In the episode, Ben has a fireside chat with one of Australia's most well-known and respected Entrepreneurs Phillip Di Bella, founder of Di Bella Coffee & Coffee Commune.
Ben & Phillip discuss what it takes to be successful in business and life, and the current state of the world.
Phillip Di Bella is a highly respected business entrepreneur with a unique ability to visualize and commercialize what many others never see. Though initially known for the establishment of Di Bella Coffee, which became Australia’s largest specialty coffee company, Phillip’s entrepreneurial spirit has brought success to other businesses such as International Coffee Traders, Abbotsford Road Specialty Coffee in New York, and more recently The Coffee Commune.
Not satisfied with simply focusing on building his own successful businesses, Phillip has dedicated much time to supporting the growth and development of other businesses. Often referred to as an “Entrepreneur in Residence”, Phillip regularly lends his strategic thinking to businesses such as BDO Consulting, helping their clients overcome challenges, see new opportunities, and then supporting the commercialization of these solutions.
Phillip has further extended his commitment to the coaching and mentoring of other businesses through the establishment of The Coffee Commune - a business dedicated to the long-term development, sustainability, and success of the broader coffee industry.
Through The Coffee Commune Phillip enthusiastically shares his experience and knowledge of the coffee industry and continues his passion for encouraging improvement and inspiration in others.
Though an indomitable force in the business world, Phillip is equally committed to helping others. Over the years Phillips’s entrepreneurial capabilities and contribution to the broader community have been acknowledged in many forums - from Business Review Weekly Fast 100 accolades, Lord Mayor’s Corporate Citizenship Awards, to an Italian knighthood for his contribution to the Italian Community and an Adjunct Professorship of Entrepreneurship from Griffith University. Phillip is driven by the desire to be the best he can be, and through his coaching, mentoring, and community work, aims to help others achieve this too.
Topics covered: Entrepreneurial Intelligence - Vaccines - Mindset, Stress Management & Life.
For show notes and past guests please visit: mindtribe.io/podcast
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0:00:01.0 Speaker 1: Welcome MindTribers, and to everybody on a self-development journey to improve their mind, body, spirit, and business lives. Now today, we've got a very special guest. It is Philip De Bella, an entrepreneur, who, for those of you who haven't heard of him, is truly inspirational and an incredibly driven human being. Now, he's the director of the Di Bella Group of Companies. And yeah, so for those of you who haven't heard of Di Bella Coffee, next time you're in a coffee shop or wherever it is in Australia, you will likely see Di Bella coffee. So Phil was obviously the founder of Di Bella Coffee and now heads up The Coffee Commune, which is now a way to bring the coffee community together. And it's just truly inspirational. I was at an event there recently to see that in action and what that means. And hopefully, we'll talk a bit about that today. Now, not satisfied by simply doing all this amazing stuff that Phil's done over the years, he actually gives back to the community in a big way. And what is often referred to as an entrepreneur in residence, Philip lends his time for strategic thinking to businesses such as BDO where he's there helping businesses overcome challenges, looking for new opportunities, and then supporting with the commercialization and getting them out there.
0:01:17.4 S1: Philip has also furthered his commitment with coaching and mentorship, again, through The Coffee Commune. There's something I went to recently, which was Emerging Leaders, and that was just an amazing event. We'll talk a bit about the stuff there today in terms of people and personal brand, but again, really inspirational to see. Now, as if all that wasn't enough, Phil has also been in the Business Review Weekly Fast 100 Accolades, the Lord Mayor's Corporate Citizen Awards, and he even has a knighthood by the Italian community, and is an adjunct professor of Entrepreneurship from Griffith University. For those of you who are in Brisbane at least, there's a coffee commune that's come out recently. I was just incredibly inspired by a recent talk that you did talking about people and that sort of thing. Phil, can you just share with me some of those things today?
0:02:13.6 Phillip Di Bella: Yeah. Look, to me, I always talk about, Ben, that it's... We're in the people business. And the amount of presentations or workshops or things I've done over the years, and I love asking people, "What industry you're in?" And all sorts of stuff pop out. I'm in finance, I'm in legals, I'm this, and I'm that. And very rarely do you get people to turn around and just say, "You know what? I'm in the people business." And to me, everything starts and finishes with people. So, I like talking about business, and don't get me wrong, the concept of business is something I've always loved from a young age. Entrepreneurship is a mindset to me. But I'm really passionate about people and understand that people is what it's all about.
0:02:49.6 S1: And how many founders do you think get that wrong when they go on that journey and get everything right, but then they just would go in and they just completely stuff that up?
0:02:58.5 PB: Well, to me, what I see is a lot of people try and get the technical stuff right. They try and become... If you're trying to be an accountant, you try and be technically brilliant at accounting. If you wanna be a lawyer, you try to be technically brilliant at being a lawyer. I've got colleagues of mine, all 3000 of them, that are in the coffee business trying to be technically brilliant at coffee, and they forego the one fundamental, which is you can be technically brilliant at skills, but who's gonna be technically brilliant with trying to get clients? Who's gonna be technically brilliant in emotional engagement, in client retention? So all the things that evolve around a sale is about people. And I see it all the time, that nine out of 10 people in business forget, especially startups, forget that you have to be an expert in people. So it's a tip that I always say to people, before or when you become an expert in your field, that's great, but it's not time to go out on your own, or it's not time to branch out to try and build a business until you can technically be brilliant with people and engage with people.
0:03:49.9 S1: And in terms of that, obviously, when you're dealing with people, you're sort of representing yourself. It's something that was really sung to me the other day at your talk was your personal brand, and it's something I know you've talked about a bit in your book as well. So, you talk a bit about that?
0:04:06.3 PB: Yeah. Look, the brand is what people say about you when you leave the room. And unfortunately, people don't spend too much time thinking about that. They're very quick to burn their personal brand, whether it's when they're leaving a job, whether the way they deal with their colleagues or they deal with clients. Remember that every interaction you have with even yourself, the interaction you have with yourself, with your peers, with a client, you're building a brand. And it takes a long time to build a brand, and it takes one very simple mistake to destroy your brand. And what is personal brand? What are people saying about you when you leave the room? Because that's when the truth comes out in what people think. And so I say to people, "Spend a lot of time working on and being conscious," which is the keyword, "being conscious of everything you're doing is building a personal brand."
0:04:51.1 S1: I absolutely love that. And there is a lot of... The younger generation, in particular, just go from job to job, and they don't really... They might resign in a month. They're just checking it out and not really talking to that attribute. So that's well said. Now, I just wanna talk to you a bit about your journey. So how did you first of all get into entrepreneurship and business? What...
0:05:12.8 PB: Yeah, look, entrepreneurship, I figure out now, and, well, ages ago, it's in the blood, right? I think entrepreneur is about... It's about nature and nurture. My dad's very entrepreneurial thinking. Whilst he came here to Australia, migrated to Australia with my mom and my brother and my sister, there was four of them. I was born in Australia. Dad's story back in Italy before I was born, he used to buy fruit and veggies from farmers direct and then go and sell them at the markets. And he told me that story, and you understand that he was quite an entrepreneurial thinker. And to me, that's why entrepreneurship is a mindset. Back when he was doing that 60, 70 years ago, he wasn't thinking about being an entrepreneur. He was thinking about, "How do I make life? How do I make ends meet?" More importantly, he'd look at something and say, "How can I do it different or better? How do I generate my own resources?" And that, to me, is what the basis of entrepreneurship is.
0:06:04.4 PB: And I think step one was that I was brought up with that. I was brought up with an entrepreneurial environment, and how do we look at things and say, "We can do that different or better"? And as I said, I come from working class. My dad migrated to... When he left Italy, that was the end of business. He came here, and he worked for the government as a yardsman at the Royal Brisbane Hospital for 30 odd years. But he was still entrepreneurial in the way he went about things. We used to see the way he'd keep the gardens clean, the way he'd empty the bins, the way he'd hose everything down and all this sort of stuff. Everything he attacked, he looked at it from, "How can I do it different or better?" And he generated his own resources, down to getting a buggy fitted out with all these attachments so that he could... He worked out that he could get his job done five hours quicker if he had a motorized buggy to take him around the grounds of the Royal Brisbane Hospital to get everything. Everyone was like, "Jeez, nothing's ever been so clean, everything's been so neat." So it just goes to show that was the nature.
0:06:56.2 PB: Yeah, the nature part of it. And then the nurture was, my dad used to work on Sundays, because he got paid double time on a Sunday. And when I say double time, he was earning $450 a week, that's how he brought up a family. And so, it came quickly to learn that it's not about money, it's about what you do with that money. And he made that money go a long way. We didn't go without. We didn't have extravagant holidays, we didn't have brand new cars, all the rest of it, but we never went without. We had great food on the table, great moments, great times. The values were in different areas. It was at that point, from a young kid, and I can't pinpoint an age, but I'd guess it'd be around nine, 10, 11, old enough to understand and say, "Well, mom, why do we only get one day on a weekend with dad when every other kid gets two days with their parents?" And mom was like, "Well, your dad works on a Sunday because he gets paid double time. So, that's an extra $60 if he works on a Sunday. That helps bring up the family." And it was at that point, I remember it clearly, where I said, "Well, I wanna be in control of my own destiny."
