Ep001 Sheila Cabacungan – Avoid poverty in business and retire wealthy | FAQ Business Podcast

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Our very first podcast episode features our host, Jane Tweedy Founder of FAQ Business Training, interviewing Sheila Cabacungan of Wealth Forum. Sheila is passionate about small business owners avoiding poverty in business and retiring wealthy. Listen to our episode below, or head to FAQ Business Podcast or your favourite podcast service to subscribe to future episodes.

Disclaimer – although Sheila is a Certified Financial Planner and holder of an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) all information provided today is general in nature and does not constitute financial advice. Please reach out to Sheila or your own financial adviser for personalised advice.

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FAQ Business Podcast Ep1 transcription

00:00 – Jane Tweedy

How to avoid small business poverty and retire with wealth. Hello, welcome to FAQ Business Podcast and today’s episode with the wonderful Sheila Cabacungan from Wealth Forum. Sheila is here today, hi Sheila.

00:15 – Sheila Cabacungan

Hi, Jane, how you’re going?

00:18 – Jane

Very good. I’ve known Sheila for five to six years now. We met at Blacktown Business Network and a few other networking events. I’ve got to know her as a very generous person, a very community oriented person. I love her message. And today she’s here to talk particularly about how to avoid small business poverty and retire with wealth.

00:44 – About FAQ Business Podcast

Welcome to the FAQ Business Podcast for growing small to medium business owners who want to make a positive difference. The FAQ Business Podcast covers four key pillars, actionable education, inspiring leaders, businesses like you for relatability and thought leadership where we really challenge your thinking.

It’s hosted by myself Jane Tweedy, founder and lead trainer of FAQ Business Training, where we want to avoid you getting ripped off or ripping yourself off because of what you don’t know you don’t know.  We’ll feature an amazing diversity of guests with lots to offer to educate and inspire you.

So let’s jump into today’s episode of the FAQ Business Podcast.

01:36 – Jane

Sheila give us a bit of background, a little bit of intro into you? Who is Sheila?


01:41 – About Sheila Cabacungan – Blacktown, Western Sydney local

So I am a Western Sydney local, bred in Western Sydney in Blacktown. I come from a small business family. I’m a wife, I’m a big sister, we are a large, loud Filipino Australian first generation migrant family, and we all sort of settled in Blacktown and sort of spread out from there and quite early on as a kid, I actually wanted to understand the world of money because it was such an important part of family life when you actually run a family business. And we ran Asian food stores back in the 80’s.

02:12 – Sheila – seen parents on the business rollercoaster

And I wanted to understand the world of money because I saw what was happening with my parents, through recessions, through good times, through bad times, losing houses, getting them back again, all that sort of stuff that happens in a business roller coaster.

And I wanted to know how to actually play that game and play it well so that we were never without and that we always had that mastery over the world around us and naive as I was then because now as a 46 year old, you kind of realise there’s very little you can control.

02:40 – Sheila – invest your skills, energy and time

All you can do is manage what you have that you can invest, which is for me, your skills, your energy, your time and how that generates the money.

02:50 – Jane

Awesome. That’s great. So you run a business called the Wealth Forum. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

02:55 – Sheila – About Wealth Forum – independent AFSL, SMSF, CFP

So Wealth Forum is my child. Sometimes I think it’s a special needs child. It is a family based financial planning practise. It’s based in Western Sydney. It is self-licenced. So I have my own Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) so by profession, I’m a Certified Financial Planner. I also specialise in self-managed super funds, and I’m a tax agent for super funds as well.

But the whole reason I do all of that is because I really want to impact and make a difference with local, small family business owners. That’s largely because of where I’ve come from and my people. So it kind of leads me back to being able to serve them.

03:31 – Jane – Why the focus on small business owner wealth?

So you’ve talked about your family kind of triggered this in the past because you don’t want to necessarily repeat, going into that recession and that roller coaster. But why small business owners? Why that focus not just families or something else? Why small business owners?

03:46 – Sheila – small business owners take on many risks

Well, for me, I think that small business owners take so many risks with how they’re actually going to live and set themselves up for life. If you think about it this way, some people leave the confines of a steady job and a steady pay check to take a chance on a dream with pretty much all of that gung ho and passion without necessarily the tools to be able to know how do I run this business?

04:09 – Sheila – not taught how to run a business

I’m a great tradesperson, or I’m great at the skill set that I have, or I’ve got my degree in medicine or whatever else. But no one actually teaches us how to run a business, and we then have to kind of do that. So I kind of feel like a lot of business owners are like pilots they’re trying to fly the plane, they know how to fly the plane, but at the same time, they’re trying to build the plane and serve the drinks.

04:28 – Jane

It’s crazy, isn’t it? As a pilot, what pilot would build a plane?

04:34 – Sheila – business owners not taking the time to plan

Yes, exactly. Yeah. And this is part of the issue that I think we have, is we get so caught into the running of the business, and sometimes we get success really early, and sometimes it takes a little while longer. But I don’t think anyone actually takes the time to plan as much as they could or think about some of the things that are going to set them up really powerfully to actually start converting the profit and the windfalls into wealth.


04:59 – Jane – when should business and financial planning start?

Where do you think business owners need to start? At what time do they need to start the planning process? Is it when they’ve been running their business for ten years, or is it from day one? Where do you think the planning process needs to start?

05:11 – Sheila – living business plan from start to finish

I think you and I agree on this it’s a living business plan. So it’s a living business plan, just like it’s a living and organic financial plan because you’re a very different person when you’re 18 and starting out in your work life journey all the way through to your 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s, so planning has got to be with, it’s got to be a skill set and a discipline that every single person goes through whether they’re in business or not.

