How To Get Your Loved One A Gift That’s Personally Picked This Christmas

With an 80% increase in gifting during the pandemic lockdown period, this female-founded Aussie gifting startup, PersonallyPicked has seen exponential growth over the past year. Demand continues to grow for unique and fabulous gift options for loved ones being sent, “just because”.

As the name suggests, PersonallyPicked allows customers to curate the perfect gift for their friend, colleague, or loved one, selecting from over 150 incredible gift options. For those more indecisive or in need of a little gifting inspo – there are ready-made gift boxes for a quick solution.

That said, PersonallyPicked says that over 95% of their customers choose to build their own personalised gift box – offering a gift that, as the name states, is personally picked for them.

Some of the most popular gift items during the current lockdowns have included drinks such as Melbourne Martini cocktails in a jar, Just a Glass Wines, and T2 teas, as Aussies enjoy a tipple or two from home – be it toasty and warm, or fresh and fruity.

Additionally, people are spreading the fun, with activity-related gifts rising in popularity during the lockdown. Many Australians are sending Journey of Something puzzles, quiz games, and cocktail recipe books to keep people entertained at home. It seems we’re also quite keen to pamper friends and family with beauty and wellness products such as the Aunty Honey Heat Packs, Lapcos Face Masks, and Huxter Bath Salts in rather high demand.

PersonallyPicked Co-Founder Samantha Lynn said, “Customers are sending gifts not for any particular occasion, but just because loved ones were going through difficult times and as a way to re-connect and bring joy. We have also had a huge uplift in corporate clients and businesses organising gifts for their staff who were working hard in lockdown at home, which is really great to see.”

Over the last 12 months, PersonallyPicked has seen a 250% increase in sales, with the online gifting trend seeing no sign of slowing down.

PersonallyPicked offers a range of bright, colourful, and unique packaging options that stand out from the crowd. The best part, each gift box is personalised with the recipient’s name for the ultimate personalised experience.

For more information or to order your own PersonallyPicked gift box, head to: www.personallypicked.com.au

The Surefire Guide To Starting And Successfully Running A Home Business

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Some of today’s most prominent businesses were started at home, and many of today’s successful business owners are content to operate their businesses from their home office, garage, or on-site warehouse. 

A small business may be defined as a “privately owned corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship with fewer employees and less annual revenue than a corporation or regular-sized business.” Therefore, a small home business can be defined as such; only its operation occurs at the proprietor’s residence or in the residential setting of one of the employees. 

Many people decide to start a small home business to earn extra income or simply to go into business for themselves. Many small businesses are run from homes today, ranging from financial consulting and baking to salon services and tutoring. Whether you’re interested in selling products or providing services from your home, the following information will help you get started and probably answer some questions you might have and know some pros and cons. Of course, if you have little ones at home, starting a business alongside them can be a challenge – but not impossible! Parenting while working from home can actually be enjoyable, while also setting a positive example for your children to learn from.

Benefits and Advantages of a Home-Based Business

If you’re thinking about launching a home business, you’ll want to explore the many enjoyable advantages and benefits. In fact, many of these benefits persuade people to start a home business in the first place. 

Time with Family

Many people prefer to work from home so that they can be around for the family. Small business owners can be on-site to keep an eye on older relatives who may need occasional assistance. They can be at home when children are let out of school, and they can enjoy flexible hours to quickly leave home and attend kids’ events like after-school track meets or basketball games. Even if you are a “pet parent,” staying at home jobs or starting your own business will be ideal for taking care and sharing more time with the people you love or your furry loved ones. 

Zero Commute Time

The average American spends an hour per day commuting to and from work. That adds up to 20 hours per week. Many people spend even more time commuting, enduring the stress of heavy traffic, inclement weather, and crowded busses or trains. There is also the substantial cost associated with work commutes. Being at home will reduce these extra costs since you will be able to cook and eat at home, avoid traffic, lower your gas budget or any other transportation budget. This would be the perfect time to start eating clean and having a healthy diet, adding more activities that will keep you productive such as meditating instead of being stuck in traffic. 

Save on Commercial Rent

When you run your business from home, you can save the cost of rent. If you operate your business in a commercial space, you’d be required to pay rent as well as utilities and insurance. You can avoid this type of overhead by operating your business online from your home. You can reinvest the money you save on commercial rent back into your business in some other form, such as digital marketing

Multitask between Your Professional and Personal Lives

While it may take some practice to juggle tasks associated with your business and personal life skillfully, you can undoubtedly multitask when running a home business. You can break from your work to throw in a load of laundry or prep for dinner on your lunch break. You can create a daily dynamic schedule that includes tasks related to your business and household needs. Moreover, you may easily fit a wide range of tasks into your day without the commute time, such as exercising.