0:07:51.9 PB: So, that whole nurture part of, "You know what? I wanna be in control of my own destiny. I wanna be in a place where I create something." And that lead on then to my money goals being enough money to do what I want, when I want. And it's something I've continued on. I'm 46 now, and I keep talking about that. That was the shaping. But if you bring back the entrepreneurial story of myself, one, it's not a title, it's an intelligence. It was an intelligence that from a nature point of view was brought in to me by my surroundings, and from a nurture point of view by my family.
0:08:21.3 S1: I absolutely love that. And the saying stuck with me over the years is, "Entrepreneurship is like living years of your life like most people won't, so you live the rest of your life like most people can't." And just talking to that freedom piece is... Was that the big motivator for you to kinda go, "You know, that's the... "
0:08:37.9 PB: For sure. When you see... I appreciate and always loved what we had, but I also used what we didn't have as fuel as a motivation. So, I love cars. My parents never had a brand new car, and now I've been able to buy two for them, which gives me great honour and pleasure. Now dad's 85, so his driving days are finishing. But I had a love of cars. So, I didn't get angry the fact that we never had a nice car. I used that as fuel to say, "Well... " That's why my favorite saying in the world is Gandhi's, "Be part of the change you wanna see in the world," is because I didn't look at that and was remorseful or resentful towards my parents. I looked at that and said, "Well, I don't wanna be in this position. What am I gonna do to be part of the change?" And so I used it as a positive emotion. And a lot of what we'll talk about, and I talk about, is mindset. So, I used my scenario as a way to shape my mindset to say, "Well, I'm gonna have a growth mindset and look at things and how I can be more positive. And I might be missing out now, but in order to not miss out, I need to do X, Y, Z."
0:09:35.6 S1: And you sort of talked to that earlier in terms of that mindset, or it's attitude, it's the... Some people call it that [0:09:41.8] ____ or the something in you, that fire in your belly that's...
0:09:46.1 PB: It's a resilience. I call it resilience. Passionate people are resilient. When I started selling coffee in 2002 for myself and under Di Bella coffee started with 5000 one man band, the amount of, "No, no, no, no." Now, I didn't get upset, I didn't get angry. Again, I used the positive mindset, and I said, "Well, let's find out why people say no." No, I don't know your brand. No, I don't know enough about your company, you haven't been around. No, I haven't tried your product. I took all these no's, I collected the data, I analyzed the data, and then I built strategies. So, I said, "I'm gonna get product into people's hands." So I went to the Farmers' Market and started pouring coffees at a farmers' market. And I would get people tasting the product, get the feedback.
0:10:22.3 PB: People loved it. They loved the fact it blended with milk. It didn't need sugar. They started talking about it. Then, next minute, cafes would ring me and say, "Hey, I've heard about this new product. I wanna try it." I checked the strategy to... I'd mapped out the CBD of Brisbane, and I found the first cafe from every road that led into the CBD to get around the brand piece, and I put barriers and umbrellas. And so, within three months, people were like, "This company's massive." And really, we had seven or eight accounts, but it looked like we were massive because I strategically placed the accounts and put the branding up so that people thought, "Hey." Because success breeds success. So, that all came from looking at the no's. When everyone said no, I would take the data of why they said no, I would analyze that data, then build strategies.
0:11:04.2 S1: That's just incredible. And so, clearly, it's almost like the way I see it, it wouldn't have mattered what you did. In a way, I think you just had that drive to apply yourself. But early on, circling back to your early career with coffee traders and that sort of thing, obviously, that was quite a well-known thing, too. And was that the sort of foundations there that helped everything move forward?
0:11:28.1 PB: Well, look, coffee... I've always been an inquisitive mind, and I think you'll find that successful people have a very... And whether that success is working for someone, with somebody, doesn't have to be successful to own your own business. A successful person's got an inquisitive mind. They ask questions, they wanna know more, they wanna keep being better today than what they were yesterday. And for me, knowing, "Okay. Well, I've got exposed by the liquid of coffee very early from my parents." Dad loves coffee. So, from an early age, I'd see him drink coffee, I'd see family members come over. So, I got to see the end product of what coffee did, which was unite families, bring people together.
0:12:03.4 PB: I then reverse engineered it, "Well, then, how's it manufactured?" And then, from manufacturing, once I learned that, I went, "Well, where's it come from?" So, I started to learn more about the farms. And then, I started to say, "Well, hang on. What are the future problems here?" The future problems are supply. Growers aren't sustainable. They're not sustainable 'cause they don't know about what happens to their product when they leave. They just treat it as a commodity. And I started to look at these things with the inquisitive mind and say, "Well, how do we... " It starts and finishes with the farmer. So, if we don't get it from the farm, then we don't have a cup of coffee. If we don't have petrol, you can own the best car in the world, the car's not going anywhere without petrol.
0:12:36.1 PB: So, I built a system called Crop to Cup, and it was all about building a complete ecosystem from start to finish and owning that process so that we could look after the farmers, be sustainable, have product guarantee, quality guarantee, know exactly what was happening, make sure it was direct trade and people were being looked after, no one was getting screwed over in the process, and then right through to making sure that people would have the ultimate coffee experience at the end.
0:12:59.6 S1: And that's incredible. What I'm loving at the moment is what you're doing with The Coffee Commune and that community of people. And there's a great story that you're telling me about how somebody that their roasting machine had broken, and they couldn't operate. Yet, they could go to Coffee Commune.
0:13:16.5 PB: Yeah, and look, in The Coffee Commune, where it's different is, again, I use the same template, what problems are gonna be solve, what's... Being quite futuristic and seeing what elements that we can help, how do we bring people together, how are we gonna be relevant. And whilst Di Bella Coffee was about building one brand going out, and then I sold it and moved on, I said, "If I'm gonna do something again, it's gonna be about building the industry together. How do we build collaboration? How do we build an ecosystem? I don't wanna build a coffee brand, I wanna build a facility. I wanna build a movement. I wanna build an ecosystem of where people can come together." And in short, what it did is I wrote down all the problems I had in 2002. I was a one man band, I didn't have buying power, I didn't have access to education, I didn't have capital, all the problems that I had in 2002, The Coffee Commune now solves. When I had a breakdown, I had no where to go.
0:14:01.0 PB: Now, The Coffee Commune ticks all those boxes and more. You can come and start your own coffee brand overnight with no capital. You will have the same buying power as what I did when I was the largest in the country. You will have access to 100 courses online and thought leader series. You'll be invited to all sorts of events that you'll meet new suppliers and all the rest of it. We do advocacy with local, state, and federal government on behalf of our members. So we have built this entire ecosystem that, at the end of the day, the brand promise is about accelerating someone's potential. So the problem we're solving is helping people to accelerate their potential to be better today than what they were yesterday. And the concept came, it started with all the problems I had when I started in 2002, but along the way, what it's done is it's looked at it as being quite futuristic, that the future of most businesses are gonna be how people come together to collaborate to work together in one force. And COVID has sped that up.
0:14:52.6 S1: Absolutely.
0:14:52.8 PB: So it's something we're gonna see across multiple industries moving forward.
0:14:56.9 S1: Yeah, and I love that whole... Especially local, right? COVID made us all band together as a country to help each other out, and I think The Coffee Commune's well placed for that in terms of growers and just helping everyone.
0:15:10.5 PB: Together. Yeah. And now we can't use the words crop to cup, 'cause that obviously got sold with Di Bella, but when you talk about plantation to consumer, it's the same concept. So we've got members that are growers. We've got members that are coffee enthusiasts. We've got members that are suppliers, baristas, roasters, all sorts of coffee shops, and we have a product or service for each one of those segments. And the beauty of it is that you can interact with it independently. You don't have to be getting your coffee roasted by us to have access to the education. You can be a member without having to touch any of the coffee side of what we offer. And that's what makes it truly unique and one of a kind in the country, is that it's not based off each other. It's pick and choose what you want. And even when we're quoting somebody... So the breakdown, that was a great one where we saved the client without mentioning brands and the rest of it, but this client said that you've saved me 100,000 a week in billing.
0:15:58.2 PB: So over four weeks he was broken down, there's $400,000 he would have lost in billing if we couldn't allow him to use our equipment. If The Coffee Commune wasn't there, which means we... Our relevance is we saved 400,000 in a month of this person billing a client, and that's powerful stuff. And recently, we've just landed a massive account out of Melbourne and the bottomline difference to him is $250,000 a year. And he said, I don't pay myself $250,000, you've just now put in my pocket, apples for apples, you've saved me $250,000 to my bottom line. And they're the stories that I love of what the commune is doing. The commune is solving problems for people. We've got another start-up which started with nothing six months ago who is now supplying over 200 accounts across Brisbane. He started with zero, a business card, a website, and away he went. Now, he's had to buy a van to service these his clients. It's a great story. He's now supplying Harris Farms now. Harris Farm is a very well-known brand from Sydney that's come up into Brisbane, and he's supplying three of their outlets. And he's like, "I would never have been able to be in a position to supply Harris Farms if I didn't have the backing, if I didn't operate out of The Coffee Commune as an ecosystem, so...
0:17:03.0 S1: That's incredible.
0:17:03.6 PB: That's our stories, they're the stories we love. That's what epitomizes success for The Coffee Commune. For me, personally, I start my day with, "How can I help?" And I finish it with, "How did we help someone accelerate their potential?"
0:17:13.7 S1: There's a great quote by Jim Rohn. It was, again... It was, "If you help as many people get what they want and help them out, then eventually it looks after yourself." And it seems to be that... Yeah, and obviously, it takes all of that learning curve and stuff and the errors out of... Obviously, running a business, there's so many mistakes you can make along the way. You can buy too much stock, you can do this, you can do that. So it's obviously making it a lot easier for people to get...
