February 3, 2022

How and when to jump all in to your start up business

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It’s a well-known fact that Australian businesses within their first 3 years of life have a sixty percent mortality rate. And of that remaining forty percent, ninety three percent will turn over less than $2 Million per year. I don’t know about you but I read these stats and get a tingling feeling in my stomach.

Back in 2015, I was on the verge of becoming one of these stats.

I had just founded Konnect App (the OG name before Moonward) from my 3 Star Motel room in South Auckland, New Zealand. Blissfully unaware and naive of what I was actually getting myself in for.

The business was a single mobile app that I’d built in my spare time while working for a mechanical sales company. The model for the app was to compete directly with print media, billboards, TV ads and radio (All of which was still the rage in 2015). My monetisation model was simple - sell advertising space inside the app and watch my bank balance grow. A few weeks after going live the first business jumped on board and I’d made a whopping $250. Without a moment of hesitation, I quit my decent-paying sales role and jumped 100% into the world of apps. Did it go to plan? Well not really.

In my first year of running the Konnect App, I paid myself the lucrative wage of $14,000 (Yes this covered all my expenses, rent, food etc.) That first year in business taught me a few amazing lessons about myself and what truly motivated me as a person. It’s clear to see that I didn’t continue in business for the financial benefit - I didn’t even have any financial benefit for the first 12-18 months. I was quite literally in a far worse position than my old job. But I did have one thing, I was in a position where my level of fulfilment was 100x times greater than where I’d ever been.

At that point in my life, I’d always been the average, middle of the road type of guy who’d always been pipped as having ‘Potential’. Average school marks, average sports teams, average size etc. Looking back now, I’d always been fed the narrative that I was always going to be average. Subconsciously, I wanted to break the cycle and jump out from under my average life to Konnect App. I showed the middle finger to this narrative that everyone (Friends, Family, Parents, Teachers) in my life had been building.

Now having said all of this I’m not going to tell you ‘follow your dreams and you’ll be fine’.

12 months into running the Konnect App I had a brutal reality check. I was in Liverpool, UK, at the time. It was 6 am and I was sitting on my £10 per night Holiday Inn bed. I was on a Skype call with a client in Australia and he was questioning I was up to? I was pouring my heart and soul into this business and only just getting by. I learnt that it’s all well and good jumping into the deep end but if you don’t know how to swim, you need to learn quickly or you are fucked. At this point, I hadn’t really learnt quickly. I had no real long term plan (Being a Tech Billionaire was as far as I’d got) and no idea on my next steps to grow the business.

A few weeks later I sorted myself out. Invested in my first business mentor and literally started building my business from scratch again. Since then we’ve increased business revenue by well over 100% year on year, launched over 100 Apps onto the app store and have a team of 15 people, all based in our office here in Brisbane. A pretty cool story considering where it began.

Would I change anything?

Nope, I personally believe that everyone is on their own journey. Could I have been smarter in my first 18 months of business? Absolutely... but one thing I have learnt is to fail fast, learn from your failures and improve. And you can’t fail without taking the occasional leap of faith!

It’s well documented that Colonel Sanders was 65 when he founded KFC, I’m sure at that point in his life people were telling him to give up and stop dreaming. If we can learn anything from this it’s to never stop chasing self-growth and self-improvement.

So what do I think? Should you jump into your idea feet first and commit 100%? Unfortunately, I don’t have a crystal ball that can predict the future. But what I can say from my experience is that self-fulfilment and a sense of personal growth has had much more of an impact on my life than any other external factor. As far as my knowledge spans, we only have one chance on earth, and one chance to give it a red hot crack.

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