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Ami Summers

Ami Summers.jpeg

Ami Summers

Craft Coaching and Development

Website   Facebook   Instagram   

Where did you grow up and where are you based now?

I grew up in Melbourne. My husband and I lived on the Mornington Peninsula for a few years, and then bought our 76 acre farm in Gippsland 10 years ago. We are now relocating back to the Peninsula to be by the beach again.

What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’? 

I wanted to be an artist, and an astronaut. A strange combination, but both satisfied my urge to be curious about the world, and my strong sense to find meaning. I always wanted to work around excellence and contribute to people being their best selves.

When and how did you transition from working for someone else to working for yourself?

It was a natural progression. I have always worked for myself in some capacity, whilst assisting other's businesses to make a difference when my skills were needed. Once I went on maternity leave for the second time, I promised myself I would make it priority to focus on my business.

What’s your why?

Creativity: new ways of doing things, beauty in the small things, excellence.

Curiosity: being curious about people, discovering their story and uncovering a person's strengths. 

Making a difference: adding value everywhere I work, contributing to a bigger vision and making a positive impact. 

Connectedness: engaging and connecting with people on an authentic level is crucially important to me.

What do you love about what you do?

I am curious about people, about creativity and it's impact on business, and of the entrepreneur. Applying what I learnt from leadership development work with large businesses, and using these tools to help small business is my passion. 

I love to give the gift of clarity to my clients - often they know the answer, my job is to nurture it out of them!

What’s challenged you most since being in business?

As much as I wanted to work for myself, I didn't want to work BY myself. Running a business can be full of solitude, which brings a centredness with it but I want to be part of something bigger than just little old me. This is why I get great satisfaction from helping others in their businesses, especially the businesses that engage me as a Business Advisor as I am a partner in their business and take full accountability for business decisions etc. I have a strong need to see creativity and women have a bigger impact on leadership and society in general, and when I meet others with the same mandate, I want to collaborate to create a bigger impact.

What are your greatest achievements to date?

1. Building a client base of women (and some men) who have all survived the dreaded first 12 months of business and who 95% of are still in business and growing daily.

2. Being a part of the recovery and rebuilding of over 200 bushfire victims after the Black Saturday fires through coaching, mentoring and skill development. 

3. My 2 year old son, and my daughter, who would have been 4 years old (now deceased)

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned along the way?

Always lead through kindness 

To be a good coach, you don't need to be confrontational, tough or salesy.

Give more than you take. Align with the right people, who are willing to give back to you as well as take a little. 

What’s the toughest decision you’ve had to make since running your own business?

To reject stability and security, and go with my instinct and be guided by my values.

What are some resources you or your business can’t live without? 

Diagnostics - I use them constantly with clients, they are some of the fastest tools for change and self-growth.

Immune boosting smoothies - I need to be my best every day for my family, myself and my clients. I try to jam everything I need in a smoothie in the morning (think turmeric, spirulina, ginger, beetroot, kale, coconut water, pineapple, banana, pro-biotics). 

What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own business or change jobs to an industry/role that they’d love?

Do it, and persevere. Be guided by your values and strengths in decisions, and get support through mentorship or a good business coach that understands your challenges.

Keep a stable paid job while your business is beginning and work hard during that time, to remove the financial pressure in the first 6-12 months.

Don't sit back and wait for it to happen - your business success is 100% reliant on your ability to drive, self-motivate and create opportunity. 

What’s something most people wouldn’t know about you?

A near death experience for me two years ago changed me significantly, and now I'm markedly less patient with power games, control and situations that make people unhappy.

What does your ideal day look like?

Starts with waking from a good sleep, having 30 minutes to do some yoga. A day of coaching clients at my consulting room in Warragul overlooking a Balinese style pool, smoothie, tea, yummy salad for lunch and an early pick up from daycare to enjoy a night in our pjs with a glass of wine, a movie and the fire burning 

What’s one of your favourite quotes?

"Every person you meet is battling something you don't understand. Be kind, always."

Who or what inspires you? 

My clients who pick themselves up out of ruts, or challenging times, and prosper and blossom after facing adversity.

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Tahlia Meredith

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Tahlia Meredith

The Melbourne Freelancer

Website     Facebook     Instagram     LinkedIn

Where did you grow up and where are you based now?

I grew up in Sale, in East Gippsland before moving to Melbourne for uni and I’ve never looked back.

What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’? 

Lots of things – I remember wanting to be an actor, a lawyer, a journalist, a psychologist and a teacher at various times. Still haven’t ruled out being a teacher, writer, or coach.

When and how did you transition from working for someone else to working for yourself?

I was made redundant at the end of 2014 and didn’t see anything appealing when I was job hunting – the thought of going into a new work environment, getting across all the office politics and personalities, finding my feet all over again, it just didn’t sit well with me. So I thought about #allthethings I knew how to do, and if there was a market for it, and just gave it a go!

What’s your why?

To help take the overwhelm out of people’s day and help them rediscover the fun and freedom that can come with running your own business.

What do you love about what you do?

Helping people, and getting to be part of their team (even if it’s for a short while). I love to see what people are passionate about and get to understand the vision they have for what they do.

What’s challenged you most since being in business?

I’ve always been someone who believes in myself, but running a business is the best way to test that out for sure! Keeping my mindset strong and staying positive are things I still struggle with, but much less than when I first started.

What are your greatest achievements to date?

Building up a client base of really terrific people without doing much marketing – these days I get most of my business through word of mouth, which is so humbling. And keeping my business going when I faced some big personal challenges in 2017. I’m not quite sure how I did it but I’m so glad I could!

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned along the way?

You have to have your own back before anything else, and then surround yourself with people who ‘get it’ when it comes to running a business. Friends and family can be a fantastic support system but finding your business sisters is vital too.

Another big one is the best way to learn is by doing; you can do all the research in the world but it’s not until you’re working with clients or doing certain tasks that you’ll really know what’s going to be right for you and your business.

What’s the toughest decision you’ve had to make since running your own business?

Letting go of clients that weren’t a good fit even if the money was good.

What are some resources you or your business can’t live without? 

The internet! All I really need to do what I do is a reliable connection and my trusty laptop. I also love cloud-based apps like Google Apps for Work, Xero, Dropbox, and Canva.

What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own business or change jobs to an industry/role that they’d love?

Just give it a shot. You won’t know if you can do it until you try and really, what do you have to lose? The worst case scenario is it won’t work and you have to go back to a day job for awhile. But you will have learned and grown so much, it’s not a loss or failure at all.