0:17:40.0 PB: Yeah, it's a different way to look at things. Again, it comes back to entrepreneurship. What is it? It's an intelligence. How do we look at things and say, "How can we do it different or better?" Anyone that's doing the same thing today in three years time is gonna be in trouble. And three is probably even too far out. If you're doing the same thing you're doing today in a years time, you're in trouble. Kodak was... I always say to people, "Don't be Kodak, don't be Nokia, don't be Ericsson." Kodak, was the first to invent digital camera, thought it would go nowhere. Where are they today? Nokia and Ericsson said no one's ever gonna wanna phone any bigger than seven or eight centimeters tall, along comes the iPhone, and they never thought for one minute people would switch to a phone four times the size. Never say never, you know? You gotta anticipate the market. You've got a constantly scenario-plan. You've always gotta be three to four to five steps ahead of everybody else.
0:18:25.0 S1: And with yourself, you've obviously self-educated yourself along the way, and one thing, I think you went to Harvard, right? You did some stuff over there. And what did getting a bit of formal education do for you, like going and doing that course?
0:18:41.4 PB: Look, all education... Not that I knew it at the time starting from uni. You know, we're at school and we think, "Ah, this is a crock of shit." And then we go to uni, and we go, "Yeah, yeah, we know it all. This is what's going on here." Especially if they're not technical courses. If you're studying to be a doctor, then you know you need to be there. I did business, I did commence, of course after year one, year two, I thought I know everything." The advice I give to people is every opportunity and every day you're learning something new, you're putting it in the bag, you're putting it in the bag, you're putting it in the bag. So I'm an ever-learning now, but we all learn differently. I am a practical person, so where I struggled with school and struggled with university was that everything that was theory-based was being taught out of books from 30, 40, 50 years ago. It still does today. Some subjects have evolved, others haven't.
0:19:27.6 PB: But what I did is so I changed the environment that I provided myself to learn. So when I did the Harvard, I said, "What do I wanna learn more about in Harvard?" And it was about negotiation. So there was a course called Strategic Negotiation being taught by real people, being James Sebenius. He's the strategic negotiator for Estee Lauder. So he's done all the mergers, acquisitions, and sales for Estee Lauder, who's I think the biggest company in the world. And he heads up their acquisitions and mergers and sales, and he was the guy teaching us. So we did a one-year course in one week. You stay on campus.
0:19:57.4 PB: So the short answer is identify where you are and where you wanna be and what's missing in terms of education, and then go and find the program or the person or the mentor or whatever works for you. So people go, "Oh, do you have a mentor?" You don't need to have a mentor. If mentorship works for you, get a mentor. If it's workshops that work you, get workshop. If it's reading case studies... Whatever it is that ticks a the box for you is where you're gonna learn. There is no such thing as the magic Buddha. I used to say to people, "You know, it's not about rubbing someone's tummy or the magic dust that you think that all of a sudden associating with someone or getting such and such as your mentor is gonna mean you're successful. You've got to do the work." So the advice around learning is put the ingredients, put the environment around you that you need so that you can easily do the work.
0:20:42.6 S1: With... There's a book that you're part of writing, and can you tell me a bit about that? The...
0:20:48.2 PB: Entrepreneurial intelligence?
0:20:49.3 S1: Yeah.
0:20:49.5 PB: Yeah, that was written by Allan Bonsall, and it was about entrepreneurial intelligence. It was about, in a world that around 2012 everyone's talking about "entrepreneur, entrepreneur". And he said, "I wanna write a book that really stops people thinking that I'm just gonna open a business and away I go." And he wrote that three in five businesses fail within 12 months, and that was the basis, that was his why of writing the book. So then he did a big case study on Di Bella over two years, and then he brought in other things like Apple and mentions other people. But the basis of the story was around myself and the concept of Di Bella and how it was built. And what he came up with in that book of entrepreneurial intelligence is that the Venn diagram of... It all starts with a vision. It all starts with a vision, and the vision for us was the ultimate coffee experience. The vision wasn't about building a massive company, the best company. The vision was to build the ultimate coffee experience, a place where the consumers could have an amazing coffee experience.
0:21:35.3 PB: Passion? Well, passion was all about resilience. I was passionate about people. I was passionate about education. I was passionate about opportunity, and that then formed the company of Di Bella. It wasn't that I was passionate about coffee. My number one passions were people, opportunity, and education. Then it went on to talk about brand. To get people to connect to you and to what you're creating in your movement, you need to emotionally engage them, which is brand. And then everything's put together, being a Venn diagram, in the middle with emotional intelligence, is that Emotional intelligence is the glue that binds your vision, your passion, and your brain, to make it happen. So it's the executing, call it silver bullet; that you can have a vision, you can be passionate, and you can build the brand, but if you don't execute it with emotional intelligence, then you're not gonna get very far. It went on to be a best seller. I think a best seller is classified as 5000 books. I think he sold 20,000-25,000 books. Yeah, it went on to do really well. It still gets asked for now. We don't have any print copies left, but you can download it on iTunes. But Entrepreneurial Intelligence by Allan Bonsall.
0:22:32.4 PB: He's now writing a new one. So we're in some very early stages that... Again, same thing, it's his book, he writes it. I'm just the subject. And he uses other people as well, but he bases it... And we're talking about how to build a business from the outside in, because he's seen what I did with Di Bella, obviously he saw what I've done in New York with Abbotsford Road and with India. Anything I do, with Coffee Commune, I'm constantly building a business from the outside in, a market space test of what's needed, what's relevant, what problems are we gonna solve, what products and services do we need to add to what we're doing, what's everyone else in the industry doing. So we do a bit of a market space test, and the concept is building the business from the outside in.
0:23:09.0 S1: I absolutely love that. Now, with the EQ part of it, now, you obviously... People, gotta be great with people, gotta have that good EQ. How do you make sure that you're in the zone, so to speak, in terms of you're not just too stressed by the process of building the business and things like that? Is there a... I mean, obviously we've all been there, but is there ways to stay more mindful to that, or?
0:23:34.8 PB: Yeah, I've been through it personally. Harmony is what we're looking for. Get rid of this fallacy that we're gonna achieve balance, because I see so many people, and I was one of them, trying to achieve balance. And you don't get balance, right? Your life is in three areas: Personal, professional, family. You don't get eight hours on personal, eight hours family, eight hours professionally. Depends on what stage of life you're in. So when I was building the company, priority one was business. Priority two was my fiancee at the time, is my wife now, Jonah. And three, was me personal. When I started the company, I was fit, I was healthy, I was roaring on all cylinders. And then after a few years, business again is the focus. I get married. That's still second priority, third is me. Fast forward 2008, we have a baby, a daughter, so work is still a priority, baby, second, so of course, my family life starting to become a bit of hiding 'cause the wife's saying, "Where are you? You're not here." And by this time, I'm nowhere to be seen. I'm starting to put weight on. Fast forward to 2014, when I said, "Okay, well, it's time to look at selling," my wife wanted to kill me, my kids didn't know who their dad was because three weeks a month I was away.
0:24:41.0 PB: Yeah, I had the biggest company in the country, and I was 70 kilos over weight. So I'm living proof that you can't have it all. You've gotta look for harmony, and that's my biggest advice to people. Be very mindful. It took me years to learn that. And if I can share people with that are coming through the journey at the beginning is, "Stop trying to look for balance, you can't have it all." And I've seen people tear themselves apart because of it. You can't have the perfect marriage, the perfect family life, the perfect business, the perfect body, all at the same time. What you need to do is you need to prioritize and search harmony. You need to realize that... And I haven't found a person yet, and I speak to thousands of business owners and successful people, I haven't found the person who says, "Yeah, I've got it perfect. Everything's perfect. My job's perfect, my wife's perfect, and my family's life's perfect." There's no such thing, so stop trying to chase something that's not gonna happen. What I say to people is prioritize. What is it a priority right now for you? Is it your personal life? Is it your family life? Is it your business or work life?
0:25:36.6 PB: What is it? Because somebody that's got issues with health, personal health, is gonna have a different priority to somebody who's just started a new company, who's gonna have a different priority if they've got a sick child. So understand that you've got three areas of your life: Personal, professional, family, and you need to prioritize what's going on in your life right now to give it the due attention. And if you do that, the by-product will be harmony. You will feel like you are in a harmonious state of mind because you're giving what needs attention, attention.
0:26:01.8 S1: Do you find as you get a bit wiser about how to approach things, how to do things a particular way, it gets more efficient for you in a way? Like you can do things... You know you're sort of... You're hacking the entrepreneurship in a way.
0:26:15.2 PB: Yeah, for sure. Yeah, yeah, and that's wisdom, right? And that's why I love hanging around people that are older than me and knowing things from people that have experiences. They don't have to be older just by age, but older as in they've been there, they've done it, because we don't know what we don't know. And when you speak to somebody who's done it, they're gonna have a lot more wisdom. The problem in the world at the moment is that we don't share enough of that wisdom. And one of the reasons I love doing podcasts and stuff like this is that I love sharing my wisdom. But I love listening to other people's, because I wanna learn from their wisdom. So it's about this send and receive. You're sending out wisdom, but you also gotta be in a position where you're receiving wisdom from others. And you do. When you build that concept of wisdom, and you're learning from other people, then you're learning to be more efficient. Like I talk about time management, and I used to go, "Well, just not enough time in the day." And a very close friend of mine, who's very successful, very busy, global business, and says, "Get rid of your message bank." Why's that? Well, you're gonna ring the person back anyway, right? So why do you need to have to listen to a message bank?
