Taking Failure Off The Table with Jim Penman | Episode 216

What does it take to build a massive franchise from scratch?


Tune into this episode as we have a little bit of fun, discovering what’s at the heart of the largest franchising chain in the Southern Hemisphere.


We recently had the honor and privilege of interviewing someone we’ve admired for many years: the incredible Jim Penman, one of Australia’s most iconic entrepreneurs, and founder of Jim’s Mowing. If you’re an Australian, you know exactly who we’re talking about. If you’re not, let me fill you in.


Jim is one of those childhood heroes for many of us in business. He started Jim’s Mowing back in 1982 with just a $24 investment. Now, he’s got 5300 franchise businesses generating over $500 billion annually! What we loved most about this interview is how real, relatable, and honest Jim is. We went in not knowing what to expect, which often makes for the best conversations. If you want a good laugh and to hear the story of a true Aussie in business, this is it.


We’re not going to spoil it all for you. Just grab your pen and paper because Jim drops a lot of golden nuggets in this episode. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the story of the incredible Jim Penman, founder of Jim’s Mowing.





We’ll be talking about: 

➡ [0:00] Introduction

➡ [3:44] Fun facts about Jim Penman

➡ [5:04] Starting Jim’s Mowing 42 years ago

➡ [7:26] From side hustle to full time

➡ [9:17] Never consider the possibility of failure

➡ [11:29] A big “Why”

➡ [12:26] Jim’s feels this is his purpose in life

➡ [17:09] Transitioning to franchise 

➡ [20:29] 5,300 franchises and counting

➡ [22:25] Skills that set a successful business owner apart

➡ [24:56] Task that should never be delegated 

➡ [27:54] Straight to the point

➡ [30:34] Dealing with growing pains

➡ [34:09] Customer complaints are gold

➡ [37:19] Developing the passion with Direct Selling 

➡ [40:55] Jim’s favourite period in time 

➡ [43:44] No other success can compensate the value of ‘home’

➡ [48:21] Jim’s favourite book

➡ [50:06] Jim’s favourite quote

➡ [54:24] Jim’s dream superpower

➡ [56:12] Jim’s advice to his past self

➡ [58:04] Final thoughts



About our guest:

Jim is one of Australia’s most iconic entrepreneurs and founder of the largest franchising chain in the Southern Hemisphere.


While pursuing his history PhD at Latrobe University, Jim Penman quickly found that research in the area of his passion—epigenetics—would require a significant amount of money for such a massive research project, so Jim established a side gardening company. With a $24 investment, this became a full-time mowing service in 1982. 


With the success of the Jim’s Group, he was slowly able to start funding that research. Now, his team includes a full-time scholar and several graduate students at a La Trobe University lab with many academic papers published in renowned journals. Jim has written that research into his books including “Biohistory: Decline and Fall of the West.” Dr. Penman believes that a thorough examination of epigenetics will lead to a resolution of many of societies biggest challenges, including depression and obesity.


Over forty years later, the Jim’s Group has 48 divisions and more than 5,000 franchisees in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. Jim’s most successful franchises include Jim’s Mowing, Jim’s Cleaning, and Jim’s Dog Wash.


Jim continues to be involved in the day-to-day operations of the company and is readily available to all of his franchisees as well as any customer with a significant complaint.




Book Recommendations

➡ Atomic Habit by James Clear: https://jamesclear.com/atomic-habits 

➡ 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey: https://www.franklincovey.com/books/the-7-habits-of-highly-effective-people/ 

➡ How Not to Diet by Michael Greger: https://www.amazon.com.au/How-Not-Diet-Groundbreaking-Permanent/dp/1250199220 

➡ The Secret of Our Success by Joseph Henrich: https://www.amazon.com.au/Secret-Our-Success-Evolution-Domesticating-ebook/dp/B00WY4OXAS 

➡ Guns, Gems and Steel by Jared Diamond: https://www.amazon.com.au/Guns-Germs-Steel-Fates-Societies/dp/0393317552 


Jim’s published books:

➡  https://jimpenman.com.au/books/


Jim’s Podcast Channel:


➡  SPOTIFY        



➡  “No other success can compensate the value of in the home.”



Connect with Jim:

Jim Penman’s website: https://jims.net

Jim Penman’s Email: [email protected]

Jim Penman’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thejimpenman/

Jim Penman’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thejimpenman/

Jim Penman’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/thejimpenman/




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