Meet The Entrepreneur Behind The Cover Of The August 2021 Issue Of MoneyCentral Magazine: Steve Stanulis

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Steve Stanulis is an award-winning filmmaker, actor, and the founder of Stanulis films who is currently adding to the revolution of the modern-day entertainment industry with his premium content and unmatched vision.

As the world continues to evolve digitally, high-speed internet connection has paved the way for the latest addition to the entertainment industry: streaming services that allow people to watch their favourite movies or shows online.

According to Action Elite magazine, Streaming services also brought about a significant impact on the roles of actors and actresses. They are no longer tied to major movie studios and productions exclusively. Rather, they can now earn through various online platforms because the advertisers in these digital channels pay them a certain fee to promote their products to their followers.

Leveraging this new wave of digital entertainment, Stanulis established Stanulis Films in 2019. His enterprise has already showcased early success, earning the award for “Best Documentary” in the New York Independent Film Festival for his documentary “Wasted Talent”.

Stanulis made a statement of intent with that documentary, alerting the entertainment world of his vision, creativity, and drive for triumph. Stanulis followed up this maiden success by bringing home the titles of “Best Drama” and “Best Ensemble Cast” with the hit 2020 film “5th Borough.” This casting award further lends credence to Stanulis’ creativity and a keen eye for detail in finding the right people for his films.

With longevity comes experience; with experience comes greater expertise. Stanulis didn’t appear from thin air to scoop up laurels. A former NYPD Officer and A-List Celebrity security guard, Stanulis honed his craft and garnered entertainment experience as a published and credited actor (starring in projects such as The Sopranos, The Interpreter, and I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry).

With his expertise, a wealth of experience, ability to develop and find talent, and work ethic, Stanulis has been successfully steering the wheels of his enterprise in the right direction, creating amazing content all while staying within minimum film budgets.

Stanulis is not resting on his laurels yet, for his drive for success is new every morning. Leveraging on the rising independent film industry, the filmmaker currently has 10 upcoming films in the works through 2022, and with his precedents draped in awards and laurels, viewers have reason to be excited, for first-class entertainment is on the way.

MoneyCentral Magazine recently caught up with Steve to discuss his journey in the entertainment industry and here’s what went down:

Why Did You Decide To Be A Producer Above All Other Industry Job Roles?

I really enjoyed the business aspect of the entertainment industry. Being a producer allows you to run the show and make business decisions, which ultimately decide the success of the project.

What Was Your First Job In Film And How Did You Progress To Producer?

My first job in film was The Replacements with Keanu Reeves and Gene Hackman. I played Keanu’s backup quarterback and only had two lines, but I was hooked!

What do you look for in a script?

When reading a script, the genre, the dialogue, and character development are most important to me. Unfortunately, many writers fall short when it comes to character development.

How do you select a director?

I usually choose a director based on the genre of the film and their past success on prior projects. It’s also very important for us to be compatible and have the same creative vision.

Have you ever had to handle a difficult conflict in your career? What did you learn from it?

There have been many difficult conflicts, usually on the financial side. For instance, sometimes monies are counted on and at the last minute, investors don’t follow through. As a producer, you need to have a fallback plan and if for some reason you do not have enough time to raise the money, you have to decide where to cut the script where it doesn’t change the story.

What would you change in a movie you produced that you believe would make it better?

None- I have been blessed in the sense I have never looked back on a film or cast member and wished something was done differently.

What Film Projects Are You Working On Right Now?

We are currently shooting a project called “Monica”, starring Emily Browning and Patricia Clarkson. The film is about a transgender woman who comes home to take care of her sick mother, even though their relationship is estranged. We think the topic is timely and we are proud to be a part of this film.

Do you think it’s a good time to invest in films right now amidst this pandemic?

It’s never been a better time to invest in films, due to the fact when I first started in 1999, you either needed a theatrical release or a deal with Blockbuster. Now, there are so many platforms looking for new content. Therefore, it truly has never been a better time to have your work as a filmmaker distributed.

What Advice Would You Give To Those Hoping To Pursue A Career In Producing?

My advice would be to network, do your research, and try to find a mentor already in the business to help you learn the ins and outs. I’d also warn them that the journey is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. But if you stay motivated and remain tenacious, you will achieve all that you dream of!

Meet The Woman Behind The Cover Of The July 2021 Issue Of MoneyCentral Magazine: Sue Turner

Photo Credit: Tony Palliser (Studio 49)

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Susan (Sue) Turner came from a wonderful family with a mother who was a head nurse and a beauty queen; her father loved to sing at weddings and was also known as an unbeaten famous boxer as well as a long-distance runner.

Sue has been married to Steven Turner for 31 years and together they have eight children who have grown up to be amazing adults. She’s also a proud grandmother of 12 grandchildren and has been a French bulldog breeder for 15 years. Her main profession is in the beauty industry – she runs her own beauty salon.

When Sue was only seven years old, she won the little miss MS multiple sclerosis pageant; this started her journey towards her passion as a beauty queen. From there, she worked tirelessly with her mother in many charities. In fact, her charity hours amount to around 60.000 hours and she has raised over $100,000.00 in 2018/2019 through various car shows. Some of the charities she supports include Domestic violence association Sydney, MS multiple sclerosis, Child’s vision Australia, Breast cancer foundation, Wesley mission, Salvation Army, Cystic fibrosis foundation, Starlight foundation, and Destiny Rescue.

She is the director for the “I hear voices” parent support form for addiction and has worked alongside the justice system to help prevent criminal activities. She also has her own show car – a Subaru WRX my05. This car has been used in the event to raise much-needed money at various car shows around Australia.

Sue is a global mentor within the pageant industry to all beauty queens worldwide as a featured public figure influencer. She has also won many awards as a beauty queen including Mrs. Earth Air Australia 2017, Mrs. International Global Australia 2018, Mrs. international Global Australia 2018, Humanitarian International 2018, Woman of the World 2018 and AGSA’s International Beauty Queen of the year 2019.

Sue’s passion has led her worldwide, seeing firsthand many disturbing events such as famine and disease. Because of that, she helps many other situations around the world. Sue is currently the CEO of GEQ (Global Elite Queens) magazine and her vision is to give voice to those who inspire to become the best they can in their industry. MoneyCentral magazine recently caught up with Sue Turner to discuss her journey as an entrepreneur and here’s what went down:

Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started your business?

As a young girl, I grew up in the outback of Western Australia in 1979. My father as a youngster was a barber in the army and my mother was a nurse and an outstanding figure in her community. After school I was offered a part-time job, working in a hair salon. On weekends I worked at the local vets. I then decided after a few years that a job in the beauty industry would be my call. My parents then sent me to Victoria and set me up with an apprenticeship in hairdressing where I gained work at one of Victoria’s most prestigious hair salons then later at Bogart’s. At the time, Bogarts became my doorway to runway modeling. And then by accident, we were short of models at a fashion event in St Kilda Melbourne so I was asked to fill in, and this led to an exciting new venture into glamour and fashion.

