Greg Tingle, Director, Media Man Australia - 12th
(Interview by Denise Anne McGrath, RMIT)
What was your background?
My background was varied you could say. Definitely
blue collar. Dad was a miner and truck driver,
who went on to become a property developer and
transport company owner. Mum looked after things
on the home front and was a talented artist and
poet who even taught in schools. Dad was on the
road a lot and I learned to become self sufficient,
responsible, disciplined and strong at a young
age. My late father was a fantastic role model,
as so was his dad. Hard work and the entrepreneurial
spirit is in the family.
When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
2000, when working for Telstra and volunteering
at the Olympic Games in Sydney. I saw other people
at Telstra get promoted into more exciting business
arms of the company and I put my hand up for the
Olympics (technology volunteer) as was accepted.
I then started "mucking around" (learning)
the internet and internet business in my home
garage, and I had a vision. I realised there was
a business to be made involving media, sports,
entertainment and the internet. I started with
beach news, pro wrestling news, internet news
and just kept expanding and learning. That was
8 years ago! Now I'm a publicist, media entrepreneur,
talent manager and qualified journalist who has
also got to do business with some of Australia's
the the world's best businesses and meet and deal
with some truly amazing people.
What motivated you to start
had a strong passion for internet, entertainment
and media. I basically gave myself a promotion
from Telstra. In addition, my ex marriage was
coming to a conclusion and I had lost about half
a million bucks all told. I decided to do something
for myself (for a change). I also enrolled in
TAFE - News Media and Journalism Certificate III,
blitzed it, got published on the front page of
the local paper, and I was away! I saw I could
potentially make a lot of money in this type of
business. It's not an easy way to make a dollar,
but largely it's enjoyable. I had more challenges
on a financial and personal front than I'm prepared
to document on this occasion, however I've overcome
the challenges and I'm kicking some big goals.
What are your values in business in relation to
employees, partners, debt etc?
and honesty is a very big thing with me. In addition,
I will basically only deal with people and businesses
which I like. Life is too short. I treat my business
associates with respect. Teamwork, hard work and
people power get the job done. Some of the best
businesses I have collaborated with over the years
include Messages On Hold, Virgin Enterprises Limited
(especially Virgin Games, Virgin Unite and Virgin
Blue), Markson Sparks! and ROC Presents. Many
business people find themselves in debt in the
life of a business. Debt is a normal thing in
business. Cash flow and performance are more important
What resources did you have
when you started? What networks did you have?
Were there any creative methods you used to come
up with the needed resources?
I had the desire, work ethic, a computer, basic
knowledge and some very good community and business
connections. I also obtained more credentials
at TAFE and NEIS (New Enterprise Incentive Scheme
- Department of State and Regional Development).
I know a computer genius of sorts who helped me
with the right software, technical support and
just giving me there thoughts on any number of
matters that arose. I think you need a few people
around you how you can really trust and depend
on, because life is full of people who will let
you down. One needs to be reliable and strong
to stay in business.
Did you feel prepared to start the venture when
you did and what risks did you take?
was as well prepared as possible. Sometimes in
life or business, there is no perfect time. There
is just a time, a time to take action! I risked
walking away from the comfort zone of a normal
job with decent working conditions, high salary,
basically knowing what each day, week and month
had in store. I had to trust my instinct, and
trust a few friends and associates. One needs
to take calculated risks, but not risk too much,
or all can be lost.
How would you describe yourself?
E.g. ambitious, passionate, driven etc.
All of those and very strong with a desire to
give back to the world. The media allows me to
help a lot of people at the same time. Have a
look at our social and community entrepreneurs
and charity profiles on our company website. I
love to help people, but also remembering that
one needs to help themselves first, to allow a
way to help others. It's taken me a few years,
but I've come up with a formula to help a lot
of people in the world, all at once. Staying motivated
can be a challenge at times, but its so important
to focus on the positives, and to also do some
forward planning. Fortunately, I like people,
most of the time. This is a people business.
What was your typical work day like when you began
the venture and has that changed as the venture
the years the amount of phone calls, emails, website
hits and interviews (face to face and otherwise)
has increased a lot. So have the hours needed.
I've also worked out a way to make things more
automated, so I don't have to work as hard (but
still get the same if not better results). The
internet landscape has changed alot, where internet
business is not mainstream and there's less hype
involved. News media is everywhere on the web,
as is talent management, the latest, greatest
thing, and everything else. It's a jungle out
there, but one needs to sort through all the information
and make it relevant.
Did you make assumptions
that turned out to be wrong? What did you learn
– key mistakes (if any) and key learning
thought I would become a millionaire from this
type of business within 3 years. I was wrong.
I also burnt through more money to create it than
what I had anticipated. I was too trusting of
people I didn't know that well at first. These
days I am very cautious with who and what I deal
with. I am very security minded, and I don't take
unnecessary risks, and of course I trust my gut
instinct. I since learnt that Sir Richard Branson
trusts his gut instinct also, so I was pretty
happy about learning that.
Did the venture ever come close to failure and
if so how did you respond?
really, I just put in on hold a few times, but
my strength and strong desire to succeed kept
me going. A few years ago I attracted a crazy
stalker, who I understand later went to jail,
and I'm glad to report that I helped put her there.
She was a criminal and wanted publicity at any
cost, even as far as telling lies, *ullshitting
the media and publicly attacking people who didn't
deserve to be attacked. We all live and learn.
I turned that negative into a positive, and I
will include more details of the story in my book
when I realise it in a year or two - 'From Newport
Boy To Media Man'. When you make good friends
and associates in life, treasure them with your
heart. You never know when you will need a friend,
in life or in business.
They say hindsight is a wonderful thing –
in hindsight would you have done anything differently?
Do you have an exit strategy? What are your future
plans and finally what advice would you give anyone
starting a business/venture?
would have exercised more caution early in the
peace with who and what I got associated with.
There are a few questionable types in and around
the entertainment and media world. Still, its
all part of the journey. I turned some negatives
into positives, like for example a conman in the
television business, where I was interviewed about
the TV and publicity business on national television
and came out looking great and gained a lot of
respect (and coverage) and the stalker situation,
which got me in a position to deal with some very
high level individuals at the likes of Google,
Yahoo!, Virgin Enterprises Limited, News Limited,
Fairfax, The Australian, the ABC and even The
New York Times and Australian High Tech Crime
Centre. I've got an exit strategy of sorts, which
continues to evolve. I also have lots of backups,
and plans B and C, if plan A doesn't work out.
Overall, I am extremely happy and satisfied with
my successes in life and business, especially
considering the huge challenges and insurmountable
odds I have overcome. I plan on expanding my business
venture, start some other business, and partnering
up with some other ones, especially in the eco
business, eco tourism, travel, gaming and aviation
sector. I believe to always look to cast the net
wider and see what type of businesses are growing.
I pay very close attention to what's happening
at Google, Virgin, Markson Sparks!, the Department
of Environment, ROC Presents, News Limited and
Fairfax. Keeping your finger on the pulse, adapting
to change and listening to good advise is key.
Hard work, smart work and trusting your instinct
can pay huge dividends. Always strive to do your
best, and also take some time out to smell the
roses. Find some good role models. Know who your
real friends are. Maintain some sort of work /
life balance, and stay focused, and that's a great
started to getting a new business venture off