We bring in on this episode, Sam De Longis of Trilogy Resources. Sam shares his humble beginnings, how he started from working as an employee to building his own business. Sam also shares his encounters with two particularly difficult moments in the business and how he managed to get through those times.
- Coming to Australia from Italy after WW2
- The risk of starting a business
- Work hard. Do the best you can do.
- Motivate employees with growth, not dollars.
- How to deal with the downtimes
Sam and I first met in his office in Perth about five years ago, when I worked with him on the sale of Trilogy. His strong work ethic and leadership skills left an indelible mark in my memory so I thought it would be great for us to sit down and chat with Sam, to learn from his experience of building up a business and weathering a few storms along the way.
I think this experience is really useful for all business owners and managers to understand on business hit points where things get tough and it’s really great to see what can be achieved if you can make it to the other side.
I had such fun recording with Sam, because he has such an interesting story to share.
This episode is one of a number of episodes I recorded with Sam. At the end of this episode, I’ll let you know where to go to find the others!
But in this first episode, we start with a background. I don’t usually include personal backgrounds of my guests, but in this case, I thought Sam’s story was really useful to understand – as well as very interesting to hear. I found it very grounding. Sometimes business feels really tough. But Sam’s story is such an excellent example of how riding out the tough times, while staying true to your values, can result in a business that thrives – and, if you are like Sam, can provide incredible satisfaction.
So, without further ado, here we go!
Coming to Australia from Italy
Joanna: Sam, thank you for coming on to the show. I don’t know if I told you this before. But you are literally one of my favorite clients of all time. I really enjoyed working with you on your sale.
Anyway, thank you so much for coming to the show and thanks for sharing your story because I think you’ve got a great story about not just your business sale, which is essentially what we’re talking about today, but also your background.
If you don’t mind, I’d just like to start by touching on that. I recall conversations that we had where you talked about having grown up with hardship having moved to Australia from Italy as a child. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Sam: Absolutely, Joanna. And let me tell you, it’s a pleasure to hear your voice and to be talking to you after all this time.
Coming to Australia was very hard. My father came in 1951, after the Second World War. It was very tough for Italians, as it was for a lot of Europeans, after the war. My father made the decision that it was very difficult literally to put food on the table.
We were living in a small village about 30 or 40 kilometers east of Naples and basically just self-sufficient. He had five children and realised there is no future there.
Just to give you an example. My two older brothers did three years of schooling from the age of about six to about seven or eight and then they were sort of ploughing the fields to try to put food on the table. So it was very tough.
Joanna: After school?
Sam: Yeah. Well, there was going to be no sort of education. There was going to be no opportunity.
So he had a sister who lived in Australia and he had a cousin who was in Argentina. He wrote to them and asked if they would sponsor, because that’s the only way you could get here.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, the sister here who is in Perth in Western Australia decided that she would fill out the appropriate paperwork.
He had no money so she gave him the money for the boat fare, which was a 28-day trip on a boat.
He left my mom and five children. I was six months old when he left.
He came, landed in Perth. The sister had a farm in a place called Bayswater here, a chook farm. He worked there for couple of months. He couldn’t find work in Perth so he worked for some farmers clearing land with an axe and a manic, working on the farm, living in a tent for two years until he had enough money to pay back his sister for the boat fare.
Then he had enough money to get the eldest brother who was 18 to come to Perth to help him. My brother came out another 28 days. They worked together for another two years, living in a tent on the land clearing bush.
In 1955, so four years later, my mum and the other four kids. That’s how I got to Perth. It’s a very long story, but that’s the background of how I got here.
Joanna: Wow. It’s incredible isn’t it to think about. I mean we live such a blessed life generally here in Australia. It’s just so hard to even contemplate that sort of journey. Four years!
Sam: Four years to actually get the family here because we just didn’t have enough money. It took that long to amass the money to get my mum and of course all the time sending some money back.
I think it’s probably one of the things that makes me very grateful and very grounded and sort of not forget it.
For me as a kid, it was never a hardship because we always had food one way or the other. But yes, it was a very different life to what I enjoy now and what a lot of other people enjoy.