05:32 – Sheila – combine business and personal financial planning

I think the challenge for business owners is the extra layer of actually taking on business financial planning and business planning alongside your personal life, wealth and ‘why am I here on Earth’ plan.

And it’s all got to come together because you are all of those things. You are the source of cash for your personal life and your family that depend on you. But you’re also that source of cash flow for the business. And you’ve also chosen to put all of that into the business as well, all your skills, time and energy into running that business to get the money out of it at the other end.

06:04 – Sheila – Founders need to take a living wage from the business

One of the things I’m conscious of is businesses don’t necessarily price for the founder to get a living wage, even from the get go.

06:13 – Sheila – must price in profit, owner wage and superannuation

This is something you and I talk about quite a bit. You talk a lot about pricing and pricing properly in your workshops and in your work. And too often, business owners don’t even put in a living wage for themselves or even a superannuation payment for themselves, and they want to take what’s left over or they’re thinking about just taking the profit and living off that. And it really does devalue our time and our skill and our energy. Yeah.

06:42 – Jane – would they be better off stacking shelves at the supermarket?

Yeah, we were talking about this before. There’s people that are not even taking enough to cover bare minimum wage. They’d be better off stacking shelves at Coles than they would be to be actually running a business.

06:52 – Sheila – “business has to generate money”

Yeah. And if you think about it this way, exactly, business has to generate money. Otherwise, yes, we can generate as much good feeling and giving back and purpose, and we can enjoy our day. But at the end of the day, unfortunately, the world revolves around the acquisition of cash and using skills, time and energy to generate that cash to be able to interact with the rest of the world, buy things, put our kids through school, put roofs over our heads, even satisfy our big desires, right? We need money for that.

07:21 – Sheila – must fund superannuation

And as business owners, we choose our business to be that vehicle that drives that. Things like pricing very, very important. The other thing I see is business owners don’t fund superannuation payments for themselves or think about retirement savings.

07:35 – Sheila – have the right insurances in place

The other thing is they don’t necessarily have the right insurances to ensure that they’re going to be covered if they get sick or get injured. And you lose that when you go from being employed and you come out of corporate refugee or you know, you become a corporate refugee you lose a lot of those benefits.

07:52 – Sheila – need to have a diversified view of your wealth

If you don’t take the time to plan and keep them as you’re moving out of corporate. And other business owners too don’t take profit out of the business, they just keep reinvesting it back in. And there is a danger to that because if anything Covid’s taught us, we don’t know what’s around the corner, and we’ve got to have a diversified view of our wealth.

08:13 – Sheila – have an emergency fund

And our wealth does incorporate our business, but it also should incorporate things like superannuation, making sure we have a roof over our head that we own if that’s important to you. Having an emergency fund, that sort of stuff has to come into play as well.

08:27 – Jane – when should you leave a corporate job?

Re starting out, so if you’re a person that’s listening today and you are currently in a corporate job, you’re in a nice cushy good job with a 6 figure salary, what would you say about the financial implications of leaving that corporate job? And do you suggest they do leave that corporate job and just wing it and bootstrap it, or should they be doing both at the same time?

08:48 – Sheila – allow for planning at the business level

Oh, my gosh, it’s like you’re recreating my journey because I actually did literally leave a corporate job and open the doors to my financial planning practise the next day. I planned how I was going to do that at a professional level, but not at a business level or even, and I did some cash flow analysis and stuff, but it nearly wasn’t enough.

09:07 – Sheila – plan to survive for a year or two

And the message I would give to everyone that’s sort of sitting in corporate or even if you’re an apprentice wanting to go straight into a business in your trade, coming out of that sort of relationship where you’re going to lose that city pay check, do the homework, do the work to actually plan, how are you going to survive for at least a year to two years if the business isn’t priced to give you a living wage? How are you going to do that? How you’re going to pay the rent or the mortgage? Put food on the table?


09:34 – Sheila – be prepared to make some lifestyle sacrifices

And yes, you can be austere if you want to or just really cut down on the luxuries that you had in corporate life. And yes, there’ll be some savings because you may not be commuting into the city or wherever else, but get really, really clear on what you’re prepared to sacrifice in your lifestyle or your corporate life when you go into business.

09:52 – Sheila – attend workshops about how to run a business

And the other thing I would suggest too is go and do some really, really cool workshops on how to run a business. Workshops, a TAFE course, a lot of the training that you provide Jane via FAQ Business Training, or that the NSW Government Funded Business Connect team provide.


10:04 – Sheila – start networking before you go out on your own

Just get to know what it’s going to be like and even start networking and building your connections while you’re in corporate life. Start joining some business groups, start getting out there and meet the people that are going to either be your client or that are going to actually supply you with client referrals.

10:19 – Sheila – can be some ethical issues around side hustling

You want to get to know them and build those bridges now so that you’re not hitting the ground, opening the doors and then going, where is everyone? Hey, you know, that’s I think the main thing so just and while you’ve got that salary I know that there are some ethical issues around side hustling and trying to do your day job and honour that commitment to your employer as well as trying to do something on the side. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to do the planning and the homework.

10:47 – Jane – plan and then set a budget and timeframe to give a go

Yeah, I know one of my colleagues, Rebecca, she said when she did her business, she spent a whole year kind of planning it and setting it up and things before she even started. And then she gave herself a budget and a year to see if she could get it to work. And that was her kind of way of doing it. I thought that was a really smart way of doing it.

11:04 – Jane – how much clarity should a business starter have?

