Stories about Greek-American tycoons have made headlines since the time of Onassis. Though we have grown used to them, they remain as glamorous (though far from popular) as ever.
John Sachtouras, the web coffee marketing multi-millionaire was in Cyprus recently for what proved to be very successful positive thinking seminars. The first instinct was that the country needs money, not rich people talking about how to 'go get 'em' at such a time of crisis.
When I met Sachtouras, whose life is being dramatised in the Hollywood film 'The Million Dollar Date', it dawned on me that a self-made man was actually the most qualified to tell us how to get back on the game.
"I spend 40 out of 52 weeks travelling the world…it's Athens next, Dubai and then back to Texas on a 17 hour fligh." One of his first lines…
Assuming the role of a visionary in teaching the possibility that lies in sheer will must come naturally to John Sachtouras, who does not believe in the power of dollars, funnily enough, 'but knowledge for money'. He recounts the first steps in the United States, right from when he helped a friend sell his business for double the value or when he realised that waiters were not charging for extra bread at a Miami restaurant. "I advised that man for 18 months and saved him more than 20,000 a year."
And then there was the time when he filled up the boot of his car with "hot news" right off the press-papers at a local printers and delivered them to neighbourhoods in the area.
No job was ever too small when he ventured into the US commerce world and then gradually turned into a very successful independent business advisor, initially small-sized firms through his company 'TNT Marketing Group' and then the large corporations. "When you need to survive, pride should not be part of the equation, but you need to be inventive and believe".
TNT stood for 'Today Not Tomorrow' and that became a life philosophy. Sachtouras found that Cypriots are hard workers, but right up to when the crisis hit them were sitting pretty on happiness that did not really lie on solid foundations. "They built homes on loans and their money belonged to the bank, everything an illusion of real wealth".
Now, the multi-millionaire advises a grip on reality, the end of misery as we know it and "positive practice". Plan B could be anything he says, even a car boot sale to begin with, common practice abroad. And never repeat the mistake "of not having a budget and going over your head".
When he decided to go into the Coffee Direct Seller Organo Gold, his traditional Greek mother could not believe her son of two degrees and six languages was following the internet marketing business.
"Find a proper job," she said. In March 2013, the company's profits hit $700,000 on a monthly basis. This is the problem, he argues. Those educated the most have the biggest egos and the greatest pride issues.
"They value education as something so huge, that they consider other things demeaning, forgetting the need to survive". During these times, price is not of the essence but starting small is.
"Free work can eventually land you many jobs". Sachtouras believes that going back to basics and switching to a mentality that's actually viable and not of the loan variety, can work. His recipe of Will, Desire, Humility does sound like overheated Americanisms, but given the growing desperation, if they worked for him, perhaps some of us should try it out too.
"People ask me, why don't you sell your 60,000 dollar watch to provide for people in need? The response is simple enough. If an entrepreneur does not look the part, he does not look successful and then he 'cannot secure the jobs that will allow him the extra income which will actually help".
Fascinating Carpe Diem philosophy-perhaps the oldest in the book but more convincing taken from a multi-millionaire.