Joanna: It’s fascinating, as you’re talking here, many times I think gosh it’s a challenge being a working mum, growing a business and having two young children. But that’s no challenge in comparison to the story you’ve just told.
Sam: No. Especially from my mum, being back there with five kids. Of course dad is sending some money over because she had no other income.
It’s a fairly typical story for most people who migrate in the 50’s. It’s very different today.
The risk of starting a business
Joanna: And so obviously, you went to school in Australia. When did you start your first business then? And how did that all come about?
Sam: Well, I did my schooling in the country and then we moved to Perth when I was about 15 or 16 because my father again realised there was not going to be any work in a country town.
I like electronics. In those days, this was early 60’s. I had this thing about electronics and the only thing that was electronic back then was an occupation called Radio and TV technician. That really was the only electronics in the early 60’s. There was no real computers here in Australia back then.
So when we moved to Perth, I wanted to do something in that field. However, being a dummy from the country, we got here in January in 67 and I didn’t realise that the apprenticeships had all closed the year before. So when I got here, it was too late to join to do that apprenticeship.
I ended up eventually getting a job as an office boy where I thought I’d do that for a year and then apply the next year to do this apprenticeship. However, by then I was about 16 and I thought I’m just too old to start an apprenticeship.
And so I worked for a company called Mount Newman Mining which actually is BHP Iron Ore today here in Perth, as their first sort of office boy. From there I did a lot of night school, some accounting courses, all sorts of stuff.
Ultimately, from there when I was about 18 or 19, computing was only just starting in Perth and in Australia. This was probably getting to the early 70’s. There was an opportunity to train internally. BHP have their own training schools for computing. There were no computer degrees back then.
They had a program that if you sat for an aptitude test and you showed aptitude that they would train you. I sat that aptitude test and I was lucky enough to pass, and so I got into computing. I actually worked for Mount Newman Mining for a total of 22 years.
Joanna: Oh right.
Sam: Yes, always in computing.
So I started in the early days, which was the very early 70’s. I had a very good career in computing and I was growing with computing. It was changing every year so I was actually growing with it. It was wonderful.
Then in 88 was when I actually started my business and that was in computing. I’d had all those years in computing and I figured that I was at the forefront of a particular technology that we were working on at the time.
I was very happy because there was something new happening every year. It was progressing and so it was wonderful.
Then the company’s attitude towards doing work internally changed and they were going to start outsourcing things. And I thought, at that point my career wasn’t going to progress the way it had the last 20 years and contemplated that for a while.
I thought if I stayed here, I’m going to stagnate. I can’t do this. It wasn’t an easy decision to leave. I actually ended up in the first instance sort of going contracting, which was riskier. I had a wife and three children.
But I sat with my wife and told her what was going on and I said I just can’t stay there. I’ve always been in a situation where I was always progressing within myself and also in knowledge. If you’re in computing, you need to keep moving forward.
So I made my decision to leave and then started Trilogy with two other friends of mine who were in exactly the same area of specialization and that’s really how it started.
Joanna: How old were you then?
Sam: I was 37
Joanna: 37. Okay, all right. And so you went into business at that point with two other partners?
Sam: With two other partners. Yes.
Joanna: Right. And did you have any staff when you first started?
Sam: No, not at all. Really what it was, the ideal at the time was really just to try to keep ourselves in work and specialise in this particular product which was a relational database of a thing called DB2 as IBM’s premier sort of database at the time.
There was a transition happening around about 91 or 92 where people were going away from mainframes and going more into what we now know as things like Microsoft and SQL Server and Oracle and all that sort of stuff.
We had a decision to make from this legacy systems to learn newer technologies. In fact, my company became the first Microsoft Certified Partner in Australia.
Sam: Yes. There’s a whole sort of story behind how that came about as well. But we specialize in that sort of technology and that was a real big shift for us.
Up to that point, we were really just trying to keep ourselves employed and probably a way to have some independence and to be able to work on sort of contract rates as opposed to working on salary.
