"Let's give it a year": A tale of how Chello got started
Starting your own business goes a little bit like this:
1. Get a niggling feeling that you should be out there doing your own thing.
2. Shove the idea into the same drawer you keep dark secrets and kitchen utensils you’ll never use.
3. Be haunted by the idea anyway. It’s there when you wake up, it’s there when you’re trying to remember where you parked your car.
4. One day, you’re stuck behind a slow-walker on the footpath and you’re overcome by the feeling that maybe you don’t want to be following the footsteps of someone else for the rest of your life. Maybe you’re supposed to be out there with your own karate studio.
5. Your karate studio, named Chop Chop, fails miserably.
6. You decide to start a creative content agency called Chello instead. It does alright.
The above is a highly inaccurate re-telling. To hear the real story, listen to Lindsay’s on the podcast Inspiring Greatness right here (or down below). Transcript is below.
Shelley: You're listening to another episode of Inspiring Greatness, where we share the stories of remarkable entrepreneurs. Welcome. My name is Shelley Rogers, your host.
Join me each week as we share experiences from amazing entrepreneurs who have had success and failure. Listen to their stories, recommended books, technology tools, and business tips. If you're an entrepreneur at startup stage, or if you have a business experiencing high growth, welcome.
This podcast is for you. Listen and learn from the entrepreneurs' best and worst moments and hear what inspires them. Now let's begin.
If you are listening to this podcast for the first time, welcome. If you are a faithful listener, thank you. Don't forget to subscribe to Inspiring Greatness on iTunes Institute. I would love to hear your comments. Please give us a rating and review.
Lindsay: You've got to be in it to win it. I think we've been fortunate, and we've picked up a few different awards along the way and you just have to be in it to win it. I think it's some sort of ... I don't know whether it's Australian or female, I don't know, shying away from putting yourself forward for things that we've seen amazing results from.
I think the other thing is you just got to back yourself. No one's going to back you as much as you've got to back yourself in business.
Shelley: Welcome to episode 119. You just heard a snippet from Lindsay Rogers. What a delightful, motivated, smart entrepreneur. It was such a pleasure to speak with her, whether you are thinking of starting a business or you already have a thriving business, you're going to get a ton of value in today's episode.
Lindsay shares why she started her own business as a content agency called Chello after putting together a buy-out proposal to the previous company she helped built and received a flat out shocking "No, I'm not selling my business."
We've talked about the importance and tips to ensure that you start a company focused on long-term success and having an advisory firm that helped her get it perfect from the start. She spoke about the importance of making decisions on who they work with. It's all based on their cultural fit.
I loved her comment. She said she gets pleasure in knowing that she has the keys to her own castle and fire prickly people fast. Lastly, don't miss what inspires Lindsay and what she's going to be doing this time next year. So listen up.
Entrepreneurs near and far, it's Shelley Rogers here and thanks for joining me today and listening to this episode where we share remarkable stories from amazing entrepreneurs to inspire you. I am so looking forward to today. Our guest entrepreneur is Lindsay Rogers. Welcome, Lindsay.
Lindsay: Thank you.
Shelley: Are you ready to share your story to inspire our listeners?
Lindsay: I'm ready.
Shelley: Thank you. Lindsay Rogers is the co-founder and director of strategy of Chello, an agency that wheels and deals in all kinds of content. Chello offers small and large organizations from corporations to small non-profits, access to creative team who film, photograph, animate, and design with high production values.
In the first year of Chello, she turned over a million dollars and reached over 45 clients, including an international airline. Since the company has grown to an ever busy crew of 15 and more than 100 clients. Impressive.
Lindsay: It's been a busy couple of years.
Shelley: When did you start and what gave you the idea to start this business?
Lindsay: We launched in 2014. I was then 25, and I'd been managing a production company for about five years before that. I was in a buy-out with my old boss, who for sort of the three years prior to that had talked about me being the future of the business. He was ready to retire. It was all kind of very exciting. In that time, we rebranded the business. We moved offices, hired new people and diversified our clients.
