Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Andy Longley, Founder of Psych-io, located in Auckland, New Zealand.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Psych-io is a boutique leadership & culture advisory that helps founders, leaders, teams, and businesses create their own high-performance culture. We draw from the knowledge of elite sports, the applied sciences, and world-leading businesses to share insights that help a business intentionally design its talent development & training ecosystem to ensure the conditions for high performance exist and sustain. We work with startups, scale-ups & established businesses to identify and build cultures and support leaders who drive growth and market impact.
Tell us about yourself
I have been avidly fascinated with what creates a high-performance team and culture for as long as I can remember. It started in my own sporting career, which took me around the world playing rugby before being able to combine this knowledge of elite teams and cultures with my professional work as a performance psychologist. I have always loved understanding why we do what we do as humans and then finding ways to leverage this knowledge to create optimal conditions for high performance.
I have been working as a performance psychologist since 2006, where I started with the New Zealand Navy, supporting and coaching members of the military's elite teams. I was then fortunate to be selected to represent New Zealand and spend a year as a United Nations unarmed peacekeeper in the Middle East. There, I saw what it truly takes to be resilient, demonstrate genuine leadership & have a culture that drives performance where it matters most.
I then spent several years with Emirates Airlines, working as a performance psychologist & coach to both pilots and cockpit teams. Emirates had the most diverse workforce imaginable, and this was a catalyst for understanding how to work cross-culturally under extreme pressure. I also spent many years working in talent management & leadership in Europe, where I was the senior director for talent for Adidas globally. This gave me the perfect springboard to blend the performance elements from elite sports with the unique challenges faced in today's business environment. It was at Adidas where I focused my work on psychology & in particular, applied neuroscience, believing that by understanding further how our minds and brains work, leaders & team members can take their performance to the next level.
Because I love variety in my life, I am also the co-founder and CEO of www.coachup.academy, which specialises in creating high-performing sports teams through the application of applied neuroscience. So whenever I am invited to help a leader or a company create their own high-performance culture, I love drawing from sports, science & world-leading organisations to help bring this to life.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I would say it was when I decided to first take the leap into business ownership and cut the apron strings of employment and a regular salary. I see this as my biggest accomplishment because it was when I was the least certain and most scared about which path to take.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Personally, I find that it's the ever-present feeling of never knowing what you should be doing or if you're making the right decisions. Before starting my own businesses, I was an expert in my field and had confidence in knowing what to do. However, I am yet to have this same feeling of confidence in how to grow and build my own business since becoming an entrepreneur.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Take the plunge. There are always a million and one reasons why it's 'not the right time' to start your own business... but if you wait until the 'perfect time' and to be 100% sure... you'll never do it. And a life with regrets is not one to choose.
- Leverage your network and lose self-consciousness. Your network will be your biggest asset for everything you need to succeed. That may be as customers, introducers, expert advisors, or just a sounding board. So lose the natural aversion to asking for help because this will hold you and your business back significantly.
- Become an expert in marketing. I have no professional background in marketing, but whether you need to market yourself, your business, your ideas, or your products, it will be the most important thing you can learn when starting out because it is a critical success point for any business and yours will be no different!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.