Lisa Jones, Founder & Mentor at SHE-com shares her proudest career moment, how she handles criticism, and admits that even superheroes don't always have their shit together.
What has been the proudest moment in your career?
There have been many so this is hard to choose! I’m going to pick pre-selling $100,000 worth of nappies prior to pressing go on the first container of stock! This was through hard work and a sharp business strategy to invest in baby expos around Australia and show our new nappy brand off to parents. It was a win / win on many levels because I was able to build out a database of 32,000 parents (by offering a 12 month giveaway of nappies and wipes), we also tested our market for exactly what they wanted in a nappy and what they were prepared to pay and even how they described their pain points (we wrote those down in the exact wording for our marketing) but proudest moment was selling $100,000 in cash of pre-orders for a product we hadn’t finished producing yet.
That was a real test and measure moment!
What was the last book you read?
Profit First by Mike Michalowicz. I’ve heard people talk of this book for years so finally read it and its eye opening. I mean, our accounting system works on a slightly broken model and pretty much every business owner I know says, “Hey, why isn’t there enough cash in my bank account to pay my tax bill?” so this was a very informative read!
What did you want to be when you were five years old?
My dad was a commercial airline pilot his whole career and my hero, so naturally I wanted to be a pilot too. Until when I was 12 my dad took me away on an overnight work trip and I sat in the cockpit on a bunch of flights and thought ‘Oh wow how boring!’ I really just wanted to go back and chat to the Flight Attendants instead!! Clearly that was the end of that dream.
What takes up too much of your time?
Admin! Always stuck moving things around and not getting enough time on creative projects that will actually move the needle! I’m constantly telling my clients to outsource admin and my team has grown to 22 in the last 2 years so admin is still part of my life as we grow! You can’t outsource new things, and in a hyper growth company there’s always new projects that need admin! One of these days I’m going to get an EA!
What is one of your guilty pleasures?
Clinkers! They are such an old fashioned lolly but I adored them as kid and I still sneak them into my shopping trolley all the time! And then hide them in my office away from the rest of the family (who also love them!).
What is an assumption about you that is completely false?
That I’m perfect LOL?!! I pride myself on always being real, and as a high achiever I think it would be easy for my audience to think I’ve always got my shit together. But it’s not true. I work hard every day to continue improving things in my life but I stumble and fall like everyone else from time to time. We are all human and I would hate anything to think I’ve got the perfect life or that I’ve got everything figured out!
What are three words that would describe you?
Empathetic, kind and clever. These are three that I wish to be remembered for being should I no longer grace this planet.
Do you have any secret talents?
I have this kind of unusual brain that races pretty fast. And I sleep deeply every night to let it rest. Only I think it doesn’t rest as deeply as my body because when I wake up every morning around 5am, my very first thoughts that pop into my head are things I forgot to finish the day before! It’s like my brain scans the previous day all night while I’m sleeping to find unfinished items or something I missed, and it flings it at me the moment my body wakes in the mornings!! Usually between 1 and 5 items every morning! Very bizarre but I’ll take it as a win!!
What is one skill you would love to master?
Riding a scooter. I’ve been to Bali 32 times but never mastered riding my own scooter (pretty comfortable on the back of everyone else’s though!). I’m a very confident driver of cars so it makes little sense but I’m booked in next week to do a scooter learners course in Australia! Will conquer this fear!
What’s the best thing that happened to you last week?
My new July suitcases arrived!!! I’m planning to travel for work a lot next year and a girl has to have beautiful suitcases for global business jet setting!!! Very excited to test them out next week and also very sad they will get marks all over them after check in but still, I’m going to treat the marks like badges of honour!
If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
I’m not really into famous people, so I’d likely choose my family who I love and cherish and enjoy their company! Is that daggy?!
If you had a time machine, where would you time travel to, and why?
I’d travel back 20 years and buy a LOT of houses in Australia and then I’d spend the rest of my life not needing to work because my rental income would pay for the travelling life! So bummed I didn’t do that!!!! Yes please time machine take me back!!
What could you give a 40-minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation?
I could wax lyrical about all things e-commerce and products but my favourite topic to talk about is how to increase website conversion rates for brands. There are a million quick tips I could point out around the sales psychology of selling on a website that most brands don’t use and I love to share these golden nuggets.
What’s on the top of your bucket list?
I’ve lived an extremely full life so I’ve already ticked a lot of my bucket list. But I’d love to buy a hobby farm in the hinterland of Gold Coast or Northern Rivers and live the rural lifestyle. I’m working hard in my business now to achieve this in a few years’ time. I’m all for bucket lists and dreams but I’m also all for taking steps to make the dreams happen.
Who was your childhood hero?
My dad for sure. He is a kind man who was much admired by his colleagues for his professional aptitude to being in charge of safety at commercial airlines, and for his humbleness and honour (he wouldn’t even take a pen home from work!). I learnt a lot from his approach to life and while I’m a completely different human, I take on board these lessons and live them still.
What is one song that you would request a DJ to play at a party?
I’m a sucker for “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison. I think it’s something to do with my brown eyes….
What was your first job?
At 13 I started working (illegally at that age) as a waitress in a local Italian restaurant! At 14 I added Myer and Country Road to my list and I held those 3 jobs every weekend and school holidays till I graduated high school. I’ve always loved to have my own money that I can spend without needing to check with anyone else! Call me independent ☺
How do you handle criticism?
Well. Thanks to a very critical ex-husband I grew thick skin and learnt to take it. Now I listen to it with open candor, accept the pieces that can I use to improve myself and let go of the parts that are other peoples insecurities and judgements.
If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be?
What do you mean? I am a superhero aren’t I? I mean, I’m a stepmum to 5 young adults, I have a 12 year daughter at home, I cherish my marriage to a Navy Officer who lives away from home, I have two dogs and an au pair at home, and 22 staff and about 300 clients. Managing that (and self-financing the lot) on my own makes me a superhero right?!! And all the other busy entrepreneurial mums out there?!
If you could jump on a plane right now, where would be the first place you would go?
Istanbul. One of the top places in the world in my opinion. I have a mad love affair for Turkey in general but Istanbul is all things exotic and beautiful with delicious food, amazing history and buildings, wonderful views and the kindest people. I’d head straight there!
Lisa Jones is the founder of Australia’s largest network of female ecommerce brand owners, SHE-com, You can find more from her here.