Entrepreneurship Talks with Erick Paixao

Today at Academy of Entrepreneurs, we’re sharing one of our #EntrepreneurshipTalks with Store Owner & Business and Marketing Developer of I Love Pizza Sydney – Erick Paixao. 

Erick is an intrapreneur by day, an entrepreneur by night, and an all-day family man. We interviewed him about his entrepreneurial journey, his struggles & successes as a business-owner and how he balances his career, business, and family. Read more about his story below ????

Question # 1: 
Tell us more about you! ???? Where are you from and why did you come to Sydney, Australia?

I’m from Brazil, I came to Australia to improve my English, and after two months I met my lovely wife Aline and in 2013, we had Nina, our daughter who is currently six years old.

I’ve worked in the education industry since the first time I’ve arrived in Australia. After 4 years of working in an education agency, I became the branch manager. Then, I moved to Academies Australasia where I looked after the South American Market. After months of working, they offered me a 457 visa, and my visa was granted in just 26 days! After that, I stayed with them for 7 years, before I went to work for Apple. 

I worked for Apple for 2 years, then the education industry called me back. I then became the Head of Marketing at CSF (College of Sports and Fitness) in December 2018 

7 years ago, when Thiago launched the I Love Pizza brand, I started to see what we could do together to grow the company.

My background is in business development, so this is what we did with I Love Pizza.

We started with a small shop in Balgowlah, to now having 5 stores all across Sydney: Balgowlah, Willoughby, Randwick, Dee Why, and Pyrmont!

We also started building partnerships with Uber Eats so we could deliver pizzas around the city.


Question # 2: 
Tell us about I Love Pizza Sydney.

We started 7 years ago and it was one of the first pizza shops in the Northern suburbs. It was a bit easy to sell because there were a lot of Brazilians in that area, and there weren’t a lot of pizza shops with Brazilian recipes in their menus. 

The main goal was to open in the different suburbs in Sydney. One of our main problems in the beginning was introducing the brand to different cultures and nationalities, but we overcame that by introducing not just pizzas but side dishes as well like chicken wings, chicken bites and desserts. We had a good environment and excellent customer service.

We also created campaigns in specific areas, for ex: we run a campaign where every Monday-Wednesday, we would sell every large single pizza for $16, any flavour, to start promoting the brand. We did that for 7 months and it got the word out to the market, encouraging more people to come to our shop.

Question # 3: 
Have you always known that you were gonna be an entrepreneur?

When I was young, my dream was to be a pilot. I wanted to be inside this big aircraft with 300 people inside and drive it, but when I went to uni a lot of people said “You should use your voice and communication skills to do something different.” That’s why I did social communications in my bachelor’s and I specialised in radio & TV.

I had a dream to come to Australia, in 2006, I came to improve my English skills, then I Love Pizza came into my life and I became an entrepreneur!

One of my earlier entrepreneurial ventures happened in 2011, where a big company called Via Uno came to Australia and opened a few stores in the CBD.

I remember going to their warehouse with my wife, I saw the “shoes fever” and the big market for it, since I saw a lot of girls buy 5-6 bags of shoes each.

I spoke with the person in charge and said told him that “I want to be a part of this business,” then I invested in the business. The day after, I had 4,000 pairs of shoes to sell and had to pay the rent of the warehouse. Believe it to not, I got my money back in 4 days!

My strategy? I had a stock sale that week and sold all shoes for $25 each pair. We had 800 pairs left, but I went to a small store in Gladesville and they bought it from me. Gone!


Question # 4: 
How are you an intrapreneur from 9am-5pm, and an entrepreneur from 5pm-9pm?

It’s a very good question – the thing is, you need to be organised in terms of your agenda. Make sure you don’t do a double booking or so.

What I do is, I set up:
Monday-Wednesday: to be focused on the education industry
Wednesday-Saturday: to be focused on the pizza shop
Sunday: to be focused on family.

Like a laptop/phone needs to recharge, so do you! I always, always make sure that there is a day reserved to spend with my family.


Question # 5: 
Any tips on how choosing the right business?

There is a tip – make sure you win in the whole.

The secret of business is not just winning in one go, you n need to win in small portions. For example, in football if you have a field of 11 players, make sure you look after the 11 players. Just like in business. You need to look after the suppliers, the staff, the store, the cleaning, the council, etc.

Be prepared to have a cash flow. Make sure you always follow the right advice. It’s very important to do something you enjoy, don’t just think about income/profit, but do something that you’re passionate about because if you’re not enjoying in your working area, you’re not gonna be successful.

Question # 6: 
How do you successfully run a business and still make time for family?

I divide my week in 3 stages:
– Beginning of the week (what are you gonna do in one go?)
– End of the week (weekends and so – you must put all your efforts to make sure your business is running on the strongest days, for example, in hospitality, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are the days you are gonna make the most money)
– One 24-hour day where you spend time with family

with your friends and family – it’s hard but try to be disconnected to really connect.

Question # 7: 
What is your favourite thing about being a business owner?

As a business owner, what brings me the most delight is engaging with the customers. I learn a lot from people, from the customers walking past or dining in. I was born to be connected with people and customer service is my passion. People say to me “you have very good people skills,” and I do that, because I do it with passion. Funny because my last time is “Paixao” which rhymes with “passion.” Everybody calls me Paixao.

Question # 8: 
What is your biggest challenge? What did you do to overcome it?

The biggest challenge for us was setting up the Willoughby shop, to try and convince other nationalities to become pizza eaters! They were okay with pasta, noodles, but not pizza. The biggest challenge was getting inside of this community. What we did aside from our campaigns and promotions was having a wide variety o flavours – ranging from Brazilian recipes, specially Catupiry, to the traditional flavours like Margherita, Hawaiian, and custom flavours like the Supreme – since Australians & Americans love pineapples.


Question # 9: 
What is your advice for people who have day jobs but want to start their own business?

My advice is – be BRAVE!

Make yourself available. Face the challenge.

If other people can manage a day job, a business, and be a daddy as well, you can do it too.

Face the battle. You can DO IT!


Question # 10: 
All entrepreneurs have a favourite quote or a saying that they live by. What’s yours?

My favourite quote came from one of the entrepreneurs I look up to, Sir Richard Branson:

“If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers. It’s that simple.”– Richard Branson

Thank you for sharing about your journey and tips to becoming a successful entrepreneur, Erick! Follow I Love Pizza and order your gourmet pizza in Sydney today at: https://i-love-pizza.com.au/

Want to join the biggest entrepreneurial movement in the world? If you’re fuelled by purpose, driven with passion, and want to use your ideas to help the world, send us a hello at info@aestudy.com ????

You can always wave to us on Facebook / Instagram too ???? (don’t by shy)

Or join our next #AETuesdayTalks at: http://academyofentrepreneurs.eventbrite.com

See you soon!
Gab & the Academy of Entrepreneurs team




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