If there’s one goal that most startup entrepreneurs have in common, it’s to create a business (or systems within a company) that allows you to have more time with family and break free of being chained to an office. My guest this week has done just that. Rebecca Simon now teaches other business owners how to have their cake and eat it too, from her idyllic life on an island in Fiji. If that’s your goal, too, you can’t miss this episode of my podcast, Small Talk Big Ideas!
Rebecca Simon has been a business owner and entrepreneur for over 17 years, but only a few short years ago she and her husband moved into the online space and retired themselves in 5 months.
They are now helping to change lives globally with a team expanding fast across 50 countries. They now live the life of their dreams living life by design from an island in FIJI.
Having created a simple success formula, they now share this with others through The Lifestyler Company, founded in 2020, which is unique diary/planner with a built-in Task Management, personal development and goal setting tool inside called “The Lifestyler Planner” .
Rebecca and and her family now live life doing what they love, helping others and teaching people that miracles really do happen outside of your comfort zone and through planning and goal setting.
Thanks for joining us for this Small Talk, Big Ideas Podcast, a podcast to enrich your soul, where we have conversations with inspiring people about all things property, business, and life. And now the host of Small Talk, Big Ideas, Ian Ugarte.
Ian Ugarte (00:24):
Hi there today on Small Talk, Big Ideas, I talk to Rebecca Simon, who I reached out to because she did what most people should do when they’re feeling like they should go and sit on a beach. She sold everything and moved to Fiji. How about you listen to her story and maybe it’ll give you a second thought about whether you should do that too. As always, you can follow us on all the social media channels and enjoy today’s episode of Small Talk, Big Ideas. Well, I normally start with where you grew up and so where were you born, where did you grow up?
Rebecca Simon (00:58):
I was born in Adelaide, Australia and yeah, so I pretty much lived there my whole life up until three years ago.
Ian Ugarte (01:10):
Right. And so local school, private school, was it standard living, you have your struggle for costs every week?
Rebecca Simon (01:23):
Yeah, well, I grew up in a very poor family and where my mom and dad struggled. So my dad was pretty much an alcoholic, so he didn’t work. He stayed up till 3:00 in the morning and got up at 3:00 in the afternoon. And so my mum had to go out and do two jobs. So we grew up very poor, I had to grow up very, very fast and being the eldest child. And so I think I had my first job when I was 12 years old, riding the bike around the streets and collecting the money for the advertiser.
Ian Ugarte (01:58):
Rebecca Simon (02:00):
Ian Ugarte (02:01):
How did that come to pass your parents? Do you have a good relationship with them still or none at all?
Rebecca Simon (02:10):
My father is upstairs in, so in heaven I say he died 10 years ago now. And my mum, yes, I’m very, very close to my mum. I have a brother and sister, my mum, they’re all living in Adelaide still. And thank God for FaceTime because it keeps us connected with the family and the cousins. And so my children can still have a relationship with their cousins and especially while there’s no traveling over the last year.
Ian Ugarte (02:40):
Isn’t that amazing? I did some time in TAFE, New South Wales and I ended up pretty high up in management, but I remember saying to my institute director in 2008, I think it was, I said to her, “We’re going to start being able to assess students onsite while they’re working via video conference.” And she looked at me as if I had another head and yet here we are, I only had 10 years and a bit more later and we’re doing what we’re doing. This is just amazing, isn’t it?
Rebecca Simon (03:14):
Absolutely. The world has evolved and yeah, so important to keep up with that and evolve yourself at the same time as the world is evolving and growing constantly, learning every single day.
Ian Ugarte (03:31):
And you’re exactly right. And I think now we talk a bit more about that in a second. Can I go back to your father? Did you get any resolution? When was the realization that maybe he could have been better to be able to support the family? And did you get any resolution with him before he passed?
Rebecca Simon (03:54):
Yeah, that’s a hard one because being the oldest child, I always had to grow up very, very fast. So I looked after my father, so I put him into a rehab for six months and I noticed a huge change. And he was loving life again. He was loving himself. Yeah, it’s a vicious cycle. When you get into anxiety and depression, it becomes a vicious cycle. And the only way out is to wake up in the morning and have that glass of wine, and that would take the nerves away and that anxiety away. And so when he came out of rehab, he went back to his old ways. And so he died very unexpectedly. His platelets got low, he didn’t go in for a top-up into the hospital and it was just like a split second and it just went to his brain and he just passed away, but he always said he never wanted to live past 50.
