Alice Joy founded Living Joy in 2012 out of a passion for sustainability, smart lifestyle design and wellness. It is a sustainable property development company that is looking to shake up the industry.
By profession, Alice is a Lawyer, however she’s left that behind to follow her purpose. She believes that to be successful in business, you need to be clear about your purpose, because business may not be easy, but if you can reframe what it is to fail, you’ll always be learning.
• What journey lead you to start your own business?
It all began quite a long time ago. I was lucky enough to grow up in the Adelaide Hills where it’s quite normal that plants, vegetation and nature apply to everyday life. It was a shock for me when I first moved into the city and realised that not everybody had that kind of lifestyle. So, when I was working as a Lawyer and when I was spending so much time indoors in buildings and seeing that there was such a gap in sustainability and wellness in buildings, I thought it’s really time that somebody do something about this. It was that driving passion to help people on the planet to thrive together that led me to jump into Living Joy.
• Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I think I always had a sneaking suspicion that I would end up running a business, but no, to be honest. I had a business when I was at university working outdoors as a Personal Trainer and that was my first experience of running a business and what that would be like. But I actually followed the academic path. I was lucky enough to study arts and law and to go overseas and travel world, coming back with a strong sense of justice.
I knew that I wanted to make a difference, but thought that I would do that from within government or within an NDO. However, after a couple of years of working for other people, I really saw that there was more of an opportunity and that socially conscious businesses were actually making more of an impact in some instances, especially in the space of sustainability and wellness, and that it was possible to do so from within another organisation. That’s when I really knew that it was time to be an entrepreneur, to change track I guess and to really jump into Living Joy fulltime.
• What is one action or task you ensure you incorporate into a diary each week?
The easy answer to that is exercise. I think, especially in this day and age, when we’re all so busy, exercise, particularly mind and body restorative exercise, is something that is absolutely critical for everyone. I worked my way through a masters degree in wellness after I left the law to really understand what impact that had on how we live our lives and how it affects our potential as human beings. Exercise is so important for what we can do to really make a big difference in our energy levels and output and impact the difference we can make in the world.
• Alice, what do you attribute your success to?
There are probably three key things that I would say contribute to our success. The first and most important one is being really clear about why we do what we do. At Living Joy, our motto is that we are here to help people and the planet to thrive together. Because we know our mission and work towards it each day, it becomes easier to know what the end game is; we know why we do what we do.
I think the second thing is knowing that business is not easy and that there will be periods that are very difficult. Unfortunately in Australia we do have tall poppy syndrome and the way that we deal with that is by reframing what it means to fail and being okay with that. So, knowing that when you make a mistake, that’s okay. People often say that the biggest learnings they have are from when they make mistakes, but when we ask, would you make some more mistakes, they say no. Whereas, we’re quite okay to try things, to make mistakes and to learn from it without thinking of them as being a bad thing.
The third thing is grit; to be willing and disciplined to put in the time and the effort and knowing that the rewards will be there, but that does mean that you are going to have to work hard and for a long time. But, when you love what you do, it does certainly make it a lot easier.
• What local business person do you find inspiring?
I had to really think about this one because there are so many amazing entrepreneurs up here in Newcastle. I have to say that Mark Kentwell PRDnationwide is someone who is very inspiring. I was lucky enough to meet Mark when we first came up to Newcastle in 2013 and he worked in the sustainable property development space with us. He thinks like a businessperson; he’s not judgmental, he’s very clever and he’s always been very open and receptive to the different ideas that we have.
Because Living Joy is a sustainable property development company, often it’s very different and people are quite afraid of that if they don’t know how to handle the differences between what they know and what we do. But Mark was never afraid to tell people to get behind us and to really get excited about the changes we could bring. I think Mark is someone that I definitely look up to in this space.