Simone Milasas has owned a number of businesses and now acts as a business adviser. She shares her insights on managing money, the most common reasons companies get into trouble and the importance of separating your personal expenses from those of your business.
You have been involved in many businesses – can you provide us a brief overview?
The main one is Good Vibes For You – I was travelling around London … writing poetry one day, sitting on the top level of a red double-decker bus and looking around London. It didn’t matter where we were in London: a Middle Eastern community, a white upper-class suburb or low socio-economic complex, there was no happiness. All I kept thinking was that no one seems to be happy. No matter how much money they do or don’t have.
I wanted to change this, so I started writing out some ideas that I had, and that’s how Good Vibes for You came about. I started using stickers and slogans on shirts and just simple things that I thought would change the energy of someone’s day.
The other was a surf label I started when I was living in NSW called The Shak. A shak is another description for a barrel when surfing. We created a whole line of hats with different designs that we perceived as resonating with the surf industry.
I owned another business where I would sell things like moisturisers and spritzer sprays at markets. We made around $3,000 to $10,000 a week and would sell them at places like Bondi Markets on weekends. I created that business for my lifestyle. I realised I wanted a lifestyle that wasn’t corporate, which led to the business.
Joy of Business is my other business, which I have also written a book on. This has grown around the world and I have nine staff members who run the business. I’ve hired other people to help create the business with me.
What are the most important lessons you have learnt in business?
I would say you have to take control of your own life. No one else will do it for you. There is no use waiting around for someone to come and help you.
I see people who are waiting for others to come along and change their lives. How many people think that once they are in a relationship then their lives will become better? Or, once we have kids, life will be better? You are the source of your own life. You are the one that makes the choices, and choice creates awareness.
As a business mentor, what questions are you most commonly asked, and how do you respond?
I get emails saying “I’m having a business meltdown” and a lot of the questions are based around how they are stuck.
The one thing I say is, so many people are great at one thing and they think they have to do everything. For example, when I start a business, I always get the help of somebody else to maintain it and move forward with it. A lot of the time, if you talk to somebody about the energies you need in a business, there are three different energies to acquire: the creator, the connector and the mover. It doesn’t mean you need three people, you just need the three energies. It allows you to look at what you need to put in place.
The connector is the one that is going to talk to everybody about your business. Whether it’s social media, over the phone or just in the supermarket, they will talk to everybody. The mover has an awareness of what the future can be for the business. They know what they have to put in place to make the business be physically actualised.
Most people need to change their point of view around money and ask for something to change for their business to succeed.
What key piece of advice would you give other business owners?
Be aware of your financial reality. Be aware but do not be afraid of it. Just think, what if it was fun? Be aware of what you are creating.
Taking digitisation out of the ‘too hard’ basket for SMEs
By Jason Brouwers
The insanity of consumer expectations
By Jason Dooris
Forget how big you are: always have a start-up mentality
By Simon Larcey