Running with the Boks

Running Lessons From the Rat Race


Boost Juice Bars has grown from Janine’s kitchen in Melbourne, Australia in 2000, to over 260 stores on five continents, producing one million smoothies every day. They arrived in South Africa for the first time in 2007 and are still expanding at the moment. It has been an incredible journey for Janine and her ‘Boosties,’ but she says it has not been smooth sailing all the way, and they will never reach the finish line.

Janine grew up just outside Melbourne, left school at the age of 16 and dabbled with a range of different careers before she ended up as owner of Boost. She worked in various positions in the media, at gyms, in nightclubs, on a yacht in the Mediterranean Sea and in cinemas in Asia, amongst others. Along the way there were many failures and many successes, but it was her drive to succeed that kept her pushing forward, and ultimately pushed her to the top. “I believe all experiences offer you a chance to learn something, regardless of it being a positive or negative outcome, and I’ve constantly looked for my next opportunity to push forward, armed with the knowledge from a previous experience. I think Boost has been so successful because even though we do a lot of things right and a lot of things wrong, we are really quick learners. We know our faults and we constantly think of things we can improve on. What you can take out of the Boost story is that your education and background does not matter, opportunities are out there, you just need to find them.”

On a recent visit to South Africa, Janine spoke about the road to success and it is clear that her belief in herself and her concept helped her build a fledgling business into a highly successful chain. “I think it has been tenacity, common sense, advice, great support and on the job experience that got me where I am today. Although my qualifications are not traditional, I never believe that should get in the way of a strong work ethic, a curious mind always willing to learn, and a desire to constantly do better.”

She admits that the passion for her business has made it easier to spend so much energy on growing Boost, and believes it is this passion that also contributes to the success of the brand. “I am fortunate that I was able to build a career around values and a lifestyle that I believe in. Like everything, being passionate does not mean life is without its challenges, although without that spark, it would be very hard to have the sustainable level of energy Boost has required over the years.”

“My husband, Jeff and I took really big personal gambles early on when we launched the business in 2001. We sold our home and put every free dollar into financing our business. It paid off when we were the seventh fastest growing business in Australia three years later, but then instead of relaxing, we decided to open another 70 stores in one year in 2005. My point is, pressure is stressful and challenging, but I continue to push myself and enjoy rising to a challenge. I could have been satisfied with less pressure and regaining the security in my home, but for me the pressure continues to motivate and drive me to meet my next challenge.”

Janine is the first to admit that it was and still is extremely difficult to balance her work, family and active life. She says she often works 100-hour weeks and for the past 10 years she has had to put her life on hold as Boost was her priority, with her children and husband second and third in line. With more experience, however, she has realised the importance of being more balanced. “I have four great children, and have learnt it is important for me to take some time for myself at the end of the day, so I can continue to give my best to my family and my work. I am most proud that I have been able to be both a mother and businesswoman, and didn’t have to give up one dream for the other. It was by no means easy, but I do consider that as my greatest achievement.”

But true to form, Janine isn’t planning on slowing down and has plans for further expansion of the Boost brand as well as developing new brands. “It is important to continually keep challenging yourself and your team to do better. You simply have to continue to move forward and keep your foot on the accelerator. When I first opened Boost, I couldn’t see us operating in South Africa; however I also don’t believe in creating your own limitations. I love to win and business can be very much like a game, so when the game board kept getting bigger, it wasn’t so much the wow factor that kept me going. I simply continued working and kept rolling the dice.”

So when you go for your next run, whether it is a training run or a race and whether you run a PB or drag your legs to the finish, remember these lessons:
• Learn from experience, whether it’s success or failure, and use this knowledge the next time you run.
• Believe in yourself and be passionate enough to take a gamble.
• Use this passion to stay driven and always improve.
• Stay balanced. As passionate as you are about running and your next goal, a balanced life will ultimately help you run better.