What I learned from Emma Welsh (Co-Founder at Emma & Toms) and Bill McCorkell (Founder at Archiblox)
“Business is a lot about problem solving. Still now, I feel like most of my time is spent problem solving and working out solutions.” – Emma Welsh
“For someone thinking about going into their own business, it’s good to be comfortable with change. Change is always going to happen. Things are never going to go to plan.” – Emma Welsh
“This thing of having the right or perfect idea: Our idea was to have a juice business. We’ve moved into healthy drinks and snacks. My idea was to never be in distribution. I now have 40 vans on the road.” – Emma Welsh
“Tom and I had both worked for large companies. We were both used to having colleagues. And we were both used to having plenty of money to spend. I don’t think we were nearly thrifty enough [at Emma & Tom’s]. We hired too many people too quickly.” – Emma Welsh
“At the start it’s so hard to get money coming into the door, and it’s so hard to be profitable. We would have been better off if we hadn’t hired so many people and had done a lot of those things ourselves.” – Emma Welsh
“It’s hard to make that final profit that ends up in your pocket.” – Emma Welsh
“With all of these things that lined up [it] was one of the most stressful times I’ve ever had as a business owner, but it was also one of the most rewarding.” – Bill McCorkell
“I started up a business called Archiblox because this is where my passion really is. I had an opportunity of not only being an architect, but also being a builder at the same time. I really enjoy the opportunity of taking ownership of a project from the initial contact with clients to the handing over of keys at completion.” – Bill McCorkell
“We spent a year working on [Emma & Tom’s], did everything and spent all this money, and the only bottler we had identified who could do it said, “We can’t do it.” So Tom and I got into a car, drove up and saw them, and said, “You have to do it.” You work out a way around it. Being in business, the thing I’ve learnt is that there is always a way and it’s the job of the business owner to drive it forward.” – Emma Welsh
“My motivation to have my own business is freedom. I worked for big corporates and I understood the value, the power, and the entrée that you got [if you worked for one]… it’s pretty good. But I just really love freedom. I don’t like the feeling that someone is wondering where I am. That’s what really drove me to want to be my own boss and to have my own business.” – Emma Welsh
With thanks to
Emma Welsh was restructured out of a job when old friend Tom got in touch to suggest they start a business. Emma and Tom’s is one of the most recognised juice brands in Australia, but their first batch almost didn’t make it into the bottle. Emma describes the experience of leaving the 9–5 and how the role of the entrepreneur is basically about problem solving.
Bill McCorkell experienced life as a builder and an architect before striking out on his own to combine both skills with Archiblox. Less than a decade later the business has been recognised for innovation by Fast Company in the US. Bill admits to making mistakes, but says the secret is to learn from them to do better next time.
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Question of the day
What was your favourite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.