0:27:15.3 S1: Yeah, it's inefficient.
0:27:16.1 PB: Sit there and listen to it and then ring. It's inefficient. "When are your meetings?" I said an hour. "Why not cut them down to 40 minutes? Cut them down to 40-minutes, leave 20 minutes to catch up in between." "Do you put meetings in every day?" Yes. "Why don't you leave a free day? Call it the bank day. It's the roll-over day. So you've had a busy week, you need to roll-over a meeting, roll it down whether it's a Friday, whether it's a Wednesday. Or you had a week off so you need to roll over meetings, put it into that bank day, 'cause you keep it free by rule of thumb. Or only put meetings on in the morning and leave the afternoons free." So all these little tips and tricks and all the rest of it that I've learned is through people that are wiser than me that have been there. And I pick up that wisdom, and then I put it into effect, and the byproduct is I become more efficient.
0:27:57.1 S1: I absolutely love it. What do you do as a routine? Do you find... I guess various stages where you go through life and you're reflecting on, "Wow! I was in a pretty good place there, or I had a good level of, say, balance." But do you have a particular way you start the day or?
0:28:12.4 PB: No, look, I do, and that is I start the day with reflection, and I finish it with reflection. I try and add in breathing, five deep breaths, all because obviously the oxygen to the brain, and it wakes you up, and it calms you down. Oxygen is an amazing thing; lack of it is a dangerous thing, such as... Obviously, death is the extreme. But in between that, you've got anxiety, which I've been through in my life. And anxiety is all about breathing. And so I do start the day with five deep breaths and a bit of reflection on, "Right, this is what I'm gonna do forward." And then I end the day with five deep breaths and say, "Right, this is what happened today," and I reconcile it. Am I perfect at it? No. I'll do it at least five nights out of the seven. I try and meditate three or four times a week, and night time's always my best. I have tried to do it in the morning at times, but I always find that the night time's better for me. But yeah, I do try and do this. And what I call it is reconciling with yourself, because I'm far from perfect.
0:29:09.4 PB: And as someone once said to me, "If you're perfect, you're not pushing hard enough." But I make sure that I try and reconcile. Because people don't understand that you've got 60,000+ thoughts a day, you're feeding yourself some pretty bad shit sometimes. So if you don't reconcile in the morning and reconcile at night, especially, that's a difference between a good sleep and a bad sleep.
0:29:27.6 S1: Yeah, I absolutely love that. And back to the breath, there's a lot of yogis, and it's only now that we're discovering how important breath is. It's absolutely incredible. And do you find it makes a difference? Like if you go through a period of time... Say meditation, for example, that you go a month or week without?
0:29:45.1 PB: Oh, for sure. Especially around blood pressure. Like years ago when I was heavily overweight, I had blood pressure issues, so I had to monitor my blood pressure every day. And you could actually do it in between readings. You could read your blood pressure, and it'd be 150 over 110, and you'd sit there for five minutes and deep breathe or meditate. You take your blood pressure again, and it's gone 140 over 100. It's just dropped. It's incredible, the power of breath and how it works. 'Cause I'm a very pragmatic person, I like things to be tested. And I don't question everything, but I'm not gullible either. But I like facts. I don't like, yep, there's gonna be... I like black and white, but I understand that there's gonna be grey areas sometimes. And that's part of the problem, what's going on with COVID and vaccines at the moment, right? There is a black, and there is a white, but there's also a bit of grey, but unfortunately the grey at the moment is outweighing the black and the white. Well, that's the same that goes on with conversations in our heads. We're very black and we're white individuals, but if the grey takes over, you can be in a dangerous space. And we can see using the current scenario with the vaccines what happens when you're in a grey space.
0:30:44.5 S1: Yeah, I mean, jeez, I had a really deep conversation with some people yesterday at lunch around vaccines. And without getting into the detail of that conversation, Iceland, was it 70% of people vaccinated, and it's just ripping through there.
0:30:59.3 PB: Yeah. Oh look, and it's funny because I did a recording, I just don't know if I'm brazen enough to put it up yet. And probably a great time. Anyway, you'll hear it first here on your podcast. Dealing with blacks and whites, it's very simple. The vaccine will not eradicate COVID. These are facts, these are not opinions, right? The vaccine won't eradicate COVID because they've just found thousands of people that have had the vaccine with COVID.
0:31:21.2 S1: That's right.
0:31:21.7 PB: That's a fact. So vaccines will not eradicate COVID. Therefore, you can't use the argument of, "Be vaccinated so we get rid of COVID." Gone, finished, that one's gone out the window. Vaccines, true, fact, vaccines will limit your side effects if you catch COVID. Some will be asymptomatic regardless, some that would have ended up in hospital won't end up in hospital, some that would have ended up on a ventilator won't, some that might would have died won't die. Fact, vaccines have improved people's ability to cope with COVID. Fact, making vaccines mandatory is communism. It's dictatorship.
0:31:56.1 S1: Absolutely, yeah.
0:31:57.2 PB: You can't argue that because the concept of a vaccine to eradicate has now been disproved. If it was proven that a vaccine actually gets rid of COVID, then it's a no-brainer. Everyone gets vaccinated, everyone... It gets rid of COVID, done, put that one to bed, and we wait for the next, God help us, thing that comes along. However, the biggest problem we have is that the wrong messaging is getting put out there, and the grey area's taking over, so people don't know what to believe. But if everyone uses that as an example of mindset to stay in the black and white, it's been proven that vaccines won't get rid of COVID, because you can still catch COVID with the vaccine, so get rid of that.
0:32:33.9 PB: You're not taking a vaccine to help your son, your person, your grandmother, your auntie. You're taking a vaccine to help yourself. And there's nothing wrong with that, I've taken more vaccines than most people because of the coffee countries I've traveled to. So I'm not an anti-vaxxer by far. Will I take the vaccine? Yes. I won't have a choice, because you want your freedoms, you want all the rest of it. Unfortunately, that's where we're going. But I would take... The motivation of taking a vaccine should not be because of the mandatory push. The vaccine should be taken because you feel vulnerable or feel more comfortable by taking it to limit the side effects if you were to catch COVID. I'm not taking a vaccine to help my wife or my family, not because I'm selfish, because I actually become more dangerous. The moment you have the vaccine you become more likely to be asymptomatic. Which means, before if I had COVID, I know I'm sick, I stay home. Now, I've had the vaccine, I get COVID, I don't even know, and I spread it to those that haven't had the vaccine. I become more dangerous. Again... And I'm not... This isn't about the vaccine, I'm using that as an example of black, white, and gray. And I think more people need to talk like this.
0:33:35.7 S1: Well, I think so. And I think a lot of people get the vaccine that don't fully understand the science. They don't understand the stats and everything else. Not everyone, a lot of people do, and I get it. And I'll be getting the vaccine, because I like to travel, but do I think it's experimental? Do I think it's... I know people that are working at UQ that were working on that vaccine there that just won't have it. So it's...
0:34:05.4 PB: It's debatable. And that's why you've gotta take the gray out of it. And again, no different than when you're starting a business. A lot of people operate in the gray. They look in the mirror and go, "Yeah, I'm opening a coffee shop." I see it all the time. "I'm opening a coffee shop. I'm gonna do really well." Why? And they go, "What are you talking about?" Why? What are you offering different to the other 10 people in the street? What are you doing different? Are you gonna have a better customer loyalty program? Are you going to compete on price? Are you gonna compete... What are you competing on? What's your point of difference? What's your relevance to market? What problem are you gonna solve? And keep it black and white, but people don't, they keep it in the gray. And it's funny, so it's... Whether it's vaccines, whether it's starting a business, whether it's an argument with somebody, "I see it this way. You see it that way." Well, how about we just agree to disagree?
0:34:43.8 PB: The moment, I'm trying to force my opinion on you, we've got a problem. I was talking to a lady today who was visibly shaking because she'd just spoken to a doctor. And long story short, this person has been her doctor for 20 years, and she said, "My doctor today abused me." And I said, "What do you mean?" "'Cause I refused to have the vaccine." This is an older lady.
0:35:00.1 S1: Wow.
0:35:00.9 PB: "I refused to have the vaccine. I'd rather self-isolate. I live on acreage. I'm 70 years old. I don't need to have the vaccine. I'm comfortable not having it, but I'm also comfortable not being around or being vulnerable to others." So I'm happy. She said, my doctor said to me, "You should be getting it for yourself, to make yourself better, because if you got COVID, you could die, da da da dah." Now that... There's nothing wrong with that. It was the next part that she overstepped the mark. "You're selfish, you should be doing it for your neighbors, you should be doing it for your family members." And she goes, "This is a doctor who's forcing her opinions on me, which if you're in the financial services business right now, you are not allowed to give certain types of advice."
0:35:39.0 S1: You'd go to jail.
0:35:39.8 PB: It's exactly right. Yet, these people can give medical advice with no facts, no factual. They're allowed to operate in the gray. What's the downside? Politicians are allowing it to happen. And politicians, I say, don't know what they're doing at the best of times, let alone in a time of uncertainty and crisis. We're in a lot of hurt right now, because you've got the wrong people sitting in the wrong seats of the bus making the wrong decisions.
