287 – How To Go From Bankruptcy To A Dream Business With Phil Leahy

287 – How To Go From Bankruptcy To A Dream Business With Phil Leahy

You’ve got two choices when you go bankrupt. You either give up … or you get up, dust yourself off and create a business and a life you love. Have a guess what today’s guest did? This is a great story of how to start again after bankruptcy.

Phil Leahy found himself bankrupt after owning a number of radio stations around Australia. But instead of giving up, he discovered eBay and dug his way out of a very big hole by selling music memorabilia and CDs that he’d collected during his radio days.

After getting that business to a lazy $5 million dollars in turn over, he turned his eye to pulling together PESA (Professional eBay Sellers Alliance) – which is now Australia’s largest eCommerce conference.

This is a wonderful story of never giving up, with a solid sprinkling of how to give back. PESA (now called The Internet Conference) is now celebrating its tenth year in Australia, and Phil has now taken the concept over to Las Vegas where he’s running his second conference in 2016.

Join me as we discuss:

  • The power of live events
  • Why we need to give to receive
  • Why it’s (occasionally) important to be the dumbest person in the room

Plus in today’s episode we find time for a quick check-in, I share a motivational quote about living the life you deserve, and I share some feedback from two motivated business owners who have successfully taken some swift marketing action.

Yep, you guessed it … another massive episode of Australia’s best marketing podcast.

So let’s get stuck right in!



00:32  Welcome & overview
03:14  Check-In
06:31  Today’s guest introduction – Phil Leahy
07:45  Interview with Phil Leahy – Part 1
23:21  Marketing insights in to Key Person Of Influence
24:45  Interview with Phil Leahy – Part 2
39:00  My top 3 marketing learnings from my chat with Phil Leahy
41:03  Motivational marketing quote of the week
41:20  Listener Feedback
45:52  Wrap-up and insights in to next week’s guests



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The Internet Conference’s official website

Phil Leahy on Twitter

Past eCommerce rock stars who’ve appeared on this show:

Dean Salakas of The Party People

Paul Nieuwenhuys of Hooked Online & Sinker

Paul Greenberg of NORA

Nathan Huppatz of Costumes.com.au







  1. Run a live event – but be sure to offer great content. Avoid the sell at all costs. And don’t be afraid to charge for it – it will reduce RSVPs but increase attendance.
  2. Give to receive. Tell don’t sell. What are you holding on to in your business because you don’t want people copying you?
  3. Look for opportunities to be the dumbest person in the room. Go to more conferences. never stop learning.




“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t,
so you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t”





What was your biggest marketing learning or ah-ha moment from this episode?

Leave your comment below.

My guest and I respond to each and every comment.


1 thought on “287 – How To Go From Bankruptcy To A Dream Business With Phil Leahy”

  1. S. Barron Thompson

    I could not agree more with you and Phil, Timbo. As somebody who works in the event markeitng arena (Forturune 500 companies and previously big pharma), large corporations should look at what small businesses are doing at their live programs. I don’t consider myself a marketer, however, marketing has always been a key component throughout my work history, as well as what I currently do both FT and PT to pay the bills. I state this because I work with marketers who have been doing the same old events for years (a tweak here, sprinkle on a little more social media there….but nothing that could be considered innovative, let alone press release worthy).

    Content is, indeed, key as discussed in this podcast. Funny, though that large corporations get stuck in (an spend mucho dinero) on other aspects, such as entertainment. Last year, we were supplied with the attendee breakdown for a conference we supported- the biggest piece of the pie? Males like you and I (45-50). The band secured was a top 10 charts boy band whose appeal skewed female guessing 16-25. A sponsor at the event said to me, “Why did XX get Y Band, isn’t Motley Crue touring?”.

    I could, of course, go on…

    I would love to be in a meeting where a client’s event team brought in someone like Phil or yourself and have the CMO say, “We have a budget of $4MM USD, here are out goals, here’s what we’ve done, here’s what we’re planning; what would you do?”

    No, I have not broken out of the cubicle yet, but am working on it via my patented “no string budget”. My thanks for the learnings you and your guests provide on the SBBM Podcast.

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