Rob: So Jack Bloomfield from Disputify and founder of the Bloomfield Group, really nice to chat to you today.
Jack: Thank you, mate, it's a pleasure to be here.
Rob: So for those of you, those listening who haven't heard of you, you're now an 18 year old entrepreneur. But you made a bit of a media splash being like a self-made teenage millionaire and driving your BMW to school. And, like, that's the flashy side that they talk about. But what was the reality of that?
Jack: Well, interesting. I mean, yeah, when you're one of the only kids with a European car at school, it's pretty cool. Look, for me, it was kind of a dream come true. I'm just personally, you know, growing up and always, I went to a great school here in Brisbane. So, yeah, you get kids every day whose parents buy the nice and flashy cars. And for me, growing up, mum and dad, it's always been of the opinion that if you want anything in life, you've got to go for it. Whether it's a phone or whether it's a car. Either one, even a phone plan. You've got to go work for it yourself. So for me, it was less of a oh, look what look what I'm doing. Oh, look what. Look what I've got for me, which is kind of like a checkbox, a win for me personally. And for me, that was pretty cool.
Rob: That's cool. That's really cool. And so did you. Obviously, you started your first business, which I think is next gifts when you we're about age 12. Is that right?
Jack: Yes, that's correct. So um the first official was at 12. But look, I've always been very entrepreneurial minded and just kind of wired that way. The earliest video I've got of me doing anything business like is at eight years old. You've probably seen my Instagram. You've probably seen it, me in Dad's office chair I'm in a suit and tie literally five minutes before that interview. I remember vividly walking in and going, Dad, can you please interview me about this business I want to start? He sat there and went oh really, oh ok fine. So I went and did got my suit and tie and got the banner behind me. I went and charged up the cam recorder one of those flip ones. It's got the screen that comes out the side. We remember those and sat down and did the interview. I was going to allegedly I was going to have four employees on three trucks, four planes, my main competitors for the shipping business was Toll, Linfox, TMAC, gonna make 400 dollars a year in profit. But it was a serious like very, very, very seriously. I still got the website today, I can find it. So it's it's just it was nuts letting anyone at the time. And for me, even looking back now, I just shake my head, go, oh, my gosh. But at the time, it just seems seemed, normal, and it didn't seem like anything unusual.
Rob: I mean, I've seen you talk about your parents and their business and how they don't necessarily understand quite what it is that you do now, which does happen through generations, that's that's pretty standard. But how important was that support and even just seeing them behave as business people when, you know, you were really young and just observing.
Jack: So probably more importantly, the second thing you said there, which was just being around them observing. Yeah, you've probably heard that mum and dad started a business like 18, 19 years ago now. My dad used to be an accountant. Mum used to be a flight attendant. Dad was doing really well at his job and so was mum. But they were getting bored, especially dad. He said, I want to try something different. Mum was like alright just give it a shot. They sold the house. They sold every single thing they had. And I went and bought a small little tennis centre on the outskirts of Brisbane. So Everton Park. And, yeah, it just went from there. Look, they started from absolutely nothing. Couldn't afford to pay anyone to work in the shop. So Dad to be in there. Thirteen, fourteen, fifteen hours a day. Especially because you've got a lot of people who will play tennis at night, some social tennis all that sort of stuff. And he'd have to be there every single time someone checked in. So if we were having dinner and someone was downstairs trying to check in for a court, means he's got to get up, he's got to leave dinner and he's got to go down and serve them, come back up and continue eating.
Jack: So, look, looking back on it now. Yeah, it was quite intense, the work they put in to get this thing to where it is today. But the attitude that I took off it is the basic thing is to start anything, whether it's a business or whether it's just any sort of project. It's going to be hard, going to take a lot of effort. It's going to take sacrifice. And for me, seeing that at a young age, not specifically being told that's what it took cause no parent tells their child that, but just seeing it. And for me to start anything, it was kind of like, well, I want to start a business. But the other side that no one talks about in terms of the hard work and the grind and the grunt and being able to do things a lot of people aren't willing to do. That was in built for me from a very, very young age. Just being around that sort of environment.
Rob: It's an interesting sort of skill to build and an interesting perception that you've developed there of what your parents are doing, because we do see young entrepreneurial ads and things, you know, get rich quick and not have to do any work. And and, you know, the money would just just print itself. Like, how different has your experience been to that sort of idolised mindset of a young entrepreneur?
Jack: Look for me. Look, I can't honestly say that what I've had to do to get to where I am today has involved me, you know, like and I just like I I think I think a lot of people when they think about starting a business and it's kind of hard for me to put it into words. They think that there's this level of this grind and this hustle. Yes. There's all that stuff. And I could not agree more. And that's so important. Guys like Gary Vee, are very good at promoting that. A lot of other entrepreneurial people who are on YouTube and Instagram promoting the grind and the hustle. And that's fantastic. But for me, the biggest thing that I guess kind of stood me apart from everyone else. So maybe anyone else who started when I did was probably longevity. And I think that it was not doing it and giving up six weeks later or not doing it and thinking that, oh, I can become a success in six months and if I don't become a success in six months, then something's not working for me. There was this yeah. There was always this deep love and this deep passion for what I was doing.
Jack: And the idea of success. Yeah. Was always there. Everyone kind of wants to be successful in what they do, whether they like it or not. But I was there to stick it out for the long run and things didn't work out for me for a very long time. There was so many nights I was sitting there scratching my head going, what the hell am I doing? This is never gonna work. There was a lot of self-doubt, just like everyone. No one seems to talk about that. So, yeah. For me, it was in terms of the rosy picture of entrepreneurship how things are meant to work instantly. It certainly wasn't that way. But at the same time, too, it wasn't you know it wasn't me day in day out grinding and hustling and scratching my head and, you know, banging my head against a wall. Yeah, there was some of that sometimes. But I think a lot of people you're either on one end of the spectrum or the other end of the spectrum. And it was kind of in the middle, which I think is the reality for a lot of business owners and entrepreneurs, to be honest, if they do it the right way.
