Jacky Laverty has over 20 years experience managing and mentoring businesses to success. She is the ever encouraging and very supportive mother hen at Creative HQ and most definitely an integral part of our startup founders’ journey to success – whatever success may look like for them. This week we sat down with expert Jacky, AKA Jax, to ask what success means to her and what advice she most regularly gives to our startup businesses on the subject.

When asked to define success, Jax says: “For me, the current one-dimensional (eg, success is measured by dollar value) understanding of success needs a proper update. In my experience, we are all yearning for more purpose. The millennials especially. Real success is probably strongly connected to listening to your inner voice and being brave enough to follow it. This means spending more time and effort on things that fuel you and help you feel a greater sense of purpose.”

Defining success must take into account experiences, values and beliefs and so, success means different things to different people. The importance you place on different measures can vary depending on your personal goals. You might solely think of it regarding monetary value, or you might want to feed your whanau easily, or you might ask yourself “how many people have I made happy today?”. These are all valid measures, and your yardstick will vary to others.


In her work, Jax sees more consumers and investors developing bigger appetites for business impact beyond monetary value. Founders are building companies that are fixing real-world problems, with teams that believe in the company’s vision and mission – a mission built on sustaining itself and making money to support its cause. The impact factor businesses can have on the world is a huge motivator for Jax’s career in young business mentorship. 

Jax sees failure as an integral part of success. “I have failed quite a few times myself, and I know it hurts. But also you (hopefully) learn a lot from failure and get better as a result. Resilience and perseverance are key. Developing a simple ritual to acknowledge every failure as a new learning helps you through the tough times. I use the mantra “exploring and learning is fun!”

Supporting entrepreneurs to set up businesses they are passionate about is Jax’s primary driver. “I love that energy; I know how it feels. Exploring new grounds, exploring things that haven’t been done yet or at least, not in the same way as before.” She thinks anyone starting up a project or company is doing it with the firm thought – it will succeed. Otherwise, it would be a huge waste of time. In that light, it can be especially heartbreaking if it doesn’t work out, but perseverance and failure are important parts of success. According to a study, 90% of the founder teams of unicorns are repeat entrepreneurs. Drew Houston, Co-founder of Dropbox is right when he said: “don’t worry about failure: you only have to be right once.”

Creative HQ focuses on innovation and innovative business practices, and we very much think innovation drives success. “Without innovation and the mindset to think about what could disrupt your own company, ventures wouldn’t survive anymore. If we are putting energy and time into building something new, why not design things that change the world from the start?”


Jax has taken many businesses through the startup process. She’s seen roadblocks crop up time and time again and helped companies take the next steps. “Most commonly roadblocks are caused by regulatory barriers, over-inflated ego or lack of focus. New entrepreneurs don’t often take the time to plan and review the company strategy on a regular basis and can chase every opportunity as it comes up which results in inefficiency and burnout. I recommend actively engaging in thinking about the 3-5 most important things to crack. Focus on things that make or break your company in each phase and then test all opportunities on their fit. Certainly, you can always plan to have one wild card…” Keeping your expectations of yourself and others in check and finding ways that will focus you on the bigger picture will ultimately drive long-term success.

So, what are Jax’s top 3 success secrets?

  1. Always ask and listen, but stay true to yourself.
  2. Be respectful and kind and don’t burn bridges, you might need them soon, and desperately.
  3. Make paying it forward part of your business model.

“My wish for you all is to wake up daily, passionate and optimistic about the day ahead, knowing that what you do will positively impact others. Lots of love, Jax”

Throughout October Creative HQ is focussing on “Success” hearing from experts, staff and alumni on the topic. Last month we focused on “Community“. Make sure you’re subscribed to our newsletter to get all this useful information in your inbox at the end of the month.

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