Welcome back to our QUT Entrepreneurship interview mini-series! These interviews have been conducted in collaboration with the QUT Foundry, and one of our very own journalism students, Sameel Deoji.
Coby Lee is a motivational writer of entrepreneurship, a self-published author and a third year Business Entrepreneurship and Behavioural Science student, who is passionate about how to best support overworked students in an economy that doesn’t work in their favour. Her latest project involves the upcoming release of a podcast series, that will combine both her business and psychology perspective with guest speakers to assist in providing systems and support for student entrepreneurs to avoid burnout and live sustainable lifestyles. You can find out more about Coby on her website and social media.
What sparked your entrepreneurship journey? What is your project about?
My entrepreneurial journey began at a very young age, selling my parents’ belongings back to them or charging my grandparents for massages in my makeshift salon. However, as I grew older and began to understand what I was actually doing, I started to look for guidance from books to help me better understand the entrepreneurial/business world as a young teenager. When I began selling plants and upcycling, I was looking to gain knowledge of taxes, sales, profit and loss, and marketing, which isn’t something you’re taught in primary school. In my final year of high school, I embarked on a challenge to write the book little me, and so many young Australians, need to find the guidance to come up with and start a side hustle or a business.
What does entrepreneurship mean to you?
Entrepreneurship to me is a mindset and a skillset. You can grow your entrepreneurial mind always with a growth mindset, and by allowing yourself to be a constant learner and listener. Failing is a big part of being an entrepreneur – what makes and breaks you is when you decide to get back up or to give up.
How does the Foundry at QUT support your venture?
The Foundry at QUT provides me with the space and support to meet new people, expand my growth mindset and build the skillset I require to take on all the challenges of being a full-time student, worker, business owner and friend.
Who are some entrepreneurs you look up to?
The entrepreneurs I look up to are my peers and my friends, who constantly remind me that success isn’t about the fancy car or the amount of money you have. It’s about living the life you WANT to live and being surrounded by the things that bring you joy.
How do you tackle challenges that come your way when planning or executing your venture?
The way I tackle any challenge, both in my personal and professional life, is through a process of mind mapping and categorising the challenges that are on my mind. Placing things in order of ‘can I do it within five minutes’, ‘can I do this in one hour’, or ‘will I need to break it down into smaller steps’. Once I understand what I do have control over, I look to see if any of this could be halved in time by asking for help. Understanding your strengths and your weaknesses is where you will find the best way to be productive and overcome your challenges.
Where do you see yourself with your venture in the next ten years?
Now with the book published, and available for everyone to have access to, I begin the hardest part of my ten-year journey – to make my book accessible and available to all young entrepreneurs. My next ten years will involve spreading the word, guiding young entrepreneurs, and expanding my own personal knowledge.
If you were given $1 million to invest into your venture… what would the first investment be?
If I was given $1 million to invest in my venture, I would probably invest in a business space and an app to provide young entrepreneurs with access to mentors, advice, and lessons to best support them from wherever they are. I would also spend money to employ youth who are experiencing some form of homelessness, help upskill them and find their passion to tackle any challenge thrown at them.
What is some advice you have for young entrepreneurs?
The advice I would give young entrepreneurs is that you are not too young, or too inexperienced. Trust yourself and trust yourself to fail. You are at a time in your lives where mistakes won’t cost you a home or impact your future too harshly.
Sameel is a full-time Communications (Journalism) and Business (Management) student at QUT where he is an entrepreneurship and student ambassador. He is also an assistant producer at Channel Seven Network – the place where he dreams to become a news anchor. He applies his journalism and business skills in his other roles as marketing coordinator for PR firm, Hype Mogul PR, and as a Service Team Member at MYER. Sameel also loves all things entre- and intrapreneurship. As an entrepreneur, he owns a business named Chipita where he sells scrumptious Mexican-flavoured pita chips for catering, parties and snacking! As an intrapreneur, Sameel enjoys bringing his entrepreneurial toolkit to his workplaces and university to boost creativity, innovation and results. He also loves learning about leadership, to which he brings a charismatic, curious and team-focused attitude. You can connect with Sameel on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.