So after three years of trying to be something that I wasn’t I turned to my Mom and said, and by the way, my dad passed when I was 14. I was 16 when he fell sick so my Mum is my best friend and she’s very cool actually.
So I said to her, ‘Shaz like.. honestly I can’t do this anymore. I’ll work out a way to make you proud – one day hopefully – but I can’t I can’t do this.’
And she’s the type of woman that’s like ‘I know you will just go do your thing’, right and so I moved from Sydney to Melbourne to be with Sim. We were in a long-distance relationship I bought this little one here who actually is still with us today. Her name is Subi and I bought her for Sim as a gift and we lived in a one-bedroom apartment.
So Subi being in need of a toilet at the most at the inconvenient of times. Sim said ‘Tobes, we just need a patch of backyard on our balcony and that was when the light bulb to just either went on or off depending on which way you look at it in my head and for the next 10 years I literally had an out-of-body experience. For 10 years.
I’m not trained, I’m not educated in how to grow businesses or start a business or accounting, finance, branding, marketing, leading a sales team or anything like that.
The out-of-body experience, for me. was I’m just gonna throw myself off the cliff and do this thing. So I developed Pet Loo which went on to win Australian Pet Product of the Year.
We went on a TV show called The New Inventors. I then opened up my inbox the next day and I had 500 purchase orders from consumers that had watched the show saying ‘I need this product’ and over 10 years I grew that business from a $20,000 loan from my girlfriend’s father into just shy of 10 million dollars in top-line revenue, sold in 164 countries and I started this from my spare bedroom in Elwood Victoria.
I had no investors. I had no debts. I was cashflow positive and they bought my business for all cash.
Fast forward to today. Well, from 2017 I came back to Australia after just shy of nine years in the US and I started a company called Neon Life here based on my experiences in the US.
So Neon Life is a parent co that owns a bunch of brands I’m going to take you through some of those brands today.
Creative cubes is probably our biggest brand which is a co-working space. Last week we announced that we’ve got building 3 under construction in South Melbourne.
What I failed to kind of articulate in the earlier part of the presentation is I feel like I’m a minority.
I feel like I’m an outcast but my building is full of them so people they just want to do good and have cool ideas and do good things all the way from a start-up that MYOB has underpinned and paid for all the way up to Uber Eats, KFC, Menulog.
MicDrop is our events division. So, inside of Creative Cubes – much like this – we have an event space. We bring professional athletes, CEOs – big people that have a big reputations – in to speak to the community.
Rebel Monk is my wellness brand which is a yoga and mindfulness business so we’re not only guiding people going ‘Are you stressed? okay well there’s a yoga studio over here go take an hour to just kind of chill’ right, and then you are what you eat – whether you like it or not and I do okay but not great – Timber & Greens is a cafe that sits within our four walls and all of this happens inside of Creative Cubes.
I’m also an investor and part owner of Orange Theory. I don’t know if any of you’ve heard of Orange Theory – it’s the fastest-growing franchise. Forget about like fitness category or whatever fastest-growing franchise. It smashed McDonald’s in it’s peak
This is my work.
At the centre of what I do personally is, I have an unwavering focus on the people so all of this stuff that I’ve developed is not about me – it’s about you and others beyond this room. And I want people to win, I want to help take people to the next level.
Very few people believed in me and what I’ve created with with these brands and these experience is something that I crave as a solo entrepreneur and a small business all the way up into a big business then I had around me in terms of the support mechanism and that’s why it drives me today to create.