In his signature peroxide bleached hair, all-black attire and gold St Laurent high trainers, Fred Schebesta, co-founder of comparison site Finder.com.au looks too cool for his own good.
But don’t be fooled by the looks.
Schebesta is a multi-millionaire on a mission: to help millennials become financially independent through Finder.com.au.
“Everyday decisions like finding the right credit card, buying a home or getting life insurance can be daunting, confusing and absolutely time-consuming.
“I wanted to create a website, a platform to help Australians navigate these complex decisions by making them less of a chore. Finder helps people compare, make better decisions and save money,” Schebesta says in an interview with Really Simple Money.
“I wanted to be free so that I can be free to choose what I wanted to do – likewise, Finder is a tool to help other young Australians become financially independent.”
In today’s COVID world, Schebesta says Aussie millennials “are not afraid to take on side hustles and make money on the side.
“They have that entrepreneurial spirit which has become accepted. It is what cool kids do and it is acceptable for them to become rich, successful or a bit of both.”
Today, Finder comparison site employs 450 staff in 80 countries and compares almost everything from credit cards to cruises and gets a commission whenever one of its millions of visitors uses it to buy a product.
At the ripe age of 40, Schebesta has a networth of about $250 million.
He has just written a book “Go Live: 10 Principles to Launching a Global Empire.” He has also recently moved into a $17 million seaside “castle” in Coogee with five bedrooms, an infinity pool, a gym, rooftop terrace, sandstone battlements and fabulous ocean views over Bondi to Lurline Bay.
All this achieved in two decades.
He says that other people can also succeed. Here are his best five tips:
* Recognise it will take time – you cannot achieve success overnight. It will take at least 10 years to build a business and get it off the ground successfully.
* Focus on one good thing and be truly good at it. You have to learn to become a master at it.
* Spend less than you earn. “I’m old fashioned like my mum who is very frugal.”
* Find a business that is scaleable – it is very challenging to find the right business that is scaleable.
* You have to be persistent – through challenges, failures and bumps, you have to continue on your pursuit. The last person to give up is usually the one who wins.
In his book, Schebesta says it is also very important to “think like the customer and how can you surprise and delight them?”
He tells the story of a great burger chain in the US called Five Guys. Against thousands of other burger joints, what makes Five Guys stand out?
“Part of Five Guys business model is to put extra chips at the bottom of the bag. In every order. It’s genius.”
He also mentions two Queensland teenagers, Lachlan Delchau-Jones and Taylor Reilly. They were building websites in their spare time when they watched a news item about the spike in sales of brainteasers in Australia because people were bored at home during lockdowns. They saw the gap in the market, got their website up and running in four hours and made $70,000 in their first month.
Schebesta likes to describe himself as an inventor, a creative person who thrives on new ideas, new technology and creating something out of nothing.
“I like to go where the map is unclear and explore. As a kid, I love to build tree houses, ride bikes and go where the action is.”
Over the years, he has also learnt how to cope with setbacks and failures as he admits: “I have several football fields of failures.”
So what is his next big project?
“I want to create something no one has ever done and I am still looking.”
His immediate goal is to make Finder the “Amazon of comparisons” which he says he will achieve in five years time.
Watch this space.