Click Start Digital love celebrating successful business women, and Chyka Keebaugh certainly fits the bill. Each month our Founder will interview well known celebrities and business people to hear about their journey and business advice.
This month we sit down with Australian television personality Chyka Keebaugh.
Chyka and her husband, Bruce Keebaugh, founded The Big Group in 1990, a successful events and catering company in Melbourne. In 2014 Chyka joined the cast of The Real Housewives of Melbourne and left the show in 2016 to pursue other interests. In 2015 she launched her website chyka.com, an online home and lifestyle magazine and opened a new event space, The Glasshouse.
Read the interview below to find out more about Chykas journey…
1. What was your first job out of school?
My first job after leaving school was at The French Bakehouse. I started every morning at 6 am and did everything to help the baker who had started at 2 am. I learnt so much in this job as I knew I wanted to be in the food industry and this was a great introduction.
2. Even though you’re remarkably successful, do you still find yourself seeking mentorship or business advice from others?
Absolutely… I don’t think you ever stop learning and asking questions. We have made lots of mistakes in our 28 years of business and everyone of those bumps has given us the opportunity to learn and grow and to never make the same mistakes again. Talking to someone who has been on the same journey can sometimes just make you feel that it’s ok to feel the way you do or maybe spin a problem another way.
3. Who is your business hero?
My business hero has more to do with her creativity than her business… but I have always admired Martha Stewart. I have always loved her style and the way she made everything look beautiful . When I started The Design Depot, there really was no one in Australia doing the beautiful and creative work that Martha was. I use to race down to the news agency every month to get her magazine as only a few came here and I never wanted to miss out; I poured over the pages for ideas and inspiration.
4. How we bounce back from our set-backs and failures is often thought as critical to success. What is your advice for new entrepreneurs starting out and facing tough set-backs, and do you have any particularly memorable experiences that have come from failures?
It’s interesting that in this day and age, most savvy young businesses want a mentor to help them on the road. I love helping and have chatted to many young start ups, however most feel that because they are being mentored they won’t have any dramas or problems. I think you need the dramas and problems to keep you on track, to remind you of what the dream is and to learn from them.
I always say it’s ok to make a mistake, just never to repeat it again. We have made plenty of mistakes along the way and most of them were financial. This is a hard one because if you haven’t the money coming in, it’s hard to keep going, but there were many weeks that we didn’t get paid a wage so we could keep going. I think it’s important after every problem to stop and reflect what happened. Don’t be embarrassed to talk about it and put systems into place so it won’t happen again.
5. What business advice would you give to your younger self if you were to do it all over again?
Well that’s a hard one as I would be here for days. I suppose that it’s ok to be kind to yourself and not to beat yourself up over the smallest thing. I found I was exhausted and tired all the time and never felt I had any ‘me’ time. I think I would have made sure that at least going to the gym never dropped out of my calendar as I always wanted to fit in around
others so let go of the things I had planned for me.
Make the most of every opportunity and remember being passionate about what you do makes it feel like you are never at work!!