He was scared of getting old. I come from a family where he’s one of seven brothers, one of them. And they came out from Liverpool when they were all in their early teens. And one of them was a very famous drummer in a band called Cold Chisel. So that was my father’s brother. And so we grew up in a very rock and roll drinking lifestyle. And so yeah, for me, I was put in front of that very early. And even I tried to get my dad out of that vicious cycle. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink unless they want to drink themselves. And he never really wanted to drink. He never wanted to grow old and this was his way out, just drinking himself to the death. And so I guess for me, the closure was I knew in my heart that I did everything I could to help him. And yeah, I’ve done a lot of work on myself in my personal development journey to understand all that too.
Ian Ugarte (05:50):
Yeah. Certainly fixing that six-year-old and I took on so much. Finished school, what was the jobs that you did?
Rebecca Simon (05:59):
So first job, age 12 was riding my bicycle around the neighborhood to collect the money for the advertiser. And then at age 15, I got a job at Tashay or Target. And so I was cutting material in the manufacture department. I got offered a manager’s position when I was about maybe 17, but my mum said, “Absolutely, no, you get out, if you get into that, that’s it for you, you know what I mean? You’ll just stay in retail for the rest of your life and there’s not much movement there.” So I saw year 12 out and was very blessed to be able to get a government traineeship. And so what it was, they give you a job for three days a week and you go to TAFE for two days a week.
So I got like a clerical traineeship with the government. So I went to the country hospital not far from where I lived. And then two days a week, I was at the TAFE learning business and stuff like that. So I did that for a year and that hospital offered me a position at the end of it. So that was really great. And then I worked my way up through many hospitals. So I’ve probably been in about three or four hospitals until I got to a point where I was at the highest I could go. I met my husband. And then he was a tradesman. So he was a cabinet maker by trade. And at that point, when we met, we both decided to… I was in another government position pretty high up by then. And we decided to start our own business.
So we started a company called Mass Installation, which is a service to the trade. So we would kind of really disrupted the building industry 13, 17 years ago now. And we owned that company for 13 years and we built that up to turn over quite a few million dollars a year. But we just absolutely hated what we did for a living.
Ian Ugarte (08:01):
What did you do to disrupt?
Rebecca Simon (08:07):
Well, obviously companies go out there, like a kitchen company and then they hire staff and then those staff generally make the cabinets or the fit-outs and then they go on site and then they install it. So they go to like the bank or the hospital or the residential homes. And so we started an installation company where we said, “Okay, well, this is going to zero overhead costs for us because we’re not making any of the stuff.” And then it’s a win-win because these companies now that we can work for all of the companies around South Australia, so they going to make all the fit-outs and do the cupboards and the cabinetry.
And then we send our team in and we do the installation work for them. So their staff can stay on site, still get more work done because they can stay in the factory and pump out more work. And we go out on site and we do the installation work. So yeah, and it ended up taking off and a lot of companies around South Australia used our services, which meant our business grew meant to expand our team. And it was great.
Ian Ugarte (09:15):
Being a builder by trade. I’m just thinking from the install component on your side, you must’ve had some really good systems and processes because if someone’s measured up, made the cabinets, you turn up on site and they’re not going to fit the space. How often does that come up? Was there ever a job the way you turned up and we all that worked out quite nice?
Rebecca Simon (09:37):
Yeah. It did. We worked with pretty good quality businesses, but yeah, you always get that, but I mean, you just allow for that and you say, Okay, so this is wrong, get us this by this date, we’ll come back,” and it’s just a defect. So then we charge them to come back and then do that last defect. And so it’s another service.
Ian Ugarte (09:56):
So it sounded like you end up being administration managers of a business, which you really didn’t like, because your husband must have been on the tools anymore?
