I often, make that very often, get approached by startup founders. I can divide them into two camps. Those who are true entrepreneurs and intuitively know how to hustle and those who are wannabe entrepreneurs.
The first camp understand that they have limited resources and find a way to routinely make things happen somehow, on the smell of an oily rag, or by pulling the proverbial rabbit out of the hat. These kinds of true entrepreneur I am always happy to hunker down with and find ways to work with them.
The other camp are usually stuck on a bitch train about how hard it is to get funding, how but for the fact that they haven’t got any capital they are going to grow this killer business. They then look at me dolefully expecting a handout. The conversation usually stops right there.
I want to illustrate what I mean by profiling a group of startup founders who are truly showing entrepreneurial gutspa and an ability to hustle themselves to success.
Exactly twelve months ago, WeTeachMe
, a marketplace for real life classes, came out of Australia’s first Launch48
Now a noted graduate of the Launch48 program, WeTeachMe’s quick rise from unknown to one of Australia’s most written about startups
in 2011 is an interesting tale in the art of hustling by its four founders; Martin Kemka, Demi Markogiannaki, Cheng Zhu and Kym Huynh.
How WeTeachMe is generating seed capital for their startup
WeTeachMe contacted me after pulling off a sold-out event
called Melbourne Startup and Business Speed Teaching.
The team, in between giving away new iPad 3s and Apple TVs (obtained through sponsorships), sold enough tickets to generate enough seed capital to keep their startup alive.
Here’s how one of the founders Kym Huynh describes it:
The entire team lived off our savings and maxed out our credit cards until we realized that our strong networks in Australia could be monetized in a big way. By taking advantage of the exploding startup scene in Australia, the hunger for startup education, and the increasing desire for a more connected startup community, the team organized a startup and business education event that doubled as a valuable networking opportunity for not only startups in Melbourne, but also startup-centric institutions that wanted to connect with each other.
Through key sponsorships with Optus
and York Butter Factory
, WeTeachMe created an event that was not only a valuable marketing catalyst for itself, its sponsors and visitors, but also a way to net WeTeachMe the funds to keep them alive.
With demand now for the same event in multiple cities, WeTeachMe is working on systemizing its event-management operations to generate a constant flow of capital whilst it works on building up it’s platform of knowledge-transfer.
According to Martin Kemka, one of the most valuable lessons learned was always be daring enough to go for the pure unadulterated hustle.
It’s one thing to say, “Where there is a will, there is a way,” but another thing to go out there and put it into practice. The team didn’t want to be another startup that complains about how difficult it is to raise capital. We wanted to take matters into our own hands and do something about it. The need to stay alive was also very motivating.
According to Demi Markogiannaki:
We’re a strong team, and not only do we know what we have been capable of doing in the past, we know what we can do in the future, and to what extent we are willing to go to make things happen.
I love their story and look forward to bringing you more of their tales of entrepreneurial hustle!