It was all doing well. Then I put forward a buy-out proposal to buy into the business, and 48 hours later he came back and said, "Thanks so much. I really appreciate your offer, but actually, I've decided not to sell. It's been my business for 30 years." They're not ready.
I left. Yeah, I left, went to India to kind of get away, and came back with Chello, which is a Hindi word for kind of let's get moving, let's get going, and thought, "Why don't I try and do this my own?" Called out my now business partner, our creative director, and we just decided to give it a go. We said, "Let's give it a year." If it works, we're onto something good. If it doesn't, we'll go and get other jobs.
Three years later here we are.
Shelley: We have a little bit in common. I started my first company at 25, but I was working for large oil & gas company and just didn't fit the corporate world. Good on you for just stepping up and going I'm going to take on this challenge and do it.
Lindsay: Yeah, thanks. I feel like it just kind of came as a bit of an opportunity of now or never. I got offered a job at around the same time with an amazing fashion label trained in Italy and amazing sort of global travel. I just thought, "If I don't give it a go on my own, I'll always wonder what if?" I turned that down and yeah, it's been a bit of a ride since.
Shelley: Well definitely, seems like pretty high growth, so congratulations.
Lindsay: Thanks. Yeah, we feel that we've just scratched the surface, so kind of exciting.
Shelley: I'd love to learn a little bit more about your personal life, and then we could talk a little bit more about your business as well, but yeah, can you share just a little bit about your personal life?
Lindsay: Yes, I'm originally from the UK. I was born and raised in England and moved over to Australia in 2002 after coming out to the Olympics in 2000 and loving it, and moving out, and literally arrived in Australia with a high car we got booked on the internet. A house we booked on a stay website, and yeah, no friends.
I remember having a mobile phone that just had mum and voicemail in it. We drive around Australia just looking for schools and where we'd like to live and sort of the life that I guess we were kind of creating for ourselves. These days I live in Sidney. I travel quite a lot interstate and internationally for the business. Yeah, love a good glass of wine and yes, staying local when I can.
Shelley: Lovely. Do you have clients all over Australia or have you also branched out internationally?
Lindsay: Yeah, so we're about a year into business when we got this opportunity to pitch on an international airline project, and I came up through a contact and they sort of said, "Look, we've got a tender process coming up for video content. We know that's what you guys do. We've got to have three agencies in the process, and we've got two. We're looking for a third. Do you want to put your sort of hat in the ring?"
We said, "Absolutely, we've got nothing to lose." We kind of just went above and beyond, and then we pitched on this project and sort of we did I guess a draft version of what we were pitching to produce, and then because we couldn't actually get out to the US to present with the time. A short time frame, we sat in front of camera and did a bit of a, "This is what we're planning. This is what we think." Yeah, we went on to win it, which sort of opened the doors for other work out of the US.
Fortunately them being an airline means that they can flash for us and us vice versa. Yeah, it's pretty cool. I think we're about just several year old as a business and yeah, we thought we're trying to find our fate and to be sort of playing in the global scale was cool. But yeah, most of our work apart from them is in Australia, spread outs around the country.
Shelley: You worked with some really cool brands. Can you share what would be maybe I don't know if you can pick your top one, or one that you've really enjoyed transforming and maybe just tell us a little bit what that look like.
Lindsay: Sure. We worked with all sorts of different brands. Some of them are cool, shiny, kind of social fashion beauty. A lot of blogger content and then a lot of the other brands are maybe transformation projects from the inside out. I often don't look as cool or flashy, especially at a dinner party. When someone says, "What do you do?"
Because there's often a lot of whether it's stakeholder management or internal comms that pave the way for the external work that we do. Some of my favorite projects have been the really un-sexy briefs I guess of, "We've got a business problem. Can you guys help us? People don't know why exist. Our people feel disconnected form the brand. What can we do?"
