Like many entrepreneurs, Ben Dewson started his entrepreneurial journey while still employed full-time, in his case, as a Schoolteacher. His first business, Holistic Security, launched in 2007 and provides security and events staff throughout the Hunter region.
From there, he expanded by launching 5th Level Training, a registered training organisation, as well as becoming the Co-Owner of 5 Sawyers Bar and Restaurant.
- Can you tell us about the journey that led you to start your own business?
I was studying at University of Newcastle doing early childhood teaching and I’d been working security all through University just to get through. I took a gap year for one term, just before I finished University. When I went back from that gap year, my soon to be business partner said that the venue where we were doing security had received a lot of enquiries about who does security there and whether they do it anywhere else. He floated the idea of if we were to make a business we could make a go of it. We picked up the ball and ran with it and blinked; ten years later we’re here.
- Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
The short answer is no. But, once I did decide or once I opened my eyes to business and investing and things of that nature, I sort of really put the blinkers on. During the gap year I mentioned, I started reading while I was traveling and I remember distinctly one of the books is Robert Kiyosaki’ Rich Dad Poor Dad and that’s what opened my eyes a little bit.
When I was living in England I was working in construction, but also had a little side hustle being a Tupperware lady around town, so I had a bit of a business over there. When I did get back from those travels and my soon-to-be business partner had that business idea it was a bit like a moth to a flame and off we went.
- What is one action or task you incorporate into your diary each week?
There are a few things that I like to make routine throughout the day and the week. Probably one worth mentioning, that I’m fairly disciplined at, is how I use my time and those little gaps in between things happening throughout the day. I really make sure I use them efficiently, whether it’s someone’s late for a meeting, a meeting finishes early, I’m in a waiting room, in the car and especially if I know there’s going to be a bit of a wait. I make sure I’m filling those times with phone calls, catching up on emails, doing a bit of proofreading, whatever it is. I’ve really found that if I do that, that makes me much more efficient for the rest of the day.
- What do you attribute your success to?
Well it depends on how you define success I suppose. What I attribute to having the opportunity to run some businesses locally, people come to mind first. It would be reckless not to mention my business partners at this stage, starting with them right through to the managers and employees, consultants and advisors. Just surrounding yourself with really good people I think is crucial. Overarching all of that would probably just be good old-fashioned hard work. I really buy into not being the smartest person in the room and how effective that can be when you’re running a business. But, I pride myself on always being one of, if not the hardest worker in the room, no matter what.
- Who is a local entrepreneur you find inspiring?
That’s a tough one, there’s so many people to choose from locally as you’d understand. The ones that come to mind I suppose are anyone who really having a crack; I really admire that and it inspires me. I’m not too old yet, but I’m not young anymore, so I like to see young people coming through. I suppose some names that come to mind are people like Will Creedon and Ethan Ortlipp from Coal & Cedar and that. Obviously, our business holdings have a little overlap. But, in addition to that, the passion that they have for the town and where it’s going and the progression of it, and the advocates they have become for it, is really inspiring.