The hot seat
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?
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).