Content being anything for us from video to actual brand work to copy or imagery, assets for brands. Means that we can sort of put all of our heads together to come up with sort of a strong internal external focus. Yeah, business change I guess. One of the brands we do a lot of work with is called Freedom Foods are listed health food brand, and they're going through massive transformation and a lot of people that haven't heard of them are starting to get on their radar.
It's a pretty cool opportunity to become instrumental in a brand transition.
Shelley: I was looking at your website and so the ... I thought little baby jumper ones. It was so adorable. What was that one called?
Lindsay: Bonds, yeah, that's ...
Lindsay: A day of my life I'll never get back, working with children.
Shelley: That's what I thought, I went, "Oh, my God. That would have been challenging."
Lindsay: Totally, especially we sort of had really young kids because they're for little baby, toddlers as wonder suits, sort of Zippies.
Shelley: Yeah, wonder suits, that's right.
Lindsay: Yeah, and working with children so young. They're a couple of years old; they're not yet ... You're not able to reason with them and one of the kids arrived and he just instantly was in a bad mood and there was sort of no shifting in from it. I was the only one at the shoot that had an authority to work with children and actually be on the set with them.
They're on the ground rolling around, trying to throw tennis balls to small children that are crying and it was one of those days that I ... Probably be the last time I do that.
Shelley: That's when You need candy and barbary.
Shelley: Some kind of treat for sure. You've grown your business pretty quickly. You've got a crew of 15 now, and more than 100 clients. Has the growth been pretty challenging? Tell us a little bit about that steep pace.
Lindsay: No, we've been so fortunate and been with a lot of ... To be honest, we haven't grown as quick as we could have. There's been a lot of opportunity and I think that it's a changing industry ... It's a changing industry, so lots of brands are looking at ways to produce more content on different channels than perhaps the larger agencies that are more traditional can sort of produce in the same time frames.
We've had amazing opportunity, but I think we've also probably limited ourselves in like, "Oh gosh. We don't want to go too fast that we can't contain it." But yeah, we've been super fortunate. We've just hired our 18th recently, and it's starting to be, "We're a legit agency with awesome people in our team." They're probably the best thing about our business.
Shelley: What has been the best advice someone has given you? Lindsay: You've got to be in it to win it. I think we've been fortunate, and we've picked up a few different awards along the way and you just have to be in it to win it. I think it's some sort of ... I don't know whether it's Australian or female, I don't know, shying away from putting yourself forward for things that we've seen amazing results from.
I think the other thing is you just got to back yourself. No one's going to back you as much as you've got to back yourself in business. Shelley: Oh I just interviewed a superstar, Kate Middleton and hers was nobody's coming to save you.
Lindsay: I'm actually speaking at a panel with her next week. Very funny.
Shelley: Yeah. She's awesome.
Lindsay: So true.
Shelley: Yeah. You have to be in it to win it, so just go for it.
Shelley: What personal habits do you have that contribute to your success and how do you maintain them?
Lindsay: I never used to be a morning person. More recently I started getting up to exercise with some sort of business friends, and I think a habit is one of those funny things. You just got to keep doing it, even when you don't want to. I'm a relatively spontaneous kind of, "Let's just do this" person.
But I found that as the business is continuing to grow and there's more elements in life that I've had to have some staples, I've also started making consistent lunches and really focusing on exercise and food. Because I think they sort of underpin your mental state and ability to process information and be alert and you have to know and etc.
Some of the yeah, simplest habits brought on the best.
Shelley: Absolutely, so from coaching and mentoring a lot of entrepreneurs I've seen it happen time and time again. At the beginning it's like energizer bunny. I can go, go, go, go. Keep working, keep working, and you ignore the balance in your life and the health, and then all the sudden you get to a point and it's stress. Even to anxiety, depression, because you're lacking the exercise, and the health.
