The hot seat

Money Magazine Australia - - CONTENTS -

What was your first job?

My first of­fi­cial job was at McDon­ald’s but through­out my child­hood I ran a se­ries of lit­tle busi­nesses, from sell­ing gob­stop­pers and pet yab­bies to a car wash.

What’s the best money ad­vice you’ve ever re­ceived?

Don’t let money make your de­ci­sions. It’s easy to let a good “money” op­por­tu­nity help you make a de­ci­sion but if you can dis­con­nect money from mak­ing de­ci­sions and in­stead make de­ci­sions out of prin­ci­ple, val­ues and your strat­egy you’ll live a much freer life.

What’s the best in­vest­ment de­ci­sion you’ve made?

Over the past 10 years the best in­vest­ment I’ve made is to fo­cus my time (the most valu­able re­source any of us hold) into grow­ing Thankyou. Sure, it hasn’t equalled per­sonal wealth as it’s a so­cial en­ter­prise that com­mits 100% of profit to help peo­ple liv­ing in ex­treme poverty but I’ve seen a huge re­turn in other ar­eas of my life, like ful­fil­ment and creat­ing a legacy. I had a small prop­erty deal on the side that worked out re­ally well for me, too. I need to do a lit­tle more of that.

What’s the worst?

In year 11, I put all of my hard-earned money into trad­ing cur­rency. I’d learnt how to trade it over a few weeks and was re­ally suc­cess­ful at pa­per trad­ing. Some peo­ple are born traders. It turns out I’m not one of those. I got too in­vested and didn’t stick to my rules and sys­tems. I had a few huge gains but over­all I lost nearly all my money within a two-month pe­riod.

What is your favourite thing to splurge on?

My wife.

If you had $10,000 where would you in­vest it?

A per­son ... the right per­son. I’d back some­one’s idea and make sure they had ac­cess to good peo­ple to help ex­e­cute it. Two peo­ple in­vested $10,000 each into me. They gave it to me with­out any fi­nan­cial re­turn to fund an idea I had to start Thankyou, a con­sumer goods com­pany that chal­lenges con­sumerism, and the rest is his­tory. It’s amaz­ing how big things can grow from a small in­vest­ment when you give it to the right per­son.

What would you do if you had only $50 in your bank ac­count?

That has hap­pened to me be­fore and the an­swer was $10 for fuel (be­cause that’s the min­i­mum you can put in), $10 for din­ner and the list goes on. But if I fell back into that po­si­tion now I think I’d frame the $50 and stick it on the wall with a note say­ing, “Let’s never get here again”.

Do you in­tend to leave an in­her­i­tance?

Yes I do. I’m hop­ing that it’s also more than money. I hope there is a story be­hind the money that has les­sons learned that they won’t have to learn.

What ad­vice would you give to some­one think­ing of start­ing a so­cial en­ter­prise?

Don’t fall into the il­lu­sion that be­cause the word “so­cial” sits in front of en­ter­prise it will make it eas­ier. On the out­side most peo­ple as­sume it is, but talk­ing to many on the in­side it’s one very tough mis­sion. In say­ing that, if you go in with your eyes wide open about build­ing a suc­cess­ful com­mer­cial en­ter­prise (that ex­ists for a so­cial mis­sion) you’ll have the ride of your life and find it very re­ward­ing.

Fin­ish this sen­tence: money makes ...

... likely more of an im­pact in oth­ers’ lives than it will in your own. Look af­ter your­self and your fam­ily and en­joy life, and while do­ing that think about how the money you make can go fur­ther than just you. I prom­ise you’ll never for­get the day some­one looks you in the eye and with a tear in their own eye says thank you be­cause you played a part in help­ing to move their life for­ward (or, in the line of work I find my­self in, out of poverty).

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