Frank became an entrepreneur out of necessity when the GFC hit. His experience has fuelled a passion to now empower and help other fellow graduates to learn the business skills necessary to make the most of their qualifications. His business Success Asylum helps inspire graduates and give them the confidence and skills to better pursue their dream jobs or to create their dream business.
1) What’s your story? What did you do before you started ‘The Success Asylum’ and what’s the driver behind your desire to help others create the life they always dreamed about?
I graduated from Otago University with a Bachelor of Science just as the “Global Financial Crisis” hit. I was interested in designing energy efficient buildings, but that industry had basically collapsed worldwide and nobody was hiring.
So I had to take up a lousy job for the best part of a year while I cold-called and sent out CVs, trying to get job interviews. Eventually, I managed to talk my way into an engineering job which got me some practical experience to kickstart my career.
Some years later, while I was working as an engineering consultant, I made the decision to start my own business. With a bit of help from some friends in IT, I set up a software business. Within a couple of years my company was operating nationwide, was fully automated and ran entirely online. I had a 100% passive income.
I started the Success Asylum to help teach the business skills that I’ve learned to people who, like me, are graduating from university and struggling to get into that dream job that’s actually going to pay off their student loan. I want to see the best and brightest young people in our society getting ahead instead of struggling in underpaid jobs.
2) What is ‘The Success Asylum’ and how exactly does it help entrepreneurs and those thinking about starting their own business for the first time achieve their goals?
We help university graduates create their dream career using the qualifications that they have. We run a combination of networking events, seminars and coaching programs to help graduates figure out what they want to do with their lives and then help them reach those goals. Be it that they choose to pursue their dream job or create their dream business.
Empowering more graduates and teaching them business skills to support their qualifications creates more opportunities for entrepreneurs looking to hire talented graduates to help grow their businesses too.
3) What specific problem is ‘The Success Asylum’ hoping to solve? What’s different about what you do?
Every week I talk to university graduates who are working in retail jobs, waiting tables, or answering phones for a living. In fact, it’s fashionable nowadays to say that university degrees aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.
In my experience, that’s not true. The real problem is that while universities teach technical skills well, most students don’t learn anything about how businesses work, so they’re unable to communicate their real value to employers who want to hire them.
So we show them how to market the experience and abilities they have to the people who need their skills, so that they can get into their ideal career and ultimately live their dream lifestyle.
4) What’s the benefit of being a member of ‘The Success Asylum’ and can non-members take part?
Our members get regular coaching sessions to help them build their ideal career. We bring in experts in every field of career development to work directly with the members to answer their questions, work through the challenges that are holding them back and show them.
Most of our events are free so non-members can still come along and hear from our presenters, and get their questions answered. We also have plenty of online content that’s free to access.
5) It’s not easy starting a business that’s centred around helping others achieve extraordinary goals. It requires serious collaboration. On that note who are the types of Partners you would like to call on to help you support the entrepreneur community here in New Zealand better?
We’re already working with the Auckland University Careers Department, and we’d like to talk to any other universities, colleges or departments that are interested in helping their graduates and alumni get into the right careers or start their own businesses.
We’re also interested in partnering with any companies who are interested in helping young people get ahead in their careers. In particular we’d like to run more events so we’re interested in speaking to any potential partners who have venues available.