0:36:00.8 S1: Completely agree with you, and I think it's horrifying to sort of sit back and watch it. But yeah, where do you think the economy's going? I mean, this is a bit of a broad...
0:36:11.5 PB: Well, it segways into it, right? The economy is heading into uncertainty. So you got two extremes. It's a two-speed economy right now. There's the people that are saving and preparing for the worst, and there's those that are spending like there's no tomorrow. So there's no in between. So people are either holding onto cash reserves, because there's uncertainty, and they don't know what's going on. Or on the other extreme, people are spending and going, "I'm gonna live my life. I'm gonna go for it." And so we're seeing things that are just going out of control like second-hand cars. I had a collection of cars, and I thought, "Well, I normally lose money on cars, so I'm selling them now because I'm getting 30-40% more." So I'm back down to just one car, because I'm never gonna be able to sell my cars and actually not lose as much money. Coffee machines, every time there's a lockdown, coffee machines are out of stock. People just go nuts on coffee machines. Every time the lockdowns open up, fine dining restaurants are packed, but not only are they packed, 'cause I've got a share in some of them, they're up 20-30% of spend. People are going nuts.
0:37:06.8 S1: Incredible.
0:37:08.0 PB: So what we're seeing with the economy is a two-speed economy. We're seeing areas where people are very tight and holding onto their money of uncertainty, and then we're seeing certain areas where they're just cutting loose.
0:37:16.5 S1: But the underlying thing there seems to be fear, right? So fear creates anxiety. How do you solve that anxiety? So it's a fight or flight. You buy things, you shop, you buy the latest. And so I think that extreme is happening. There's a lot of people changing jobs, and it's all to feel... Feeling better, right?
0:37:35.1 PB: It is, it is. And that's the mindset. The only way around that is meditation, breathing, mindset, slow things down. If you're not sure, don't make the decision. I talk about my risk management plan is always get comfortable with your worst-case scenario. And I think there's never been a better time where people need to really map out. They need to get a piece of paper and a pen. They need to write down whatever it is that they're thinking about doing. And then they need to go, "Right, what are all the worst possible things that can happen?" And if you go tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, "I'm comfortable with all that", then go ahead. But If you go tick, cross, cross, cross, tick, cross, don't do things. You're not comfortable with the worst possible scenario, then whatever it is, don't change jobs, don't change partners, don't whatever... Don't take the vaccine, do take the vaccine. What is the worst case scenario that you are comfortable with, and then don't let anything stop you once you've got... You know it's all green lights. Go ahead.
0:38:23.2 S1: Absolutely, love that. I think the stoics had a name for that, which was to sit and contemplate everything that could go wrong before you went to sea or whatever it was. So tell me a bit about the core values that are driving you right now to support and help other entrepreneurs. You're going out there, and it seems like you are in a... But even through Coffee Commune, right? You're supporting, you're helping, you're doing all this...
0:38:46.7 PB: Yeah, so trust, community, integrity, reliability, these are the core fundamentals of what the Commune's built on. So trust, accountability, integrity, reliability, and community. And fun. Fun, because at a time... Fun I would not have put there if it was pre-COVID, because it's just a given; whereas, with COVID, fun is an important value to remember, because I find myself... And I'm a very optimistic, positive person, but sometimes I can get really down. My wife said in the last lockdown, really shook me up a fair bit, because it... I don't know for what reason, but all that came to mind that Saturday was the poor people getting married today. That's the first thing that came to mind was the poor people getting married. They're walking... Some of them walking into a church at 11:00, they're walking out, and they've just heard that there's no celebration because lockdown is at 4:00. So it's just... And I'm a very vivid person, so I'm picturing that's me walking in, coming out. You got 200 guests. If you're Greek, you've probably got 600 guests, and going, "Well, what do we doing now? There is no celebration."
0:39:49.6 S1: Well, Shan's just lost a 107 great-grandma down in Casino, and she couldn't go to the funeral. And you think of the... Is it fully necessary or not? It's not really... But it sort of fuels that.
0:40:05.6 PB: Of course it does. And that gives you more anxiety, because it gets people asking the question of why. And then the consistency of governments, the AFL players and the NRL players can come and play football, but I can't go and see a loved one dying. There's been numerous cases where a woman, a lady, a mother, couldn't get back to her children to look after them 'cause she was caught on the other side of the border. It's just ludicrous because there's no consistency, there's no thought process in what people are doing. And I say, that comes down to the wrong people sitting on the wrong seats of the bus making the wrong decisions.
0:40:35.2 S1: Yeah. Yeah, for me, we're... I've seen a lot of it involved in the music industry, and it just makes no sense. You go, it's a whole industry of... There's musicians that will just not... There's probably a generation of them now that's approaching that just won't be there. So it's like an art form's getting lost in a way, but sporting events, it's fine.
0:40:54.0 PB: Yeah, there's not... Again, no consistency, right? And that's unfortunate. And this is why I say we've gotta... We are allowing people to bring the conversation into gray areas. Those that are in a place of influence and authority need to come back and start talking about black and white. Let's talk about facts and data, not opinions. Let's talk about black, white, not grey. Because the grey's dominating, and whilst the grey area dominates... And that's no different to business. You've got... In business, it's very black, and it's very white. I'm reading Simon Sinek's Infinite Games, which I'm loving.
0:41:23.9 PB: Because people treat business as a game, it's not a game. And I've said that, and that's why I love the book, it resonates. Someone gave it to me and said, "Read this, you'll love it." I said business is not a game, business is about building legacies. Business is about helping people. Business is about solving problems. Business is not about a game. A game is basketball; two teams, you play for X amount of time, there's a winner, there's a loser, or there's a draw. Simple. But in business, you don't know whether you're gonna win, you don't know whether you're gonna lose. There's no just two sides. Business is an infinite game. It's a game that keeps on going, and it keeps on changing, and it keeps evolving. So the people that do well in business, whether you're working in it, whether you own it, doesn't matter, are those that understand that the parameters are changing all the time. COVID is not an issue. COVID is something that we have to take in our stride and look at. And I hate the word pivot, but everyone over-used it like there's no tomorrow in the last 18 months. But today it's COVID, tomorrow it will be something else. This is no different.
0:42:15.7 PB: It's no different then when the fires were on down south, when there was a drought on for farmers, when there's a flood on. There's always gonna be something that pops up that you need to plan around, and that's why we talk about scenario planning. You should be planning for all scenarios when you're in business. Just on a personal level, you should be planning for all scenarios. Instead of people... Once you're married, that's a great time for you to work out what your divorce looks like, because the worst case is you're gonna get divorced, right?
0:42:39.7 S1: Yes, right.
0:42:40.1 PB: So best time to plan what happens when you break up is when you're together and you love each other, not once you break up and things... And how many people I've given that advice to; some have listened, some haven't. And I can tell you the ones that haven't are paying the price, and those that have. And I tell you, me and my wife, once we got married and we had children, everything got set up properly. We've got trust accounts, everything's in trusts, it's owned by all of us. If my wife's leaving me, she's seeing the kids. If I'm leaving her, I'm seeing the kids. That ain't gonna happen now. I leave her, she leaves me, whatever, it's... And people go, "How can you be that negative?" I'm not. I'm actually being cautious. I'm scenario planning.
0:43:10.5 S1: Yeah, it's scenario planning.
0:43:11.3 PB: No different to writing a will. You're write a will for when you're not here. So why? So everyone's looked after, everything's done.
0:43:17.1 S1: It's being comfortable with the uncomfortable, right?
0:43:19.1 PB: Totally.
0:43:19.6 S1: At the end of the day, a lot of people avoid the tricky, the hard, all that sort of stuff. You just mentioned the great example of people with COVID, just party, party, party, and then...
0:43:30.5 PB: And I was talking to someone from Sydney today, and I said, "How can this keep going?" And he's like, "Let me tell you," he goes, "I live across the road from a park," and he goes, "There'd be nothing under hundreds of people in that park every morning. Half of them don't have masks on. They're all hugging. They're all doing yoga." He goes, "There's just disregard and no respect." And he goes, "And as we know, it just spreads like wildfire." And he goes, "It's all because... " He goes, "But we're up in Queensland. We see your guys, and okay, whether lockdown is right or wrong, doesn't matter, but the result. There's no cases. There's limited cases." Because Queenslanders, Brisbane people, are more parochial. We're more mateship, we are more mateship, we're more... But there's also other parameters. We're also got less population. We've got warmer weather. We've got more space per capita. So I was explaining to him that there are other factors that are implied, not just 'cause we're more obedient, even though we are. Right?
0:44:26.2 PB: There's less arrogance in Brisbane. And I'm not cracking the Sydney guys, it just is what it is. There's a lot more mateship, look after each other. But we've also got environment factors. We've got hotter weather. We've got more space to each other. We're a lot cleaner city, 'cause you've got one city council, not 55 city councils. There's a whole other range of reasons why COVID results here are much better. And you can look at it with a different lens and say, "Well, should they be burying the Premier of New South Wales and putting our Premiere on a pedestal?" Well, the answer is no, because different scenario, different game. Go back to that game, an infinite game. They're trying to treat it like a game, it's not. It's an infinite game. Everyday something new is coming. There's no winning, there's no losing, this is gonna be ongoing. The scenario... The game is gonna keep going and the rules are gonna keep changing and the players are gonna keep changing.
