My Story: From Professional Musician to Successful Business Owner

Business Management

My Story: From Professional Musician to Successful Business Owner

By Lisa Ormenyessy of Straight Talk Group


Before I tell you what I do, let me tell you why I do it.

Small Business Owners are the backbone of our economy and our community. 

It is not the big boys the community reaches out to for help, but the local business owner; sausages for the sausage sizzle, a cash donation or goods for the local raffle.

They employ over 4.5 million Australians and contribute over 42.7% to our exports.

Despite this, there are scary facts that don’t get talked about much because, quite frankly, they are embarrassing.  

For example, most business owners never get anywhere near what they ‘think’ their business is worth when (or if) they are able to sell out to retire.  Many just walk away, exhausted, and a staggering 87% end up on the old age pension because they paid their employees super before theirs.  

Only 5% make it to the million mark.

The tragedy of the Small Business Owner is why I do what I do.  To make a difference to the final outcome of their years of hard work and service to the community. 

I started off my working life as a Professional Musician in the Military, so how the bejeebas did I end up as a business coach?

As all good stories begin, life had thrown me a curve ball.  After living an exciting life of travel and performance, I found myself in my home town; broke and trying to bring up two small boys on my own.  

After leaving the Military, I was CEO of a production company so had developed some good admin skills and I put them to use taking on a position with a Global IT Company. This is was the first (and only) corporate job I ever had, and on the surface appears as far away from the arts one could possibly get. What I came to learn is Software developers have an amazing level of creativity, and of the 6 in our company -- 5 were accomplished musicians. Life is funny that way. 

On a more personal level, I had a read a statistic that women that leave a relationship of the type I fled from, go on to live 10 years in poverty – I was determined to prove that wrong!

With gusto, I threw myself into finding out how this company worked. I was intrigued to find out not only did the head office in Seattle have an office dog but also these things called coaches. Putting two and two together, I worked out that culture was a major part of the company success, my research skills went into overdrive culminating in a proposal to my boss for the company to have a coaching program to be developed in Australia. I will be eternally thankful for him saying "yes."

Now this was in the early 90’s and coaching did not exist in Australia, nor did coach training. As a result I spent 4 years studying and honing my craft over the telephone to a training school in the states. Today, I believe learning this way has cumulated in superior listening skills and enables me to coach clients all over the world via what was the telephone, and now is Skype or Google hangouts. 

Not one to do things by halves, I started my coaching business while developing a biotech company with a team of people I had met while doing Entrepreneurship training. 

I have always found that I have enjoyed having my fingers in a number of different pies as it were. The synchronicity of it all appeals and what works in one industry will often work in another, but you will never be aware of it until you step outside of your own space. This is why I encourage my clients to network with each other and share their ideas with each other. Not only does it cure isolation, it builds community and relationship. That is where the Magic happens.   

Simply by default I was appointed head of marketing for the biotech company. Looking back it was serendipitous. I discovered I have a natural knack of combining logic and creativity – getting the two to converse with each other until the tension and the incongruences merge into one succinct message – a gift in both marketing and coaching and something I bring to the table every single day.  

In the early days, when I told people I was a coach -- they would say ‘of what sport?’ - Educating your audience is a hard way to start a business. I wasn’t on the leading edge, it was the bleeding edge. And so was my bank account. In response to this, and mouths to feed, I set up my own marketing consultancy.  

The Marketing business exploded. The hours were crazy, I hadn’t yet learnt the value of what I did so wasn’t charging enough and with fast growing children -- the statistic I was running from was chasing me down. I was overworked, stressed and the inevitable happened, I got sick. 

My whole life and business went into slow motion, no longer could I work 100 hour weeks, and it didn’t take me long to realise not working the business meant no work.

Environment beats will any day, and the best way to learn is immersion. I was desperate to get healthy so, I found a position with a health centre and coached ladies on mindset while regaining my health. I was on a minimum wage and felt quite ashamed after being my own boss – and even a little incongruent. With coaching, you are always coaching one step ahead or one step behind the client while constantly expanding your comfort zone. I expanded, reduced my stress and got healthy.

Working with a team after years of isolation was great. There is leverage in team and I knew myself enough to know that being a sole business owner was going to land me in the same position. Instead, I sought out a proactive accountant that could see that all the advice he was giving his clients was not worth anything if they didn’t implement it.  

He was working out of a franchise system and I headed up the coaching division. It was at this time that I learnt the true value of what I do. I was meeting regularly with people that had bought into a franchise systems, called themselves coaches and were charging through the roof for it. I was gobsmacked. It opened my eyes to what prices the market would bear and the importance of educating your market on the value you bring.

I am still in this partnership 5 years on, the business has ‘morphed’ to our client needs.  As a result, I am assisting them more and more with their marketing as much as coaching them. Nowadays, I am so confident of my ability to grow a business, if the business qualifies and the owner’s attitude is right, I work on a percentage of growth I generate for the business.  

With the market constantly changing I have found the biggest key to success if continuous education. Yet the juxtaposition of it all is that despite all the new bells and whistles available to Business Owners when you boil it all down it is all about know, like, trust; and relationship is everything. 

SavvySME Official

Official Account at SavvySME

SavvySME is Australia’s B2B community marketplace designed for small and medium businesses. SavvySME helps entrepreneurs and small business owners do their jobs better, faster and with more satisfaction by drawing on a support network of trusted advisors and influencers while learning best practices from industry experts and each other. It combines the collaborative aspects of business networking with a marketplace in an online community setting exclusively for Australian business owners.