The nice, the dangerous, and the ugly of being an entrepreneur in media

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The nice, the dangerous, and the ugly of being an entrepreneur in media



So, you need to be an entrepreneur in media? Sure, I stated brimming with unknowing confidence.

I had completed my due diligence and warranted the investor that short-form content material was the longer term. With a background as Editor in Chief of The Australian Ladies’s Weekly and Group writer at ACP and later Bauer for the Hearst Group and Girl’s Day, I had the media pedigree, the flexibility to construct a prime fee group, and was armed with my large thought and a burning want to make my mark as my very own boss.

The person sitting reverse me then requested how a lot I needed to boost. I informed him, and he stated, ‘Nicely, double it. Going for a second spherical is all the time tougher, and keep in mind what you begin engaged on now will change.’

Whereas he walked away together with his checkbook unopened, different angel buyers did again my imaginative and prescient, paving my future as a media and tech entrepreneur. However earlier than departing the person wearing a pin-striped swimsuit shared just a few gems of knowledge that I typically replicate on.

“You want three issues to be a profitable start-up. First, you want a good suggestion. You then want cash to place the wheels in movement. And also you want balls of metal. Oh, and also you want luck, a number of it.’

My preliminary takeaway was I’m a girl. Why do I want balls? Why are so many references to success centered on the male gender. Nobody says, you want boobs of metal. Harrumph!

Nevertheless it was his ultimate level that was essentially the most pertinent. You might need all of the elements for a enterprise to take off however when it’s cooking you may’t all the time management the temperature of the oven. There’s all the time altering market forces at play.

Eight years in the past, once I launched the ladies’s way of life website The Carousel, it included a wealth of snackable the way to movies with a number of way of life specialists together with former Madison editor Lizzie Renkert, former Grazia editor Amy Molloy, former Cleo and Cosmopolitan Magnificence Editor Nedahl Stelio, former Instyle Magnificence editor Eleanor Pendelton and lots of extra who walked out of the revolving door of Bauer’s Park Avenue into my workplace on the time.

Since then, Lizzie has launched her style label We Are Kindred opening reveals in New York, Amy runs Lightwriter mentoring programmes, Nedahl created an all-natural fragrance model Recreation Magnificence and Eleanor runs Fairly Gritty and is a digital influencer. All founders and house owners of their very own companies. Clearly, the lure of being an entrepreneur is infectious and their drive to problem the established order is what revolutionises and transforms the world we reside in. Nonetheless, most entrepreneurs typically admit they by no means totally envisioned the truth of life forward once they first took the plunge. Put merely, you don’t know what you don’t know.

Again to my unknowing confidence. Whereas I used to be an early participant in short-form media in 2014 with the agency perception that web promoting would ultimately surpass conventional promoting, the true winners when it occurred just a few years later had been the large foreign-owned tech giants equivalent to Google and Fb together with social media influencers. The combat for the remaining advertising budgets had been fought out among the many conventional media gamers with the smaller unbiased digital publishers battling over the remaining crumbs. At a time when the necessity for a extra numerous media was heightening, a raft of smaller unbiased media publishers closed store. Who remembers Model New Media? It additionally launched with an identical platform for snackable content material, an area the place at this time YouTube stays the unequalled chief.

Lots of these unbiased publishers who’ve survived and thrived embody Angela Priestley and Tarla Lambert from Ladies’s Agenda, Jody and Brendan Allen from Keep At Residence Mum, Paul Hamra – the MD of Solstice Media who personal the New Each day and Cathy Wagstaff from Signature Media, Australia’s largest journey media firm. They proceed to play a significant position in holding our media wholesome by making certain a richer media panorama crammed with numerous voices within the trade in addition to rising and nurturing upcoming journalists who work for them. Through the years, they’ve generously shared their experiences with me and been a useful help community.

Time proved my pin-striped dressed buddy proper in regards to the significance of luck and an elusive shifting market with ever altering shopper developments is what led to the primary of many pivots.

