Money biz: Building successful businesses with just $30k

Taryn Williams, the founder of Wink Models and on starting out in business with just $30k.

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Taryn Williams is one of Australia’s top young female entrepreneurs and after nearly ten years in business, the companies she’s founded, Wink Models and, have recorded significant year-on-year growth.

But it wasn’t always that way. Here’s her money journey in business.

How much money did it take to start your business?

Wink Models cost about $30k to get started. That covered a very basic website (which looked pretty fancy back in the day!), some business cards, and the basic legal setting up of the company, trust, contracts etc. was a more expensive investment, having worked on a number of tech solutions with Wink I was really aware that I wanted to develop in house and that meant hiring a full team of developers and tech experts, alongside management and other roles from the beginning of the project.

The development work required for starting was, even for our MVP, much more involved.


What was your salary like in your first year?

I didn’t draw a salary from Wink for the first two or three years. As a founder and business owner you have to remember that the company comes first, you have staff, investor and other mouths to feed before your own!

At I drew a small wage from the inception of the business, but its certainly modest amount.

My financial rewards come from the success of my companies, and I’m comfortable with that being the case, and it provides the incentive for me to ensure we hit our KPIs.


If money was a challenge in the first year, how did you make it work?

I was absolutely ruthless with overheads, and still am to date.

I run lean, efficient businesses, with low head counts where possible, and invest our resources in hiring the best people for the team who can deliver outstanding results.

It’s not just the first year – its forever – as a business owner you put your heart, soul and every cent available into making your companies a success.

I have always sacrificed, and continue to sacrifice, a lot of things such as personal luxuries to reinvest in my companies.


What has been the biggest financial investment?

There have been two – the development of the Wink App, and the development of platform. The Wink app allowed that business to scale and systemised it into being a more efficient business. platform was also a significant investment, this was necessary to allow us to build a fantastic product and key core team – its a high growth tech company and we wanted the best internal development team and UX/UI resources from the start of the project.

We built with the intention of being a global company, so the investment reflects that.


And finally, what has been your best and worst spend in business?

Best spend – my team. Hands down. Invest in good people and encouraging them flourishing alongside you.

I wouldn’t have been able to achieve half of my success without the support of my team.

Worst spend – building the second iteration of the Wink website about seven years ago with an inexperienced developer, who over promised and severely under delivered!

We ended up having to scrap the whole thing and start all over with someone new. It was about $15k and six months down the drain. Certainly a learning experience!

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