Rebecca Simon (10:05):
Yeah. We grew that business up to be huge to the point of my husband was able to play golf. We had systems, we had everything in place where he could go play golf, check on a few sites, make a few calls to the boys during the day and happy days. And then 2008, the global financial [inaudible 00:10:21] hit us. And that’s when we had to downsize quite fast. And then Michael had to get back on the tools again. And that was just, he’d had a taste of some lifestyle. And then he said back, “I can’t do this till I’m 75. I can’t be back on the tools again.” I guess that’s when our life completely turned around. When we started something completely different. And we started our personal development journey at the same time and life took a complete different turn for us.
Ian Ugarte (10:56):
Okay. So you had to downsize and it’s really heartbreaking when you’d have to downsize, because you obviously got to get rid of family, literally to a point where they feel like your brothers, sisters, and they’ve got mortgages and whatever, and you’ve got to make some tough positions based on your survival. That’s a bit of an upheaval to start with. So personal development wise, what was your start? Was there a mentor? What direction did you take?
Rebecca Simon (11:21):
Yeah, so it all started when we took our company. We grew it again from that global financial crisis. That’s when we decided, okay, need a coach. You can take advice off all the people around you, but are they where you want to be? No. So let’s take advice of someone who is where we want to be. We went out, we sought a great business coach. I think it was called Action International back then. And we had I think we from the bread sugar days and so we had him come out and he charged us a fortune and gave us tasks each week of what we had to do for our marketing, our systems, our procedures again, just everything to rebuild. And so that’s when he then introduced us to personal development and said, “Rebecca, read this book, guys I reckon you’ll like it.”
And then he said, “Do you know, this guy called Tony Robbins?” And we’re like, “No.” And he said, “Well, you got to look into this guy. He’s running a big conference in Sydney in a few months and you guys should get a ticket and go, it’ll change your life.” And so my husband and I were like, “Should we go, should we not?” And then we decided, “Yeah, all right, let’s go. Why not? Get out to Sydney, hit the bars and clubs afterwards, why not?” And then that was like a four day event Unleash The Power Within, and that’s the day we walked on hot coals. And I thought I was first going to a coal, day one. I was like, man, this is a coal, looking around at all these weirdos dancing in the seats.
And then by day two, my husband’s like, “Oh, we soon.” And I was like, “Okay.” And then I felt like I was in trouble. So then I listened. And then all of a sudden I just had this, like, “Oh, this guy is amazing. He’s talking common sense stuff that we just do not do.” And so that’s when we signed up for his whole university mastery. And so went to a couple of places around the world, went to a health retreat out in Fiji, in a place called Savusavu, which is funny enough where we live today. And yeah, that was, I guess the start all the personal development journey.
Ian Ugarte (13:36):
Did you do some cruising on the health retreat?
Rebecca Simon (13:41):
Ian Ugarte (13:42):
Rebecca Simon (13:45):
Ian Ugarte (13:46):
Rebecca Simon (13:46):
I did some Col. Is that like another word for colonics?
Ian Ugarte (13:50):
Yeah, that’s what they calls it. I have a diploma in colonic irrigation as one of my others in my cap. Yeah. I’ve got a machine out the back. What I really like about Anthony Robbins in recent years is he’s really come into his heart. Back then business, focused on getting people to change and focused on money. But in the last call, it last eight years, I suppose I’ve seen a very significant change in him as a human being and absolutely amazing. I have destiny over in Florida. And yeah, it was an awesome six days. And I come from the basis of looking at a different filter through the advanced management and the advanced production because we run events and man, I was blown out of the water the way that he’s team runs those events, that’s amazing. Apart from the content, the content is just mind-blowing, but the events set up and how he runs his team. He’s amazing, so. In the time that you’re in Adelaide obviously business doing well then a rebuild, did you invest in property at all?
Rebecca Simon (15:10):
Yeah. We had three property. So yes, we rented those out lived in one. And yeah, we just happen to sell in really bad times, but that was because we really wanted to move overseas and so we wanted to just clean up everything and start a new but yeah, so we were heavily into investing and attending courses around property investing and that’s what got us into having three rental homes.
Ian Ugarte (15:47):
What property investing courses did you do?
Rebecca Simon (15:50):
Ian Ugarte (15:53):
Rebecca Simon (15:57):
I think that was her name back then. It’s so long ago.
Ian Ugarte (16:00):
It’s really. I was her too I see for about eight years.