For many years I enjoyed the limelight until I decided to take on another degree, a university degree in skin therapy. This led to an opportunity to run my own business in the beauty industry. My degree is grade 1 level esthetician skin therapist. For 22 years I owned my business growing and building a foundation with an outstanding perspective in the beauty industry. I maintained my business by being a leader in my field and also in a growing dominant industry by developing and growing my brand and sharing my platform to create a future I have passed onto my 2 daughters.

My business has reached its target in achieving what I’d set out to do and that’s to be able to share this wonderful opportunity with my own daughters giving them both the strategies and the opportunity to support their own business in the future with absolute success.

My daughter Alycia is now an internationally recognised Sfx makeup artist with her own brand and my youngest daughter became an international beauty queen also giving her the incentive to become a partner in the beauty industry.

Why do you think social media is important in business?

Being active in social media can lead to attracting customers, allowing you to get customer feedback and building customer loyalty. It can also help increase your market reach, including international markets and increase revenue by building customer networks and advertising.

What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?

As we all are suffering at the hands of the pandemic, we all have had to make a few changes in the way we run our businesses. Sadly there have been drastic changes in our industry with a loss in revenue. This has been the hardest decision I’ve had to face in over 22 years. Many people are in the same situation as me and these are tough times ahead for us all.

What new venture would you like to start?

I’m looking at expanding my horizons on a new venture working with missing persons. I have a current platform with crimes against humanity missing persons in Australia. This platform will enable me to work with the crime task forces in seeking closure for many families. Recently, last November, I was awarded the Mother Teresa award at the Australian parliament for her work with missing persons.

If you could go back in a time machine what would you do differently?

I love who I am so I do not think I’d do anything different. I’ve succeeded in the pathway I chose based on a future I envisioned for myself. I basically accomplished what I feel is a successful venture from a woman’s point of view. My target was to pass on my legacy to my children and in saying that, I’ve successfully done just that. Mission complete.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

To never say never and always be one step ahead. Follow your heart and your dreams and it will eventually work out. Stick to your plan and do not look back because the future is yours. My advice to others ia be to remember who you are – no one can do or appreciate what you yourself has to offer. Be yourself and be content In who you are.

What advice would you give someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

If you have a dream, follow it and do not be afraid as fear can take over so many baby steps one step at a time. Be vigilant – my all-time favourite saying is to be your own kind of beautiful.

Meet The Entrepreneur Behind The Cover Of The June 2021 Issue Of MoneyCentral Magazine: Aaron Villa

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Aaron Villa is a crypto analyst and a self-made millionaire – he’s the founder and CEO of A1PHA Trading & Investing. He is a cryptocurrency trader and blockchain expert, certified by the blockchain council. He has been a crypto coach since 2017 and is deeply knowledgeable. He has created multiple courses, formed mastermind groups, and shared a lot of informational tools and tips regarding cryptocurrency.

MoneyCentral magazine recently caught up with Aaron to discuss his journey as an entrepreneur and here’s what went down:

When did your entrepreneurial flair first reveal itself?

I first realized my entrepreneurial flair when I was in college, I got involved with a lot of networking businesses. Also, I watched my parents build and grow their business as a child which influenced me to become an entrepreneur. When I became a Registered Nurse in the USA two years into my career I realized that it was not for me and that I did not want to work for someone else. I wanted my freedom and to be able to do the things I want to do whenever I wanted.

How did your life look like before being an entrepreneur?

Before becoming an entrepreneur I was working full time as a Registered Nurse. I did 12-hour shifts 3-4 times a week. On top of that, I also began my MSN degree to become an Acute Nurse Practitioner. And on my free time, I worked on learning and educating myself everything about investing in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.

As an entrepreneur, what is it that motivates and drives you?

As an entrepreneur, I am motivated to prove to myself constantly that I can be successful in all aspects of life. Achieving those goals and growing as a person.

In one word, describe your life as an entrepreneur and explain why.

Exciting. My life as an entrepreneur has been exciting because every day I wake up knowing that I am going to do something I love and am passionate about. I get excited to create new things, connect with new people, see new places, and learn along the way. It also excites me to know that I can also spend more time with my family more as I pursue these things.

What were your top three motivations for starting your business?

1. Freedom to be able to handle my own time.

2. Passion, which allowed me to work day in and day out without getting tired.

3. To be able to create my own future by following my own timeline and pursuing all the goals that I set out to do.

What do you put your success down to?

My success is because of my passion, dedication, and consistency. Also having the right mindset and the right partner (my wife) who constantly guides me throughout my journey.

What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful business?

The three elements to running a successful business are first of all loving what you do, valuing relationships with people, and remembering your why. I also believe that the more you give, the more opportunities and blessings that come back to you. So giving back to your community is also important.

What are the three biggest challenges you have faced growing the business and how did you overcome them?

The biggest challenge at first was lack of time and dealing with uncertainties.

When I started A1PHA trading and investing I was also still working as a Nurse. I enjoyed teaching clients about cryptocurrency but I didn’t put much time in. Instead of focusing on doing what I wanted, I had to fulfill my responsibilities at my job. I was a bit uncertain about going all-in with my business because I was used to having a steady income coming in monthly as a Nurse. But as soon as I took that leap of faith to grow and really focus on my business, that’s when I realized that I could actually do this and quit my job. And so far I don’t regret my decision and I never looked back.

Does the loneliness of the entrepreneur really exist?

Yes, it can be lonely at times, but being alone while doing what you are passionate about can be addicting because I can spend countless hours doing what I love without any distractions.

As you grew the business, what have been some of the most important leadership lessons you have learned?

Leadership lessons that I’ve learned are to delegate by outsourcing, managing your time wisely, and learning how to take breaks.

I want to see more small businesses being started and being successful because I myself support small local businesses. I find that in a way, I am contributing to my community and helping another individual no matter how big or small.

You can follow Aaron on Instagram via these links: Alpha Trading I Aaron Villa

Introducing The Entrepreneur Behind The Cover Of The March 2021 Issue Of MoneyCentral Magazine: Justin Wang

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Justin Wang is the CEO of PIA (Property Investors Alliance). He is the embodiment of the self-made businessperson. From unassuming beginnings to life as a property magnate – he now personifies the paradigm for financial freedom. MoneyCentral Magazine recently caught up with Justin to discuss multiculturalism in the industry and here’s what went down:

Please Share With Us What Multiculturalism Means to You.

I came to Australia back in 1993 as a young, Chinese, Mandarin teacher. Luckily, the Australian Government heavily promotes multiculturalism in Australia and even encourages students to learn other languages. That’s why I was able to come to Australia, if the government of Australia wasn’t firm advocates of multiculturalism then there’s no chance I’d be able to go to this beautiful country. Because of my background of being Chinese, most of my staff, in the beginning, were also Chinese. But eventually, as the years went by, we expanded and opened our doors to various communities and people from different backgrounds. So now, PIA is made up of people from various backgrounds because embracing multiculturalism is important to me and my company.

