Maini Homer is a successful businesswoman and serial entrepreneur who lives on the beautiful Sunshine Coast in Queensland Australia. Maini, alongside her husband Pete, has been in business for over 25 years. In that time, she has created 15 successful businesses. Many of these have been built with little or no money down. Maini has a knack for creating something out of nothing. She can come up with an idea, and run with it, creating magic on her way. Being a successful businesswoman as well as a dedicated Mum of two comes with its challenges. Maini manages to be able to meet both of these roles head-on and is definitely a force to be reckoned with. Currently, she is running three businesses simultaneously and doing an outstanding job in each one.
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Table of Contents
Let’s learn a little about you and really get to experience what makes us tick – starting at our beginnings. Where did your story begin?
Maini Homer: My life wasn’t always rosy though. I grew up in a tough environment. My parents didn’t have much money and worked hard to provide. Dad worked nights, and Mum was pretty much left to raise three girls. She did not cope well and because of this, my childhood was filled with abuse. Physical, Mental, and Verbal.
This meant we all grew up with no self-esteem, no self-worth, little confidence, and next to no self-belief. I did what most people did with these low skills. I married the first guy who asked me and got a job working for a government department. I was safe I thought… Until my entire world flipped upside down at 24.
My father died, my family booted me out, my EX husband left me, and every “friend” I thought I had, deserted me. All in 12 months. To say I was a basket case was an understatement. What this did was thrust me into the big wide world totally alone. No support, no idea what to do, or where to go. I had a choice to sink or swim. Can you guess what I did?
For a long time, I sank. I made some wrong choices and got burned. Then I made one or two right choices and things changed. A few wrong choices followed, then a right one. I went back and forth for the longest time. Eventually, after many years of floundering, I found my new path.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up?
Maini Homer: So many times, though, on that journey I considered just giving up. Right back at the beginning, when I realized I’d lost everything, I blamed all the wrong things. I decided that Australia was not a place for me and made the decision to move to New Zealand, my birth country. My thoughts at the time, although scattered and frenzied were that I could make a totally fresh start where no one knew me.
Secretly, I was blaming myself for all that had gone wrong; however, I wasn’t fully aware of that at this time. So, I did what I thought had to do. I stuck it out in Australia for another year. I made many mistakes and spent the year in complete turmoil. However, I saved as much money as I could and then at the beginning of 99, moved to New Zealand.
I knew no one and thought once again I’d be free and safe. Safe to create a new me. Safe to start afresh with no one judging me or thinking less of me because of past mistakes. It sounded like a great idea at the time. The one thing I didn’t take into account though is that I was taking my biggest critic with me.
I can remember waking up on many mornings and instantly feeling the dread and complete hopelessness because I was still here. Still stuck, still in absolute misery, and still not being able to find my direction or reason for living. There were many times I wished I’d died. But no, I’d woken to another hellish day.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons you learned from that?
Maini Homer: But you know, even though I was going through this hell, I was still creating. I remember coming up with a business idea for a recruitment agency. This was before the days of the big companies, so I guess you could call me a pioneer in the industry. I knew nothing about recruiting staff and had no experience in it, but still thought I was onto something. So, I created a website. It was very basic, but it did the job.
I put myself out there reaching out to businesses in the Christchurch area offering to help them find staff. I mean, how hard could it be right? They had a list of skills they were looking for and all I had to do was match people to those skills. I could do that. The trouble was, I was also needing income. So, I took a job with a recruitment agency. Yes, you heard that right. Here I was, running a business to help companies hire staff and working for a recruitment agency as well. No conflict of interest at all, right?
I started working for the agency and was working my very unsuccessful side hustle in the evenings. I’d spoken to a couple of my workmates about my business on the side and soon realized this was a huge mistake. Word got back to the recruitment agency that I was in competition with them and potentially stealing their clients. Not my intention at all, but you can see why they were nervous.
I can remember a very uncomfortable conversation when I was confronted. I didn’t know what to tell them, so I made up a story about it being an R18 site to throw them off the scent. It worked, however, soon after I shut my site down out of complete fear of losing the only income I had.
Resilience is critical in critical times like the ones we are going through now. How would you define resilience?
Maini Homer: Resilience, funny enough, is something I’ve always had in bucketloads. Perhaps it’s a positive skill I learned from my upbringing. Because no matter what, I have always continued to get back up again and keep moving forward. Many times I wallowed in my defeat and this could last for quite a period. However, I’d get through it and move on, floundering forward. Something new would spark my interest, and I’d find my passion returning, however dull. Soon, I’d be into the next project or adventure, learning from my mistakes as I went.
There were many mistakes, but I never gave up. Right through my life, without even realizing it, I’ve pivoted and changed direction brushed myself off, and kept going. This, to me, is what resilience is all about.
In your opinion, what makes your company stand out from the competition?
Maini Homer: I think there are a number of things that make us stand out from our competitors. Firstly, there is our sheer experience. My business partner Julie and I have over 50 years of experience in vastly different fields. This means, between us, we have experience in many different industries, and we can adapt our services to suit.
