I learned from my first business venture and went on to tackle the next one. I was fortunate to have a person in Sydney to start another project with. Starting a business in Australia was new to me which made it more interesting.
When the decision to come back was made I contacted Sergei Sergienko who I knew back from my student years. Sergei and his friends, Yaros and Stan, established and run a few successful businesses with offices in Sydney and Melbourne. Their company “Edway Group” appeared on Australian BRW Fast Starters list in 2010 bringing a fair share of fame to the company and to its founders.
I told Serge that I am coming back and if there is anything I can help with in Edway I would definitely consider joining. I was told it is a possibility so upon my return I was on my way to one of their offices.
Aerial Freestyle Activities
Sergei wanted to grow the company starting new ventures. After tossing a few ideas around the decision was made. There is an emerging Aerial Freestyle Watersport where people fly above the water using a variety of devices such as a jetpack, flyboard, hoverboard, etc. It was and still is an emerging market so we decided it is the right time to enter. So Edway Extreme was born.
The government is fierce with regulations for extreme sports and required a thorough risk and safety management systems to be developed. There are also local and city councils, national parks, Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) and Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) all to be reckoned with. Each state has its own rules which made it even more fun. We researched opportunities to operate in New South Wales (NSW), Queensland (QLD) and Western Australia (WA) with WA being the easiest and NSW the hardest to deal with.
Instructors were required to hold a Coxswain Certificate II which is pretty much a skipper license for small commercial vessels. It took a significant amount of effort to get that one.
The fun part was inspecting possible locations in NSW and in QLD. Even though Sydney and Gold Cost are surrounded by water it was extremely hard to find spots that fit RMS requirements.
Dealing with government agencies was the most frustrating part. It took 3 months on average every time we submitted documents for approval. It made no difference if it was a local council or a national AMSA office, all stretched assessment time to the maximum.
Waiting time gave us enough time to work on a website, promo material and numerous other things required prior starting operations. We also became official exclusive distributors of Jetlev-Flyer (Jetpacks) in Australia.
It took us 6 months to get an approval to operate in WA and a few more months for QLD but high set up cost dictated that we must start in NSW so we patiently waited. The final approval to start operations in NSW was just a few months away, or so we were promised.
Keeping myself busy
While building a platform for Edway Extreme I helped with other Edway businesses. In early stages I took part in Salesaroundme project in development of the system to appeal to customers needs and in creation and revision of the cold call script for sales staff. In Labor Hire I worked on the development of new and more efficient reporting methods and elimination of redundant data entry processes, meanwhile helping head accountant doing weekly payroll. In Edway Training I helped with admin duties on Saturdays.
Specialising in Molecular Mixology
Another startup I was fully involved with was a cocktail lounge called ‘Mixology’. It was another the venture we started from the scratch.
Serge came up with the idea to introduce Molecular Mixology to the public. Molecular Mixology is an art of making cocktails using science. We used Liquid Nitrogen to turn cocktails into sorbets and ice creams. Many of our cocktails contained alcoholic pearls, some were smoked, some had cotton candy as an ingredient and melted in front of peoples eyes. We experimented with alcoholic noodles and alcoholic deserts. Our cocktails were unique and looked absolutely amazing.
We opened in far eastern location first but then moved to Newtown which is right near the city. It was the beginning of winter when we moved which was not really good for business. Timing was bad but due to certain circumstances we didn’t have a choice . Next 6 months showed how much effort it takes to run business in hospitality and how vulnerable it can be in the wrong time of the year.
You’d need to be fully committed and devote all your time running such business. Having it as a side project didn’t seem feasible. After careful consideration, it was decided not to proceed with the lounge any further.
When the deadline for Edway Extreme regarding the location in Sydney was reached, the government advised they need a few more months. Such activities were illegal in public waters but RMS advised they have nothing against allowing it at certain spots. By that time, even though I was occupied with Mixology and with my other duties at Edway, I needed extra income. Getting a full time job was not an option since Extreme was just a few months away and still a lot needed to be done at Mixology, so I started taking shifts as a labourer in Labour Hire.
Sometimes you just got to survive
Working in construction as a general labourer is not the best job in the world, but it is manageable. You could be sent to do any type of job, from fixing sewer lines to detecting mines in the airforce base field. Sometimes there would be really boring ones where you’d just carry stuff or dig dirt. At times when there were a lot of workers from Edway at one job I took on a role of a supervisor.
I worked alongside people from different parts of the world and of different professions. Engineers, doctors, mechanics, dancers, teachers, physicists etc. even people with their own businesses overseas, all found it handy to make money doing laboring for some period of time. Often I worked alongside skilled professionals who I learned a lot from.
Hard work shows what people are made of
Hard physical work shows what people are truly made of. Those full of s**t showed themselves straight away when there was pressure to work hard. Those who did what needed to be done without crying had my utmost respect. I met a lot of good people at those jobs and have many good memories.
It was January 2015 when we heard bad news from RMS, we were advised that the minister of transport didn’t approve any of the applications because such sport is considered unsafe. We were baffled with the news since twice before we were assured there are no objections and the approval is not too far off. We scheduled a meeting with the decision makers in RMS to discuss their concerns.
After an hour of discussions of how we can change their mind we were advised that they need more time to decide how to work with companies that want to do this sort of activities in Sydney. This time the date of the next contract was set to the end of April. I was pretty discouraged by the fact that i’d need to spend 2.5 more months at construction and told myself that if at the next meeting nothing changes I’d have to make some decisions..
To be continued..