Tell us about your business?
The Australian Teenage Expo is Australia’s only youth expo that provides information to young people, parents and educators. We are all about giving options to young people with regards to employment, education, careers, services and products. Everything we do must be fun and interactive.
Why did you start this business?
Sonya Karras and Sacha Kaluri are the Directors and Founders of this massive youth event that attracts more than 8000 young people. We are both inspirational speakers to youth in Australia and have been doing so for more than 13 years. We are passionate about making young people feel good about them and to have as many options as possible to make the best decisions in life.
What are the major hurdles you experienced when starting your business?
We had to convince people that we could do this. We are two working mums with a massive idea. We have the passion and the ideas, we just need to make sure people believed in us that we would deliver... and we did!!
What tips can you give other SavvySME members that are thinking or in the process of starting their own business?
1. Have passion in what you do- there will be long hours with little money at the start, so if you love it. It makes life so much easier
2. Believe in yourself - this is the key to the whole thing. You have to believe you can achieve great things, and you really can
3. You have to do what it takes to get to where you want to be... so if it means working hard, giving up on social things, investing money... then that’s what you have to do!!!
What made you decide to take the jump and focus on your business?
We both had been to the Pregnancy and Babies Expo and picked up so much worthwhile information as we were both new mums. We realised we knew teenagers, so why not do a fun and interactive event where teens, parents and educators could get all the information as well.
How did your family and friends react?
Working long hours does take its toll on you and your family. It’s important they see the bigger picture and have your family on the same page as your goals. This can often sometimes be one of the hardest things you have to challenge. Our friends didn’t understand how busy we are; until we employed some of them, now they get it. But we work with our best friends, so our team is just so supportive.
How has your life changed?
We live, eat, sleep and breathe the Australian Teenage Expo. We are constantly trying to make it better and push ourselves.
What is the vision for your business going forward?
At the moment this event is only in Victoria at the Melbourne Showgrounds at the end of August each year, we want to take it nationally.
What tips can you give other SavvySME about motivating yourself to push through the challenges that rise up while building your start-up?
1. Always put in just that little bit more every day, sometimes I say to myself, I will stop work in one hour... and then I stop after 2 hours.. If I can do more I do it.
2. Have positive quotes all over your workplace saying how you can push yourself and are always motivated.
3. Have a balanced life. We do need to relax sometimes too.
4. Have a mentor. Have someone you can call and speak to about the hard work when staring your own business. We all need someone to speak to and even bounce off ideas.
Sacha Kaluri and Sonya Karras