70 Transcript: Broken Home Doesn’t Mean Broken Person: Being a Self-Made Woman (Salena Knight)

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J: You're listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, episode number 70.

S: You have the choice to make your life whatever it is you want to be. I had nothing, you know, I have literally walked out of the house with a suitcase full of clothes. And now, you know, I've built businesses, I own multiple properties, you know, I live in a nice house, I've got a nice family and none of that was given to me, all of that was because at that ripe old age of 16, I was determined to finish my studies and be something better.

Intro: Welcome to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, stories of vibrant women living happy lives. And now, your host, Jen Riday.

J: Hey, thank you so much for joining us. Last week, I spoke with Dana Malstaff all about being a boss mom. She did the stay-at-home mom thing for a while and realized she didn't feel very fulfilled and that she wanted to be an entrepreneur. So she is doing both and totally succeeding. Today, I'll be talking with Salena Knight and she tells her story of leaving a broken home and completely becoming a self-made woman. Her story really inspired me. I've been thinking a lot lately about victim mentality, people who just believe they can't get out of their situation and they never do anything about it, and then they're those other people that seems so empowered and on fire and nothing can stop them. Well, Salena and I discussed this during the interview and you're going to love what she had to say. So let's go ahead and jump in.

Salena Knight is a retail strategist who helps independent retailers to grow their businesses so they can have personal and financial freedom. She lives in Sydney, Australia with her husband daughter and rescue greyhound. In her free time, she likes to build things, cook, and spend time outdoors. Welcome to the show, Salena.

S: Thanks so much, Jen, for having me.

J: Yes, and I had fun being on your podcast, and now we get to do this little switcheroo. So I was…

S: It was great, isn't it? (Laughs)

J: It's so fun! Well, so I always start out my podcast with a favorite quote, and what quote would you like to share today?

S: So I made up this quote many, many years ago which is, “Laugh at yourself because if you don't, someone else will laugh at you.”

J: Uh-huh (Laughs). If you don't, someone else will.

S: Yeah, we can take yourself too seriously. I laugh at the things that happen because it hurts more when someone laughs at you than when you laugh about what's happened yourself. So you just don't take everything so seriously, otherwise you'll end up being hurt by what other people… you know, what you think other people think about you.

J: Yeah, that's true, and keeping it light-hearted, then when those comments do come in, you can just be prepared already. So, well, is there a low point that goes with that quote or something that made you start to think about that one?

S: I can't actually remember where I thought of it. And you sent me through some questions that you're going to ask about, “What was your low point?” and I normally talk about my low point in business which was when I walked into my store one day after a few years and realized that, “If I sold everything in the shop after I bought every… you know, after I'd replaced the stock and paid all my overheads, I wouldn't have too much money left in order to grow my business.” And that's the story I normally tell. But for some reason, when I opened up your sheet, all of a sudden, it hit me that I've never actually told the personal story about the low points in my life. So what would you like to hear about?

J: Yeah, the personal one sounds great.

S: Okay. So I don't hide this, but I'm also not… you know, I don't tell everybody about it either because whilst it has shaped where I have ended up, I don't think it has been the key deciding factor of how I live my life. So essentially, I had to leave home when I was about 14 because my mom wasn't actually able to look after us. My mom and dad would divorce, my mom wasn't able to look after us, so I left home and I… I moved into state to live with my grandparents. And my brother and sister, she didn't have them for much longer either so they ended up going to live with their dad. And so I had to move into state, change schools, and basically look after myself because my grandparents, you know, they weren’t necessarily young.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: Their kids were… you know, their kids were my dad's age so they were long past they're looking after children. So it's one of those situations where I guess I always felt like, as much as they were my grandparents, I always feel like a bit of an outsider in their house and I was like walking on eggshells. You know, you couldn't… I couldn't feel open with them. So my maternal grandmother was like my mother; I could tell her anything, you know, she was always there. But my paternal grandmother was a lot really, the word, not harsh, not strict, but just not lovable.

J: Cold.

S: Does that make sense?

J: Yeah, like cold.

S: Yeah, very distant it's probably the right word.

J: Mm, distant.

S: So I kind of hung out with my granddad more than my grandmother and that actually didn't last very long. So that lasted about, I think, it was about 8 months. And I just got to the point where, even though I was actually really, really good kid, like I was no trouble, made my own lunches, got myself off to school, all that kind of stuff, they just weren't in the headspace of looking after a child. So in the end, I decided to go and live with my boyfriend's mother…

J: Mm.

S: … and him. And, you know, I was only sort of just about 15; I think I may have just been 15 at the time. So she took me in and looked after me. And I was also in this very strange predicament where, because I've moved around a lot as a child, I ended up a couple of years ahead of where I should be at school. So by the time I finished what we call year 12, so at the end of possible end of school, I was only 15 years old.

J: Wow.