0:45:12.1 S1: And do you think... Sort of circling to the economy pace, are we... It seems to me like everything's gotten pushed down to this year, and then we've done the lockdowns again, say, in Australia, and how far can that keep going, if it is another year or two? A lot of businesses... We're on the front lines of helping small businesses, and it's horrifying some of the calls you listen to.
0:45:34.8 PB: Well, there's no more cash reserves, right? So something's gonna give. We're not in this together. The moment that... You keep saying, "We're in this together," but anyone working in the public service hasn't lost a day's pay. They're actually getting one or two days off to be able to go to get vaccinated, which is a bit of a slap in the face to small and family business and medium business and the people they employ.
0:45:54.2 S1: Staff, yeah.
0:45:54.8 PB: It's a slap in the face, it really is. It's like a backhander with a smirk. "Oh, we're giving our employees, the government employees, a day off." So we are in... My prediction, unfortunately, is that there's gonna be a lot of social unrest, and rightly so. And I don't condone bad behavior, but there is a lot of ill feeling and social unrest because you've got two rules. You got rules for government officials, politicians, and workers, and you got rules for everybody else. Now, if you take government out of the picture, the biggest employer is small and family business. It's a no-brainer, right? Yet, nothing for them is guaranteed. Whereas, if I work for government right now, and I've got friends and family and relatives that work for government, they're still getting paid regardless. Their benefits are only getting better. Like I said, they get a day, two days, off paid leave to go and get their COVID injection. They get their liberty. They're getting told, "Oh, don't come in to work. Stay home and work from home." And we all know that's not as productive. Yep, there's some really good people that make it productive, but the majority don't.
0:46:54.8 PB: So it's not an even playing ground. So what does that lead to? Social unrest. We're not all in this together. Don't patronise me by saying that, because we're not. And again, the black and the white argument and the grey area. So someone listening to this who says, "Phil's an absolute idiot," they're operating in grey. I've just given you the black and the white. You can't say we're in this together, but yet anyone in government or with a government job or a politician, not just politicians, with a government job is still earning the same dollar that they were yesterday today. Nobody in small/medium business is earning the same money today of what they did yesterday, nor are their employees. And there's a lot of people with no work. Look at personal trainers. Every time there's a lock down, they've got zero, nothing. And the hairdressers, anyone that works by the hour, masseuse, physiotherapist, the list goes on. There's just no thought process. Musicians. There is no thought process to what goes on behind this. So my dad always said in the Italian version, you don't know what you don't know, and you can't tell me you know and be empathetic if you're not in that position of hardship.
0:47:49.9 PB: Our Premier, everyone else's Premier, the Prime Minister, they're all the same. This is not about what side of government. None of them... And isn't it funny that not one person, not one government elected official who's elected by the people has put their hand up and said, "I'll take a pay cut." Yeah, they're all in it together, alright. Us and them. They're in it. Whereas I'm still paying people that... Even if they couldn't come to work, I'm still paying them, 'cause I've got the cash reserves to do so, and I don't wanna lose good employees.
0:48:18.8 S1: It worries me. I think there's definitely... The people that go down the road of going, "Hey, there's a perfect storm brewing here", you can clearly point to that. Like if you go, okay, well, small businesses drive our economy. There's only so much they can take if it keeps going down, lockdown, lockdown, lockdown. You look at the situations where vaccinating communities, it just hasn't worked. So if that doesn't work for us as well, then it could get worse, right?
0:48:48.9 PB: Well, it... I don't know if you saw the headline today. The Queensland Premier's come out and said, "Well, I can't guarantee with 80% vaccination that we won't go into lockdown."
0:48:57.6 S1: Wow.
0:48:58.6 PB: Now, here's black and white, not grey. Then, why will people go get vaccinated? We're at 28% or 30% vaccination, that's it.
0:49:05.4 S1: And as of now, there is no difference by being vaccinated. You still gotta wear the mask. It doesn't change your life in anyway.
0:49:10.2 PB: Correct. So, how are we gonna get to 80% vaccinated? But then [0:49:13.4] ____ just said to people today that even at 80% you don't guarantee there won't be any lockdowns. This is the stupidity of people. Now, in a business, in private business, and I don't care how small, whether it's a start-up or massive business, you don't put people that are not capable in the wrong seats. And if you do, you get rid of them pretty quick.
0:49:31.9 S1: Oh, you have to. Yeah.
0:49:34.2 PB: Government... How can you have a Premier allowed to say something like that? How can they even fathom doing that? How does a Premier of any state, not just our Premier, get up and hold a mask up and say, "See these, this is what makes this... " When did you become a medical expert?
0:49:47.0 S1: Yeah.
0:49:47.2 PB: Don't get me wrong, I agree with masks, because doctors have been using them for hundreds of years in operations and all the rest of it. So there's proven fact of what a mask does.
0:49:55.0 S1: I think it's good, but if you think about a lot of... Because masks are uncomfortable, right, the itchy plastic ones. Everyone's getting the cotton ones, they're great and everything. Well, but the protocol of actually making a mask useful, the de-scrubbing or whatever it is, it's a process. If you've actually been exposed to the virus, you touch the outside of the mask. Now, the way people are using masks in the community today, it's just not effective.
0:50:16.6 PB: No, of course not. And that's what I'm saying. If you use them like the medicos do... That's why they use disposable ones, they wash their hands. Yeah. Have you ever seen once... When was the last time you heard about any politician saying wash your hands?
0:50:27.4 S1: Yeah, that's long gone.
0:50:28.4 PB: Remember when they, in the beginning, how it all started? And I always use UNIQLO as an example.
0:50:31.3 S1: Happy Birthday to you.
0:50:32.9 PB: Well, it was wash your hands, wear a mask, and take your temperature when you walked into a UNIQLO store. And they proved that if you washed your hands with disinfect, you spray... They actually spray your hands with their disinfectant, you wear a mask, and they take your temperature, 99% eradication, meaning a 99% chance you won't bring COVID into that venue.
0:50:53.8 S1: It's just ludicrous, though. Like if we're at the markets on the weekend wearing the masks, and then all the kids go to a local playground, but they don't need to wear masks, right? So all the parents, they're all playing and obviously they can spread COVID and catch COVID. When you actually think through, if the virus can travel in the air four-metres, five-meters, stone surfaces, period of time, all this sort of stuff, there is just no chance of stopping that in that scenario. So yeah...
0:51:20.1 PB: There's a lot to learn from that, right? Because, again, for the listeners, it's about bringing it back and going, "Well, what's the message in that?" It's no different in business. And it all ties down to what we were saying before. Are you operating in black and white, so you're operating in facts and data, or are you operating in opinions, in the grey? And that's what we've got. And the key message that I'd say to people, and like I said, in business... And I use politics to learn a lot, right? Is don't put the wrong people in the wrong seats making the wrong decisions. It's very simple. Don't do it in your organization. Don't do it with your friendship groups. Don't do it with your husband and wife. Don't pick the wrong person to be your partner and make the wrong decisions. It goes for whatever the scenario is, it's no different. Whether it be... COVID's just a great way for those people... And I try and do this with my kids. They're 13 and 11. I'm using the current topic of COVID that is obviously very topical and everyone's talking about it to try and teach them to be analytical. We're also... My wife's teaching them to be the calm in the storm.
0:52:17.0 S1: Love that.
0:52:17.1 PB: She's using the opportunity to go, "When there's a storm, you need to be the calm one." So she's using the current environment to teach the kids calmness. I'm using the current environment to teach the kids analytical brain. "Don't regurgitate what people say. Don't operate in the gray. Look at the data, look at the facts, both sides of the argument. Try and analyze it. Talk to people that are smarter than you. Don't be a sheep, and analyze what's coming at you." So that's the positive influence we're trying to have.
0:52:42.1 S1: I absolutely love that. And I think that is... That is the message that everybody should be thinking about right now, is instead of just taking things for what they are, or unfortunately, as you've really already pointed out, the leadership's questionable at the time, and you've gotta get your own information. And unfortunately, it's harder to get information now than it's been in the past, but...
0:53:01.5 PB: I know.
0:53:03.1 S1: That's... Now, I just wanna ask a quick question. In terms of all of this going on, what is the challenge for entrepreneurs moving forward? In some ways, it's easier to run a business. There's new waves coming in different areas. If you were starting a business as of right now, what do you think the challenges are just in terms of the landscape and everything [0:53:22.5] ____
0:53:24.8 PB: Good question, because as I said, this is the first time in my 46-year history that I've lived in uncertain times. We haven't been through a war. If you talk to all the people that'll tell you that, "I've been through a war." I spoke to someone who had been in World War I and said, "Well, this is a little bit different, but not really." In any time of war, World War, there's uncertainty. We've never lived in a world war. I'm 46. This is the first time of uncertainty. My best advice would be definitely your risk management plan. Am I comfortable with the worst possible scenario? So if you're... And I did that. Like people said, "How did you start a business in COVID? How did you start Coffee Commune in COVID?"
0:53:59.5 PB: Well, because I looked at my worst case scenario. And the worst case scenario is I start this business, I lose X amount of dollars. Is it gonna change my lifestyle? No. Simple. From a financial point... I didn't bet the house. Anyone that's gotta bet their house to start a business, my answer would be don't do it. Right? Unless you're very comfortable to bet the house, lose it all, and all the rest of it. So the number one advice would have to be that get comfortable with the worst possible scenario.