My attitude towards that was that I found that while I was working as an employee. I’ve always been a very loyal employee and putting lots of time and a lot of effort.
I found that the difference in getting pay rises at the end of the year – whilst I was always in the top 10 within the company and doing quite well, the difference between a guy that performed really well and a guy that performed badly was very negligible.
I know that I’m working harder than these guys. And I know just from recognition that I’m doing quite well. It’s not proportional to how you get paid.
I thought at least on my own, if I put the hours in, I put the effort in, if all it takes is to work harder and work longer hours, I’ll beat these guys every damn time. Because they don’t care about putting in longer hours and I do anyway. That’s just me natural.
And I think anybody getting into business needs to understand that they do need to put in a lot of effort and a lot of hours. If that’s foreign to you, then maybe you ought to think again. But if you know that you already do that, then I think it’s a doddle.
Work hard. Do the best you can do.
Joanna: Yeah. And do you think some of that work ethic came from some of the background that we’ve been talking about?
Sam: I think so. I never thought about it at the time.
I often get asked, what motivates you? I never had any real motivations or ambitions, as in I must have the best house in the street or the big house on the hill. I never had any of that.
My folks were always “Work hard. Do the best you can do. Work hard. Do the best you can do, whatever that is.” And I say the same thing. It doesn’t matter if you’re digging a hole in the road, try to dig that hole the best hole you can dig. So that’s the only principle I’ve applied to anything that we do.
I was never pushed. I’m not the third generation of people who have been doctors so you’ve got to be a doctor to keep up the family. I had nothing. I mean I’m the first white collar worker in my family.
It was just do the best you can do and that’s all I have. That’s all we’ve ever done. I’ve got to admit there’s no way that I thought I would end up in the situation where I am now, which is extremely comfortable.
But I was always comfortable and I’ve always been happy. I think that’s the other thing. I never felt that I was some sort of second grade citizen or anything or we’re not doing as well as anyone else. My mum and dad did incredible sacrifices. But we always had plenty of love and plenty of everything. It’s a hard one.
Joanna: Just talking about you being the first person within your family to be a white collar worker and then you grew this business to. You had hundreds of contractors at the time that you sold out. What an amazing success story!
You really achieved an amazing business at the end of the day. That you then got to sell! And now living the dream retired.
Sam: That’s right. Absolutely. It is quite incredible. I mean, sometimes I sort of pinch myself and think things have worked out really well.
But I have to tell you, I never had the ambition that I was building a business to sell.
I know the smart people will tell you if you’re in business to do that. But I only did that probably about a year before I decided to sell.
I was never motivated by that. I was always motivated by just do the best the best you can do. We had two sides of the business. One was software development and one was I.T. recruitment.
As a measure of (I don’t know if it’s success) but as a measure of progress. If we had so many people on this year, then obviously we wanted X + Y people next year. You wanted to see some form of growth so that you’re going forward. That’s what motivated me.
I’ve never been motivated by the money. In fact, particularly on the recruitment side, a lot of people have bonuses. I wouldn’t do that. I didn’t want them to be motivated by money.
We were in recruitment so I wanted empathy to the client and to the candidate so that they weren’t making decisions based on whether they were going to get an extra candidate on board this month so they could get their bonus; because people do all sorts of stupid and desperate things.
I wanted them to do well. We would have some soft targets on numbers. If they did that, then we’d have a salary review and they would be rewarded. The end result was the same, but I just didn’t want their decisions to be based on the fact that they had to shoehorn in so many candidates or so many people as a measure of success.
Our measure of success was never measured on the dollars, but on a growth path. If we had a 100 people this year, well it would be nice to get 120 or 130 next year. That was always my thing. The focus was never actually on dollars.
Motivate employees with growth, not dollars
Joanna: It’s such a great comment because there’s a lot of movement around at the moment. I’m sure there probably always has been in business. But there’s a lot of discussion in terms of performance management by the use of bonuses and incentives and strong meeting of KPIs. But it’s really fascinating to hear you talk about another way of doing it.
Sam: Well I think so. People who are motivated, are motivated most of the time more than just money or not just by money. They are motivated by opportunity.