S: Whereas, most people are 17 or 18.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: And so I ended up in this situation where I'd finish school and I had to go and get a job, but I was only 15, which is really difficult because you can't do an awful lot. You're not really considered to be an adult at the age of 15.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: But here I was, we moved out of her house and we got a house together, we went and got a job. And I think, you know, when you're young, the fact that I was with him for so many years was great, but, you know, when you're young and you're at that age, we ended up breaking up and I had to go and rent my own apartment, which is really difficult when you're only 16.

J: Oh my goodness!

S: Not many landlords want to take a 16 year old on a lease. So I was quite able to… like, I was quite mature and I was quite able to prove that I had a proper job and I was working for the government and all those kinds of things and I came with references. So I was quite lucky that I… I did actually manage to get my own apartment. But what happened from there is, here I was, you know, kind of at my first real job at the ripe old age of 16 and all I was focused on was paying my rent, finishing my… by then I was doing a degree, finishing my studies, you know, making sure that the utilities got paid, and all my friends were out drinking because they also lived at home they were out partying and drinking. So I always felt a little bit separated, I guess…

J: Mm-hmm.

S: … from people my age when I was young because my life was so different. But all that I… I remember, all I wanted to do was just, I guess, to prove to the world that coming from a broken family doesn't mean you have to be a broken person.

J: Ooh yeah. (Laughs)

S: And, you know, that's… it's funny because I… now, I cringe at that whole victim mentality like it just… it was something that my mother has. You know, we don't speak an awful lot, but I can't deal with that. It's like, “You have the choice to make your life whatever it is you want to be.” I had nothing, you know, I have literally walked out of the house with a suitcase full of clothes. And now, you know, I've built businesses, I own multiple properties, you know, I live in a nice house, I've got a nice family, and none of that was given to me, all of that was because, at that ripe old age of 16, I was determined to finish my studies and be something better. And at one stage, I was working 2 jobs. I was getting up at 6 o'clock in the morning going to my real job, as you'd like to call it, finishing at 4 o'clock, studying another job at 4:30, stacking shelves in a supermarket and working to a midnight because I just knew that I had to get… had to get into the property market like that was the thing. You know, once you've got a home, then I think I would feel secure; and I did. And that was kind of the catalyst to putting me to where I am today. Getting that first property…

J: Yeah.

S: … was that security I needed to go, “You know what? This is good. I'm here now. I've got something nobody else in my family has.”

J: Yeah! Well, how old were you when you bought the first house?

S: In my early 20s.

J: Yes.

S: I was really lucky, actually. I'd like to say I was really smart, but I think I just really lucked out. A huge storm came through Sydney back in 1997 I think it was and so many the homes got destroyed. And the home I ended up buying was an apartment in a really small block that had really bad dome damage. So I got it quite cheap because obviously the owner managed to claim all the insurance and the building itself fully insured. So I kind of got the souped up version of the of the apartment once I moved in because the insurance pay for all the repairs, but I got it, you know, the dirt cheap market. And then the market boomed after that so I ended up buying another property with the equity in that home and kind of just continue doing that until I ended up with, you know, quite a few properties. And I've bought and sold and renovated and all that kind of stuff. And, in fact, going back to that original story I was going to tell you, it's funny I didn't really think about this, but it all circles back to when I did walk into the shop that one Saturday morning and I realize that, “If I sold everything, there wasn't going to be an awful lot of money to grow the business. Like, you can't really grow a retail store on cash flow because it's so erratic and you have so many overheads.” So you need… this is what most people get partners or they take out a loan, you know, they need a big cash injection. So I actually ended up selling my one of my apartments to fund the growth of my business. So how's that for a great big circle? (Laughs)

J: Oh, that's so great. Well, and I have to take you back words in the circle a little. Okay, so you hit on victim mentality and I think about this all the time, I have to know if you have a theory on why you didn't fall into victim thinking. What experience or what happened to make you think, “Okay, I can do this,”? I mean, and why doesn't everyone think that way?

S: You know, I have studied this a lot because well, studied in the whole just, you know, not field of it, just ended a life experience. So when I was younger, I had a best friend who grew up in a very, very similar situation. She didn't have to leave home, but her parents split up and her mom and my mom could have been twins in terms of their mentality. And so she was the same; she was determined to get out of this rut. And it wasn't even a welfare rut, like my mom had a job, you know, she often had 2 jobs, but she just was never going to be anything more than a worker bee, and her mom was exactly the same. We've talked about this over many, many years. And it's funny because what I have seen from the people I know is, boys actually fall victim to this more than women. Like, I don't know what it is, but all the male in the families that I know of that have been in similar situations tend to carry that victim mentality. I don't know why. Maybe it's a mommy thing, even though I'm saying it sort of originates with the mom.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: And my brother's the same. Like, I love my brother to bits, but he will never be anything more than… this is horrible, it sounds like I'm being really horrible, but I'm not; I'm just being very unbiased, but he will always be a worker bee. He doesn't think that he can be anything more than that.

J: Hmm.