Be More Productive

Because your business belongs to you, you’re likely to feel a tremendous investment in its success. So, you’re apt to work hard and be highly productive. Moreover, there won’t be any other employees (unless you decide to hire them) or a boss around to distract you from your tasks. Consequently, you can more easily stick to your workday plans. When you run your own business, you can set your own goals in terms of productivity and develop the strategies to achieve them that work best for you. You definitely are able to become your own boss! A great way to get started would be creating a schedule you know you will follow every day. It must have realistic metrics so you can stay motivated throughout this new journey. While making your schedule, you might want to add some household activities that might take around 15 minutes to complete or maybe just take an outdoor walk or read that book you have purchased and haven’t had the chance to open it—organizing your agenda and working at home will a great experience. It doesn’t matter if you are a morning or evening person.

Getting Started

Starting a business is an exciting prospect, but there are a lot of details to address. By staying organized and tackling all necessary tasks, you can set your business model up for a successful launch.

Define Your Business

Take time to define your business clearly. Will you sell products, services, or both? Although you may already have a good idea of what you want to do, you’ll want to think in terms of specifics once you’re serious about starting a small home business. Take time to brainstorm through some ideas and make a list of the possibilities you’re most interested in pursuing. Once you have a shortlist, you can research your options and take a look at the marketplace to determine if there’s a need for your offerings. Take into consideration also what are you good at, baking, cooking, singing, tutoring, numbers, dropshipping, etc. this will help you to keep motivated and have a business project that you will enjoy and won’t see it as a boring work task that you just have to perform. 

Brainstorm Your Business Name

Take time to choose a business name carefully. You’ll want to choose a name that’s easy for customers to spell and remember. It makes sense to select a web-friendly name in this digital age and nothing too similar to your competitors’ names. While there are business name-generating apps available that you can try, you might also want to make a list of possible names for your business and run them past family and friends to get their thoughts. You can even ask your close friends and family to suggest options as a way of helping you brainstorm.

Identify Your Target Audience

Who are you trying to sell to? Defining your target audience, whether it’s local homeowners or teenagers nationwide, will help you market your business effectively. When you have a target demographic in mind, you can create more targeted strategies for engaging potential customers. Therefore, you must identify your product or service’s target audience before you begin marketing efforts for the brand. The group will include existing customers as well as potential customers.  

Your target market does not necessarily consist of everyone who may be interested in your products. It’s important to identify the people you want to reach through your brand marketing efforts, whether you’re using digital marketing campaigns or advertisements or on social media channels.

Understanding your target audience and their pain points allows you to create content more effectively and target advertisements with the right marketing message for each segment.

Develop Your Business Plan

Creating a business plan is a crucial step for developing your home business. It can include every aspect of your business, guiding both its launch and operation. Some key elements of your business plan should include:

  • Company description: provide a summary of what your company does. Company descriptions give an overview of key aspects of your business, such as what you do and what sets you apart from the competition. Your business description should clearly explain what you do.
  • Breakdown of your products and services: The product or service section of your business plan should emphasize the value you offer clients or customers.
  • Executive summary: provide a formal business summary, one that could appear in professional business directories.
  • Marketing and sales plan: describe how you intend to market your company (i.e., digital and traditional sales measures)
  • Competitive analysis: analyze the marketplace you intend to operate in; know how you fit in and who your competitors are. 
  • Operating plan: describe how you plan to run your business and list company departments and managing personnel.

Financial Considerations

You’ll need to carefully evaluate your finances and develop a budget related to your startup expenses and business operation. Don’t forget to add in costs for items like marketing, insurance, and other necessities associated with the types of products or services you’ll sell. Determine whether or not you’ll need to apply for a business loan. For entrepreneurs who are starting new businesses, personally funded venture capital is often the first thing they consider. While this is common at the beginning, it is essential to separate your personal and professional funds when your business is growing and earning cash, not only for tax purposes but also to protect your credit and eliminate unnecessary stress.

Legal Business Structure

Take time to determine your business’s legal stature and structure. Do you intend to own your business as a private proprietor or to create a corporation? Learn about the different structures and decide which is best suited for you and your business.

Business Licensure

What type of license will you need to operate your business? Be sure to calculate the cost of your license into your startup costs. Although there are general business licenses, there are also specialty licenses that may apply to your business. Check here to learn more about specific types of business licenses.

Branding Campaign

Marketing is essential for any business but definitely a home business. You won’t have the benefit of being in a commercial area where you can post commercial signage. You’ll need to create a marketing plan that includes both traditional and digital marketing initiatives. Branding is the idea that if you display a positive message about your company to enough people for long enough, they’ll think about you when it’s time to make a purchase.

