Startup Advice

How a superhero cape and a mirror helped Justin Dry through the darker days of Vinomofo

Emma Koehn /

Justin Dry Vinomofo

Vinomofo co-founder Justin Dry

It was years between coming up with the initial wine-soaked business idea and monetising multimillion-dollar startup Vinomofo, but co-founder Justin Dry says in the tougher times, an imaginary superhero cape gave him some confidence.

Discussing tricks for tapping into self-belief at the Melbourne launch of startup documentary The New Hustle, Dry told the crowd about a strategy he learned at a conference.

If you pretend you’re wearing a superhero cape, you walk differently. You kind of walk shoulders back and tall, and it helps,” he says.

That’s not where the visualisations stopped, either: when it came to the more difficult moments of the business, Dry motivated himself by imagining potential outcomes while looking in the mirror.

He would imagine what his life would look like if the startup didn’t end up working, and asked himself what that would look like over one, three, five and 10 years.

If you do that in front of a mirror, you start like, leaning forward, and you start kind of getting smaller and feeling shit,” he explained. 

If you kind of reverse it and go, ‘no fuck it, I’m going to change it and I’m going to continue to believe and I’m going to have an even bigger picture that I want to achieve’ — if you start going one, three, five years [for that outcome], you start standing taller. I used to do that a lot.

“I used to stand in front of the mirror and just believe in yourself.” 

Dry and co-founder Andre Eikmeier faced several precarious moments in building up Vinomofo, which they discuss in The New Hustle, and Eikmeier is also open about the potential implications of failure on his loved ones.

Saying he spent “four or five years building into pressure points” while getting Vinomofo off the ground, Eikmeier said he appreciates just how important it was for the business to succeed. 

Had Vinomofo not worked it would have been pretty dire for my family financially,” Eikmeier explained at the launch panel on Tuesday. 

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Emma Koehn

Emma Koehn is SmartCompany's senior journalist.

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