Rob: And so I suppose there's a real balance there to strike between persistence and working smart, I suppose, in you know. How did you kind of define the difference between those?
Jack: Look, we actually well, one of the things was school, for example, you know, I started my first business at 12. So I can't remember exactly what grade that is now. Maybe five, maybe grade six or seven. Round there. Whatever it is, whether whatever grades irrelevant, it's school, for example. Kind of put me, you know I had school from eight thirty in the morning, three o'clock in the afternoon, and, you know, for longest time that we didn't have computers in school. So unlike the last couple of years of school like grade 10, 11 and 12 where I was able to work on this business. So businesses during class time starting out didn't really have that. So it was good because I couldn't do anything from eight thirty to three. So by the time I got home, I got very, very, very good at time managing. So being able to get home, do homework, manage social life with your parent, for example, to be able to talk to them and make sure they still feel that there's a there's a connection there. And then I have dinner as soon as quickly as you can and then get into work straight after dinner and continue to work until 9:00, 10 o'clock at night. So I found that was good because at the same time to you're not you're not trying to cram at all. You don't have seven days to just work on one thing for fifteen hours a day for seven days. You can burn out very quickly. So there was almost this natural buffer in between which at the time seemed like a huge, big downside on me. But actually, in hindsight, it kind of helped. But, you know, when you get to grade eleven and twelve and you've already got a computer there and a lot of kids and younger grades have got computers, they can do the business thing at school. There is some sort of still nice natural barrier where you are forced to participate in school. Sometimes, even if there is a computer there.
Rob: Yes, of course. And so, obviously, as you got your foundation in business and things progressed. If I'm not mistaken, you became where you found your success was around e-commerce and drop shipping. Can you riff on that a little bit, just in terms of, you know, the broad overview of what you achieved there?
Jack: Yeah, definitely. So, um, look, I started selling stuff online in terms of through drop shipping. At age of fifteen, had 500 bucks to start. I had run a couple of businesses before, so the one at 12. So selling gift cards online and one or two in between there. So I had a couple of hundred dollars that I'd saved, the rest of it I'd blown on stuff that no one actually needs but anyone thinks they do. So whatever you buy when you're 14, Nintendo's toys? Lots of the stuff. Yes. Apart from that started at 15. Took me six months to make a sale. The reason I started was I saw a guy on YouTube who was he was in the US. I think he was 21 or 22 at the time. I had no idea who it was, but just stumbled upon this video. He was talking about how much money he was making and how simple it was and meeting like a lot of other people saw, it was like, well, know this guy can do it. Why can't I? It seems so simple. I mean, how hard could it possibly be I've built websites before I've done marketing, how complex could it possibly be? Little did I know that it would take, you know, six months to even make a sale. You know, it was me for six months scratching my head, going oh my gosh, how do I do this properly? Trying to put all the bits together and trying to make it all work at the end of it. Finally did six months I was selling carbon fiber money clips, which is my first ever product made myself thirty dollars made absolutely none of the money back, especially when I didn't have anything to even invest in education. So it was just learning through YouTube videos and blogs and all that sort of stuff, and then started to piece it together. And yeah, they get well, I can make one sale, why not make two and then scaled up to three and four and five and really started to get my head around, you know what I was doing. This was twenty seventeen moving into twenty eighteen. Things started to really accelerate for me sort to really, really, really well with everything I was doing online. And then yeah that's kind of when the first inkling of me on the public scene kind of came out in June doing about three and a half thousand dollars a day, which the time was like, woop-de-do. Look at me. But at the same time, so no one knew what I was doing. I was very private with the whole thing. You know, I have a couple of really close friends and close family members at the same time, too.
Jack: And I liked it that way because, you know, as soon as you especially within Australia, as soon as you start telling people how well you're doing and what's been going on, even if you're not trying to directly spruik how good you are, what you're doing. It does. You know, there's some set. Some people will come back and they won't give the nicest responses. And I didn't really want to open myself up to that. So I kept it very lowkey I got the email from news.com.au, which was through a friend of a friend of a friend, agreed to do it. So I will maybe I'll end up on page four. Hopefully no one will see it and possibly give a good CV reference in the future if I if I ever need one anyway. So I agreed to do it. And from that it was really. Yeah. Not only did the business continue to grow, but in terms of me in a public scene it was essential we everything started there in terms of media and all that sort of stuff. So now it is an interesting period, but yeah, one that I'm really, really thankful for and a journey that was pretty cool.
Rob: So was there during that. Just before we get to the media side of things. Was there that period where it was really humming along, you know, three and a half thousand dollars a day is no mean feat for e-comm by any stretch. And was there anything there that really stood out as the key that, you know, was it was pivotal there that you didn't have six months prior when you were waiting for that second or third sale?
Jack: Look, I think it was probably being being resilient enough to be able to accept and learn from your own mistakes when you don't have money to spend on a mentor you got money to spend on any sort of education in anything. Not just e commerce. You've got to really make do with what you've got. And the first thing and the other thing you will do is make mistakes. And to some people, that might be super bad. You know, making mistakes typically seems like it's a poor thing to do, but actually not if you are making mistakes. It's called you. I said what I was doing is wrong. Doing templates. Templates and spreadsheets. Figuring out, well, what mistakes did I make? Why did I make those mistakes. How can I improve on it next time. And what was that? Next time? Going to be a had it all mapped out. So that was one thing that I really did change for me. It stopped me stuffing up twice on the same thing. So I just kind of keep improving over and over again, which it was was very, very, very helpful. When I didn't have I didn't have I had a very limited budget. I had no education behind me, was still trying to manage school, social relationships, all that sort of stuff at the same time. So I really had to make do with what I've gotten become pretty creative.
