Jeff White

Footy and Business

Jeff White
Footy and Business

“Hey Dad can we go to the shops and buy some footy posts”

It was the question I needed to hear. I’m a problem solver and have always wanted to start my own online business selling a product. When my son asked to go to the shops to buy him some footy posts it dawned to me that this game that everyone loves, that I love, has been around for 120 years or so and there’s no goal posts at any sports store in Australia. Today using the knowledge, I gained from footy along with hours and hours of research, development and production, PostHigh was born.

Before PostHigh there was footy, 14 years of it. Footy taught me much of what I know today and has allowed for a knowledge transfer to how my business is being run. It was my passion for many many years.

AFL Draft Day was one of my earliest memories, I had to get a leave pass from the principal to attend during school hours. Returning as an AFL player that afternoon was one hell of an experience. It was at my first game at Whitten Oval against Fitzroy that my first goal was kicked. Family and friends were sitting behind the goals at the right end when I lined up in the goal square. It felt a little like kicking the ball around the park as I smashed the ball through the sticks to where they were sitting. As great as the individual accolades were, like winning Best and Fairest and All Australian, the team highlights were my favourite. In the 2000 final, Matty Collins had the ball in the middle of the oval and it just so happened I was standing next to him when the siren went and we'd won the game. The jubilation of it all led to an embrace I’ll never forget. There was no stone unturned, footy was great fun.

There were those times during footy, particularly when things weren’t going well, questions would arise. Why am I here? What am I doing wrong? That 15-year-old skinny kid jumping on bloke’s heads taking screamers and flat out enjoying the game of footy got lost. It was fortunate that the Demons were such a tight knit group and held each other to enjoying ourselves and that yes, at the end of the day it is just a game. I think this holds true at any level and any age.

Enjoy what you have. You can’t control everything. The things you can control are what you focus on. When you have that as a collective that’s when magic happens.

No Regrets. Life is a lesson. Things happen for a reason. I’m a big believer of that. Follow your instincts. It’s as simple as that.

There’s always voices in your head but an instinct that makes you feel good you’ve just got to take it. In my last year I had dreams of solving people's problems, an itch that had me in front of a computer and staying up late developing product ideas. Ultimately I wanted to sell a product online.

‘I’m and entrepreneur’ is not in my vocabulary but feel there’s underlying qualities of one which exist in me. When I was a kid a mate across the road had two trees planted in his front yard and used them as goal posts. After hours of persuasion mum drove to the plant store and picked up four trees to plant at the front of our house as goal posts. Problem solved. If someone wanted something at the footy club I was their guy. Whether it be footy tickets, accommodation, events the problem was solved.

When footy was finishing up there was an uncertainty as to what I wanted to do, it just had to be something where my help would go a long way.

A radio station advertised for a marketing role which I took up, it involved helping their clients with their social media. It wasn’t a bad job but it wasn’t soothing that itch. I set up White Echo, a Social Media Consulting company, which is still in operation today. Clients such as Adam Scott, Gary Ablett Jnr, Quade Cooper, Mercedes Benz were on my list and things were looking great. White Echo was the soundboard for what my ultimate dream had been and that was to sell something online.

That is when while on holiday in 2015 my son asked me to go to the shops and buy some footy posts. I wanted to solve this problem for him.

I’ve got three boys, a 10-year-old and identical 6-year-old twins. One of the youngest had a light sabre, a retractable glow in the dark Star Wars one. I remember sitting in the lounge room playing with the light sabre and my wife looked at me and knew exactly what I was thinking. 'Why can’t you have a post that retracts out, that’s firm, hard and slides into a mat.' That night is when my brain could not stop thinking. Soon after I bought four of the same light sabres and my wife brought 4 yoga mats home. I got some Velcro and stuck the light sabres on the gym mats out the front of the house and turned them on. The look on my son’s face was of sheer joy and amazement. Straight away all I could think of was ‘these need to be 2 metres higher and we’re in business’. The young fella has been the perfect test case.

When Gary Ablett Jnr called me to chat one afternoon I was in Bryon Bay with the family. He asked me for a minute, which was obviously more than fine (I had previously pitched PostHigh to him in early 2015. He loved it). “I don’t know where your positioned, I love your product and where you’re going. Is there an opportunity to be involved?” Right then I thought to myself maybe…maybe I’ve developed something that’s pretty cool. I couldn’t tell anyone about the call with the product in the process of patenting at that time but feedback from arguably one of the greatest of all time on a product I’d developed is PostHigh’s Draft Day. Gaz is now an integral part of the team.

Restless nights led to the very first sketch drawn on April 8th, 2015. The AFL posts were launched in December of 2016 selling loads of units putting smiles on kids’ faces across Australia, UK and America. I just love the fact we’re enriching kids’ lives. It’s been one hell of an adventure the last two years.

With PostHigh in its infancy stage we are continually reinvesting in development, research and production. Now sports like Soccer, Rugby, Tennis, Badminton and T-Ball can be played using the PostHigh attachments. This is where life after footy has taken me.

A rollercoaster ride, investing lots of time and energy both physically and mentally into a product I sell online. When you’re pushing everything into something because you believe in it there is always going to be stress on the family. It’s like anything, if you believe you’ve got something that has potential you’ve got to take the risk. It’s the same thing in Footy, you take the risk of getting injured every day, there’s also the mental strain of trying to be at the top level consistently.

One thing I really enjoy doing is reaching out to people or researching people in the industry whom are successful. I read a lot, everyday reading articles, it drives my wife crazy. Search for knowledge. Always continue to learn.

I work on PostHIgh everyday whether it’s 4 hours or 14 hours; constantly chipping away.

A key is to applaud the work your staff put in. I like to reward my staff. There’s always a positive out of everything. Neale Daniher worked that way. He used to pull you aside and say “that wasn’t the right kick, it floated too high, you’ve got to make it short and sharp at a 45-degree angle. The main thing though is you were looking for it.” Always find a positive out of a negative. Results are necessary but it’s not what it’s all about. A focus on the process along with celebrating the little wins can take you to the big ones.

When you’re involved in any sort of team environment it teaches you many principles and I adapt these to my business daily. Discipline, being prompt, working hard, being mentally tough and physically well. It’s in my DNA.

Not blowing wind up my arse but I wasn’t at the highest level of AFL for 14 years by fluke. I must’ve been doing something right. I sustained a level of consistency for a long period of time and I’m going to mirror that to my business. Whether it is right or wrong I will learn along the way. 

I’m not a boss. I hate being the boss. My team knows that we are all in this together. If you think it’s worth doing, just do it. If it doesn’t work, then learn from it. It’s the same way Neale used to coach me. Be instinctive, if you think about it you’ll miss the opportunity.

3️⃣4️⃣ Played some AFL, Creator/CEO of PostHigh, CEO/Founder of White Echo. Big Michael Jordan & Chicago Bulls fan