S: You know, if you… if you ask him, you know, “Could you own your own business?” he just says, “No, like that's just not possible.” And even though we've had this conversation over and over again, like, “I had nothing, you had nothing, you know, look at what I've got,” and it's become more that he resents where I'm at in life now…

J: Mm, mm-hmm.

S: … rather than just saying it… rather than taking it as inspiration.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: And why do they do it? I don't know. And, like I said, my… so I've got a sister and a brother, an older brother who I haven't spoken to since I left home, and my sister was the same. My sister, at the age of 15, she was living with my brother and my dad, and she was the same. She ended up moving out at the age of 15 because she just kind of felt like she was in the same situation that… she always says, “I just felt like I couldn't breathe,” not because they didn't love her and not because, you know, she was living with 2 men who weren’t very tidy or anything like that, she just said, “I had to get out. Like, I just knew that if I got out, it would be different.”

J: Hmm.

S: And I don't know, maybe this is the whole welfare thing as well, like the… the people, you know, the families that just are continually on welfare. I don't know, maybe you should talk to somebody about that because I would love to know the answer. But my grandmother the maternal grandmother…

J: Mm-hmm.

S: … who was really… she was like kicker. She was American, she came to Australia, brought her family, brought her business, the business actually went under because her husband was an alcoholic. They split up, she raised 5 kids on her own…

J: Mm-hmm.

S: … and did it… you know, did quite well. But of those 5 kids, my mother being one of them, 2 of them, I'd like to say in that family, they got out (Laughs). So they either left the State or they kind of just distanced themselves from the family. And the 3 that kind of rode on my grandmother's coat strings, my mother being one of them, haven't really amounted to much.

J: Hmm.

S: I sound really horrible. I sound… (Laughs)

J: No you don’t, no you don't. Because, you know, I think about this all the time too. I mean, maybe you and your sister were just born with something; born with some genetic amazingness gumption, you know? I don't know, it's so interesting.

S: That would have been a word my grandma would say; she would have said ‘gumption’, and she had that as well. So I always like to say that she's the one that's looking out for us. Like, she's the one who could just say, “You could do anything.”

J: Mm-hmm.

S: “Like, stop whinging and just go and do it,” like, she was so lovable. And compared to my paternal grandmother who was very distant and harsh, she was harsh, but in a loving way. Like, she would just pick you up the ass constantly. (Laughs)

J: Uh-huh, uh-huh.

S: But she did it because she wanted you to be better. She wanted you to not be in that same situation. You know, she would walk past you and she'd pull your shoulders back and say, “Sit up straight.” (Laughs)

J: Uh-huh.

S: And then she go and bake cookies, you know, it's… it's funny that they have these different interpretations because, you know, she was just always there for me. She was the one who would literally turn up. She just had this innate ability to know when things weren't going right and she would just turn up on the doorstep even on a school night when I was little and she said, “Pack your bags, you’re coming to my house,” and I would just go and stay with her for a few days.

J: Oh yeah. Maybe she planted the seed.

S: So I don’t know, she always had this ability.

J: Yeah, planted the seed.

S: Yeah.

J: So you mentioned that your mom still has a victim mentality, but I know you don't want to say too much about your mom, but so she sees you've succeeded…

S: Put it this way.

J: Yeah.

S: She's not listening to a podcast.


J: So she sees you’re succeeding, does she feel the same way as your brother like kind of resentful of that?

S: Yeah, yeah, she does. And I guess I see it more from my brother because, obviously I see him. We only have a very small family so we… you know, there’s sort of 13 of us when you count my auntie and my uncle and their kids, you know, we all get together at Christmas.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: There's not that many of us.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: So he has sort of said that to me in the past, and I guess she does as well. She says she's proud, but then it's always the conversation… and his why we don't talk an awful lot is, you know, when I had a really great big success, when I was nominated for a huge award and I… she rang as she does… I choose when I want to talk to her, she probably calls me about once a quarter, and about once every 2 or 3 times I actually answer.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: And she rang me and I said to her, “So excited, I've just been nominated for this massive award; like, it's a huge deal,” and I actually got through to the finals and it was actually this time 3 years ago. And she said, “That's great, blah-blah-blah-blah-blah,” about herself.

J: Oh!

S: You know, it was…

J: Oh no! Oh no!

S: And this is how the conversation goes every single time. And it sort of went something along the lines of, “Oh, that's fantastic. I wish I could be there, but I have no money for a train ticket, and all these bad things happened and all these bad things happened and all these bad things happened,” you know?

J: Hmm.

S: I just can't deal with that. I'm just like, “Okay, you can't come,” she could have just said, “You know, I'm so sorry I can't be there. I'm so proud of you, I'm so sorry I can't be there,” but she manages to turn every conversation back to how bad her life is.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: And I kind of feel like… well, yeah like I once said to her… because I've got a daughter and my sister's got kids and my brother's got a child, I said, “You've got a smartphone, go and get my auntie (her sister) to sign you up to Facebook so then you can at least see the pictures or we can email you the pictures or, you know, just get an email address and we can send through this stuff,” and she was like, “No, that's just too hard.”