I don’t believe in trying to ram a square peg into a round hole. The way to motivate employees is to find out what they want and where they want to go and how they want to progress and then you genuinely help them to achieve those goals.
Obviously, if they are doing well, they expect to get rewarded and get money. In the same token, you know you’re in business so you must make money. You’ve got to make money for reasons other than just personal sort of getting money.
The idea is that if you don’t make money, you can’t afford to give people pay rises. Now of course if people aren’t getting pay rises, then you’re not progressing. In the end, no one’s going to have a job. So to do all those things, staff need to understand that they need to be part of that formula.
But the biggest thing is to find out what they want. Particularly when they are young, they want to know that they are progressing. They want to know that they are learning. They want to know they are earning a reasonable salary. But it’s never just about the money.
What I’m saying is you can pay a guy and say, “I’ll give you an extra $20,000 a year, but you’ve got to work 10% harder.” The reality is he won’t.
Find a guy who is motivated because he wants to learn. He will work 50%, 100% harder whether you gave him $10,000 or $5,000. Obviously, he wants some reward. But he’s not motivated by the money.
To actually think that you’re going to motivate somebody who’s not a hard worker to work hard because you’re going to give an extra few dollars. It doesn’t work. He’ll figure out another way of getting extra money and go somewhere else and just keep coming and leaving.
You need to motivate people so that they feel that they are progressing within themselves and if they are and they’re doing the right thing and you’re guiding them correctly, then they are making money. You’re making money and you can afford to give him some back. That’s just the way I see it.
Joanna: And clearly it worked because my recollection is you had a workforce that had been there for a long time. So clearly, a loyal workforce behind you.
Sam: Yes, very stable. One of my star guys he was a computer science and engineering graduate. He had two degrees and first class honours in both. Absolutely brilliant guy.
He started with us when he was 22 or 23 years old. I think it was his first job, and stayed with me right till the end when I sold. He was a wonderful guy and that’s probably my biggest achievement.
He could have left me 100 times and probably got, at any stage of the game, $23,000 a year or probably more salary at any time, and he never did.
I think it was a mutual respect thing. I was able to provide him and especially a bright young bloke to be able to grow with such a small company when we started to always be given opportunities and to be giving opportunity to grow.
That’s probably my biggest achievement. He was extremely loyal and he is one of the guys I’m talking about. He wasn’t motivated by money. He was bright. He wanted to do things and we gave him those opportunities to do it.
I really struggle to make sure that I was paying him the most that we could possibly be paying him. I knew full well that some of the very large corporates could have easy paid him $20,000 or more. And he knew it too. But he was extremely happy. I think that’s probably my biggest achievement as far as workforce goes.
Let’s take a break
Let’s take a short break. When we come back, Sam talks about two particularly difficult times in the business and how he managed through these storms.
And that’s next, I’m Joanna Oakey and you are listening to Talking Law – a podcast brought to you by Aspect Legal.
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Earlier, we got to know Sam – how his family came to Australia from Italy after the second World War, how he started as an office boy in a mining company and worked his way up in computing, at the forefront of an evolving information technology at the time. Sam also talked about the motivation behind his strong work ethic, and his take on how to motivate employees with growth, not on dollars.
Now, let’s get back to our conversation with Sam and talk about the downtimes he’s had to face in his business and how he managed to weather these storms.
Dealing with the downtimes
Joanna: Sam, do you remember any particularly hard times for the business? I mean I guess there must have been serious challenges over all that period of time.
Sam: Absolutely. There’s two very specific ones.
One was round about 92 or 93. There was a very serious down turn here in Perth and I think probably over Australia. Sydney might have been a couple years earlier. But here it was about 92 or 93
We had started in 1988. In 92 or 93, the three of us (there were three partners) – we were all out of work for approximately 12 months.
It was extremely difficult. Everyone was out of work. It was very tough just to make things work.
I was spending still a lot of time in the office. It was one of those things that is very difficult for some people to understand that you’ve got to go in every day. People say, “why are you going in every day if there’s no work?” Well, because if you’re not searching for work, you don’t know when the drought is going to break and you need to be there. You don’t want to miss the opportunity.