What’s something most people wouldn’t know about you?

Hmmm… I have 2 cats and a turtle and they only get called by their nicknames (some people don’t even know my cats’ real names!) And I think emoji are the best form of communication – but anyone who’s emailed or texted me would know that now 😉

What does your ideal day look like?

It’s pretty close to what I do now – wake up, cuddle a cat while I have a cuppa and see what’s happening on Sunrise. Off to my coworking space where I start the day getting the lay of the land in my inbox then dive into client work for a few hours. Break for lunch and read something fun or interesting, a bit more client work and some business development work before knocking off for the day. In the evenings I love to socialize with friends or stay in and watch bad TV with a crossword handy (I’m such a party animal!)

What’s one of your favourite quotes?

A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men – Roald Dahl

Everything is figureoutable – Marie Forleo

You can. And you will – Danielle LaPorte

Who or what inspires you? 

My clients – mostly women, and all doing really interesting and exciting things that they’re passionate about. So many times I’ve seen them turn something from the seed of an idea to a fully realised success and it’s incredible to watch. It reminds me that if they can do it, so can I.

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Marion King

Marion King

Conocer Consulting

Website  LinkedIn

Where did you grow up and where are you based now?
I grew up in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges in Victoria, then we moved to Wollongong, NSW. This is an aboriginal name meaning, ‘between the mountains and the sea’. rolling surf and picturesque mountains. Now I live on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, which is a pretty wonderful place too!

What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’?  
A librarian, because these are the people who provide a pathway to knowledge. Knowledge is power. I also wanted to be a leader in an organisation, so I could guide and inspire staff do achieve their potential.

When and how did you transition from working for someone else to working for yourself?
I took a break from working as the Manager, Learning Commons at Holmesglen then for five years as the Victorian Parliamentary Librarian. I knew I wanted to move towards achieving my career goal of starting my own business and sharing my knowledge of leadership and management. It’s been an interesting journey, redefining and rediscovering myself, not to mention the challenge of running my own business! 

What’s your why? 
I've always known that businesses thrive with the right leaders and the right culture. I work with them to achieve this winning combination. I’ve seen some very good leaders and some that are toxic, in my time. I want to change the toxic ones and work with the good ones to make them even better. 

What do you love about what you do?
My career move from Library Manager, (which I loved) to self-employed Management Consultant, where I can put into practice everything I've learnt about Leadership, Coaching and Workforce Planning, which I love even more. I love that what I’m doing contributes to organisational success. For example, I consult in HR areas, interviewing, induction and retention, so businesses can get and keep the best talent.

What’s challenged you most since being in business?
I’ve needed to be very focused on what I really want and determine who are my potential clients. I’ve realized it’s not just about having fun, it’s also very importantly about generating my own income. I haven’t had to do this before!

What are your greatest achievements to date?
My coaching work with clients, where I have helped them to achieve both their business and personal goals. My workshops on ‘Building Resilience at work’, I’m also very proud of, as the feedback has been very positive. 

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned along the way?

  • Look at the competition.
  • Focus on my ‘point of difference’
  • Identify my potential clients and determine the alignment between their needs and my expertise.
  • Go for it!
  • Don’t be a chameleon and change myself totally but identify other areas of business, where I have the ability to deliver a good service. 

What’s the toughest decision you’ve had to make since running your own business?
The toughest decision has been to persevere and believe in myself, when I was just starting up and still trying to find my direction. 

What are some resources you or your business can’t live without?  
People; they are the best for support and guidance and the really good ones will tell me when I’m wrong. That’s great too! It’s good to have a reality check.
Articles on the internet and books, I couldn’t live without. Such valuable information on the areas I’m providing services in. 

What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own business or change jobs to an industry/role that they’d love?
Do some research and career planning to work out what you really want. Then you will know where you are going and why. Don’t be put off but be realistic and look out for other opportunities as well. Don’t just follow the straight road. 

What’s something most people wouldn’t know about you?
Life can sometimes be too short, so I want to do everything, so I don’t miss out.

What does your ideal day look like?
Getting the most important (and often hardest) things done first, so then I can work on the other stuff but also do some exercise, play music and learn more French or Spanish.

What’s one of your favourite quotes?
“Here's to the crazy ones — the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently — they're not fond of rules. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things." Jun 13, 2014. Steve Jobs

Who or what inspires you?  
People around me, the amazing RMIT teacher who has just finished teaching us the Cert IV in Training and Development, my mother, my daughter, my partner. 

Anything you’d like to add?
I really admire artists (that includes musicians and actors as well as visual artists). They are the people who view the world from a different perspective and question how we do things. That's why I think lateral and creative thinking is so important in business.
 

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Kathy Wilton

Kathy Wilton (2).jpg

Kathy Wilton

Signature Coaching

Website    Facebook

Where did you grow up and where are you based now

Grew up in Bendigo and currently based in Bendigo.

What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’?   

I wanted to be a teacher. 

When and how did you transition from working for someone else to working for yourself? 

I had worked for the same not for profit organization in Management and Leadership roles for 25 years in total.  At the age of 51, I decided that I should make a change. I spent some time thinking about what I wanted to do (went to a career coach) and decided on Coaching. But that has evolved over the last 12 months as I have learnt what it is that I want to focus on as a coach. I also did some further study and completed a Diploma in Management, Leadership and Coaching. Met some amazing individuals who I have learnt from. 

The move from working for someone else to working for myself has been possible because of my incredibly supportive and amazing husband who has believed in me and the direction I am taking.  

What’s your why?  

Why not…

What do you love about what you do? 

I love still learning, engaging with others, meeting new people from different industries. 

What’s challenged you most since being in business? 

How to market the business, what to think about when marketing. Believing that I can do it. 

What are your greatest achievements to date? 

Believing that I can do it and doing it. 

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned along the way?

It’s ok to outsource some of the things that you don’t enjoy doing or don’t feel confident in doing. You don’t have to be able to do it all 

What’s the toughest decision you’ve had to make since running your own business? 

Only very early days in my business - but sticking to my core business and sometimes saying  "no that’s not what I do." 

What are some resources you or your business can’t live without?   

My husband, my supportive friends, my desire to learn. 

What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own business or change jobs to an industry/role that they’d love? 

If you have lost your passion in your current role – then something needs to change. If you have a passion for something that you're not spending time doing then something needs to change. 