J: (Gasps) Oh, geesh! (Laughs)

S: And I remember thinking, “Really? You've never seen your grandchildren and it's too hard to get your sister or your brother to set you up an email address that's on your phone?” And that was kind of the turning point, I guess, so it was just like, “Oh, this is not my job.”

J: Yeah.

S: “Take some responsibility,” and I guess it all just hits home. And it is not supposed to be a mom bashing thing…

J: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

S: But I think there does get to a point where you have to decide who your family is and who you want to hang around. So my auntie on my dad's side is probably… I'm much more closer to, like… and she's the one who comes like before Christmas, and she'll be the one that I ring up, and she's the one who says, “I'm so proud of you,” you know, “Can I…

J: Mm-hmm.

S: “Can I support you?”

J: Mm-hmm.

S: So you choose to have these people. And maybe these people aren't even really family. You know, my next-door neighbor is exactly the same. He would have loved to have had children, but it just didn't happen.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: And in his late 50s, and he looks after… we live in a little cul-de-sac so we’re quite lucky. And there's about 7 kids all together, and he'll be the first one to put his hand up to babysit, drop them at school, pick them up…

J: Aww, that’s great.

S: … all that kind of stuff. So… and he comes for dinner every Sunday, you know, all those sorts of things.

J: Oh, yes! Well, so…

S: You choose family. You know, you can choose your family, you can choose who you want to hang around with.

J: Powerful. You can choose your family; I love that. And, you know, they say you tend to be like the 5 people you interact with most, and you said you had to get out, right? So…

S: You do, you do. You have to distance your… and it is really, really hard.

J: Yeah.

S: Because everybody has that connection.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: But if you are a constant… and this happens in business. In fact, I just did a little podcast about this yesterday, a little 10-minute one…

J: Mm-hmm.

S: … about the whole ‘who you hang around with’. And I've talked about how social media is to blame for this. I mean, social media is fantastic, but it also… it's also to blame because everybody's in 50 Facebook groups, you know, and maybe 20 of those are business groups. And if 20 of those groups are people whinging about how bad business is, then you're going to go, “Oh, yeah, I had a really bad month,” you know, “Oh, well, everybody else is going bad.”

J: Oh yeah.

S: But I can tell you, there's been a lot of whinging that May was a really bad month in retail.

J: Uh-huh.

S: And I keep seeing it over and over again, and I'm saying, “But my clients are having literally the best months they've had in years. So, you know, “What are you doing? You know, what was your plan of action for May? Like, what advertising did you do? What promotions did you do? You know, what did you have in store? What events did you have?” all those kinds of things. And the answer is always nothing; there's no plan, just this want to whinge.

J: Uh-huh.

S: And if you hang around people who don't want to take action… like clearly I'm an action person; you can tell just from talking to me. You can't… what's that saying? “You can't keep doing the same thing every day and expect a different result,” and it's the same with who you hang around with. Whether it's your family, whether it's the people in business, if you hang around with people who are going to suck the life out of you and deplete you, then you aren't going to strive, you aren't going to achieve those goals because there's always going to be that one person who says… you know, like my mom, “Oh, that's great, but…” you know, or, “You shouldn't aim that high because what if you fail?”

J: Ooh, yes.

S: “Don't get your hopes up,” how many people say that?

J: (Laughs). Yeah. So I'm sure people are going to want to listen to that podcast episode, and tell us where they could find it.

S: So that's at the Bringing Business To Retail podcast, and I can give you a link to that or you can find it over at salenaknight.com, and I think it's actually titled ‘10 ways to make a good store great’, and it's one of the 10 is who you hang around with. But, you know, that's like my neighbor. We've brought him into our family because he's a supportive person.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: And if I had told him about that award, he would be like, “Oh yeah, can I come?” or, “What can I do to support you?” not, you know, “Don't get your hopes up. This is a really big award and you might… you probably aren’t going to win it.”

J: (Laughs)

S: You know?

J: Oh my gosh, I love this; you could choose your family. So, you know, society tries to guilt you and pin you into this place, and I know some of our listeners are sitting there thinking, “But how do I cut these ties?” any advice for them?

S: It is difficult and you probably do… you know, there'll be a lot of tears shed. But I think when you make the switch, I know it… it might take years to do this, like I'm not saying… I think I was probably ‘lucky’, you know, in air quotes, that it was probably easier for me because, when a parent doesn't want you anymore, it's quite easy to stick a wall up, and it's a lot harder to bring that wall down. In fact, my brother and sister don't even speak to my mother, so I'm the only one that… that actually has any communication with her.

J: Ah.

