Tony Folly, 28, Melbourne, Australia
Describe the moment you knew you wanted to be an entrepreneur
The moment my boss decided to show off his 400k sports car while I was working my ass off for $16/hr selling his expensive ice coolers and barbeques. I was only 19 at the time and knew from that day forward that one day I wanted to start my own company.
2 months later I locked myself up in my bedroom and 4 days later Simplyshredded was born. Making $3 a day from Google Adsense and working on it for 12 hours a day I knew it had potential. My gut feeling told me if I stick to this and keep growing the brand one day it will all pay off.
4 weeks before my 21st birthday I brought myself a 498 horsepower v8 Mercedes SL55 AMG. I wasn’t even allowed to test drive it, my dad had to for me. On my 21st birthday, I finalized the car insurance and then took it for a spin. This was also the same day I nearly lost my life on the Monash Freeway as I had no idea how to control this car. (Photo below of that day)
It is funny to think that if it wasn’t for that day my boss had to be a show-off I reckon my life would have been a lot different. I’d probably be still working at that camping store lol.
Where did the idea for Simply Shredded come about?
I figured it would be cool if there was a site which would interview and feature only the most ‘jaw-dropping’ physiques in the fitness scene.
At the time I couldn’t afford to pay a Website Company $300 to create a website for me so I taught myself.
I started to contact athletes and models who were shredded and interview them on the site. My only source of traffic at the time was leveraging their fan base. So I rinse and repeat this and after a while, I noticed the brand started to gain traction.
Can you tell me, in simple terms, what Simply Shredded is?
Fitness/bodybuilding website which features only the best physiques in the fitness industry. We have been lucky to have exclusively interviewed some of the most famous and shredded physiques in the industry.
Lazar Angelov, Simeon Panda, Sergie Constance, Calum Von Moger, Michelle Lewin, Greg Plitt, Jeff Seid, Ulisses Jr, and many more! I still remember to this day my website crashed due to an overload of traffic after Greg Plitts exclusive interview was launched.
We are also a powerhouse in high-quality nutrition and training articles. My team of authors range from professional athletes to training and nutrition experts. They have the ability
What kind of valuation does the business have? Can we say ‘multi-million dollar company’?
I am not sure, I guess we can. The website does receive half a million visitors/month and our combined social media reach is at 5m+ (2m Instagram and 3m facebook).
I have only been offered 2 serious offers during the lifetime of the business. The first one was in 2014 and it was 750,000 USD from one of my competitors surprisingly but I politely turned it down. The second offer was in 2016 of 2,000,000 USD from by a private equity firm in Canada. I was seriously considering it but I wasn’t sure it was the best decision.
All I thought about was how the founder of Victoria Secret (Roy Raymond) threw himself off a bridge.
The saddest part about Raymond’s life is that he killed himself after not being able to participate fully in the potential of his company. Raymond opened the first Victoria’s Secret shop in Northern California in 1977. They named the company after the Victorian period during which their home was built.
In 1982, and then made the horrible mistake of selling the company for $5 million to Leslie Wexner, founder of The Limited. Company is now valued at 13 billion!
What helped you start your own business? Did you have to feed some of your own funds into it to get started?
To be honest it was Youtube. You would be surprised at how much mega valuable content is on there and freely available. Whenever I wanted to learn something I would Youtube it and try to master it as fast as possible. let’s be honest, textbooks suck.
Also what helped me start my business was the fact that I was broke and living with my parents. Due to being young and dumb I had a credit card debt of $2300 with no idea on how to pay it off. At any given time my personal bank account was always in the range of -$50 or $50.
All I ever had to invest into Simplyshredded of my own money was only $26 and this was in 2009. The website name was only $10 and back then 1 year of hosting on a “shared web server” was only $16 a year. I guess you could say that was the best 26 dollars I had ever spent J
What advice would you give other young people trying to find success in the way you have?
1. Eradicate Fear:
I would say it would be to drop the fear of failure and just go for it. Whatever ideas you have buzzing around in your head keeping you up at night, start with those. What goes for it and don’t look back. These words by Albert Einstien explain it perfectly,
Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.
2. IF SOMEONE TELLS YOU THAT BRANDING ISN’T IMPORTANT, RUNAWAY
The reason is twofold:
- Humans are visual creatures. We are attracted to aesthetically pleasing views and we will always favour something beautiful to something ugly.
- Every successful salesman and marketing person will tell you that most buyers are impulsive. They don’t always buy something because they need it, but more because they are convinced that they need it. Part of that convincing is how the product looks.
3. Understand the Conversion Rate
If I could give one single tip to other eCommerce store owners, it would be to learn what a conversion rate is, along with how to improve it. We talk so much about traffic and how to get more people in the front door, or onto our sites, but often don’t have any understanding about how those people decide to buy from us, or not. Learning how to split test and how to work to improve conversion rates is an incredibly important skill.
4. Trust yourself
If you don’t believe in yourself, who will?
Being a successful entrepreneur means that you’ve learned to listen to your intuition and rely on your wisdom when making decisions.
Your ability to trust and believe in yourself will show your confidence. People are more likely to follow and trust confident leaders.
Trusting in your own skills will also take some of the pain of uncertainty out of being an entrepreneur.
5. Exceed expectations
If you deliver more than you promised, you’re sure to have satisfied customers, investors, and business partners.
Making promises and not delivering is a quick way to lose your business.
In contrast, successful entrepreneurs exceed expectations.
6. Simply Shredded is helping people get in the best shape of their lives. Please tell us more.
Every fortnight, or sometimes every week now I receive an email from people who have transformed their physiques with the help of the 12 Week Shred program that the Simplyshredded Team created. Usually, we get a lot of emails from the younger crowd but just last month I received a surprising email from a 61-year-old lady who made some amazing progress! She has been able to maintain all of her results and loves the simplicity of counting her macros and utilizing the carb cycling approach.
Do you think that entrepreneurialism is something that is in your blood? Or is it something that can be learned?
I’m sure it can be learned, but for a lot of entrepreneurs, it seems to come from their character or early, early experiences. Personally, I’m just not good at obeying authority figures.
Just wanted to finish this with my favorite quote.
“If you end up with a boring miserable life because you listened to your mum, your dad, your teacher, your priest, or some guy on television telling you how to do your shit, then you deserve it