But we do need to make sure that we think about where we’re going in our business. So having that end in mind. And we were talking about this earlier. So what’s your view on that Sheila? And going into business not having that clarity about where you want to take it. Is it important to know where we want to take it or are we just kind of go by the seat of our pants?

11:23 – Sheila – all business owners have at least a big fluffy dream

If you were really, really honest with yourself as a business owner, when you opened up the doors or the idea first sparked in your head, you had at least a big, fluffy dream about where you were going to end up, whether it was at the top of the mountain. You know what I mean? The big fluffy dream. I say it’s fluffy because it may not be real. It might be unicorns in the sky, and that’s okay too. That’s what fuels the entrepreneurial spirit.

11:44 – Jane

Are you saying that unicorns are not real?

11:47 – Sheila – the business intention is often gut instinct

I’ve seen someone Facebook, so they must be real. But you know what I’m saying? Like, every business owner does have that dream, even if they’re not able to verbalise it or they don’t want to share it because it’s so personal and private, or it’s so audacious that they all have that dream, whether it’s, even if it’s just a feeling, you know where you want to end up or where you’re going to be, right, I’ve done this I feel so accomplished, and there’s just nothing to replace that gorgeous feeling in your gut because it is a gut feeling.

12:14 – Sheila

Most business owners though don’t think enough about that. And I think you’ve got to actually start to flesh that thing out because it’s going to inform how you start the business if you think about it, because I see so many people walking away from their business.

12:28 – Sheila – I would never walk away from my business, it’s like a child

And like, I describe my business like my child, I would never walk away from my child. I’m going to make sure that it’s nurtured all the way through. And even if this child now is a teenager like and it’s going to end up being, well, I’ve been in business for 26 years now, so it’s an adult, but I still think it needs me to nurture it.

12:47 – Sheila – the business leaves a legacy of some sort

And ultimately, I want to hand this thing on, whether its, there’s got to be a legacy to this, whether it’s a piece of intellectual property or a book that I can distil all my ideas onto, or maybe I could make a difference to a number of business owners that have basically been moved and transformed by the work that I do.

13:05 – Sheila – you are the first investor and biggest asset

Or it could be anything but there’s at least assets in every business, and you are the biggest asset. You are also the first investor because you’re in there. But you’ve got to look at your business as something that you can sell or, at the very least, what parts of the business can you actually turn into something that someone else will value?

13:23 – Sheila – what about the people you are employing?

The other thing I think that we’ve got to look at is what about the people that you’re employing and that are coming on this journey with you? There’re going to need careers and succession planning, is a great way to actually introduce that to them. I think the biggest and best loyalty program you can have is particularly in the local Western Sydney trades businesses or even some of the service and professional businesses that are around in Western Sydney is at the end of the day who can we hand this onto?

13:50 – Sheila – can you incentivise an employee to take on the business?

We all have this dream of our families inheriting. But what if it’s not a family member? What if it’s your best employee or what if it’s the employee that started with you on the, in the admin room and is now helping you run the entire business? How can we incentivise them to actually take this on?

14:05 – Jane – starting as admin but could grow into the role and business

That’s exactly what I’m starting my employee on I’ve told her point blank when I hired her. You’re starting as admin, but my intention is for you to become head of one of my businesses. Like that is what I’ve already set out as that pathway for her? Because it is, I don’t want to run, I can’t run three, four businesses at the same time. I realistically can’t do that.

So by having her have that clear path that there’s opportunities for her if she wants to take them, that’s perfect. So it’s there for her if she wants it, she doesn’t want it, she doesn’t have to have it. But at least I’ve mentioned it to her.

14:36 – Sheila – give employees clear intention

That will inform how you actually train her and the support that you give her throughout her career with you. And she’s coming in knowing that that’s the intention for her. So it’s on her to actually grow into it and rise up to it or be really respectful of what you want and say it’s not going to align where she’s at and part ways with all of that intention known.

15:01 – Jane – does a family business have to stay in the family?

And I think that’s where the family ones always come into it. I think that’s always a difficult one, you know, thinking that that’s the only option. It’s a family business for their family. And it’s like, well, is it? Because if you have somebody coming into a child that doesn’t want to have anything to do with the family business. Is that actually good for the business?

15:18 – Sheila – children can learn from the family business

That’s a whole other dynamic right there, isn’t it? Because, I mean, my family’s background is in Asian food stores and catering. And it’s, there are times as a kid in that family business that I absolutely resented it. And I didn’t want a bar of it. I ran straight for the hills and went into finance and arts and everything else but running a catering business. But what I now appreciate is that business and those businesses and those experiences totally informed why I do what I do. I just expressed it totally different.

Mother with children business owner working school holidays

15:46 – Sheila – learned core values to carry forward to own business

Like we still have the same core values as a family. It’s just expressed in a different way. I can’t deny that that thing put me through University. That business put me through University, put food on our table, houses and roofs over our heads. And it also pushed and challenged us. So there’s definitely that respect for the family business. But there’s such a different dynamic with family business and ownership.

16:06 – Jane

What are some of those core values that you learned in that family business that you think that you are applying now in your current business and your wealth business?

16:13 – Sheila – integrity is core to a trust based business

Oh, definitely integrity. You’ve actually got, I think integrity is one of those things that will sort people out very quickly. So you say what you say and you mean what you mean. You basically do the right thing when no one’s looking and you can then engender a lot of trust with people. And I’m in the trust business. And I’ve seen very clearly what happens when there’s an abuse of trust in financial advice and when you’re working with people’s money.

16:41 – Sheila – dealing with extensive emotional issues

That’s something that you always have to deal with. The fact that people will come to you with quite intense and emotional feelings around money because it’s one of those things that is so powerful. You can’t deny the power of money. It’s what I work with every day. And when you mix relationships, money and business all in the one pot, that thing’s gonna stir.

