Espresso Catchups 1: Mitch Hills - Aroundabout

As part of Ayda's regular blog updates, she's launched a segment called Espresso Catchups where she interviews established businesspeople and emerging entrepreneurs.

For the first episode of Espresso Catchups she sat down with Mitch Hills, the founder of an app sure to be popular with foodies called Aroundabout.

Snippets of the interview were seen in Ayda's most recent Vlog but a full transcript can be found below:

Tell us a little bit about yourself! Ola! My name is Mitch I am an entrepreneur and an entertainer, born and raised in Brisbane Australia. I own an app, I run an entrepreneurs community and I am a professional DJ 4 nights a week. I started hustling when I was selling peanuts to hungry rich kids in class in grade 7, then started my first legitimate business in grade 12 which was an entertainment company for private functions and events. I’ve always been a hard worker. I never went to university, I’ve always done things my own way and taught myself everything. I am a big believer in self education and actually doing it instead of studying it.

In your own words, what is AroundAbout and what inspired you to create it? AroundAbout is the Tinder for food! For those of you unfamiliar with Tinder AroundAbout is a swiping application that uses your location to find the best places around you to eat and drink. We did a stack of research to find the best places in the area, and now it’s all in the palm of your hand.

Tell us a bit about your latest venture, The Exceptions Network - what is it and what are your goals for this project? The Exceptions is a community for entrepreneurs, startups, freelancers, hustlers and anyone that wants to start making moves towards their goals professionally. I believe that there is a gap between people thatwant to be entrepreneurs and people that are. So I want to to help people that aren’t sure where to start, and also take everything I have learned in my businesses to assist them with theirs. We do a lot of great stuff like mentoring dinners, weekly blog posts, video blogs, business setup services and more. I am about to ramp it up a bit, doing a podcast, talk show and startup workshops. My goal is to encourage entrepreneurship in Brisbane and Australia, and help people in their teens and twenties build awesome businesses and smash their goals, instead of spending their entire youth partying.

What’s the next step for each of your current projects? With AroundAbout, our biggest problem has been that it is not available worldwide - it is only useful in areas where we have data. Aside from expanding into several international locations we are also bringing in a really cool feature that allows people to rate food with our own unique characters that have a really cool back story. Basically - you can take a picture of something and rate it out of 5, anywhere in the world. The next step for The Exceptions is to start doing more practical concepts like workshops and talk shows so we have something our members can actually apply to life. I look forward to slowly building the community and creating a movement.

What does an average day look like at the moment for you? Every day is different which is exciting! There is always something new to do. My days range from talking to developers, scheduling content and reaching out to people on social media, creating blog posts and videos, creating new product feature ideas, legal, accounting, marketing, basically one of the million things that entrepreneurship requires!

How do you define success? This is such a great question and something I talk about with my community as well. It’s important to know what success actually is. This is massive in business, people can get this false sense of fulfillment because they are looking at the wrong metrics. Although your question is referring to life - and so at this point in time I define success by progress and happiness. What I mean by that is if I am continually learning, growing, moving forward and I am happy, then I am successful. People get too hung up on money. Like I said earlier yes, I would like to have plenty of it, but it’s not as fulfilling as some people may think. There are a million and one ways to make money - but if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you’ll never really be happy.

If you could describe the entrepreneurial lifestyle in 3 words, what would they be? Trial and error.

What are some of your favourite apps to use besides your own? Depends what it’s for, but I love Trello, Flipboard, the Reminders app is actually really good, Hootsuite, the Entrepreneur app is great.

How do you feel social media is creating opportunities for young people like yourself to make a difference in the world? I cannot even put it in words. It is creating unlimited opportunities, and it can now give you a voice that has never been possible until now. You used to just talk to 2 or 3 friends in person or on the phone. Now you can talk to the world. I am a huge believer of building your personal brand and social media is perfect for this. More people should be leveraging the insane opportunity the social media offers instead of just scrolling on it.

As someone who’s created their own local tourism app, you’ve got to have a favourite place in Brisbane! Where would that be? Whoa, tough question haha. Hmm… I love to play basketball so anywhere with a court. But in terms of the context, I’m a big fan of West End there’s a lot of cool places in there like Suburban and Three Monkeys cafe. I also love Marinara Trattoria in Paddington and La Quinta in Bulimba. Some great bars are Elixir bar, Sabotage does great cocktails, the new Prestige bar is nice too, and you can’t go past Cloudland. Seriously that is one of the most amazing buildings I’ve ever seen. World class.

If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be? San Francisco. My inner nerd wants to see Silicon Valley, the tech hub of the world. I want to see self driving cars, I want to see Google, Tesla, everything in action, I want to see the future of the world!

Ayda Shabanzadeh
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