Hello and welcome. This is the very first episode of the aspiring entrepreneurs podcast. My name's Sophie Howard. This series of podcasts is going to be a really fun, really interesting, and really inspiring journey through what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. One of the things we're going to really focus on is the stuff that makes you unique, your skills, your strengths, and your profile as an entrepreneur, and helping you then match up to the best kind of business opportunity, the best business model that suits your strengths, because there's no point somebody really creative and flamboyant and extroverted and social, trying to sit and stare at spreadsheets and analytics and data all day. People who are really risk averse, shouldn't be going out and putting down millions to get started.
There's a whole bunch of business models out there that were going to explore in business model breakdowns, where we're going to look at successful businesses, pick apart how they make money, how the founders got them going, what the founders have done to make them such successful businesses, what their days look like. That's going to be a real peak inside some very successful businesses that we'll have amazing access to, and some really quality and interesting conversations with those founders.
On the other side, we're going to spend some time looking at you. One of the first things you need to do is discover your strengths and the profile of entrepreneur you are. There's a free quiz that you can take. If you look at the show notes below, you'll see a link to take you through to aspiringentrepreneurs.com and you can take this profiling quiz. The quiz will do a series of questions, 39 questions. It will then send you an individual personalized report with your entrepreneurial architect. This is your profile, one of four that I'll run through briefly today on this first episode of the podcast. In that report, you'll start to get a chance to reflect and just build that self awareness of the skills and the strength that you might take for granted that will help you in your entrepreneurial ventures ahead.
As you listen to the episodes and as we talk to the founders, and I'll be talking to them about their profiles and how they got started, you'll start to learn these paths that make it easier for you, that increase the chance of success that make the work more fun, more easy, flow more naturally for you. It's just so much easier if you pick a business model that suits you.
The first thing to do is to head down to the show notes, have a look at aspiringentrepreneurs.com and go and do that quiz. You'll get the results straight away, sent to your inbox, and you can have a read of that report. Spend some time reflecting on it and thinking how accurate you think it is. It should be pretty accurate. We've had psychologists and professional profiling tool experts help get the questioning style, the questions themselves, and really build out these individual reports that get automatically sent through to your inbox when you finish doing the online quiz.
You'll get one of four profiles. That's what I really want to spend most of today's session going through. We're going to spend a few minutes on each. These episodes will be around half an hour long. I'm going to try and keep them really varied with a bunch of different kinds of founders, different personalities from all the different profiles. Also, we're going to show you a whole bunch of the different business models that are out there successfully running today. You're going to get a huge range of education and inspiration in the aspiring entrepreneur podcast.
Now, let's get started with the first profile, which is the creator. Now, if you come out of, after doing your quiz, as a creator profile, there's some really good things about this. It's going to be some things that make it really frustrating for you some days, and it's going to make you quite difficult to work with for certain types of people, but the good news is, creators are always in hot demand. All the big changes, all the big, fresh, new ideas, all the total breakthrough innovations often come from a creator. If you picture someone like Elon Musk, he's somebody that has these big visions, just sees the opportunity, spots the gap, spots what looks too hard and comes up with a really creative, off the wall idea to tackle it, not worried about red tape or bureaucracy, just smashes on through, very driven, in his case, but there are other creative people who are more artsy and there's a whole range there, but let's see what a creator is all about.
One nice thing about being a creator is that you are very hard to replace. It's really hard to go out and on queue just order up a new product, or a brand new service, or a clever idea for marketing, or a really clever way to solve a problem that your business faces. In new employee world, creators are very, very valuable. They're often seen as the superstars because they bring these big ideas that then happen and really help the company succeed. If you're not innovating, you're not even staying still in business, you're actually going backwards because everybody around you is innovating and coming up with new products and services. It's not even just the design of a product or creating a new service, it's how to get the messaging standing out in a crowded series of platforms where we're trying to advertise and market our messaging.
It's about being creative when you run into a problem. Some people just grind to a halt and can't think creatively about how to get out of a tough situation. The creatives really get going when everybody gets stuck. They bring a huge amount of value to a business, both in its bottom line, but the energy, the ideas, everything flows from that top down often.
Creators often are quite happy with a little bit of chaos, which is very helpful in the startup world and don't need so much order, always, not always, but typically happier to live at the more chaotic end of the spectrum. Very hard to replace with contractors or freelancers who don't really care as much. These creators tend to really care and be passionate about the subject and just be full of ideas, an idea a minute, more ideas that they can start than they can ever finish, which is one of the traps.