Is there a way to help potential clients better understand why buying properties is a must in life?

Based on my personal experience, buying Sydney residential property is definitely the key to financial freedom. That said, making people understand the importance of our concept is a case-by-case basis because every single person has a different background and way of thinking. For example, with Chinese people, we usually follow a long-term wealth creation plan. So if you want to convince a Chinese person about getting into a long-term investment to accumulate wealth for their retirement – the key is to make them understand that buying a property is the best way to help secure the future of the next generation. That said, if you try to convince a young athlete to buy a property, for example, they won’t care too much about looking out for the next generation – they would care more about establishing their own retirement. So you really need to be flexible when it comes to convincing potential clients hailing from different backgrounds.

In your opinion, what is the most challenging aspect of working in a Multicultural Environment?

The real challenge is dealing with people of various backgrounds. Each person has their own set of cultures and traditions so the biggest challenge is making sure our message gets across despite everyone’s different nationalities. We always try our best, even though it can be quite challenging.

What Is Your Approach to Understanding the Perspectives of Clients From Different Backgrounds?

Getting your message across to people of various backgrounds may be very challenging, but I believe that the main recipe for getting your message across is “love.” It doesn’t matter what your background or nationality is, if you put yourself out there and love other people then other people will be able to genuinely feel it. Hence, I believe love is everything.

What are you doing to make sure people from different backgrounds are welcome in PIA?

Most of my staff in PIA are Chinese so I always brief them to be very sensitive when it comes to dealing with other people especially if they come from a different background to avoid any misunderstanding. I always tell them to smile and be friendly so that everyone feels welcomed in the PIA office. So far we’ve done very well because 50% of staff now are from other backgrounds while initially, it was 100% Chinese.

What are your thoughts on how the world will be different after COVID-19, and how are you moving to address that new world?

We all know that Covid-19 caused a massive disaster in the economy. But I’ve always believed that crisis actually creates opportunity. I believe this Covid-19 pandemic has woken a lot of people. When I say it has woken up other people, here’s an example: Back then when you ask someone to buy and accumulate assets to secure their financial security – they would’ve probably said no because they had a job or business so they had income coming through. Now when you talk about it in this day and age due to the effects of the pandemic, it has become important to accumulate assets as soon as possible since job or business security is not guaranteed. For example, as a real estate agent, you have to set up an office, pay for setting up the business, etc.. nowadays you can just work as a freelancer, using your car and laptop – since PIA is now online, anyone can run their business using just a laptop.

What is the greatest challenge that lies ahead for 2021?

2020 has definitely been tough for all businesses and various sectors. I believe the greatest challenge is figuring out how a business can survive or even grow in these tough times.

What opportunities do you see for 2021?

More and more people are more interested to buy in Sydney residential property despite the current situation. The traditional real estate business model is under threat so, this is a good opportunity for PIA to take over because we have a very cost-efficient model. From PIA’s current model, we are starting to create a new platform – Property Agency Alliance, to attract and empower stuggling agents to continually run their business.

Meet The Man Behind The Cover Of The January 2021 Issue Of MoneyCentral Magazine: Bryan Legend

Bryan Legend is an Australian self-made millionaire, entrepreneur, and the founder/CEO of Clever Defi Pty Ltd. Legend is literally living up to his name as he’s conquered the Cryptocurrency world; a niche that drives uncertainty to the minds of most investors and entrepreneurs.

For the period of 8 years that Bryan has been in Cryptocurrency, he’s mastered the art and craft to near perfection. An embodiment of strategic planning and execution, Bryan has hit gold in this field with his innate crypto-oriented mindset, the evidence of which can be seen from the successful start-up companies he has created from scratch, complemented by his estimated net worth of roughly 2.6 million dollars.

The crypto industry has experienced substantial growth over the past few years, making millionaires and billionaires in the process. “Crypto itself isn’t going anywhere, but most Crypto’s are. What I mean by that is the future of Cryptography and Blockchain is here to stay, but 99% of the Crypto projects that exist today won’t be around in the near future because they are simply not geared the right way in a decentralized manner”, Bryan remarked.

As an entrepreneur, Bryan is one of the most brilliant minds among his peers. In retrospect to his beginner days, it’s been evident that Bryan Legend has always had the inbred ability in sales and an unmatched intuition in negotiations. Bryan Legend dropped out of high school at an early age to pursue higher goals, and he discovered these brilliant traits in his early 20’s and nurtured his gift to productivity by training others in ‘the art of the sale’; employing a direct approach to sales with proven results.

Bryan is a firm believer in branding, a concept on which his business success is built upon. He believes that the way people perceive your company is a direct reflection of how they will engage with you. “Always put emphasis on your brand image by building a trusted name in your industry and making sure your customers come first.”, says Bryan.

With widespread attention from interested parties scattered from around the globe, Bryan’s company, Clever Defi Pty Ltd, is into Decentralized Finance (Defi), with the goal to shake things up’ in the financial industry.

CLEVER DEFI is an innovative new DEFI Protocol that works on the blockchain by automatically distributing set interest payments to eligible beneficiaries of CLEVER Token (CLVA). Storing your wealth offers to pay much greater interest rates than primitive bank technology, which is far outdated.

“I believe that all financial institutions and financial products should be designed to appropriately ‘suit up’ for the rapid change the digital age is bringing upon us. We are offering more decentralized services whereby giving the empowerment to users, and the public is where my total focus is now toward.”, said Bryan of his company’s services.

MoneyCentral Magazine recently caught up with Bryan to discuss more about his company and his journey as an entrepreneur here’s what went down:

What would you consider as your greatest accomplishment as an entrepreneur?

Being able to work for myself and pave my own path by not having to follow anybody else’s rules is an inborn need and being lucky enough to be semi-retired at the age of 37 is something to be grateful for as my main accomplishment. Also, I have always been very materialistic at heart so being able to afford a few expensive toys isn’t such a bad thing either.

What do you think makes you successful in your field?

If I believe in something whole-heartedly and set a goal to accomplish it because of that same belief, I will find myself giving up all other life priorities and dedicate my sole efforts to accomplishing that task. Namely, starting a new business concept or enterprise.

I will give 110% focus on doing everything in my power to make sure it is successful and being productive with my time allows me to navigate those waters. Not getting distracted with any outside events that would cause me to lose focus and not letting the sight of that goal until it is complete, allows me to stay motivated throughout the whole process.

Can you tell us more about CLEVER DEFI? What is it all about?

Clever DeFi is the first truly decentralized protocol giving power to the many, rather than the few, and offers a new decentralized finance (DeFi) token with an innovative design that uses Blockchain to distribute secure interest payments to holders on a 14-day cycle. Each cycle offers up to 11% compound interest and with all 888 scheduled cycles to complete in just over 34 years. Clever Token (CLVA) has been programmed to meet a forecasted average ROI of 80.60% per annum.

