How to take your idea from the classroom and make it reality
After more than a decade in the corporate world, Emma Sharley eventually decided the timing was right to take the leap into running her own business.
“I always wanted to have my own business, as I naturally gravitate towards the creation of new concepts or ideas, and solving problems,” she said.
The first business Sharley launched after leaving her role as marketing manager at Westfield was a consulting venture, Sharley Consulting, in 2015. Out on her own, Emma decided to take a course at General Assembly, wanting to skill up and “soak in” as much as she could in areas outside her core expertise.
Armed with the new skills she had picked up in the classroom, Emma then teamed up with a friend to launch fashion tech startup Shop You in late 2015. If that wasn’t enough, she later found her way back to General Assembly to teach brand, marketing, and digital workshops.
“I’ve loved taking these workshops; there’s never any shortage of passion, energy or focus in the room. The groups are always diverse; we often have a mix of global corporates, large retailers, SMEs, and startups, which makes for great discussion and, at times, collaboration,” Emma said.
“The workshops are strategic but outcome-focused, so that each student can walk away with a set of actions relevant to their own business growth.”
With experience across the small business, startup, and corporate worlds, Emma knows what her students are going through and what they are experiencing.
“There are core similarities around leadership, communication, business operations, and the focus on outcomes and delivery,” she said.
The key differences between running a startup and running a consultancy?
“In startup you are operating with less time, money and resources, whilst creating something that is new to market. Because of this, it’s important to ‘ship’ often. Get your product or service out as fast as you can, be comfortable if it’s 80 percent and not 100 percent, as it will allow you to get the feedback you need in order to rapidly iterate,” she said.
“Waiting until something is perfect before seeking customer feedback means you may miss the market opportunity, or you waste time and money on a solution that doesn’t actually meet their needs.”
Emma is hoping more Australians will spot and make the most of their market opportunity by taking part in Days of Note, a month-long series of tailored workshops and events developed by Samsung in partnership with General Assembly to champion productivity, innovation, and creativity to help people be inspired, get empowered, and take the leap.
With the workshops running from the Days of Note hub at WeWork in Pyrmont, Emma said Days of Note has come at the perfect time for Aussies thinking of switching up their careers and pursuing something new.
“It’s a dynamic landscape we’re in right now – more and more people are designing their own future to pursue work they love – whether that’s through a new business or simply bringing more flexibility or new projects, ideas, or concepts into the workplace,” she said.
“Being passionate about work, and continual learning, are two of the key traits that will set any individual or business apart. I love that Samsung has taken a leadership stance in this space with General Assembly to help bring ideas, passions and dreams to life through the Days of Note events, workshops, and resources.”
Connecting students to those who have been on the entrepreneurship journey, Emma said, gives them the confidence to start making their vision a reality once they leave the classroom.
“The best time to start is now!” she said.
The Days of Note workshops are running daily at WeWork in Pyrmont until the 4th of October. Be inspired, get empowered, and take the leap by booking your spot here.