Source: Porch.com

Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

5 Ways To Keep Yourself Healthy During The COVID-19 Pandemic

In the midst of a global pandemic, many want to know which ways are best to boost your immune system. However, it must be noted that there is no diet, supplement, or lifestyle modification that will protect against COVID-19 except for proper hygiene and social distancing. The tips listed below may support and boost your immune health, making it easier to fight off disease and infections, but they do not specifically fight against COVID-19

That being said, here are 5 tips that will boost your immune health and with time will help you feel healthier as well help your body to fight off illnesses.

Getting Enough Sleep Each Night

You may notice when you get a cold or start feeling sick, you start sleeping longer and deeper. This is your body allowing your immune system to better fight off the illness. Your immune system takes a lot of energy to fight off illnesses, likewise, it takes a lot of energy to protect against them. It’s important to get enough sleep for many reasons, among them is to have enough energy to give your immune system a chance to fight off illnesses.

Work Whole Plant and Fermented Foods into Your Diet

Whole plants, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes are incredibly rich in nutrients and antioxidants. These may give your immune system an upper hand in its fight against some harmful pathogens. It can cut down on chronic inflammation, provide fiber to promote gut health, and most provide the vitamin C needed to reduce the duration of a common cold.

While fermented foods may not be what many think is best for their diets (And in fact when done improperly can be dangerous so be sure to research fermentation before starting) they are often packed with probiotics and beneficial bacteria that promote gut health. In turn, this allows your stomach and immune system to work together to fight off illness.

Limit the Amount of Added Sugars in Your Diet

With many coming to the conclusion that added sugars and refined carbs contribute heavily to obesity, it is important to try to begin cutting these out of your diet. Obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease are all capable of suppressing your immune system. To maintain a healthy immune system it is vital to cut the risk of these by reducing how much-added sugar is in your diet to 5% of your daily calories.

Practice Moderate and Daily Exercise

Simple, daily exercises such as brisk walking, steady biking, jogging swimming, and light hiking are all great ways to stay in shape, as well as boost your immune system. An active body has a better chance of fighting off infections and illnesses.

Drink Enough Water Everyday

While drinking water does not directly protect you from germs or viruses, it does prevent dehydration and boosts your overall health. Preventing dehydration is important for everyone, as you are far more susceptible to illness while dehydrated.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Universal Music Launches A Major Expansion In China, With The Launch Of Multiple New Local Record Labels

Universal Music Greater China (UMGC), a division of Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment today and Republic Records, today announced the launch of Republic Records China, the first international label division of leading U.S. label Republic Records to launch worldwide.

Republic Records, the label founded by brothers and chief executives Monte and Avery Lipman, is home to some of the world’s most acclaimed and successful international artists, labels, and entrepreneurs including Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Drake, The Weeknd, and Post Malone amongst others and has long been synonymous with breaking and introducing global talents of the highest quality. In recent years, Republic artists have found success around the world, including in China, where Taylor Swift has consistently broken records for international sales success, thanks to building a large loyal fanbase across the region.

The new Republic Records China label will be built with the same blueprint and ethos as its sister-label but will focus on signing and developing the next generation of Chinese music and C-pop talent from Mainland China, with a view to reaching a global audience. The label will be based in Beijing and led by Tony Wen, who has been appointed Managing Director, Republic Records China, effective immediately and will report to Sunny Chang, Chairman & CEO, UMGC. Wen has significant experience within the Chinese music and media industries as both a successful music producer and former Sony Music and EE-media executive, with the first label signings to the new label to be announced shortly.

In making the announcement, Republic Records founder Chairman & CEO Monte Lipman said, “We’re thrilled to see the launch of Republic Records in China led by the brilliant leadership team of Tony and Sunny. This initiative recognizes the extraordinary growth in the Chinese marketplace and the palpable influence which has made a tremendous impact on our industry worldwide.”

Adam Granite, EVP, Market Development, UMG said, “I’d like to thank Monte, Avery, and Republic Records for their support, as we welcome Republic Records China and Tony to the UMG label family. We are incredibly excited for Republic to become a new force synonymous with the best in Chinese music, just as the Republic brand is seen as a trusted mark of quality around the world.  It is a unique time for music in China, with a diversely rich talent pool of new artists and talent that have the potential to find huge success both domestically, across Asia, and more than ever before around the world. UMG has a long history and culture of supporting and developing the best global music talent, and the launch of new labels only helps to accelerate and strengthen the domestic Chinese music market and most importantly introduce new and exciting artists and music to fans in China and beyond.”

