Meet Dr Ray McHale finance guru

We are on the quest to interview business owners over the age of 60. This week we head to Sydney Australia and chat with Dr Ray McHale founder of Valuiza and My Next Advice. 

Can you tell us a little about your business and what you do?

MyNextAdvice is a SaaS (software as a service) marketplace that supports the advice industry with a current focus on the Australian financial planning industry. We provide a platform that makes it really easy and simple for advice practices to gather feedback from their clients in order to identify growth opportunities (improve client retention, generate referrals and automate lead generation). We also provide a service for consumers who are seeking advice to quickly and easily provide details about their specific needs and we automatically connect them with the best advisers at no cost.

What were some of the struggles you faced when you first started?

I come from a financial services background, so I’ve always been confident that my experience and qualifications would contribute positively to the success of the business. But when you start from scratch developing an innovative software solution with limited resources, challenges arise on a daily basis, guaranteed. Every day can seem like a ride on a roller-coaster where you’re not in control.

There were always concerns about having enough ‘runway’ to get the product to MVP (minimum viable product) stage and then, of course, how to get traction through marketing and sheer hard graft. As a self-funded sole founder for a considerable period, I literally had to wear every hat imaginable, so overwhelm was a real challenge.

In the early days I literally had to meet with dozens of advice practices to help validate the idea for MyNextAdvice and get their input into the types of features they required in order to use the service.

Fortunately, I was joined by a co-founder who has brought some great skills and experience to the business and we are on the cusp of making a real dent in the advice universe.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learnt in life?

Obviously, I’ve grown up in an era very different to today’s tech obsessed world. That said, I’ve always been interested in tech and the possibilities it offers for both business success and, more generally, to help people overcome problems in their lives.

Based on my life experience, lots of good and bad things can arise when you least expect them. How you deal with these events will define your outlook and shape who you become and what you can achieve.

From a more practical perspective, success requires an obsessive belief in what you stand for, focus on outcomes, sheer hard work, honesty with yourself and others, clarity of thinking and speed to action.

What motivates you to keep working after 60?

I absolutely love what I’m doing so I don’t see my business as work per se. Sometimes, I look at my friends who are of a similar age, and they’re all looking to retire but that’s not for me.

My passion and drive have never been stronger in my entire working life and I’m absolutely confident in the outcome of what we’re doing. I want and expect that we’ll become a global business in the next few years and the thought of being able to manage a global business, together with my co-founder, from anywhere while helping many individuals get the advice they deserve, is an attractive proposition.

What do you like most about having your own business?

 For those who advocate that owning a business is akin to freedom, I say they are only telling part of the story. Yes, there are certain freedoms that I enjoy, but there are also many obligations. But I enjoy the opportunity to make a difference, to work with talented and very good people and to add value that positively contributes to the performance of advice businesses and consumers alike.

What advice would you give to the younger generation?

Find something that you are really passionate about, envisage your future, work hard and don’t give up on your dream.

If you could jump into a time machine what era would you visit and why?

I’d love to fast forward 10 years to see what impact technology has had on our everyday lives because its becoming quite clear that we are all going to be profoundly impacted by things like artificial intelligence and machine learning. Will there be a cure for cancer? Will we all live till we are 150? Will my co-founder eventually achieve her dream of establishing a social enterprise that makes a big difference in the lives of people who need it the most?