0:54:21.9 S1: And you had some words of wisdom earlier with... And I relate to this, because it was at the time when I launched. I was 23 when we started Sponsored Links, and it was very clear, Shan and I. And I said, "Listen, you're gonna come second. This is gonna be business first." And it was a very clear conversation, and we understood that, and we knew it's like we had to put our all and everything into it to make it work. And yeah, I don't know where I was really going with that, but the point is really that, yeah, I think it's really... That's exactly what it takes. And especially in times like this, you've gotta weigh out what those options are. And if the worst case option is... You've gotta be prepared to do whatever it takes.
0:55:09.3 PB: Totally, totally. It's like some people are saying, "I don't know whether I wanna have kids right now because I don't know what world I'm gonna bring them in," and that's their right to do so. I call that responsible. People that are responsible, saying, "Hang on, I'm gonna hold off having kids, 'cause I'm just not sure what the future looks like." And some people might say, "Oh, that's ridiculous." Well, that your opinion. And someone else looks at it and says, "That's responsible, because we don't know what it's gonna look like." I'll tell you what, one thing's for sure, our kids and their kids' kids are gonna be paying some sort of levies and fees to be cleaning up the mess, unfortunately, of what the current... What's currently happening. All the hand outs and the debt and all the rest of it, someone's gonna pay for it. And like I said, the people in leadership positions right now, they're not thinking about 20 years time. They're thinking about the next campaign and when it comes to be voted in or out. And it is what it is.
0:55:53.5 S1: Yeah, that is right. A quick question for you. If you could give advice to your 16-year-old self no, in hindsight, and whisper in the ear and say something, what would it be?
0:56:05.0 PB: Make sure to work on their health. So at 16, I was healthy, I'm fit, and I'm thinking, "Yeah, yeah, you're invincible." And then, come mid-20s, you're not. Probably the key take is that every day is a journey, you gotta work at it. And that goes for your weight. Just like you turn up and work on your business or you work on your marriage or you work on your relationships, you gotta work on yourself. And I've learned that more so in the last 10 years... Well, probably five years, six years I'd say, from 40 when the light bulb went off. Had I been 16 and really been switched on to that, it would have saved me 14 years... Sorry, 24 years, of being in a better position.
0:56:44.5 S1: And it seems to me as an outsider that you're finding that balance now. You're finding that. And as you've rightly pointed out earlier, there's no such thing as balance, right? But is that just through going down one road and going, "Okay, now I... " And luckily, you've sort of had the benefit of...
0:57:03.3 PB: It's reflection. It's being able to sit back and just go, "Right." It's a bit like the timelines exercise we'll be doing soon about, "What happened in this decade, this decade, this decade, this decade?" And it's all about reflecting and going, "What was the highlight? What was the low point? What was the highlight? What was the low point," and reflection. Especially people that have built successful businesses, like yourself and others, it's go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go and not enough look back in revision and say, "What worked? What didn't? What do I need to do? And then go again. And that's the key. That's what I'd be telling the 16-year-old self, is that you need to go, and then you need to stop, reflect, go, stop, reflect, go.
0:57:38.6 S1: And I had the benefit of going to a retreat that I know you've been to before. And the idea of retreat where you're literally retreating away from life, you're turning your phones off, you're not doing anything, you're retreating, I found that really beneficial. And the problem with me, though, I get more ideas to do more stuff. And I find when I'm entrepreneurial, you've gotta be creative. You've gotta be in that space where you're not stressed and that sort of thing. But yeah, that's a really key take away. A quick one for you. If you could run an anonymous global campaign right now, and this is in the environment we're in right now, an anonymous global ad campaign that could reach billions of people, what would it say?
0:58:22.4 PB: "Be part of the change you wanna see in the world." Those are Gandhi's words. And that's gonna be more prevalent moving forward than what it is even now, but be part of the change you wanna see. And what does that do? That hits multiple levels. That helps children when they go, "I don't like this, and I don't like that." Well, what are you gonna do about it to be different? That goes for workers in organisations, "I don't like the way this company is run. I don't like the culture." Well, what are you gonna do to be part of the change? It goes for us as individuals. "I don't like the way I look." "Well, what am I gonna do to be part of that change?" Or, "I don't like the way I'm interacting with X, Y, Z." "Well, what am I gonna do?" What that is so powerful about, it stops the blame game.
0:58:53.5 PB: And I think a lot of people spend their time blaming somebody else or shifting blame or shifting focus away and those simple words, "Be part of the change you want to see in the world", actually makes so much sense on all levels. Be, meaning, live, part, take action, of the change, well, something you're identifying needs to be done differently, you want to see. So it personalizes to you. So what are you doing about it? You've got a vision for a better world, a better place? Well, what are you doing about it? And in the world means don't just think inside your backyard or inside your house, think globally. So very, very powerful words.
0:59:31.1 S1: Absolutely, love that. What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student or university student about the real world, about what advice they should ignore?
0:59:41.2 PB: Well, I'll tell you what I'd tell them, and then I'll tell you what to ignore, 'cause they both go hand in hand. This is the order of economics: Earn, save, invest, spend. So earn... [chuckle]
0:59:56.4 S1: In that order.
0:59:56.5 PB: Save, invest, then spend. So yeah, I've got a great life, I travel here, there, there, I've got cars, I've got this, I've got that. Yeah, I've only been doing that for the last 10 years. I earned my money, right? I saved my money. So I started earning at 15, I saved. I invested in my first property at 21. By the age of 26, I had three properties, then I sold them to buy a commercial property. I invested, I kept investing, I then started a business, and I saved, and I earned, and I saved, and I invested, and then I had the high life. So what I would tell people is that what advice not to listen to? You can have it all. That whole concept of... What was it? That book that came out that everyone was all about? I remember the cover, but I can't remember the title.
1:00:41.5 S1: Yeah, I know the one.
1:00:42.2 PB: Where you can, "I want it, I can have it." You know, what was it? The... Not the Saving. What was it? I can't remember what it was. The... It started with S. The book that was about you want it, you just take it. And The Chasers actually did a funny skit on it where they walked into shops and started loading their trolleys up and walking out. They're like, "Hey, what are you doing?" Oh, The Secret, there you go.
1:01:01.1 S1: The Secret, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
1:01:01.2 PB: The Secret.
1:01:02.5 S1: Oh, that's when they drive the car into the...
1:01:02.6 PB: That's right. The bullshit. I tell people that the biggest advice don't believe is don't believe the Secret, you can have it all, you can visualize it and just have it. Yeah, you can visualize whatever you want. If you don't get in the river and make it happen, you ain't got shit.
1:01:12.9 S1: That's right. Yeah.
1:01:14.1 PB: So they go hand in hand. Earn, save, invest, spend. And no, you can't have it all. And no, it's not the secret about visualizing, and then you visualize it, you've got it. Not gonna happen. Worst advice I've ever heard. [chuckle]
1:01:26.8 S1: Absolutely love that. What sort of books are you reading right now, what are you learning, what are your passions? I've sort of... When you're in the flow state, when you find you're just losing time, what it is, what are you doing? And it may not be Coffee Commune or something...
1:01:46.1 PB: No, no, no, so I'm... My go to on a YouTube is Dr. Joe Dispenza.
1:01:50.3 S1: Yeah, yeah.
1:01:50.8 PB: So a lot around mindset and physics, quantum physics, and he explains it the best.
1:01:53.4 S1: Yeah, wow. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
1:01:54.7 PB: So I love Dr. Joe's stuff. I still have a lot of Carol Dweck with the mindset stuff 'cause I love it her to death.
1:02:00.4 S1: Yeah, yeah.
1:02:01.2 PB: My book I'm reading at the moment is I'm finishing off Simon Sinek's Infinite Games. The book I read prior to that, which I loved and I thought I'd hate it, but I didn't, and I did it through audio 'cause it would have been hard to read was Happiest Man On Earth.
1:02:13.3 S1: Yeah, a great book.
1:02:14.0 PB: Viktor Frankl, yep.
1:02:14.8 S1: Yeah, a great book.
1:02:15.1 PB: So you think we've got issues, well. And there's some scary resemblances with what's going on now back to the Jew days, which is unfortunate. But yeah, so that sort of stuff. So I read a range and variety of stuff. Practical stuff is probably the answer. I don't read fiction.
1:02:30.1 S1: I'm exactly the same. I don't read fiction. Yeah, I wanna learn. And yeah, do you find yourself, if you're not learning... Like you mentioned earlier, you struck me as somebody that is just a deep learner and inquisitive, I think you called it.
1:02:43.4 PB: Very inquisitive and looking... I love talking to people, I love learning from different... I love asking questions. I don't have to have structure to it. To me, it's about being inquisitive all the time. Having a look at things go, sitting down and watching how things interact, how they operate, how they don't. But again, I'm a visual learner. I'm a practical learner. I'm not a book reader. I wanted to be a lawyer, and when I did first year of law, there was no chance I could be a lawyer 'cause I didn't wanna read all that bullshit they gave me. I was great with anything practical, but come to reading case studies and reading all the rest of it, I'd read the practical stuff, but all the jargon law and litigation, forget it. I was no good at it. And the key with me is I know what I'm good at, and I know what I'm not, and I don't know take a cop out. I just say, "No, you can't be good at everything." And when I say good is... Anyone can do anything if they want to, but that's the point. There's some things I just don't want to do. I don't want to read fiction.
