Current Position: Co-Founder of House of Bandits
Recipe for Success: Creativity, Collaboration and Learning
“I want whatever I do to be impactful. And what I can do here is to spread the word of creativity, collaboration and learning.”
Necessity is the mother of invention
“At the beginning of our entire business model, it was just a couple of friends trying to get cheap rent.“
Stefan Yazzie Herber has not planned to become an entrepreneur, initially. In fact, it rather started with a community of people who were working together and needed an office space. Being creative and bold, Stefan and his cofounder Dominik decided to turn a completely run-down building with almost no infrastructure into an office space – with their own hands. As they were building the space, they have come to realize that it was indeed a business that they could build up. Their mission was about empowerment and growth through cooperation – for everyone. Today, “House of Bandits” is a co-creation space, an advertising agency, and most importantly: a community.
Starting from zero
When starting from zero, money struggles were inevitable. However, with an entrepreneurial spirit one can always find a way: In order to save money, Stefan and his co-founder decided to make use of the marketplace platform Willhaben and used material at construction sites that nobody wanted. They discovered how far one can get with recycling free things and therefore got the most out of everything and eventually succeeded in building something
Learn how to learn, adapt, and juggle
As his most valuable skills, Stefan cannot stress enough the importance of learning how to learn and also adapting one’s self-learning accordingly. As an entrepreneur, being confronted with all kinds of situations, setbacks and surprises is part of one’s everyday life. In order to be capable of coming up with suitable solutions, being able to learn new things fast is crucial. Apart from that, Stefan equates his chaotic process with one of his hobbies: juggling – “It’s a habit thing, the longer you practice juggling, the more balls you’re able to juggle. And the same goes for projects. Over time, you’re just able to keep your mind on many more projects. When you don’t have to look when they go up in the air, you can look somewhere else. But when they come back down, you have to be there with your full attention.“
Least favourite failure
Stefan had to learn the hard way that substance should come before image when he started a new venture with his business partner Dominik organising a drum&bass music festival “Royal Bass”. Due to ridiculously high expectations, unsolid advice and issues with the local government, the festival got into a precarious financial situation that ultimately led Stefan to be homeless for a short period of time. Nonetheless, it was Stefan’s best business learning he has ever had in his entire life – leading teams, planning festival financials and running international ad campaigns were all tasks that needed to be done and without a full-time team to handle it, it all fell to the cofounders to figure it out on the fly. Even though having unrealistic expectations is a huge part of being able to achieve great things, realistic goal-setting enables efficient planning and is therefore crucial for the success of a project.
I want whatever I do to be impactful
Being able to create an impact through his work is what drives Stefan to keep pushing, even when facing demanding hurdles.
“What I can do here is to spread the word of creativity, collaboration, and learning.“ This is what he values in his own startup. This also applies to other areas than his passion – when thinking about which message he would share on a billboard on Stephansdom if he had the chance to do so, he would call up his friends at Fridays for Future and create a powerful message due to the urgency of the climate crisis.
Jump into stuff – if it doesn’t work out, who cares?
For getting started, following your own passion or someone else’s is the first step. Through volunteering, participating in impactful projects or even implementing your own projects, one can easily find his or her way into the entrepreneurial world. “Just jump into stuff, see if it works. If it doesn’t – who cares? You’re young, you can still mess up in the beginning.“
Stefan’s jump succeeded and he managed to turn a run-down building into a space full of freedom, creativity and joy with open doors for everyone – feels like everything is possible!
Next Week: Rebekka Dober, YEP – Die Stimme der Jugend
In our weekly interview series, we will be featuring various inspirational entrepreneurs of the Austrian startup scene. Each Monday, you can expect useful insights into their lives and practical tips that you can follow in order to walk your entrepreneurial path. Like, share, comment – and feel free to reach out to us. Suggestions, ideas, remarks are all welcome – let’s shape the ecosystem together