It can be looked at as the new, improved, and smart way to store your wealth.

How long did it actually take to develop CLEVER DEFI?

The idea concept was initially thought of by myself in an entrepreneurial brainstorming session in early 2019. Not long after the first stepping stones were put into place by putting together the building blocks of what was to become as CLEVER. The name brand CLEVER speaks for itself and commands an expectation from the public that the protocol is smart, all-knowing, and intelligently designed.

Architecturally, there has been a lot of involvement from developers in constructing the programming code that goes in hand in hand with deployment of the CLEVER Protocol that has taken many weeks of rigorous testing and auditing to make sure it proves to be exactly what we say it is and does what we say it does.

How can we get more information about CLEVER DEFI?

The easiest and best way is to visit https://clva.com, where you will find all the information to learn more or perhaps invest.

Meet The Man Behind The Cover Of The October 2020 Issue Of MoneyCentral Magazine: Tendul Raj

A serial entrepreneur, Tendul Raj is a leading expert in the Bitcoin, Blockchain, and Crypto industries. He is on a personal mission to develop a culture of entrepreneurship, helping start-ups achieve their full potential as well as ] expand existing companies. His overall mission is to foster a society of economically independent individuals who are engaged citizens, contributing to the improvement of their communities across the world. In fact, he has built a career revolutionizing the financing industry across the globe and he currently consults and advises for a range of multi-million dollar companies.

Born and raised in Pondicherry, Tendul’s entrepreneurial journey started when he was 22. Soon after graduating from college, he started planning to start his own company. During the crucial stages of starting his new business, Tendul experienced sleepless nights for several weeks as he worked tirelessly day and night establishing the new company. Finally, after all the struggles and hardships, Nextazy Solutions Pvt Ltd was born. He also decided not to limit Nextazy with just a single vision – he wants Nextazy Solutions to provide blockchain solutions and AI-related services.

Tendul now focuses on the Blockchain industry and offers advice, consulting services, connections to Blockchain experts, and investor relations strategies.

MoneyCentral magazine recently caught up with Tendul to discuss his journey as an entrepreneur and here’s what went down:

What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?

Currently, my team and I are working on two big technologies – Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence. I was so driven towards Blockchain technology that I decided to provide Blockchain-related product solutions and services. AI is my new favorite. It has been three years since I developed an unconditional bond with AI. Learning AI helped me grow my business and myself.

What social media platforms do you usually use to increase your brand’s awareness?

All social media platforms are good. Each platform follows different algorithms and has its own advantages and disadvantages. I always prefer Instagram and Linkedin to increase brand awareness.

I use Instagram not only for brand awareness, but also to convey my ideas, innovations, messages, showcase the work we’re doing, and above all interact with interesting people. And I prefer Linkedin to connect with other businesses and like-minded people.

What is your experience with paid advertising, like PPC or sponsored content campaigns? Does it work?

I do have experiences in paid advertising like Google ads, social media ad campaigns, sponsored content, and other things. I suggest that emerging businesses should make use of paid advertising for better reach.

What is your main tactic when it comes to making more people aware of your brand?

When I started Nextazy, I made sure that all my strategies were unique and innovative. My priority is always customer satisfaction and that way my brand’s reach increases overtime. Even today, I tell my colleagues that if you can drive one potential customer towards you, driving a hundred will be a piece of cake.

What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?

Businesses these days are getting more customers, but they are not providing quality services. This should change. Each business needs different marketing strategies to prosper. But one strategy is common for all and that’s customer satisfaction. In our company, we work for the betterment of customers and this has been working well for these many years.

What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?

I would say the toughest circumstances rather than the toughest decisions. Due to this Covid-19 pandemic, working from home has become mandatory. Since it’s a new thing for most of my people, it was difficult to maintain and increase productivity. Besides, keeping them motivated was also tedious initially. But luckily, this has reduced greatly by now.

What money mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from (or something you’d do differently)?

I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but money mistake, there’s only one and that’s hiring the wrong people. Actually, these people are not wrong. They are just not suited for our environment and work culture. Unfortunately, I’ve repeated this mistake again and again, which cost me a lot of money.

What new business would you love to start?

I would love to step foot in deep-sea research. Many governments and private firms are already indulged in outer space exploration looking for habitable planets and other things. But most of the Earth itself is yet to be discovered. More than 90 percent of our oceans and seas remain untouched. I’m pretty sure there are so many fascinating things down there. I want to explore and enjoy them.

If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?

Your past does not define your present or future so I will not disturb my past by changing anything, rather, I would just enjoy every single moment. I will be more and more confident in keeping my next step, those that made me who I am today.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

Two things stand apart as the best advice I’ve ever got. One is, whatever you do, whether it may be personal or business, do it 100%, and never back down. Second, help others to build their path. Motivate them, stand with them, and never turn your back on them.

What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?

“Don’t let others convince you while choosing an idea.” Newbie entrepreneurs these days find it difficult to motivate themselves. They hide in the comfort zone, which will eventually break. First, I advise all newbies to come out of their comfort areas. The real struggle begins there. There will be countless failures, insults, frustration, mistakes, and too many other things to handle.

But always remember the things above are temporary. You control the construction; design it as you want it to be. When it comes to business, I would say only one thing: focus on the end-users’ perception, instead of focusing on yours. It’s the only way your business will shine.

Meet The Man Behind The Cover Of The August 2020 Issue Of MoneyCentral Magazine: The Amazing Armand Peri

If you’ve ever been bullied, you’d know first-hand what kind of negative long-lasting impact it can cause the victims. To be a successful entrepreneur requires not only a powerful motivation and passion but also an ability for overcoming setbacks. But setbacks can come in many shapes and forms and one of the most common forms of setbacks experienced in adolescence is bullying. Although the negative effects of bullying are lengthy and can continue well into adulthood, some entrepreneurs have found that negative experiences have had positive effects on their adult life because it allowed them to be more capable to overcome the many challenges they eventually face in their own ventures.

One such entrepreneur is none other than the incredible Armand Peri. He was once a seventeen-year-old student who used to be bullied a lot but he made a definitive decision to do something about it. He decided to get into weights so that no one would mess around with him anymore and two years later, he was rewarded for all his hard work with a first-place title in the teenage division of “Mr. New Jersey” which then led to winning the heavyweight division in the same competition two years later.

Armand Peri was originally born the son of Portuguese parents who emigrated to the U.S., settling in New Jersey when he was just 12 years of age. One of his early memories was hearing his mother tell him that they [the family] were “not born to be rich.” Rather than accept this as his inevitable destiny though, he was motivated to create his own mantra for success, and it taught him one of his most crucial life lessons: the importance of setting goals and then taking well-thought-out steps to achieve said goals.

