Melissa Stone and Joanna Stone
Sister businesses are booming
Melissa Stone and Joanna Stone are sisters and business partners. Whilst they grew up with the traditional expectation of a day job, they have changed their destiny by transitioning into entrepreneurs. They are property investors, life and business coaches, speakers, and philanthropists. Their story reveals that they are where they are today not by accident but rather by planning, dedication, and taking regular and consistent action. Their core values are love and contribution and they are driven by a both higher purpose and a big vision for the world.
Photograph credits: Max Bridge
What makes your relationship as sisters so special?
Both: We have camaraderie from growing up together and a beautiful soul-deep connection that forms the backbone of our daily lives. There’s something of an inner sanctum between us. We have shared ambitions and are mutually supportive of each other. The key to keeping our relationship healthy is not to compare ourselves with each other. By celebrating our individual and joint successes, we avoid competition coming in between us.
Melissa is the most loyal and loving creature on the planet. She is creative, resilient, practical, and her energy and passion keep me inspired. We share a heart. I am sharp, business-minded and analytical, she can see opportunities and brings different elements together for successfully ventures – Joanna
Joanna is my confidante, my constant and the ultimate friend. She is focused, fun and grounded, and never fails to amuse me. To me, she is my other half. I am a visionary who can see the big picture combined with an exceptional ability to plan and execute, and brings great people together in teams – Melissa
Both: We of course know how to push each other’s buttons. We tend to fight over silly things like who gets to wear which scarf or when we feel the need to defend the other from herself. But falling outs are short-lived and quickly forgotten, which is why we can be sisters, business partners and best friends. We are a great team because we have equal and opposite skill sets. We are both entrepreneurial, love connecting with people and building strong relationships.
What was your childhood like and how did that shape you?
We grew up in a close family, with great role models through our loving parents and grandparents. Our Dad and Mum have a happy marriage and as kids we were given love and time by our parents, as well as opportunities to try lots of activities, encouragement at school, and we travelled widely. We bonded through fun times together with our immediate and wider family forming special memories. Family is really central to our identities, who we are with each other, and who we are with the people we meet.
We spent our childhood living in the countryside, going to the local schools. We learned that a great life meant good grades at school, going to a top university, working a job in a successful career you enjoyed and that paid well so you could have a beautiful house, and being married with 2.4 children. So that’s what we set about achieving for ourselves. It was only later that we widened our views.
Melissa, you were severely bullied at secondary school, how have you used that to your advantage?
Yes, this went on for several years and culminated in a group of boys pushing me down the stairs at school, and when I spoke out about this, the ringleader threatened to stab me and I had good cause to believe he would do it. I was scared for my life and wouldn’t leave my home without an adult. This was an experience that I hated, that I never want to go through again and wouldn’t want others to go through. When I look back on it, I know God has used this bad situation for good, because I have this tremendous drive to help people, standing up for myself and others, and a deep level of compassion.
You both decided to explore the world at the age of 20, how did that change you?
We both massively grew our individual identities by taking world trips after we graduated from university, separately visiting countries across the continents of Europe, Africa, Asia, Australasia and North America.
Melissa: It was the first time I had been away from home without my parents or Joanna and it was a huge growth experience for me. I did all these adrenaline activities like sky-diving, bungee jumping and whitewater rafting, and expanded my comfort zone. I learned that I could be independent and make friends.
Joanna: Travelling was the first time I had felt free to make the decisions about what I wanted to do each day and enjoyed the lack of restraint and responsibility. Whilst we both gained a new level of freedom and confidence, on returning home we went into the rat race like our peers at that time.
What bought you to the realisation that you wanted to change your lives?
Joanna: On the outside I looked happy and successful having had the good fortune of a great career, beautiful home, exciting lifestyle and close family and friends, but on the inside I felt frustrated like I wasn’t really living and was never, ever good enough.
Melissa: I had given up my job in teaching because I was exhausted and teaching had become about process and paperwork not children. My own goals and dreams were distant, unattainable thoughts. I had dedicated a year to serving in my local church, which I loved but it didn’t provide me with an income and had used up my savings. I really wanted to continue doing charitable work, but I needed money to do it.
Do you recall a moment when you felt a shift or break-through?
Joanna: On reflection, I had been praying to God for guidance when I randomly saw a competition in a magazine for people who wanted to change their lives. I entered the competition and thought nothing of it, until I got a notification I had won a ticket for Tony Robbins’ Unleash the Power Within (UPW) conference. I then watched some YouTube clips of Tony and got slightly nervous at this big, full on guy, so asked Melissa if she’d come with me. This was our first step on our journey of transformation and working with Tony changed the course of our destiny. After we attended the event we came out with a new understanding that there are two worlds: the external world over which we had influence and the internal world over which we have control. By learning to master ourselves in our inner world, we have been cultivating the seed for our own greatness and our potential to make our personal and professional lives of our choosing.
You started on this path of personal growth, how did you make that a transition into the world of business?
Over the last three years we have transitioned to entrepreneurs, built a significant UK property portfolio and created strategic investment partnerships. This this was a transformation story for us both.
Melissa: I had experience spanning hotel management and catering and over a decade in teaching, before working for the local church for a year. With new gumption, I decided to join the family home improvement business that our father started 40 years ago.
