I first met Sean at a Live the Dream networking event in Wellington. From memory we connected pretty quickly talking about entrepreneurship, travel and tramping. Sean is a serious YES MAN who is always keen to go on an adventure or talk crazy ideas over coffee. I have always been impressed with how much thought and energy he puts into the Wellington Startup community. He has given me tonnes of advice over the years to help Highly Flammable grow and was someone that encouraged me to start Entrepreneurs Adventures. And now I am stoked to see he has his own business underway! It's always great to see a physical product business that you can hold, and in this case, drink! Check out our interview below to find out about his new business, his views on passion and some tips and tools to help out others!
- Logan Elliott, Lifetime Creative
1) Who are you & what do you do?
Hi I'm Sean, and I'm a Product Analyst at Kiwibank (I'm not evil I promise! We're the Good Bank!). I recently incorporated my first business, a Tea-sample subscription service called 'The People's Tea Collective', which connects curious folk with excellent tea and tries to make the mysterious world of tea a little more accessible.
I started up at Kiwibank using my co-workers as an easily accessible captive audience. They've been very forgiving and open with feedback and with nearly 100 customers I've about to launch into the real world!
2) What are you passionate about & why?
Discovering new and interesting things, whatever and wherever they might be
Because it's the meaning of life! Whenever you look at something, hear something, taste, smell, or feel something, that's us asking the world what's going on - so we may as well make the answers to those questions as interesting as possible!
Life's short and we're all that we have, so the sooner we start pushing our limits the better use of that time we'll make.
I consider some of the greatest gifts I've ever been given to be the honest challenge or disagreement of someone who cares about me. It takes courage (and a fair bit of emotional intelligence - you have to pick your moments!) but I think I can really multiply my impact by challenging others to make the most of themselves.
3) What are the biggest barriers to entrepreneurshiP?
Thinking that it's so much harder or riskier than it has to be!
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.
4) What are the most exciting things about starting a business?
Something that's taken me a little bit by surprise is how much I've enjoyed letting my Creativity loose. The fact that I'm building something completely new and unique (I hope!) based entirely on the soft grey stuff between my ears is seriously gratifying.
There's also nothing like it when someone else is actually willing to give you money for that creation. When that first happened I couldn't help but think, 'What are they thinking? I just made that entire thing up! I thought i had to sit in front of a computer at a bank for 40 hours a week for money to appear in that account!'.
5) Where do you aspire to be in 5 years?
Working on a new venture, or advising one of those that I invest in, while sitting at a cafe in Buenos Aires with my German Shepherd by my side and my beautiful and intelligent Argentinian wife (also a successful entrepreneur) by my side while my multiple successful cashflow businesses all but run themselves.
Shoot for the moon, right?
6) one book about entrepreneurship?
Unfair Fight by Sam Hazeldine. Brilliant hands on manual for developing a powerful personal psychology and a successful business (the latter of which is specific to an NZ context!).
7) one online tool?
I think it's incredibly specific to the person, but in terms of bang for your buck to flesh out the areas in which you may not be so experienced you can't go past fiverr.com. It's an online marketplace for all sorts of business related odd jobs starting at $5 - everything from logo and website design through to virtual assistance and singing your mum happy birthday!
Sean Coley - People's Tea Collective, New Zealand