A good plan executed now is better than a perfect plan next week. This is the motto that 31-year old Taryn Williams has applied over the past decade, with considerable success. With one business under her belt – WINK Models — and a burgeoning digital start-up, TheRight.Fit, in full swing, and Williams’ gross revenue is in the millions; an impressive feat for someone barely out of her twenties!
With $30,000 in her bank account from her savings as a model and producer, coupled with years of personal sacrifice, Taryn’s story both supports the entrepreneurial spirit of Gen Y and also defies it with her preparedness to prioritise focus, passion and an unwavering dedication towards the end goal.
For Taryn, WINK Models was a business in an industry she knew and loved. It was the things she didn’t know and learned along the way that sparked her enthusiasm to seek new adventures and embrace the world of tech start-ups.
“I was 21 when I started WINK Models. It was me, $30,000 of savings and a dream to have my talent agency be Australia’s best and brightest pool. I’d been on the other side for many years,” she says. “Despite its current success, when I started out, WINK was a very basic business which, realistically, grew organically; no business plan, no forethought about scaling, just a business.
“Pretty quickly my success became my biggest challenge, and when the business hit 650 on our books we had to build end-to-end software from scratch and make some fairly efficient structural changes to enable the business to scale. Perhaps surprisingly, mostly to myself, it was with these challenges and the digital world I’d been exposed to, that my passion for technology erupted.”
Ever the workaholic, on Christmas Day 2015 Taryn soft launched TheRight.Fit. By March 2016 the business was in market and in the first month had over 1,000 registered talent using it to seek representation. “Many people thought I was crazy launching a digital marketplace for talent which takes out the middle man when I still owned WINK, but they didn’t see the opportunities I did.
The market was changing and we’d seen a change in the type of content being produced over the past 12 months. A move towards a higher spend in the digital space, brands looking to feed the voraciousness of their social feeds, and the advent of influencers as a way for brands to create and amplify content.
“I knew that if we could incorporate influencers into our platform, it would greatly assist brands in creating a systemised way to find, cast and book influencers that simply didn’t exist yet.” It was Taryn’s financial advice and planning that enabled her to keep WINK and bankroll TheRight.Fit at the same time. How this was done was through what Williams describes as being “scrupulous, prepared and ready for the hustle”.
“Vital lessons I’d learned from setting up WINK were that with TheRight.Fit, I needed to build a robust financial model before deciding to commit to the business. I needed to know if it was going to be a financially viable business and understand what my pricing structure was before I launched. It’s near impossible to change your pricing structure or model once you’re live without causing some form of collateral damage.
“Additionally, I needed to be acutely aware of the monetisation strategy and options for additional revenue streams,” Williams adds. The final lesson Williams took on board was the importance of creating an entity that allowed for scale something which she’d not accounted for when launching WINK.
“Expansion into international markets, phases for capital raising and how to bring on shareholders are something I accounted for with TheRight.Fit – some aspects of which I’ve already accessed,” adds Williams.
When asked about her confidence for the future given the rapidly changing pace of the digital marketplace, Williams is confident that TheRight.Fit is an avenue that will continue to see growth over the coming years as it becomes an integral part of more brand campaigns and strategies.
However, whether she’s planning ahead or assessing ‘what if’, she always comes back to the following three tips that have stayed with her through both her business ventures and haven’t let her down:
Since launching in March 2016, TheRight.Fit receives more than 300 applications weekly (of which 60% are turned down) and to date has an active talent portfolio of 7,000.
“I’m absolutely scrupulous with what my business spends its money on, and in my first business I didn’t draw a salary for the first two years. After that, I’ve always paid myself last. This still stands today.”
FIND YOUR TRIBE
“It is incredibly important to surround yourself with people you admire, so build a strong team and get them flourishing alongside you. You cannot succeed alone.”
ASK FOR HELP
“I’ve always had a mentor and regularly reach out to people who I can learn from, whose advice I value and who can assist with certain problems or opportunities the business may be facing. Knowing you don’t know it all is a very important part of the journey.”
With Australia home to some of the world’s most successful digital marketplaces such as SEEK and carsales, it is little wonder that TheRight.Fit has found its place as a start-up to watch.
Since launching in March 2016, the platform receives more than 300 applications weekly (of which 60% are turned down) and to date has an active talent portfolio of 7,000.
With plans to expand globally, and opportunities already on the table, Williams says she’s “thinking about next week before it’s already come.”