It's really important, as a creator, that you pair up with other people around you who can help finish all the things that you start and have lots of energy kicking off, but when it gets to the details, the optimization, the operational side, writing the standard operating procedures, probably best that you move on to the next new idea and let somebody else do that stuff.
Creators are generally quite high energy, full of ideas. They're really driving the business forward. They're less like to be checking details as they go, crossing the Is and doting Ts, the other way around. The creators are quite hard to keep up with. They're only going to be valuable if you can communicate your vision. That's a really important tip for you as a creator. If you come out with the creator profile, one of the really important things to work on is your communication skills, because there's no point in having great ideas if you can't sell it to where the people who do the capital raising, or the design and development, or the product development. You really need to be able to get people to keep up with you and share that vision that you have>.
Creative people often can't be on all day every day. You can't just turn them out 40 hours a week on queue. Often, the schedule might look a little bit unusual to other people who have a very structured workday. If you work in accounting, you do your billable hours, you do that coding, you write those reports, you check those tax payments and you send off your billing and invoicing to clients. You might have meetings, but your day in those service type jobs is very stretched. Whereas a creator, it might be better to go for a run, do an hour of chatting over coffee, come up with some ideas, spend an hour emailing some people. It might be a very broken up day to keep them fresh.
If you are a creator, you're likely to do very well in business. I can think of some very successful creators. People like Richard Branson are a creator. He just comes up with the idea and he gets a pro absolutely top plus management team to take his idea and turn it into a business unit. It all sits under one big umbrella brand, Virgin, and he just comes up with idea after idea and they get crazier and crazier, and they still seem to nearly always work. He's an example of someone who's recognized. He's not good at numbers. He admits he's terrible with numbers, almost dyslexic, I think. Just has to have somebody run through every number, sitting next to him to make sure he's understood it, terrible at details, but full of adventure, full of fresh ideas, and has changed the world, has really revolutionized a lot of industries.
Elon Musk would be another one. Creators are cool and really, really valuable. In a startup or starting your own venture for the first time, creators are often really driven, come up with lots of ideas, no shortage of products to sell. The thought of working with a designer to build a website's not too daunting. Creating stuff comes really naturally. That's what businesses need. They need products and services to sell. They need points of difference with them. They need to be able to get the message out there and think of clever, fresh, interesting, and new ways to do business. In the start up world, creatives, you will be absolutely flying along and it'll be hard for everyone to keep up with you.
That's the first profile. The second one that you might come out as, they're usually fairly evenly balanced, the number of people in each of these four quadrants. First creators. Second, we have the connector. Now, I know quite a few connectors. A lot of the people I work with in business say business coaches, people that run agencies, there's some very, very successful people who are connectors. Connectors the kind of profile who really likes to work with people. They can see opportunities through conversations and through their networks. They're very good at networking. They're the sorts of people that collect all the business cards at an event, and don't just stuff them in a back pocket and then find them in a desk drawer five years later. They'll follow up the next day. They'll remember to make that introduction. They promise they'll like them on LinkedIn. They'll go and be their new best friend on Facebook. The connectors just naturally have this energy and gift for connecting with other people.
People do business with people. If you are say, a creator, in trying to get your new product or service out there to the world, then working with a connector can be a really good next link in the chain to make sure that idea is shared and it's bounced off of lots of other interesting and relevant people who might give feedback, or buy it, or partner with you, or be the right service to help you take it to the next level. As an entrepreneur, we never operate alone. There's a zero chance that you're going to do this without working with other people. You might need an agency to run some advertising for you, or you might need a virtual assistant to do some admin for you. Whatever your profile, you're bound to be doing lots of different interactions with completely different people.
If you've got to connector on your team, they can be a very good manager, which keeps you as the founder, freed up to think about the big picture ideas and the strategy rather than the day to day managing teams or managing clients. Maybe if you've got a software business, you're managing developers. Those connectors are great at just keeping things moving, keeping everybody motivated, keeping the communications really clear so everybody's on the same page and the project keeps moving forward as everybody wants it to.
I'm very fond of a connector. If I go to a party, I'll always go and make a B-line for a connector, because they have the best conversation. They'll introduce you to all the best people. They're really easy company. They just have that effortless feel about being in their presence. Connectors are wonderful in business. They can give your business a really good first impression to the outside world.