Rebecca Simon (16:04):
Ian Ugarte (16:04):
Yeah. So I wrote five and a half of programs before I went out on my own. So she taught me what I do. I’m very grateful for the teachings. And I think that’s where I’ll leave that part of it. What else did you do?
Rebecca Simon (16:22):
What else did we do? I guess just anything we came across really just our own research. And I guess we took advice from our financial advisor as well. And we had a good relationship with a real estate agent at the time. He was a good friend of ours and he would bring us up and say, “Hey, there’s this development. I reckon it’s going to end up growing really fast. They’re putting in a super school, they’re putting in this, they’re putting in that. And I reckon the property value would go up.” So we bought out there and yeah. So I guess it was great.
Ian Ugarte (16:56):
What was the step and the decision when, was the decision when he had to go back on the tools that you were going to go and live overseas part-time or full-time was that when it was, or what was the turning point to say? “Well, when we want to live outside of Australia.”
Rebecca Simon (17:14):
Yeah. It was kind of the day he came home and he said, “I can’t see myself doing this business until I’m 75. And so we need to think smarter and not harder. I don’t enjoy the building industry. I’m sick of being on site with people who, don’t, I guess inspire me.” If you know what I mean? And so we ended up just going out. Then we tried some online things, things like affiliate marketing, and drop shipping on the sides. And we started it, we joined a network marketing company, failed miserably at each and every single one of them, I think we made about $13 a month in the network marketing company, I think we made $100 for that affiliate program. And so we just quit that.
And then we just got back to what we [inaudible 00:18:13] that’s just business and me working in the government. By then I was only down to three days a week because I’d become a mum. And so I could cope with three days a week getting in there, and just getting it out. And then we got to approach, well, actually we saw a friend of ours in the U.S. who we knew was with an network marketing company that we had been in, the one we left. And we saw all the sudden he was flying all around the world. First class, Lamborghinis, you name it. And we’re like, “What is he doing?” As he won the lottery what’s happened, has he made it in that company? And so my husband reached out and said, “What are you up to these days, Mike, life seem to look awesome?”
And he said that he had left that company and joined a different company like is under the banner of network marketing. But he said completely different, not like anything changing the whole industry because he too was scarred. And so yeah, my husband asked him a few questions. My husband came home and said, “Hey, there’s no one in Australia doing this. It’s going to launch here. Do you want to have a look at it?” I said, absolutely, “No, you join and I’ll kill you.” And then a week later he came home from work and he said, “I ended up joining that company.” And I was like, “Here we go again. Yeah. Scams, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the family, go for it.” But if it starts to, you’re going off to this meeting, you do it doing this and you’re doing that, then you’re not going to do it anymore.”
And then seven weeks later he a position, the company where he was making about $2,000 a month and he qualified for Mercedes-Benz car. And I thought it was way too good to be true. Where’s the catch. And then, yeah, I jumped on a call with the founders of the company. They wanted to meet us. We’ll meet Mike more than anything. And so we jumped on and I guess I was a bit of a skeptic. And when I met these guys, I was like, “Oh my God, they’re just not what I expected the most beautiful softly spoken and humble people I’ve ever met.”
And when they explained what they were doing this they’re billionaires and they don’t need a cent and while they’re doing it. It just really resonated with me and the charity work they do, which I absolutely love to do. So I was like, “Oh, yeah, this is deal.” So yeah, I told a couple of the mums at school and about it. And then I helped my husband get to a diamond position in the company within five months, completely retired ourselves, made more money in a month than most people do in a year. And so that’s when we [inaudible 00:20:58].
Ian Ugarte (20:59):
So you sold the business, what’s the product?
Rebecca Simon (21:04):
It’s natural health supplements. Based on science and cold press, it’s not just like some cheap crap with fillers and binders and stuff like that. They cut no corners with this. So we’ve got like Olympians and dieticians and naturopathic doctors who actually recommend it because it’s very like potent kind of stuff.
Ian Ugarte (21:29):
So you get yourself up to diamond level in there. And you obviously bringing others on board as well. Where’s the point where you finally go, “We’re at a point where we no longer need to be in Australia,” and you go.
