During 2020, Billy Green (Class of 2008) saw a noticeable gap in support for the local Victorian hospitality industry. Capitalising on the time spent at home, Billy started his own meal kit delivery service Make-Out Meals, a new middle ground between creator and consumer.
Time at Caulfield Grammar
Billy has fond memories of his Year 9 Learning Journeys at Caulfield Campus, during which he devoted time to learning to play guitar. His lunch times turned into opportunities to jam with a fellow peer, and eventually, this grew into a band they started together.
This band continued on after Billy and his friend left the Caulfield Grammar gates behind, leading to them touring across Australia and even internationally for close to 5 years, recording music where they could in between.
Finding a passion for small business
Billy’s passion for running a business was fostered during this time with his Grammarian band. As much as he loved the creative aspect of music, this quickly expanded into an interest in the business and marketing skills that go hand in hand with a career in the arts.
Coming away from the band with a wealth of connections, Billy started Universal Merchandising, a small merchandising business that caters for restaurants, trades, bands and other small businesses. 8 years later, this is a venture Billy still runs, while also managing to achieve a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) and Bachelor of Arts (Journalism), as well as his MBA.
It is really the connection between creativity and small business that has driven Billy’s hunger for following through on his own independent ideas. Billy has worked in marketing for organisations such as The Walt Disney Company, Bosch and Monash University, however is now full-time with Make-Out Meals, a satisfying leap for the independent creator:
“It can be a lot of pressure at times, but ultimately the reward and the flexibility that comes with it is my favourite thing about it personally. It can also be the most difficult – it can be hard to not having others to lean, or salary or annual leave to be able to rely on, but that’s where I’ve found a strong network has really helped”.
Starting Make-Out Meals
Billy’s idea for Make-Out Meals was inspired by the pandemic, as he saw restaurants make the switch to take-away and meal kit services come into play. He wanted to find a way to connect Victorian foodies with their favourite local businesses, while also competing with the companies that dominate the food delivery space.
Billy’s sense of tenacity and drive to make his business the best it can be has been a key part of Make-Out Meals’ growth. He’s found it’s the hustle, and how willing you are to achieve something, that is the make it or break it factor:
“What I’ve realised is a business isn’t built on the quality of the product – it’s how much you are willing to get it.”
The art of networking
A solid network is such a pivotal part of owning and running your own business. Where Billy has found holes in his own knowledge, he has relied on the industry connections he has made:
“I came into the hospitality industry completely fresh-faced – the closest I had come was my first job working at KFC. I go into every conversation thinking about what I want to learn from that person, and this has helped make the business more efficient and plan for the future growth we’re looking to make”.
Billy Green has also made the most of the CGA network, finding within this a community of Grammarian hospitality professionals, many of whom he didn’t know while at Caulfield Grammar. This mentality of building relationships is exactly what he would recommend to Grammarians who are aspiring entrepreneurs – the network you have is the foundation of how far your business will go:
“Start networking now. It can be with school-mates, Uni-mates, parents of friends, anything. They’ll be the first ones to buy your product. They could one day be running a company you want to partner with – they might even be the ones to invest in your idea or introduce you to the ones who will.”
The future of Make Out Meals
As the hospitality industry continues to adapt, Billy hopes to see his business compete with companies on the scale of Hello Fresh and Marley Spoon. Billy loves the continued learning that comes with running his own business, and is excited to bring in partners and see the prospects of his business evolve. With his appetite for hustle and love of the journey, Billy’s business is sure to only grow.
To hear more from Billy, watch his video interview now.
Want to connect with Billy? You can find him via his:
Keen to hear about other Grammarians starting their own businesses? Jesse Toniolo, Class of 2015, is another Grammarian who co-founded his own small business, Push-Pull Shop.