Mat Stillone is an 80’s baby, father, brother, uncle, all round decent human being and happens to be the founder and Managing Director of Protein Supplies Australia. He thinks of himself as an avant-garde in the supplement industry in Australia, pioneering in the way consumers, manufacturers and brands consume, create and market health products by creating awareness and education around ingredients, processes and business practices. From assisting start-ups with their businesses, to developing products Mat is absolutely dedicated and passionate about bringing health conscious alternatives to the food and supplement industry that is full of crap! Mat went from his home garage to 2 warehouses, 0 retailers to 1500 stores Australia wide, $0 turnover to a multi million dollar company, 0 staff to 12, 0 product sold to 100’s of tonnes of product being sold annually, not making his own product to making their own products and now making other peoples products. Mat does what he does because he wants to inspire someone who came from the same background… he think it would help someone get off their butt and do something with their life!
Q: What is the biggest challenges you had faced venturing towards what you are currently doing?
Changing my attitude and removing negative behaviors and breaking habits which held me back for a very long time in my life. I was a father at 19 and became a sole parent at 20, I was dependant on centrelink on the single parenting pension and making poor life choices yet justifying my actions because I believed I couldn’t achieve more in my life. I was compromising my freedom and ability to see my son everyday because I was selfish and immature. It took a lot of willpower and dedication to recreate the person who I am today and it all started by asking myself one night when I was down on my luck ‘Who do you want to be?’ From there, I wrote down everything I didn’t like about my life and how I was going to change it by setting some goals and a ‘plan of attack’.
Q: Have you had times when you thought it was over? That you were going to fail? How did you overcome it?
There were many times I felt like I failed, I wanted to give up in the moment and wanted it to be over. I think anything worth while in life is going to be hard, painful and challenging. Pressure makes diamonds and if you jump in the deep end you’re going to learn how to swim pretty quickly and when you’ve got nothing to lose then the fear of drowning doesn’t bother you. There were times when I wanted to go back and do what I was doing, I mean, when I decided to change my life and moved to Brisbane, I found a job working 9–5 Monday to Friday for $500 a week! I would then have to put my son in before and after school care so I hardly seen him — there were so many times when I wanted to go back to my old life because I could make that sort of money in a few hours. When I committed to change, there was no going back though because I knew deep inside I had the potential to do anything I wanted to in life, I knew I was better then that and the more positive my attitude became the more opportunities and positive things came my way! To help me stay focused and positive through the dark times, I read a lot of books and inspired myself by listening to other peoples stories of triumph and commitment, I got right into fitness and health so I was strong physically and started practicing meditation and seeing a psychologist to help me build my mental strength and overcome some of my demons.
Q: How flexible is your schedule as a professional?
Being a small business, I always stress the importance of flexibility in all aspects of how we operate. The beauty of running a small business is the fact that you can be agile and ready to whatever happens in the industry you’re operating in and implement those actions very quickly and efficiently providing you have the right team around you who are geared up for this style of operation. It’s given us a competitive edge and ceasing opportunities almost immediately. Unfortunately, I see time and time again businesses aiming for massive growth without considering agility, flexibility and adaptation and self imploding because they become stagnant due to slow movement.
Q: What inspired and empowered you?
I grew up on an Organic farm in Northern NSW near a place called Nimbin. My father is a naturopath and my parents built up a small health food store from scratch when I was in my teens so I guess subconsciously that empowered me to give life a go. I was always involved in helping people in the community and was fortunate enough to experience a lot of things that most kids don’t get exposed to (good and bad) and seeing how my input made positive impacts in their life was inspiring and gave me a sense of achievement. When I moved to Brisbane, I worked in pharmacy where I was a ‘Vitamin Consultant’ advising people about health and what supplement would benefit them. I started to realise that the products I was selling and promoting I didn’t believe in, I couldn’t stand myself because I felt like I was selling my soul for the sake of making a budget and meeting my sales targets. That was my spark, I knew there was a serious gap and I could make great products which wouldn’t compromise my own beliefs nor peoples health. I could sleep at night because I had genuine intentions and wanted to give people an alternative which wasn’t accessible at the time that wouldn’t be at the expense of their health!
It’s really important to practice gratitude everyday. It’s easy to become desensitized to all the things we have in our lives as you grow, your career and bank account grow. Everyday I wake up, I find things that are simple to be grateful of such as my heart beating, the ability to drop my son off at school everyday, a fridge full of food or having my vision to see the birds in the trees in my backyard. I also think it’s important to celebrate your wins & remove your distractions (social media, your phone at home and work etc) as this helps me with clarity and being present with the people who matter.
Live life in the moment because we’re not promised tomorrow, you’ve got to make every second count.
Mat is excited that they have been announced their Finalist position in the Australian Small Business Champion Awards (ASBCA) for 2017! To view Protein Supplies Australia’s products Click Here
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Originally published at medium.com