Rebecca Simon (21:45):
Yeah. So the business was online, because it was really like to stop in the industry. We grew up all online and yeah. All the stuff that everybody hated about network marketing, we just did the complete opposite. And so it grew very fast across 50 countries. And so that’s where we decided, we realized that we bought all these fancy cars and they hadn’t even left the garage. And so we’re sitting at home, working from home and we’re like one day my daughter came home from school and I’d been through hell and back with this private school that she was at with severe bullying. And she came home one day and snot was dripping out of her nose, tears were coming out and she could barely talk. And she said, “Oh, I want to kill myself.” And at that point I said to my husband, “I am fed up with the school system. I’m fed up with these mums and dads that think their children are golden children for the sake of society. I’m just sick of everything.” I was sort of runaway and protect my kids and live on an island.
And it was kind of a joke that turned into me and Mike just googling one night and we’re just googling. So what would it take to move to an island? Is it possible? How could we do it? And like, we’ve got the income to do it now. So so we just started googling and researching and then next minute we’re on a flight out of there. And we came around and had a look because we knew that it was going to be Fiji because every time we come at a holiday or went on a family holiday, because we travel all around the world, but our favorite place was always Fiji.
So when we got off the plane and that heat just hit you and then the Fijians are standing in the airport and they’ve got their ukuleles out and they’re like, “Di ding, di ding, di ding.” And they’re like, “Whoa” with their bring smiles. And I was just like, “Oh, I love it here.” It just gave me that feeling. And so yeah, it just turned from googling into, shit, this is going to happen. Is it going to happen? I don’t know, like, oh, it was the most overwhelming, scary experience of my life. And we had so many people just say, “What the hell are you doing? You’re going to a place where the hospital systems are bad. You’re taking your kids away from their families, dancing lessons, music, whatever they want to do, modern facilities and then also, “Oh my God, they might be right. What if they are right?”And so, yeah, it was very scary, but we just thought, “You know what? You’re born in your die. Let’s just give it a go, worst case scenario. We’ll just come back up.”
Ian Ugarte (24:29):
So did sell up in Adelaide, the home or?
Rebecca Simon (24:31):
Ian Ugarte (24:32):
Rebecca Simon (24:32):
Yeah. We made the decision just to go everything. I don’t have to worry about anything. Initially we were buying a resort, so we needed the money. So to live here because I’m under 45. You have to invest into the country to live here. They only class you as retired if you’re 45 and over. So even though we’re technically semi retired, I can’t live here without a business. So we had to come in as investors. And so we put an offer in, on a resort, it got accepted and we moved. And then basically from there, by the time we got here, we went through hell and back. Corruption, you name it, things changing what they said wasn’t real. So we pulled out of that and then now we just actually live here.
Ian Ugarte (25:27):
You got over there on a contract of buying a resort and what it was compared to what it turned out to be with two very different things, you pulled out, but you’re still not 45. So how did you stay there?
Rebecca Simon (25:40):
Well, luckily, no one sessions probably say this on live, but one’s really [crosstalk 00:25:46], said anything yet.
Ian Ugarte (25:49):
Do we have to hold this podcast for another five years until you turn 45?
Rebecca Simon (25:55):
I know what am I’m about 43, 2 years. So I will. At the moment we’ve been blessed with, I guess they’re pretty crazy here. And COVID has really got them thinking other things right now. I think we’re the least of their worries. We’re still bringing money into the country, which is what they desperately need right now. And so we’ve decided what we want to do here is we’re looking at two lands at the moment two piece of land, the land we’re on now. So it’s 130 acres of rainforest speech front. Been living here now for three years. And so we’ve decided that this is the piece of land. So I guess the plan is now to just build the dream home, build a few villages and a conference center so that we because Tony Robbins doesn’t really do much here anymore.
So he’s about 30 minutes from us. And no, Molly doesn’t really do any of that anymore. And so we’ve got a big network across 50 countries. We’ve started another company called the Lifestyler Company. And what we want to try and do is we’re going to start the lifestyle retreats, where we talk about the six areas of life. And we bring in keynote speakers from all around the world and we touch a bit on business, health, relationships, connection, personal growth, skillset, contribution. All those sorts of things. And so that’s how we’re going to get around, just do maybe run two or three events a year. And then the rest of the year, we can just live happily here and everything can be used for other things, the conference room for yoga, for other people on the island to use as a wedding or so. Yeah. So that’s what the plan is a long-term plan for here.
