Business Success Stories: How this entrepreneur started from a garage
Business success stories are ones we eagerly read, hoping to learn about their journey to success. Especially when deciding to start a new business, gaining business tips and inspiration, motivates us, so that we too can be bold and brave, prompting us to act. I recently had the opportunity to interview the founder and principal solicitor at a Sydney law firm.
Like many female entrepreneurs, I was interested to learn how this savvy business woman had the gumption to start her own business.
Sionea Breust of SCB Legal was selected as a finalist for this year’s outstanding business person of the year award. The law firm was also honoured by receiving a finalist nomination for this year’s local business awards.
These achievements coupled with the fact that she single handedly grew the company from a virtual office in her sister’s garage to a successful legal firm with a team of 5, really intrigued me. I should add that she accomplished this by the age of 27 and in less than 3 years!
Inspirational Success Stories Motivate Female Entrepreneurs
As business women, with aspirations to create our own businesses, this inspiring success story presented a unique opportunity. Many questions piqued my interest. For example, how did she achieve this success and in such a short period of time? Was the company ethos and its idealistic values a contributing factor to the community’s support? What advice could she offer to other women considering taking the leap and beginning their own businesses?
The valuable insights gained, even prompted Ms Breust to dedicate a section of the law firm’s website to new business development. To learn more about the exciting, yet often challenging process, visit the SCB Legal New Business page, so that you can be best prepared.
Starting a business from the ground up is no mean feat and the interview reflects some of the questions we all wish we could ask.
Despite advancements regarding the representation of smart business women compared to our male counterparts, the fact remains that women face certain challenges that male entrepreneurs do not. Many argue that female entrepreneurs have a far more difficult path establishing a new business. What better way to understand some of the challenges than to speak with an impassioned woman who is paving the way for many young women.
This proud Aboriginal woman began the 100% Aboriginally owned legal firm seeking to challenge the status quo. The company was founded on the belief that all people irrespective of their nationality, race, religion, gender, sexual preference, age or financial standing deserve the best legal representation. It’s Ms Breust’s commitment to championing the rights of all people that makes this success story even more inspiring.
Q&A with Sionea Bruest about her Business Success
What prompted you to start your own business?
I had always dreamed of running my own law firm but wanted to gain enough experience prior to doing so. I wanted to have the luxury of helping as many people as I want, for as little to no price as I like without being dictated to about the need to charge significant fees.
Can you describe the emotions you felt making this leap from employee to founder of a law firm
I was extremely nervous and excited at the same time. My nerves definitely overtook any feelings of excitement, as there were no guarantees that I would earn an income.
What was the greatest challenge you experienced starting your own company?
I did not initially have the funds to start up my own firm and couldn’t afford the costs associated with a physical office and staff members. However, I managed with what I had and worked from home, meeting clients at the court or conducting telephone conferences.
There are many law firms in Sydney. Were you scared how the business would succeed given the high level of competition?
I was extremely scared. I began with only a virtual office in the city and working out of my sister’s garage.
What advice would you give female entrepreneurs looking at starting their own business?
Just do it! When I speak with other female colleagues, regardless of their age, their biggest fear is failing. There is always the possibility but there is also a huge possibility of success. The way I look at it is that the worst that can happen is that you do not succeed. You can always obtain another job, so realistically there is not much to lose. If you fail, you just get up and try again. The biggest failure of all, is the regret of not trying. We have a lot more to give and to offer than some of us realise and it would be an absolute waste not to use it. The one thing I would emphasise though, is ensuring that you have a plan in place in terms of how the business will be structured, how it will be marketed, your audience, finances etc. prior to making the fantastic leap!
As a woman, have you encountered any obstacles?
To this day, I find that as a woman, other practitioners who are either male and/or much older than myself, seek to intimidate and patronise me.
You’ve been in business for just under 3 years and yet you’ve already been honoured with the finalist nomination for outstanding business person of the year. What has this nomination meant to you?
It is such an honour to have been nominated as a finalist. It was entirely unexpected. The emotions I felt when receiving notification are unexplainable. I am overwhelmed by the recognition especially because I love my everything about my job, I love giving back to my community and I love leading and working with a great team that shares my same goals.
SCB Legal has been nominated as a finalist for best local business. Can you describe the company’s journey from its inception to this great honour.
SCB Legal began with just me. I had a virtual office in Sydney and worked out of my sister’s garage. My sister managed the administrative side and I focused on the legal side. To my complete amazement and incredible gratitude, I was inundated with clients after only a month. Clients followed me from my previous law firm and people graciously recommended me by word of mouth, which meant that I needed more staff. By early 2017, I leased an office in Penrith and soon after, I had 3 solicitors and 2 support staff. We have had students work at our office and have provided training to post-university students needing to complete their practical legal training.
What’s one of the most difficult things being a female entrepreneur?
Definitely trying to manage my personal and professional life. There are a lot of people who need assistance at all times of the night, so I have not had much of a personal life. It’s difficult trying to even consider a family and I marvel at working mums who somehow manage to do it all. I really don’t know how they do it.
Where do you see the company in 5 years time?
We have continued to grow at such a rapid rate. I hope that in 5 years time, we will have more than one office, to be closer to our clients and service a larger area.
To what do you attribute the success of SCB Legal?
The stress, the tears, the laughs, the hard work and drive of all of our staff and the support of our community.
Despite being so busy you still manage to do a lot of community outreach with the Aboriginal community. What prompted you to prioritise this?
Legal Aid and the Law Society refer Aboriginal clients in need of legal assistance, which we happily assist. We are currently in the process of forming a partnership with the Aboriginal Medical Services, so we can provide ongoing and free legal advice to Aboriginal persons needing advice and assistance.
An area of great importance to me personally, is helping victims of domestic violence. We recently partnered with The Haven to conduct legal workshops for victims of domestic violence and offer one-on-one free advice sessions as well as representation if necessary.
New business guide to achieve success
When starting a new business, there are many factors to consider. From legal entities, a business name to a sound business plan, proper planning is required. If you’re considering establishing your own business, the following provides a valuable start your business checklist. Success in business, particularly when establishing a new company, requires preparation and adequate research and development. The starting a business guide helps you plan for your company’s success.
Image Credits: SCB Legal Sydney Law Firm