Rob: So it's really sort of a fine tuning and a like a retrospective, as opposed to stumbling on a absolute killer product that just ran itself out the door.
Jack: Yes. Oh, yes. So there was half of that, obviously. I mean, no matter how how good you are at learning from your mistakes or, you know, beginning becoming better at what you do if you don't have the right products or you don't have the right story, it still looks like it came out of nineteen seventy three. You're never going to do that well. So it was a combination of me learning more, but more importantly to improving what I what I was selling on, what I was selling, how I was marketing and all that sort of stuff. So it was all a gradual improvement and like with anyone, you get better over time.
Rob: Of course. And then obviously it's as you say, it started with news.com.au. And then sort of exploded in a media way and sort of kind of took on a bit of a life of its own in terms of you've shared a stage with Tony Robbins. Mark Bouris had a one on one with Gary Vee. You've keynote at a Ted X at Robina. Like, how much of a whirlwind was that process and how rapidly did that take hold?
Jack: A quite quite rapidly. Yeah, it was it in terms of being whirlwind. Yeah, definitely. It's not something that I've ever done before. Haven't known anyone who has done it before because means there was no one there for me to go ask or, seek mentorship in terms of how do I manage all this. When it first started to come out, I was quite nervous in terms of what people would think of other people's judgment all that sort of stuff. I didn't really know that kinda kind of how how to go about it all, but I was actually really relatively surprised, just the overwhelming positive response from just the general Australian public, terms of me, my story and what I'd never been called inspirational before in my life. It wasn't something that, you know, don't think many people have. And to just have someone call me that, like, just was unbelievable. And for me and what I didn't really understand through doing all this was that I started to get messages from kids and still 16 at the time, getting messages from other kids and getting messages, people who were slightly older saying, you know, you've inspired me to start this. You've inspired me to do this. You know, I've always had a fear of going out there and starting my own business and now seeing you has given me the confidence to do it like, yeah, that's something I didn't expect, did not even cross my mind, would encourage people to do so. As soon as it started, and realised that was the effect it was having for me. And like it was, I felt like I was making a difference. That's what I feel like I do every single day. So in terms of motivation, all that sort of stuff, that's what really keeps me going, knowing that what I'm doing has an impact on a larger scale and just think that's pretty cool internally.
Rob: And is that what sort of catalysed the evolution from, say, e commerce to your, like, education series and training programs?
Jack: Well, yes. So they were both kind of hand in hands, you know, the biggest the biggest reason why I even started doing any education training and all that sort of stuff was I had no intention to whatsoever. You don't really walk into starting a business and doing all this sort of stuff with the with the outcome of also running an education program on the side of it just doesn't really go hand-in-hand, typically. But through all the messages, you know, the ones that continually coming day in, day out that say, I want to know what you're doing. Great, Jack. That's fantastic. And well done. Like, they go, well, is there any way that I can learn what you do? Is there a way that you can teach me somehow? Is there a way you can mentor me every single day? And for me, it was hard because I'm the kind of person who would want to sit there and say, yes, every single person. And I know I do want to help you. You get messages or mothers who have lost everything. You get people from Malaysia who have immigrated to Australia and have nothing there and want to start a business. It's devastating. And you want to help every single one of them, but you can't. So that was kind of the thing. Well, if I can just put something together. Yeah. Some videos online in terms of how I do what I do and just start that. That's kind of where I go from. So then I just got run hand in hand at the same time.
Rob: And how do you navigate the waters between, as you say, getting getting everybody reach out, especially when such sudden media attention takes hold? How do you find that balance and navigate between finding the people that you can help and just having to say no? Ultimately, in some cases.
Jack: Yeah, it's a hard one and it's not really, you know, it's it's not something you really learn how to do over time, because to be honest, no one likes to say no. I certainly don't like to say no. You've you've got to find the line between a lot of a lot of people, unfortunately, will feel like it's their duty to go back to DMs. Let's say, for example, of people reaching out for help and they go back to every single one of them and they try to help them out as much as possible. You've got to have a level of self-awareness that goes, you know. Do you have the time? Do you have the capability? And do you have the resources to actually help this person? Because now I never want to promise some sort of empty promise. And I feel that by promising to do something for someone that I can't really fulfil. It's very difficult. Giving them one small bit of advice probably isn't enough to help immigrants come to Australia to transform their life and start a business. That's a six, 12 month process and teach them individually how to do this thing properly. So for me it's it's yeah, it's certainly a balancing act, not something that I have learnt to manage completely. And I don't think anyone really has. And I certainly don't think I will fully learn how to manage it completely anyway. So, um, yeah, it's just a balancing act and just, I think trying to manage expectations because, you know, as soon as you get some sort of media and PR and all that sort of stuff for anyone, all eyes kind of start to turn on you and you get offers with different things. You get people reaching out, you get all this sort of stuff, and you're just to become really good at managing what's good, what's bad, what is a good use of your time, what sort of good use your time. How do you how do you balance giving back at the same time through or making success in your own business. You've just got to become self-aware. And I think just anyone gets better over time.
Rob: And so I've seen that you've met with, you know, various people from big organisations such as LinkedIn and, you know, various politicians like state politicians and that sort of thing. Was that all catalysed from that media attention as well and sort of running with those important aspects? Or did it come about some other way?
Jack: Look, I think I think that play they play both together. Look, if if it if it was me just using look, most of them certainly don't reach out after seeing even if they were sitting there in front of the Today show and see you on the Today show talking about what you've done and all that sort of stuff. Not not many people of that calibre that we're going to sit there and reach out. We invite you to come do some only person who actually has this, Robert Irwin, which I thought was the coolest thing ever. Cause you know I grew up watching Robert and Bindi so for me that was super cool. That's really the only one that's ever actually
Rob: And you guys are pretty, pretty close geographically, too, right?