Sunny Chang, Chairman & CEO, UMGC, said, “I am also very pleased to welcome aboard Tony Wen – a highly experienced, senior executive in the music industry, who has established his career in the local market and has now become part of the amazing UMGC management team. His insights and experiences will bring indispensable value for us, as we launch Republic here in China. We thank Monte and Avery for the trust in UMGC, to launch Republic as a cornerstone for our multi-label strategy, as we set to expand the horizons for Chinese music talent in the future.”

The launch comes as part of a significant expansion of UMG’s recorded music operations within China, with the establishment of a multi-label structure, to lead its focus on domestic A&R and local language artists within the region. Republic Records China will sit alongside EMI China, PolyGram Records China Universal Music China, each operating independently with their own dedicated artist rosters, A&R and specialist marketing teams as part of an innovative and unique to market, multi-label strategy, reinforcing UMGC’s commitment to accelerating and introducing the next wave of Chinese music talent to the world across a variety of genres, as it becomes the first major music company to establish multiple frontline label operations across China.

About Republic Records

A division of Universal Music Group, the world’s leading music company, Republic Records is home to an all-star roster of multi-platinum, award-winning legends and superstar artists such as Ariana Grande, Black Thought, Drake, Florence + the Machine, Greta Van Fleet, Hailee Steinfeld, Jack Johnson, James Blake, James Bay, Jessie J, John Mellencamp, Jonas Brothers, Julia Michaels, Kid Cudi, Lil Wayne, Lorde, Metro Boomin, NAV, Nicki Minaj, Of Monsters and Men, Pearl Jam, Post Malone, Seth MacFarlane, Stevie Wonder, Taylor Swift, The Weeknd and more. Founded by brothers and chief executives Monte and Avery Lipman, it is also comprised of innovative business ventures, including American Recordings, Boominati Worldwide, Brushfire, Casablanca Records, Cash Money, Lava Records, XO, Young Money, among others. Republic also maintains a long-standing strategic alliance with Universal Music Latin Entertainment (J Balvin and Karol G).  In addition, Republic has expanded to release high-profile soundtracks for Universal Pictures (Fifty Shades of Grey), Sony Pictures (Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse) and NBC TV (The Voice), as well as other notable film and television franchises. Extending further into the worlds of film, television, and content, Republic launched Federal Films in order to produce movies and series powered by the label’s catalog and artists. Its first production was the Jonas Brothers documentary Chasing Happiness for Amazon Prime Video. Find out more at: https://www.republicrecords.com/

About Universal Music Group

Universal Music Group (UMG) is the world leader in music-based entertainment, with a broad array of businesses engaged in recorded music, music publishing, merchandising, and audiovisual content in more than 60 countries. Featuring the most comprehensive catalog of recordings and songs across every musical genre, UMG identifies and develops artists and produces and distributes the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful music in the world. Committed to artistry, innovation, and entrepreneurship, UMG fosters the development of services, platforms, and business models in order to broaden artistic and commercial opportunities for our artists and create new experiences for fans. Universal Music Group is a Vivendi company. Find out more at: http://www.universalmusic.com

Source: www.universalmusic.com

Card Payments In Australia Are Expected To Rebound And Grow By 8.3% This Year

The Australian payment card market, which has been on the rise for the past few years, registered a slowdown in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic with reduced consumer and commercial spending. However, the market is expected to rise by 8.3% in 2021, forecasts GlobalData, a leading data, and analytics company.

According to GlobalData’s Payment Cards Analytics, the value of card payments registered subdued growth of 0.8% in 2020, much less compared to 5.8% in 2019. With improving economic conditions and vaccination programs gathering pace, the card payments market is set to rebound and reach A$749bn (US$577.3bn) in 2021.

The value of card payments is forecasted to grow further and register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.6% between 2021 and 2025 to reach A$967.9bn (US$746.1bn) in 2025.

Sowmya Kulkarni, Senior Payments Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Australia has a developed card payment market with a strong payment infrastructure and high consumer preference for electronic payments. Australians are prolific users of payment cards, with a high frequency of card payments at 185 times per card in 2020. While the card payments market was affected in the short-run due to the pandemic, it is expected to rebound and continue its growth trajectory from 2021.”

The growth in card payments will be supported by the rising usage of contactless cards and e-commerce payments. The use of contactless cards is on the rise as even smaller merchants are now insisting on non-cash and contactless payments amid hygiene concerns arising from COVID-19. To support this, the limit for contactless card payment was increased from A$100 (US$77.08) to A$200 (US$154.16), effective April 2020.

In addition to physical cards, payment via mobile wallets with stored debit and credit cards are also gaining prominence in Australia. According to the Commonwealth Bank, as of March 2021, over 40% of the bank’s debit and credit card contactless transactions were made via mobile wallets.

In addition, the drop in overall consumer spending during the pandemic has been offset by a rise in online spending, as wary consumers are staying home and using the online channel. Payment cards are the major beneficiaries of this as they are the most preferred tool for e-commerce payments in Australia.

