Theodore Vairaktaris may be one of Australia’s most successful tradies these days but he’ll never forget what he calls ‘The Nightmare Zone’ – and he wants others to learn from his mistakes.
“That was, without a doubt, one of the hardest stages of my career,” the founder and sole owner of Usher Group recalls of a five-year period when the weight of his business almost crippled him.
“I found myself in a position where I was getting overworked, burning the candle at both ends and I just couldn’t see the light.
“That was ‘The Nightmare Zone’, that period when you’re taking the step from being a contractor with up to 20 staff to becoming a large company but you’re carrying the entire weight yourself.
“I was doing everything myself – checking every contract and payment schedule, doing the invoices, dealing with all the clients, trying to build new revenue streams – and I just felt like I was getting nowhere.”
So what changed?
“I needed to address a few key issues to help me emerge out of that small business mentality,” Theodore said.
“This included developing business systems and processes and the manuals that guided them. I also reached out to someone I respected and asked him to become my mentor.
“However, one of the most crucial things I did was accept I could no longer do it all on my own. Talent is everywhere but I looked for passion, loyalty and hard work.
“It took me five years to employ the right people in the right jobs and it’s now reached a point where I no longer have a specific role and can focus on the bigger picture.”
Having grown Usher Group from a one-man operation into a painting, rendering and signage company that employs more than 500 people, Theodore is passionate about young tradespeople realising they have the potential to follow their business ownership dreams.
“If I could give them anything, it would be the confidence to have a crack,” he said.
“If you’re even thinking about it, it means you have the passion. I’m a big believer that fear can be the thief of success and that’s why I try to eliminate it from all aspects of my life, particularly business.
“We dream big at Usher Group but the way we ultimately make those dreams come true is by focusing on the task at hand and nailing it.”