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Melbourne woman who launched five successful companies shares her business secrets 

An Australian woman who has no previous business experience has shared how she launched a tea brand at the age of 22 with only $24 in her bank account, which lead to the development of five multi-million dollar companies.

Gretta van Riel, now 30, said although she had ‘no plan’ at first and faced many challenges, she is now the proud founder of five successful businesses that each have a large following online.

The Melbourne entrepreneur launched her first brand, SkinnyMe Tea, in 2012 at the age of 22 while working full time as a marketing manager and said the business began as a hobby that ‘transformed into something more’.

‘I was making tea for so many people that it got to the point where I had to take it a step further – so I Googled how to create an online store,’ Gretta told FEMAIL.

 Gretta van Reil (pictured) who has no previous business experience has shared how she launched a tea brand at the age of 22 with only $24 in her bank account

Gretta, now 30, said although she had 'no plan' at first and faced many obstacles, she is now the proud founder of five successful businesses that each have a large following online

Gretta, now 30, said although she had ‘no plan’ at first and faced many obstacles, she is now the proud founder of five successful businesses that each have a large following online

During her Google searches, Gretta came across Shopify – an online e-commerce platform that allows users to easily create a website to sell, ship and manage their products.

Through Shopify, Gretta made and launched her first website within two days and started an Instagram page to promote the product.

‘Since I was already working full time, I stumbled into a “pre-sale model” where I would accept orders during the week, get the ingredients and prepare the tea to be delivered over the weekend,’ she said.

After selling multiple batches of tea by posting a photo on social media, Gretta quickly realised Instagram was an ideal platform to market and sell the product further while also attracting customers.

‘I was so surprised that posting on Instagram could generate sales – so from then on I would use the platform and engage with potential customers,’ she said. 

The Melbourne entrepreneur started her first tea business, SkinnyMe Tea, in 2012 at the age of 22 while working full time as a marketing manager and said the brand began as a hobby that transformed into something more

The Melbourne entrepreneur started her first tea business, SkinnyMe Tea, in 2012 at the age of 22 while working full time as a marketing manager and said the brand began as a hobby that transformed into something more

Through Shopify, Gretta made and launched her first website within two days and started an Instagram page to promote the product

Through Shopify, Gretta made and launched her first website within two days and started an Instagram page to promote the product

After the first six months the business had grown dramatically and had generated more than one million dollars in revenue, and by the end of 2012 the brand had more than 100,000 followers on Instagram.

For the next five years the brand went on to sell over 11 million cups of tea, and along the way Gretta said she learnt countless helpful marketing and business tactics through trial and error.

‘What I’ve learnt is that a product’s features support the end benefit or result to a user – so you need to sell how a product can benefit someone else,’ Gretta said.  

Gretta is now the proud founder of five successful international companies

One of her companies includes The 5th Watches, which has more than 436,000 followers on Instagram

Gretta said the mistakes she made while growing her business resulted in ‘huge transformative growth’, which lead to the development of her multiple other companies including The 5th Watches and Drop Bottle

GRETTA’S TOP TIPS FOR NEW BUSINESSES 

Find a niche and create a product people can benefit from 

You don’t have to invent a completely new product, but consider how an existing product can be made even better 

Consider how a product can benefit the customer and why people would want to buy it – don try and ‘reinvent the wheel’ 

Recognise who your audience is  

Use social media as a marketing tool to sell products and reach customers 

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes 

Learn from your mistakes 

Don’t consider a business strategy for too long – act and do rather than think 

Spend budget money wisely and use profits to reinvest into the business 

Don’t strive for perfection  

‘You only really need to do a couple of things well to really succeed – and what I knew I could do was use social media to market and sell products,’ she said. 

Gretta said the mistakes she made while growing her business resulted in ‘huge transformative growth’, which lead to the development of her multiple other companies including The 5th Watches and Drop Bottle.

She said it’s important to not be afraid of making mistakes, as in business you can learn from these errors and act differently in future.

'You only really need to do a couple of things well to really succeed – and what I knew I could do was use social media to market and sell products,' Gretta said

‘You only really need to do a couple of things well to really succeed – and what I knew I could do was use social media to market and sell products,’ Gretta said

For those looking at starting their own business, Gretta recommended to first consider the market you want to enter into and create a product that solves a problem.

‘Your product should always be the solution to a problem; the world doesn’t need more products of the same kind, it needs better solutions to existing problems,’ she said.

Gretta said you don’t need to invent new products no-one has thought of before, but instead reinvent ideas that already exist.

‘You don’t need to “reinvent the wheel”, it doesn’t need to be something crazy, the product needs to be an improvement – something different and better than what’s already out there,’ she said.

'Your product should always be the solution to a problem; the world doesn't need more products of the same kind, it needs better solutions to existing problems,' she said

‘Your product should always be the solution to a problem; the world doesn’t need more products of the same kind, it needs better solutions to existing problems,’ she said

Gretta said it’s important to target a certain audience while remembering your ‘customer isn’t everyone’, don’t strive to achieve perfection, and always have a busy business to-do list.

‘It’s important to be very detail orientated but don’t strive for perfection, because this can become stressful,’ she said.

She also added: ‘There is no definition of “done” in business – you can achieve goals and tick boxes but once you do that you should be onto the next goal or task.’

From her success, Gretta has become a Forbes Under 30 member and now mentors others who are wanting to start a business but don’t know where to start. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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