Debit cards are the most preferred card type for payments, accounting for 58.5% of the overall card payments value in 2021 while credit and charge cards account for the remaining 41.5% share.

The share of credit and charge cards segment is on a constant decline over the past few years due to the changing consumer attitude towards credit card debt, and the growing prominence of alternate financing options such as buy now, pay later. The reduction in consumer spending amid the pandemic also adversely affected the segment with credit and charge card payment value declining by 10.7% in 2020.

Ms. Sowmya Concludes: “While the COVID-19 pandemic hampered the growth of payments market in the short-run in Australia, it is expected to grow at a robust pace over the next four years, supported by the gradual economic recovery, a rise in consumer and commercial spending and high contactless adoption.”

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

FYI

  • Quotes are provided by Sowmya Kulkarni, Banking and Payments Senior Analyst at GlobalData
  • Information is based on GlobalData’s Payment Cards Analytics, which provides deep insight into the key trends in the global payment card market covering 73 key markets.
  • This press release was written using data and information sourced from proprietary databases, primary and secondary research, and in-house analysis conducted by GlobalData’s team of industry experts

About GlobalData

4,000 of the world’s largest companies, including over 70% of FTSE 100 and 60% of Fortune 100 companies, make more timely and better business decisions thanks to GlobalData’s unique data, expert analysis, and innovative solutions, all in one platform. GlobalData’s mission is to help our clients decode the future to be more successful and innovative across a range of industries, including the healthcare, consumer, retail, financial, technology, and professional services sectors.

5 Ways to Manage Your Physical And Mental Well-Being During COVID-19

The world has certainly been turned upside down over the last couple of months. These unprecedented times have tested people and the impact of the pandemic will be seen for a long time. This has, however, given people a good opportunity to get to grips with their physical and mental wellness. If you are someone who exercises regularly then you will understand how important it is to a human being’s stability. Our emotional status is often very closely linked with our physical state.

Think about it, if you have a stressful day at work it is compounded by any physical ailment you may be experiencing. Stress is exponentially increased when we are out of balance with our bodies and the current situation has led to a lot of stress going around. We need to make sure that we are keeping tabs on our physical and mental well-being. This article will give you 5 tips for maintaining yourself during a pandemic and hopefully teach you to deal with stress a lot easier.

Here are 5 steps to get you going throughout the day:

Step 1: Wake up and make your bed.

Step 2: Eat a well-balanced breakfast.

Step 3: Take a moment to plan your day (without using your phone or technology).

Step 4: Pick a time to put on your exercise shoes and do it.

Step 5: Put on your shoes.

You do not have to be lifting weight or going for 2 hour runs every day. Simple exercises with simple movements can have a massive impact on your health and mental state. A good rule of thumb is that you should aim for half an hour of exercise every day. Regular exercise has proven to increase your brain’s ability to process serotonin and norepinephrine. These are the hormones in your brain that manage your ability to deal with stress. Simple exercise and getting the blood flowing can have a tremendous impact on your mood and stress levels. Another vital impact of exercise is that it will give you more energy. It may seem like a contradiction but the more energy you use, the more you actually have. If you spend all day on the couch your body will become accustomed to that lifestyle and you will find it harder and harder to get up and get going. During a pandemic, it is absolutely crucial that you keep your energy levels up because it is hard enough to deal with a lockdown in a normal state, doing it while feeling tired and lethargic is much harder. Give yourself the boost you need by training your body and your mind.

Maintaining a healthy mindset is so important at this time. Everyone is dealing with the pandemic in different ways and you will find that those who are able to cope with the hardships are probably those people who have regular exercise routines. Taking care of your body creates a positive atmosphere and you will find that your mental state improves with each day that you spend on the go. You do not have to become a world-class athlete; you just need to get your body moving. Even a simple walk around the block can have massive effects on your well-being.

The Five C’s of Successful Home Loans

Acquiring home loans is neither a walk in the park or a show of far-fetched wish-granting shooting star. It is a reality that can build anyone’s dreams given the right requirement and financial ability. While many have been declined for home loans, the chances of having one approved can be increased. It is something that you work for while anchored by a strong financial record and history.

Do you have what it takes to be granted a successful home loan?

Let’s lay out the Five C’s where lenders’ decisions are hinged to when it comes to approving home loans.

CHARACTER

When talking about home loans or any other type of mortgages, your character is your credit history. It is a large factor that determines your eligibility for a home loan or your application will be pushed aside to the nearest trash bin. Your credit history details your reputation in matters of handling previous loans. Most financial institutions also use credit score which is a numeric value that spells your credit standing which will help future lenders assess risk when dealing with you. The higher the credit score, the less risk involved.

