Working in the hectic world of entertainment, WooHah founder Arosh Fernando wears a smile on his face even when the movements behind the scenes – his part of the stage – can be frantic and chaotic. Oozing with positivity, his perspective about work, business, and life, in general, is to make the best out of the worst he got.
A week before the interview, Arosh had a surreal moment. His company was doing the Australian concert of American music groups Boyz II Men and TLC. There he was standing with thousands of people in the audience watching Boyz II Men, one of his favourite bands in the 90s. “I used to look up to them when they were on TV, on the Grammy’s. I’d go, ‘wow, these guys are crazy!’ And there we were working with them to put up their event,” an awestricken Arosh exclaimed.
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Leaving his business in South Africa, Bradley Cull moved to Australia without any business network or prior plans in this new place. But with courage and determination, he waded through unknown territories, acquired a company, and grew it successfully. His perseverance bore fruit when he took on the helm of Dynamic Developments Carpentry & Construction as its Managing Director.
“I found that leading and managing people anywhere in the world is the same. Human nature is essentially the same, anyway. Dealing with people is the same. The peculiarities are the cultural differences between Africa and Australia. That is the sort of stuff I need to get my head around a little bit better. That is a bit of a learning curve. But in general, running a company is quite similar. At the end of the day, business is an international language,” a contemplating Bradley Cull remarked.
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Short Story co-founder William Du subscribes to the adage that “if fear is the only thing stopping you, then you should do it.” It echoes Ralph Waldo Emerson’s words, “What we fear of doing most is usually what we most need to do.” They have a nice ring to it, but others will still steer clear of challenges. Not William though.
William has packed a lot of courage and guts to bring with him in his exciting roller-coaster entrepreneurial ride, which he shares with business and life partner, Carolyn Wong. They had a brief taste of the business world during their stint at the 30-year-old restaurant owned by Carolyn’s dad. They helped out by looking at systems and changes that they could employ in the restaurant. But when they were about to implement it all, the restaurant burnt down. However, everything was not reduced into ashes because the experience became a prelude to having a venture of their own.
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Curiosity ignited something within Bernie Fernandez, Executive Director and Founder of Agero Group, to start a business. That curiosity has constantly made him yearn for more. There are pros and cons to it, he fathoms. The thirst for knowledge can often be insatiable. Nevertheless, it is this same curiosity that has led Bernie to a perpetual quest for learning.
In the beginning, Bernie didn’t regard himself as curious. The discovery was quite peculiar. It was on his wedding day when it was his best man’s turn to give a speech. The fellow started highlighting his various characteristics. “I never met a more curious person in my life than Bernie,” the best man said about the groom. Bernie never realised he was a curious person before that. Those words just hit him in the face.
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Hard work, resilience and proper work ethics are some of the tools that BDS Projects Director Barclay Dixon brings with him in his entrepreneurial path. These are also the qualities that he finds useful in laying the foundation of a good business. His experiences and learnings, as well as the people around him, have moulded him to become the business owner that he is today.
But this man who has built buildings, homes and various other structures has remained down to earth. Barclay was hesitant to discuss his story, not because he didn’t want to, but because he didn’t deem it as striking enough. “First and foremost, I’m very embarrassed by this because, for me, it’s not the entrepreneurial journey. It’s just about a guy starting a business. Millions of people have done it before me. Millions of people would do it after me. It’s not a grand story,” he shyly warned. On the other hand, as you read on, you will find that it is something one can take inspiration from, especially that Barclay’s preamble to entrepreneurship is a bit off-the-beaten-path.
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Working with family is something that one must avoid at all cost, some people warned this duo. But for cousins Ross Fastuca and David Fastuca, Locomote’s Chief Information Officer and Chief Marketing Officer, respectively, it is something that has thrived very well for them. For 16 years of working together in various ventures and businesses, Ross and David have shown that they are a formidable figure when it comes to building a company and steering it to success.
“David and I have always done business together since we were kids,” Ross remarked. “But I think we did it at such a young age that we probably learned through the years how to completely argue and be very candid and then not take offence to it. That’s how we work together. We banter so much because we know it comes from a place of care. It doesn’t come from ego.”
As business partners, they have established how to make the partnership work. There is no question when it comes to the delineation of roles. As David puts it, “that’s pretty easy because we both have different skill sets. My skill set is design and marketing, whereas Ross is more on the product management and technical side. I mean, we do give each other advice and give each other opinions on what each person is doing. So, we never had that issue of who does what.”
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“You need to start thinking of where you want to be in five year’s time.” These are the words of DWM Solutions owner Nick Clift that he imparts to his staff, especially to his sons.
Having a vision, a purpose and then a plan is the foremost thing that Nick realised is important in setting out in one’s entrepreneurial journey. “Do that one to three-year plan right before you start,” is his number one advice. That’s because he learned it the hard way. The way it turned out for him was that he hit the road running without knowing what was ahead of him.
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By now, you have probably read the stories of our EO Melbourne members on how they traversed their respective entrepreneurial paths. Many, if not all of them, went through arduous experiences to get to where they are today. If before, you would have probably asked, “how did they do that?” now, you might have exclaimed, “wow, they did all that!” Thus, it comes as no surprise if some people regard these entrepreneurs as a kind of hero, drawing inspiration from them.
We love great stories. We like to hear exploits of heroes who emerged as winners against all odds. Based on the stories we’ve read on business owners, there is something about superheroes that we can link back to entrepreneurship. They may not be entirely similar but there are certainly parallelisms between the two.
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What started out as a side project for fun has become a flourishing business. Now, with tens of millions of people consuming Nathan’s magazines and his other products, he is working his way towards making Foundr as a household entrepreneur brand that impacts lives and shapes the world.
Nathan started his career doing IT support, but he found that it wasn’t making his heart beat any faster. Rather, his passion lies in marketing, and he wanted to work along those lines. That fixation made him decide to take up a Masters in Marketing degree, so he juggled his studies and work until he graduated. And if he thought that would already clinch him a job in marketing, he was mistaken because no one hired him for a marketing position.
Continue reading “Foundr: Nathan Chan’s hobby turned into a business”
Strata Plan founder Simon Chamaa learned an interesting lesson when he was young and novice. His father’s friend told him about the philosophy of the moso tree, a Chinese bamboo tree, which taught him about hard work, patience, resilience, perseverance and consistency.
The way the moso tree grows is that it doesn’t exhibit any growth during its first five years. But underneath the ground, it is growing its roots and laying its foundation. Still, it needs constant nurturing and watering despite the seeming lack of growth. Then after five years, it will grow from one foot to about 90 feet in only four weeks. The strong wind will come and blow on it. But the wind will not be able to topple the moso tree.
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