If it's you yourself creating a business as a connector, you're going to have business partnerships and investors knocking down your door. Your customers are going to love you and be really loyal. The messaging that you put out in your style, and the different platforms that you choose to use, you'll, as a connector, know which is the best and most appropriate one, whether it's more of a business to business through LinkedIn, or a more social thing through a Pinterest or a Instagram, or even the dreaded Facebook. I'm going to try not to do too many businesses on this podcast that are built on Facebook for reasons I will go into when we start the business model breakdowns.
The connectors a great profile. It's somebody who's just going to be right in the thick of doing deals, spotting opportunities, having conversations with really interesting people and uncovering those opportunities to do good business, build their own team. People will come to you. The energy just flows towards you as if you're a connector. Enjoy this gift that you have and make sure you make the most of it, and make sure that you put the effort in.
Don't be intimidated by connecting with really high level people. If you're a great connected people will love your conversation and you'll get really great access to really influential people who can really help you on your journey. People love to help you because you're so likable. Well done. Nice profile. Lucky you. Wish I was one of you some days. I sometimes just sit and look at my schedule of the number of calls I've got to make, or the networking events, or the live events where I'm teaching or doing dinners and things. It's just rather daunting for my more introverted style, but we get through it, but you guys just, you're in your element. Make the most of that skill you have and that natural gift.
The next profile is an operator. Now operators are very, very handy people in your business. If you're a founder, at some stage, you're going to need a really good operator. If you spot any, make sure you keep friends with them and don't forget their birthdays. Make sure you cultivate a few operator friends as potential hires as you grow your business because whatever kind of business, whether it's a product where you need a supply chain running, it's a service where you need a system for customer management, whether it's software and you need a system for building the software and delivering it, and automating things through that software, the technology side, the operator is the sort of person that can sit at a very high level and see all the different moving parts of the business and spot the most efficient way to run it.
As a founder, if you hire an operator to partner with you and help you run your business, this is a really strategic hire. They're going to save you a lot of money because things will be done very efficiently with the least possible excess work. They'll be really good at building systems and processes. In my team, I actually will bring onto this podcast interviews with my own team because I've got one of each of these profiles that beautifully exemplify why I hired them, what they're good at, and you'll get a real feel for these different types of profiles.
I'm a creator, but I have a lovely lady in my team who's a great operator. She's quite terrifying. She's very fear. She's very strict. If it's not in the schedule, it's not happening. If I've forgotten something because it was in my calendar and I didn't look, I'm in trouble. It's very black and white and rules based and flows very efficiently. Everything's very logical. The customers love it when there's a good operator on deck because the experience for the customer is very consistent. There's no making it up as you go along. There's a script for that conversation. There's no, let's just see what happens when we try this marketing campaign. It'll be based on data from previous marketing campaigns.
A little bit less chaos, a lot of order, and a lot of really focused on outcomes. If you say to your operator team member, I want to hit this target. How do you think we can do it? They'll go off and build something that hits that target. It's really, really a great skill to have around you.
Now, if you're an operator building a business and you are the founder. This is your profile and you are going to start your own business, we'll look at some of the business models in future episodes that share some inspiration of the kinds of people who are very organized, who see the most efficient and the best way to do things. My example here would be somebody like Jeff Bezos. Building Amazon that has the most organized logistics you've ever seen on the planet. It's scaled and got big because it's designed properly, as a system for everything. The process they go through to buy land, to build a warehouse, to train staff, to do health and safety, to make up a box, to deliver a thing to the door. I read somewhere that they don't, when they set the delivery route for the drivers to go and drop off parcels at customers doorsteps, they have a thing where, in the states, they don't make any left turns on their delivery route because it saves time if they only make right turns and right hand driving traffic.
That's the level of efficiency these sorts of companies get down into to make the profit margin high, the scalability high, the smoothness in the predictability of the business, also, very high. If one of you listening to this podcast becomes a fraction of Jeff Bezos's success over the years, then you'll be glad that you spent some time figuring out what makes a good operator. You really want to use this skill around order and control and predictability. A lot of founders just break their businesses. They grow at this hell to scale to pace. They forget to restock inventory because they haven't sorted a system for tracking it, or they hire 10 staff, but can't manage them all because they haven't got any onboarding procedures, or they take on too many customers and can't deliver because sales has got ahead of operations.