CAPITAL

While you may depend on your household income that basically will be the major source of your monthly repayments, financial institutions also look at some other things just in case unforeseen events or setbacks arise. This capital includes your savings account, property investments, and other assets that characterise value that can help you bridge through your loans.

COLLATERAL

They say that the higher collateral value, the better it works for your advantage. Collateral can be anything of value like a home or auto that will secure the lender if in case you default on your loan repayments. Your pledged collateral will be assessed and evaluated. The result of this plays a vital role in the lender’s decision-making process.

CAPACITY

Have you started calculating your debt-to-income ratio? The comparison between your newly acquired debts and taxable income speaks volumes about the home loan process. You will go through a meticulous credit investigation to assess your capacity to pay and manage loans. Your financial stability will be dissected and your employment history will be studied.

CONDITIONS

Do you agree with the interest rates stated? How about the repayment plans? Perhaps, the most frequently asked questions when applying for a loan is what do you need a loan for. The purpose of your loan application is also one of the determining factors that will help financial institutions decide in your favour.

Getting ready to apply? Find the right lender and be prepared to answer their queries.

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!

Meet The Woman Behind The Cover Of The Latest Issue Of Money Central Magazine: Nikki Clarke, The Founder Of Cadenshae

Starting a business with newborn or small children is not an easy feat, especially when you have to look after four of them. All Nikki Clarke initially wanted to do was make a bit of extra money on the side to feel comfortable financially. She didn’t actually start out to revolutionize the way mums looked and felt about themselves. She started Cadenshae with a $20k order of bras. She financed the entire project herself, as it was important for her not to rely on investors so she could still keep full control of the business. At the time, she had an 11-month-old baby and another one on the way, so it was certainly a risk, but one she knew would pay off as she’d stumbled across a niche market that was not being catered to properly at all. In less than five years she had 2 more kids, yet in the process, she somehow managed to grow Cadenshae into a multi-million dollar global empire.

MoneyCentral Magazine recently caught up with Nikki to discuss her 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?

I was born and bred in Northland, New Zealand and I have one older sister – Jacqui. My parents are Steve and Sharon and they rock! I’ve always loved exercising and have felt passionate about it from an early age. Growing up I would work out with my Dad in the garage (he was a Policeman) and I always knew exercise would be an integral part of my life.

After school I took on a bunch of different roles, I was a medic in the NZ Army, a beautician, and a personal trainer, to name a few. All of the jobs I took on allowed me to help others in one way or another. Helping others has always been extremely important to me, it’s just part of who I am, and I am so proud of that.

As to how the business came about, as aforementioned – before I became a mother, I was a personal trainer, and so once I had recovered post-birth, I decided to head back to the gym to catch up with clients, show Caden off, and do a bit of a work-out. As I was working out, Caden got fussy, so I went to feed her and this is when my ‘ah-ha’ moment came about! I battled my sports bra, trying to pull it up over my breasts to feed. I was left infuriated. “This is impossible! There’s got to be a better way!” I thought. So, as soon as I got home, I went online to look for some quality nursing sports bras. There was nothing.

“Why has no one thought of this? How can mothers be expected to keep active and breastfeed when there’s nothing practical out there to do it in!”

I decided there and then if no one else would make the gear mums needed, then I’d give it a go! I had absolutely no experience in fashion design, but I knew what was needed, so I began drawing.

Fast forward to 19 months later, and Adam (my partner in life and business) and I have just welcomed our second baby girl, Ryan into the world! Four days later, $20k of nursing sports bras arrive from China, and are emptied onto our front lawn…here we go!

This year we’re set to turn-over close to $6 million (despite Covid-19). Cadenshae (named after our firstborn Caden, her middle name is Shae) now employs 16 staff and is recognized as the leading activewear brand for pregnant and nursing mothers, worldwide. Australia, New Zealand, the UK, the USA, and Canada are our target markets.

Also – we now have four children and one on the way! Caden – 6, Ryan – 4, Kace – 3, Jackson – almost 2 and another wee girl coming soon!

Can you describe your journey to success? When did you start? Did you ever imagine you would become this successful?

As mentioned, the journey started six years ago when I first had Caden and I couldn’t find any suitable nursing sports bras. When I started, I didn’t think it would become this huge, no. I knew it would be somewhat successful as there was a gap in the market and from the chats I’d been having with other mothers, it was clear they would purchase activewear products for pregnancy and postpartum if it was nice! I thought I’d go alright in New Zealand, but the global success has been a very amazing and a pleasant surprise.

What is your main source of income?

Profits from sales.