Jack: Yes, exactly, so literally I think he reached out on Saturday and I was up late Monday afternoon to go see him at Australia Zoo. So that was very cool. But but nice. So, look, it's it's that. But then it's also true in leveraging those the best you possibly can in figuring out, well, you don't just meet with people for the sake of meeting with people. You've got to figure out kind of what's your strategic reasons that people just don't want to meet other people for the sake of doing it. They want to meet for a purpose and just like you should be meeting for a purpose as well. So you've just got to figure out what is that? How can meeting this person kind of advance you. It's something you're working on or something you're doing and then going into that strategic outlook. But having media behind you certainly helps just having a level of credibility so they can kind of distinguish you from most other people justify in their own head. Why they are meeting with you and then you can move forward that relationships so that's pretty, frankly. Why
Rob: Yeah, that's cool. Obviously, I saw that you got on stage in a success resources event with Michael Lane and sorry, not with Michael and through Michael Lane from Success Resources. And it was that sort of between that and your Ted X appearances and that sort of thing. Are you keen to do more keynote sort of stuff? How does that factor into what you're trying to achieve business wise?
Jack: Yes. So I think once again, it comes back it comes down to managing your own your own personal workload. Where do you put your effort and kind of what's going to benefit you in the long run? For me, I really enjoy doing keynotes. I think they're great, especially ones with Michael on success resources, especially when they have Tony Robbins, I couldn't say no. But they said that they did. They're great. But at the end of the day, you've got to figure out what are you going to get out of this keynote, yeah you might get a couple of thousand dollars or some other opportunity off the back of that? That's great. But is it strategically going to align with what you want to achieve in five years time? And if the answer is no, then don't do it. And I think that a lot of people will get wound up on the idea of you making a bit of money here and they can make 4000 dollars or ten grand or five grand or even five hundred bucks doing this, this and this just over. Yeah, but I think, you know what a lot of young entrepreneurs don't do, and I'm certainly guilty of it when I started out was figuring out how can I make money as soon as possible, like within six months, how can I make as much money in six months? Because we have no concept of time. And I think what older entrepreneurs have kind of got over us young guys is whether it's successful, whether it's not they've had time to sit there and figure out what does 20 years actually feel like? What does 30 years actually feel like? And there's that level of concept time.
Jack: I just think that a lot of people will get you know, people same age as me, younger or slightly older. We'll just get a little bit too wound up in terms of how to make money instantly right now. But when it comes to building something with longevity that might last five, 10 to 15 years time and really, you know, if they put off making money and they build something really, really, really good, but don't make any money off it for a year or two years, figure out how to pay the bills some other way that this thing could turn into the next Facebook, Uber or Amazon. And they've got that vision there. They've just got to kind of put in perspective the timeline that something like that is going to take and then realize that the best thing they do have on this side is time. They've got time to figure it out, but what they don't have a perspective in terms of what does that time actually feel like? What is the best way to use a decade, whereas guys a bit older do so it's kind of like a balancing act. And for me keynotes is one of the things where I'll do one every now and again, one every couple of months. I love doing them, but it's just, you know, taking the time out of the week to go do something like that. You got to figure out does it align with, you know, the vision you're working towards, if the answer is no, don't do it. But if the answer is yes, then yes, jump in and do as many as you can.
Rob: Was that always your perspective? Or like obviously you've had personal conversations with Tony Robbins, Mark Bouris, Gary Vee even have a personal testimonial from Tony Robbins, who's like the master of being in this space for a very long time. Was that like is that wisdom imparted from those experiences or did you sort of already have that mindset coming into those?
Jack: Gosh, look, coming into something I learned over time. It's not something I really figured out until probably six, 12 months ago that I really think I've got to start to play towards a five and a 10 year vision as opposed to kind of a one or two or three year vision just stretching that out. We'll see how that plays out. I certainly think I'll position myself quite well to do so. But no, it wasn't through conversations with Tony or anything like that, it wouldn't have any past experiences, any other way of doing it. Very, very, very lucky to do things like that. But, yeah, it's just something that I've learned a couple of mentors of mine and just heard on her really smart people like Jeff Bezos and all that sort of stuff talking about it online. Also got a lot of my education free online YouTube videos. Pretty one listing. Probably the best place to do find any sort of online education from high level CEOs is funnily enough CEO interviews at conferences. They're all over YouTube. I find that they are the very best place to deep dive into these people's minds. They're under pressure. They feel like they're under pressure. They've got an audience to answer to, they've got someone next them asking them questions and you get the very best advice. I think they're better in the books. I think they're better than a couple of other things that you can get information from. If you want information from high level people like Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates or even a Tony Robbins, let's say, I think that on-Stage CEO interviews, funnily enough, are the best place.
Rob: Definitely makes sense, and obviously this will be on YouTube now, too. So.
Jack: We will count this as a CEO interview there we go.
Rob: Absolutely. So obviously, shifting gears a little bit. You've recently ventured into a new venture Disputify. And from the obviously you guys are operating in stealth mode. You can't talk too much about what it is you're actually developing, but the short version is reducing chargebacks through e-commerce. Was that spawned from your experience with e-commerce and the chargeback problems that exist in that space?