S: But, yeah, in terms of distancing, I think when you make that mind… when you make the realization, that person, whoever they are, is depleting you… like it's funny because you hear this now and all of a sudden, if this is meant for you, it will… the next time you speak to that person, the switch will flick and you'll just be like, “Wow, this is one of those, you know, vampire people who, every time I go and see them, I just feel drained, I feel like everything I do is wrong and I can't do anything right.” So just, you know, distance yourself. Don't return every single phone call or every single text the minute that it comes. Maybe, you know, wait a couple of hours or maybe just don't; just don't every… maybe answer every couple of texts and just, you know, gradually do it. But it's still going to hurt. Like, it's still… as much as I've moved past it, you know, there's always that little grain that's like, “Your mother really doesn't care about you,” kind of sits in there. And whilst my people say, “Oh, your mom really cares about you, you know, she does. Innately, a mother has to look after her child,” maybe she does, but no action that she's taken for a very long time has said that. And like I was saying, every conversation turns back to her rather than gets… you know, rather than being excited. So, yeah, I just… I think you have to make the… the switch first.

J: Yeah, to see it.

S: And then… yeah, you have to see it first. And then from there, it will completely depend on your circumstances. Like, you might have family that comes over every single day. Our family just is a bit more geographically located so that doesn't happen; we tend to get together at birthdays and Christmas and like. But, yeah, I don't have any… no, I don't have any foolproof; sorry.

J: (Laughs)

S: There is no silver bullet when it comes to that one. It will be painful, I'm sure it will be hard, you may cup a lot of flack, but at the end of the day, you have to look after you. And if you've got a family, you have to look after your family. So if you have one of those vampire people and every time your family is around… like, if your kids don't want to go to Grandma's house or they don't want to go and hang out there because they can sense that it's not a great place, think about what it's doing to them, you know?

J: Mm-hmm.

S: We force ourselves to be friends with family because they're family. You know, there is no rule that says that.


J: Yeah, that's true, that's true. Well, I love that. That really comes back to that quote, you know, “Search…” well, not the quote, but what you said, “Search for the vampire people and become aware,” that's the first step. (Laughs)

S: Yeah. Once you… I think once you become aware, the… like most things, once you become aware, your brain starts taking over…

J: Mm-hmm.

S: … and the plan starts to formulate.

J: Right. So let's talk about what is exciting you in life today and then we'll launch into a few of your favorite things.

S: Okay, what's exciting me, I love the fact that my business is really growing right now. And, you know, that sounds so cliché, but when I sold off my retail stores, I kind of took a little bit of a hiatus. I was quite lucky, you know, I had some money, so I spent about… I knew what I wanted to do, but I spent about 6 to 8 months just creating loads and loads of content. So I did loads of video, I started my podcast, I was writing blog posts, and I wasn't really out there to make money at the time; so silly.


S: I should have really been looking to make money right from the beginning. But I was in that kind of, you know, like when you have a baby, I was in this flow of, “Start my business, can do whatever I want,” you know?

J: Mm-hmm.

S: “Mope around the house, write a blog post.” And probably about 8 months in, I was like, “Yeah, what about the money side of this?”


S: “Because the money is dwindling; really need to get this working.” So I've actually been working with a great coach for the last 12 months and put a lot of systems in place. I developed… in that time of content writing, I actually developed the first ever business course designed specifically for people who are in retail; so whether you've got bricks and mortar or an e-commerce business. And I had it, but I wasn't actually selling it. So I’ve been working with a coach, I've been, you know, creating some content. I love speaking so we've been doing some speaking around Australia and overseas, over in America. And I've just started webinars because everybody was talking about webinars and I couldn't really see the point, but now I love them because, hello, I like talking. (Laughs)

J: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

S: Like, I love interacting with people. So I now do these webinars where, it's not so much like a PowerPoint, I actually am on screen and I talk to people about, you know, how they can grow their businesses. So I'm really excited now that I've embraced this webinar thing because I get to fulfill my goal of helping people.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: And it's funny because, when I was a child, I always thought I wanted to be a teacher or a librarian.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: And I ended up not being a librarian because (Whispers: you have to be really quiet in the library); not my forte.


S: And the teacher thing, I just don't like kids.


S: As much as I owned a baby store, kids really annoy me, so the teacher thing never happened. So one of the things I worked out when I had my shop was, you can be a teacher without being a school teacher.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: And so I love being a teacher. I love helping people. I love seeing their businesses grow. And the whole webinar thing’s got me really excited because I… you know, as I said, I've just perfected… not perfected, I've just decided on this formula which is not so much about just hiding behind the PowerPoints, which so many webinars do, but is actually, you know, I have my face on the screen and I talked and I interact with people.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: So that's been really great, and just speaking. Like I really have made the effort to start putting myself out there and speak a lot more places because it's the thing I love doing. Like a lot of people hate speaking; I love speaking!


J: Yeah!

S: I was born to talk. (Laughs)

J: Well, so if any of our listeners, you know, are thinking about having a retail store or selling something and they want to watch one of your webinars, where should they go?

S: So I have actually… they were so full that I had to break them up into time zones to make sure we could get everybody on.

J: Oh my goodness!