What’s something most people wouldn’t know about you? 

I love Gogglebox. 

What does your ideal day look like? 

Supporting my 13 year old to get to school, and if she can’t spending time organizing her day - school work etc. 

Going for a 50 minute walk. 

Working on finalising aspects of my business. 

What’s one of your favourite quotes? 

You have to be more intelligent than your fears – Magda Szubanski 

Who or what inspires you?   

Young women/girls who have been through tough times and come out on the other side full of enthusiasm and energy. Florence Broadhurst – Australian wallpaper designer – for having a go and being a bit of a challenge. Magda Szubanski for being herself. 

Anything you’d like to add? 

I love telling stories – especially ones that make others laugh, love public speaking, Like thinking through tough issues in a logical manner. Ok about making mistakes and laughing at myself. 

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Emma Woodcock

Emma Woodcock

Grace & Able

WEBSITE   FACEBOOK   INSTAGRAM   TWITTER

Where did you grow up and where are you based now?

I grew up in Manila, Philippines and am now based on the Mornington Peninsula.

What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’?

Actually, a business woman! When I was little and all my friends were planning their wedding dresses, I daydreamed about high heels and pant suits!

When and how did you transition from working for someone else to working for yourself?

I have been at stay-at-home mum for a few years before launching my social enterprise, however my background was retail and interior design.

What’s your why?

My why is to end poverty, to help the forgotten, to see others shine not because I get glory but so that others may know hope.

What do you love about what you do?

The opportunity to see others not just survive, but thrive!

What’s challenged you most since being in business?

Building a brand on your own is tough – getting word out there is hard, exposure, marketing.

What are your greatest achievements to date?

Installing a toilet in the home of one of our artisans in Sri Lanka.

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned along the way?

Poverty is complicated and deeply layered, so there is no one fix. Every day presents a new opportunity to problem solve but this is also time consuming… so patience! Oh, and also, numbers lie! I’m learning not to measure success in terms of numbers of followers or sales but in other things like toilets!

What’s the toughest decision you’ve had to make since running your own business?

To not take the common road!

What are some resources you or your business can’t live without? 

Skype, What’s App, my phone really – it connects me with the artisans daily and at odd hours too!

What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own business or change jobs to an industry/role that they’d love?

Don’t wait until it’s perfect, don’t let fear define you – just step out and just give it a go!

What’s something most people wouldn’t know about you?

I love international movies and children’s books – it’s the storyteller in me!

What does your ideal day look like?

Cuddles with the kids, coffee, a walk with our dog and sharing laughter with the artisans. I’m easily pleased!

What’s one of your favourite quotes?

Oh, that’s tough! So many to choose from. But “Be the change you wish to see in the world” would be up there! Along with “Do all things with love”.

Who or what inspires you? 

This is a loaded question for me! While I do find stories of many women inspirational, like Jodie Fox, Founder of Shoes of Prey and Lisa Messenger, as well as some well-known social justice campaigners, I do intentionally try not to hold someone up as an icon until I’ve met them in person. I am careful not to let someone’s carefully curated public image be compared with my inner mess! On the whole though, it’s the everyday people who inspire me. My friends, the mums out there who get up every day to do it all over again, and of course my artisans – the overcomers! Their resilience is like no other!

Anything you’d like to add?

I’m looking forward to being part of the Soar Community!

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Leanne O'Sullivan

Leanne O'Sullivan

Summit School with Leanne O

Big Blue Digital

Website   Facebook   Pinterest   Linkedin

 Where did you grow up and where are you based now?
I grew up in Wollongong but now I live in Dubbo.

What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’? 
So many things, lawyer, singer in musicals, doctor, hairdresser, ultimately I wanted to wear a trench coat and work in Melbourne.

When and how did you transition from working for someone else to working for yourself?
My husband and I have been in business for almost 18 years.

What’s your why?
Helping small business owners realise their dreams via online marketing. Educating and inspiring others to maximise what they do and what they already know.

What do you love about what you do?

  • Learning every day – what I do changes all the time, it is never boring.
  • Making real change for business owners in their business – seeing them succeed.
  • Meeting so many other businesses and understand what they do.

What’s challenged you most since being in business?
Cashflow and gossip – regional centres have to much of it – and men are the worst at business gossip.

What are your greatest achievements to date?
Having 3 children – staying married over 18 years in business.
Being cash strapped and coming out the other side.
Being diagnosed with depression and realizing that there is a better way.

There are lots of professional achievements – but really the above are far more significant.

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned along the way?

  • You are stronger than you think
  • There are lots of people who struggle like you do
  • That family and connections are everything
  • The being fit is essential to business success
  • Walk on Sunday – every Sunday

What’s the toughest decision you’ve had to make since running your own business?
Fire people, walk away from clients.


What are some resources you or your business can’t live without? 
Our team
The NBN – yes we have the NBN
Online productivity tools

What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own business or change jobs to an industry/role that they’d love?
Burn your boat – you can’t really succeed if you are still clinging onto something else.

What’s something most people wouldn’t know about you?
I can play piano.

What does your ideal day look like?
Food prep done, Exercise done, Kids at school on time, A day of new people signing up to my programs and conducting a webinar.

What’s one of your favourite quotes?
“Life is short, and it is here to be lived.” — Kate Winslet

Who or what inspires you? 
Melinda Gates and Turia Pitt.

 

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Dominique Kimber

Dominique Kimber

Social Swell

Website   Facebook   Instagram

Where did you grow up and where are you based now?
I’m originally from Leeds in the UK but about 10 years ago I made the big move out to Australia.  I’ve lived in Cape York, Townsville and now I am based on the beautiful Sunshine Coast.

What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’? 
I either wanted to be a writer or a singer.  As a copywriter I’ve definitely followed through there and I also play music and sing in my spare time so it’s the best of both worlds really.

When and how did you transition from working for someone else to working for yourself?
My family and I moved from Townsville about 18 months ago.  At the time I was on maternity leave from my position as a journalist for a regional Townsville-based publication.  When my maternity leave came to an end I began looking for work in my field locally.  It was hard.  There didn’t seem to be anything in my area of expertise that also presented a healthy work/life balance for my family. 

So with bills to pay and itching feet ready to get back to work, I fell into a role that was completely outside of my area of my skill set and passion.  Don’t get me wrong, I worked with a great bunch of people and was happy enough plodding along with what I was doing for a while, but it got to the point when I realised I was really missing something. 

