Kaylene Langford is an entrepreneur, coach and mentor and the brains behind business incubator StartUp Creative. Championing for a new generation of Australian entrepreneurs and business owners, she originally established StartUp Creative as a magazine, going on to offer an online program and one-on-one business coaching from the magazine’s success.
Kaylene and the team at StartUp Creative brings budding entrepreneurs together, connecting them with industry experts, funding opportunities, development programs and mentors through their programs, workshops and coaching. We chatted to Kaylene, to hear about her entry into the world of self publishing, the journey since, and what’s next for StartUp Creative.
ITN: How did the idea for StartUp Creative come about? Have you always been interested in business or did it happen rather organically?
KL: I’ve never had a particular interest in business, I guess for me, my pattern has always been setting myself goals and doing whatever it takes to achieve them. In high school I was a long distance runner and always aimed high to compete at a national level.
The idea for StartUp Creative came out of frustration. I was working in a 9-5 job that I didn’t particular like and to make matters worse I was commuting 4-6 hours a day to get there and back. One day on my morning commute I read the book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. The quote ‘Whatever the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve ’ jumped from the pages and slapped me in the face. I felt compelled to do something about my own misery and started dreaming up my dream job.
I had previously started and run a youth mentoring program and upon reflection realised that the skills I had acquired to make that project happen were similar to starting a business. In a previous career I had developed creative education programs and decided to combine all my skills, package them up and make a business out of it.
ITN: How did you find the process behind getting the magazine started?
KL: I was speaking to lots of passionate and successful entrepreneurs that had amazing stories of how they turned their passion into a business. I wanted to share these stories in a bid to inspire more young people to ‘just start’. I saw lots of blogs in the online space and thought, why not do something different and make a physical publication.
I told a friend that I wanted to start a mag and his reaction was GO FOR IT. On the spot he gave me a name of Graphic Designer and a printer. 9 weeks laters we launched Issue #1 to a room full of over 160 people who came out to pick up a copy of the free publication.
A friend of mine was a PHD student in creative writing, my partner has a wonderful eye for creative design and awesome local contacts and I asked the graphic designer to work for free. Between us we made a magazine happen by telling the stories of locals that we knew had great stories.
To be honest, it was a matter of setting my sights on the end goal and not stopping until it happened.
ITN: You also offer an online course and coaching services, was that always part of the plan or a by-product from establishing StartUp Creative?
KL: The course came out of offering 1:1 coaching sessions to people who had ideas and no idea where to start. I met a lot of students, waitresses and bar tenders who were not enjoying their jobs and they kept saying to me ‘What The Hell Am I Doing’ with my life. They all had an idea for a business or a creative talent that they dreamt of making their career but had no idea where to start. I had just been through the business startup phase and knew how bland and uninspiring the resources and business advice could be so I decided to design a course with everything I knew about business in a fun and creative way. The course is packed with everything you need to know from how to register for an ABN to branding, marketing, prices and legal structures. It really is a one stop shop for starting a business from scratch, something I wish I’d had when I launched StartUp Creative.
ITN: Who has been your biggest influence in business?
KL: My fiancé is a serial entrepreneur and has started and run a bunch of businesses so she has been a HUGE motivator and mentor for me along the way. She has also encouraged me to look at doing business differently and making up my own way to do it based on what feels right for me, I can’t thank her enough for challenging me to step outside of the 9-5 bubble I was in.
I’m a big big fan of books, I have learnt so much from reading autobiographies of successful people, practical business books, inspirational and self development books. I am always reading something that will teach me something I don’t know and help me grow as a person and a business.
ITN: What was some of the best advice you received early on when starting the magazine?
KL: It was the first ever conversation I had about the magazine. I mentioned to a mentor over coffee, I’m thinking of starting a magazine and he just looked at me and said, ok do it. That day he sent me the details of a graphic designer and his printer. Two days later I had mock ups from the graphic designer and we started working on the editorial content.
I often come up with a million different ideas but have learnt to run them by people before I launch into it. The ones that get positive feedback get the go ahead and I get working on it straight away.
ITN: What has been the biggest learning curve since launching the magazine?
KL: I’ve learnt not to try and do so much at one time. A friend once said to me, just pick three things and do them really well which really helped me to refocus what it was that I wanted to achieve with the magazine and go after that without distractions.
ITN: You biggest career highlight so far?
KL: A few months ago I realised that StartUp Creative had ticked over 6 figures in income. It was a moment where I sat back and said to myself, oh I did it! This is actually a business! I’ve had my head down hustling to bring it all to life for so long and when I finally stopped to see how it was all going, I surprised myself.
I think being stocked in the Virgin Australia Lounges was a massive highlight, to be one step closer to Richard Branson excites me 🙂 haha
ITN: How has your life changed since launching StartUp Creative?
KL: Great question, well, I don’t commute to a day job anymore and I am lucky enough to have the freedom to choose how I spend every second of everyday. My favourite moments are mid-week getaways with my fiancé, waking up on Monday and having no where to be and being able to work from home with my puppies.
ITN: What’s next? What’s in the pipeline for you and StartUp Creative?
KL: My head is always racing with ideas. Ultimately I would love to take the magazine overseas and set up international distributions around the globe. The more people we can inspire to do what they love the better. There are so many stories to be told so another goal would be to print more issues a year. I’ve also got a few little ideas for new businesses coming later this year, stay tuned.
ITN: And finally, what advice would you give other women wanting to launch their own business?
KL: Start! Don’t over think it! Your biggest stumbling block along the way will be your own self doubt, so get out of your head, take the emotion out of business and just get the job done!
ITN Fast Five
When I wake up in the morning the first thing I do is…Coffee, beach, puppies.
Three things I can’t live without are… My fiancé Juliet Allen, a nice Fallen Broken Street Hat, a journal and sexy pen.
The best book I’ve ever read is… Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill but anything Seth Godin is incredible so is 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris. SO many good books!
My favourite quote of all time is… ‘Whatever the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve’ – Napoleon Hill
The most important thing to remember in business is… It’s just business, don’t let it get to you.