Setting up a new business is always fraught with uncertainty. But for Newcastle master painter Sean Hersee, it has been a case of onwards and upwards ever since he decided to leave his father’s successful commercial painting firm and go out on his own.
Sean is the fifth generation of his family to take up the trade and worked with his father John for ten years, moving through the ranks of apprentice, tradesman and supervisor.
But a yearning to run his own race saw Sean leave the security of paid employment to establish SAGE Painting in 2012. After saving up money to buy his tools of the trade,
Sean borrowed against his own home to invest in his first van. Six years on, the business has grown from a one-man operation to a successful, multimillion-dollar enterprise
employing more than 20 people.
Sean’s story is one of 14 featured in a new book by Australian technology entrepreneur, international speaker and the author of 16 bestsellers, Dale Beaumont. Secrets of Successful Entrepreneurs Exposed brings readers up close and personal with highly successful entrepreneurs in a range of industries, delving into the secrets behind their business mindset and entrepreneurial success.
For Sean, the journey has been both challenging and rewarding, resulting in a level of success beyond his expectations.
“I remember reading a quote by Henry Ford that said, ‘When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the aeroplane takes off against the wind, not with it’,” Sean says in the book.
“This has really stuck by me throughout my business journey. There were times at the start when I doubted myself. I would think back to this quote and tell myself that if I can just push through a bit of pain, the ride will get better.
“Having your own business means your income is only determined by how hard you work and how well you run your business. I love how you can continually set yourself challenges and small goals and be able to achieve them before going on to set bigger and better challenges and goals.
“Whether you want to stay small and be a one-man team or go on to have a multi-million dollar company or multiple businesses, it really is your decision how far you want your entrepreneurial journey to take you.”
SAGE Painting’s team of qualified tradesman undertake a wide range of projects, from residential jobs repainting interiors, to giving new homes their first coats of paint. The business has also helped breathe new life into a range of commercial spaces across the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie region. Sean prides himself on the culture he has developed within his business and the pride with which his team present themselves on the job – something he believes is a clear point of difference between SAGE Painting and its competitors.
The quality of their work has also earned them numerous awards and accolades, including winning Regional WorldSkills Awards, being named the Master Builders Sub-contractor of the Year and being a Small Business Champion finalist.
But Sean said all the awards and trophies presented by industry experts paled in comparison to the bright smiles and gratitude he and his team have received from happy homeowners.
These days Sean’s success has allowed him to trade in his paintbrush to focus on growing the business, a luxury that has allowed him to spend more time with his young family and indulge in his passion for competitive triathlons.
The success of the business has also allowed him to develop a healthy investment property portfolio, which he hopes will one day provide enough passive income to allow himself and his wife to enjoy an early retirement.
Before then though Sean has set himself and his team another goal – for the business to become the best painting company in Australia. With paint practically running through his veins, and an entrepreneurial spirit that encourages him to take chances and set the bar high, it seems only a matter of time before Sean achieves that goal as well.
Secrets of Successful Entrepreneurs Exposed is now available for purchase - for more information visit