Money lessons learnt from mum

19:22, May 08 2014
Gen George
INSPIRATION: Gen George attributes countless lessons about business from her mother as giving her the motivation and courage to launch her own business.

It's the traditional time of the year to thank our mothers for what they've taught us over the years, but some daughters are particularly grateful for the lessons they've learned from their mother about the world of business.

For Sydneysider Gen George, that message has been around taking control and making something happen for yourself.

"She'd tell me that if you didn't take control, you'd end up moving at everyone else's speed rather than your own," George says.

This blunt but extremely helpful message was drilled into her from a young age. She attributes countless other lessons about business from her mother as also giving her the motivation and courage to launch her own business, job search site OneShift.

"My mother taught me not to be afraid to do new things. Just get yourself back up, learn from it and try again, she would say. This motto has helped me get OneShift to where it is today in only 19 months," the OneShift CEO says.

She spoke about what her mother taught her about business in the lead-up to Mother's Day in the hope mums will carefully consider the sorts of lessons they're giving their daughters about launching and operating a business.


Her mother was the founder of recruitment firm Australian Personnel, which she has since sold.

She gave lots of advice about business when George was growing up, which made launching a business of her own seem possible, she says.

Over the past 12 months, George has grown OneShift from zero to nearly 250,000 job seekers and 23,000 businesses. A range of industry sectors are represented on the site, from hospitality, education, science and IT. She employs 40 people, is expanding the operation into New Zealand and has won a number of awards.

However, she does wish her mother had taught her that not everyone has the best intentions, which she admits is one lesson she had to learn that the hard way.

Joanne Hagiliassis attributes a lot of her success to advice from her mother over the years.

The co-founder of Melbourne's Freedom Dental Spa, which employs 35 people and has a turnover of A$7 million ($7.5 million) a year, recalls her mother saying to her at 18, when she was just about to start her university degree, something she's never forgotten.

"She said to me: 'Joanne, no single person is smarter or better than you. Always listen to your own intuition and don't let anyone scare you."'

Now 35, she's never forgotten this advice, and it's helped her when dealing with very accomplished and often older businessmen, she says.

"I could never have done any of this without my inspiring mother. Having migrated to Australia as a young child, she taught me work ethic."

Melbourne woman Sarah Murphy has younger daughters, but is already consciously teaching them about business. Lola (12) and Posy (14) are literally growing up in the family business.

Murphy runs a successful candle and soap-making business from home, which she named Murphy & Daughters.

The three-year-old business landed a massive order from New York-based retailer Anthropologie early on, setting her on a course for success.

The business name came about after her daughter delved into the family's past and discovered that that their grand-grandfather's regional Victorian produce store had been called Murphy Brothers.

"We uncovered images of the staff standing out the front, wearing aprons down to the ground and shiny boots. It made sense to call my business a similar name, though I had daughters, not sons, so changed the name to reflect that."

Murphy is running her third business. She used to run a filmmaking business, and has also worked for her mother's importing business.

"My daughters have never known me not to be running a business. They're both always in the thick of it every day and are often roped in to help package an order when things get busy.

"Sometimes the house looks like a mad cottage industry. They have some understanding of what it takes to run a business because they see it every day. We work hard to give them the skills and understanding of what it's really like to be in business, because we want them to know that nothing comes free in this world.

"I also want them to understand that business and life is one great problem-solving adventure. And we're always trying to show them that they grow up in an affluent world, and explain what things actually cost. We always reinforce the value of the dollar," Murphy says.

Sydney Morning Herald