Despite success in the corporate world, Taylors Lakes’ Androulla Sakkas felt “consumed” by work.
She tells Ben Cameron she took the plunge with a new venture back in 2011, helping people build their businesses while improving their personal lives.
How long have you called Brimbank home?
I grew up in Sunshine, and then got married and bought a block of land in Taylors Lakes.
Back then, there were no roads, nothing.
We started from scratch and built the house back in 1998.
I just think I’m very lucky to be in that area; it’s very family oriented.
You must have seen a lot of change in that time in Sunshine too?
Especially the Harvester area, huge changes, like the new library, I wish we had those kind of facilities when I was young.
When I grew up, it was very European; it’s all changing.
My parents still live in Sunshine.
You’ve made a name for yourself helping local businesses find their feet; how did you get into that?
I worked for Toyota in Port Melbourne for 14 years.
But then I thought ‘what’s next?’; I decided I wanted to go into business myself, helping small business owners.
I see a lot of small businesses fail.
I tell them you’ve got to be persistent, and consistent in what you do.
Was it a steep learning curve at first?
I didn’t know how to network; I didn’t realise you had to network.
The first year was solid networking, getting to know people, back in 2011.
You also host local business breakfasts?
Yep, helping those who are burnt out (with work), who are working from nine until late.
Can you relate to that?
That happened to me.
I loved working in corporate at an executive level (at Toyota), but sometimes it consumed me and it actually affected my family, to some degree.
I was always wanting to do more.
It got to a point where I realised my husband needed support with the kids, I had to ask myself ‘why am I doing this? How can I keep doing what I love in another environment in another way’, which is how my business evolved.
Coming home late, it took me an hour to an hour-and-a-half to get home; you’d be agitated.
I had to look at my personal life and work out what I had to change about it.
I was very fortunate to have a supportive husband who said to go out and do it, and I’ll support you.
I was 38; that’s when I thought ‘I don’t want to wait until I’m 40 to make this big leap’ – that was my big call.
How has it changed you as a person?
I also do speaking events, I’ve spoken to up to 100 women.
I loved it. I didn’t go into business thinking I’d become a public speaker; it wasn’t my thing, but there was a demand for it.
I want to be able to do more of those things, touch more people’s lives.
I know through helping people with their business I’m also affecting their personal lives.
How do you spend your downtime then?
I go and watch my boys’ play footy (with Taylors Lakes).
I do yell, and encourage, you can’t just sit there and not yell, but that’s my time out.
Sundays is my day to be with the kids, I don’t really have any other hobbies. I love networking, meeting new people.
I’m always there watching them play footy.