Foyster Media acquired Ladies Love Tech and has since constructed on its mission to help girls in STEM and created Recreation Changers, a video and podcast collection championing Australia’s most inspiring entrepreneurs and leaders. Again then in 2016, few media corporations had been producing podcasts. In Recreation Changers’ first collection, TV presenter Sarah Harris interviewed media icon Ita Buttrose, athlete Ellyse Perry, Taurus Advertising CEO Sharon Williams, Winmark Wines CEO Karin Adcock and later TV presenter Edwina Bartholomew went on to interview Nick Molnar within the early days of Afterpay. One other Recreation Changer host Melissa Doyle additionally interviewed NBN’s CIO Debbie Taylor, and TV presenter Natarsha Belling talked to Wholesome Mummy founder Rhian Allen.

Six years on, Recreation Changers is continuous to unveil a brand new breed of leaders and disrupters, showcasing their enterprise acumen, celebrating their innovation and success. And our newest presenter Ch7 Finance Editor Gemma Acton is scheduled to interview Equifax MD ANZ Melanie Cochrane and her group in regards to the significance of economic literacy for ladies in what would be the 14th collection of the present.

Showcasing so many primarily tech companies led me down a distinct route. It started with me being invited to hitch an ASX listed tech firm known as Thred as a Non-Govt Director. Earlier than lengthy, I used to be managing the corporate from its Surry Hills headquarters as we constructed the immersive media app for Vivid Sydney in 2018.

For the primary time in its tenth yr historical past, Vivid Sydney featured augmented actuality (AR). The concept was easy – you unlock Hidden Artwork and uncover art work tales by the Vivid app’s AR digital camera. Fitzroy Gardens in Sydney’s Kings Cross performed host to a secret artwork gallery with Hidden Artwork – an Augmented Backyard. Utilizing the AR digital camera function, customers had been capable of return to the location and unlock TAFE NSW scholar artworks every week all through the competition. Later, we labored with TAFE NSW to launch the primary immersive media artwork displaying on the Museum of Modern Artwork. The brand new AR function is also used as a competition information. When close to an set up, app customers might use the AR digital camera to find a floating Vivid Sydney data icon. Upon tapping the AR icon, contextual details about the artwork was revealed, offering guests with a higher understanding of the that means behind the set up in entrance of them.

Working with Vacation spot NSW’s ambition to teach and have interaction the viewers in a brand new means, the addition of augmented actuality and sport mechanics within the 2018 app that we designed achieved simply that. It additionally fuelled my love for all issues tech and the countless alternatives it created, and I embraced my new world with gusto.

The Vivid app was the impetus for me to create Sweep, the world’s first community-based AR purchasing app which I believed was set to revolutionise the world of purchasing. It didn’t get the possibility.

The immersive media app was constructed by Thred beneath the corporate AR Applied sciences and I grew to become the bulk shareholder by a administration buy-out. Investing my very own money and time and elevating funds was not with out its pitfalls. The primary investor I visited agreed to take a position $400k that’s once I discovered that till it’s within the financial institution, it’s not a completed deal. The identical investor died tragically that yr after he mysteriously fell from a roof in Sri Lanka the place he was concerned in property transactions.

Engaged on Sweep itself was a white-knuckle journey and at instances felt like ingesting out of a hearth hydrant with out drawing breath however for 2 years of closely invested but unpaid work, I endured. The highs included Afterpay agreeing to a purchasing treasure hunt collaboration the place customers had been rewarded with AR experiences once they purchased merchandise by way of Afterpay. It was meant to kick off in Paddington however then the plan shifted to launching in a purchasing complicated, however the altering timelines meant it by no means eventuated, nor consequently did the a lot wanted proof of idea for Sweep.

Sweep was additionally a finalist for the Finest Buying Innovation within the 2019 Finder Innovation Awards, and I took half in an accelerator programme, the place I helped improve the medium age vary by no less than 20 years.

There’s a purpose, I found, girls of their fifties launching tech start-ups, notably bold ones, are as uncommon as hen’s enamel. In actual fact, not often do girls of any age obtain unicorn standing like Melanie Perkins from Canva. Exiting the enterprise was a troublesome tablet to swallow, however I remind myself of the numerous rewarding moments equivalent to working with an unbelievable tech group. And a geo-location purchasing app throughout Covid was ill-timed.

