How I Succeeded: Hey Tiger's Cyan Ta'eed

How I Succeeded is a regular series on Lifehacker where we ask business leaders for the secrets and tactics behind their success. Today: Cyan Ta'eed, Hey Tiger.

Current gig: Launching my new business, instawebsite maker Milkshake, as well as working on my existing businesses, ethical chocolate company Hey Tiger and online marketplace Envato.

Current Location: Melbourne, Australia

Current mobile device: iPhone

Current computer: MacBook Pro

One word that best describes how you work: Thoughtfully

What apps/software/tools can't you live without?

    Bear - As an avid list-maker, I practically live on Bear. I have lists for all kinds of things, from quotes to present ideas for my kids, and I also use lists as a reflection tool.

    Instagram - With Milkshake in development, I’ve been using Instagram to find and follow amazing creators. I have business accounts and my own personal account (@cyanctaeed).

    Gmail and Slack - Two invaluable tools for me to work on the go; between two offices, three businesses and a daily commute Gmail and Slack help me keep across everything that’s happening with my teams.

    Audible - I love reading and tend to have two books on the go; one I’m physically reading and one I listen to while in transit. This helps me read a book a week.

What social network do you find the most useful?

I’m only on Instagram, which I suppose speaks for itself!

What were the most important lessons you learned while growing your business?

  1. That I need to pull back more frequently than I think I do in order to consider the big picture; for me, that means every couple of weeks, not every month.
  2. Being really clear about where I add value and understanding what my strengths are; this helped me to lean into these strengths and readjust to balance my weaknesses out with the team around me.
  3. It’s perfectly fine not to know everything and not to be good at everything. There’s this mystique that entrepreneurs are the source of all success in their businesses, and in reality there’s usually a strong team of people around them: developing those people is the smartest investment of your time, as you’ll only go so far by yourself.

What has been the most surprising part of your business journey?

How important instinct is. You’ve got to think critically and know a lot and look at the data, but when it comes down to it, a lot of the time things are moving so fast that you have to have honed your instincts so you can make gut decisions with confidence. You can’t review and analyse everything at any given time, but you can build your intuition with a compendium of knowledge; that’s why looking at things that interest you (even if seemingly unrelated to your work) is never a waste of time. Allow yourself time to exist and look at a variety of inputs, this will help build good instincts.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?

I’m good at choosing great people to work with; finding and developing the best people for teams and leading them on a journey that maximises their strengths in the business.

What's your sleep routine like?

I try to get to sleep by 10.30pm each night, and I avoid looking at my phone in the evening as I find it’s too bright. I sleep in complete darkness with a daylight emitting alarm clock to help me wake up (I’m usually awake before it’s light).

If I have trouble waking up in the morning, I’ll do the opposite of my night routine and read an interesting article on my phone on full brightness - this wakes me up pretty quickly! I also start my day with a gratitude session and get back into bed for a hug with my kids when I can.

What advice would you offer to other businesses on how to succeed?

Focus on a really strong why; the key purpose behind your business. A purpose beyond profit is really important, not just for you when things get tough but for all the people you work with. A strong why will also help you make difficult decisions; it should be the reason you say no to opportunities that don’t feel right and pursue those that do.


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