Lindsay: Yeah, totally. It's a mental state too I think. I used to hate getting up early and I'd sort of roll into work kind of tired and wake up with a morning coffee, and I find that if I'm sort of up and exercising by the time I get to work, I'm already thinking. I'm already sort of ... I'm already on.
It's a couple of extra hours I get in the morning that I used to just spend sleeping. It's a bit of a win.
Shelley: What's your favorite type of exercise?
Lindsay: I do a bootcamp style sort of hour of power, which mainly just because I sort of get to the beginning or the end of the day, and I prefer to just be told what to do and do it. Yeah, train with a bunch of different friends, all different fitness levels. To be honest, we just have fun, and if something's really hard it's more fun than it is a nuisance.
It's so nice training outside, even in the winter. I find it's so nice at sunrise or sunset, just to be outdoors and breathe the air.
Shelley: I used to belong to a running group in Canada, and gosh, if we didn't have the accountability, I can guarantee you there's some of those winter days that we wouldn't have been out there 5:30 in the morning in the dark with the snow falling. It's freezing cold. I always say to myself just do it for 10 minutes, and if you can get through that, then you're good to go.
Lindsay: That's exactly what I did this week. I was feeling a little bit off and I thought, "Oh, I'm just going to sleep in." I thought, "No, I'm going to get up. I'll do it for 10 minutes, and if I still feel ill I'll go ahead." I felt amazing afterwards.
Shelley: I have to share a funny story. I'm digressing a bit, but I asked my brother, "When do you guys start doing some exercise? Because I do exercise every day." I sit up in the morning when I get out of bed and when I go back to bed at the end of the night, I do another sit up, back laying down in the horizontal position. Oh God.
Lindsay: All the wine glass to the face kind of up and down tricep movement.
Shelley: Yeah, exactly. With your business, now 18 people, technology tips. What tools do you use in your business or personal life that helped save time or make your life better?
Lindsay: Yeah, so we even just in recent times going from sort of five or six where everyone knows what you're working on to having a few different mini teams working on different things. We've had to collaborate, or find ways to collaborate a lot easier. Especially when people are in and out of the office or on shoots or working remotely.
We use Slack a lot. We pin items which means that we can have lists that we sort of keep coming back to to make sure that ideas don't just get lost in chat, which running a creative agency is probably the hardest thing to sort of pull work from the bench and the chat. Which makes it awesome, but also sometimes you're like, "Just do some work."
We also recently have looked at our work from ... We've managed to use cloud based mainly subscription modeled programs to be able to run some processes end to end quite seamlessly. We have a production management system called Workflow Max that we create leads. We quote. We invoice, and then we push it out into zero that then we upload to receipt banks, so whether it's for shoot or it's somebody's personal expense.
It's become quite a seamless one-stop-shop I guess to sort of check in on cost allocated to [Johnson 00:17:26]. Obviously that's very relevant to our ... To what we do day to day, but there's so many ways out there where technology now can plug-in. Especially with open APIs that you can plug-in to different tools, so that you don't have to manually then reimport or just save so much time.
Shelley: Absolutely yeah. Whether it's HR component plugging in or the receipt bank. That's a huge time saver, especially if you're traveling. You just take a picture and that's in, and it's lovely.
Shelley: Love that one.
Lindsay: Totally, and I think next steps for us we're going to look at yeah, the HR piece and how we can ... We've got leaf and zero, the hack week, and continue to build on basically a one streamline process that each employee has access to a different component, so that it's not all through one person as well.
Shelley: Oh, that's important as well. Yeah, it's all about whatever you can do to streamline, make it so efficient and eliminate those errors, because a lot of times if it's not to a flow, that's when some of the errors are going to occur. You spend more time and more expense and it's all about the bottom line.
Lindsay: Agree yeah.
Shelley: Oh gosh, so thank you for sharing the tech tips. Do you like to read?