1:03:28.7 S1: And that talks to team, right? At the end of the day, if you speak to the most successful CEOs in the world, they'll... A lot of them will just be team, team, team, team, team. Same for yourself? Like have you... For you, I guess you use the people piece, the brand piece, all those sort of skills we talked of earlier, but ultimately what you're doing there is you're building a team.
1:03:47.4 PB: You're building people.
1:03:47.5 S1: You're building people.
1:03:48.6 PB: Yeah, it starts with build yourself and then build the people around you. And I always say people are like fishing, right? You can't catch fish without bait. And if you put the wrong bait on your hook, you catch the wrong fish. So people go, "So you're calling your team bait?" Yeah, very useful, right? Try catching a fish without bait, you're in trouble. So it's develop yourself first and develop your people second, and if you develop yourself right and you develop your people second and develop, you can't make anybody. You can only make yourself, right? You encourage people, you provide an environment for people, you provide that environment, you provide that encouragement, you provide the resources, bring external resources in, give them opportunity to learn stuff, to go and do courses, whatever it is, anything they can put into that resource bag that help them be better tomorrow than what they are today.
1:04:32.4 PB: And if they do that, and you've got an amazing team, then amazing things happen. And the example I use there, and I use it all the time. And two number one football players in the world, football being soccer. So number two, number... The two best arguably, they argue who's first and who's second, it doesn't matter, call them both the best in the world, is Messi and Ronaldo.
1:04:48.3 S1: Yep.
1:04:48.4 PB: Yep. Neither of them have won a World Cup.
1:04:50.6 S1: Yeah, wow. Right?
1:04:50.7 PB: You have two best players in the world, they've that have never won a world cup, which is the epitome that any player wants to win. Why? Because there's 11 people that play on a soccer team at any one time, not one person. So Ronaldo can score all the goals he wants in the world, but he's always the highest... At European, he was the highest goal scorer, I believe. But Portugal didn't win, Italy win, because it's a team sport. And that's what business is, business is not about one person. So any time you think it's about you, think about Ronaldo and Messi never winning a world cup to date, and that will help you demystify the concept that it's not about you, it's about a team.
1:05:22.3 S1: Absolutely love that. And obviously, it's solving a problem, it's getting the... You talked to the legacy piece earlier, right? You're building something that's solving this big part of the world, but it's employing people, it's fixing, it's making people's lives better in some way.
1:05:35.8 PB: Yeah, correct.
1:05:39.2 S1: Now, do you have an unusual habit or thing that you do? I mean you mentioned earlier the breathing thing, which is not unusual, 'cause that's pretty, pretty good.
1:05:45.1 PB: Yeah, I've got one. I love... I get a great satisfaction of cleaning shit, meaning I'll go on a shopping spree, and I'll go and buy four or five shirts and a couple of pair of pants. And my wife goes, "Here we go. You watch what happens when he gets home." I get a big garbage bag out so that I can donate stuff, and I go through my wardrobe, and I get rid of five, six t-shirts and two, three pants. And some of them might have tags on them still, they're just... They've been in there for two years, I never worn it. So I'm a practical person, so I get a great satisfaction of cleaning shit out. And I put it in the bag, and then I take it down to Lifeline, and I go there, and I donate it, and I go here we go. Once I went down there would two suitcases full of stuff. And I'm unloading the car, and there's a guy there. And they were closed, and I said, "Mate, you're doing it tough?" He goes, "Yeah, I'm doing it really tough." I said, "Here you go, here's two suitcases." He goes, "What's in here?"
1:06:31.3 PB: I said, "Take what you can use, and what you can't, sell it, because you'll do well." There was all sorts of stuff in there, Louis Vuitton shoes and all this stuff. But I get a real sense of satisfaction out of just cleaning shit. I don't like full inboxes, so my inbox has gotta be zero. It's gonna get filed away, or it's gotta get dealt with. I don't like the... There's no text messages on my phone. I deal with the text message, I delete it. My wife says, "If you stand still long enough, and you're not in a place that you need to be, he'll throw you out." I'm known to throw shit out that's never been used or it's not in our place.
1:07:01.4 S1: So you're anti-hoarder, very thorough...
1:07:02.3 PB: Yeah, no hoarding here. Very clean, and I think it's 'cause years ago I got taught, from a very young age... I can't remember if I was read a book or... But it was about using your brain like a filing cabinet, move it in, move it out, move it across. If you don't need it, get rid of it, da, da, da, da. And it's something that's stuck with me. So it's something... I'm like that in the pantry, so I get a sick satisfaction of going through the pantry and going, "No, never used it, bin." Cleaning shit out and reorganising.
1:07:24.3 S1: Minimalism, it's a big trend.
1:07:25.4 PB: Yeah, that's something that I don't often... Well, I don't think I've ever shared it, but that's something that I get a sick fascination in.
1:07:31.8 S1: Shared first. There you go. Is there any bad recommendations that you hear a lot to young people, to entrepreneurs that just...
1:07:42.7 PB: Yeah, I can't stand that freaking fake it till you make it. Having started a business in New York and spent many years in... I spent four years in New York building Abbotsford Road, and I've now sold it, my share to the other partner, but this whole bullshit of fake it till you make it, when you spend a bit of time in New York and you go, "I don't like fake it."
1:08:00.2 S1: You can't fake it.
1:08:01.2 PB: These monkeys with $3000 suits, but can't afford dinner. Yeah, no, this is not... And see, I'm a very authentic person. I don't like that whole fake it till you make it. And I think it's a message that gets talked about too much. "Oh you've gotta fake it till you make it." No. And the other one that used to be 20 years ago, "You've gotta hustle, you've gotta hustle." Hustle means you're gonna screw me over. I'm not doing business with someone that's screwing me over. So they're the two pet hates. And no, it's not about hustling, and no, don't fake it till you make it.
1:08:24.9 S1: I agree. I hear hustle, and yeah, I think the same thing. So that's...
1:08:28.7 PB: Urgency yeah, but urgency is not hustling.
1:08:31.5 S1: Yeah, are there any quotes that get you through? Like I've mentioned a few on his show so far. But for me, there was, "Make your profession your obsession, and never work a day in your life." That really stuck with me. And again, getting in a flow state and then you...
1:08:46.1 PB: Well, I've got a few, but most of them are mine. So I talk about life's measured in moments, so...
1:08:49.7 S1: I was gonna bring that up.
1:08:51.0 PB: So life's measured in moments is a big one for me.
1:08:52.7 S1: I've taken it.
1:08:53.9 PB: And that came from reading The Dash, the poem, The Dash, "The date on your tombstone is the date you were born, a dash and the day you die, and all we get known for is the dash." And that's why I talk about, well, life's measured in moments, not measured about anything else. You don't go to funerals, and they talk about how many cars, how many properties, how many this. They talk about moments. Everyone talks about the moments that people got to share. The other one's about ourselves as individuals where I talk about people's limitations are often self-imposed. We limit, we put blankets on ourselves. Or worse, we put blankets on others, and we limit people's limitations. And especially if you're in a position of leadership, you should be not doing that, you shouldn't be putting limitations on team members and people around you. So that's another one of my favorites that I talk about it. It's actually on the bottom of my email address, is people's imitations are often self-imposed.
1:09:41.5 S1: Absolutely, love that. Absolutely, love that. Well, we're gonna wrap up. That was absolutely... My mind is absolutely full of information there. We keep talking and talking and talking. Now, where do people find you online? Where do they go?
1:09:55.4 PB: So they can obviously LinkedIn, Phillip Di Bella, or on Facebook. And I've also got my own FlashCast, so a lot of the stuff, if people like what we hear, and all the rest of it, I've called... It's on Apple and all that, and it's called FlashCast by PDB, all one word. And they're all just 10 minutes, and we talk about personal, professional, family. My kids are on it, my wife's on it, different stuff. One a week gets released. And this one was about seven ways to kick arse in life, got released on Sunday.
1:10:17.8 S1: Love that.
1:10:18.3 PB: Yeah, so they can follow that. And I started that. There is no sponsorship, there's no commerciality behind it. The reason I did that is a lot of people say, "Oh, where do we hear you speak? Or can we get mentoring? Or... " And your reach gets limited with time, so the podcast. And I pay for it, there's no sponsorship. I do it because it's a great way to reach. And in the last 24 months, I think it's been in the top 10 in Australia a few times. So not bad for something that doesn't get paid to promote and all the rest of it. But they're all just 10 minutes. They're 10 minute, under 10 minutes, short, sharp messages about life, whether it's marketing, startup, business, whether it's personal, whether it's about building goals and the rest of it. There's about 170 episodes to date. So yeah, people can get a hold of that if they like what I'm about. And some things they are gonna love, some things they're not, and that's okay. If everyone... You grab a little bit from everybody. There's always something you learn from anyone. And I do that all the time, I listen to all sorts of stuff, and I'll agree with that, or I won't agree with that, but I listen and I absorb, and then I turn it, and I have a look and workshop it to see how it suits me and works for me.
1:11:19.5 S1: Well, that was absolutely incredible. I've just gotten so much out of that personally, and I know our listeners would have done. So the best thing about this, they can play it back, they can listen to it again. We'll do a few different edits of this to try and get the best take aways as well. Phil, thank you so so much for today.
1:11:35.8 PB: Thanks for having me.
1:11:36.3 S1: Really appreciate it.
1:11:36.6 PB: Awesome.
1:11:36.7 S1: Cheers.