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

It’s a funny old time with Covid-19 in the mix. Before the pandemic, we were on a serious upward trajectory and had plans for global domination! We still do have these goals, but we’ve had to change our focus a bit recently. Unfortunately, many businesses have been hit hard with people unable to shop as freely as they previously had due to job losses, etc. We have also been hit by this pandemic, but we’re not crippled, so we’re now focusing on building ourselves back to where we were, and when this all dies down – we’ll go back to focusing on taking over the world!

In short though, to grow our business we have to keep creating new and exciting products, so we’re focusing on our product carousel right now as well as trying to keep as many things as ‘in-house’ as possible. We have an amazing social media team, from the ‘faces’ on the camera, to the camera people, graphic designers, etc. Having this all done in-house means not only is it cheaper to do, but it’s faster…we can constantly roll out new content…and social media is such a massive beast which constantly needs feeding. And if you feed it right, you definitely see your return on investment.

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

Mainly Facebook and Instagram. We do stories every day, giveaways, posts, etc. We use Facebook a lot to interact with our customers, but we also have a presence on Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube…you’ve got to be on everything these days to get in front of the ‘aspirational consumers.’

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

It’s always good to diversify your channels and advertise in different areas. Paid advertising has always been good for us, so I definitely think it’s something everyone should consider doing. Don’t dismiss a channel until you’ve tried and tested in my opinion,

What is your main tactic when it comes to making more people aware of your brand and engaging your customers? How did your business stand out?

This has developed over the years. To begin with, it was just getting the word out there in any way we could! Social media, giveaways, sponsoring events, paid advertising, etc. Now that we have more of a strong-hold (and more experience), we have the power to pick and choose what we do a bit more. We knew from the get-go how powerful PR could be to a company’s bottom line, and as soon as we could, we invested in PR companies to help us out, before hiring our own PR Manager to take care of that side of the business, in-house. PR is crucial for brand awareness; sometimes people don’t know ‘how’ they know of you, but they do know of you! That’s the PR machine working away discreetly in the background. A person may have stumbled across an online article, or read a piece in a magazine while waiting at the Dentist for example…good PR strategies focus on getting in front of as many media outlets as possible, because the more you do, the more people hear/read of you…the more sales you’ll get. Numbers don’t lie! Businesses have to keep working on that and building on it until they become more of a ‘household’ name/brand. That’s a huge focus of ours, as well as catering to our current and new customers through social media.

We stand out I think because we think out of the square when it comes to ‘brand awareness’ tactics. We recently sponsored the incredible Alysia Montaño – a 7x USA champ and 3x 800m world bronze medallist. In fact, we signed her up just days after learning she was pregnant with her third child. Alysia had a hard time with the likes of Nike and Asics cutting her pay when she got pregnant or discussed getting pregnant, so she hit out against these big name brands hard – fighting for a better maternity coverage for female professional athletes. We adored her and how she was taking on the big guns. We wanted to help her in her plight, empower her, like we want to empower all women – so we signed her up for a four-year sponsorship deal. That’s a pretty cool and different way to get the word out about your brand, especially in the US, where our focus is right now.

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

Social media, EDMs, P.R.

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

We stood out initially because there was NOTHING like us around. Nothing that was actually nice and of high quality. Now we stand out because we are the innovators, and our stuff is hands down the best, we know it is. It’s stylish, colourful, comfortable, and supportive. It’s quite flattering when we see our competitors try to copy what we do. I also think we’ve hired some real trailblazers who like to try different things to see what will happen, and often it pays off.

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

The last few months have been the toughest in a while for sure. Covid-19 hurt us for a bit, but luckily, not for long. We decided from the get-go that we would do our utmost to keep everyone in their jobs. We had to cut everyone’s hours and pay for a few weeks, but at least that meant everyone still had a job. We could’ve let people go and kept others on full pay, but luckily we have an amazing team which really is a TEAM and everyone wanted to take a pay cut to ensure no one lost their job. Our staff has been brilliant, and so has the NZ government in their handling of this, helping out businesses with wage subsidies, etc. Our whole team is now back up to 100% pay, thank goodness.

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

I get asked this question a lot, and I’d say the biggest mistakes we’ve made have been around hiring the wrong people, not trusting our gut. It’s cost us a lot. We are now very strict when it comes to hiring people, we don’t take it willy nilly anymore. You’ve got to get it right the first time, or else it can be extremely taxing, in more ways than one.

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

It’s an old cliche, but hard work really does pay off. Working that extra hour or two to get the job done pays off. Working weekends pays off. Missing your mate’s birthday party because you have a shipment coming, pays off. Sacrifice and hard work pay off. Also, you’ve got to be a good person and treat people right. If you do, you’ll get so many other rewards…people want to help nice people and go the extra mile…it’s human nature. Also, we invested in systems/software early on to future proof. We weren’t ‘big’ enough for these systems initially but we knew we would be one day and we’d be ready – and it paid off.

