Andrew Morello, winner of the first season of The Apprentice Australia, credits his strong work ethic for his success. Morello’s lifelong exposure to the property industry and business, natural enthusiasm and outstanding sales skills mean he is adept at providing people with the service and outcome they are seeking.
Morello grew up with an interest in real estate and business, a passion he pursued through completing his real estate license and moving into the profession, with outstanding results.
A natural leader from his days at St Bernard’s College onwards, Morello tries to find new ways to step outside his comfort zone whenever he’s not at work. He enjoys helping people to reach their full potential, and believes in the power of relationships and the opportunities they can create.
Describe yourself in 3 words: I feel like quoting Barney Stinson [How I Met Your Mother] here… Awesome, Awesomer and Awesomest [laughs].
Humble, Resilience, Positivity.
What is your life motto? I’ll give you my motto and my “why you?”
Motto: For every second, for every minute of every hour, of everyday, I do my best to reach my full potential and waste not precious life living the dream.
and my “Why you?” – Whenever I am interviewed or I attend a conference people ask, you do all these things, like working 7 days a week and are involved in all these things…why are you doing it all, what’s the purpose?
So I say: Andrew Morello wants to make lots and lots of money, to pay other people really, really well to do the things he doesn’t want to do, so he can spend time doing things he loves doing, with the people that he loves.
When did you start pursuing your career and how long did it take to become successful? Success is an eternal battle and will always be. I speak at primary schools and I say to the kids, “put your hand up if you want to be on TV, keep your hand up if you want to be on radio, keep your hand up if you want to be a musician, put your hand up if you want to be an actress.” They all put up their hands and I say to them “listen, upfront you’re probably not going to make a lot of money, so success should not be measured by money but rather by doing something that you enjoy.”
My career started at 8 years old where we [siblings] used to pump petrol at my dad’s service stations. My dad would have us there on Saturdays and school holidays, 6-7 days a week, from 7 in the morning until 10/11pm and we’d get paid five-bucks a day. That was from 8 years old until about 13 and 9 months.
Then I got a job outside of the family business, in retail where I got paid $14/hour.
At 14 and 6 months, I decided to start running blue light discos. I won a government grant from Mooney Vale Council to run under age dance parties. My first night, I did ladies night (it’s a fool proof system) the ladies got in cheap and the guys came because of the ladies. My first night in business, I made $20,000 cash –and I got it in a shoe box. It was a 90’s matte finish gun-metal grey Nike shoe box with a lid you didn’t take off, just opened it. I remember showing my mates (which was a mistake) and they said, you’re paying for everything for the rest of our lives. [laughs] That’s when I went into business for myself and did that until I was about 18 or 19.
Next I got into real estate and pursued a property career and then at 23 I won the Apprentice. Now on that, when you have a sliding door moment and an opportunity like that – and it might come in many shapes and forms, some people say to me, “oh you’ve been on TV and that’s why you’ve got all these great things.” Well there’s a lot of people that have been on TV that have done nothing with it; I’m not the first reality TV star, there were a hundred before me and a hundred after. Now only about 5% of them would have gone and done something with it; and it doesn’t have to be being on TV. People give you opportunities every day; the question is do you take them and if you do take them, do you make the most of them? I did. I took it and made the most of it.
How much time and effort did you dedicate to pursuing your dream? My job and my career is no longer a job and career for me it’s become a lifestyle. I’m not Andrew Morello, Entrepreneur/Businessman 9-to-5, Monday to Friday; I’m Andrew Morello Entrepreneur/Businessman 24/7. Work is fun.