I knew deep down that if I was ever going to do something that created value in my community and something that I loved but that also worked with my family then I would have to create it for myself.  So I did.

What’s your why?
To create something of value, to do something that I love and to make sure that I could make time for my little person.

What do you love about what you do?

I love getting to know and help local businesses.  It makes me feel like I’m really a part of my community. I also love that I get to have dinner with my son and put him to bed every night.

What’s challenged you most since being in business?
If I’m honest I’d have to say cash flow.  Starting a business can be a bit risky and it takes time to get a regular flow of income.  I’m extremely lucky that I have a supportive husband that truly believed in my ability and it’s really because of him that I had the time that I needed to get my business off the ground.

What are your greatest achievements to date?
From a business perspective, I’d have to say that I’m really at the start of my journey so in terms of awards and accolades I don’t have too much to note down.  Personally, I feel pretty proud that I’ve created my own business from scratch. 

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned along the way?
My key take away has been to always back yourself.  I think sometimes we (women in particular) have a habit of finding reasons why we can’t do/achieve something.  I’ve learned that if you want others to believe in your ability, then you have to believe in yourself. 

 Another tip I’d have is that you don’t need to take every course, attend every networking event or say yes to everyone in order to have success.  Yes, jump on great opportunities, but know when to say no.

What are some resources you or your business can’t live without? 
My laptop is my best friend and I am an Apple addict – Macbook, IMac, IPhone, IPad – you name it.  Also I love programs like Hootsuite for scheduling social media content and KeySearch for keyword research.

What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own business or change jobs to an industry/role that they’d love?
Don’t just think about what you do, think about what you CAN do to add value for your clients/customers.

What’s something most people wouldn’t know about you?
I’m generally a pretty open book but maybe that when I was a kid I sang in the National Children’s Choir of Great Britain.

What does your ideal day look like?
Coffee, computer, client catch ups and copywriting.

What’s one of your favourite quotes?
Fake it till you make it.

Who or what inspires you? 
My Grandma is one of my favorite people on this planet. She’s such a strong woman and never seems to give up – plus she makes awesome cupcakes!

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Carmela D'Amore

Carmela DAmore.jpg

Carmela D'Amore

Sorrento Trattoria & Carmela's Cucina Class

FACEBOOK (ST)  FACEBOOK (CCC)  INSTAGRAM (ST)  INSTAGRAM (CCC)  TWITTER

Where did you grow up and where are you based now?

My family resided in Campbellfield, and we came to the Mornington Peninsula in 1974 and have been here since.

What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’?

A judge.

When and how did you transition from working for someone else to working for yourself?

My family has been in hospitality all of my life, I was born in hospitality. I have worked for myself most of my life, and had several businesses.

What’s your why?

For you to awaken, and see the power of your table.

What do you love about what you do?

I live my passion and love what I do. I love to cook, and travel, and have been able to implement my two loves and create a business through the two.

What’s challenged you most since being in business?

The most challenges are finding the right staff and create a great business with them as part of the team.

What are your greatest achievements to date?

My children and grandchildren of course! Becoming the President of the Lady Chefs of Australia, the federation is quite new and we need more members.

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned along the way?

No matter what happens, always dust it off, and stand up and continue, learn the lesson, and go onto the next. Life is a journey and we are constantly evolving, we never stop. We never get there and we never get it… I am a work in progress. Life is what you create of it. Never give up.
Be grateful for the little things in life. Smile daily and be happy no matter what. My circumstances do not define who I am.

What’s the toughest decision you’ve had to make since running your own business?

Delegating my role to my son, and letting it go.

What are some resources you or your business can’t live without?

My team, my vision, my passion, my direction, my purpose.

What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own business or change jobs to an industry/role that they’d love?

Find your  passion and purpose and work from there. Build a business that you can see yourself in years to come, and be able to delegate, as you grow older. What can you business do to help people?

What’s something most people wouldn’t know about you?

I love to sit in the sunshine, and enjoy my cup of coffee, and just potter, that’s where I go my inspiration from. I love my own company… I take 3 holidays a year to continue to be active and not burn out.

What does your ideal day look like?

The one I have today! I love to meditate, and walk in the morning have a cup of coffee have  breakfast with my husband, and start my day from there.

What’s one of your favourite quotes?

The journey begins with a single step...
You are enough…

Who or what inspires you?

I love to listen to Wayne Dyer, Oprah Winfrey, Les Brown, TDJakes, and Tony Robbins. Life inspires me, I live it to the fullest every day, I inspire myself, from my own journey, I am my own hero...

Anything you’d like to add?

I look at life like a book; there are many chapters to write still, and to learn. I also look at my everyday life, as I am a prestige car; I need to proper fuel, to drive efficiently, and when the computer tells me that there is something wrong and I need it checked out I go to the proper professionals to get a top up. My computer are my emotions they are the indicators to tell me something is not right, that is good because then I can check within myself to see if I am okay.

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Bethany Jakob

Bethany Jakob

Bethany Alice Fashion Design

WEBSITE FACEBOOK INSTAGRAM PINTEREST

Where did you grow up and where are you based now?

I was born in Shepparton and I have lived in Ballarat since 2000. I moved to Melbourne after high school to study fashion design but came back to Ballarat quite recently to set up and start my business.

What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’? 

I always knew I wanted to do something creative and at one point I wanted to be an abstract painter (mainly because I couldn’t actually paint). But I started sewing when I was about 10 with my mum and it wasn’t long after that I realised I wanted to be involved in fashion.

When and how did you transition from working for someone else to working for yourself?

After I finished university I was looking at a wide range of jobs just to get some more cash under belt after studying. I ended up working as a stylist at a bridesmaid’s showroom in Melbourne. While this job was amazing I was really missing my creative work so I decided to go part time and work on creating my own business. So I moved back to Ballarat, set up my own little studio and started working while still commuting to Melbourne to continue to work as a Stylist on the weekends to help pay for my business.

What’s your why?

After I finished university I really struggled to decide on which area of fashion design I wanted to go in, as I loved every aspect of the design process from conception to production. I also quickly realised that I didn’t like the idea of working for someone else, their ideas and the possibility of being limited creatively.

During my time as a stylist I quickly learned how much I love meeting new people and helping them find a garment that suits them.  I realised that I could combine my love of the whole fashion design process and meeting new people into one if I started my own business. I thought I could work one on one with women to help create a range of garments that have been made just for them. So I did it and I haven’t looked back.

