The Law of the Few

Professional Services

  • Keep Imagining

    Keep Imagining

    Geoff Jaeger

    Founder, gkje.co

    www.gkje.co

    Geoff Jaeger is the founder behind creative agency gkje.co. With a collaborative team around Australia and a busy schedule that sees him regularly commuting between Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, Geoff has come to understand his own rhythm. An advocate for determining your own schedule, while producing high quality work, Geoff breaks the mould of what a creative individual should do. Instead, he chooses to live the life he imagines...

    What's the story behind your business? | I left a corporate communications role in 2011 to explore freelance writing and photography. I wanted the freedom to choose the content and nature of the work I was doing, while working at my own pace on projects that inspired and stimulated me.

    After several successful photographic exhibitions - which weren’t going to keep paying the bills - I hunkered down to earn a living from my writing, discovering my clients were also in need of graphic and web design work. I approached a graphic and web designer I knew, who were already working as sole traders. It then just seemed sensible to become a team, with a collective business name.

    As the founder behind gkje.co and a regular commuter between Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, how do you strike a balance between work and leisure? | That’s a really interesting question because when you love what you do, the line between work and leisure can blur. Each city offers different work and leisure opportunities, and I tend to plan down time activities around my immediate location.

    Right now, the majority of my clients are in Sydney, so it’s always more relaxing in Brisbane and Melbourne. By that, I mean less planned meetings and more flexibility during the day. I know if I don’t have enough time off, my efficiency and ability to think clearly reduces dramatically.

     

    Persistence. Just keep at it. You’re bound to make mistakes along the way, but learn from them or make those mistakes again until you do.

    One of the joys of running your own business is determining your own schedule and keeping track of your own time. What challenges have you encountered in being your own boss and how have you overcome these challenges? | After years of standard work hours, it’s amazing how ingrained they become; just how much you’re left with a sense of how you ‘should’ still be working during those hours. This was challenging in the early days before I recognised my own work rhythm.

    Left to right, the supporting cast of gkje.co: Zac Hardake- Film Editor, Helen Thomas - Web Designer; Graphic Designer & Elke Ploetz - Graphic Designer

    Having the freedom to choose my work hours, I frequently use the early afternoon for exercise or a walk, regardless of where I am, my brain seems to naturally shut down at that time of day. Early morning and late afternoon, I’m naturally at my computer working, and can easily lose track of the time. What I notice now is how I find it difficult to stop work as my mind is always thinking about a business idea or next step. That makes the challenge to plan down time, but that’s a great sign that I’m doing the right thing, so I don’t really mind.

    As a creative individual and founder of a creative agency, what do you feel is the most important element in your daily work? | The most important element is being able to solve a client’s problem or provide an opportunity. The best solution is usually a collaboration where we each appreciate and recognise the other’s expertise.

    Being available, particularly for time-poor small businesses, and helping them achieve their goals are the most important elements for me. I like to think our clients can contact us anytime - and they do - as if they were just walking into the next room to chat about a brief. Given the ongoing changes in communications platforms, it’s also important to be able to share current thinking and creative trends.

    What do you believe is the most important attribute in building a successful and thriving business? | Persistence. Just keep at it. You’re bound to make mistakes along the way, but learn from them or make those mistakes again until you do. As Henry David Thoreau said: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.” The confidence thing takes time, but increases as you keep going and keep imagining…

  • For The Win

    For The Win

    Robyn Henderson

    Founder, Networking To Win

    www.networkingtowin.com.au

    Robyn Henderson is indeed one of a kind. She's a remarkable individual who just happens to cover all three characteristics of The Law of the Few concept described in Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point. She's an incredible connector, a wealth of knowledge and a natural motivator. I caught up with her recently and walked away thinking, this blog is all about her.

    Robyn, you've achieved incredible milestones in your career as a professional speaker. But take us back to the early days. What was it like setting up your own business? | In 1992 I took a leap of faith and left my sales manager’s job and launched my speaking business. At the time, my speaking skills were below average. A mentor suggested that I if I wanted to be a speaker, I needed to make sure that I was passionate about whatever I spoke about. At the time I was running a women’s business network in Sydney and realised that a lot of people attended and sat with their mates – without networking. So I wrote my first networking book, launched a speaking business and created lots of complimentary speaking engagements.

    When community groups are not paying the speaker, their expectation is lower. However, the more you speak professionally , the better you get and eventually you do get paid.

    I believe when you are genuinely interested in people, the communication skills take care of themselves. 

    So public speaking, persuasion and interpersonal skills - these were skills that you worked and developed on? | Precisely. In the beginning I did not have public speaking skills. I joined Toastmasters International in around 1990 to gain confidence in my sales role. From there I took an interest in professional speaking and as for the interpersonal skills, I believe when you are genuinely interested in people, the communication skills take care of themselves. 

    Has your business changed much from when it started? What's your business overview these days? | I have reinvented myself a number of times in the last 22 years to match the market needs. I expanded my topics to include generating referrals, building strategic alliances and networking your way to a job or career move. 12 years ago I also started running courses showing people how to write and self publish non fiction books. More recently I have also included project managing book production for first time authors as well as ghost writing books for busy people. Basically your clients and prospects tell you what you they want and these days I try to find a way to accommodate most requests. 

    There is a wonderful African proverb, “To go fast go alone, to go far go together”. 

    So Networking To Win has come a long way. Would you care to letting us in on your secret to success in small business? | Networking certainly helps any career or business. There is a wonderful African proverb, “To go fast go alone, to go far go together”. When you network with master networkers you are always connecting people who might be able to help each other and expanding your own networks.  

    What would you say sets you apart from your competition out there? | I co-author books with my competition and really don’t worry too much about who else does the work I do, as we all put our own slant on things. When it comes to networking, in the bigger picture, hopefully when the whole world networks with integrity we will all do ourselves out of a job – and that will be worth celebrating.

    I'm sure you've networked with hundreds and thousands. Has there been one encounter that stands out? | In the late ‘90s  I spoke to 900 Arabs in Bahrain at the Arabian Society of Human Resources Management conference. There were 885 men (most of them in their traditional robes and head gear and only 15 women. It was very daunting. there were only 2-3 women on the program and my presentation was very well received. I was invited back the next year and made some great connections. The opportunity was given to me after a presentation I gave in Wagga Wagga (population 60,000 on the NSW/Victorian border)

    What's the message you often find yourself driving home to your clients? | Be friendly to everyone, you never know who they know, who they can connect you with, what you can learn from them and vice versa.

    Is there anything exciting coming up for Networking To Win in the next few months? | Once I finish two current writing projects and some work in Karratha and Darwin, I have a great book on strategic alliances and another one on networking your way to your next job or promotion that are in my head and just need to be put in writing. As well as creating some online programs on networking and book writing. And hopefully do well progressing my Graduate Diploma in Indigenous Policy Making that I am completing externally with Charles Darwin University.

    Thanks for your time today Robyn. | It was a pleasure, Marvin. Thanks again for the opportunity.