S: So if you are looking for them, go to salenaknight.com/5wds (so ‘w’ for ‘ways’, ‘d’ for ‘double’, ‘s’ for ‘sales’) – and then your time zone, like Pacific, Eastern, Central. But I can give you some links to those, but it's just the time zones. So we had to break up the time zones because, you know, time zones over the world, all silly; you know, someone in the UK, it doesn't work for them, someone in Australia, it doesn't work for them, so we decided to break them up into time zones. So now I get to do them a lot more often, which is fabulous. And I do them live; like, none of this pre-recorded video. I'm there live and I love… yes, I love talking to people.

J: Yes.

S: And maybe we’ll get to the point where I automate it, but for now, I'm just really enjoying getting the feedback from what people need because, for me, it's great to talk because I love creating content. But if I could have that firsthand feedback that says, you know, “What's the biggest problem you're facing? Will this work for you?” you know, “Why won't you think it will work for you?” then I can adjust what I'm putting out to address those concerns.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: So when you get some information, it makes sense.

J: Yes, that's perfect. Well, I'm going to put links to those webinars on our show notes page at jenriday.com/70. And, yeah, you make it sound amazing because I love listening to you talk, so everyone should go check out your webinar…

S: (Laughs) Thank you!

J: … anyone in business at least. Well, so…

S: It's… the stuff I teach in there works for any business.

J: Oh, okay.

S: Yeah, it all makes sense. It's just been… it's the examples of more retail, but it's all business strategy.

J: Awesome, awesome. Well, let's launch into some of your favorite things, starting with a habit that has contributed to your success.

S: Ooh, a habit. So is constantly striving to succeed a habit?

J: Yes, of course.

S: Or is it a goal?


J: An intention? I don't know, sounds good.

S: An intention, that's probably one of them. Yeah, this desire to just be better, bigger, more, that's probably in it. But in terms of practical like the really obvious thing is I have to get outside every single day. I work from home, and even though I talk to people all day, it's behind of screen. So I just… I make sure I get out, walk the dog, you know, go to the park, go to the beach, all those kinds of things.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: Just getting outside at least once every single day.

J: Nice. And a favorite easy meal.

S: Ooh, tacos.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: Because I usually do… like I put… you know, put the steak into the slow cooker and I cook like 5 batches and then I just freeze them. So that's like the meal we have when mommy can't be bothered (Laughs); just grab some salad, grab some the meat out of the freezer and some taco shells, and we're good to go.

J: Yum. And what's your favorite kitchen gadget?

S: That would have to be my kettle for the several cups of tea I have every single day.

J: Mm.

S: Probably followed closely by the slow cooker in winter, and the food processor. But the kettle gets to work out probably 5 or 6 times a day.

J: What's your favorite kind of tea?

S: Look, I'm really boring, I just like Lipton's black tea bags. (Laughs)

J: Oh, okay, okay.

S: Every now and then, you know, I’ll branch out and have an Earl Grey, but… yeah, and every now and then, I’ll have a herbal tea when I think I've had too much tea for the day.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: But I just like drinking tea.

J: Now, is that a big thing in Australia?

S: Probably not as big as I make it out to be.


J: Because it's not a big thing in the US at all.

S: No, coffee… coffee is way…

J: Yeah.

S: … way more acceptable. And if I go out, I have chai because… well, I usually have to have… it's funny because, if you're lucky enough to go to a proper place that gives you real chai, it's great, but if you get like processed chai, then I always have to make sure it's half drinks because I find it's just way too sweet. That's my drink when I go out because I don't like coffee. But… and you can't drink tea in a takeaway cup, it's just… it doesn't work. (Laughs)

J: Ah, yeah. And so you said your kettle, so why don't you microwave your water? This is a random question that I've often asked myself. (Laughs)

S: No! Have you ever drunk microwaved a cup of tea? It doesn’t…

J: I have. It’s not as good?

S: Oh, no!


J: Really?

S: Oh, God, no. Oh, no, no. The water’s flat. It doesn't… I don't know, maybe it's the aeration that comes with the bubbles. I have microwaved a cold cup of tea like, you know, sometimes in the mornings you're busy and…

J: Uh-huh.

S: … you get halfway through, you know, I'll reheat it, but even then it still has a really flat taste.

J: Really? Ah!

S: But surely, it takes amount… about the same amount of time because a kettle takes like a minute and a half to 2 minutes.

J: Yeah.

S: And that’s how long it will take to microwave. So, yeah, why would you put it in the microwave? I don't know.

J: Well, what's your favorite book, Salena?

S: Ooh, favorite book. I do read; I read every single night when I go to bed.

J: Mm!

S: And I love reading books that take no brain space, if that makes sense.

J: Uh-huh, uh-huh.

