It’s not easy to own and grow a business – and on top of the stress that comes with being the big boss, it can often feel lonely at the top. But sharing experiences with our (business) friends can make the world of difference.
Susan Menso, one of Queensland’s most successful property developers, began her career teaching book-keeping and computing at TAFE, so it comes as no surprise that Susan is passionate about sharing her knowledge and expertise with others.
Susan has sat down with people many times and taught them the elements she believes are key to her success. In this same generosity of spirit – understanding the impact sharing her own expertise with others can have – she recently shared her story at an intimate breakfast with members of CommBank’s Women in Focus and Business Chicks communities. With honesty and humour she gave her advice on how women can learn from one another, grow a business and, in doing so, secure their financial wellbeing.
Bringing women together to learn from each other is a fundamental pillar of the Women in Focus community. Melynda Carpenter, Head of Women in Focus, says, “It’s important for our events to be inspirational, but we also want women to leave with actionable insights that they can implement in their own lives and their own businesses”.
Whilst Susan’s original goal was simply to secure her own financial future and to ‘not have to rely on a pension’, she has continually readjusted her own goalposts. In her early days of development, she build and sold a block of townhouses within six months, making a profit of $600,000. Her initial goal of making a million dollars became $5 million once the million-dollar milestone was reached. It then became $10 million, then $20 million plus. Susan says what drives her now to keep on going is simply the sense of achievement that comes with her successes.
Hosting events to allow other women to hear Susan’s story around creating wealth is part of the Women in Focus mission to encourage other women to aim higher. Too many women don’t dream big enough for themselves, their careers, their businesses and their wealth. Business Chicks and Women in Focus are united in wanting women to want more for themselves and to have the tools they need to thrive. Emma Isaacs says, “It takes the same amount of work to run a $1 million dollar company as it does to run a $10 million dollar company, so why not chase down the $10 million dollar company?”
The Women in Focus team hears the same consistent feedback from the community of women they support. It’s learning the stories of other women who have grown their businesses to sizes beyond their initial dreams that encourages other women to want to play a bigger game and reach for stretch goals; to take their businesses from survive to thrive. “There is something magical about bringing together a group of women. Knowing you’re not alone and that you have a community who believe in you, we can lift one another up to reach our most ambitious goals. We are stronger when we work together,” says Melynda.
It’s why we need to continue to provide ways for women to come together to share learnings and encourage each other’s growth. Susan says she’d love to see more women step into property development, as she believes women’s natural skillset – conflict resolution and multi-tasking – means they’d be able to enjoy what she describes as an “incredibly rewarding career”. And while money may not buy happiness, it can certainly help create choices – and those choices can help you create the life you want to lead. Sometimes you just need a dose of inspiration, a little encouragement and the knowledge that you’re not alone.
Susan's advice to other females:
- Self-belief is everything.
- Be forward looking, not backward looking.
- Bring others up with you.
- Set yourself bigger goals than you want to.