Joanna: Did you have other staff then? It sounds like that was about four years into this business.
Sam: No. We didn’t really have any staff at that point. It was really just the three of us. But it was just trying to keep ourselves alive in that time and the only thing that was actually doing it was the actual recruitment side of it.
I was never a recruitment person and that just happened by accident. I was a database administrator specializing in this DB2 software.
What happened, just by chance, was that people would ask me when they had a difficult candidate to find. They weren’t happy with recruitment agencies and because I was in the business and they trusted me, I found myself sort of telling them where to go, what to do.
Eventually, what happened was I decided that a few of these people are friends of mine and they said, “look if you found me a job, then why don’t you look after me and I’ll pay and all that stuff” and I reluctantly did that.
Well, it was reluctant because it wasn’t an area that I particularly wanted to go in. I’d seen some horrible examples of some friends of mine who had gone into recruitment and all the horrible and dodgy things that they did to candidates. I never really wanted to do that.
I said to my mates, “look I’ll do it, but we need to be upfront about what we do and how we do it.”
There’s payroll taxes. There’s insurances. I need to take a certain percentage and the rest I’ll give to you. I’ll fight for you and get you the best rate. So I did that.
The bottom line was I had about half a dozen guys on my books and that was really the only thing that was keeping us alive. But it was still a very tough year because whilst I was doing that side of the business, obviously I was sharing it with my other two partners. They were all out of work as well.
It was at the point where my wife and I spoke. I was getting harassed by some recruiters in Canberra. There was an opportunity there for my skill set.
I was probably at one point almost a couple of weeks away from having to leave the family and go and take on that contract. I was so reluctant.
I remember having conversations with my daughter who was about eight or nine years old at the time. The trying to tell her at night when I was kissing her goodnight before bed time to say “Look, daddy might have to go away for three months” at the time and seeing her cry, bawling her eyes out.
Joanna: And you’re such a family guy as well Sam, right? I can feel the pain of that time.
Sam: Yeah, absolutely. That was a real horrible time.
As it worked out, within about a month or six weeks after that, I managed to get an opportunity in a contract with the water authority here in Perth. That sort of got me back on the road.
That was an extremely tough time that not just only involved me, but involved my wife and my children.
Joanna: In hearing your story now, I think in any business there are times when things get hard. There are crunch times that occur.
I know a number of businesses at the moment who are going through some tough periods, that have come off the back of growth and now there’s some retraction and issues going on.
But I think it’s just so important that people can hear that it’s almost universal among business owners. Stuff happens and then almost everyone gets to that point where they’re against the wall. But if you can just hold on, if you’re in the right business. But it’s not always the right business.
Sam: I think that’s the point. When those things happened, this is really emotional. If it’s just financial hardship, that’s one thing. But when it actually impacts something like this where it then comes into the family. Invariably, it will. If you’ve got a tight knit family, it does.
But also, I was not unaware of this. When we first decided that I’m starting Trilogy, my wife and I sat down. She has always supported me in everything I’ve done and I think that’s the other key to success is to have a successful partner.
Whilst my wife was always at home with the children, I would not have been able to do any of this without her support because I was working long hours and a lot of hard effort. But it was always for the benefit of family and we never lost that.
But you do need to realise, when you start a business, you need to look at it. We did and we said, “the best case scenario is I get paid a bit more and there might be opportunities to do some things. The worst case scenario is that something would happen one day and I’m out of work and I might have to go overseas or somewhere to work.” So we knew about that. It wasn’t something as if we hadn’t discussed. But then of course, when it happened, it is very confronting.
Sometimes people will use that opportunity to say, “I’ve had a gut full. I don’t like my industry anyway and I’m going to try to do that now.” That was never an issue for me. I liked what I did.
Even looking at it from a long term point of view, it was still the profession that I could earn more money. Even if I was to swap to another career, there was nothing else I wanted to do anyway. So I think you have to hang in. You do have to hang in.
You just need to have a good hard look and see if you’re doing anything silly that’s caused you to be in that situation. In our situation, it was really just the environment.