Lindsay: I do. I must say I've taken a lot of my reading into audio, so I listen to a load of ad hoc podcast or if it's visual I'll sort of read a lot of articles. But I just sort of back to a goodie, an oldie but a goodie recently called "The E Myth Revisited", which I read years ago before I started a business, and I remember thinking it's really interesting all the different roles of key people within a business.
As we're starting to grow flesh out more people that have more. They hold more managerial parts in the business. How does it all sort of fit together? How do we continue to produce quality stuff? But also push forward and sort of move into unchartered territory.
Shelley: That book was "E Myth"?
Lindsay: "E Myth", yeah.
Shelley: Do you know who? I haven't heard of that one. We're going to have this on our show notes, so people can access it.
Lindsay: It's by a guy called Michael E. Gerber. It's an old, old book. It's been around I'm going to say since the 80s, but it's been updated since, so Revisited's been their sort of latest version. It's all about yes, small businesses and the different roles between a manager, an entrepreneur, and a technician, and how they're each really important, but each play a very different role.
Shelley: Oh cool. Well, I'll have that to ... I'll have to look that one up. I've been using a app called Blinkist.
Lindsay: Yeah, I've seen this.
Shelley: That's because I get well, book recommendations every week and sometimes when I ask people one book, they give me five or six. It's just a quick summary of the book in Blinkist's kind of snippets, but you can also upgrade. I don't know. It's under $100, like $70 or something and it'll read it audio to you.
Lindsay: Oh, amazing.
Shelley: Yeah, so 15 minutes you get the gist of the whole book, so that's pretty cool. We'll put that one on our show notes for our audience as well.
Lindsay: Yeah, fab. I'll have to look into it.
Shelley: Blinkist, yes. Started working for somebody else, you put your heart and soul into that company. Tried to buy that company unsuccessfully, and I'm sure that was kind of a difficult moment for you, but now look at you on top with your business. Can you share? And you've won a ton of awards, what's your aha moment so far in life?
Lindsay: Yeah, I think a big aha moment for me was when things fell apart with my own business that I mentioned before. I sort of had two options. I could sort of sit there and hate the situation and the people involved, or I could sort of channel that into building something great that I can be proud of and sort of focusing on future success.
Choosing the latter was a huge aha moment for me, because it was also unlimited. I think working for somebody else is absolutely key part of training and growing yourself, especially as a young person. All of a sudden, when you kind of have the keys to your own castle, it's like, "What do we want to achieve here? How can we do things differently?"
That kind of ... I guess that pivot of let's go and create something that we're proud of, has opened lots of different doors that I hadn't necessarily seen previously. You mentioned before we work with a lot of not for profits. Being able to make choices about where we spend that time and resources, as a business. Without having to report that there will be X ROI on this, or we need to do it for this purpose.
We just feel like it's right for our culture and our people love working on things, but not just for the dollar, but also to make impact out there. I think yeah, knowing that you can kind of design your own future, so empowering.
Shelley: When? I know you mentioned that you were in India after that happened. Was there a moment where you just went, "Okay." Was there that deciding moment? Just take a sad story if you could just share that.
Lindsay: Yeah. Well my dad, he's a civil structure engineer and he's relatively I'd say on the conservative side of risk, I guess. I called my parents the night that it all sort of feel apart. It's a really humbling time. Every one that I knew, the clients, friends, family, every one knew that I was buying into this business and I turned down lots of great opportunities to focus on it.
I remember my dad sort of saying, "You know, your mum and I have been chatting and we think you should have a think about if you want to do this on your own and go out. We think you'd be really good at it." It was sort of like that empowering nod that sometimes you just need a little push, especially from someone that's quite level, that's it's not just on a whim or somebody that's always positive.
That sort of led me to go, "Yeah, maybe I should." I called out my now business partner who ... He's just the best creative that I still to this day have ever come across. He was working for a brand at the time. I called him up and go, "Let's go for a beer. Let's chat about what kind of agency we could create." He turned it back on me and said, "Well, what have you been thinking about? What kind of agency do you think we could create?"
