Already a successful entrepreneur with a multimillion dollar business, WINK modelling agency under her belt, CEO Taryn Williams has set her sights on disrupting the creative talent and influencer industries with her new effort, theright.fit.
Taking note of the changes impacting the fashion and modelling world and the rise of influencers as brand ambassadors within the industry and the world at large, Williams tells Kochie’s Business Builders she was inspired to branch out with theright.fit. The successful entrepreneur has called theright.fit the “Uber of the talent arena”. She says the service provides easy access to over 6000 talents, everyone from influencers to bloggers to photographers and models. It easily matches them to a client’s need – producing ‘the right fit’ for a brand or job.
“In the 12 months prior to starting theright.fit I was seeing a lot of changes in our industry,’ she adds. “There was an increase in digital advertising spend, a move to brands creating smaller bits of digital content to feed always on social channels. The type of talent required in campaigns was also changing (more authentic, relatable, attainable), and the advent of the social media influencer. I could see our industry was ripe for disruption.”
Williams says she had just finished building an app for WINK Models to manage the agency’s 650+ models Australia wide, “and I had fallen in love with using technology to solve problems” so it was natural to consider taking her idea for theright.fit straight to an app.
theright.fit allows users to list a job, browse for applicants, list a casting, make a booking and more. And whilst Williams had explored the use of IT for streamlining WINK she tells us theright.fit is a completely different beast.
“Theright.fit is a high growth tech company, VC backed, with international expansion in mind from day one. WINK grew much more organically, and has a fantastic client base and is in a much different phase of business to theright.fit. So the challenges the two face are very different and present very different opportunities too, and definitely requires me to ‘switch hats’ when looking at each.”
As any business owner involved in a startup knows, devoting 12-hours a day or more to business can be the norm, but Williams has the added challenge of an existing business to consider. However, she says her job is made easier by her “Incredible team”.
“I have an amazing managing director in WINK who makes the magic happen on a day-to-day basis, so my full focus can be spent on theright.fit which, as a start-up, really requires my focus and full dedication. It does mean that sometimes my days are more like 14-hour days than 12-hour days though,” she smiles.
Given the rapid success of theright.fit Williams says it was vital she put checks and balances in place to ensure the business runs smoothly.
“Managing cashflow in a start-up is definitely a challenge, as building a high growth tech company that is venture capital backed, we really do watch every single cent. We have a CFO who I work with closely to ensure we are tracking to budget and a bookkeeper who manages the day-to-day transactions. We have custom built admin panels to see live data on transactions as they occur so we can see income in real time as customers checkout. We use accounting solutions and a real time payment gateway.”
Juggling clients on both sides of the company can get tricky, especially when it comes to tracking revenue.
“As a tech company, we utilise all the fantastic tech tools to keep a track of revenue drivers on both sides of the company. We have integrations with Amazon QuickSights, Kissmetrics, Segment.io, Hubspot as well as our own custom-built admin panels and live accounting integration. It’s imperative we know at a glance exactly how the business is performing.”
She says to assist with her time management she relies on a number of tools to manage her efficiencies. “I’d be lost with Slack, JIRA & Trello – my entire world is managed through these and entered into my google calendar!”
And as much as she likes to maintain the reins of her business, Williams says she understood very early on you can’t do it all alone. She tells KBB she made a point of ensuring she had the best team around her from day one.
“I knew the size of the market opportunity for theright.fit and wanted to ensure we could scale as quickly as possible. Part of that is having the best advisors and strategic investors, a great management team, and we’re incredibly data driven as a business to ensure things run as smoothly as possible in a start-up.”
Still Williams says that running two businesses simultaneously is not without its challenges.
“I’ve had to become much more efficient in my days, to manage a bigger team, and a business that iterates much more quickly that my first. I need to fit more in my day, especially with international employees and the time difference. I’m ruthless with my schedule and routine, and try to minimise distractions. For example, I return all calls during one hour of the day, and delegate where I can to people who are better at the task than me. It’s constantly an evolving work in progress though.”
Whilst Williams acknowledges it’s incredibly rewarding to build your own business and team from scratch, it’s not without sacrifice. Her advice to anyone contemplating a start-up is simple:
“Make sure you’re fully prepared – you need to be passionate, tenacious and resilient. A healthy dose of strong work ethic and an appetite for risk helps too.”