After both two times that this happened, it wouldn’t have mattered whether you are the best in your field. You would have been out of work. It’s just the luck of the draw. If you happen to have a contract that continued on through that time, you are lucky. But if it terminated in that period, you’d be dead in the water like everybody else.
In fact, I had a lot of people, guys with experience, some guys with a couple of degrees were out of work. You could see these guys getting depressed and saying to me, “Sam what’s wrong with me? Am I not good enough? I said, Mate, you’re more than damn good enough. But work’s not out there. If works not out there, works not out there. You’ve got to accept that.”
Joanna: So what was the second main rough time?
Sam: Around about, after Y2K. I don’t know. You should be old enough to remember that, Joanna.
Joanna: I do. I do. I remember it very well.
Sam: Well for IT companies of course, there was a flurry of activity in those couple of years before the year 2000 because of the two digit dates converting over et cetera.
What happened there was a lot of companies were forced to reluctantly bring forward budgets that they probably had planned in 2001-2002. They had to bring all those budgets forward to cope with this problem with the two digit dates.
There was a flurry of activity and as predictable, once Y2K was over so about June 2001 things started to slow down. Here in Perth, there was definitely a severe downturn from 2001 through about 2004-2005.
Joanna: Wow. That’s a long time.
Sam: Yeah. It was very severe. In my case, a couple of years before that, I decided to buy out my remaining business partner. There were two of us at that point. He was going to retire and this was about three years earlier before any of this happened.
We’d nominated June 2000 as the year that he would finish work and I would pay him out. So I had just finished doing that. Then of course the year after paying, the great big hole with the Y2K. So that was interesting.
Joanna: Wow. And so how did you get through at that time?
At that point, you obviously would have had staff by then and I presume quite a bit of a contracting workforce as well. Did that mean you had to make positions redundant and reduce the workforce?
Sam: Well everything started to shrink of course. The number of contractors that we had on were all shrinking for their own reasons. There was no work.
You do a lot of soul searching in a total of about four or five years. You do a lot of soul searching and think am I doing anything wrong? Have I done anything wrong? Is there anything that I can improve on? Is there anything we can do more efficiently?
Most of the answers to that was no. It’s just circumstance that’s change and what you now need to do is to react to it. How quickly or how slowly is up to you.
A lot of people react very quickly. They slash staff, slash costs. I couldn’t do that. I mean my whole life, everything I’ve done has been organic and just growing slowly and my own thoughts as to what I thought how it should be.
I always put myself in the situation of what would I like to happen if that was me. Do unto others as you would unto yourself. I just thought of just sacking some of my loyal guys, I couldn’t do it. Probably to my own detriment because there were probably some people who should have been let go.
They weren’t always the best of employees anyway and maybe that was an opportunity to say I really need to be loyal to the really good ones. But I couldn’t do that. I hung on to staff probably with great detriment to myself I guess.
We never retrenched anybody. What I did do is when people left I didn’t replace them.
Some of the people who understood what we were going through knew that it wasn’t anyone’s fault. It’s just the way it was. As far as I’m concerned, they always had a job as long as we could make things work.
Getting back to my guy who had stayed with me all this time. I mean he was a guy who could have been easily poached in that time, but he chose not to. He understood what we were doing.
I never actually retrenched anybody. But in hindsight, I think if you were struggling, I guess that’s what people do. I now understand a little bit better why they do it.
There is serious risk that the whole lot can go under. If you go under, then it’s not just you who is out of work, it’s everyone else who is out of work. There is a bit of a responsibility there. But it just depends on how you view the world. I was happy to just do it by natural attrition. But there was certainly, in hindsight, some people could have been candidates.
Joanna: Hindsight is a beautiful thing though, isn’t it? Hindsight is a beautiful thing.
Sam: I don’t regret though. I don’t regret it. My decision has always been made with information you have at hand at the time and your personal attitude towards those things.
So I don’t regret it. I don’t regret it at all.
