How we’re scaling big w/Stephanie and Russell Watkins

sempai russell stephanie watkins
Sempai russell Stephanie watkins – Copyright Stephanie & Russell Watkins

How do you scale to millions?

Many guests we have on the show are solopreneurs. That means that they work as one-person business owners and solo freelance consultants. They like small and want to stay that way too!

So it’s very interesting to chat to two people who want to go big. Today’s guests are transitioning from a small team of three to a multi-person blended-learning business, earning 10s of millions in revenue annually.

Steph and Russell Watkins are taking their 3-person #LEAN consultancy brand, transforming it and scaling it into a multi-million dollar digital training business. So how are they doing it?

That’s what today’s interview is all about!

Listen to the episode now


I told my boss that I was interested in going freelance, I said that I don’t want to be employed by anyone else … @leansempai

Start Small, Scale Slow

Steph and Russell have built a full-time consultancy around helping global businesses like Toyota, Denso and JCB to improve how their systems work and improving the capability of their people.

They realised quickly that there were limitations on family life if Russell was going to keep travelling overseas to far-away clients in the US and Mexico.

So, putting their heads together as a wife and husband team, the couple discovered a huge training opportunity to help manufacturing clients. Sempai Digital was born

We want to scale our business, but we don’t want to take on people …we’re going to scale digitally @leansempai

Take-aways you don’t want to miss

  • What Steph and Russell see as a massive market opportunity for LEAN training
  • Why they called their consultancy business ‘Sempai’
  • How they knew it was right to ‘call time’ on working as employees
  • How they plan to scale to a global online learning platform
  • Why Russell believes it’s important to fail fast and fail early
  • How an entrepreneurial accelerator program has boosted growth
  • What the couple have in mind to become a $10M business

Some resources for you

Disclosure: TrainingBusiness is supported by readers like you. If you decide to buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at ZERO additional cost to you. Thanks!

Sempai – Steph and Russell Watkins LEAN consultancy business – Lean Enterprise Institute explaining LEAN methodology
Wikipedia – What is lean start-up? [article]
Scrum – Become a professional SCRUM trainer
Jeff Sutherland – Doing twice work in half the time
Chris Guillebeau – The $100 Startup


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