What new business would you love to start?

Gosh, I have no idea! Something to do with helping others…but to be honest I have enough on my plate right now, I’m happy sticking with just this business for now.

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

All the mistakes I’ve made, I’ve learned from – you have to make mistakes so you can grow and develop. One thing that does stand out though is the hiring process. I would do more research on how best to do that.

If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were first making a name for yourself, what advice would you give yourself?

I’d say to myself, ‘don’t stress, everything will work out!” I don’t know if ‘past’ me would believe ‘future’ me though even if I did go back. It’s only natural to stress and worry because it means you care and it makes you think a little harder and work a little harder. If I went back and told myself not to worry and not to stress, would I then work as hard? Not sure? It’s an interesting one.

Do you have any favorite business-related or personal development related books that you can recommend to other entrepreneurs?

I’m not a book reader, but I love reading online business articles. Big fan of Forbes.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

Invest early for the future. Don’t be afraid, give it a crack!

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

Do your due diligence, your market research – can you really make a go of this in the current climate? What makes you different? At the end of the day though, if the fire is in your belly, you’ll make it work. Learn from others, seek out mentors…read, read, read…you aren’t expected to know everything, so don’t pretend you do. A true leader asks for help when needed, let others help you and teach you. Learn, make mistakes, learn again, and keep on growing.

The Life Of An Entrepreneur: Interview With Julie Dugoff Waxman – The CEO Of Baked In Color

Julie Dugoff Waxman is the founder and CEO of Baked in Color, a rainbow and custom colored chocolate chip cookies company. Launched in May 2016, Baked in Color now operates a New York City location and they ship their cookies nationwide. Their customers love their cookies and they are positioned for further growth to keep up with the demand.

StarCentral Magazine recently caught up with Julie to discuss her 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?

My name is Julie Dugoff Waxman and I am the founder and CEO of Baked in Color, a rainbow, and custom colored chocolate chip cookies company. Launched in May 2016, Baked in Color now operates a New York City location and we ship our cookies nationwide. Baked in Color offers the first rainbow and custom colored chocolate chip cookies. Happy, fun and delicious, these cookies can be customized by color for all of life’s special occasions: holidays, mitzvahs, corporate events, college acceptance, school spirit, sports events, birthday parties, you name it!

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

As a student at Cornell, I founded and ran a cookie delivery business, Quickie Cookie. We baked, packaged and delivered fresh cookies, with a quart of milk (think Insomnia cookies). I sold the company and spent the next several years working in Corporate Retail at Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy’s. While working for these companies, I developed my skills in business development, strategic and financial planning, merchandising, team building, negotiation, and marketing. After twenty years in corporate retail, I was excited to launch my own business.

Can you describe your journey to success? When did you start? How did you get the idea to start Baked in Color?

Chocolate chip cookies are America’s #1 dessert and colorfulrainbow desserts are the #1 social media dessert trend. I was inspired most by the rainbow bagel. Rainbow bagels look incredibly cool but don’t taste great. I had a delicious recipe for chocolate chip cookies and knew that if I could figure out how to execute color, I would have something very trend right and extremely marketable. Thousands of test batches later, Baked in Color was born.

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

Social media has been the big driver for Baked in Color. We started posting our cookies on Instagram and were quickly noticed by food influencers who posted the cookies on their Instagram and Facebook feeds. Six months after our launch, INSIDER took notice and shot a feature for their INSIDER FOOD and INSIDER DESSERT platforms. The video went viral, receiving over 7 Million views on Facebook, in addition to millions of views on Instagram. Baked in Color was also featured by Today.Com, Huffington Post and Spoon University. The media exposure drove our sales tenfold, putting our brand on the map and driving corporate business, such as Goldman Sachs, Barney’s NY, and Time Inc.

Where/how can we get our hands on your cookies?

Baked in Color has a New York City location at TurnstyleNYC, the underground market at Columbus Circle, at 58th street and Broadway. We deliver throughout Westchester County and NYC and ship nationwide. We specialize in both personal and corporate events. Orders can be placed online at www.bakedincolor.com. In addition to our online offering, we customize cookie colors and packaging to make the perfect dessert or party favor for your special occasion or event.

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

GO FOR IT! Be patient and stay positive. Work hard and move forward each day. Things will not always go well but don’t get discouraged. Some days will bring opportunities and others will bring knocks. Hang in there. It’s a long haul. Don’t take rejection personally just move on to the next opportunity, of which there are countless. Be aware of the competition but don’t get bogged down by it. Network, network, network. It’s free to ask so ask others for help; people are generally happy to help. You can learn from most people and often each meeting leads to another opportunity. Follow your instincts but pivot when things aren’t going well; cut your losses and move on.