What do you love about what you do?

Now this I could talk about all day long!! I have always had a deep love (or more obsession) with fashion from a very young age. I have always loved how artistic, creative and crazy fashion can be. But lately I have loved how certain garments and outfits can make a person look. They can make us look feminine, powerful, sensual or any one you want to be for the day.

However I have found that a lot of women struggle to find something that actually makes them feel amazing. I strongly believe that every woman deserves to look in the mirror in the morning and say “DAM!! I look GOOD!!” This can be a challenge if women don’t know what suits their figure and find garments that actually fit their body. I absolutely love working with women to create a garment that fits them. I love the look on their face when they put that skirt on that is now the perfect length of that top that finally fits their bust and say “OMG it actually fits ME!” There is no greater reward than seeing a woman happy and most importantly confident in what she wears. And this job also means I get to play with clothes every day which isn’t a bad thing either.

What’s challenged you most since being in business?

My biggest challenge has been my confidence in running a business. Coming from a completely design focused background I have very little knowledge of how to run a business and this can actually be quite scary some times. I often find myself saying “What am I doing? Am I crazy?!” But I always make sure I ask for help from people who are more experienced and know that it’s ok that I still don’t know everything. I am learning to be patient with the process and to set myself small goals to make owning and running a business less daunting.

What are your greatest achievements to date?

I think my greatest achievement was actually just starting my business. Having the confidence and conviction to stop talking about it, day dreaming about, and instead just going for it. It’s been very scary but I am so glad I did it and every new like on Instagram posts or new inquiries from clients have been great little achievements since then, all because I just did it!

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned along the way?

The biggest lesson I’ve learnt is really trusting my knowledge as a designer enough to promote it to get more clients. This was quite scary because I have always been a quiet worker and never really talked about what I can do. It was quite scary to have to put myself out there and confidently promote my skills to prospective clients but now I have done it, it’s been a lot easier. 

I have also learned to set myself small, achievable goals so I can see the progress I am making. It also helps make the bigger picture of running a business less daunting and I can also clearly see what I have achieved which is very important. 

What’s the toughest decision you’ve had to make since running your own business?

How much to charge and to be honest I’m still figuring it out. It’s quite hard to put a dollar sign on how much you, your skills and your time is worth as you really need to think about what is best for you.

What are some resources you or your business can’t live without? 

I would really struggle without social media. I have found it a great avenue to display my work and creativity and its great getting so much positive feedback and seeing what people like.

I have also had help from Emily from Good Media and Jacqui from White Deer Graphic Design to help create all my branding and online presence. Honestly I would have no idea where I would be without those women. They are amazing!!!

What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own business or change jobs to an industry/role that they’d love? 

Just go for it!! As I said previously you can talk and plan and dream as much as you want but at some point you just have to go for it. I honestly think that if it’s what you truly love and are willing to work hard you will never regret giving it a red hot go.

What’s something most people wouldn’t know about you?

When I am out on the town I really love to dress up and go all out and be playful with my style. However when I am at home in my studio I am almost always in trackies and a t-shirt. Somedays I may not even get out of my pajamas.  Comfort definitely outweighs fashion when I’m in the studio.

What does your ideal day look like?

Generally start by checking all my social media accounts and just see what’s happening in the world. Then I head out to my studio, chuck on whatever is trending on Netflix and start working.

I generally work on a couple of different projects during the day to mix things up. So I may do some pattern making work in the morning and after lunch I will focus on sewing. I usually also schedule fittings or consults during the afternoon. Then around 4:30 – 5:00 I will post some content to my social media platforms as I have found that quite a popular time of day.

As I work from home I will also often chuck a load of washing on and I generally count that as a very productive day if I get that done.

What’s one of your favourite quotes?

Now this is a really hard one as I have so many. But I would have to say my favourite is from my mum - “The scariest things we face in life turn out to be the greatest things we ever do.”

Who or what inspires you? 

My mum has always been such an amazing inspiration to me as she was the one who first taught me to sew. She has also always pushed me to achieve my best and has always encouraged me to do something that scares me. She would always say “just do it before you think about it too much.” Because of that I now always get excited by new opportunities and so many good things have come from that frame of mind. I wouldn’t be half the women I am today if it wasn’t for her. She is my biggest support.

Anything you’d like to add?

I am just so excited to be a part of such an amazing support system for not just business owners but women in general. I think a great strength and power comes from when women support each other and I cannot wait to meet and be inspired by amazing, strong women.

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Amber Edwardson

Amber Edwardson

1000 Mile Travel Group

FACEBOOK INSTAGRAM

Where did you grow up and where are you based now?

I grew up in Glenhaven in the North Western Suburbs of Sydney. I moved to Melbourne in 2007 and live bayside in Seaford with my husband and two young children.

What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’? 

Funnily enough, I did want to be either a Travel Agent or a Beauty Therapist when I ‘grew up’. I went down the Beauty Therapy road first, completing my Diploma and working in a salon for 5 years. After moving to Melbourne, I decided to try the Travel Industry as I have a passion for travelling and I haven’t looked back!

When and how did you transition from working for someone else to working for yourself?

Trying to find a job that was flexible and family friendly was a major factor for starting my own business. I was unable to find anything suitable and I wanted more than ‘just a job’. This certainly wasn’t the easiest path but I love what I do and have greater control, over the level of service I am able to provide my clients.  Owning my own business also allows me to work flexibly around the needs of both my clients and family.

What’s your why?

My family! 

What do you love about what you do?

The travel industry is so exciting and ever changing, I learn something new every day!

There is something special in being able to plan my clients dream holiday and see it become a reality.

What’s challenged you most since being in business?

Inconsistent income! Keeping motivated during those quiet months is incredibly tough and with any new small business it takes time and I hope I can look back and know that it was all worth it!

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned along the way?

To succeed you need to stand up for yourself and what you believe in.

Moving out of your comfort zone is terrifying must, but the more you do it the easier it becomes.

What are some resources you or your business can’t live without? 

The Internet – This is the best part about my job, I can work from anywhere as long as I have the internet.

Social Media – I use Facebook and recently Instagram, daily to communicate special deals, offers and travel inspiration to my followers & clients.

Mobile Phone- My phone allows my clients to contact me at any time should they require.

What’s one of your favourite quotes?

Don’t call it a dream, call it a plan!

