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When I first started PakMag, I had never worked in print, I’d never sold advertising and I’d just failed my English exam at University where I was studying to be a primary school teacher… and I didn’t have children. I never dreamt PakMag would be what it is today, and I am so grateful for all the wonderful experiences and opportunities. It’s been an amazing journey filled with twists and turns, so here are 15 life lessons I’ve learned whilst growing PakMag to what it is today.

1. Purpose Gets you Through the Hard Times

With a big enough ‘why’, you can overcome any ‘how’. We’ve survived cyclones, the GFC, floods, Covid shutdowns, theft and so much more, yet we’ve never missed a print deadline. We’ve had many unfavourable situations, but have always trusted our purpose.

2. Your Support Network Makes or Breaks You

Every person in your life should be appreciated. Do not take people for granted. Surround yourself with people who you can rise with. Make friends with people who want the best for you, and have a great team. And of course, if you take care of your team, they will take care of your customers, and that’s key to a great business.

3. Your Heart Will Get Broken (and You’ll Break Some Too)

Even when people do the wrong thing, try and do the right thing. I haven’t always dealt with things to the best of my ability, I know I have also hurt people’s feelings
by having to do what’s best for the business and team, but I have always done things to my morals and values. If you lose your morals, you lose yourself.

4. Evolve, Learn and Grow by Investing in Yourself and Others

You have to step out of your comfort zone, the greatest threat to success is not failure but boredom. Your business can never outgrow your mind so investing in learning for you and your team is imperative for success. Never be afraid to grow and evolve, even if you have to outgrow people along the way. The tighter we cling to an identity, the harder it is to grow beyond it.

5. You Can’t Please Everyone and You Can’t Make Everyone Like You

Worrying too much about what people think of you will only cause you pain. You can’t please everyone. Your self esteem is not dependent on the validation of others. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not who someone else is today. I have held myself back for so many years worrying about people’s judgements,
but I’ve learnt that when someone blows out someone else’s candle, it doesn’t make theirs shine brighter.

6. Slow Progress is Still Progress

One of the most satisfying feelings is progress. It is better to do less than you hoped, than to do nothing at all. Write one line, do one sit up, make one phone call, it’s better than nothing. Try not to get frustrated when things take longer and obstacles arise.

7. Family First

The greatest thing you’ll ever do is love and be loved. There have been times when PakMag and my team got the best of me, and my family got the rest of me. Trying to raise a business and a family takes dedication, but also self-control. I’m so grateful that I’ve been able to live a life and love what I do, even though at times I’ve struggled to find balance. At any moment your business, health, or life could end. But your true family are the ones that will always be there.

8. Look After Your Clients

Without clients, you have no money. Without money, you have no business. Look after the people who spend money with you. Try your best to innovate and grow with your clients needs, but always stay true to your core business, and don’t burn yourself out doing more and earning less. Be loyal to those that are loyal to you.

9. Look After Your Health

You cannot buy good health. A lack of self-awareness is poison, but reflection and review is the antidote. Take a good look at your health, give yourself a review – is there anything you can do better? Being in a constant state of stress, good or bad, will eventually catch up to you. Without good health, everything suffers.

10. What You Focus on Grows

If you want to focus on the negative, you will see
more negativity. If you want to focus on the positive, you will see more positivity. Do your best to be grateful, and try your best to focus on the positive – what you focus on grows.

11. There is No Perfect Time to Start

If you want to start something, act now. Don’t wait for a better moment, it’ll never come. When I started PakMag, I had the thought, then went to print 6 weeks later… If I had really thought about it and created a business plan, I’d likely never have gone through with it. Vision with action creates a powerful reality. “When is now a good time to start?” as Tony Robbins would say!

12. Success Equals Perseverance

Don’t give up. Stay dedicated to your dreams. It’s like a marriage – you don’t just give up when you hit a tough time. You learn, you grow, you persevere.

13. Deal with Negativity

Hate, resentment, distrust and anger are the beginning of a disease, like cancer, it may kill your enemy but it’ll also destroy you in the process. This goes for toxic staff, clients and people in your life too. I’ve learnt to hire for attitude and values over skills. Skills can be learnt, but attitude is very hard to change. If people bring you more pain than pleasure, the short term pain of removing them from your life is better than the long term pain of keeping them – be it staff, friends, family or clients.

14. Money is Only as Good as What You Do with It

Being poor is not having too little, it’s wanting more. Kindness, generosity and faith in your fellow man cost nothing, and some of the happiest people on earth have very little. Life is meant to be lived, and enjoyed. Make your money, and enjoy it too, don’t wait till you are too old to do all the things you want to do. And don’t waste your life just focusing on making money, otherwise you may just end up with lots of money but be depleted of health and happiness.

15. Be Grateful

No matter how good you are at what you do, it can all be gone in an instant. Be truly grateful for the lessons you have learned, the growth you have experienced and the blessed life you have, even if you desire more. Ask yourself “If I had everything in my life that I really need, what would that be?”. For me it’s my family, people to love, good health, a place to live and food to enjoy – the rest is just a bonus. As The Happiest Man on Earth, Eddie Jaku, says – “May you always have lots to share, lots of
good health to spare, and lots of good friends who care”.


In the Past 15 Years We Have…

• Printed more than 4 million magazines.

• Published and distributed over 411 magazines across North Queensland.

• Run over 150 free family events attended by over 300,000 local families.

• Donated over $150,000 to local charities.

• Achieved millions of page views of our content.

• Donated more than $1 million in advertising to support a host of local events  and not for profit organisations.

• Contributed millions of dollars into the local economy.

• Created the PakMag Mobile Parents Room (the first of its kind in Australia).

• Helped over 1,000 Small Businesses to grow their share of the family market.

• Given away more than $800,000 in prizes to families ranging from movie
tickets to family holidays.

• Published over 30,000 articles all written and published to help families.


  • Bree James

    Bree James, epitomises ‘entrepreneur’. From starting her first official business at the age of eighteen, to running one of Australia’s most successful regional publishing companies, Bree has entrepreneurial DNA in every fibre of her being. The eternal solution finder, Bree’s innate ability to seize opportunity and fill market gaps has attributed to her huge success in the business world. But she’s more than just the driving force behind her own enterprises. Working with organisations around the country, Bree is also an acclaimed presenter, author, podcaster, travel writer, YouTuber, performer, and an inspirational mentor to small business owners everywhere. Her philosophy in life is to be brave, be bold and be brilliant.