S: So, you know, I'll read the, you know, detective books and stuff, but I never try and work out what's going to happen at the end because, by the time I go to bed, I don't want my brain to think anymore.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: So, in bed, I'll usually browse Pinterest for a short period of time and then I'll read the book. But I think in terms of the book that always sticks with me when people ask that is Seth Godin's ‘The Dip’. And it's a business book, but I think it works for just about any section of your life. And he talks about how you can be either in a dip or on a cliff or at a roundabout; think it's a roundabout. But he talks about when you're in a dip, you know, there's… it's just a blip on the radar, you know, you're always going to go back up, but a cliff is where you have to make a decision; it's either, you know, keep going or jump, you know, terminate. So I think it's really good. You can read it in like 2 hours, maybe an hour and a half. It's a really small book, super cheap on Kindle, you just sit down, read the whole thing. And then you start to think about things in your life and, you know, maybe it goes back to that mother thing as well. You could use that if you're having those family issues. But, yeah, that's probably the book that I always just go back to. I read every couple of years, just go, “Hmm, yep, okay, just remember to keep these things in mind.” But, you know, sometimes when you're in a down moment, it's not a cliff, and being able to realize that this is not a make or break thing, it's just a blip on the radar, it'll all get better, it's a rollercoaster life.

J: Seth Godin's ‘The Business Dip’?

S: No, just ‘The Dip’.

J: ‘The Dip’, got it, got it, okay. And the best advice you've ever received.

S: I don’t know; the best advice. I get really good advice every single day. I don't know if anything sticks… sticks out.

J: (Laughs). Most recent.

S: I don’t… yeah, I don’t know. Just the whole, “You can do it,” like, I just don't believe you can't. I remember… look, just quickly I'll tell you this quick story because I never been talking for ages. But I drove trucks for a living…

J: (Laughs)

S: … for a while.

J: Uh-huh.

S: I've worked for the government, so you used to get moved around quite a lot so you could learn lots of skills. So it's great; I drove big rigs. And we used to have to go and pick up blue metal to make concrete, and it was about a 2-hour drive away. And I once took a wrong turn. There was a roundabout (Laughs) (Funny we talked about roundabouts) and I accidentally took… it was one of those ones where you could kind of go left or a sharp left, and I took the sharp left by accident. And the minute I did it, I was like, “Oh, crap!” This was before we had, you know, satnavs.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: And so I was trying to pull out the street directory (I don’t know what you called them over there), trying to work out where I was going, there was nowhere to pull over and I started going down this massive hill. Like, you know, helping bends, the whole bit, one lane.

J: (Laughs)

S: And came back up, got to the other side and actually realized I would have ended up at the same place, but if I’d go on around, I end up like that. Both those roads converged at the same place, but one was way easier than the other.

J: Yeah.

J: And I remember getting back and I said one of the guys, “Oh, I accidentally took the gorge road,” he was like, “You took the truck down the gorge road?”

J: (Gasps)

S: It’s like, “Well I didn't take the truck down the gorge road, the truck just ended up down the gorge road.”

J: (Laughs)

S: He’s like, “And you made it back out again?” I was like, “What do you mean?” he goes, “You don't take the truck down the gorge road,” and I went, “Well, I did and I'm here.” And I remember thinking at the time, “But if no one tells you, ‘You can't,’ you don't know you can't.”

J: (Laughs)

S: So, you know, people tell you, “You can’t,” I want you to think about that because you probably can.

J: Yeah, “If people tell you, ‘You can't,’ think about it because you probably can,” okay. Well, let's go to your happiness formula.

S: Ooh.

J: What would be 3 to 5 things that contribute most to your happiness?

S: Okay, the family that I choose to be around would be one.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: I'm a very family-oriented person. Two would be my home. I love traveling, but I tend to freak out at about 3 weeks in.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: I'm a homebody so I like traveling, but home would be the second one. Third one, I think like laughter or fun, not happiness, that's it's a bit generic, but that whole… like, I like to laugh.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: You know, you have to smile, so I don’t know, think of a generic word for that. So your family …for sure, these are so generic, like I'm so… I'm really boring (Laughs). In the core of my being, I'm just a normal person as much as I'm…

J: (Laughs)

S: … out there and excited and all that kind of stuff. But definitely, maybe… I don't know, challenge; okay that's the other one, you said I could have 3 to 5. So I've got my family, I've got my home, I've got that whole laughing thing, and always being able to have a challenge because I am so bad if I have no project; my husband calls them projects. So whether it's work or renovating, we just recently bought a holiday house that we renovated, I always need to have a project. And if I go about 6 months without a project, he's like, “Oh my god, you need a project, don't you ?” I’m like, “Yeah, I need a project.”


J: Okay, okay, wait, back us up. So what are your, you know, the 10 most recent project you've done? Because this is so fun.

S: Oh, okay. So I just redid the storage in my office…

J: Mm-hmm.

S: … because I didn't have a good storage. I just completely gutted and renovated a holiday house which is 300 kilometers away. So…

J: You did it by yourself?

S: Well, no, no, no, I…

J: You had some help.

S: I designed it.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: And I did it… well, my husband and I did a lot of it, but we also had a builder…

J: Right.

