Dream, Hustle, Repeat
Kaylene Langford is a young entrepreneur who used the skills she developed in a soul-sucking corporate job to create the life of her dreams and in turn help others do the same. We sit down with the globe-trotting founder of StartUp Creative to hear her inspiring story.
In April of 2014, Kaylene Langford stuck a handwritten note on her bedroom wall that read, ‘By 30 August, I will have left my job’.
What started as a passionate career in youth work, turned into a hamster-wheel corporate job, ridden with red tape, unnecessary meetings and a several-hour commute from the Gold Coast to Brisbane every day.
Growing up on the Sunshine Coast and being surrounded by a family dedicated to charity work, Kaylene developed a passion for helping kids and got into youth work shortly after leaving school.
My passion is mentoring. I really liked working with kids at-risk and helping disadvantaged kids. There’s so much power in just being mates with them, helping them be kids,” she says.
In the beginning of her career, Kaylene kicked a lot of goals and created programs for St Vincent De Paul and schools across Queensland and was awarded Young Volunteer of the Year for her efforts.
The award gained Kaylene a lot of attention and she was able to move into a corporate role writing similar programs for the Queensland Government. What seemed like a dream job on paper became the catalyst for a serious health scare.
“I was fed up in my job and waking up with really bad headaches. I went to the doctor, got sent for scans on my brain – I thought I was dying!” she says.
Kaylene found out the headaches weren’t linked to a life threatening illness, but stress. And while the diagnosis wasn’t critical, it meant she had to take a good hard look at her situation. Seeking answers, she picked up a book titled Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and was inspired to make a massive change.
“The first thing that came to mind was the award that I won. Setting up a program, branding it, funding it, scaling it, recruiting for it – that’s how you run a business. What I’m good at is having a concept and an idea and figuring out how to bring it to life,” she says.
“So I literally sat down and wrote a course called How to Turn Your Passion into a Business.”
On 22 August, eight days before her deadline, Kaylene left her corporate job to begin her business, StartUp Creative, using the skills she had developed writing programs to help other young people start their own businesses.
She began pitching a six-week course which was picked up by big institutions like Brisbane City Council and USQ. But she still found herself jumping through hoops in a corporate environment, when all she wanted to do was help people. One day when having dinner at a pizza restaurant, she had a lightbulb moment.
“I was in this restaurant and I thought the owner was so lucky, he was going straight to his customer and showing them his great pizza. And I realised I could do that too,” she says.
So she immediately stopped pitching to third parties and went directly to the people she wanted to help.
StartUp Creative gained momentum and is now a platform for young entrepreneurs who want to get their ideas off the ground. Through a magazine, e-courses, one-on-one coaching, an e-book and workshops, Kaylene has developed a successful business with a fundamental goal to help others.
Moving from the corporate world to self-employment is never easy and Kaylene admits she’s still ‘hustling’ to make it work.
“I’m a startup, I’m still in the trenches. I’ll always try to relate to other people starting out,” she says.
There have been days when it was tricky to get $3.50 together to pay for a coffee, but she’s happier than ever and is designing the life of her dreams.
A lot of the successful people are the ones that are doing it for a deeper purpose. Yes, I deliver business coaching and workshops and a magazine, but what I’m really on this planet to do is free people from jobs that they hate. That’s my purpose.”
Kaylene is now living the life of her dreams and has since taken StartUp Creative to New York. She plans to take it to new corners of the globe in 2018, but still calls the Sunshine Coast home and regularly returns to see family and friends.
“There’s definitely a changing vibe on the Sunshine Coast. There is opportunity for young families and new businesses,” she says.
Kaylene hopes to see more people like her pursuing their dreams right here on the Coast.
“Councils need to develop initiatives to help people get in the game. But it’s also up to you to persist and hustle. You should also go to events and support other creatives and young business owners.”
With a weekly podcast and the fifth issue of her magazine now on shelves, Kaylene continues to be the source of so much inspiration for young entrepreneurs wanting to live the life they’ve always dreamt of.