Entrepreneur Q&A: Stefan Martinovic

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Stefan Martinovic is the Founder & CEO of Create, a real estate data platform for investors and the building industry. He joins us for the latest Entrepreneur Q&A. Don’t have time to listen? You can read the full transcript below:

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Breaking Biz:

What was your first ever business idea?

Stefan Martinovic:

I think it was selling ice cream off my bicycle when I was five years old. I was taking popsicles out of my Mum’s freezer which she didn’t appreciate too much, riding around the neighbourhood and selling them at a mark up.

 

BB:

Why did you decide to start your own business?

SM:

I didn’t really set out to do it, it was one of those things where I was working and had a problem that needed to have solved in a more efficient way and there was really no solution out there so I built something out of necessity to make sure I could do my 9-5 job more efficiently.

 

BB:

How do you identify a real business opportunity?

SM:

Talking to enough people and having them not call you completely crazy in order to get some traction or validity behind it. If I thought it was a good idea or some of my partners thought it was a good idea that was one thing, but once we actually started talking to people in the outside world and people that conceivably would be customers or users, and they all thought it sounded as good as we did.. then we knew we were onto something.

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BB:

What skill or ability is most important for an entrepreneur and why?

SM:

I think it’s stubbornness and relentlessness really. This is the kind of role where you’re going to get knocked down a lot. It’s all about how you get back up and keep at it. I faced a lot of failure in my first couple of years trying to get my business off the ground and it was really just persistence that led to us continuing to be around and realising some early success.

 

BB:

You know someone who wants to start a business but fears leaving their job. What do you say to them?

SM:

Throw caution to the wind. I took a huge risk and made some mistakes in the past but I took a leap of faith and had to hope that everything was going to work out. I was in a position where I left my job without knowing where my next pay cheque was going to come from and how long it would take to get there, and it certainly took a lot longer than I initially thought but it gave me a lot of character and I would say gave me a lot of perspective on how the world works.

 

BB:

Are there people who start a business for the wrong reasons?

SM:

I think so, particularly nowadays with a lot of big dollars around technology and the reputation that surrounds that. I really think the best products and the best businesses are a result of either necessity, that someone who is a user of the product knows there has to be a better way or someone who can bring together a product or service that really provides a benefit to the world without considering what kind of economic return they’re going to make.

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BB:

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned?

SM:

I think persistence. And early impressions of people are not always what they seem. I had a preconceived notion of how the venture capital world worked and how the internet, technology and real estate worked. Nonetheless after two or three years of having been at this I’ve noticed that all my initial thoughts were completely wrong and I’ve learnt an incredible amount about the world and how all these pieces really interact with one another on a day to day.

 

BB:

Can you recommend any books or resources that helped you along the way?

SM:

Ben Horowitz’ ‘The Hard Thing About Hard Things’ and I just finished Peter Thiel’s book ‘Zero To One’ . Those were a couple of books that really resonated with me being an entrepreneur and embarking on this adventure.

 

 

 BB:

What’s the best part of your job?

SM:

Getting to come to work with some of my friends every day. It doesn’t really feel like work ,and I know that some of my friends and my girlfriend are probably not too happy about it (laughs) but it seems that every time I get an idea and whether it’s morning, noon or night I always try to chase it down and nothing I ever do seems like a job, and that’s really the greatest reward for me.

 

BB:

What’s your biggest fear?

SM:

Failure. And my way to avert that is never to quit until your successful. That’s the mindset that I’ve taken on.

 

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