17:06 – Jane

Oh, exactly.

17:07 – Sheila


17:08 – Jane

Your relationship is stirred up enough, even if you’re not running a business with your partner. But if you’re in business with your partner or your mother or your father. Oh, my gosh.

17:16 – Sheila – businesses need to look at mindset and leadership

Yeah. And see, I know you talk a lot about mindset and stepping into being a leader in your business. And that’s even more important that you actually apply that mindset and leadership and all of the disciplines that it takes to run a business to how you relate to money. And a lot of what I’ve been doing over the last three years, heightened by Covid, has been working with small business owners around their mindsets and behaviours and patterns and attitudes towards money because what I’m seeing is that’s driving the decision making they’re making in this lockdown period.

17:49 – Sheila – money patterns based on fear can impact business decisions

So, for example, if they had a history of money where it was something that they always feared they made decisions that were based on fear rather than pursuit of purpose or joy. That would definitely affect how they ran their business.

And the decisions they made around hiring and firing staff, around investing in the business, investing in themselves, for that matter, like spending some money on doing a business course that’s going to help them run their business or get their head straight versus just buying some more plant and equipment and the operation side.

18:25 – Sheila – money issues impact mental health

So there’s a lot of that going on as well. I think a lot of our current levels of stress and mental health issues can be related to not knowing enough about ourselves and our money. Yeah.

18:39 – Jane – blog on pattern interrupts

Absolutely, over on my blog on FAQ Business Training [ blog and video on pattern interrupts for mindset change ] and on there there’s a blog about pattern interrupts and it’s talking about exactly that type of thing, an example that was given on there is a gentleman by the name of Gerry Robert, who runs a program called ‘Publish a Book and Grow Rich’.

But he mentions the fact that he’s been told by his accountant that day that he’s made 6 figures that month, just in that month. And yet he goes up to the counter to buy capsicums and he puts the red capsicums back. Because as he goes up to the counter, he’s going, in his head the story from when he was a child and he was poor, is going through his head. And his mum saying, put that capsicum back, we can’t afford red capsicums. We buy green capsicums because they’re cheaper.


And yet he could 100% afford it. He just been told he made 6 figures like it’s crazy what is going on in our heads from what has instilled as a child. What some of the good and bad things maybe that instilled in you that’s still, that you have sort of uncovered over the years?

19:38 – Sheila – strong work ethic formed in family business

I don’t think you can survive in family business if you don’t have a strong work ethic. And what I really, that applies to everything. I think if you have a strong work ethic, you’ve got the discipline to be able to go and chase your dreams or turn those dreams into goals and then goals into actions and that sort of thing. Then you’re going to actually have a really, really tough time of life because you’re just sort of be floating around. Everything in family business and in business can be seen as a double edged sword I think.

So the work ethic does go into this hyper reality where you end up doing a lot more hours than is probably healthy for your relationships or for your physical health.

20:19 – Jane

Yeah, I can understand that.

20:20 – Sheila – abandoned the illusion of work life balance

I’m sure you can understand that too, the kind of years that we’ve had and what I know of our journeys together. So I’ve abandoned the whole illusion of work life balance because I think that’s the big lie that we tell each other, I think it’s all about flow. It’s what’s working for you and for the things that are important to you in this life at this time that are still serving your big hairy audacious goals and your purpose.

Work life balance small business owners

20:43 – Sheila – what is my why?

And for me, my purpose is to always be able to answer, why am I taking up space on this earth? Oh, yes, that’s why. OK, I’m doing this to do that. So this is all in service of that big hairy purpose and the fluffy dream and things like that.

20:58 – Jane

Yeah. And some of us put little, you know, things around our fluffy dream, but, you know, they are still a dream until we make them a reality.

21:05 – Sheila


21:06 – Jane – how can a tradie get off the tools and not go broke?

So you were mentioning before we were having a chat earlier but also, I just want to touch this a little bit. So if somebody wants to be getting off the tools, so somebody is maybe getting a little bit older, maybe, or maybe they’ve had an injury and they’re a tradie, for instance, and say they’re a bricklayer OK, and they’re starting to sort of really starting to hurt. What can they do to get off the tools without just completely going OK now I’m broke?

21:31 – Sheila – become a next generation teacher and mentor

I think one of the amazing things that trades and service people have is skills and time and energy. It’s not necessarily got to be applied to the physical act of bricklaying for example. I think the TAFE system and the trades vocational education system would love to get their hands on those tradies who don’t want to be on the physical tools but have the skill set to be able to train the next generation of tradies. So a simple Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and away you go, you’ve just turned yourself from a bricklayer who’s laying the bricks to a teacher and a mentor for the next generation.

22:05 – Sheila – succession plan even for the apprentice

That also has some great things that can flow on into the succession plan for your business, cause I think every trade has to see themselves yes, as an artisan on the tools or a tradie on the tools but you can also run a trades business and start employing, start running apprenticeship programs within your business and turn it into a business, turn it into something that can be, your apprentices could one day take over and buy you out.

Imagine that being able to buy out as a young tradie you’re on this pathway to know that I’m actually going to take over this business that I’m helping build right now. It’s going to be mine. So I better do a great job of it.

22:41 – Jane

Exactly and that’s going to encourage a lot of loyalty as well.

22:44 – Sheila

Yeah. Absolutely.

22:45 – Sheila

Yeah. And that model can work in most service businesses and even production business if you think about it. Yeah.

22:53 – Jane – why are some small business owners heading to poverty unknowingly?

