How I Succeeded is a new series on Lifehacker where we ask business owners for the secrets and tactics behind their success. Today: Gen George from OneShift.
Lifehacker’s How I Succeeded series, brought to you by Telstra, offers expert advice to help small business owners. For more on how Telstra helps make it easier for you to do your thing, visit Telstra.com/doyourthing.
Current gig: Founder and CEO of OneShift
Current mobile device: iPhone 6
Current computer: MacBook Pro
One word that best describes how you work: Constantly
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
I use a lot of different apps on a regular basis, but the absolute essentials for me are Google Maps to help me get to meetings around the city (I hate running late), Flight tracker so I can keep updated, and Evernote so that I can get notes, questions or random thoughts down easily, wherever I am. Of course, I also couldn’t get through the day without Spotify and outlook.
What social network do you find the most useful?
Our Facebook community is incredible and we interact with them every day, sharing the latest employment trends, advice for jobseekers or just fun content that we think they might enjoy. It’s such a useful tool for engaging with your customers, and lets our team find out what’s working and what could be improved when it comes to the user-experience. Maintaining a really strong social media presence from early on has been a great way for spreading the word about OneShift as well, and has helped us grow our user-base to more than 415,000 jobseekers.
What were the most important lessons you learned while growing your business?
The most important lesson I’ve learned while growing the business is the importance of hiring the right people for your team. When I started out, it was just me and a WordPress site and today I manage more than 40 employees. It’s a challenge to keep that tight-knit feel as you expand, but I’ve learned that it’s so essential to make sure you are only bringing people onto your team who are committed and passionate about the business. If there are people on the team who just aren’t motivated, or who aren’t there for the right reasons, it can let the whole team down. Team culture is key, no matter if it’s a team of five or 500.
What has been the most surprising part of your business journey?
I never had any illusions about the life of an entrepreneur being easy — I knew it would be tough, scary, and challenging, but I never realised how many meaningful relationships I would make through my business that fall outside of customers or colleagues. I’ve been lucky enough to develop a network of incredibly inspiring individuals who keep me motivated at all times. I particularly love being part of the great women entrepreneurs community, such as Rare Birds, which is full of so many creative people with such innovative ideas.
What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
Hydrating. I drink more water than anyone!. Also, pranking the team around the office.
What’s your sleep routine like?
I really like to start my day early, by at least 6am, and I always aim to get in an hour before the majority of my team starts to arrive in the office. It’s important for me to knock off all the smaller admin tasks leftover from the evening before, so that I can feel refreshed and focused on the day ahead and I always try to squeeze in a quick breakfast with my dad. Despite this, I’m rarely early to bed — usually 11pm — as I’m always catching up on emails or any readings I need to be across beforehand. So I can’t say that I’m getting my regular 8 hours of shut-eye!
What advice would you offer to other businesses on how to succeed?
The advice I would offer to other businesses is that it’s important to question everything, and to encourage your team to do the same. Throughout the last three years, I have surrounded myself with incredible mentors and have regularly sought advice from those with more experience. It’s important to talk things through and listen to other perspectives, but at the same time, if you’re running a business it’s important not to let others make your decisions for you. Always remain open to the opinions of others — in fact, proactively seek them out — but just because you ask for advice, doesn’t mean you have to take it. It’s a difficult balance but hugely important.