Launching your own business is an exciting, yet daunting time of your life. You’ve likely pondered over your idea for months, maybe even years at a time.

When it comes to starting your own business, it’s true that knowledge is power. But perhaps the one thing more valuable than knowledge, is passion.

Courtney Frank spoke with three small business owners in Brisbane who successfully turned their grand ideas into reality. And it’s safe to say, passion is something they possess in bucket-loads.

Rachel Aust – Owner, Eat Run Lift

Rachel Aust_Instagram Pic

A small Instagram following and a blog are all it took for Rachel Aust to grow her audience into the hugely successful company, Eat Run Lift.

Passion is key to starting a business. What are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about sharing thoroughly researched and science-based health and fitness information, in the most visually pleasing way possible. When I first began my own fitness journey I was finding so many articles stating contradictory things and I felt confused with where to go and how to find what would work for me. I wanted to combine solid information that can help women along their journeys to discover what works best for their body, and share it in a way that appeals to my creative side.

Why did you want to start your own business?
I’ve always been very self-motivated, even when I was working under other people. I find that I have a lot of energy and can pour laser-focus into tasks when I’m interested in something. I wanted to share what I was so passionate about and also give myself more opportunity to create content (visual or written) on a daily basis.

Rachel Aust_Action Shot

How did you transform your passion into a successful company?
I began with a tiny Instagram following and a blog, I kept chipping away at the blog and writing an article every week or fortnight to keep the content fresh, and readily available for people who were hanging around to read it. I have tried very hard to stay true to my message, and worked on growing my social media to help new people discover the blog and the information I was providing. As the audience grew I made small products like eBooks available. I try to have lots of free resources available for anyone who is following me online, but offer premium paid content for those who are interested in learning more, such as a 6 month women’s gym guide called Get Lean, and just recently released my Fitness Journals for tracking your daily input and output. My passion is what allowed me to keep going through all the trials I have had with the business over the last 4 years.

Do you think having a strong passion for something is enough to ensure success?
Passion is an important foundation, but not the ‘be all, end all’ to success, in my eyes. Along with it I believe you must bring modesty – to see where you’re falling short and bring other people on board who can help fulfil your vision with their skills. Patience, to recognise that sometimes things don’t work out, and to keep trying if it’s what you truly want to achieve. I also believe that you must also have morality, to ensure that you are doing right by your customers and audience.

Rachel Aust_Black Outfit

What keeps you going through the tough and tumultuous times?
I try to remain grateful. I know I’m in a position that some people are working towards, and I put a lot of work into getting there myself. So when there are tough patches I remind myself they will pass, remember all the things I love about what I do.

One piece of advice you’d like to share with Style readers:
Listen to your gut! Someone (even people close to you) may think they have a great idea for something that will help your business, but if your gut is telling you no, don’t do it.

Brett & Alison Hutley – Owners, Botanica Real Food

Botanica_Brett & Alison Hutley

For Brett and Alison Hutley, the thought of sending out beautiful, healthy food into the community was the driving force behind their passion project, Botanica Real Food.

Passion is key to starting a business. Tell us about the passion that fuels your company:
The thought of sending out beautiful, healthy food into the community is very satisfying. We love the challenge of maintaining high standards and keeping our customers coming back.

What was your motivation for starting a business?
We wanted to start a family and return to Brisbane. We had a clear vision for Botanica and we knew that if we backed ourselves, we could create the kind of future we had always dreamed of.

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How did you transform your passion into a successful company?
It takes a lot of hard work. Passion is important but it’s taking action that gets you over the line. There are many sacrifices involved in creating a successful business and turning a passion into a company is a lot more work than play.

Do you think having a strong passion for something is enough to ensure success?
No. Of course, it is vitally important to have a passion for your business and be genuine in your drive. But no amount of passion will survive without the hard work and dedication it takes to get a business up and running and thriving.

What do you love most about being a business owner?
Being solely responsible for our product and knowing that we backed ourselves and put in the hard yards and we have so much pride in what we have created.

Botanica carrot salad

When you encounter tough times in your business, what is it that keeps you going?
There is no alternative, if you don’t keep going, no one will do it for you. You just have to push on and learn what you can from the tough times. In 6 years of business we have had a lot of big lessons and each one makes us stronger and more passionate about Botanica Real Food.

What do you know now, that you wish you knew back then?
That it will all be worthwhile. When we opened Botanica I was 3 months pregnant with our first child, we had just left two high profile rewarding jobs in Sydney, relocated to Brisbane and had no idea if anyone would think our concept for a salad shop was as great as we did. I need not have stressed so much about that.

Tim Johnson – Director, Communa Cantina, Corbett & Claude

Tim Johnson_Mag Extend

Tim Johnson spent over 20 years working in the hospitality business before making the decision to go out on his own. Now, he’s the Director of some of Brisbane’s most loved hospitality venues, Comuna Cantina and Corbett & Claude.

Tell us about the passion that fuels your company:
I think it begins with a genuine love for hospitality; making people feel good and creating a place they love to be is at the core of everything that drives us. It’s an addictive feeling making people happy and hospitality provides an opportunity to make this happen hundreds of times a day. That feeling is what drives our passion and makes us love what we do.

What was your motivation for starting a business?
I began working in hospitality when I was 13 and within a couple of years had become obsessed with learning as much as I could and eventually being able to own my own venue. Throughout my time working for other people, I became really passionate about the need for freedom of thought and creativity, and the ability to create the culture I believed in, as well as providing an experience for the guest that I felt would leave them feeling uplifted and valued.

Tim Johnson_Cocktail Shaker

How did you transform your passion into a successful company?
I spent over 20 years working and learning as much as I could within the industry before making the decision to own my own business. I think it was the time I spent researching, combined with surrounding myself with experienced and successful mentors and partners. That’s what helped me to create the company as it is today.

Do you think having a strong passion for something is enough to ensure success?
I think passion is what makes you begin, and then drives you each day. However, for a company to be successful and sustainable it needs detailed layers of systems and structure operating within a proven business model in order to be successful long term.

What do you love most about being a business owner?
The ability to be creative without boundaries, working with a culture and team that I’m proud of and the fact that I’m constantly being challenged.

Tim Johnson_Outside Shot

What keeps you going through the tough times?
The support networks I have developed over time, family, friends and the amazing teams within each venue. And the fact that I love it and am committed to making it work.

What is something you know now, that you wish you knew back then?
I knew a great deal about restaurants but not nearly as much as I needed to know about property and just how important the intricacies of the detail within each property plays in the functionality of the restaurant within.

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