When we’re looking at small business owners because we’ve sort of said that this topic is about how to avoid poverty. And we’ve talked about a couple of reasons why people end up there but why do you think that Joe Public sits there thinking everything is going OK, but really, they’re heading down that track of poverty or heading down that track where they don’t retire with any wealth. Why do you think that is?

23:15 – Sheila – often due to a lack of wealth in their superannuation

Well, I think most small business owners don’t pay enough attention to the wealth that their building within superannuation. If you compare that to the journey of an employed person who has a salary that they’re walking into or wages, they get 10% at the moment, rising to 12.5% and eventually that will go to 15% and 20% of their salary paid for by their employer into a pot that’s going to grow because it’s invested, it’s going to grow.

And then by the end of their working life in their mid to late 60s, here’s a big pot of money that’s basically shadowed them and been their best friend at work for most of their working life.

23:51 – Sheila – small business owners need to manage their own super

We don’t have that as business owners, we have to do that ourselves. And not only do we have to do that for ourselves, we’ve got to do that for every single person that we employ, because that’s the responsibility that we take on. We take on the responsibility of taking on an employee, paying them their wages for the work that they deliver to us to grow our business but we’re also responsible for making sure that they’ve got a retirement plan.

We have to be the first investors in our own business, which basically means that we have to fund our own retirement plan as the first employee of the business, as well.

24:21 – Sheila – wage commensurate to old job or at least a super contribution

So even if you can’t pay yourself a wage commensurate to say your corporate job, at least look at budgeting to pay yourself a living wage and superannuation on that living wage, or even better, a superannuation contribution equal to the corporate salary that you walked away from, or the trade that you know. If you were an employed tradesperson, what would the tradesperson actually be earning in salary and super and just put away that in super.

24:48 – Sheila – make sure your pricing models are correct

Put it into your pricing models. So this is one thing that you’re passionate about Jane and I’ve been in your pricing workshops. You actually say, well, what about the founders’ wage? And what about super? See you cover all of that. I just don’t think that small business owners take that on when they’re starting when they’re in that euphoria of starting that business.

You can find out more about Jane’s passion for pricing workshops here. https://faqbusinesstraining.com.au/pricing-strategies-small-business/

25:05 – Jane – price your business for success upfront

And that’s exactly why I wanted to bring this up right at the start and that was why I thought you were the perfect first guest for this whole thing because it sets us up. It sets us up, if we don’t do things like pricing, right, if we don’t set up for things like super and things, we are setting ourselves up for failure, and it has flow on effects.

25:26 – Jane – financial stress has greater impacts

And one thing we were talking about earlier is the fact that Covid particularly has emphasised this. But it’s been there all along, when you have financial stress, the financial stress isn’t just financial stress. What else does it impact?


25:39 – Sheila – money stress is like a virus infecting your entire life

It will definitely impact your physical health. And it will definitely impact your relationships with the people that you love in your life. The people closest to you, you will react. You will take that money issue that you’ve got all that financial stress and you will bring it home. It will basically be like a virus infecting pretty much every aspect of your life. So everything that you hold dear, your big, hairy goals, it’ll all be affected by it just like an illness or physical illness would it has the same impact.

26:10 – Sheila – “Purpose needs money too.”

And it’s because of the way that the world is structured. It’s just structured that way that we have to care about our money and we can’t diminish it. We can’t sort of say, oh, yeah, I work for you. I’m doing this for purpose. Purpose needs money too.

26:29 – Jane – work with people who have shared values and passions

Absolutely. We need to be able to eat and put a roof over our heads. We are both very passionate people, and we do have a lot of shared ideas and shared values. And that’s why we are looking to work together more in the future. And that was another good reason for having Sheila involved in this.

26:41 – Sheila – sometimes we will poke you with a stick

I’m really excited about that because I think we are going to be able to just make a difference to so many business owners, and we are going to be those people that will poke you. Kind of think we’re going to be that little kid that sort of comes up to a beehive and just wacks it with a stick.

27:02 – Jane – tough love

Sometimes you need that bit of tough love to break you out of that cycle you’re in. And I think both of us are sort of not afraid to do a little bit of that tough love with that idea, though that behind it we are very caring people.

27:17 – Jane

Aren’t we both the same birthday?

27:20 – Sheila

I’m 28th April.

27:24 – Jane- Taurus is not just stubborn it’s caring

Yes me too. Both Taurus. The thing is, people think about Taurus as stubborn, and they think of all the negativity of Taurus. But Taurus is actually a sign that is about being very caring and people actually don’t realise that because they just see the stubborn and hell, yeah, I can definitely be stubborn.

27:40 – Sheila – stubborn can also mean has conviction

That’s the thing it’s stubborn but the best of that is conviction. And we would basically fight to the death of the people that we care about.

27:51 – Jane – how do you work with the community?

Absolutely, we’d go over the coals but we’d also do that for our businesses and for our customers and all that as well. So that leads them to a bit about the community side. How do you relate to a local community? So you’re a Blacktown local and very proud local. What does the community mean to you? And how do you utilise the community?

28:09 – Sheila – “My relationships. That’s my wealth.”

Well, my community is pretty much the connections I have. My relationships, that’s my wealth. That really is my social wealth, and it goes beyond the money or the physical aspects of money and what money can do, because I’m doing it for the humanity of it all the people in my world, my family, my husband, the community that we’ve built, the communities that we’re part of, and that includes the community of small business owners, particularly in Western Sydney. My church community.

And I, basically we’ve all got limited time to give back, and we all want to give back. So the way I choose to do that is OK, God’s given me the ability to speak and to turn the complex into the simple and to be able to confidently talk about something I’m passionate about till I’m blue in the face and underwater so that led me to community radio.