Jack: Yeah, and look, for the last twelve months of always, I've kind of been looking at a couple of different ideas and things I could do off the back of e-commerce and stuff I was already doing. So it was kind of a natural fit. This is one of the biggest problems I incurred or I incur as an online seller. These are chargebacks disputes. Worst thing is it's not just people who don't receive their products but can complain about. That's totally fine. And they should do that. But it's individuals who bought products online get them, have no intention to pay for them whatsoever. So then they get them and they call the bank up and say that it was didn't arrive. It was the wrong colour. It wasn't as described that even if they say it doesn't arrive, we've got tracking on a lot of these packages and we can see they even signed for the delivery and they call around and say it never arrived. How was that physically possible? So soon as we started to put some tracking in terms of how is this actually happening? And we realised very quickly that a lot of these people were fraudulently doing it over and over and over again. So I figured that out and started to do more research and realised the problem pretty much plagues the entire industry. I'm a very small fish in the water in terms of the grand scheme of the online world. And as much as it's a huge problem for me. The problem just gets bigger and bigger. The more you move food chain. So I set out to change that, essentially provide a solution to it. And that's one of the biggest things we're working on since November. It's been going really well with a lot more coming the next couple of months. We can start to talk more about it.
Rob: Yeah, of course. And so this is, um, v.C venture backed, and I understand you just launched a just raised a series A. Was that a seed round?
Jack: I see that would been the seed round. For some reason, someone's put series A on my linked I was made aware that, yesterday, funnily enough, so does that does need to be changed, of all things. But yeah. So its yeah a seed round.
Rob: That's okay. So obviously, you probably can't give us too much detail around that, but how did that come about and how was the process so different for you as an entrepreneur to say when you just firing up an eCom store and start selling something?
Jack: Yeah. Oh, good. Great question, because it's actually something that I and you probably know I've never actually done before. I've never raised money for a venture I've done before. All of what I've done has been self-funded, started with 500 bucks and just bootstrap my way up to what I've done with e-commerce so. It was different. You've one of the biggest things. You've got to be highly prepared. You can never walk into any sort of VC meeting with half baked ideas. You've got to have this thing pretty much down to the tee. The more developed you make it feel like, as in the more the VC can sit there or the high net worth individual can sit there and go, you look like you know exactly what you're doing. The better the less of an idea, essentially, the better. So you just got to work along. And if you can have something to show for what you're thinking about, the more the better. So now it's certainly interesting and something that I'm sure I'll be doing again and again over time in terms of raising money for different things, especially disputify, possibly raising money for that if ever needed. But yeah, look at stuff like that. It takes guts. Certainly you're gonna get a lot of no's, especially if you don't have any sort of profile behind. You have never run a business before. We had a really good idea that you want to go ahead and tackle. Biggest piece of advice would be to, I guess, try to find a fine line between a lot of people talk about, well, I don't wanna talk about my idea because then someone might go and steal it or will rip it off or copy it.
Jack: That's great. But you've got to kind of go if you're walking into VC meetings with MDA, with MDAs you've got to sign that say, you can't talk about this. You can't copy my idea. You are kind of going to get laughed out of the room. Thank God I didn't do it. But the amount of stories I've heard of people who have tried to do that, who don't talk to anyone about their ideas because they think that someone else is going to steal it. It's pretty ridiculous. But at same time, so I get the other side of the argument, which is you do have to be very careful of who you are talking to just limit the exposure, stop, you know, going to family functions and telling every single person the great idea. You have go to the family function and tell everyone what you've done with the idea, with you price money, with your product, with the scaling it come back with more than an idea. And I think that that's just the philosophy the Vc's want to keep, despite those more developed as humanly possible. Do what you can, but then more importantly, don't walk in there with some stupid expectation that, you know, they're going to sign an MBA or something like that. Sorry. That's just my couple of observations that now, which is a very, very interesting experience and quite fun at the same time, as long as you can hold your own and for all the tough questions, you put the answers to them.
Rob: Yeah, and good advice, I think, was sort of expectation versus reality. Like work walking into your first pitch meeting to try to try and secure some investment. I think we will probably picture it a little bit like a shark tank episode or something. But what was that reality for you?
Jack: Look. Was it my mind was a lot better because I had a funds manager there to help me. So I think for anyone. One of the things you can do to begin with is try to find someone who's already raised money before, whether it's a founder, whether it's whether it's some founder who's also gone to raise a seed round. I'm sending a message. Tell him what you're about to do. See if I can get on a call with you and just explain the process and just prepare yourself as much as possible. But the best thing I ever did was I've known this guy. He raised money for me for like seven or eight months before we went. Raised money. He's a really, really, really great guy, but has a huge contact book in terms of high net worth individuals and up in bases. So if you can find someone like that and there are plenty out there, they usually take like four, five, six, seven percent of what you wind up raising, which is fine. But in the long run, you certainly just want to have someone there to have you back, who knows the industry, who knows what you're walking into, and more importantly, to can, I guess, prepare you for all of it and make sure that you don't miss any documents, not missing any key points, because if you are, you will be called out on it by whoever you are pitching to.
Rob: And I guess it's really an investment in your own energy as well, making sure you're not wasting your time leaving a critical piece of the puzzle, you know, outside of that room. Right?
Jack: Oh, definitely, definitely. That's why it's a smart move to figure out, well, who's raised money before. No one, whether it's some sort of startup or CEO. I talked to the CEO figure out how they raised money. So who helped them and what was the process as they went through? What are some of the things I had to prepare to present figure all that out? But the biggest thing is just figure out who helped them raise that money. And if you're ideas good enough, you will get money for it. There's so much money in terms of startups and VC's and lots of stuff that not the problem. It's the idea. And it's the founder. So you've just got to make sure that your you internally believe that you are good enough to make this product work. But then more important to the product itself and the idea that you're going for is big enough. It's scalable enough. The solution that's providing is not as complex as something like Facebook. It won't take three or four years to build. You can have this thing done in three to six months. So, yeah, it's just being as practical as down to earth. Be honest with whoever you are pitching to as well. That's a huge one. I see straight through, dishonest people. And these just stories that I've heard time and time and time again meeting with people who have also raised money so I asked. The questions you're asking me right now are ones that I was asking, you know, six, seven months ago. What am I looking at for who do I talk to? Where do I start? And the biggest the biggest the best thing anyone can do is just figure out who you know, who they know. Move yourself up the food chain and figure out the best answer as and I asked Good questions and figure out the best answers from.