Ian Ugarte (27:40):
I became the speaker at those events if you’ve got an opening for me. Have you worked out well, give me an understanding of what a block of land would be worth over there and have you costed building the place?
Rebecca Simon (27:58):
So well, I mean it varies. I mean, there’s a lot of ex-pat community here. Americans, New Zealand, Australians, primarily. Everything is based in U.S. dollars. And I mean, a house on maybe are under an acre, maybe half an acre to an acre could be 300,000 U.S. to a million U.S., the block of land that we’re on is probably 2.4. That’s what he’s asking. And then we would have to build on top of that, put in, there’s obviously a lot of work to be done here. That’s all rainforest and we’ve got to put in roads and plumbing and you name it. So it’s not cheap, but labor labor’s cheap though.
Ian Ugarte (28:55):
Yes. So as a consideration of someone over the age of 45, if I wanted to move to Fiji and rent a smaller house or a house on a one acre block, what sort of costs am I looking at on a weekly basis for rent?
Rebecca Simon (29:08):
You would be looking at around about, I mean, depends whatnot, the type of house you want, if you’re happy with just like a shack, it might be 500 Fiji in a month, which is about, it’s not a lot of money at all. So 750 a month, yes, say it could be about 1,000 [pole 00:29:32] to one and a half thousand a month.
Ian Ugarte (29:35):
Right. That’s in Fijian?
Rebecca Simon (29:38):
Ian Ugarte (29:39):
What does that translate to roughly Australian dollar?
Rebecca Simon (29:45):
I guess my family sent over $100 for my daughter the other day and that equated to about $140 a Fijian.
Ian Ugarte (29:56):
Yes. I’m looking at about 500. So looking about 300 to 500 Australia to rent a house.
Rebecca Simon (30:03):
Yeah. I mean, that’s the thing simple. It could be a little bit more depending. If you go to dinner out in the mainland in Nandy and you get the big mansions with the infinity edge pool at the front of your house, it might be a couple of thousand Fijian a month.
Ian Ugarte (30:22):
I mean, if you’re going to leave Australia to Fiji, it’s for the simple life for the first bit, anyway. It’s about sort of deconstructing what’s been constructed in your life somewhere overseas.
Rebecca Simon (30:34):
That’s exactly right. That’s one thing that we noticed when in Australia, my husband had an Aston Martin H1 Hummer, we had a Merc, we have a nice house on the beach front. And yet, I mean, we’re happy people. We have fantastic family, we love each other to bits. But all those things were a rule adrenaline rush, and it was more to say, oh my God, like, growing up poor, you go, “Oh my God, I can have these things now?” And so it’s kind of like, you go out and you bought these things and you realize that they don’t make you any more happier, because I’m already happy. And then you realize you’re doing it to keep up with other people. And then, I don’t know, I just entered this rat race that you get in of, who’s got what, and what car on what brand you’re wearing?
And in the end I was gone mental. I got to a point I was buying, I accidentally bought two of the same dresses because I forgot I’d already bought it. And that I’ve got a problem and this is out of control. And so Mike and I selling absolutely everything and coming over here has amazing, I’m around the poorest people in the world. And they are the happiest people in the world. And we’ve had COVID hit us here. So people have lost all their jobs. We have had two huge cyclones, completely wipe out this island, a good chunk of the island. And yet people are still laughing and singing in the streets and just, Mike and I went around and obviously Mike being a builder, went and helped a few people put their roofs back on and sheets of tin, things like that. They’re resilient people. They’re happy people. And they’re the type of people I wanted my children to grow up around, not what’s going on back.
Ian Ugarte (32:28):
Well, it’s one of the lessons that came to me. I end up going down the road of becoming a big block developer and I woke up one morning suicidal and it was because I thought money would make me happy. And it actually made me more unhappy. And it’s something I say, when I’m on stage all the time, if you think the money is going to make you happy, you’re in a bit of a problem dilemma here, because money is make you happy because if money made you happy then people in Fiji would be very unhappy because…
Rebecca Simon (32:59):
Exactly, money for me, what we teach people is money just amplifies who you are. I don’t know if I’ll swear on here, but-
Ian Ugarte (33:07):
Exactly, the biggest [inaudible 00:33:09], I’ll tell in the world, yeah.