28:58 – Sheila – hosts two business and money related radio shows

I actually host two radio shows on Blacktown’s radio station, which is SWR 999 (99.9 FM) services most of greater Western Sydney. Monday night is a conversation about money in life. And Wednesday night, it is my love letter to my small business tribe in Western Sydney.


29:13 – Sheila – music has the power to unite

So it’s talk. It’s education. It’s cool music that has something to do with the theme, because at the end of the day, I think music is one of those things that just basically can unite people. It doesn’t really matter whether you speak English or not. Music is one of those things that will unite people and give us a way to express some of the things that we can’t express through words, through other means or through talking communication. So that’s the reason why I’m involved in community radio, and I probably will be forever.

29:40 – Sheila – “I don’t think I’m ever going to be good enough.”

It’s just a great platform. And, by extension, podcasting, which is what you’re doing is going has such a universal appeal, so believe it not, I haven’t taken that leap into podcasting yet, though I’ve got three years worth of content from the radio show ready to go. And I guess that’s to do with the fact that I think I’m a lifelong learner and the ugly side to that is, I’m never going to be good enough to, I don’t think I’m ever going to be good enough.

30:06 – Sheila – studying since I was 5 years old

So I just spend the time trying to make sure that I pack as much into skills and energy as I can. So just today, there was an education session with you, Jane, and then there was a couple of networking meetings, and I’m still studying. I don’t think I’ve stopped studying since I was five years old.

30:26 – Jane – I love learning but “I actually hate studying!”

No, I’ve always, you know, I say this: I’m always a lifelong learner. But the irony with me is I actually hate studying. I love learning but hate studying as soon as there’s an assessment in there or anything like that I’m just like, oh gosh, I’m just like, shut down. Watch a video or learn something, try something out, test it out, put on my website, oh, that works, that’s good. I love that. I am very much a kinesthetic learner.

30:54 – Sheila – shared vision to create more actionable education

But this is what I like about the way the way that you’ve approached the podcast, but also, all the other things that FAQ does is you talk about actionable education, and I love that, too, because that’s exactly what I want to do.


31:06 – Sheila – the difference between knowledge and wisdom

You don’t need to know the ins and outs of superannuation law. You can get experts to do that, but the experts don’t know you enough to be able to help you take that big book of knowledge that they have to then turn it into actionable education for you that you can work with and build a life off. It’s that difference between knowledge and wisdom, because wisdom is the being able to act on what you know and being able to implement that to build whatever outcomes that you want.

31:35 – Jane – what are 3 things small business owners can do now to avoid poverty and retire wealthy?

So talking about actionable education because I wanted to include that as well. What are three things that you think a small business owner could do right now to basically get them on that track so they’re not heading down the poverty route they’re really heading down the wealth route. So what are three simple things they could do right now?

31:54 – Sheila – Tip 1 price in your wage and superannuation

So I think the first thing is, is to price for your wage and for superannuation. Basically make sure that every single item that you are selling or every product that you are providing, every service that you’re providing has priced in a founders’ salary and superannuation.

Tip 2 – Put money into one super account

The other thing is to put something into superannuation and to really set that thing up. So multiple super accounts don’t work, one vehicle, the right investment strategy is important because that’s going to be your best friend for your entire working life.

32:22 – Sheila – Tip 3 the right insurances (amount and type)

The third thing I think is to get the right amount of insurance that’s going to actually make sure that rooves can stay overheads and mortgages can be paid, and food can be on the table if you cannot physically front up to do your job or be in your business. So income protection and really, really good life insurance. The other thing is business insurance has to come into play as well, because if you’re running the business that’s got to still have some sort of insurance policy to keep the doors open. If you can’t work, so at least pay the rent and do the other things.

32:50 – Sheila – Tip 4 take profit out of the business

And I think the fourth thing is to take out profit from the business and put it somewhere else that’s not in the business running the same sort of risk. It’s a classic investment tool that we say the only way to actually to get rid of all risk is to diversify.

33:07 – Sheila – “If you can buy a pair of shoes, you can buy some shares.”

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. And I think too many business owners put every single egg they have in their business at the expense of other alternative investments and you can start off small. I think if you can buy a pair of shoes, you can buy some shares. All right. If you can put $100 away, you can get yourself a decent share portfolio over the course of your lifetime. It doesn’t take a lot.


33:28 – Sheila – then work your way up to the great Australian dream

And then you can work your way up to the big property portfolio and the great Australian dream. Or running a business premises if you run a bricks and mortar business, but it’s those teeny, tiny steps. Everyone can do those four things right now.

33:41 – Jane

Perfect. And I think you were talking earlier when we were just having a chat before this that you had a particular example of your very first client. Can you just sort of tell us a little bit about that example?

33:51 – Sheila – first client looked like they had done well

Sure. So the first client I had when I first went out and self-employed back in 2009 was a couple who had come to me and they just retired. They basically and when I unpacked the story, they’d been with this accountant for well over 20 years, and the accountant was actually a business partner of mine. They basically retiring really well. They had a self-managed super fund, house paid off. They were going to be able to live on twice the rate of the age pension back in 2009.

34:16 – Sheila – but …they ended back the same place they started

When I unpacked their story, I figured they told me that at one point in the 80s and 90s, they ran the biggest commercial cleaning business in Western Sydney or one of the biggest. They pretty much had the Parramatta CBD office space market cornered. And then the players from the city started coming in. So the big commercial cleaners started to come into the Western Sydney space.