Rob: And so do you think your your media profile that you'd had, you know, started developing shortly before? Did that really help you here? Or was it really the venture partners in that experience that sort of played a more.
Jack: Look, look, I'd like to say the product itself sold everything, and yet you had a product to the solution and lot stuff. We've got it. It wouldn't it wouldn't matter what I've got or done or anything like that. I got the money for it. But look, at the end of the day there for anyone to give you a cent to an 18 year old to get to have to believe in that 18 year old's vision, even if they're 19 or even a 25 year old with no degree behind them, with no experience running a tech startup before, apart from their own internal company, which, yes, they've grown. They need you need some sort of proof and you need some sort of, I guess, reassurance for them that the money they can give you is not just going to be blown on a car. Well, stupid things. And you walk back around in twelve months time and. Hi, guys. Can we have some more money. We all ran out of the one you gave us before. Like, that's for every single VC's worst nightmare. So at the end of the day, yes, certainly on the media definitely helps. It's all just about credibility. And the more that you can do within your space and the more that you can do it yourself to build yourself and build your brand and build your experience and build confidence, whoever's talking to you. Because at the end of the day, they see investing in your business is essentially just a business deal. People looking for is confidence, trust and reliability. And they're looking for that you.
Jack: So at the end of the day, if you can take all those boxes, you'll be fine. But it might be a two year process to get to the point where you think the VC will be comfortable investing and you don't put it off, well, don't not do it because you don't think good enough. Just kind of put a plan in. If it's going to take two years to build your credibility up and get a couple of wins under your belt for a few small things you're working on. That's awesome. Go do that. But just wait. Wait your turn. Be patient. Life is long. And if it takes you two years to raise more money or raise money, that's fine as opposed to doing it now. Walking in and getting laughed out of the room. No one wants that. You never want that. Just gonna take the time. A practical figure out what you want. Figure out how you're going to get it. Figure out what you will need to be as a person to walk into that room and pitch these people. Figure out what they're looking for. And I think at the end of the day, you're only going to know the answer to that. Until you talk to people and question, do you reckon I'm gonna be getting some money behind what I'm doing? If the answer is yes from someone who's done what you've done before, you're ready to go. If the answer is no response, you come back with is how can I do it? And then you got from there.
Rob: Of course. And as you said, it's a business deal at the end of the day. And so how has your approach been now that you have accepted funding to get this idea off the ground? How does that differ to when you're sort of experimenting with your own 500 bucks? Obviously, the amounts going to be more than 500 bucks. But, you know, how is how is that approach changed because of that?
Jack: Yeah, well, look. Actually, believe it or not, the. Even though it's not my money, technically the responsibility level for me personally has gone through the roof because even though you think you've got your own money, you never want to lose it. I mean, you feel like that's a big responsibility because that's what you've got. Actually taking other people's money into combine that with your own money to get and go do something big is actually a much, much, much larger responsibility. So at the end of the day, yeah, it's a responsibility, but it's also an honour. No, I can't believe that these people not to call them at everything, but I can't believe those people who have the trust and the confidence and a lots of the stuff to be giving kids like myself an absolute incredible opportunity to go and change the world one way or another. And my complete hat's off of much because I got my money, but because they're willing to invest in kids like myself. So there are certainly people out there. But at the end of the day, it's an honour. And you just got to be ready for that. I think that if you take that on board and believe in yourself and you believe in the products, doesn't matter where the money's come from, you've got to make it work and you start from there.
Rob: And obviously looking forward and it would have been part of your business pitch, is there a plan strategy for exit? Because obviously every VC is looking to make a return. Or is this like a a scale or you're not sure yet?
Jack: Look, it's definitely a scale, and that's what I stick my head. For me personally, I find that great gratitude. I think it's pretty proven. Yeah, there's no justification to start a business or go doing fun things to sit in front of a computer and build Web sites. Yeah, that was fun for me. And it's fun for me. Start building businesses operations day to day stuff like sitting in front of computers for twelve hours a day. Yeah. Sometimes it might put a strain on me that might get burnt out, might get tired, but you know, I'd love it. And it's what, it's what I do. It's what I feel I'm built to do. So in terms of thinking about an exit or thinking about looking to sell to float this off to in two years time, the X amount of dollars is not really a conversation I had with myself. I think that if you are thinking about an exit strategy yet something, you've kind of got to consider that if you're thinking about exit strategy at the start up phase, I think, what the hell are you doing? You're in it for the wrong reasons. So yeah, it's just balancing the two. But obviously you've got to think about it. But it's not what you focus on.
Rob: And obviously, talking of balance, how do you strike the balance between the new venture Disputify, as well as what you're doing with your education platforms? Obviously, they're under some kind of management that. How do you strike that?
Jack: Yes. It no one is perfect. She learned over time. You just figure out. Where was your energy needed? I think it's also to its being it's being proactive instead of reactive. Every day there's always fires that come up in one business or another, just like in any business. There's always fires and problems and issues to put out and things to manage and lots of stuff. So over time, you kind of just learn it and you learn it quickly. That's better. Some sort of foresight and understanding that, you know, you've kind of got to look forward and try to spot those spot and try to be as proactive as possible and try to try to manage these businesses in the best way possible without just trying to play catch up and change your style and all that sort of stuff. It just ends very poorly. So for me, that's that's kind of how I manage it all. But a couple of great support team around me as well Ive got great mentors, Ive got great advisors plus some really good people that I've met over the last couple of years have brought into my inner circle and helped me manage everything just from from afar, looking in and telling me how I can better do things. So I made thats super important. And I know a lot of people don't have that. So at the end of the day, I didn't for a very long time. So at the end of the day, it's just kind of figuring out, well, where is your attention needed most? How can you become more proactive as opposed to reactive? But the more important to getting some people on the outside looking in just to figure out if there are things that you can't see, that you think you should be doing better. But actions the wrong way of doing things, just hoping you kind of crossed that path forward. Otherwise you just get stopped chasing your tail and you go nowhere in the grand scheme of things.