I just sort of had to I guess just talk off the cuff about all the things that I wished that I could have implemented previously and all the gaps that I could see moving forward. I guess it's allowed us to kind of take opportunities and do things a little bit differently. Not have to be businesses that have gone before us.
Shelley: Right. Taking on some of those projects that are the feel good and maybe aligned with your core values, and not all about making all the money, money, money.
Lindsay: Yeah, totally and I think ... That's absolutely because we. Everyone have a holistic. We want to have a great culture and a great ... Everyone that uphold our great, our team and sort of reinvest in projects, not just be only after the commercial success. Although obviously that's important to pay wages.
Lindsay: But just different thinking about content strategy a little differently. Why do we have to do certain things? Let's test and adapt and move with brands, if we're sort of getting a few different organic, interesting, emails or conversations with clients, we can sort of ... We can chase them pretty rapidly enough then we find that, "Hang on. That's interesting. That's happening over there in that sector and hang on. This is over here. Why don't we put the two together and give it a go?"
We've been interested in sort of the immersive content space quite some time, so our 360 video, virtual reality. Our team started to become quite interested in it, so we bought all this. Bought a bunch of tools and said to them, "Go have a day off and go and do some stuff, and see what you can come back with." We just kind of know that if our team think it's a good idea, we'll be able to commercialize it.
Shelley: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Lindsay: It's kind of like ... It's kind of empowering our people to go and try and test and minimum viable product thing so that we can take that to clients and go, "Here's what we think." We've gone away and not only do we think it's a great idea. We kind of know it's going to be success too.
Shelley: Then apply it to their stuff. That's cool.
Lindsay: Yeah, totally.
Shelley: I like the way that you say you'll just minimally test it first, and I think sometimes entrepreneurs and business people ... Maybe it's more my age category versus yours. Where we think it's got to be perfect before we put it out there. With the way technology is going. Test, get it out there.
Improve it, fail forward, and just ... Then you prove that it's ready to go and then perfect it after that.
Lindsay: Yeah, I think and also you just don't put the same amount of pressure when your mindset is all we need to do is just prove that it can work. Not that it needs to be perfect and does work, and I think that kind of, "Let's just give it everything and go hard." Those kind of sprint times with our team anyway, the last time to put really crazy ideas forward and ... There's not only no room for failure, you just. You can't fail, because there's no failure involved in "let's just give something a go."
Then when we take it forward into creating a natural product, we've got a great baseline to work from.
Shelley: Absolutely. I want to digress a little bit when you said you put forward the proposal for your old ... The business that you're working for. Did you have somebody help you with that? You would have been so young.
Lindsay: Yeah, probably one of the best things they've done in business is we got our business advisory company involved before we even launched. They were the same company that valued my old business and put forward the buy-out proposal. They're sort of ... They're an accountancy that's sort of reshaped and become a business advisor, so they're really, really strong financial acumen, but also able to adapt it to changing business environments.
Also sort of although they're definitely not legal or insurances or anything, they sort of at least have a great understanding across lots of different businesses best practice. Often relationships, if you don't have a preferred supplier. I had them involved with previous business and when we started as now we went back and we sat down with them and said, "How do we set ourselves up for success? What kind of trust and structure and ..."
We're thinking long-term here. We want this to be a really great business. What do we need to do? At the time it was quite a bit of cash to get it all setup correctly that Tris and I we put in $10,000 each when we first started the business. From that pool of $20,000, we sort of ... There was a shareholder agreement, which was a few grand. We had structure setup, which was another few grand. All of us, we had lots of subscription stuff coming out.
We had massive equipment to purchase and all of a sudden we just had very little funds to sort of back ourselves in the beginning. They were great. They worked with us when we had literally nothing. Two of us kind of hoping with big dreams and a little more than that. Now they still are. Still the same business advisory company, and I say to anyone, "Absolutely make or break."