And at that point they were kind of getting tired. So they didn’t replace staff when they left, the kids grew up and went to uni and didn’t want the business anymore. So they ended up the same way they started. They started the business as a couple cleaning an office, my accountant’s office. They ended the business in 2009 cleaning my accountant’s office and basically outsourcing that to someone else and shutting the business down.

35:00 – Sheila – had an opportunity to sell

Now, along the way, there was a buyer. There was an offer to come in and buy that business out by one of those big commercial competitors. And they didn’t take the offer because they still wanted to work (in inverted comma’s). So at one point, they never actually associated that what they were doing was putting food on the table. Yes, raising their kids and putting the roof over their heads and helping them build their wealth.

35:20 – Sheila – selling could have provided many benefits and not even considered

But it was also business that could have been sold, and it could have given them a lot more in terms of a better quality of life, being able to retire earlier, potentially or even go and start something else. That was the big missed opportunity. At the time they weren’t given advice to even consider the offer, or they didn’t have anyone in their world that would challenge their thinking at that point.

35:44 – Sheila – “business owners do need to build a brains trust.”

And that’s where I think business owners do need to build a brains trust. They need to build a group of people around them who are going to be those thought provokers, who are going to be the mentor who’s a little bit ahead, who can kind of see what’s in store. But also people alongside them who are running the same race at the same pace, even if it’s not in the same industry.

36:03 – Sheila – networking and community to build knowledge and wisdom

So that’s the beauty of networking and community with business owners, like the amount of knowledge that you’ll get. And I do want to avoid that because I mean, they got there in the end and they’re lucky and happy right now.

Corporate training solutions and team building brains trust

36:16 – Sheila – embodiment of the great Australian dream

Never, as their financial planner told them what we could have done had I been there and how much better off they could have been because it wasn’t that kind of conversation. They still do think that they are an embodiment of the great Australian dream [similar to the great American dream] and to a certain extent as migrant families, they definitely are. You sort of think to yourself, they are lucky.

36:34 – Sheila – walked out of business with a house and queued at Centrelink

I’ve also had clients who have basically shut the doors on their business because of ill health or because they were just too old to run it and walk straight into Centrelink because all they had was their house. And some people don’t even have that. So to go from running a business employing people taking on all that risk to then being able to walk away with a house and then lining up for Centrelink, I just don’t think it’s good enough. I don’t think we’re doing our business owners, our small business community, a disservice by letting them commit to that part by making that their pathway. [Centrelink is the unemployment and public

37:09 – Jane – you’ve got saleable assets in every business

I 100% agree and I think I see too many business owners that go OK, right, yeah, I’ve had an accident or whatever I’m shutting my business down and like, you’ve got saleable assets in that business, even if the businesses you and especially if the business isn’t just them, then obviously they potentially do have that succession plan. They do have someone they could offload their business to. But it’s really important to look at that.

37:31 – Jane – key person risk is a big factor in financing and insurance

And you were mentioning things like insurance key person risk is a huge part of insurance and looking at your finances and your risk. So there’s so many things here and obviously today is just to really challenge people’s thinking and make you think and look at your business and go, am I doing the right thing so that I end up wealthy?

And like Sheila just said, having a house is not ending up wealthy because that house is locked up and until you sell it, you don’t have cash flow.

38:01 – Sheila – “wealth in this country is all tied up in the home”

Oh, my gosh, preach, that is so true because wealth in this country is all tied up in the home that we’re living in. Most of the time. You can’t eat doors and windows and the issue that no, you can’t.

38:13 – Jane

Actually, I beg to differ there was a person I know of apparently that she used to have a fetish of eating plaster.

38:22 – Sheila

Oh, gosh.

38:23 – Jane

No, normal people cannot eat doors and windows, I’d agree with that.

38:29 – Sheila – get rewarded for the risk you take as a business owner

It takes all sorts to run the world. The thing is, too, is that we’ve got to look at it this way. If you’re financial savvy, and ambition was just to own a house and not to, you want more as a business owner. You want to be rewarded for the risk. And if you just want to own a house and that’s all you’re going to end up doing, quite frankly, keep your day job. Stay employed. They’re all on the pathway to getting their own house. All they’ve got to do is keep, channel that skills, time and energy into staying employed and managing their money.

38:56 – Sheila – more risk for a bigger dream, you wanted more

You took more risk because you had a bigger dream and it might have been fluffy. But you had a bigger dream. You wanted to do something for yourself, your family and for the world. That’s what business owners fundamentally do. They have that fire in their gut. They can do something better than what’s already out there.

39:12 – Jane

Yep. And I think you and I definitely agree on that. And I know I share my personal mission to help a million people succeed in their careers or their business.

39:20 – Sheila – you’ve defined the fluffy dream

But see even that dream that’s so powerful, and I don’t want to step over it because you have actually defined the fluffy dream. There’s no unicorns in that. Even if you break down that whole SMART goal acronym, that is exactly what every business owner needs to get to, is this is what I’m here on this planet to do. Why I’m taking up space on this planet is to, as you say, help and make a difference to 1 million business owners.

39:46 – Jane – what is a productivity hack or tech tool you love?

Done. Easy no problem right? Sounds a lot, right. But then by doing things like doing a podcast, you’ll hope to get more than just a few downloads. So you hope that eventually it will build up. And that that’s where you can start touching people. So that is the intention. So that’s a good sort of thing there. Now to end up today Sheila, I’m going to ask everyone on my series to do this, but I want you to either share a productivity hack or a tech tool that you think just makes your life so much easier as a business owner, because we all know how overwhelming everything is, what makes your life easier.

40:21 – Sheila – productivity hack “I don’t let anything run my day. I run my day.”