I by no means thought of my Sweep enterprise a failure, however slightly an expertise with robust classes discovered. The data I gained from being on the helm of an immersive media tech start-up opened my eyes to the way forward for the metaverse. It was additionally pivotal when from Could to December in 2020, I brokered and wrote the successful submission for Switzer Media to safe the licencing rights for Harper’s BAZAAR in Australia and New Zealand. The premise for it was an immersive media app that I’d beforehand introduced to Bauer once they nonetheless printed the Harper’s BAZAAR model, however determined to not proceed, closing the journal shortly later.

Within the midst of COVID, I helped launch a constructive information website known as Glad Ali, which is owned and run by journalists around the globe together with former members of The Australian Ladies’s Weekly group together with Deborah Thomas, Lyndey Milan and Michael Sheather – and is at present edited by Sooni Shroff-Gander. I additionally filmed a brand new Recreation Changer collection which led to the launch of my new thought management company InProfile, which is owned by Foyster Consulting.

Robyn Foyster with the Australian Ladies’s Weekly Editor in Chief, Nicole Byers, and former editor, Deborah Thomas

The enterprise helps purpose-led shoppers, who’re making a distinction, craft their message into compelling multi-media content material. We ship campaigns that construct credibility, drive the dialog, and develop genuine connections. Our award-winning group of journalists and information analysts are specialists in strategic communication and supply focused methods and help to optimise and develop our shoppers’ on-line status as thought leaders.

We’re on a mission to help individuals and corporations making a distinction. InProfile helps shoppers safe publicity they’d by no means thought doable. From serving to them win nationwide award packages, by to nationwide media protection and securing high-profile speaker occasions.

Our company mannequin is pushed by storytelling. Every of the shoppers we work with has a strong message to share, or an fascinating story to inform, and we use new know-how and strategic partnerships to create alternatives which amplify their impression and sphere of affect.

From serving to an progressive aged care shopper launch an Unsung Heroes journal showcasing tales which should be informed, to serving to Taurus Advertising launch its personal TV Channel on-line to showcase their group, shoppers, and alumni; InProfile has been a rewarding enterprise.

In lower than two years, we’ve quadrupled our shopper base, and employed new expertise, with a tradition of mentorship and progress, the place all group members and alumni are inspired to observe their very own profession ambitions, and success is widely known – at InProfile and past into future roles.

On the similar time, I’m persevering with to construct the Foyster Media enterprise, with a robust concentrate on Ladies Love Tech, which is now ten years robust with a rising world viewers of predominantly 18-to-35-year older adopters of recent know-how.

My all-women group throughout each companies is aged between 20 and 67, they usually all work remotely with versatile hours with common conferences at a shared workplace in both Manly or Impartial Bay. Not too long ago, I certified as a digital nomad working for a month within the UK and France. While there, I interviewed Dr Claire Craig, who’s the co-author of Storylistening and the primary feminine Provost at The Queen’s Faculty at Oxford College after which Ines Besbes, who had labored for me remotely from Paris, Tunisia and Costa Rica, earlier than launching her personal tech begin up, Seedext. Within the final six months, she has created the primary AI software for entrepreneurs that ‘helps them develop their firm without cost however repeatedly rewards them for it.’

Ines, whom I’d by no means met in individual till we caught up in Paris regardless of working collectively for nearly two years, has within the final six months constructed a group of six and created the primary AI software for entrepreneurs that won’t solely assist them develop their firm without cost however repeatedly reward them for it. She is now supported by Google, Salesforce and SAP and received the SAP X Enactus and Salesforce X NQT. She informed me that she was impressed by working at Ladies Love Tech the place she realised the necessity to help the world of start-ups.

So, eight years alongside a windy highway since leaving the safety of workers position, the reply to my pin-striped gown buddy who requested me ‘Do you need to be an entrepreneur in media’ with a slight tone of incredulity, the reply continues to be sure. Has it been straightforward? No, however I’d slightly be counted amongst these girls who put their head above the parapet.



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