219 – How to follow your passion with Steve Hui of ‘I Fly Flat’ – the world’s only points optimisation business

219 – How to follow your passion with Steve Hui of ‘I Fly Flat’ – the world’s only points optimisation business

Here’s proof from a modern day cubicle escapee that if you follow your passion, you’ll succeed.

Do you love the idea of flying first class? Business class? Or as today’s guest, Steve Hui (tweet him here) calls it flying flat? Who doesn’t! Now known as the points whisperer, Steve is another cubicle escapee who’s made the leap in to small business by following his passion. What a good idea!

Established in 2012, iFLYflat is a Points Optimisation Consultancy, the only professional service of its type in the world.

For over 17 years, Steve applied his skills solving complex problems in senior finance roles in corporations including Macquarie Bank, but made the move to leave the corporate world to start his own business inspired by his innovative thinking, his passion for travel and a burning desire to optimise things.

iFLYflat helps businesses and high spending individuals to optimise their credit card reward and frequent flyer points, so they can fly in comfort (with their points), in any class, to anywhere. Providing strategy, advice and flight bookings.

Steve’s innovative business has been recognised with prestigious accolades including being selected as a 2014 Young Business Leader by CPA Australia, a Top 10 Start Ups to Watch by Start­up Daily and  the Sydney Morning Herald, and his expertise is often profiled in BRW, Sky Business, Australian Financial Review and CEO magazine.

Steve is the leading authority on optimising reward points to help businesses significantly reduce their travel expenditure.

Plus I tackle a listener question about a steakhouse that’s showing some disrespect towards vegetarians. Really!!

Let’s get stuck right into episode 219 of Australia’s #1 marketing show. Go!

Episode Timeline

  • 1:44  I tackle a listener question about a steakhouse that’s disrespecting vegetarians!
  • 5:58  How Netregistry and 99Designs can help make your business life easier (and cheaper)
  • 8:44  Steve Hui introduction
  • 10:57  I start by asking Steve about the most luxurious flying experience he’s ever had
  • 15:24  Steve reveals his favourite airline
  • 16:22:  How Steve escaped the cubicle and the ah-ha moment that lead to his business idea
  • 20:11  Steve’s transition from the cubicle to his own business
  • 20:55  I remind us all about what an askhole is!
  • 22:41   The first marketing initiative Steve took
  • 23:12  What changed for Steve to feel comfortable in his own skin
  • 28:51  The services Steve offers
  • 30:47  How  Steve gone about pricing his service offerings
  • 34:35  How do you market something that people don’t know exists?
  • 45:06  My top 4 learnings from my chat with Steve

Resources and Links Mentioned in this Episode


My Top 4 Learnings

This week’s top 4 learnings from my chat with I Fly Flat’s Steve Hui:

1. Actively seek free publicity & editorial – don’t wait for it to happen

2. Look for a problem you can solve, then go start a business that solves it better than anyone else

3. Consider if there’s other ways that your skills could be best used

4. Focus on that part of your business that you love

Over to you!

Let me know YOUR #1 takeaway from this episode by leaving a comment below.
My guest and myself personally read and respond to every comment.ives a ccrap,

16 thoughts on “219 – How to follow your passion with Steve Hui of ‘I Fly Flat’ – the world’s only points optimisation business”

  1. Hi Tim, thanks for sharing my journey and hope it helps others to see there can be a business in anything. I’m a sucker at seeking out value and I’ve found nothing can beat the value of flying first class for ‘free’. Lovely to chat to you for the interview and Happy New Year too!

  2. Very cool business Steve! I’m not a big believer of folks starting businesses simply based on their passions, but you are making it work well. Bean counter turned marketing a PR savant. I love it. Great interview Tim. Happy New Year!

  3. Thanks Steve. I too enjoyed our chat. Anyone who follows their passion is admirable in my book. Have a great 2015 and I look forward to flying flat along side you – well, across the aisle – some time soon!

  4. Thanks Nick – always appreciate your comments. Interesting thought about you not supporting the idea of following one’s passion – it’s certainly better than the opposite, but I know where you’re coming from. Have a great 2015, brother.

  5. Nick – now that I am actually wanting some clarification – I talk to you a lot and I know the passion you have behind your business. You gotta tell me what the heck you’re talking about or where to get the stuff you were smoking two days ago – J Hunter

  6. So, evidently I have stuck a nerve with not following your passion. Let me explain:

    I see too many people starting a business that they are super passionate about, and they can never get past their passion and their bias. It needs to be about the customer, not what you like. I believe that you need to LOVE what you do,
    but if you just start a business out of your passion, then you may not ever be
    successful. I believe some people can make it work, but too many people struggle for years simple because they can’t get beyond their own love. Many times it is not a viable business model, and they can’t see it…but they are

    I met two ladies once that wanted to quite great corporate jobs to open a high-end candy store. Great. But these two ladies were each used to making over $100k/year, and a candy store is never going to be able to get them back there. They had passion, but could not see what I was saying.

    I met a guy who LOVED cream puffs. Studied how to make them. Did research on where in the country he should open a shop. Opened a shop right by my house. Was passionate about cream puffs. Closed his doors in a year. Lost his life savings.

    Too many stories like this. People are blinded by what they love, and need to find a void in the marketplace and offer value. They need to love what they do,
    or it will feel like a job. Sometimes that takes time. Sometimes you will love part of what you do, until you can grow the business large enough to hand off the things you either are not good at, or just don’t like.

    I love running my painting business. I am not passionate about painting. If I was a passionate painter, I would be more like painter that can’t hire anyone else,
    because no one can do it as good as I can. Lots of guys in my industry like this.
    I LOVE marketing, and figuring out problems…I just happen to own a painting business. I love sales and marketing. BUT, I have done everything in my business at one point. Now, I have the luxury to hand off all the things I would rather not do: painting, production management, answering phones, QuickBooks.

    Makes sense?

  7. Now THAT makes a lot of sense – I had a feeling that was the angle you were going for but wasn’t sure it came off that way on your original comment. Yes, having PASSION is not enough to start a business, it needs to have sound principals and a methodology that makes sense. Passion alone is not a sound enough reason to start a business – and definitely not what it takes to be successful. Good stuff. – J Hunter

  8. I agree that there has to be always be a good team behind the passion to bring it to fruition. Been there and learned the hard way one’s own passion cannot drive the bottom line targeted most of the time. Tough pill to swallow but each entrepreneur has their own journey to traverse I s’pose.

  9. I’d love that too Steve. I’m not sure I have enough though … I keep using them to upgrade myself and family domestically!

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