Rebecca Simon (33:12):
But my always say if you’re a lanker and you come into money, just become a bigger lanker. If you’re a good person and you come into money, you just become a better person. And I think that’s the type of people, what has been able to do for us and other people and our loved ones and our family. And I remember we gave Mike’s mom and dad who just adorable human beings. They live in the same house. They built in the ’70s. And it’s still got the same decor and they never go anywhere or do anything.
And they’re the first to just jump up and do anything for me and Mike. And so we gave him a check for 20 grand and sent him on a holiday. And that is the best feeling in the world. And to be able to do charity work over here in Fiji, I do broad drives for women. We did footy boots. And when the cyclone hit, Mike and I went around and gave food to five villages here for Christmas day, a ton of food, a whole youthful. And just being able to do that now is just, I don’t know. It’s just a whole different experience. Money is really just nothing if you, it’s.
Ian Ugarte (34:26):
And that’s the reason I’ve got you on the podcast because I’ve been sitting back in the last few months going is, we’re running a business and we’ve got a very big passion to reshape housing in Australia. But there’s just days where you just feel like the whole world’s fighting against you and you just go sit in on an island somewhere and be much happier and not have to push back. Yeah. That would probably be a little bit of corruption here and there and everywhere, but at least you can pay for that and just move on.
Rebecca Simon (34:53):
Ian Ugarte (34:54):
What about the school for kids? What do your kids do for school?
Rebecca Simon (35:02):
When we got here, we put them into the local village school for one year. That was for socializing. I guess getting to know the community ourselves. We moved here for the Fijian community, not for the ex-pat community, even though we have some fantastic times with them. And it’s fantastic. All the walks of life that are here and hearing everybody’s stories of how we all ended up here is just, wow, mind blowing, the people you meet here, phenomenal. But we put them into school just to get to know everyone and be a part of community and get the kids, some friends. Because that’s a big thing that we thought the kids would miss out on is a social skill, the social aspect. So they did a year there.
It was fun. They learnt a lot. I’ve combed out quite a few nits in that time, in that year. And we put some toilet seats on the toilet, so the kids could go to the toilet. We their books were mainly empty. It was a bit of a challenge. But otherwise it was a really good experience and it was the best thing ever. But now what we do is after that year, we went okay, well, yeah, we’re not big people on school. We’re more like Laskus in business and our kids learn that from an early age, but they still have to do something because what if they want to go down a path that doesn’t involve schooling? So we have to give them some level of education and a decent level of education.
So now they do open access in Adelaide. So their teachers are in Australia and they log on at their school timetable times. And they’re in a class of about six kids and yeah, they just get taught online. And then what we do is we have a young girl who comes here between 9:30 and 3:00. She looks after our kids and our guest house, that’s where the schooling’s done and yeah. Then they come home for lunch and then they come home out of school and that’s it.
Ian Ugarte (37:01):
Awesome. You’ve told us the future, there is that set? Is it a five year plan, 10 year plan, 15 year? Is Fiji the place [inaudible 00:37:08].
Rebecca Simon (37:08):
I would say it’s five year plan.
Ian Ugarte (37:13):
All right, okay.
Rebecca Simon (37:15):
Absolutely. At this stage. Yes. Obviously there’s a lot of unknowns in the world right now. And so we’re just, I guess, waiting and sitting back a little bit right now and seeing what’s going on. We have a couple of business ideas of what we’d like to do here and I love events. That’s what I did in the government for so many years, with the Clipsal 500 and things like that. And I was heavily involved in organizing all that. So I can’t wait to start piecing together some lifestyle events here. And yeah, that’s what my goal is to build a spa that would retreat the lifestyle people come here and just go, “Wow, we do some pretty cool stuff.” But the other business idea, I guess, that we’re working on at the moment with a guy in the U.S. is he’s got a bunch of billionaires, he owns a company where billionaires want to go on holiday and they want off the grid experiences. They don’t want to stay in a five-star resort.