Oh, my gosh. I love this question. OK, so I have a productivity hack from a mindset point of view, but also a tech tool. OK, here it is. I don’t let anything run my day. I run my day, I run my days. And that means I can run my weeks, my months and my years. So I live by my calendar, and I set really strict rules on how I spend my time and who I’m actually prepared to give time to. And then I colour code the whole thing in Outlook calendar.

Time Management Planning

40:49 – Sheila – is there flow in my day, my week?

And from there, I can quite easily see, OK, actually, is there flow, in other words, is there flow? Am I doing the best that I can with my clients in the business, with all of the side hustles and projects that I’ve got going with my community radio and above all else, with my faith and my family and my relationships and I can see that visually in colour at any given point in time. Then I can hand over and automate how I spend my time by using a calendar application like Calendly.

41:18 – Sheila – Calendly makes booking a whole lot easier

So all my clients know and all my referral partners know if they need to reach me I’m probably not going to pick up the call straight away if I’m not, if I’m with another client or if I’m doing something else, but they know, OK, go to Sheila’s Calendly, she’s given me a link and I can book in a return phone call where she will be available for me or book in a Zoom or book in anything else. And it’s brilliant.

41:41 – Jane – don’t arrange a meeting by to and fro anymore!

I use Calendly as well. And it was just such a game changer. And for those of you out there listening that are still doing that back and forward with trying to arrange a meeting, please don’t. It is so much easier to do it through a tool like Calendly.

41:55 – Sheila – no one objects to being sent a link to book a time

I’ve not had anyone object to being sent a link to log into my Calendly and set an appointment time because it stops the to-ing and fro-ing the endless phone tagging. The are you free this email and are you free that email? It just says, OK, here’s my calendar, it’s in your hands book a time in that will work for both of us. And that’s just gold.

42:18 – Jane

And then you’re both present.

42:18 – Sheila

And we’re both prepared, which is even better.

42:22 – Jane – are you on a trajectory for poverty or wealth?

That is better. So thank you so much Sheila, for broaching this subject today, and I really hope it’s making our listeners today really understand that you need to look at yourself and you need to look at where you’re going, what your trajectory is for your business. Are you on that trajectory for poverty or are you on that trajectory for wealth. And remembering that just having a house is not enough. A house will not give you cash flow. So I think that’s fantastic.

42:49 – Jane – thanks Sheila for your time today

So thanks so much for that Sheila. I just want to end up with if people want to get in touch with you, and I’m sure they will after hearing how passionate you are, and I think we do definitely share that passion. How can they get in touch with you?

43:01 – Sheila Cabacungan – contact details

Well, I think all of my contact details and socials and web pages are going to be in the notes for this podcast. That’s probably the best way to do it. I’m readily available.

All Sheila’s details are available below this transcript.

43:13 – Jane

Yeah. So just remind us, so your business name is?

43:16 – Sheila Cabacungan – Wealth Forum – website, socials and SWR99.9

My business name is Wealth Forum. I’m also on LinkedIn. LinkedIn and Facebook are the two main social outlets. And there’s web pages and things like that. So wealthforum.com.au and also the SWR community radio show.


43:30 – Jane – reminder to subscribe and share FAQ Business Podcast far and wide!

Awesome. Thank you so much, Sheila for being our first guest. And we look forward to the future series of FAQ Business Podcast where we will bring to you people like Sheila.

Thank you for listening to today’s episode of the FAQ Business Podcast, available on all good podcast services. You can subscribe today via FAQBusinessPodcast.com.au or directly on Apple iTunes, IHeartRadio or Spotify. Subscribe. Follow. Share. And where able review our podcast or leave us a comment on either YouTube or our blog page. Thanks for helping us to help you – the small to medium businesses who are growing and want to make a difference. Look forward to connecting with you again on the next episode of the FAQ Business Podcast.

Sheila Cabacungan, Wealth Forum – bio and contact details

If you would like to contact our guest Sheila Cabacungan (CFP) of Wealth Forum:

Hello I’m Sheila, Certified Financial Planner based in Greater Western Sydney. I live, work and play on Darug Lands.

Wealth Forum is my self-licensed Financial Planning Practice that provides financial education, behavioural money coaching, personal strategic advice, business financial planning and personalised investment and insurance solutions.

I specialise in supporting Small Business Owners and Self-Employed Entrepreneurs to build a profitable business that will be a money generator that empowers wealth creation. I’m on a mission to make a difference to small business owners making sure they don’t live and retire poor.

I am also a Self-Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF) Specialist Adviser and use these powerful structures to build and protect Family Wealth.

I give back to my local community by hosting 2 weekly radio shows Your Money Maven and GWS Business Booster on SWR999FM. These educational chat shows focus on sharing knowledge on money, business and life with some great music thrown in.

Let’s Connect over a zoom meeting. 

You can set up a meeting that will work for both of us click here




LinkedIn Profile Link


Facebook Pages

Wealth Forum: Financial Planning, SMSF Specialists, SME Wealth Education | Facebook

Money Maven on SWR Triple 9 Sydney’s West group | Facebook

GWS Business Booster on SWR999FM | Facebook

Women, Wealth and Wisdom | Facebook

About FAQ Business Training

If this is the first time you’ve come across us you may want to know who we are! FAQ Business Training has a mission to educate and empower small business owners to learn enough to do it yourself (DIY) or outsource with confidence. We do this via face to face training in Western Sydney (currently all training is provided online), speaking at conferences, events and networking groups and we have launched our online school and membership, offering online courses and webinars to appeal to a global (English speaking) audience. Connect with us on Facebook or LinkedIn.


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