Armand’s first goal was achieved when he was recognized and lauded for his accomplishments in the bodybuilding arena. He also won a National Talent Search, was introduced to President and Mrs. Reagan and he even had his work displayed in a prestigious national gallery, as well as in the New Jersey State Gallery of Art. To state that Armand is an overachiever is an understatement.

Armand worked his way through college, first as a bouncer, and then eventually a dancer for a male entertainment revue. This decision to take on these dancing gigs was actually pivotal in his life and would ultimately bring him success and enable him to start his own company. Armand saw an opening in a niche market that felt right and he decided to fill it. He created Hunk-O-Mania, a high-end male revue and strip club for women in New York City. He focused on every aspect of building a reputation, not just for the exotic male dancers but for the entire staff – waiters, security, and ticket takers alike. Having been a dancer himself, he was uniquely positioned to run this enterprise, understanding the psychology behind it and making customer service and satisfaction on every level the top priority. This was undoubtedly what ensured his success right from the start.

Fast forward to today and Armand is now a successful entrepreneur, investor, artist, author, and motivational speaker. His venture has grown and expanded nationwide to Atlantic City, Chicago, Miami, Boston, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Hollywood, Savannah, Greensboro, Raleigh, Baltimore, Washington, Austin, Houston, Myrtle Beach, Charlotte, Charleston, and Nashville. In his book “Unparalleled Success,” which was published in 2019, he shares his recipe for that success. He’s also frequently engaged as a motivational speaker. His genuine desire to help others to achieve true success, while keeping the focus on their professional and personal well-being, is what inspires others to find their own path to victory.

MoneyCentral magazine recently caught up with Armand to discuss his journey to entrepreneurship and here’s what went down:

Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started your business?

Struggling to find a place in life as an immigrant kid, I was constantly bullied throughout high school. After enduring many years of negativity from my classmates, I decided to approach weightlifting with laser-like focus and became determined to transform my physique. However, my goals were met with many obstacles as my family struggled financially at the time and I was unable to purchase a gym membership nor was I able to buy the necessary foods to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle. I overcame these obstacles by working at my school gym and was able to lift weights there three times a week. On Sundays, I would commute almost an hour each way from my home in New Jersey to Manhattan to work out at a commercial gym. At the time, commercial gyms were sparse and not as popular as they are today. But, by staying focused and determined, I was able to gain the weight I needed and eventually competed in my first bodybuilding competition where I went on to win Mr. Teen New Jersey.

I applied the same level of determination to other aspects of my life, including business. While in college, I met another fellow bodybuilder named Joey V and noticed that Joey was driving around campus in a new Corvette and constantly wore new clothes. I became curious and approached Joey one day and asked what he did for a living. He too was an aspiring bodybuilder but he also worked at a male entertainment revue called “ESCAPES” in Long Island. We hit it off and Joey introduced me to the world of male revue shows.

I was working part-time as a bouncer at the time but this job put me in many dangerous situations and I knew it was a job I wanted to leave as soon as possible. Once I started working at ESCAPES, I began making more money in two hours of dancing than I did working eight hours as security at a nightclub. I quickly left the security job and danced Fridays and Saturday nights and did side-gigs for three to four other entertainment agencies during the week. After finishing my education, I became a freelance architect renderer while working at ESCAPES on the weekends. Eventually, I made more working part-time as a male entertainer than working full-time as an architect. I saved up my earnings and started my own company in 1998.

What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?

I am constantly pushing and educating myself-

What is your experience with paid advertising, like PPC or sponsored content campaigns? Does it work?

Yes, it does work but SEO (search engine optimization) works much better…

What is your main tactic when it comes to making more people aware of your brand and engaging your customers?

My main tactic is to show people via social media posts and customer reviews how much fun my clubs are; Hunk-O-Mania nightclubs continue to receive acclaim as the largest and most successful male revue nightclubs in the world from various news and media outlets. I founded the first Hunk-O-Mania nightclub show in 1998 in New York City and the show has now expanded to over 25 cities including Chicago, Las Vegas, Houston, Miami, Los Angeles, Boston, Atlantic City, Orlando, Tampa, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Diego, Atlanta, and New Orleans.

What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?

To lay people off due to COVID 19.

What money mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from (or something you’d do differently)?

Reinvesting most of my profit instead of only a portion!

If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?

I would believe in myself more and I would not waste any time getting started!

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

Never Quit on yourself and your dreams.

Can you tell us more about your latest book?

Absolutely, the purpose of my book is to give back to society and inspire someone to pursue his or her dream as I did! Throughout my journey of becoming successful, I made a lot of mistakes but learned a lot with each setback and I am trying to prevent my followers and readers to avoid these same mistakes I made.

What kind of research did you do for this book, and how long did you spend researching before beginning this book?

The book is based on my personal experiences dating back to my teenage years – the journey I made to achieve my success made this book possible. I wanted to write a book that was short and to the point.

What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?

Bring value and originality to the marketplace and your success will be undeniable.

For more details about Armand please visit his website on www.armandperi.com. You can also follow Armand Peri on social media via these links:

Instagram:  lifeperiway
Facebook: ArmandPeriBodybuilder
Twitter: armandperi
Website: armandperi.com
TikTok: armandperi

Meet Jennifer Kem: The Shepreneur Who Lost It All & Then Bounced Back & Built 3 Million-Dollar Brand-Building Businesses

Jennifer “Jen” Kem is a San Francisco Bay Area-based branding and marketing expert who gets entrepreneurs seen, heard, and paid – for being themselves.

She’s the creator of the Master Brand Method: a framework to develop powerful brand archetypes that win customers’ hearts, leveraging Jennifer’s 17 years of corporate experience and her launching of multiple companies.

She uses the Master Brand method in digital strategy coaching for emerging entrepreneurs, celebrity brands like Oprah Winfrey Network and Steve Harvey, and major corporations including Verizon, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Bank of Hawaii.

Jennifer serves up straight talk wrapped in love because she understands entrepreneurs’ challenges: She built a retail business and became a millionaire at 32, only to lose it all in the recession two years later. She is now the successful owner of three million-dollar brand-building businesses and the mother of three children.

MoneyCentral Magazine recently caught up with Jennifer to discuss her journey to entrepreneurship and here’s what went down:

Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself?

I grew up in the sugar plantations of Hawaii watching my grandmother transition from sowing seeds in the fields to becoming our family’s first entrepreneur when starting her own in-home elderly care business. Inspired by her example, I launched Hawaii’s first brick and mortar lingerie store in 2006, becoming a self-made millionaire at 32 years old. Then, disaster struck as the 2008-2009 financial crisis swept me clean of all financial reserves. I lost my store, my staff, and my beloved grandmother all at once.

