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Finder co-founder Fred Schebesta worth $214million reveals his secrets to success

A self-made entrepreneur with an estimated net worth of $214million has revealed the mistakes to avoid for business success.

Fred Schebesta, a co-founder of financial comparison website Finder, last year made The Australian Financial Review's Young Rich List, with a rank of 26 - with his wealth climbing from $193million in 2019 to $214million in 2020 despite the Covid crisis.

The 39-year-old chief executive has gone from working in a Pizza Hut call centre as a university student to running a business employing 450 staff in 80 countries. 

To succeed, the Macquarie University Bachelor of Finance graduate has urged would-be entrepreneurs to avoid over borrowing or chasing funding to grow a business, despite interest rates being at a record low.

A self-made entrepreneur with an estimated net worth of $214million has revealed the mistakes to avoid for business success. Fred Schebesta, a co-founder of financial comparison website Finder, last year made The Australian Financial Review's Young Rich List, with a rank of 26 - with his wealth climbing from $193million in 2019 to $214million in 2020 despite the Covid crisis

'Don't grow too fast. I believe in growing slowly,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

'There's a beauty in mastering quality, and taking care of your customers and your crew that can be compromised when companies grow too fast.'

More importantly, Mr Schebesta said delaying a good idea was often the key to failure.

'Don't put it off. If this is your goal for 2021 or something you've been wanting to try for a long time, don't put it off for another year,' he said.

'Don't live with regret. If you don't give it a go you will never know your true potential.'

Mr Schebesta and his schoolmate Frank Restuccia started a digital marketing business in 2001 called Freestyle Media.

They later sold that and set up Finder in 2006 which in 2012 evolved into a financial comparison site.  

To succeed, the Macquarie University Bachelor of Finance graduate has urged would-be entrepreneurs to avoid over borrowing to grow a business, despite interest rates being at a record low. More importantly, Mr Schebesta said delaying a good idea was often the key to failure

To succeed, he recommended at least learning from industry insiders and setting a deadline.

The six tips for a successful business

1. DON'T grow too fast or over borrow

2. DON'T delay a good idea

3. DON'T do it alone

4. DON'T chase funding 

5. DO be prepared to make sacrifices

6. DO have a vision statement 

'You need to fully commit to it. This doesn't mean dropping everything, quitting your job and investing your life savings all at once,' he said.

'It's about setting yourself a goal and committing some time to achieve it. 

'It might be to learn about an industry by reading a book, or talking to five industry experts, or doing some research. 

'Whatever it is, make sure you include a deadline, so you'll be more likely to achieve it.'

He also recommended getting help.

'Don't do it alone. Starting a business can feel lonely, especially if you're starting out on your own. But you don't need to do it alone,' Mr Schebesta said.

'Join community groups and forums, go to events, build relationships of people in your industry, and ask for help.'

For those needing help, Mr Schebesta is running an online course about formulating a vision document. 

'This is a key part of developing a business idea because it forces you to fully understand the product or service you want to create, and helps build the case to go ahead and take the next step,' he said.

To succeed, he recommended at least learning from industry insiders and setting a deadline

'This is the step where you will know if it's worth pursuing or not. 

'It's also my favourite part because it sets the vision for what you want to achieve, where you want this business to be in the future.'

Above all, success involves sacrifice and paying yourself very little, with Mr Schebesta and Mr Restuccia initially paying themselves just $1,500 a month - or $18,000 a year.

Mr  Restuccia had previously been on a $150,000 salary as a BNP Paribas investment accountant.

'It's not easy starting a business and it takes a lot of time and effort,' Mr Schebesta said.

'Before you start, think about what you are going to sacrifice today, to reap the rewards later. 

'I missed family celebrations, life events. I put everything into my business. I knew the sacrifice I wanted to make from the beginning.'

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