A young man from the periphery, the desire to get married, the frustration with the time spent on public transport, the thirst to grow, and the courage to bet all his chips on a business.
It could be the script for a movie, but it is the beginning of the career of entrepreneur Flávio Augusto – founder of Wiser Educação, responsible for companies such as Wise Up and MeuSucesso.Com.
If you don’t know the plot, let me tell you a summary of this story.
Flávio was born into a family that lived on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro and started working at an English school, selling courses, at the age of 19. (A curiosity: as phone lines were expensive, he used a payphone as an office to talk to potential clients. Ah, the 90s!).
Cut to four years later. At the age of 23, he was already the commercial director of this company. But that’s where the real plot twist comes. At this age, he saw an opportunity to sell adult-focused English courses: a very different strategy for the time.
To do this, he took out a loan and opened his own language school. And, a year later, she would make her first million. Later, it would become one of the largest English teaching networks, Wise Up, with franchises throughout Brazil.
Another chapter of this story was in 2013. At 41, he became a multimillionaire when he sold Wise Up to Grupo Abril, for R$877 million. Less than three years later, he repurchased the company for just R$400 million.
Also in 2013, Flávio began his adventure in the world of sports. He bought the Orlando City football club in the United States. In 2021, the club was sold for double the purchase price, in another multimillion-dollar operation.
And now it’s at full steam investing in techs (education startups) and Wise Up Online.
The “happily ever after” of this story came, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t face (or face) obstacles. And it is precisely about perseverance and courage in difficult times that Flávio talks about in the project known as Generation of Value – which has millions of followers on social networks and has already yielded three books.
With a trajectory like this, Flávio inspires a lot of people. Therefore, we invite the entrepreneur to give you career, leadership, and entrepreneurship tips so that you can also achieve your goals. Check out!
Conquer: In one of your books, you talk about our power to choose and the courage to make our own choices. How has this been important in your life?
Flávio Augusto: First, discovering the cause and effect relationship between our choices and the results we achieve in life is fundamental. The most common and convenient is to ignore this causal relationship. However, discovering and assuming that we can play an active and decisive role in this game is fundamental.
Conquer: What was the biggest challenge of your career, what did you do to overcome it and what did this episode leave you to learn?
Flávio Augusto: My biggest challenge was overcoming the enormous social barriers that I considered insurmountable at the beginning of my life. Starting with geography. As a suburban resident, just to get to and from work, it took almost five hours a day on crowded public transport. During the year, it took about 25 full days inside a swamped bus.
Overcoming this condition, overcoming the lack of reference, self-esteem, and still competing on an equal footing with my peers required more determination and resilience from me to have any chance of crossing from where I was to get to where I wanted to be.
Conquer: What advice do you give to someone who wants to grow in the profession or start a business, but is feeling unmotivated or doesn’t know where to start?
Flávio Augusto: First, assess whether the company you are in is fertile ground, is growing, and can offer you any chance to grow. If so, seek to develop your skills to become a more productive and valuable professional in your market.
Conquer: And what tip do you give to those who need to lead in times of uncertainty?
Flávio Augusto: The leader is the one who gives the vision and direction. He goes ahead and sets an example. When her vision as a leader is right and the entire team benefits from it, she begins to trust your leadership more. And when you give a second or third look, and they materialize, you gain more authority and strength among the team.
The leader is under no obligation to have all the answers. It can give the group the possibility to participate in decisions, giving the group co-authorship. This creates a great deal of complicity between the leader and the subordinate. By giving the group co-authorship, directing, and stimulating the team, you also help in the process of forming new leaders.
The leader need not be afraid of making mistakes. He is not the superman or the wonder woman: he makes mistakes, he apologizes. He must humanize himself so as not to become a mythical figure.
Conquer: What skills have you had to develop that have made a big difference in your life but have not been taught by traditional education?
Flávio Augusto: Communication, emotional intelligence, and leadership. There is not a day that people who grow professionally in the market do not use these three tools.
As soon as I started my professional experience as an extremely shy guy in the sales field, the first skill required was communication. I had to train communication in the company and daily. Greatly stimulated by the desire to sell, communication began to be developed at various levels.
The first level was persuasion when selling the product, looking in the eye, that is, being confident when communicating. Then came the other levels: a lecture for 40 people or teaching a team to sell. At another time, I needed to speak live on television or with thousands of people in a football stadium. This tool was very good for me, and it’s important for anyone who wants to grow in any area.
Conquer: How do you see a professional who is very good technically, but who doesn’t master communication?
Flávio Augusto: Any professional who doesn’t know how to communicate well tends to stagnate. It’s not a rule because it can develop in the process. And what would be the benefit of learning this skill? First, because the professional becomes eligible to lead.
Leadership is done through communication: how to speak individually or in a group, how to motivate, how to demand, how to give feedback, how to call for reflection. Often, the leader will educate the team, teaching skills that the team does not yet have. Leadership influences the behavior of individuals, who influence the result of the team.
Conquer: Do you remember times when public speaking and communication were fundamental in your life? What difference did these skills make to your career?
Flávio Augusto: Every day, without exception. When I worked with sales, training, and leading sales teams, later when I started my own company and a few years ahead when I started to produce content for the internet. Communication and public speaking are simple tools to be developed and that gives a lot of return.
Conquer: How can we adapt in this age of so much change? In this sense, what is the importance of continuous learning?
Flávio Augusto: Change is normal. Adaptation is the condition for survival in the world’s evolutionary process. And we, as professionals, have a duty to adapt – more than that, we need to be ahead.
We need to see change as opportunities, not threats. Sometimes people are bothered by the idea of changes, but they don’t realize that this environment allows those below to climb. If you see this as good news, you get out of the boom and go on the attack. So, change is great, it’s what brings opportunities.
The only chance for us to evolve is if we keep up with these changes. There is only one way: learn to learn.