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Melissa Mawby

Melissa Mawby

Peninsula Digital Marketing

WEBSITE FACEBOOK INSTAGRAM 

Where did you grow up and where are you based now?

I grew up in Daylesford, I lived in Geelong for a number of years to attend uni then later for work. I now live on the Mornington Peninsula and couldn’t be happier.

What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’? 

I never had one idea of what I wanted to be when I grew up, I had a number of aspirations such as being a ballet dancer, an artist or a writer when I was young.

When and how did you transition from working for someone else to working for yourself?

After deciding to move to the Mornington Peninsula in 2015, I found there were limited job opportunities available in high level marketing. As I already had friends and family on the Mornington Peninsula they encouraged me to start my own business; knowing the area they saw more opportunity for me to work for myself.

What’s your why?

In digital marketing there are no rules or regulations, after working for agencies and being faced with people who have been given bad advice or ‘ripped off’ I decided I wanted to educate people and create a business that provides ‘ethical’ digital marketing services. I work with a strong degree of honesty and transparency so clients understood more about online marketing.

What do you love about what you do?

I love helping other business owners making informed decisions about their marketing. I’m particularly passionate about startups and small business; seeing a business grow and become sustainable over time is always rewarding.  

What’s challenged you most since being in business?

Knowing when to outsource or employ has been a challenge, when I first started I tried to do everything myself, however this was not a sustainable option. I found by engaging the experts you get to offer clients a deeper level of service which along with the shared workload is a great benefit.

What are your greatest achievements to date?

Completing Master of Marketing has been one of my biggest achievements of late, I enrolled in 2012 and completed online studies while working full time before graduating in 2016 – it was a long hard slog but completely worth every late night of study!

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned along the way?

Take risks and make mistakes – they give us the opportunity to learn and grow.

What’s the toughest decision you’ve had to make since running your own business?
Admitting that some things won’t work is always hard as a business owner, I’m not one to give and rather persist but sometimes it is necessary to move on from any elements that are not working. For instance, identifying clients that are not a good fit for your business and letting them go is tough however I’ve learnt that listening to your gut is so important.  

What are some resources you or your business can’t live without? 

No laptop and internet would render my business quite useless! Aside from this I think I couldn’t live without social media; it’s such an important part of any online marketing now. 

What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own business or change jobs to an industry/role that they’d love?

Just do it; if you don’t enjoy what you are doing currently you are wasting your time!

What’s something most people wouldn’t know about you?

Most people wouldn’t know that after I finished school I decided to become a psychologist, I completed a psychology degree and briefly worked as a careers councilor before accidentally stumbling into a contract marketing role and changed career direction.

What does your ideal day look like?

An ideal day for me would start with an early morning run by the beach, followed by a strong coffee and breakfast with my partner and son. When I start work for the day I like to read articles and updates on digital marketing before spending the day getting out to meet with clients. I enjoy busy work days followed by a bit more exercise in the afternoon then a relaxing evening with the family.

What’s one of your favourite quotes?

“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become” Steve Jobs

Who or what inspires you? 

I am lucky to be surrounded by family and friends who are so varied and excel at what they do across different industries from art, sport, engineering, to law. It’s great to know so many creative thinkers!

Anything you’d like to add?

I love educating people and answering questions about digital marketing, if anyone would like to have a chat about their website or marketing their business online free to get in touch! 

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Amey Lee

Amey Lee

Heart Content

WEBSITE FACEBOOK INSTAGRAM TWITTER LINKEDIN

Where did you grow up and where are you based now?

I was born and bred in Frankston on the Mornington Peninsula. I then spent five years living in the Melbourne CBD, two years living in London and have spent the last eight years back in the hood, residing in Carrum.

What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’? 

I had three choices of what I wanted to be when I grew up. A lawyer (like Ally McBeal), a journalist (like April O’Neil) or a forensic pathologist (basically a detective like Nancy Drew but the cool science side).

When and how did you transition from working for someone else to working for yourself?

This isn’t my first business. When I was in my 20’s I started and grew a video production agency with a business partner who I sold to when I was 27. Then I went back and worked for other people for a while. In 2014, while I was working as a senior digital producer, I became frustrated that my role had become too account management based and less creative. I spent too much time managing people and projects instead of doing the work.

I left not knowing what the next step would be. And in my first week out of work I was referred a copy job. That turned into a brand building job. That led to another copy job. I went to a few networking events and got some more copy, content and brand story projects. Within a month I was pretty busy. My husband said, “The universe is telling you something. Why don’t you have another go?” Heart Content was born.

What’s your why?

When was the last time you asked “Why?” in your business? Why do I do what I do? Why should people work with me? Why should people buy from me? Why should my customers love me? Why am I here?

I’m the little girl that always asked why. I’m on a lifelong learning mission. A mission to seek to understand people and the world around me. To understand why. And so, my Why is to help you find and understand your why, then help you articulate that to the people that matter.

What do you love about what you do?

Many of the businesses I work with have lost their way and aren’t sure why things aren’t working any more or why they can’t grow. They started their business because they were good at a something, not because they knew how to build a business or a brand. When I work with a client, it’s like a little light turns back on for them. As they reconnect with their why, they start to glow. They get their energy back, their passion ignites again. They find purpose and motivation.

It’s quite magical. And whilst I love the writing and planning and strategy and creativity, it’s the magic light switch that these things flick on for my clients that’s at the heart of why I love what I do.

What’s challenged you most since being in business?

My greatest challenge in my business has happened only recently. I’ve become a mum. And I underestimated the emotional side of what that meant for me. So right now I’m trying to work out how best to balance my business baby with my human baby – the guilt, the joy and the adventure of it all!

What are your greatest achievements to date?

Starting my business (both of them). Writing a brand history book for Renault. Living in London and working for the BBC. Keeping my business alive as I welcomed a tiny human into the world.

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned along the way?

Trust your instincts. Ask for help. You’ve got to give to get. Surround yourself with people who build you up. No just means not right now. You aren’t for everybody – and that’s okay. 

What’s the toughest decision you’ve had to make since running your own business?

The toughest decision I’ve ever had to make in business was deciding to leave one. When it was time to move on from my first business, it was difficult, scary and emotionally exhausting. There is nothing more daunting than walking away, not knowing what the next step might be. But starting that business and leaving that business are two of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Deciding to start something and deciding to stop something (then actually doing that) are the two most difficult things in life. It’s easier to never change anything – but life is way too boring without it!

What are some resources you or your business can’t live without? 