After wrestling with grief and depression, both natural consequences to all I had experienced, I began to understand that I had a choice: I was given the opportunity to rebuild and could do so with more power, more wisdom, and more resources than the first time around. I decided to start a service-based, recession-proof brand consulting business. Within a few years, I developed my own marketing process called the Master Brand Method: a framework to develop powerful brand archetypes that win customers’ hearts and encourage them to open their wallets, and opened the Master Brand Institute.

Today, I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and share tools and resources to serve small business leaders in this time of economic crisis. I’m proud that I can utilize all of my past experiences to serve other leaders and continue to contribute to the stability and growth of the economy.

Can you describe your journey to success?  

As a little girl, I always had big dreams inspired by my grandmother’s mentorship. When I grew older, I began to notice that I had sort of a sixth sense: I could smell money in opportunities. This served me well as I began my career in B2B branding and marketing for technology companies, winning them large, lucrative contracts. When I decided to fly solo and redirect my natural business instincts and corporate experience to entrepreneurship, I naturally felt both the rush of possibility as well as the shakiness of risk. My success grew just as quickly as it failed, with both the realization of wealth filling me up and the plummeting into pennilessness draining me once more.

But I had babies to feed and big dreams to fulfill, so I began again. With the support of family, friends, and mentors, I was able to leverage my past as a successful brand expert in corporate settings and an entrepreneur to build yet another business venture. I used my sixth sense, smelling the money in opportunities to find quick, and this time, lasting success.

What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am focusing on serving the small business community. This means I am gathering resources to keep them in the market, promoting branding strategies to help them sustain their clientele during the crisis, and foreshadowing how they can thrive faster post-quarantine. Additionally, I am creating a community for small business leaders so that they have competent and compassionate support that will fuel them so that they can stay true to themselves, their families, their businesses, and their brands during this stressful stage in history.

What is your main tactic when it comes to making more people aware of your brand and engaging your customers?  

At Master Brand Institute, we have developed a tried and true way to ensure businesses will be successful from their marketing campaigns. One, they must understand their brand archetype, which will define their essence, vision, and communication style. Two, they must invest in a deep knowledge of the understanding and motivation of their ideal audience. Three, they can integrate visual aesthetics that promote the brand’s values to attract customers. Four, they can practice an activation process of testing, iterating, and launching successful products. Five, they commit to amplifying their brand, their products/services, and successful campaigns to a variety of platforms and audiences, with confidence and an ownership mindset.

What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?

I believe in the power of brand archetypes, which is a term coined by Carl Jung, a renowned Swiss social psychologist. Archetypes can be defined as recurring stories or characteristics that make up human behavior. Understanding your own archetypes can help you to assess what talents come naturally to you and where you might need support in the development of your brand and business. There are 12 primary archetypes: the Maverick, Ruler, Sage, Explorer, Ruler, Lover, Alchemist, Creator, Provocateur, Healer, Hero, Muse, and Advocate. Each person is a conglomeration of three archetypes: Dominant, Intrinsic, and Intuitive. Your dominant archetype defines brand visibility and values. Your intrinsic archetype, or your secondary, helps decide your brand identity. Lastly, your intuitive archetype supports you in all decision making. Each archetype has a light side and a shadow side. Understanding where you will shine and where you need help shining will set you up for brand success. Using the dominant archetypes in your messaging, email and social media campaigns help create authentic resonance and make people trust your brand more.

How did your brand stand out from the rest of the other brands out there that is similar to your niche?

Besides the brand archetypes methodology that we use, we use a values-driven framework called the Master Brand Method and Brand Authority Map that specifically lines up what the brand stands for and how it helps its audience. Ultimately people buy things because they are clear on how a product/service helps them in their lives, and our Method and Map allow our clients to market more effectively because of how clear they are in what they deliver.

We also emphasize storytelling – because, in any niche, the only thing that truly sets you apart is your stories, both your authority and your approachability stories. When your brand tells a better story that connects with your audience, you enroll clients on demand.

What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?

Canceling all of our live conference events and shifting them to online conferences for the rest of the year. In-person platform events are one of the biggest ways we make revenue not just for our company, but for our clients we consult with too. So adapting and pivoting to a purely online delivery took a lot of choreography, modified marketing, and increased fulfillment. It also takes different types of people resources to create an online experience in the same realm as an in-person experience, so there were additional training and sales expectations to be modified.

What money mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from?

During the 2008-2009 recession, I believed that I could continue to expand my lingerie business in a failing economy against the recommendation of my financial advisor. I expanded without increasing cash flow and went deep into debt. At the time, I thought that in order to have integrity as a business owner that I needed to pay off all of my debts even when I had no money coming in. This was a huge mistake. I ended up paying thousands of dollars in debt only to go bankrupt anyway a year later.

Today, I coach entrepreneurs to focus on gathering cash reserves to utilize in times of crisis. I encourage them to find trusted financial advisors who can accompany them honestly and safely throughout their business cycles. I also counsel business owners to consider bankruptcy if they get stuck financially, without holding the societal shame. Bankruptcy was created so that business owners could start again and utilizing the system is very much in alignment with being a person of integrity.

What have you learned in the process of becoming wealthy that others can learn from?

I came from a family that immigrated to the United States because we had so little and dreamed of so much. I am grateful for the privilege that my family passed down to me in their hard work and have continued that diligence to bring more wealth into my family. I enjoy the wealth I have while recognizing that so many other families are on different stages of their wealth journey. I always hope to empower people into more wealth through sharing my insights in personal and professional contexts, as well as gifting portions of my abundance to those in need.

What new business would you love to start?

I am currently building two platforms to help women acquire affluence and influence that I’m super excited about! One, Femmefluence, is a podcast that sheprenuers can listen to in order to be guided in topics from soul research, to tribe building, to brand mastery. Additionally, The HerQ is a women-focused co-working collaborative space in Walnut Creek, California that will open as soon as the Coronavirus Pandemic has passed and we’re all safe to inspire each other through collaboration in common places again!

If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?

I would have hired a mentor sooner than I chose to – both in the business world and in supporting my personal development. Coaches, therapists, and consultants have been critical partners in my growth as an entrepreneur, and I believe in investing in them before you “need” them and especially before you think you can afford one. The goal of hiring experts to help you is not to make you better at what you’re already good at – the goal is to hire them to help fill the gaps and navigate the blind spots, which we all have. And, create a wealth-building strategy early by paying myself forward with an IRA, life insurance, and estate plan. I have one now but would have definitely liked to have started one earlier.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

My first mentor at work was a woman named Maria who had the life I wanted. I asked her, “If I want to have what you have in the next 10 years, what do I have to do?”. She said: “If you take the jobs (projects/tasks/things) that no one wants to do, you’ll get seen, heard, and paid more than anyone else in your field.” She was right.

What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?

Build a network of support internally and externally! Understand your inner voices and motivations. Listen to the ones on your side and learn to reframe the ones who challenge or limit you. Hire a coach or therapist if you need support in this work. Otherwise, find peers to normalize what you’re going through, mentors to lead you to where they are, and mentees who you can coach to remind you of how far you’ve come. This support network will carry you past obstacles and into a sustainable success!

