AT a time when many businesses across the world have boarded up their doors and display windows indefinitely, a young Hervey Bay entrepreneur has grown his own portfolio and is helping other local companies improve their brand awareness.
Good News Fraser Coast caught up with Luke Strochnetter this week to learn more about his approach to business, his belief in doing a little bit more whenever possible and how he finds running two very hands on companies at such a young age.
The 20-year-old operates 360 Degrees Marketing and Occasions by the Bay from his office in Pialba.
“I have never been one to just sit around and do nothing, I always want to explore new ideas and see where they take me,” said Luke.
360 Degrees Marketing was born about two-years-ago and allows Luke to embrace two genuine passions – social media and helping other people.
The former Urangan High School student said creating engaging social media content for his clients was his main motivation.
“I love working with local companies so I can be hands on but I have also worked with clients in Melbourne and as far away as London,” he said.
“Social media marketing is all about being at the top of people’s minds. I like to strategise about the best ways to get the most out of every post for the businesses I work with.
“I ask clients what they want to achieve and then we set out to get there together.”
The emergence of COVID-19 saw the amount of work coming through the door at 360 Degrees Marketing slow, as was the case across the world. But Luke looked for an opportunity to grow.
“I used that period to upskill myself and get my own business in order,” he explained.
He worked on his company website and identified exactly what he wanted to do so that when restrictions eased and businesses were looking to advertise again, 360 Degrees Marketing was in a position to jump straight back into action.
And his client list is growing.
Never one to let an opportunity pass, Luke recently saw a business for sale online and quickly added a second company to his portfolio.
He bought Occasions by the Bay about two months ago and has already planned several events for clients.
Occasions by the Bay is an events company that specialises in birthdays, small corporate events, high teas, proposals and outdoor picnics.
Events planning is not new to Luke.
Since the age of 12 Luke has been organising trivia nights and family fun days. He’s also assisted in organising Hervey Bay Carols by Candlelight events at Seafront Oval.
Most recently he planned the Rockathon: Bushfire Relief Concert in Hervey Bay that saw around 3,000 people attend and raise funds for people impacted by the devastating bushfires in 2019/2020.
However, Occasions by the Way allows for smaller, more intimate celebrations.
“We often organise surprise parties and seeing the reaction on a person’s face makes you realise you are doing something good,” he said.
But for someone so young, is the threat of failure not overwhelming?
“I like to go beyond my comfort zone and I think small businesses, especially new ones, need to expect the odd failure. It’s how you react and what you take out of it that counts.
“When you fail, you learn from it and carry on. I always try do a something extra – that’s when you surpass expectations and succeed.”
Luke said young people wanting to start their own businesses should just dive in and “do it.”
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“I always used to think I was too young and never had enough life experience, but if you’re willing to learn and upskill yourself, you can do it.”
It’s that attitude that’s seen Luke become a regular at Hervey Bay Chamber of Commerce events and breakfasts.
“Every opportunity to talk to another businessperson is an opportunity to learn.”
With many small businesses operating from home as a result of COVID-19, Luke said it was important for him to have his own office space.
“I like having an office, it helps me make the most of my time at work. But when the day is done, I also know I can go home and unwind. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of being on the go all the time and that’s when you risk burnout.”