StartUp Creative: Print Edition is the latest fresh feather in the cap of Kaylene Langford, business coach and mentor, with a passion for bringing together motivated individuals and connecting them with industry experts, funding opportunities, development programs and mentors. Kaylene embodies her philosophy of doing what you love, creating her business after the corporate grind sapped her energy and passion. Kaylene was quizzed (by her own team!) at her minimalist and stylish apartment in Burleigh about her ideas and process.
Who is Kaylene?
(Laughs.) In third person? Kaylene used to be someone who couldn’t and wouldn’t say no. She gave away a lot of her time and expertise for free, she made herself physically sick working without passion … more young people should be empowered to step out of routines we’re told weshould have and go after what they really want. This is something I learnt in every aspect of my life: choosing the kind of relationship I wanted, and the kind of people I surrounded myself with. Life is fragile and way too short and sometimes gets pretty freaking hard! You can do one of two things: lie in bed and contemplate how miserable your life is or get up and make it better today – by doing what you love! Who cares if it’s wild and crazy and might fail?
What prompted you to start your business?
My mum always said I take risks and really invest myself 100% in everything I do, and I could get hurt doing that. But the way I see it, I am fearless. I don’t give up! I was at a point where I worked ridiculous hours in the not-for-profit sector, in a challenging environment. I started waking with chronic headaches, zero energy and feeling angry. Then I had one of those serendipitous moments – I read a book called Think and Grow Rich [Napoleon Hill]. It changed everything. I started to believe that life didn’t have to be miserable with a workload I wasn’t enjoying.
I started thinking about my dream job and wrote it down, and then spent a few Sundays work-shopping that idea, and came up with the business model for StartUp Creative. I cut back work to four days a week so I could invest my time doing more of what I loved. After hundreds of meetings, pitching my idea, a few people took a risk and believed in me. My contract ended and I decided to take my own advice and jump into the deep end and be wholly self-employed… I also need to acknowledge my beautiful partner. For the last two years, she has pushed me out of my comfort zone! She knows what she wants, and few things can stop her, so I am thankful that she has the same expectation for me in my life.
What is it exactly that you do for clients?
I help identity what clients want to do with their career. From there we work out how to make their idea into a business or project or whatever. I provide support through those first few months where it can seem too much, with networking, coaching and mentoring, business and marketing planning. Together we improve presentation skills, develop an understanding of business processes and the fundamentals of business development. It doesn’t matter where your idea is at—I am here to help you succeed.
What are your goals for StartUp Creative?
I want to create an empowering entrepreneurial culture among young people in Australia. And because I’m ambitious, I will also say across the world! Young people can often have an attitude of, ‘I’ll do it my way’ or ‘I can do it better.’ That kind of attitude is often viewed as negative, but it can be an absolute positive. I think the fearless, impassioned nature of young people should be embraced: give them tools to be empowered. I wholeheartedly believe that will open doors for new and improved ways of living, working and playing.
How does helping others affect you?
I love surrounding myself with passionate people: it’s contagious and inspiring! I’ve shaped my business so I associate only with positive and passionate people for as long as I live. (Laughs.) Seriously though, I am here to say it’s okay to live life to the fullest, and no, you don’t have to do shit you don’t want to do. It’s okay to go to the beach at midday on a Wednesday and for your work schedule to accommodate that. If you want to make millions of dollars, that’s okay! If you want to save the world, you can! Who says you can’t? I’m here to back you up and make sure you don’t run away when it gets hard! (Laughs.)
What’s your tonic for a bad day?
If my day is going shit, I try to notice it as soon as possible and name it. Recently my day just wasn’t working for me so I decided I wasn’t working that day, and gave myself permission to rest. I know that usually I work like crazy and put in a solid effort, so that allows me to accommodate my ‘off’ days. I also highly recommend living a healthy, active life. I don’t have sick leave and I definitely don’t have a replacement, (yet!) so if I don’t take care of myself, my bills don’t get paid. I have two great acupuncturists, so on a really shit day I take myself off for an acupuncture treatment, and it always does the trick.
What are your rules to live by?
Someone once told me that if you commit to wanting to do something, you have three days to do something about it, or you never will. This always inspires me to be proactive. I also believe integrity is the key to professional and everyday relationships.