Even just things like simple things. We didn't know that you don't pay tax in your first year and you pay it well into your second year. But you don't realize you're not paying tax. You only realize that when you get a bill for the full year tax and the year before. If you haven't planned that out, I can absolutely see how tax and cash flow become huge problems for small businesses that just don't know what they don't know.
Shelley: Exactly. What? could you share with top three things that you learned that you could chare with our listeners that might be able to help them if they're looking at starting their business?
Lindsay: Yeah, I think as soon as we could employ people, we chose to try and employ people that are smarter than us. That still remains probably one of our biggest sort of attributes is not being afraid to hire really great people. Obviously it's cash flow dependent on who you can employ, but we started just to employ people part-time or on contracts, and a great way for us to be able to scale, but not necessarily have full-time workforce.
Subscription models, softwares, been one of the biggest fun for us. Paying $50 a month for something instead of licensing for a few thousand and they say it's a lot more out there that you can subscribe to. We stayed really lean, so we just tried to spend no money at all. We would literally watch meetings and we would ... We sort of ... We did a really cool thing actually.
When we launched the business, we wanted people to know that we had launched, but we didn't want to ... We didn't want to sort of do anything too expensive. We went. I was walking through David Jones Food Hall one morning and I saw these beautiful boxes of nougat that were kind of different flavors.
I picked up one that was saffron and persimmon, orange, flannel and took it to Tris and said, "How great would it be if we got in touch with the wholesale? I bought a bunch of these. They look great, but they're not too flashy." We produced a tag, and all the tag said was, "When was the last time you tried something for the first time?" We're Chello, say Cheeky Hello.
These flavors were so different that undoubtedly people would probably never had had saffron nougat before or they're barbary. They're a few different flavors. We sent them out. I paid my brother. I think it was $150 to head all around Sidney and drop these off to people that we knew and publishers and brands. It was ... I think it costs us maybe $800 all out.
We managed to send out probably 40 or 50 of them, and it just start a conversation that wasn't a sale and it wasn't in your face. It was just kind of a little sweetener, I guess.
Shelley: Nice. Very cool. I like that. I also want to add just for listeners a couple of components that I feel are crucial. Especially if you're getting into business with a partner is a shareholder's agreement.
I always say when you're starting a business plan for what it's going to look like at the end, at the beginning, and make sure that everybody is aligned with what that looks like, and what does the worst case scenario look like, and how are we going to make sure that if we can't get along as a partnership, how do we have a proper exit strategy to ensure that the company can still survive.
That's one thing that I think is pretty important.
Lindsay: Yeah, definitely. Absolutely. You don't really have anything to argue about when you don't have anything. When you don't have assets, so you don't have a business. It's tricky when you build up, build a business down the track, and then all of a sudden, you just haven't chatted about shareholder's agreement. How things could look. I know for us it was an absolute non-negotiable.
We also had a friendship before that. We just didn't want to ruin. We wanted everything to be black and white. This is how things go. If down the track one of us wants to do something else, these are the steps.
Shelley: Very good. Awesome. Now it hasn't always been rosy. I'm sure there's been some moments that we all want to take back those mistakes along our entrepreneurial journey. Can you share maybe your worst entrepreneurial moment and what lessons did you learn?
Lindsay: Yeah, I think our biggest one was, is, or has been firing too slow. The famous sort of, hire slow fire fast absolutely very true. We've been more fortunate with the hiring part, but firing yeah, we've had a couple of tricky people that we should have just let them go as soon as things started to get prickly. I think we had other things, draw other balls in the air, or they were working on projects that it was seemingly difficult to re-brief into somebody else, so we kept them on.
It sort of ... One time it came to a head on a shoot in another state without us, Tristan, myself, being there. A bit of a meltdown and we sort of thought we're never putting ourselves in this situation again. It can potentially ruin a whole relationships but also it's embarrassing for our brand. They're out there representing us, so yeah. Firing too slow I think we've definitely made sure that now if something gets prickly, we're chatting about it early.