What is the mistake that taught you an extremely valuable lesson? Humility. Whenever I meet successful people, you can very quickly tell whether they are a humble-successful person or an arrogant successful person – there are both. I always remain humble, I’ve seen it with a lot of my clients; I’ve seen people worth hundreds of millions of dollars and then they’re broke. The thing is, when you lose all your money, the only thing that’s left is you and the legacy you’ve left behind. Stay humble, show appreciation for people, because if you lose all your money, if you want people to help you out when you’re in your darkest moments, they’ve got to respect you for the person you are and not for your money.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given to date? Mark Bouris, when I first came to Yellow Brick Road, he said to me: Play to your strengths and work on your weaknesses. Mark made it quite prevalent and relevant to me, he said it’s obvious that you could sell ice to the Eskimos and sand to the Egyptians and oil to the Arabs, you’ve got that talent; you’re probably the best I’ve seen in sales but to be a great entrepreneur and businessman and to be a great person, you need to have variety. Always play to what you’re good at but always be working on your weaknesses and that’s been a big thing for me.
In your mind, is formal training essential? Yes, I think it’s important to be educating yourself whether its university or picking up Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill or The Alchemist [Paulo Coehllo]. I think it’s important to understand where people come from.
I think education comes in all forms; it doesn’t have to necessarily be in a university degree as long as you’re prepared to 1. Take on feedback and 2. To continue to grow.
Do you think having a mentor is important? How would you go about getting one for this industry? I think it’s very important.I think mentoring programs and business mentoring programs are great, but I’ll say one warning to the wise; be vigilant of advice that you pay for because there could be an intention as to why somebody is giving it to you, but embrace advice that you’re given, because somebody cares so much about you to give you that advice. If you’re going to pay for it, look into it and if you’re going to do it, finish it off.
People are busy, be vigilant and respectful if they’re busy – a coffee once a month or if you want to do something regularly you have to formalise it with them and maybe even pay them. There was a mentor I had when I was very young and I used to pay him $50 a week and he didn’t need the money, he was worth hundreds of millions of dollars but I said to him, I need to pay you so I get more out of it. I used to see him Tuesdays at 6am, so when my alarm would go off at 5am in the morning and I’d think I don’t want to go and meet him at 6am, I got up because either way it was costing me money.
What are some steps those starting out can take to start/further their career? I think there are a lot of people in a job right now that would be great as self employed, so I think there are two steps you could take.
Start by having a business on the side, try having a stall on the weekend at the Bondi markets; very cheaply you could start an online business – so there’s no harm in trying that. Some people are very quick to say, oh just quit your job and have a punt at it; I think that makes you desperate. When you do business, there’s a thing called anxious and non-anxious presence and if you have an anxious presence about you, people don’t want to do business with you. Do whatever it takes to stop you from having an anxious presence. So if it means taking baby steps – take baby steps until you can transition from your job completely. At some point you need to bite the bullet and have a crack at it.
The second step is don’t be afraid to work for someone else and learn from it. Us Gen Y’s want everything yesterday. If you do business in Asia, they don’t talk business in weeks, months and years; they talk in decades. In western countries we look at being an entrepreneur, a businessman as a 3-5year challenge.
What kept you going when you weren’t at your best? Business is a momentum game, life is a momentum game, when things are good people can feel the energy. When you’re doing deals, people can feel you’re doing deals. You walk into a room, you’re sharp and you feel like a million dollars. Boys always say, whenever I’ve got a girlfriend I get more attention from girls, there is a scientific reason for that; you let off a pheromone and an aura of success and confidence because it’s the fear of no loss. You’re not worried about closing that deal or making that deal to pay the bills, you’re not worried about being successful or trying to get to know that girl over there because you already have a girl, you’ve already got a successful business. Business has the same sort of connotation.
Do you believe that ‘making it’ is about luck and being in the right place at the right time? A lot people say that there is an element of luck to being in the right place at he right time; what I will sideline to that is that you need to be prepared to go above and beyond the call of duty. You need to be in the right place at the right time, if you’re not out there doing things, getting out there and getting involved in the community and not meeting people for a 15minute coffee; if you’re not prepared to give someone the time of day, how do you know that another opportunity is going to come your way. So there is an element of luck, but there is also an element of being in the right place at the right time. But the more times you can be in the right place gives you more opportunities – you’ve got to be there.