Joanna: But I guess, turning this into the sorts of advice that you can see now from your experiences in dealing with those tough times. For businesses now that are doing it tough, one of the insights we’re seeing is take a look at your staff and see whether or not there are staff who aren’t lifting the business up.
Sam: Exactly. I would say to my staff quite a bit especially when it came to pay rises. You need to be aware that we’re a relatively small company here. What we have here is a combined effort.
Imagine a big rainwater tank. We’ve got a funnel coming in there bringing water to this rainwater tank. Around that tank there’s about 10 or 20 holes, little quarter inch holes. Each one of those is an employee. There’s water draining out of this tank and there’s this big funnel it comes in.
Each one of those groups that have taken water out of the tank needs to be responsible to be putting in more water than the drip that they’re taking out.
If you don’t know or understand that, then this tank is eventually going to go dry and you’re not going to exist as a group. There’s no water coming out.
You have to put in more than what’s coming out. Of what goes in, me as a responsible business owner needs to make sure it leaves enough coming in to keep us all going and there’s enough each year to give you that little bit extra which is your salary increase.
You need to be part of that. If you’re only as worried about taking water out and never not worrying about the water getting in there, then maybe you should not be here.
All my guys felt part of it.
Joanna: Sounds like you had some really good communication with your staff. How did you learn this? Did you do any form of education in leadership or management or business skills?
Sam: No, none at all. This was just all self-reflection.
I’ve got to admit I’m not a heavy sleeper. I only sleep for about 4 or 5 hours a night.
In going to bed at night, especially during those four or five years, I was just consumed by looking at things and trying to figure out how they work and why they work.
We’re all in this together. If some guy came to me and said “Sam I want to earn a $100,000 a year.” Mate, I’m very happy for you to earn $150,000. But you need to find a way where you can bring in at least two or three times that amount of money.
I’m willing to pay you whatever the hell you want. I’d like to see you earn $200,000 or $300,000. But you’ve got to understand that that can’t happen if you’re not bringing in multiple times more than that. Then it’s up to me to make sure that we’re able to hold on to that money and that I keep my promises to you as the person who has been able to do that.
It’s a two-way street. I’ve got to provide you with opportunity. I’ve got to provide you with education. I’ve got to provide you with the guidance to be able to achieve. Your reward for that is you get the salary you want. My reward is to grow the business.
No. I didn’t get that from any course. These were sweat equity in place of sleep conclusions.
Legal Wrap Up
That’s a wrap for our episode with Sam De Longis.
As a quick recap, in this episode we talked about Sam’s background – having come to Australia as a baby, with his family from Italy at the end of the second World War.
He also talked about his humble beginnings as a country boy who came to Perth and became an office boy in a mining company, where he worked hard and worked his way up to being among its top employees, being at the forefront of the evolving field of information technology, to then starting his business Trilogy.
Sam also talked about the motivation behind his strong work ethic and how this mindset shaped his approach in motivating his own employees.
And finally, we closed this episode with an insightful discussion on Sam’s encounters with two particularly difficult moments in the business and how he weathered through these storms.
If you like what you heard today, please pop over to Podcast on your iPhones or stitcher for android, and hit subscribe to be the first to know when we have a new episode out.
On our show notes, we also provide an option for you to download a copy of the full transcript to this episode if you’d like to read it in more detail. Just head over to our website at www.talkinglaw.com.au, look for this episode – episode 49 – and there you’ll find a download link.
If you want to hear more of Sam’s story, check out our sister podcast – The Deal Room, for our 3-part series with Sam where he talks about how he grew his business, his experience going through the business sale process, and his insights on life after the sale.
I think this is really useful listening for anyone who is growing a business at the moment because it gives some really down to earth insights from the coalface of someone who has been there and done that in terms of many of the issues that you’re probably facing in your business and also shows how it can all be wrapped up in a successful exit at the end of the day.
So if you want to hear those episodes, just head over to our website at www.thedealroompodcast.com – and look out for episodes 33, 34, and 35. Or head over to The Deal Room Podcast using the search facility within podcast on your iphone or in stitcher or your other players on android in order to get updates straight to your mobile devices. Well that’s it.