Our celebration of International Women’s Day continues with our third women’s business profile. This time Lindsay Rogers, Co-founder of Chello, shares her tips.
Strategic business thinker and co-founder of award-winning creative content agency Chello, Lindsay Rogers brings a grounded approach to life and business. In 2014, Lindsay started Chello with firm friend Tristan Velasco. They were careful to protect their friendship by calling in experts to get their company structure just right and they have been thriving ever since.
What inspires you?
People! Other people’s stories, well told, are fuel for your own life. A few months ago I was inspired by a generous woman who walked me through the rain under her umbrella, who in broken English told me how she had just relocated to Australia and was on her way to start a new job in the city. Our lives worlds apart became a beautiful moment dodging puddles under the cover of an umbrella. At the same time, I’m inspired by stories I read in Business Insider, Inc Magazine and The Guardian too.
Who are the best women to follow online?
I don’t think there’s a particular type of woman to follow. Really, it’s just women living their lives well. I follow all kinds of women because women lead all kinds of lives, from executives to beauty and fashion influencers to visual artists. I feel that every time you see someone doing something with total joy, you’re pushed to do things that are just as gratifying in your own life.
At the same time, my close friends are always the most worthwhile to follow online. Because you see their ‘highlights reel’ but you also know what’s going on behind the scenes, both good and bad. It’s always a really good reminder of how much richer people’s lives are compared to what you see scrolling through a feed.
Which woman has taught you the most?
My mother. All children are influenced by their mum, of course, but mine has such an optimistic approach to life and I’ve seen it really tested at times.
We emigrated to Australia with no family or friends here, whilst my Dad was selling his business in the UK. She looked after three kids under 13 on her own, I remember she’d pile us into the car and we’d drive from suburb to suburb looking at real estate windows to find where we’d want to live. She’d ask “I wonder who lives around here? Do we want them as neighbours?” What could have been traumatic and horrible, became an adventure to make new friends and a new life in Sydney, and that’s really shaped me today. She’s remarkable, adventurous and wise.
As a founder, what have you learnt is most important in the early days of a new business?
Starting a business is just a constant curriculum, even once you feel established the lessons just grow with you.
A couple of big things though:
Be resourceful. It’s so easy to think that you can only launch a business when you’ve got everything right. It’s better to get it a little bit wrong than never start at all. We also rented and borrowed equipment, put call-outs to our existing networks about starting our own business. We used what we had and just backed ourselves all the way.
Do the boring stuff first. I founded Chello with a friend and we didn’t want to leave anything ambiguous about where we stood in terms of ownership and assets because we had friendship that we didn’t want to risk over something like money. We consulted with really experienced people to embed the right business structures and contracts, which meant that we never had to have weird discussions about finances or expectations as we grew, we just both knew where we stood.
Hire slow, fire fast. We try to be meticulous when we hire, and there are really no shortcuts for it, but a good work culture is a delicate ecosystem: it always has room to grow, but you have to maintain it. It also means call out issues early rather than letting them fester.