Andrew Everingham: Founder Story

Andrew Everingham is the Founder and CEO of Capital-e, a marketing and events company based in Sydney, Australia. During their thirteen years in business, Capital E has worked with some of the world’s most exciting and leading tech change-making organizations. In this interview for Follow the Founder, Andrew talks about his entrepreneurial journey and shares how his values have shown up in his business.

Andrew hadn’t always planned to start his own business. It happened almost accidentally when a realization struck that his role at the time wasn’t getting the best out of him.

“There was a moment when I realized that graduating into the next echelon of the business, I probably wasn’t going to be able to give the company the value that role needed. I had reached the top level within that organizational structure where I was going to be able to provide them with that and bring value doing what I do best.

“It was a real realization. It stemmed from knowing yourself. When you sit back, you look at that role and ask yourself, ‘Would I be able to do a good job of that?’ If the answer is ‘No’, then you won’t be able to deliver that positive outcome for yourself or the organization. 

“I looked at myself and thought, ‘You’re not going to deliver the results that they need at this time in your life, with the skills that you’ve got and the expertise that you amassed’. So I asked myself, ‘With what I’ve got here, what would be the right thing?’ I realized I could be giving businesses what I was doing there but in an outsourced way. They can tap into it when they need it. So I decided I was going to do that.”

Sometimes, before an idea takes its final shape, all we need to gather the courage to take the leap is some encouragement from people we know and trust. An outsider’s perspective is invaluable at these critical moments. It can also silence that imposter voice in our heads that stops us and makes us doubt whether we have it, whether we can do it. Andrew benefited from that external push and shares a funny anecdote on the topic:

“At that point, I did go and seek some support and feedback from a few individuals. They said, ‘You’ve got to do it! I’ll give my work’. I remember calling one of these mentors of mine and a former colleague, and I said to her, ‘That was just so good. You’ve done it. You pushed me over the edge. I’m gonna go into it’. She was like, ‘My God. Don’t tell me that you think I’ve got enough business to support you!’

Aha moments are moments of sudden recognition, realization, and affirmation. These are the moments that fuel our motivation and our passion to continue forward. Andrew’s first clear aha moment pushed him into entrepreneurship. His next one confirmed for him that was the right decision. He felt he was at the right place and on the right path. 

“I was standing in the first of two summits that we’re running in Sydney. I remember looking at this crowd of people and everything was exactly as it should be, and I went, ‘Wow, I’m in the right place right now. This is it’.

“What this experience also crystallized though was that I was incredibly busy and I was going to need to change the way I was approaching what I was doing because one guy was not going to be able to deliver all that consistently.”

Listening to his intuition again, Andrew brought in a partner he had worked with in his past position and trusted implicitly. Together, they grew the company and made it the successful business it is today. To understand the values that drive him and his business, we ask him to share characteristics of himself that show up for people who know him well.

“Number one for me that people would know about me is that I’m fun. I think fun is such an interesting characteristic. It very much is a part of everything that I do, and it’s very much a part of our organization. Fun is deeply built into our vision. I believe that we are here for such a short period of time. If it’s not fun, then what are you doing? I don’t mean that there aren’t times in your life where things are going to be tough and that there’s going to be hard work. You will make tough decisions. But if it’s not fundamentally fun, you are probably approaching things the wrong way and maybe you need to reset. So that’s my number one value. Also, I love that fun is part of the word fundamental! 

“Another one is thoughtful. I am thoughtful in the sense of being caring. I truly care about the people around me, and I care that they’re having fun. I care that they are living their best life, living their life to the fullest. It means a lot to me. Being thoughtful and caring does mean you also hold people accountable for things. So it’s not a soft fluffy metric, it’s saying I am thoughtful about the environment I live in.

“Cutting it the other way, I also mean thoughtful in so much as I like to spend time getting deep into things. I like spending time, certainly introspectively but also externally, understanding what’s making things tick. I think that thoughtfulness is why marketing is so attractive to me. If you’re going to be good at marketing, you need to be thoughtful about it, and you need to spend time getting deep into issues.”

Even though marketing turned out to be the right path for Andrew, speaking and being true to his values, it wasn’t the career he had initially envisioned for himself. He started from a very different point, but the change of path turned out to be a perfectly suited outcome for him.

“I started my career wanting to be an actor. I studied for three years in acting school. Unfortunately, those casting directors didn’t share my vision that I could be the next Mel Gibson. But I think that some of the fun and thoughtfulness that is ingrained in my work now is also intrinsic in being an actor.”

Even if we don’t end up where we initially thought we would, sometimes we find that we end up in a better place. Andrew’s passion for his company and being a Founder is another fundamental characteristic he shares that has been a driving force in his entrepreneurial life.

“I am very passionate about whatever I get into. I throw myself into things wholeheartedly.  But that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m a great finisher. I think this is an interesting thing for Founders. If you don’t have the passion, if you’re not holding the torch, you’re probably going down the wrong road. 

“There are some ways that you can use that passion to help you, for example, in making decisions. But to do that, you’ve got to know yourself pretty well.”

In true Andrew fashion, he ends up on a funny note.

“For my fifth one, and, I think this is great, I’m very punctual.”

To finish the interview, we ask Andrew whether he still believes Foundership is the right path for him and whether he would do it all over again if given the chance.

“I think that the test of that is when you wake up every morning and you think about what your day holds for you. If you’re not excited about going to work or doing the work and even if it’s a day off when you wake up you get. Do I feel good about where I am? If it’s not a ‘yes’, then you really need to think about what you can change to make it a ‘yes’, because that might be the last morning you ever get up. That doesn’t mean I haven’t had days, white terror moments, where I’ve gone, ‘My God, this is crazy and stress is real’. But you have to control that. For me, it’s never been so bad to tip the scales to the other side. So yes, I absolutely feel in the right place and the right path.”

For more inspiring stories, join our welcoming and supportive community of aspiring and established founders at Follow the Founder. You can also find us on Instagram or LinkedIn.

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