Operators as the founders tend to be successful. You're very deliberate about each step you take. It fits into a master plan. You're not shooting from the hip. You're very organized. There's certain sorts of businesses that really suit you. Where a connector would be really good running something like an agency. They've got business development skills. They're out prospecting, talking to potential clients. They're talking at networking events, or giving presentations, or writing newsletters, or blogs, or online, they've got a presence in their profile and out proactively talking to people who might want their service in this agency. On the flip side, they're able to attract and motivate and keep really talented team members as their staff doing the work. They feed the pipeline with the jobs, and they feed the jobs to the staff, and the staff deliver the work because they're motivated and like their boss. Those are a good agency.
You can sell an agency as a great business model. You can build one up for a few years and sell it for a lot of money if it's all templated in systems. The connector can be really good at building an agency because that's all the people skills. An operator would also be good at building anything where there's a flow of work. Say it's a logistics business, which is quite an obvious example, but just where you've got stock in warehousing, air being charged at a certain cost per volume. You've got processes for moving it. You've got processes for billing clients. Everything's just automated and runs very efficiently. It can be a very complex business when somebody organizes in charge. It could be something like drop shipping where you've got Facebook ads running at one level, you've got products on a website for sale at another level, you've got supplies in a different country, and shipping, and then you've got emails going out. You've got automatic follow ups to those emails. You've got email sequences. If someone puts something in their shopping cart, then doesn't check out. You can build a really complex machine because you've got that big picture, all matched out. You know what fits where. Stitch it all together. It's really neat.
Operators are great business partners. They're great, steady, reliable, hard workers. They make great founders because they are often very organized with things like the cash flow with staffing, with making things run very lean. No extra wastage in the business with wasted overheads or any unnecessary expenses. They work very well with the creator. Every creator really needs an operator offset to calm down the chaos. Every operator might need a good creator working with them to keep the new ideas closed. That can be a really good business partnership. When you meet the operator in my team who works for me, you'll see just how she thinks and operates and how that's really valuable in a business.
In the business model breakdown episodes, you'll see lots of examples when we bring in operators. I'll show you the kinds of businesses that they've built. I haven't had a reply yet from Jeff Bezos to be on my podcast, but maybe he'll say yes one day, but till then, we'll get lots of other examples of people early in their journey and further down the track who have used their skills as an operator to build a successful business.
Now, the last profile that I want to cover today is the automator. I've got an automator in my team as well. She's also here in New Zealand. She's my most recent hire, but proven herself so quickly because she is the sort of person who really loves technology. When you've got somebody who's got this automated mindset, they can see that some software would do that, not a person. They can see that you could have a rule setup that makes this happen when that happens. You can see that they spot that some software could do that rather than... or an some artificial intelligence, or even a robot, but the automators are fantastic in business. If I had to choose which profile I could be, I would be an automator, which I'm not sadly, but these are the people that are at in Silicon Valley and they see something inefficient and they can see that technology would automate it. Those businesses are worth a fortune.
I think of seeing the taxi drivers, and cash, and GPS directions haven't really been put together yet, but if somebody could automate, I need a lift, I've got a car and want some extra income and bring those two together, and even do the billing and payment and directions all in one tool, you've got Uber. If you can see that there's lots of surplus, spare bedrooms, and people who want cash and people traveling who want to stay there, the days of notice boards and Craigslist are hopeless compared to an automated solution like Airbnb with some smart technology, bringing a market together. Either making a market more efficient, or just solving a business problem.
In the years that I've been running my Amazon products air for sale on the Amazon platform, I've had products from all around the world, but I've used all sorts of software tools to shortcut the time to research a product or to help find a supplier, or to run my advertising. I could sit there and manually plug in keywords, or I could just use some automated software that does it all for me. I'll pay a fortune to not have to spend that time myself, or hire a person and manage them and all their errors and sick leave, and leaving me in the lurch when they decide they're going to do their own thing, or whatever else might happen.
An automated business is such an attractive model to investors. This is the software as a service. This is like Xero, the software that was actually founded in New Zealand by Rod Drury. That's software for accounting. It's very beautiful. It's got this design feel to it that's very designed and easy and beautiful to use, but it saves hours of bookkeeping. Everything's automated. If last month, that paycheck that came in from that business was revenue for that business unit, next month, it should be as well. It just pre-populates. It saves hours of bookkeeping. It makes far less human error.
