Finder founder reveals why he gave up alcohol three years ago

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A self-made entrepreneur with an estimated net worth of $214million has revealed why he giving up alcohol three years ago was his best business decision.

Fred Schebesta, a co-founder of financial comparison website Finder, made The Australian Financial Review’s Young Rich List in 2020 with a rank of 26 – with his wealth climbing from $193million in 2019 to $214million in 2020 despite the Covid crisis. 

On Thursday the 40-year-old took to Instagram to celebrate being three years, eight months and 20 days sober. 

‘It wasn’t a hard decision for me, because I had enough of feeling down the next day, wasting time being unproductive,’ he said.

A self-made entrepreneur with an estimated net worth of $214million has revealed why he giving up alcohol three years ago was his best business decision

‘I was never a big drinker but I still remember the impact it had on me. It was the morning after having a few social drinks at a business event when I planned to go on a 10km jog on the beach, but couldn’t get out of bed. I didn’t have the energy. This is when I realized it was time to quit the drink.

‘It’s part of my mission to reach hyper success. I want to make the most of my time and be the best person I can be.

‘I challenge you to switch out the things that are impeding your growth for things that will help you reach your success. What are you going to stop doing and start doing today?’

The chief executive has gone from working in a Pizza Hut call centre as a university student to running a business employing 450 staff in 80 countries. 

To succeed the Macquarie University Bachelor of Finance graduate told Daily Mail Australia that it’s important for would-be entrepreneurs to avoid over borrowing or chasing funding to grow a business, despite interest rates being at a record low.

The chief executive has gone from working in a Pizza Hut call centre as a university student to running a business employing 450 staff in 80 countries

The chief executive has gone from working in a Pizza Hut call centre as a university student to running a business employing 450 staff in 80 countries

‘Don’t grow too fast. I believe in growing slowly,’ he said in 2021.

‘There’s a beauty in mastering quality, and taking care of your customers and your crew that can be compromised when companies grow too fast.’

More importantly, Mr Schebesta said delaying a good idea was often the key to failure.

‘Don’t put it off. If this is your goal for 2021 or something you’ve been wanting to try for a long time, don’t put it off for another year,’ he said.

‘Don’t live with regret. If you don’t give it a go you will never know your true potential.’

Mr Schebesta and his schoolmate Frank Restuccia started a digital marketing business in 2001 called Freestyle Media.

They later sold that and set up Finder in 2006 which in 2012 evolved into a financial comparison site.  

To succeed, the Macquarie University Bachelor of Finance graduate has urged would-be entrepreneurs to avoid over borrowing to grow a business, despite interest rates being at a record low. More importantly, Mr Schebesta said delaying a good idea was often the key to failure

To succeed, the Macquarie University Bachelor of Finance graduate has urged would-be entrepreneurs to avoid over borrowing to grow a business, despite interest rates being at a record low. More importantly, Mr Schebesta said delaying a good idea was often the key to failure

To succeed, he recommended at least learning from industry insiders and setting a deadline.

The six tips for a successful business

1. DON’T grow too fast or over borrow

2. DON’T delay a good idea

3. DON’T do it alone

4. DON’T chase funding 

5. DO be prepared to make sacrifices

6. DO have a vision statement 

‘You need to fully commit to it. This doesn’t mean dropping everything, quitting your job and investing your life savings all at once,’ he said.

‘It’s about setting yourself a goal and committing some time to achieve it. 

‘It might be to learn about an industry by reading a book, or talking to five industry experts, or doing some research. 

‘Whatever it is, make sure you include a deadline, so you’ll be more likely to achieve it.’

He also recommended getting help.

‘Don’t do it alone. Starting a business can feel lonely, especially if you’re starting out on your own. But you don’t need to do it alone,’ Mr Schebesta said.

‘Join community groups and forums, go to events, build relationships of people in your industry, and ask for help.’

Above all, success involves sacrifice and paying yourself very little, with Mr Schebesta and Mr Restuccia initially paying themselves just $1,500 a month – or $18,000 a year. 

To succeed, he recommended at least learning from industry insiders and setting a deadline

To succeed, he recommended at least learning from industry insiders and setting a deadline

Mr Restuccia had previously been on a $150,000 salary as a BNP Paribas investment accountant.

‘It’s not easy starting a business and it takes a lot of time and effort,’ Mr Schebesta said.

‘Before you start, think about what you are going to sacrifice today, to reap the rewards later. 

‘I missed family celebrations, life events. I put everything into my business. I knew the sacrifice I wanted to make from the beginning.’

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