Rob: One thing that you've kind of covered there a little bit as well with your sort of personal growth during this journey. How has that helped you deal with the inevitable separation from, say, your peers in high school? You mentioned a little bit at the start where, you know, things change and opinions change, and particularly in Australia with that sort of tall poppy approach in and things. Have you sort of grown, you know, when the average 18 year old might be out at the club and you're sort of working on your business? And how is your circle changed? And, you know, how's that progressed?
Jack: Yes. Look, at the end of the day, once again, it's striking a balance on I still do try to be an 18 year old sometimes, you know, try to try to not not have look back in 10 years, time ago. All I wish I did more of these. I wish I went clubbing more, for example, or I wish I took that opportunity, but I just never did. So it makes me once again try to find a balance. Yeah. Look, look. To grow up very quickly. That was very important. You know, I never did. I think I left 18 years old to be sitting. Just even having a meeting for a business conversation is what a lot of kids do until they're 26, 27, finish university, you know, sit on seven eight a day. So it's just to grow up very quickly. You have to learn a lot of the things that older people would expect you to know. But then again, they kind of treat with a level way. You all 35 or 40 years old, but you still actually 18. So you've got to. Yeah, you've got to adapt and you've got to change. You got to make sure that you were prepared for that. But that's something you just do over time. And in terms of trying to manage everything, it's just once again having good time management and just figuring out, well, being an 18 year old, is great but I am still 18. I'm not 35, I'm not 40. Even though I might think like one, even I might act like one. So I just try to once again have the balance.
Rob: Yeah, I mean, I start a business when I was 22 and had to pretend that I was a little bit older, so I can I can sort of sympathise there to some extent, not quite to the same level, but.
Jack: You try out then for anyone who has done a business, is going to try to business phone calls any time whilst in school. Especially when I was in grade 12. You know, you were doing a business phone call in the library, for example. What I had to spare period, which I was lucky enough to get. I'll be doing business phone calls and you hear the bell ring in the background. He got rolling and some people didn't know you were still in school. Like, obviously, I knew you were 17 or 18. They didn't realise they were having a conversation with you whilst you were at school. No one thinks about it. So that was funnily enough. Then also, two hotels were a big one. Not being able to set up bank accounts, my own name. There's so many different things you would have adjusted when you are starting a business under the age of 18. But once again, it's so it's all the fun of it. And you've just got to learn and adapt and figure out the best way around it.
Rob: Mark Colvin and I think that's an interesting perspective as well, is, as you say, you can't even legally set up a company at age 16. And so how instrumental were your parents in that process, even if they don't understand what it is they're helping you set up?
Jack: Yes. And look, that's what I'm to thank them really, really, really. If I could thank them for one thing, it's it's having it. Or to put it like, I don't know the best way to put it, but it's like always, always supporting me through. No matter how crazy ideas, always just going yep Jack. That's okay. Just kind of letting you run my own path, make my own mistakes. Not not stepping in and trying to fix things. Not trying to manage me. Not for do any that sort of stuff at the time, but just kind of felt like. Right. That's what they should be doing. But looking back now, I'm so thankful that there wasn't that overarching level of tight strict control. Yeah, of course, that ask me every single time i'd to sign my Mum For example, I ask her to sign stuff or bring it down to the bank and ask you to submit stuff for me. Lots of the stuff. Of course, she's going to ask, what is this for? I try and explain it and lots of the stuff. I never do a job at it. But yeah, I think that there are some that most parents i'd say would be like them in terms of having that leniency that I know that there are a lot who would say, no, you can't start a business till you're 18. You can't do anything until you finish university, finish school, then do the business. So I'm just glad that I wasn't put into a household that required that. I think if I was, I'd still find a way around it. I'm not I'm not don't worry, but and I'm just just thankful for all of it.
Rob: Because even down to simple things like attaching a credit card to your Facebook ads account, you know, you need that support in order to do the most simple things.
Rob: So we're coming up on time. But I've got a few quick questions. I'd love to get out and then we'll try and get you out of here. I'm sure you got very important things to try to
Jack: cummon, nothing more important, this come on.
Rob: Say. Hey, I appreciate the sentiment. Hey, so I'm thinking back around the last few years, is there one particular thing that stands out that you can attribute as like a major success moment?
Jack: Finishing school, not going to lie the most Teenager of Teenage answers I know. But for me, it was kind of something that I'd always wanted. I could always wanted to be out of school. I just want to get out of there at all costs. And yeah, I was the kid walking to the office and say, sorry, guys away. The principal's office and saying, I'm going to go next week to Sydney. And that was pretty much once a week. So I spent all that much time there at school, but was still getting, you know, B-B pluses. Try being engaged to do my best to manage everything as best I possibly could. So finishing school for me was like almost like liberation days when I felt like at the time, you know, I'd written a lot about still write a lot about new .com.au You in terms of the education system and the band way that you should be supporting kids. More importantly to the real world skills behind what we should being taught. So I just felt like, you know, now and finishing the instant board of gratitude, the fact that I now have the opportunity to make a decision. But more importantly, when I made that decision, it would only affect me when you're in school and you choose not to do your home work. That doesn't just affect you. It affects your parents. It affects your teachers, you know, rouse on you. You people care and I'll get you to do it. Whereas the real world, no one's there to hold your hands. No one's there to support, you know. No one is there to double check from what you're doing? May that was as scary as it was at the same time. It was liberating. On the other end of things like now, I could finally be in control of every single thing that I did. And it was something that I just never really had full control of. Everything got the same schools that so me finishing was just really cool. And yeah, just just just satisfying. And I know it's my 18 year old of answers, but it really was one of the best days iv'e ever had. Was pretty cool.
