"It's pure adrenaline." ... Stormchasing.

"It's pure adrenaline." ... Stormchasing.

Serial entrepreneur Vincent Teubler, 47, embodies the saying “expect the unexpected”. Teubler’s “résumé” spans the spectrum. Sparkling highlights include television wildlife presenter, surfboard designer and documentary maker. His documentary production firm is developing two films. One, In the Path of Monsters, addresses global warming-caused extreme storms; the other, Megadiversity, takes the viewer on “a global wildlife quest”.

Teubler is also responsible for a string of recruitment firms developed between 1994 and 2007, including TRA Australia and Payworks, which merged into a 100-million revenue recruitment giant.

After selling the venture, Teubler focused on establishing a range of “personal interest ventures”. Think a budding iPhone app concept builder, an “education-focused” virtual world called Gogofrog, and an ink-and-toner franchise, Inkspot Franchising.

"If your partners have skeletons in the closet, walk away, because nobody overstates their 'skeleton'" ... Vincent Teubler.

"If your partners have skeletons in the closet, walk away, because nobody overstates their 'skeleton'" ... Vincent Teubler.

With his wife and two teenage daughters, Teubler lives in Beaumaris, Melbourne. The Bransonian entrepreneur finds time to storm-chase, skateboard and sailboard. Here, Teubler explains his secrets.

Have you made an awful lot of money from your colourful career?

It varies.

With every spectacular rise, there's usually at least one spectacular fall. Not everything works.
Entrepreneurialism is all about taking risks, so some things just are tremendously unsuccessful. That's stating the bloody obvious, I guess.

So what are you worth?

It's in the millions. But most of it's tied up in assets, so - short of actually selling assets - I'm worth absolutely nothing.

What's the toughest business lesson you've learned?

Due diligence… My number one lesson to anyone would be that, if there's an amalgamation - if you're partnering with people - do your due diligence. And do it thoroughly.

What hours do you work?

If you assume that “think time”, where you're sitting there constructing concepts is part of the role of developing a business, then, oh God. I literally don't go to bed much before 1 o'clock in the morning.

And I do have a tendency to get up at 2.30 and scribble ideas and go back to bed. I'm probably putting in a 15-16 hour day, most days.

But when it's time to switch off, I switch off completely. If I set aside days at the weekend to do things with family, that's it. Nothing gets through. There's no emails. No nothing. The phone gets switched off and left behind.

And you've got to have that balance, otherwise, well, you're a lonely entrepreneur anyway.

How do you keep your energy up? You sound slightly manic.

You're absolutely right. I don't know. Sugar. Sugar, coffee. None of the above. I don't know.
I think I have more energy now than I did when I was younger. And I think it's about growing old disgracefully or having seen so many people in the recruitment space that had got to 40/45.

They'd tried maybe a business or two. Whether they were successful or not, they were just tired - they were sort of ready to retire. It's like: “Oh, good god. You're likely to live for another 45 years - are you really switching off now?”

So, I do push myself very hard to keep my energy levels up. Because most of my ideas I enjoy doing, I want to make sure they all come to fruition.

So you simply choose to push yourself harder?

Correct. And there is an element of staying healthy in that process.

You start with getting up in the morning and drink a raw lemon effectively with hot water, and get the digestive system going and then do some exercise.

As in running and walking?

Exercise as in doing laps in the pool, or going for a quick paddle in the bay.

Otherwise, every evening I will be either rollerblading or skateboarding or going off kite-surfing, or whatever it takes to make sure I'm at least engaging my body and keeping myself fit. That does help keep the energy up, too.

One more quick question: storm-chasing - what's the attraction?

I guess it's the same rush as an entrepreneur gets. It's pure adrenaline.

To give you one example, we tend to drag people kicking and screaming to places like Kakadu, which is a lovely storm corridor at certain times of the year. You get massive super-cell electrical storms there.

And you have every hair on your body standing up because, effectively, the ground is electrified. And there's lightning flashes so frequent that you actually can't keep up with them. The thunder's a constant roar. The lightning cracking is almost continuous.

The adrenaline rush is, I guess, right up there with getting a successful business across the line.

Vincent Teubler’s top five business secrets

1. Write a business plan.

It doesn't need to be 100 pages with 1000 pages of spreadsheets attached. It does have to cover all the basics: how you are going to make money, when, what it will cost, how you will go to market and what could stop you. If you do not write it, then that day that you accidentally bump into a potential investor and they ask you one simple question about the costs or your revenue model and you blow it, you will feel ridiculous and your one shot might be blown.

2. If your idea involves partners or buying a company then do due diligence.

If your partners have skeletons in the closet, walk away, because nobody overstates their “skeletons”. The "I had some issues with a previous partner” line might well mean "I ripped my previous partner off 2 million bucks and we are still in court over it". Find “clean” partners. It might take you longer, but it might also save your house.

3. Take risks.

There is no risk free way of starting a venture. Whether it is putting up your dollars or staking your reputation, at some point you have to do it. Working for five years on your idea to try and bring it to life without any risk will not work. If it is worth doing and you have done your homework, then man-up and take the risk.

The true heroes of entrepreneurialism are not the folks who have made it but the hundreds that paved the way by trying and failing. Be prepared to fail. You are a “hero” for trying.

4. Listen to critics.

If a bank does not want to lend you money or a partner has a problem with the structure, or your father simply thinks that nobody over 50 will buy your dud product idea, they just might be right. Address what they are saying and ask them how to overcome their reservations.

5. Persevere.

You may think that Google should buy your cool idea on day-one.

Remember: that is more likely to happen once your business is “roaringly successful”.

The same applies to banks, venture capitalists and potential partners.

Most will want to see your business thrive before investing time and money. So ensure you have the time and energy and belief to “stick it through”.

For every Facebook, hundreds of companies took decades to become huge successes.

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