Joanna: I worked for over a decade in Financial Services and Telecommunications as a Commercial Accountant. For us, property is in the blood as we grew up surrounded by it, with our father’s own business in property and our mother working in town planning. Melissa was on her first roof aged three, and I quickly followed suit! Today, we are Managing Partners of both our family property renovation business, Stone Properties, and Stone Equity Partners, an investment services business which enables us to work with active and passive investors in the UK and worldwide. A big passion of ours is helping to be a part of enhancing the communities where we invest, through buying, renovating, and then renting or selling Single Family Homes, Houses of Multiple Occupation and Commercial Properties.
You are engaged in other ventures, can you tell us some more about that?
We are Certified NLP Practitioners and Certified Coaches, and devote ourselves to helping others. We are efficient and effective at helping people to overcome blocks, see massive changes, become more in all areas of their lives and achieve results they’ve always dreamed of. Because we have spent time discovering our greatest gifts and talents, and creating a plan to achieve the wealth and success we desire in our lives, we believe this is something that every person can discover. We enjoy facilitating and inspiring others to release their own gifts and talents and giving them powerful tools for their own success, happiness and ultimately freedom. This brings us great joy, energy and satisfaction.
We are also international speakers and have shared our knowledge and experience with audiences from all over the world of varying sizes from intimate groups to as large as 1,500 people. We have shared the stage with successful serial global entrepreneur, JT Foxx.
Our vision is to touch the lives of the people we meet who in turn will touch the lives of those around us.
You have a belief in God and you regularly go to church, how much has this lifestyle influenced your world?
Having a faith has sparked an awakening that has added a depth, enrichment and spiritual side to our vocations and perspective. We became Christians in our mid-20s. Beginning our journeys in the Anglican church, and developing into the Vineyard Church, we found them to be warm, welcoming, accepting and felt like family. The journey of faith is a wonderful, relational one. Faith isn’t about being religious. It’s intimate and personal and about knowing that you are loved and have your own true value in life because we are created by God. This has influenced us because we learned that God has a plan for our lives and has placed the potential for good placed within us, and it’s our journey through our lives that can magnify that potential.
We share a heart of compassion and dedicate ourselves to improving the lives of others. We are passionate about young people reaching their full potential, and are also very active leaders in adult and youth ministry at church and in global charity service.
Faith in Jesus is about love and we are blessed to play a much bigger game through loving others by giving and serving, and that’s when we feel most alive. Of course, we need some help sometimes and our faith has provided us with strength and confidence. We are supporters of the Alpha course, giving people the opportunity to explore the meaning of life and ask questions about God. We have seen people being transformed and finding faith.
What about your friends and social life, how do you balance time between others and being together as sisters?
We live in different places, Joanna in Wandsworth in South-West London, and Melissa in a small village in Buckinghamshire. In terms of balance, we actually spend a couple of days or evenings together each week. We happily operate independently in our respective home areas, both in terms of social life, fitness and health, involvement in church and so on. Although we have quite different bases living in the city versus the countryside, we are often at each other’s homes, so getting the best of both. In addition to family time, most of our friends do know each other and we regularly meet up together.
Joanna: I am in a very happy and fulfilling relationship with Rich, my amazing boyfriend. Both Melissa and Rich get on brilliantly which makes my life easy as we can all spend time together.
Melissa: I’m currently single but am looking forward to meeting a new man and starting a relationship.
Who are the people who have helped you most in your entrepreneurship journey?
From family support of our parents and grandparents, at every stage we have personally benefitted from coaching to give us clarity on our path and take us to the next level. In addition to Tony Robbins, we have had the privilege of working with top coaches across the globe. Our business coach is the world’s number one wealth coach, JT Foxx. We have learnt a lot about building, growing and systematising businesses, as well as branding, marketing and multiple other business and success strategies. Through JT and his coaches, we learned how to ensure that both ourselves and our businesses are constantly evolving, improving and adding value to our clients.
Ed Smith extended both hands to us at a critical time in our lives. Ed is a personal friend however we never knew any detail about his businesses. Having shared with Ed that we were having a tough time, he invited us to be part of his Champion Academy, which runs self development and professional development programmes. Through Ed we learned a unique systematic approach to personal and business psychology and performance, enabling us to generate more wealth and more personal freedom. We completed certifications in coaching, NLP and leadership, which was the basis of us launching a further business in this area. Deborah Torres Patel is our wonderful public speaking coach and mentor, and has taught us about voice presentation and communicating with confidence, authenticity and credibility. Steve and Viv Bateman have been instrumental in developing our faith. They are amazing Pastors and invited us both to be leaders in a new Vineyard church in Balham, giving us the opportunity to bring life and love our local community.
We constantly develop ourselves and have travelled the world for personal development and business in North America, Europe, and the South Pacific. We have a network of business contacts and friends from across the world and consider ourselves part of a global family. There are not enough words to express our gratitude to our coaches, mentors and friends for helping us become who we were always meant to be.
What is the biggest dream you want to achieve?
We have a long term vision for health and empowerment for people all across the globe, by providing healing retreat centres worldwide, where people can come to receive mental, physical and spiritual healing and be restored to full health and wholeness of body, mind, spirit and soul. By continuing to take action on our property and coaching businesses and remaining open to future new opportunities, we develop the resources and network we need to make this dream a reality. We push ourselves because we have a higher calling and a larger motive outside of ourselves. We grow on the journey every day. It’s not always easy and we have learnt to fall forwards, taking the learning and moving on. We inspire and empower those around us. We know that together we will impact this world for the better, helping others on the way to get what they want and building a legacy for our family.