Simple rule behind Aussie’s $30m empire
When Aussie man Sabri Suby was young, he watched his single mum juggle three exhausting jobs to support her kids.
She would then return to the family's Byron Bay home only to start cooking healthy, homemade meals for him and his sister, and it taught him one crucial, lifelong lesson - something he dubs the "single mum work ethic".
It had a "profound impact", and as soon as he could, Mr Suby began taking on after-school jobs to help out, including his first role grinding peanut butter at a health food store for just $2.50 an hour.
"I also started busking at markets with my harmonica on the weekends trying to earn $80 to $100 to help with electricity bills or groceries - I gave all my money to my mum," he told news.com.au.
"Watching her work so hard had a profound effect on me and it has served me in life.
"You might have more connections or have grown up in a better area or with two parents, but one thing you can't take away from me is my work ethic."
Mr Suby got an after-school sales job at 16 and discovered a natural knack for it.
After finishing high school, he made a conscious decision not to go straight to uni, so he packed his bags and moved to London for two years, working in sales "door to door, face-to-face and over the phone".
Again, it was an industry he thrived in, and he decided to move back to Australia and study business marketing at RMIT.
He worked full time for a company selling Google AdWords and specialising in online marketing and search engine optimisation to support himself as he studied, making a near-minimum wage base salary and earning sales commissions on top.
However, he was "not living a lavish lifestyle by any means" and the wage was "just enough to survive" - so at 21, he started his own business after realising he could do things better.
It made more than a million dollars in revenue, and Mr Suby went on to launch a string of other businesses.
"Some failed, some did OK and some I sold," he explained.
Then, five years ago, he launched digital marketing company King Kong.
At the time he had just a "couple of hundred dollars in the bank" after experiencing years of business ups and downs and having just gotten married.
"I was at ground zero but I had made a commitment to this girl, so it was time to pony up and forge a real business career," he said.
"It was the moment I drew a line in the sand - I was literally wondering how I was going to pay rent, so I decided to go back to my roots, making 150 cold calls a day.
"I had no rich uncle, no venture capital or loans or savings, so I had to go out there and make it myself."
In the beginning, Mr Suby was working 18-hour days doing everything himself from running errands to cleaning the office and bookkeeping.
But then he stumbled upon a simple rule that changed everything.
It was the "80-20 rule" - also known as the Pareto principle.
"The principle is that 20 per cent of the input of anything will give you 80 per cent of the output - so 20 per cent of customers will give 80 per cent of profits, or 20 per cent of the roads in a city will carry 80 per cent of the traffic," he said.
"It wasn't until I sat down and had a real audit of my time that I realised what I was doing wasn't sustainable - so I asked myself, 'what are the things I'm doing that are actually moving the money needle and driving the business forward or making more revenue?' So I started to automate or delegate and take the grunt work out of the business."
That's when things truly "exploded".
"It was like a switch - once I made the conscious decision to spend all my time selling, within a couple of days, instead of getting one or two clients a week we were getting four to five. It doubled sales almost overnight," he said.
Today King Kong is valued at $30 million with a three-year growth rate of 314 per cent, has 65 staff members in its shiny new Melbourne office and attracts thousands of new clients each month.
Mr Suby, now a 34-year-old father of one, said it was a "humbling experience" to have gone from such a modest upbringing to become a multimillion-dollar success story.
"The opportunities we have in Australia are incredible - you can come from an unfortunate upbringing with just one parent working three jobs with no money, no private school and no cheque written for uni … and turn yourself into a multimillion-dollar success," he said.
"You can go out there with no resources from an unfortunate situation … but when people roll up their sleeves and get the job done it doesn't matter the colour of your skin, where you come from or who your parents are, it evens the playing field.
"Don't wait for somebody to tell you you're worthy of success, just get out there."
Mr Suby, whose first book, Sell Like Crazy, became a bestseller this year, said the secret to success came down to "working tirelessly" - but also working smart.
"Isolate the things you have to do to drive the business forward, and work like a dog on those things. Find the small hinges that swing the big doors," he said.
"One thing that is constant is that the hardest worker in the room will be a success, and my advice is you want to exercise your work ethic like a muscle - you won't make money without hard work."