True Quit founder Michael Gregory: ‘I can do without luxuries’

Michael is wise with his money, but even he’s willing to spend on the odd creative purchase (Picture: Supplied)

Michael Gregory, 56, is an entrepreneur and founder of True Quit, a ‘stop smoking’ programme, which tackles the physical and mental cravings of smoking through mindfulness techniques and laser therapy.

The program is designed to make your cravings disappear without willpower thanks to a technique that progressively retrains the brain not to generate cravings and eliminates ‘fight or flight’ withdrawals.

The quit smoking success rate is 86% for people who complete the programme, based on a 40% completion rate.

Michael, a divorced father of three grown-up sons, quit smoking up to 20 cigarettes a day at 30, after a 15-year habit.

He initially stopped with willpower, but still had mental cravings for the next ten years.

The True Quit Method helped him to retrain his brain to stop the cravings.

What was your first job?

It was working in a factory, making molded plywood sheets, for skateboards and wooden chairs. I had to get up at 4am and travel on public transport for two hours each way.

The experience of working in a factory was a real eye-opener and a real motivator to work hard and get educated, so that I would have options in life. At the time of working there during the summer of 1985, I was studying Philosophy and Economics at Macquarie University, in Sydney.

How much were you paid per hour?

Actually, I can hardly remember, but I think it was $9 (£2.50) an hour.

What is your money-no-object purchase?

If I truly had ‘money no object’ options, I’d fund several double-blind control studies to prove the effectiveness of the True Quit method and I’d provide free ‘stop smoking’ programs worldwide, in every language. If it was purely for me, I’d buy some land within walking distance of a really great beach, so I could walk down to surf each day.

micheal gregory

Michael has been keen to reduce the general effects of cigarette smoke on the population (Picture: Supplied)

Tell me about your first graduate job

It was as a superannation (pension) administrator in the insurance industry. I was looking for happiness and I thought holistic medicine could help me and other people (more than a career in economics or pension management) and this led to me to doing a Bachelor Of Applied Science degree, specialising in acupuncture.

I then joined forces with a business partner to set up a wellness centre, in 1996. The wellness center provided treatments with herbal medicine, acupuncture and psychotherapy. The business thrived, venture capital to expand nationally, but when the global financial crisis struck in 2008, it no longer proved viable and was closed. I then started consulting companies in the smoking cessation space and set up True Quit in 2012.

What luxury could you not give up?

To be honest, luxuries are nice, but I find them easy to do without, so I’d have to say surfing. Surfing might not seem like a luxury, but I think spending time doing it, when there’s so much work to do to make a difference, is a luxury.

What’s been your biggest financial regret?

I try not to harbor regrets because losses teach us so much. But it would have to be deciding not to earn Bitcoin rewards, when Bitcoin was $500 per coin, because I thought that the electricity costs would make it unviable unless it went to $1,000 per coin.

Has the way you worked changed over time?

I have worked remotely for eight years. When I started to work remotely in 2013, a lot of online collaboration tools didn’t exist. Now they do, my staff and I are able to work from anywhere in the world.

Apple's new 13-inch MacBook Pro starts at £1,349.  (Credit: Apple)

Michael fell for Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Pro and made it his latest impulse buy (Picture: Apple)

Spender or saver?

Both. But I like to put money to use to create benefit, so saving for its own sake, such as saving for the future tends to take a back seat.

Do you consider yourself savvy with your personal finances?

I’ve made a lot of mistakes in business by taking too much risk when I was younger. This has taught me to be frugal and more conservative. I’m still an optimist, but spend a lot more time looking at all sides before making a decision, but I’m not sure if that’s ‘savvy’?

Last impulse purchase?

My new MacBook M1 Pro. I love it!

Cash or card?

Card. Actually, it’s more like phone or watch these days.

What was the first thing you spent a lot of money on?

Establishing the acupuncture clinic in Australia in 1996, a first year after a BSc degree, specialising in acupuncture and gaining experience of Chinese medicine, in a hospital in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China

What has been your best investment?

Property in Australia and crypto, buying Cardano when it was one pence.

Do you own a home?

I could say I half own a home in Kiama, Australia, which is two hours south of Sydney on the coast. It has wooden floors, lots of windows and great sea views. I say half a home because I bought it with my sister, Sally, who sadly died last year.

For more on the quit smoking programme, visit True Quit.

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