An internet connection everywhere I go is a must. It means I can operate my business from anywhere and I pay a premium to be with the carrier that offers me the best connection.

An online presence. Even if people meet you face to face, they will check out your website to see if you’re the real deal. It also allows you to build a community around your offering.

Networking. This is how I find clients, work on my business and meet people who are on the same journey as me. It keeps me sane, connected and growing. I couldn’t do business without it.

What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own business or change jobs to an industry/role that they’d love?

Don’t spend years waiting for “the right time”. There is not right time and there’s no time like now. I’m not saying you don’t have to have some sort of plan (a short set of dot points will do the trick!) but you don’t get anywhere if you don’t take action.

What’s something most people wouldn’t know about you?

When I was a teenager, I started a youth depression awareness campaign on the Mornington Peninsula called Footprints Forever. This was pre Beyond Blue when nobody was talking about the issue of depression at all, and I’m proud to have been involved in getting the conversation started. I was awarded a Centenary of Federation Medal for service through youth as a result of this work.

What does your ideal day look like?

One that involves family, work and play in equilibrium. Along with time to eat well, read for enjoyment, laugh loudly and learn thoughtfully.

What’s one of your favourite quotes?

Nothing is more powerful than the stories we choose to tell ourselves.

Who or what inspires you? 

I’m inspired in some way by each and every person I meet because we all have a story to tell. But I get daily inspiration and motivation from the amazing Seth Godin, who writes about marketing, tribes, respect and doing your best work, even though sometimes that’s the hardest thing to do.

Anything you’d like to add?

It’s a privilege and an honour to be a part of the Soar Collective. I’m grateful each and every day for the people here who challenge me, support me, and create opportunities for me to shine as a human being.

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Bailey Gaspero

Bailey Gaspero

The Vintage Press

WEBSITE FACEBOOK INSTAGRAM

 

Where did you grow up and where are you based now?

I grew up in the Cranbourne area of Melbourne and currently still call it home.

What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’? 

I actually wanted to be a flight attendant - So I could travel the world! Then a fashion designer! But, life had other plans for me.

When and how did you transition from working for someone else to working for yourself?

I love the idea of working for just myself but unfortunately I haven’t quite made it that far as yet. I do still work full time but am hoping to make that transitional leap within the next 12 months. 

What’s your why?

My 4 beautiful children.

What do you love about what you do?

I am inspired by creativity in so many ways. To be able to use that creativity to create something special and beautiful for a bride and groom’s most magical day gives me happiness!

What’s challenged you most since being in business?

Finding the right balance!

What are your greatest achievements to date?

Being given the opportunities to create pieces for brides and grooms all over the world!

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned along the way?

My time is valuable. I can always do better. There are no limitations in creativity.  

What’s the toughest decision you’ve had to make since running your own business?

I haven’t even convinced myself of this yet, but when to make it my everything and stop working for other people.

What are some resources you or your business can’t live without? 

Social Media! Its how majority of my clients connect and stay connected with me.

What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own business or change jobs to an industry/role that they’d love?

Do it! Why waste the time doing something you don’t love.

What’s something most people wouldn’t know about you?

I am a huge vintage fan. I love lollies, spending time with my husband and 4 beautiful kiddies, love the beach but hate the sand, love making excel spreadsheets and I can’t stand still!

What’s one of your favourite quotes?

Life is what you make of it.

Who or what inspires you? 

My mum. She is an amazingly genuine, loving, supportive, beautiful person and I inspire to be like her. 

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Jane McLeod

Jane McLeod.jpg

Jane McLeod

Mr. Kipp and Little Jimmy 

WEBSITE FACEBOOK INSTAGRAM

Where did you grow up and where are you based now?

Born and bred in Ballarat and still here!

What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’? 

A builder

When and how did you transition from working for someone else to working for yourself?

After having my second child and knew I wanted to work from home and didn’t want to go to work 9 - 5.

What’s your why?

I was diagnosed with MS in 2005 and began researching ways in which to reduce the toxins in my life. I stumbled across the toxins that were present in many plastic toys. I filed that knowledge away for later. 12 years and 3 kids later wooden toys and inspiring Mums to reduce the toxins from their family’s lives have become my passion and my business.

What do you love about what you do?

I have always loved timber and wooden toys. I also love to help other Mums, maybe just making their lives a little easier as I know it can be the most rewarding but difficult job!

What’s challenged you most since being in business?

Most challenging would be getting my business name out there and being found.

What are your greatest achievements to date?

Starting my toy hire business in 2014 then setting up a Pop up shop in time for Christmas. Then setting up an online shop in 2016.

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned along the way?

Not to compare- Run my own race,

Know that I am on the right path, what is meant to be will be, the universe has a plan for me. (#surrender!) 

What’s the toughest decision you’ve had to make since running your own business?

Not to have my finger in every pie. Do what I do well and cut out some of the things that I’m not giving my all to.

What are some resources you or your business can’t live without? 

The internet. E square reader. My main toy supplier who is also based in Ballarat.

What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own business or change jobs to an industry/role that they’d love?

Learn to crawl before you walk.

But you don’t have to be perfect to start- you just have to start and then perfect it!

What’s something most people wouldn’t know about you?

I am a bit silly, easy going but a hard worker. I have three sons, three older brothers and my husband is one of three boys. I have 9 nephews and am surrounded by testosterone!

What does your ideal day look like?

Up before the kids to get some work done.  Eating yummy healthy food, a little walk or some yoga and a lay in the sun, preferably on the beach!

What’s one of your favourite quotes?

“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters”.

Who or what inspires you?

Listening to talks and reading books by great visionaries like Bob Proctor and Vishen lakhiani.

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Sarah Sadlo

Sarah Sadlo

Staff Solutions AustraliaSafety First Electrical

FACEBOOK (SSA) FACEBOOK (SFE) TWITTER

Where did you grow up and where are you based now?

I grew up in a small country town called Wodonga – it’s no so small anymore.  I now live with my two beautiful daughters in Rye.

What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’? 

I always wanted to be a helper.  I didn’t care who, what, how or why.  I just wanted to make people smile and still do.

When and how did you transition from working for someone else to working for yourself?

I’m currently still transitioning;

My daytime hat, Staff Solutions, I’m currently based in the city however am working towards opening a local Staff Solutions Peninsula branch with a specific focus on recruiting Peninsula locals for local Peninsula small businesses – Now all that’s left is for me to find some Peninsula businesses ready to hire.

