Not only was she juggling the 7-day-per-week operation of her pet stop, grooming salon and saddlery in country Victoria, she was also the director of a large-scale equestrian event. Her schedule was full and demanding, but she wouldn't have had it any other way.
In 2009, everything changed. Lissy’s rural community was catastrophically affected by the Black Saturday bushfires that ignited across the state in early February.
Facing one of Australia’s worst natural disasters, Lissy and her family were evacuated from the town. Her pet store was devastated and her home blackened from the smoke, but fortunately, it was still intact.
Her neighbours and friends in the community were not so lucky. In hindsight, Lissy estimates she would have given over $30,000 worth of items to those who needed them after the fire and insists anyone in her position would do the same. “When something like that happens, it puts everything in perspective and you realise there is more to life than just working.”
Mere months later, Lissy suffered a heart attack and discloses that while she only required minor surgery, she died twice while on the operating table.
Upon her recovery, her children insisted she stop trying to take on so much and consider her health. After a prolonged period of heightened stress, health concerns and another hospital visit for major surgery, Lissy decided she needed a lifestyle change.
The first step was to change her career, and she decided to give a Lorraine Lea business a try.
“My friend was a Lorraine Lea Independent Stylist and had asked me a few times before to take up home styling parties. I would usually laugh and tell her I had a real job, but the timing was right for me on that occasion.”
Joining Lorraine Lea in late 2009, Lissy took things slowly and began holding 2 – 3 home styling parties a week while still maintaining her retail business.
“At first I only did parties part-time but could easily see that the income I was making from Lorraine Lea was far more than what I was making with my pet store.”
Ultimately, her health was the catalyst in the decision to close the shop, and Lissy made the career change to party plan in her 50s.
“I love this lifestyle. I couldn't be happier and it’s not just about the money - I have about 30 Stylists in my team, and it feels good to be able to support them and help them succeed with their own Lorraine Lea businesses.”
Kicking off 2015 with a record-breaking January, Lissy exceeded her sales targets and took out the award for Top January Seller at the company's recent annual conference. With her business looking stronger than ever, Lissy now balances her career with her other role as grandmother and relishes the extra time she can spend babysitting her grandson. “I’m living again now. It’s funny how you think you’re living prior to that, but if you’re working a nine to five job, that’s not living; working part-time hours for full-time money is living!”
Get to know more of Lissy's story on YouTube.