S: … because you could only go… we would get in the car, pick up my daughter from school, drive down there on a Friday.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: And we get there at about 8:00 PM and then we would work Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday…

J: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

S: .. and come home real late Sunday night. So we just did that; very excited. You can see our beautiful home at southernbellemollymoook.com and…

J: Southernbelle what?

S: Molly Moook, that's the beach.

J: Oh.

S: And, yeah, so I designed that. I'm not a creative person, but I'm a logical person. So when I designed, you know, even the storage in the house and stuff like that it was like I like beauty, but it was all functional.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: So everything was like, “How much is… you know, you have to have this and you have to have that. You have to have a microwave cabinet. You have to have…” I remember just… my husband was going, “What do you need that for,” I’m like, “You need you have that,” you know?


S: “You need to have a food processor. You need to have an electric mixer. I don't like this going on holidays business and I can't cook.” So everything was functional, but I'm really proud of that because it's probably the most recent, but in May last year, we completely gutted our kitchen and dining room and redid those. That's my… kind of my projects are usually ripping things apart and building new ones.

J: Wow, I'm impressed. Well, yeah, keep going.

S: Next up is storage for the laundry. (Laughs)

J: Ah! So how do you have a business and a daughter and projects? I mean, that's pretty amazing.

S: The projects are fun.

J: Mm, mm.

S: But what are you going to do, sit on the land and watch TV all day?

J: So how many hours do you spend on your business and then how much for fun? See, I think work-life balance is always a theme we come back to.

S: Yeah. So I'm getting really, really good at this. So I used to… I did a podcast probably about 12 months ago and I remember being slightly embarrassed because we were talking about stress, not big stress, but low-grade stress, and I remember saying to her, “Oh, look, I constantly operate at low-grade stress. I had my whole life, like I kind of need a deadline; I need to be pushed,” all this kind of stuff. And after we got off, she's like, “That is really not a good state to be in. Like, I really urge you to think about that state.”

J: (Gasps) Oh boy!

S: You know, in a very lovely way.

J: Uh-huh, uh-huh.

S: Like she was so loving about the thing. And I remember I really did, I took it away going, “I kind of put myself in this state of stress. Like, it's not the world stressing me out, it's me choosing to be lazy and leaving things to the last-minute…”

J: Mm-hmm.

S: “… or not being organized,” I'm not a very good organizer; I'm much better now, and I did make a really big pivot after that.

J: Mm.

S: So I don't work as many hours. I don't always come to my office at 9 o'clock and finish at 4.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: Sometimes I’ll, you know, watch some TV or read a book or whatever, but I would say that I probably work, on average, probably 10, 11, 12, 1, 2, probably about 5 to 6 hours a day.

J: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

S: But that could be 7 days a week, but then it could be no days a week. So, yeah, I'm getting better at, not just going 9 to 5 in my home office because that's what I did when I first gave up… when I first saw my stores, I was like, “Okay, drop the kid off at school, going into my office.”

J: Ah.

S: And then just be…

J: Just get it done with, yeah, and save the weekends.

S: Yeah, yeah. But now I’m kind of like, “Yah, I don’t really have to do that.” (Laughs)

J: Ah!

S: I could just… I could just choose not to or I could just get my assistant to do it.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: So it's still a work in progress and, yeah, my assistant is starting to take on a bit more, only because I've been pretty slack at… at giving it to him to do. So just a great big thing when I do the webinars is all the set up, and so I just… like the other day, I was like, “I'm going to write the process and give it to him,” because he's perfectly capable of doing this.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: I just choose to do it myself. Why am I choosing to do it myself? That's like an hour I could have back.

J: Yeah.

S: … you know…

J: Smart, smart.

S: … to works on a project.

J: Yeah. Well, let's have a challenge from you to our listeners and then remind us again where we could find you and then we'll say goodbye.

S: Okay. So my challenge might be to go and evaluate your relationships and see if you have those vampire people. I couldn't think of something, but now, yeah, I think that's a really good one. Just think about the relationships and what… and it… you know, who energizes you and who depletes you. And if there are people who deplete you, then what can you do about that?

J: Mm-hmm, okay.

S: We don’t have time in our life to be down all the time; life's too short.

J: Yeah, too short. Well, thank you so much for being on the show. This has been so fun and I've got to meet you in person one day, and I'm sure I'll have you back again because you're just that type of person we have to…

S: (Laughs)

J: … call on you. (Laughs)

S: Thank you.

J: Thanks for being on the show, Salina.

S: Not a problem. Thank you so much for having me; you have a fantastic day.

J: You too take care.

Salina is a total rock star, right? I loved talking with her. Be sure to join me next week when I talk with Tsh Oxenreider, all about how to live simply and put people before stuff. Tsh is the host of The Simple Show podcast, so if you haven't listened to that, be sure to do so and you'll have a little taste of who she is before we do the interview next week? Alright, everyone, make it a fantastic week. Don't be a victim, be empowered, choose your life just like Salena said, and I will see you next time. Take care.

Outro: Thanks for listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast at www.jenriday.com.