Friendship takes flight
Gary Ng: We bumped into each other at the airport. I believe a lot of things in my life are fate. We have mutual friends and we’d keep running into each other, but I’d seen Andrew on TV, so I went up and said, ‘Hi’. Later on, the IT person [in Andrew’s company] didn’t work out and he thought of me.Andrew Morello: Five or six years ago Gary and I were often invited to the same events and we realised we had mutual friends. Then I discovered his values, ethics and how he did business were very much in line with mine. When you meet good people, regardless of different cultures and walks of life, you need to hold onto them.
Close like family
Gary: A relationship to me is about what you do for each other. Andrew and I see each other as family. We call each other brothers and I know Andrew has my back and I’d do the same for him too, in business and in life.
Andrew: Gary is a friend first, but he’s a business partner and my mentor too. Anyone who knows us would say we’re very different, but that diversity helps our business decisions. There’s not a topic we can’t talk about. He guided me to appreciate that happiness and fun are essential to lasting success. He’s always there with advice and he’s a positive, pragmatic thinker. We’ll be friends for life.
Chase happiness, not the dollar
Gary: I don’t believe in work/life balance. I feel it’s more like an integration. Work should be enjoyed, not endured. People say work is okay for me because my work is happy, but you need to be happy at work, because that’s where you spend most of your hours. Bring the best version of yourself to work. If you’re getting a coffee, ask your colleagues if they want one and they’ll reciprocate. If your work is dull and pessimistic, that’s when you can really shine. Andrew has the capacity to light up the whole room.
Andrew: I believe anyone who is successful turns their work into their lifestyle. Gary became an online expert so he could run a flexible business from Fiji, or anywhere in the world. My business is face-to-face so I can travel. Recently I spoke in Dubai and then travelled the Middle East. A lot of people there prioritise money, but where does that end? If you love what you do, then the money will follow.
With people to help and support, you can get through any challenge.
Gary: The journey of business owner is lonely and there are long hours. People expect you to be Mr Perfect, and Andrew is there to remind me to keep on track. There are times we need strategies and share contacts, but it’s great having someone who reminds me that they care. With people to help and support, you can get through any challenge.
Andrew: There’s a world of loneliness being a business owner, which means isolation and pressure. Talking with each other helps. You’ll be up at three in the morning wondering if you’ve done the right thing, but to know you’ve got someone you can pick up the phone and talk with is comforting.
Putting people first
Gary: It’s not easy managing people, but it is easier when you do the right thing: you look after people and they will look after you. I remember we were working together to help turn a [hairdressing] business around. Andrew told the owner that [some people] take demise of their business harder because of their emotional and intellectual investment, but this can also make them more determined to stick with it. That motivated her to build her business back up.
Andrew: I didn’t get it until about three years ago that the most important thing is people, not capital. But you have to be up front and point out any problems, emotional and financial. It’s not until you empathise with people that you can start to manage them. As soon as people beat their self-doubts and those voices that say they can’t do it, they’ll succeed.