Introducing Mimi G: The World’s #1 Influencer/Expert In The DIY Sewing Revolution

With over 2.1 million social media followers and 12 million website views annually, DIY Fashion Expert/Girlboss Mimi G has defied all odds to emerge as the most influential woman in DIY fashion, propelling herself into the ranks of Martha Stewart, Lauren Conrad, and Chrissy Teigen.

MimiGStyle.com began as a hobby, and has blossomed into the world’s leading DIY fashion/sewing online destination, where Mimi G models her original designs/patterns ranging from business wear to swimsuits that fit the everyday girl, create free tutorials of her on-trend sewing patterns (Turn Your Jeans into a Skirt, Refashioned Sweatshirt into Dress, Men’s Shirt Into Off Shoulder Button Up), personally answers every DIY sewing question (i.e. what fabrics to buy, what projects to start with, etc.), and so much more. She also created the world’s #1 online sewing school SewItAcademy that works for everyone from the first-time sewing novice to the expert seamstress. SewItAcademy helps fashionistas of all levels master the fundamentals of sewing, work at a pace that allows time to practice, learn the importance of specific techniques, break free from mundane methods, and create trendsetting clothing and accessories.

Mimi G has worked with celebrities like Gwen Stefani and Jennifer Aniston, companies like Target, Revlon, and Google, and has been featured in People Magazine, Parade Magazine, POPSUGAR (to name a few) for making sewing hip and accessible.

MoneyCentral Magazine recently caught up with Mimi G to talk about her journey to entrepreneurship and here’s what went down:

Could you please provide a background about yourself’?

Well, I am a mother of four and a serial entrepreneur who took her love of sewing and shared it with the world. I overcame sexual abuse as a child, domestic violence, homelessness, teen pregnancy and came out at the other end of with a clear vision for my life. I spent many years struggling to make ends meet and working 16 hour days in a field I liked but knew wasn’t my calling. I did the best I could to feed my kids and keep a roof over their heads like many of us do until I started this thing called a blog back in 2008. I didn’t know what a blog really was so those first few years were really just a time of discovery. It wasn’t until 2012 when I decided to blog consistently and launched Mimi G Style, Inc. that I started to focus my energy on teaching and providing tutorials. It was fun to teach people how to make their own clothes when they had never even considered it. My blog grew rather quickly and after that first year I was averaging about a million page views, I quit my job a year and a half in and now 8 years later we reach nearly 12 million people a year and have over 12,000 students in Sew It Academy. It’s amazing. I don’t know that I was “discovered” because there has been so much that has happened in the last eight years that people didn’t see. Growth, planning, strategies, luck, lol but I owe my success to the people who follow and support and share me with friends and family. Starting a business is not something that happens overnight and I feel like I am just getting started.

What do you like most about blogging?

I like having the ability to reach millions of people by sharing my love of style and sewing. It serves as a great journal of sorts to look back and see all that I have done and it’s the way I market new products to my followers so it keeps everything in one place and consistent. Blogging is different now, we like fast information which is why social media is so powerful so you have to really understand the benefits of having a blog and how to use it even with the ever-changing social media climate.

Can you tell us about your Style & Sew It Academy?

I think my style is always changing, I have moods and I dress according to how I feel. I like simple, easy to put on looks that require little to no fuss. I am a jeans and tee kind of girl but will throw on a cool jacket or cool shoes to take the look up a notch or two. I love clothes and I love shopping but to be honest, shopping can be a little stressful if you are not a sample size or, if like me, have a 10” difference from my waist to hips. That is the reason I started sewing again in my 20’s, I wanted my clothes to fit right. It is also the reason I started Sew It Academy.

I launched Sew It Academy in May of 2016. I founded Sew It Academy to help people who wanted to learn sewing and fashion design but couldn’t afford to go to a traditional design school. I set it up so that you didn’t need any experience to start and just about anyone could afford it. The first course is me showing you what a sewing machine is! (laughs) For the price of two lattes a month we teach you everything you need to know to make your own clothes, fix clothes that don’t fit off the rack, work and design your own collections or work in the fashion industry. There is a ton of free info on YouTube but not all of it is good. I wanted somewhere that had structure and really taught people fundamentals that they could build on. There is no online sewing and design school that offers the variety that we do. We teach sewing, pattern making, draping, fashion illustration for both menswear and womenswear and above all it’s affordable.

What’s the biggest challenge of running an online business?

There are a lot of challenges when running a business in general and a lot of what I do happens online but the overall challenge is creating content on a regular basis. You have to be visible and stay visible in order to reach people and make an impact among so many other people. My focus is always around creating engaging and visually appealing content. It can get a little difficult when you feel like your whole life is an opportunity for content but that is the world we live in and certainly the way you need to approach an online business if you want to have continuous success.

Have you always wanted to be in the fashion industry?

No, not really. I have always loved to sew and design but I didn’t know how that was going to transpire in my life. It wasn’t until I was in my late 20’s that I decided I wanted to be a “fashion designer” I went through the process of creating a collection in between my full-time job and even put it on the runway here in LA but after that experience, I knew that although I felt accomplished I didn’t want to spend my time trying to sell a collection. There is a lot more to being a fashion designer that people realize, you have to market and sell your line and very little time is spent doing the actual designing. I love the process of creating garments so after starting my first DIY blog and sharing how-to videos that what I really enjoyed was teaching. I won’t say that I don’t want to do retail at some point because I think I do and will but I can now choose how I want to do it.

What’s your personal mission in life?

I have many, but my main personal mission is to be a great mother, I want to be an example to my kids and have a lasting impact on people I know and those that I don’t. I have worked hard to show my kids that you are more than your circumstances and that the power to be great is found within. I want them to see that despite my struggles I am able to make a positive impact on the world. I have a million friends in my head, all of whom follow me and support me and although I don’t know them all personally I want them to feel empowered and inspired by what I have to offer. My mission in life is to be the best person I can be.

What has been the most memorable experience of your career so far?

I have had so many! but at the end of the day, the most memorable moments have been when someone recognizes me not the street, and wants to share their story with me or take a pic. Every time I meet a follower I am reminded at how amazing my life is and how fortunate I am. I have one story that stays with me always. I got an anonymous email from a woman who shared that she had just gotten out of rehab and was in sober living housing. She told me that she had once been a professional engineer with a great career, her own home, a nice car, and a little girl who she loved. She met a man, fell involve and that was the beginning of a very difficult road. The man she had met and was now sharing a home with was addicted to drugs and had introduced her to them. She became an addict, lost her job, her house, and eventually her daughter. She said it took her a long time to get her life together but she did. When she graduated into sober living she was not he computer looking something up and came across my blog. She shared that she spent hours looking through my blog posts and that I seemed to jump off the page, she said she felt like she knew me. She started learning to sew with my videos and that new hobby she was learning from me helped keep her sober. She is now a coupler and travels sharing her story. She ended her letter to me by sharing that now when she speaks to groups she talks about a DIY blogger that helped save her life and she has no idea who I am. I still don’t know who she is but I think of her often and wish her well. My blog started as a place to make cool things and learn but over time it has become a safe place for people to find themselves and many times heal.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

I have had the pleasure of sitting with celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Gwen Stefani, and Tim Gunn but the most interesting people I have met so far are fans who have had amazing journeys since learning to sew. So many of them have started small businesses, created additional revenue for their families and have even changed careers. I am forever amazed at the stories I hear and how many exceptional people have been brave enough to share their lives with me.