And so what he’s asking us to do is, “Will you guys be the guys that I send these guys to in Fiji? And will you guys give these guys a pretty good time and show them the cultural experience?” And Mike and I have got plenty of contacts here now. We could start it next week if we wanted to, we’ve got the boats, we’ve got the contact with the villages, we’ve got the staff to run the LOVOS, the in ground cooking, just everything we could tee this up pretty fast. So it’s going to be called immersion. And so, yeah, that’s getting pieced together right now. And I guess, dotting the I’s crossing the T’s on how it’s going to look when COVID opens up. So yeah, we’re really just sitting back waiting to see what’s going on and then we can, I guess, pull the trigger.
Ian Ugarte (39:05):
Yeah. So what drives you? Why?
Rebecca Simon (39:09):
What drives me? I guess one of the biggest things that happened to me, I guess, at that Unleash the Power Within, and I guess the journey through, I guess the success in our businesses is what’s possible? And the limit we put on ourselves of what we think, I guess that ceiling we all give ourselves as to, we think we can only get to here. This is life. And when I lifted that ceiling and I got a taste of that and I realized, wow, there’s just so much more and I wanted more and then I wanted more. And so I guess I’ve continually strived and getting out of the comfort zone and doing things I never in a million years thought I’d ever do. And then seeing what’s on the other side of that, and then helping other people achieve the same things. And that drives me. I love helping people.
Ian Ugarte (40:00):
Yeah. That’s awesome. So what advice would you have to someone like me, who is thinking maybe I should do that?
Rebecca Simon (40:10):
There’s one thing that I can tell you that’s for certain right now is that you die just like me, we’re going to be there one day. We can sit here and live in or what if, what if for, yeah, but what about this, and I just say, do it, do it. I mean, you go, even if you say, “Look, I’ll do it for you.” Let’s just go over there, live for a year, give it a go, see what it’s like, experience a bit of culture. If you’re in real estate and you’ve got a house to come back to, then why wouldn’t you?
I find it then for me going from say, Melbourne to Adelaide, or Adelaide to Queensland, it’s really just a decision and making it happen. And I would say, do it, it’s the best thing I’ve ever, ever done in my life. And it inspires so many people. If you’re a speaker and you’re out there, then, I mean, you need to walk the talk, you need to go do what other people look up to you for and inspire them. And so go out there and do it and just show them everything is possible.
Ian Ugarte (41:15):
Thinking of same is sooner rather than later. That’s for sure. So I just want to thank you for telling us about you, your life decisions and helping me probably make a decision sooner rather than later as well. So, thank you.
Rebecca Simon (41:31):
It’s great. And I’m aware we’re not on the main land, so you got Nandy and Suva and that’s where you fly into Nandy. So you’d catch a small plane out to us. So look up Savusavu, it’s a fantastic place, safe, clean, beautiful, great ex-pat community, the yacht club, where all of us locals just head down and we just have a ball together and or the yachties come in at certain times of the year and then you meet even more people. I said to my husband the other day when we went back to Australia a year ago, we actually just got back here in time. I think three days later, they cut off the border and I walked through the Westfield shopping center and as I’ve got the sliding doors opened, I parked in the car park, the sliding doors open as I walked in, a lady came out at me and I smiled.
I said, “Hi.” And she went and like looked at me like, and then I realized, “Oh, I’m not in Fiji anymore.” And so that was my big thing where I go, “Oh my God, I miss home already.” Just day one of walking into the shops because here my mouth hurts and my hand gets sore from all the bulas and the smiles. And you’re just everywhere. You’re like the just on the road, you pick up, people put them into you, you taken to the villages heading home anyway. It’s just different and it’s just become a happier person forward. So yeah, definitely got to do it. You’ve got to do it.
Ian Ugarte (43:04):
I’m on it, so joining us today. And looking forward, Rebecca Simon to seeing some change in that next five years for you.
Rebecca Simon (43:14):
Thank you so much for having you on, lovely to meet you.
Ian Ugarte (43:17):
So there you go. Rebecca Simon, who’s taken her whole family, moved it away from Australia into Fiji and found herself as happy, if not more happier with a small green hurting her face every time she’s talking to all the locals and bula. So you might see me over there very soon as well. Follow us on all the social media channels. And you can get more information at anu.a.com.au.
Thanks for tuning in to the Small Talk, Big Ideas Podcast. We hope we’ve succeeded in our goal to inspire and challenge you. And we look forward to catching you on the next episode of Small Talk, Big Ideas, with Ian Ugarte.