
When you are creating something awesome it can be FULL ON, it can be scary, it can be challenging. You will be learning new things, pushing your own boundaries and testing your own conceptions of how you think the world works. You often have to put your hard work on display and tell people why they should pay money for it. You will face rejection, you will face some naysayers and at times you will get frustrated!
Building a support network and community around you is extremely important, as you will need these people to help keep you positive and motivated.
Karen inspired me with her story of leaving her 9-5 and building an awesome business around a topic she is really passionate about - health and wellbeing. She has also built it in a way that allows her to travel around the world experiencing different places and cultures. In the interview she spoke about the challenges of leaving a corporate job and how she managed to do it herself - enjoy!
The best part of his story is that during his travels he started his own incredible company called 'Assemble Advisory' that he can run from anywhere and provide his clients incredible value, utilising his wealth of expertise and skills in finance. I still remember the day he emailed me after only a couple of months in business saying "this month I will earn more than I did in my 9-5 job and I am travelling whilst doing it!'.
One big consideration when starting a business is “Do I need to raise money”? As with many questions in business, there is no right or wrong answer; it all depends on who you are, what you are building and how you want to build it. I am a fan of ‘bootstrapping’ your first business – this is where you keep costs (and risk) low, while you are still figuring things out and learning about business.
I first met Ela Gale through a family friend while on holiday in Wanaka, New Zealand where she is currently based. Ela has done extremely well via Youtube and I find her story super interesting and different from what I am used to hearing about. She has taken her passions and created a profitable business and lifestyle in a very short time. Ela has over 440,000 subscribers and over 34 million views from her videos on Youtube, making her one of the top Youtubers in New Zealand, at the age of 23! I am super excited to see where Ela goes over the next few years. Enjoy the interview we did with an amazing view of lake Wanaka!
The world is transitioning into an incredible ‘sharing-economy’, also know as ‘collaborative consumption’. Everywhere you look there are new businesses and concepts emerging. They leverage technology to give the individual the ability to share and collaborate faster, cheaper and easier. Many of these emerging technologies and businesses are highly transformational and disruptive, they have huge impact and saturate new markets with lightening speed (for example Uber).
For me personally, it's knowing that I'll never "win."
If you've ever played video games, you'll know that feeling you get when you make significant progress. Maybe you finally overcome a hard level, or achieve an objective. It's an awesome feeling. But then you clock the game, and it's kind of like, ah.. that's it?
With business, I think you get that awesome feeling of progression, but there's not really a point where you've won.
I first met Brett Stanley in Wellington in our early days of Highly Flammable. As well as another entrepreneur he was also an event supplier and therefore we hit it off discussing the events industry, as well as the crazy world of business and entrepreneurship. We have kept in touch over the years and currently both share the dream of having the Highly Flammable Mirrorman in one of his epic underwater shoots!
Yourself. The thing that stands in between this moment, and everything that you ever wanted is you. That's a hard pill to swallow, but it's true. Lack of knowledge will also stop people, which is why I'm so passionate in coaching businesses, that and I love asking questions. Forever curious.
Amar has worked hard to create freedom in his life through the power of entrepreneurship over the last 2 years and I have found his journey of entrepreneurship through building ZenMaid extremely inspiring. Fast-forward to October 2015 and we found ourselves travelling around Iceland co-working and taking in the epic volcanic and geothermal sights! I look forward to many more adventures with Amar in 2016!
Since the exposure around my interview on 60 Minutes alongside Tim Ferris and Natalie Sisson, I have been asked by a lot of friends and family "what this 'Digital Nomad' thing is all about?". What does it mean? What is the difference between digital nomads and entrepreneurs? What makes me one? How can they become one? What happens when I want to ‘stay in one place and stop travelling? When do I plan to settle down? Will I still be home for Christmas?
After the experience of six incredible Kiwiburns in New Zealand; I knew it was time to take the leap to the ‘big burn’ in Nevada Desert. It is something I had been wanting to do for quite a few years and it had made itself to the top of my growing bucketlist of epic things I want to achieve in life.
We were energetic 22 year olds and we immediately connected over our similar worldly ambitions and mindsets. Fast forward I like to think these days we both have even more energy and a bit more knowledge for how to use it! We have become great friends and are avid supporters of each others projects plus personal and professional developments. We speak most days via Skype chat about how we can push our lives forward via mindset, goal orientated focus and via the celebration of success. I have no doubt in my mind that we will start something together some day soon - watch this space!
Equity crowdfunding allows investors to gain real stakes in young companies, and allows companies to raise money from the public without many of the onerous requirements of traditional securities regulation, such as a full IPO prospectus.
One country leading the way in implementing crowdfunding is New Zealand. It has almost 12 months of operating history under its belt - time enough for some interesting trends and lessons to emerge.
I literally started my business by packing 60 tea filters full of three different teas, putting one of each in an envelope with a little blurb about each tea, and then distributing those to 20 people at work who had expressed an interest.
It cost me about $50 all up and I broke even that month. I've been able to validate my business model without taking any financial risk at all and now know that I can safely invest in website and product design without worrying about losing that investment.
It is something that comes up occasionally in articles online – can you really teach entrepreneurship? There are tonnes of related questions to this such as:
- Are you born an entrepreneur or is it something you learn?
- What place does genetics have in the argument and is there an ‘Entrepreneur Gene’, just as there is apparently a ‘wanderlust gene’?