A lot of the reason business owners don't want too many humans in a business... Well, there's a lot of reasons. One is that there's a cost to humans. They're very expensive. They're usually the number one biggest cost in a business. The second is that they make mistakes. The third is that they are unreliable. They might not make mistakes, but might not show up that day just when you needed them. They can get sick. They can leave. They might have a lot of institutional knowledge and then just go, whereas if you can write some code and it knows that rule, that algorithm spits out that outcome in this set of circumstances. Very, very cool. It can even be totally pure technology that's not automating a human step, but it can be software that tracks your location on a map and helps you navigate. It can be all sorts of different business models are in this automation zone.
I think when you look at what raises money, I always have a look at Tech Crunch, which is a really cool website that just keeps you up to date with who's raising capital and what deals are being done in Silicon Valley and other startups around the world. It just keeps that finger on the pulse, which industries are emerging, which founders are doing incredible stuff, which investors are really diving in on deals. Who do they syndicate with? It's really, really interesting to watch what's working.
I don't aspire to have a big listed company. I don't want to be running a massive startup in Silicon Valley and mortgaging my house and never seeing my children to do that. I want to have a lifestyle business, personally, but the people in Silicon Valley making it big are the automators. They're very, very easy to invest in because the growth rate's so high. There's no limits or constraints to growth because there's no humans. You don't need to hire a bigger and bigger sales force to make more and more sales. You just roll out that feature and it's available to the whole market and the whole world in that instant.
There's no incremental cost for each incremental sales. Every extra sale is this pure profit. There's no more cost to having your software being downloaded more times. I love software businesses. I've got two on the go. One was my idea. I found some investors and we're growing that. It's about to go live very soon. The other one is partnership, which is in the Amazon world. Another nice one that I think solves a real live problem in a automated way. Although I'm not an automator, I desperately look around for automated friends and staff. I look for businesses and opportunities. It's the best business model to have a software as a service in my view.
We'll look at lots and lots of different kinds of business models in the episodes coming up. I'm really looking forward to introducing you to some very, very interesting people, people with services businesses, technology businesses, product businesses, marketing experts, people who are more independent, sort of influencer types. We're not going to go big on social media, but we'll show how social media has helped some founders achieve their results, but we're going to just look at a really, really broad spread of startup inspiration and show you with each one, what the business model is. How does this business make money?
Secondly, we'll look at the founder and we'll look at their skills, their profile, why this for such a good match, how they came up with it, what steps they took to get it where it is, and then seeing how they scaled it, how they got the staff. It's going to be a very practical over the shoulder view of how they got to where they got to, but with a real focus on using your strengths and finding your own best path to financial freedom, because you can't fit a square peg into a round hole. You've got to pick something that's a good fit for you.
I've tried all sorts of businesses over the years, and I've had some really good successes with some. The ones that suited me just flew. The ones that were hard work for me, they were still successful, but I never put as much time or energy into them. I didn't feel motivated to grow them because it was more of the same. It was much better for me to find another business and start another one that was successful that suited my strengths more.
I've been on Amazon for eight years now with some big seven figure brands. I've sold a couple of businesses, one for over a million dollars. I've had a successful coaching and speaking business. That's been really good. I've got some software on the go now. I've got some digital assets on the go now, but the things I keep clear of are the consulting that just doesn't suit me, not just temperament wise. I've got young family. I don't have aspirations to be client facing 40 hours a week writing on emails, going to meetings. I don't even live anywhere near a city. There's circumstances, there's personality, there's skills, there's some innate profile around introvert, extrovert, risk, risk averse, even your ambition. What's your goal in life?
We're going to really break down what you personally are after, your skills that give you a head start and an advantage in certain types of business model, what to keep clear of, who to partner with to get you there. On the flip side, you'll be looking at people who are already a bit further down the track of you and reverse engineering, what they've done to get the results, the success that they've got. I think you'll find it really interesting and inspiring. There's going to be lots and lots of learning, lots of really, really fascinating people, really generously sharing what's worked for them and how they got there.
We look forward to seeing you in the next episode. Have a look at the show notes so you can go and do the profiling test and see what your profile is. Then we'll be able to kick off in the next episode, starting to do some business model breakdowns, looking at how these businesses that you could start, same kind of model, make their money, how they got started and how you must make sure you set off on this journey starting your first business with a business model that's a great fit for you. You're going to have more ideas than you know what to do with soon. Look forward to seeing you in the next episode. We'll wrap up there. Thank you very much.