Rather than waiting till it gets to a point where we should have done that a long time ago.
Shelley: I love that, prickly people. You're absolutely right. It can damage your clientele and you lose customers because ... It's sometimes ... It's hard to fire people and I know a lot of times people make excuses or they're just having a bad day. It might get better, but I think ... When I coach entrepreneurs, it's if you have the KPIs in place and you have the job description and they know exactly what they're supposed to do and they're held accountable.
It makes it that much easier to say, "Hey, you're not reaching your goals." It's time for you to move on to another career.
Lindsay: Yeah, and also somebody said to me. They said values are only values if you're willing to fire by them. I think for us, absolutely KPIs around performance and around being good at what they're employed to do. But also around cultural fit and treating people well and just being a good person, which is very important to sort of the people that we choose to take on.
Also being willing to sort of stand by our values as well. It's a big important one that we've learned. Sometimes the hard way.
Shelley: Absolutely. Hiring, firing by values. Core values. Very, very key. You sound like you got some pretty big goals. I'm wondering what it's going to look like this time next year for you and your company.
Lindsay: So we're looking at the moment. We're sort of in due diligence phase of an interstate office. We have a lot of national brands that are Sidney based but have sort of offices around the country and more recently have picked up more work in other states. So we're sort of finding that we need to have people on the ground just for ease, and also the sort of the travel and trends that's getting a little taxing.
We're just in sort of final stages of setting up a new office, which hopefully in a year's time we'll be speaking and that'll be going well.
Lindsay: But yeah, they are I mentioned before as something that we're really interested in. We feel like it's not quite 100 percent mainstream and as adaptive as we'd like it, but we're continuing to test and trial in that sort of immersive content mix data. How can we use ... How can we apply empathy to completely rethink the way people are trained or understand information.
There's a long road, sort of down that road, but we say it's really complimentary and interesting component of the business that we want to grow out.
Shelley: That is very interesting. This might be a repeat, because that's very inspiring, but is there anything that really, really inspires you right now?
Lindsay: I went over to visit a charity in the US last year, called Charity Water. They're a US-based organization that is incredibly commercially astute but making real world social impact. They're probably the best example and I continue to be inspired by a lot of their content brand comms delivery, but also providing projects on the ground.
They do water projects, so creating wells in local African communities. I was just looking them up recently, because they're sort of one of the only not for profits that I've come across that attract the best talent from Silicon Valley and tech companies to come and work with them on how to improve lives of millions of other people.
I think when we're definitely by no means that's kind of the social impact, but thinking about how business and doing good can play together, and how putting commercial minds on world problems I think is a ... Yeah, it's a fantastic path for businesses like ours, like any startup to even just take the small learning from and continue in that same direction.
Shelley: Very inspirational. Thank you for sharing that. Well this concludes our inspiring greatness interview, but before I go, would you love to share some either parting recommendations or a quote that inspires you?
Lindsay: Yeah. I think hire smarter people than yourself. We're getting to the point now where we're stepping up and diversifying and we've employed people that are way smarter than us. Instead of holding back, we're still trying to push them more and more into the spotlight and honestly we're growing at a much more phenomenal pace. We're not holding it back as founders. Don't be afraid to hire smarter people.
Shelley: Thank you so much. If anybody's interested, they can find more about Chello at chello.com.au. Thank you so much for being a wonderful guest on Inspiring Greatness.
Lindsay: Thanks for having me.
Shelley: Thank you for listening and spreading the word of Inspiring Greatness. We have some incredible guests coming up each week. Stay tuned for what's coming up by liking us on Facebook, search under Inspiring Greatness Podcast, or subscribe on our webpage at inspiring-greatness.com.au. It's that time to commit to change. Time to implement ideas.
It's time to maximize every day and make decisions as if you only have a limited time to be great. Learn from the experiences our guests share. It's time to go out there and inspire greatness around you.