Secondly, I think our point of difference is that we’ve become experts in so many areas, not just one. Many people focus on just one area to build their business around. We focus on many areas to position our clients as the absolute authority in their industry. Personally, I have close to 10 million views on Google (growing by over 1 million per week), as well as up to 7 pages of results when you Google my name. I literally control what google says about me, and I can create this for clients as well.
If I was to name the third thing, I would say it’s our absolute synergy. Both Julie and I are alike in some ways and different in others. It’s a beautiful match of detailed and big picture thinking that allows us to seamlessly cover all bases. Not only for a completely successful venture but also for our clients as well. A perfect Ying/Yang scenario that sees our company shine.
Basically, that means we can hit a home run every time.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success?
Maini Homer: We talked about one of these earlier, and that is resilience. Business is tough. Every day you are faced with different challenges and hurdles. So many businesses fail because they don’t step up. Sometimes it’s out of complete fear or even worries about what others think.
The thing is you must push through that. I was plagued for years with low self-esteem, and I’ve done some really stupid things because of it. There were times when I was so worried about what the mother-in-law would think, or this person or that person. All that’s done is quash some great projects that could have helped many.
The truth is, the bigger you get, the more people you’ll come across that will want to tear you down. You need the strength and resilience to continue along the path and ignore all of that. It’s not easy, but you can do it. Asking questions is the next character trait I’d tell people to adopt. It’s because, even unconsciously, I was always searching for a better way, that I found it. I didn’t always ask the right questions, but along my journey, I was taught this skill.
My self-development journey started many years ago. I guess I’ve always been a pioneer on many fronts, but this journey started way back when Tony Robbins was just launching. Back then, he had a forum where people gathered to discuss topics. It was a game-changer for me because, for the first time in my life, I was around positive people. At first, I really floundered. But there were a couple of people who took me under their wing and taught me so much. I am forever grateful to these souls. Unfortunately, they have passed now, but we kept in touch for years.
Number three would be to consistently have a hunger for knowledge and the guts to try new things. I talk about the 15 successful businesses I’ve created but know for certain that there have probably been around the same number of non – starters as well. Some of the ideas I’ve come up with have been nothing short of brilliance, but they have not flown.
The thing to note here is that if I wasn’t open to learning and didn’t have a passion to try new things, I couldn’t find the things that did fly. I’d still be sitting there afraid to make a move forward in case I failed. So not me.
What have you learned about personal branding that you wish you had known earlier in your career?
Maini Homer: I wrote an article for Business2community on this subject. The big age-old question on whether to brand yourself personally or as a company. At the time, I put forward both arguments. I stated that if you wanted to be someone always at the helm of the business and you were happy to put yourself out there, then a personal brand is the way forward.
However, if you were building the business to sell in a few years, then perhaps not being the face of the business was more important. Since writing this article I have learned that both are just as important as the other. People buy from people, so unless you are as big as NIKE or one of the leading brands you are best to have both going. Your personal brand as well as your company brand.
With your personal brand, you can sell anything. Currently, I am running three different companies. They are all branded individually, but my personal brand is also on each one of them. Because my clients are buying me, and my skills, not necessarily the company’s.
How do you monitor if the people in your department are performing at their best?
Maini Homer: Through communication. I am in touch with each of my team leaders and we communicate on a daily basis. They also have set tasks to complete and produce a report at the end of the day. This gives me a clear indication that they are meeting the requirements of the position and that the staff under them are performing well.
I also build strong relationships with my team leaders. They are my equals and colleagues. Without them, I couldn’t keep things running and so I show them much gratitude. This helps keep them motivated and wanting to perform. I compliment often and scold little. 🙂
What would you say is the main difference between starting a business at the time you started yours and starting the business in today’s age?
Maini Homer: Starting a business today is both easier and more difficult. Today, you have many more resources at your disposal, but also much more competition.
However, I do not let that stop me or slow me down. The fact that you have so many more resources at your disposal these days means there is absolutely no reason why you can’t learn everything you need to know. You can always find someone who has had the same or similar problem to the one you are facing and success leaves clues. You can emulate what others in the same industry are doing to a T. If it worked for them, it will most probably work for you as well.
Back when I started, it wasn’t nearly as easy to see what others were doing. It wasn’t online and so all you could do was try things out and be ready to learn from the errors.
I wrote a book at the beginning of the pandemic called “Lockdown Took My Income”. The book became a #1 International Best Seller in three countries and three categories and is a 9 step blueprint that helps anyone start a business from scratch with no money down. If you follow the steps in my book, it will cover all the things you need to know to get started.
What’s your favorite “life lesson” quote and how has it affected your life?
Maini Homer: Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets. So, love the people who treat you right and forget about the ones who don’t. Believe that everything happens for a reason… If you get a chance, take it! If it changes your life, let it! No one said it would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.
I am crying as I type these words. This message has rung true throughout my entire life. So many lessons. So many heartaches. So much love. I’ve had people come and go in my life. Sometimes it’s hurt like hell, sometimes it’s been a relief, and other times it’s completely changed my life. To those people, I thank you. Even if you walked away from me at my most vulnerable. Thank you. You changed my life and I will be forever grateful to you.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Maini Homer for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Maini Homer or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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