leadership

Shark Tank’s Janine Allis: If you don’t make mistakes you’re not trying hard enough

Angela Priestley /

Janine Allis has a bunch of new investments in 2015, including a new business offering an underwear subscription service for men who feel a little uncomfortable, or forgetful, when it comes to buying new jocks.

Thanks to her time as an investor on Channel 10’s Shark Tank, she also now owns a 30% stake in food delivery service The Dinner Ladies, a 10% stake in portable washing machine Scrubba Washbag, and a 35% stake in Flyabee, a company manufacturing pop-up canopies for bassinets and prams.

All of this comes on top of her role as founder and managing director of Retail Zoo, the umbrella group that controls Boost Juice, which now has more than 400 outlets, employing 7000 staff around the world.

So it’s fair to say Allis is likely to be a little busy for the rest of 2015, and possibly the next decade.

And, as we discovered yesterday when she addressed our networking breakfast in Melbourne, she’s also very, very popular amongst the Women’s Agenda crowd.

It’s not hard to figure out why. Allis is not only an incredible female success story — now worth an estimated $66 million, according to BRW — but more than willing to share the knowledge she’s acquired in business.

At one stage she even told a budding franchisee-owner to go to the Boost Juice website and simply “rip off” the documents available. “There’s the application form. There’s the systems. Just have a crack,” she said.

She’s also very much a ‘glass half full’ kind of businesswoman, promoting a positive mindset to counter negativity, deal with mistakes and get stuff done. She doesn’t mind acknowledging her complete business naïveté when starting out, as well as her lack of formal qualifications (Allis left school at age 16).

Still, she’s not going to tell women they’re at an unfair advantage when it comes to business. “I believe we create our own glass ceiling,” she said, noting women in Australia can achieve whatever they want with determination, hard work and support. She added that she’s never found being a female entrepreneur a negative.

However, she did concede she had no life balance when starting out – especially with a number of kids at home – and had a significant level of support from her mother and husband Jeff. She worked 24/7 and gave her soul to the business, at one stage opening a new store every week. “I tried to set myself up to achieve.”

As such, she told the audience that starting a business for more ‘life balance’ is a crazy idea. “When you start a business you never work so hard in your life.” Having sold the family home to support the business, she said she was mostly driven by fear. There was simply no option but to succeed. “We were all in.”

During those early years, Allis was too busy to network and seek much advice from others. Building the business became her university qualification. Indeed, she even learned to get over expensive mistakes by training herself to view losing large sums of money as merely another educational investment.

“Without mistakes I would not have the business I have today… Without mistakes you’re not trying hard enough.”

Allis was mobbed by the audience for selfies, advice and even a couple of business pitches following her Q&A session with Women’s Agenda. She’s as popular as the juices she created.

Angela Priestley is an Associate Publisher with Private Media and the founding editor of Women’s Agenda. She’s an author, journalist and passionate advocate for workplace gender equality and diversity. Her first book is Women Who Seize the Moment.This story originally appeared on Women’s Agenda.

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Angela Priestley

Angela Priestley is the publisher and founding editor of Women's Agenda. She's an author, journalist and passionate advocate for workplace gender equality and diversity. Her first book is Women Who Seize the Moment.

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