What are your future plans? 

I have so many plans! I am looking to continue growing my business podcast where I get to share all the business advice I wish someone would have shared with me before I became an entrepreneur. It is geared toward people looking to start a business from a hobby or passion. Business SHET (solve, help, earn, trust) has had over 190,000 downloads in less than a year and I am hoping to continue providing resources. I am also finishing my long-overdue book. I also have a few surprises up my sleeves that I can’t share just yet but it will be really exciting.

One On One With The Woman Behind Some Of The Biggest Gym Chains In The World: Selena Short

Selena Short’s business acumen was revealed quite early on in her life and in a most unusual way. Short reveals that “as a kid, while others played games, I played shops, would even make up raffles to sell. Actually, I would raffle off my Mum’s frozen chickens, without her knowing about it, sorry mum!”  From that nefarious beginning, Selena Short has built for herself not only an incredibly successful career but one that is full of passion and purpose.

If one hears of a big-name fitness club, chances are Selena Short has had a hand in it.  The New Zealand native holds a Master’s Degree in Commerce from Victoria University in Wellington and has been working in the fitness industry for 18 years.  A fortuitous move to Hong Kong (having previously worked for Air New Zealand as a Business Analyst) gave her the chance to apply for, and secure, a job as Marketing Manager for California Fitness Centres (CFC).  She shares that “over the 7 years with this company, I worked my way up into a senior role as Vice President in charge of Marketing and Human Resources.  I managed an annual marketing spend of over US$5 million and oversaw the HR for over 2,000 employees across 6 countries (Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, and Malaysia).”  When the company was sold in 2005 for a record $1.6 billion US, Short made enough from her shares to be able to make the move to Australia in 2006 and start her first gym.  She reveals that “alongside my husband and business partners Mark Mastrov and Eric Levine we started V Club, a revolutionary concept and a gym that won the best gym in Sydney 4 years straight.  Since then we have grown the business into 10 Crunch gyms across Sydney and Melbourne.”  Selena was also involved in opening the first international locations for UFC Gym and Hard Candy Fitness, the fitness company started by music superstar, Madonna, and her manager, Guy Oseary.

It’s obvious that Selena is passionate about fitness and health.  But the 46-year old is also passionate about, she shares, “seeing people grow in their unique gifts and purpose…we have over 750 in our team who are responsible for close to 55,000 members, I get to equip our teams to inspire and motivate people to live better…I love building strong teams that are on a mission to help people ‘perspire to greatness’…if our business can help someone become stronger and be healthier, then we will have played a part in helping them live their life to the full.”

Massive success has the unfortunate side effect of warping one’s sense of self-worth and sense of entitlement.  But nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to Selena Short.  Take for example her revelation of what has been the most memorable experience of her career so far: “Opening the doors of our first owned fitness club for the first time will always be a defining moment…it is a moment I relive with every new club opening to this day. I am personally on site helping set the club up and finish the final clean! I’m there on opening day and I do the first workout with members. But right before we open our doors I pause and say a little prayer for all the lives we are about to change from that day onwards! It’s powerful, we impact communities!”  This from a woman who has worked with stars such as NBA legend, Magic Johnson; model extraordinaire Cindy Crawford; UFC President Dana White, and NBL Australia’s Executive Director, Larry Kestelman!  The half Kiwi/half Cook Islander directly attributes her continued humility and down-to-earth nature to her Christian beliefs – “I believe I am positioned where I am today because it is God’s plan.  All I had to do was obey the signs and work extra hard for it.”

Any successful business entrepreneur got to where they are because there were people who influenced them along the way.  For Selena, these included her business partners, Mark Mastrov (founder of 24 Hour Fitness) and Eric Levine (founder of California Fitness).  But perhaps the most influential, and who provided the impetus for Selena to start her own gym, is movie legend, Jackie Chan.  She fondly remembers “working with Jackie on design concepts for a Jackie Chan-endorsed California Fitness Centre.  He wanted a whole lot of crazy concepts in the club, I was the only one who would tell him ‘no’, but together we came up with some cool ideas!  Jackie spoke life into me, it prompted a confidence in me to move on to start my own business.”  In China, Chan’s philanthropy is as legendary as his acting career.  Short recounts attending Jackie’s 50th birthday party where the action star became annoyed at guests who gave him big, flashy flower arrangements.  He growled that he preferred to be given money – but the money wasn’t for himself.  Selena shares that “he then sent his team out into the party with buckets for all his guests, the who’s who in Hong Kong to take off their expensive watches and jewelry and donate it to his causes.  I love that he is not just about his movies and business, but is driven to help children living in poverty in China.”

The now Sydney-based wife and mother of 3 continue to have big plans to inspire others to ‘perspire to greatness.’  She shares that they “plan to continue to grow our business in Australia and possibly into New Zealand.  We have a few new clubs in the pipeline now.  We are also going into franchising, I look forward to mentoring franchisee owners and helping them build their own fitness businesses.  Personally, I am starting a foundation to help support women and families through health and fitness initiatives.”  And it all started with a few frozen chickens!  But, as Selena shares, you must figure out your ‘why’ first.  She emphasizes to “figure out what it is that you are passionate about.  What gets you out of bed.  What gets you excited.  And go for it!”  She passionately urges others to actively seek their calling, put in the hard work for it and enjoy the ride – “When things are going well, enjoy it, you’ve probably worked hard for it. When things are tough, don’t give up but fight harder, you are just being shaped for greater things to come.  Love the saying, tough times don’t last but tough people do!”  And there is no better example of this advice than Selena Short herself.

‘LIGHTNING FAST’ Round:

1. Last good movie I’ve seen – ‘Moana’

2. What do you consider beautiful and why? Tiare Teina (Gardenia flower) because it is my favorite reminder of home Cook Islands – from the gorgeous white flower to the beautiful unique scent – it’s my sense of home.

3. What haven’t you done yet that you wish you could?  Trace my ancestor’s steps back through New Caledonia and Samoa, my sister’s idea I love.

4. Complete this sentence: “If I had no fear, I’d…” sail across the Pacific Islands in a vaka

5. What is the one “flaw” you wouldn’t change about yourself? Oh, so many!  I am highly competitive, can cause over-the-top behaviour!