Rob: That's awesome. I mean, it's it's quite an achievement and I'm sure it frees up an awful lot of your time to spend on new business ventures, too. So that's probably a bonus as well. If there was one tip that you had for, say, a another 17 year old who's looking to start a business and maybe can't get support from their parents. What would that be?
Jack: Specifically, if they can't get support from their parents, would you put in the context of being like parents are flat No, I don't do it. You're not allowed to.
Rob: Yeah, I think, yeah. Very dogmatic around, must finish school, must go down the, the university path. Something like that.
Jack: So I'd say if you can't do it, you've got you've got to figure out, well, is it worth you doing it behind their back? That's always the option number A option number B would be that you wait and see, you finish school and you follow what they say. Me for example, I'll bring it back to school for a minute. Look, I always saw it in a lot of people would say, well, why don't you drop out of school? Why you are you trying at school? Shouldn't you just get D's and E's and just kind of flunk out and you just can't get through it all? That's what I kind of wanted to do, that at the end of the day, how you do anything is how you do everything. And at the same time. So you've got to figure out what is that fine line between you doing a really poor job at something and then you've got people who are going to rouse on you. You could pull you back if you drop from a B in a subject all the way down to a D, you can have half the school freaking out. Every parent teaches. It's good to try a really, really, really toxic environment and you'll be sitting there pulling your hair out. Oh, good. So the same goes for the business. Yeah, it's it's a case by case situation. But if you want to go with the fact that the parents will kick you out of the house if you do start anything and you know your whole life will be turned upside down, spend the time to educate, don't actually start anything, because if you've come to the conclusion that it's just not worth doing and the consequences too, I just learn, just educate, get the books, get the mentors. For example, you don't need physical one. You need to have any one for you personally. Jump on YouTube. Start watching CEO interviews, for example, which as many of those as humanly possible. So by the time you are done school and spent two years self educating a day on an hour or two every single day. You tell me if someone spent two hours every single day whilst in school educating and spending every single one of those two hours actually learning really, really, really high quality skills. How good do you reckon the'd be when they finish grade 12 school in terms of actual
Rob: They'll be killing it.
Jack: Exactly. Exactly. Somebody at the end of the day is maybe it's a blessing or a curse at the same time, as much as you really want to stop something now and you really want to do it. If there is no physical way, you don't whatsoever just gotta figure about what's your plan B? Next best thing is will figure out the skills and the fundamentals in the best way to actually start this business. Figure out what the hell you're going to start figuring how you do it. Figure out a lot of the things a lot of people don't really figure out until they actually start something and then kind of stuff around for a little bit, fall over themselves and then get the business up and running. You can spend that two years figuring all that out. So when you all get out of the gates and you do have the opportunity to do it, you'll be so much better off than anyone else who's sounding the exact same time as you.
Rob: They can really hit the ground running. Absolutely.
Jack: Exactly. Sorry, at the end of the that is not a real hot answer, it's just a case by case situation. If you can't do it, just kind of think about what's the next best thing. And that's theoretically, theoretically doing one.in your own head and more important to learning, learning how to do it properly.
Rob: Awesome. And so obviously, you've spoken about mentors a few times. And I also think that mentors are extremely important. How have you had. Have you had to navigate at some point between the advice they've given and the gut instinct that you had and maybe those two didn't align?
Jack: Yeah. Look, it's I I kind of talk about your mentors, I actually have to be someone that you physically identify as a mentor. I believe that you learn something from every single person you come into contact with, every single person you speak to, whether it's, you know, the content gardener, nor whether it's the, you know, the king, the queen of England. You learn something from everyone and at every single level, but at the same time. So you've got to become good at filtering information no matter how great a mentor might be. There are always going to be things that I might say that, as you mentioned, you've got that whole gut feeling that says, no, I just don't think this is right. Just because they're your mentor doesn't make every single thing that they say, right or Correct. It's all just information that gets even to you. And then you make the decision on what you want to do with it. So I think it's just, um, picking picking who suits you best. You don't have to have them physically mentoring you. You can watch them online. Grant, is a great example. Yeah, I might watch grants maybe once a week, once or twice a week. You see video or an Instagram post here and there. I will strategically choose what I want to take out of a video just because I might sit there and watch Grant's video up to 60 seconds does not mean I need to absorb and do every single thing to act like he does in that 60 seconds. Next time, I want to take on his advice. So just become strategic and kind of the advice you're taking in. Have a pretty good filter there to block things out. Things that don't feel right to you. Don't do them. But at the same time, to the information that you do choose to take on board, actually do something with it and you take that and make it change in your own life. Start the business do whatever, whatever the advice is in relation to, go out there and take action on it, if you have chosen to take it on board and use it.
Rob: Good advice, good advice. So, Jack, where can people find you and what you're up to right now? Web sites and Socials.
Jack: Oh, look at my website. I'm Jackbloomfield.com.au Check out there, but the best place obviously is always on Instagram and Facebook. So Instagram, it's @jackbloomfield and the exact same thing for Facebook. So always new stuff coming on. That's the main place I'd like to reach and communicate with everyone, but a lot coming up the next couple of months, which is a real exciting. So I guess we'll have to jump on here the next coming months and update you then.
Rob: Mate we look forward to seeing what you're doing. So Jack Bloomfield from Disputify and Bloomfield Group, I've really appreciated this extraordinary chat. And thank you so much for your time.
Jack: Make, thank you. Good luck with everything.
Rob: Thank you.