My nighttime hat, Safety First Electrical. A compliance audit program towards ensuring all Australian’s can live safely within their homes.    

What’s your why?

I love seeing my clients attaining their career goals, knowing that I played a small part in that is exhilarating and fills me with joy every time. 

Safety is a passion of mine – much to my girl’s determent. When it comes to safety I believe there is no compromise, that’s why I have joined forces with a local electrician, gas plumber and smoke alarm service specialist, together we form Safety First Electrical. Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are fantastic however they have one HUGE fault. They are reactive, warning us upon a smoke or gas filled room. My (our) aim is to be proactive and eliminate the need or reliance on alarms by providing heath checks for your home, catching and fixing potential disasters before they arises. 

What do you love about what you do?

When I’m recruiting, I love hearing and seeing the excitement my clients have when they accept their ‘dream role’, it makes me smile every time without fail.

Contributing towards ensuring the safety and security of a family’s home gives me great pride and satisfaction.

What’s challenged you most since being in business?

I’m a passionate, ambitious person who throws everything in.  I’ve had to learn and still am learning that sometimes it’s good to slow down and breathe – Rome wasn’t built in a day.

What are your greatest achievements to date?

For me it would have to be my beautiful two daughters, they are my world they inspire and spur me on, on a daily basis. 

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned along the way?

To back myself, be persistent and to have the courage to face every challenge with a fresh approach.  

Having the confidence and endurance to tackle issues head on and accept or ask for help when needed and to listen is also something I’ve had to learn the hard way – now I always check and double check, ask and listen first.

What’s the toughest decision you’ve had to make since running your own business?

Deciding when to change direction or start over because a concept isn’t working.

What are some resources you or your business can’t live without? 

Chai Tea (a must have for me), internet connection, laptop and mobile.

What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own business or change jobs to an industry/role that they’d love?

If it’s something you’re passionate about and you have the capacity to do, reach for the stars and go for it.

What’s something most people wouldn’t know about you?

I may seem like I’m holding it all together, inside however I’m a bundle of nerves.

What does your ideal day look like?

Busy, busy, busy. Dropping my girls to school, making it into the city in time for the morning meeting, followed by onsite meetings with clients. Referring professional to clients who can provide a positive impact to their business and their bottom line, followed by cooking dinner with my girls and having snuggle time before signing on and processing the paperwork for the days compliance audits and confirming the schedule for the next day.

What’s one of your favourite quotes?

‘The biggest mistake you can make, is to be afraid of making one” I read this in one of my many books and it’s stuck with me ever since.

Who or what inspires you? 

My girls with their big brown eyes inspire me every day. The desire to be a positive role model for them and to teach/show them that success is being happy and putting one foot in front of the other.

Anything you’d like to add?

Life is full of challenges, it’s how we face these challenges that makes us who we are today. 

 

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Nicole Edgar

Nicole Edgar

TravelManagers

WEBSITE FACEBOOK INSTAGRAM TWITTER PINTEREST GOOGLE+

Where did you grow up and where are you based now?

I grew up in North Dandenong from birth, until I got married in 1997, when I moved into the ‘marital’ home that we built, in Narre Warren South, where we still are living today.

What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’? 

As I enjoyed sport back in my school days, I wanted to be a ‘PE teacher’, as really the only two things I could relate to back then were teachers and sport.  I laugh at that now, as I rarely have the time or inclination to exercise!

When and how did you transition from working for someone else to working for yourself?

Unfortunately, in a previous travel agency job, my fellow colleague and I were subjected to constant work place bullying.  My boss, a franchise owner, was also dodgy, unfair and was totally unethical in his business dealings with customers, and with his staff.  He was the kind of boss that treated his staff like crap, but sucked up to the customers walking in the door.  I had no respect for him at all, and should have listened to my gut feeling and women’s intuition when I first went in there for my job interview.  I knew it didn’t feel right.  But I talked myself into it, as that position was only an 8 minute drive from home each way, compared to upto an hour and a half in my previous job, so I accepted the position there, for the start of the worst nine months of my life.  Then, due to a total misunderstanding on his part, he sacked me, and I was unfairly dismissed.  Looking back now, that could have been a blessing in disguise, as I learnt so much, and have grown so much from that experience.  I promised myself then and there, that I would never be a doormat to anyone, I would always stand up to bullies, I would always stick to my morals, ethics, be fair, treat people the way I’d like to be treated, and do what’s honorable and right.  Fortunately, I picked up another travel agency job, with another chain store shortly afterwards, where I stayed until I had to resign to have my first baby, as I hadn’t been there a full year to entitle me to receive maternity leave.

I briefly left the travel industry in 2003 to start my family.  Back then, there were no job share or part time travel agency jobs, so the travel industry was losing all of it’s experienced female staff, young mums who were starting their families, in droves.  For the next 5 years, whilst raising my young family, I worked part time in a bank as a teller & sales consultant; in a medical centre as a medical receptionist, and finally, as a ward clerk in the emergency department of a public hospital, where I am still working part time today, 8 years later. 

But they were all just ‘jobs’ and only a means to pay the bills and support my lifestyle and family – I had no passion for them, like I have for travel, when I get to creating and organise someone’s dream holiday.  By 2008, the mobile travel agency model had begun, and I started up with TravelManagers in January 2008, working out of home, being my own boss, making all of the decisions, working around my family and other commitments, getting that work/life balance right and not having to commute to work.  I no longer had to work for someone else, or report to a manager, as I only had myself to answer to.  It’s been the best professional decision I’ve ever made in my life, and on many levels, one of the best personal decisions too.

What’s your why?

To enhance my clients’ overall travel experience, so that their entire journey is more than just their actual holiday. 

Knowing that I play a big part in making their dreams and bucket lists come to fruition, by organising that unforgettable holiday, creating all of those magical moments, exhilarating experiences and a lifetime of fond memories, is a really rewarding and positive thing to do.

What do you love about what you do?

Travel is exciting!  Everyone loves to talk about travelling and an upcoming holiday.  Like me, they’ve caught the travel bug, and it’s contagious.  And a holiday is something that everyone looks forward to. 

Working in the travel industry is exciting, and it’s forever evolving.  It’s a very positive and rewarding profession to be involved in, and of course, the perks include some amazing holidays and destinations that I get to experience for myself!  And being mobile, as long as I have internet access, I can literally work from anywhere in the world with my laptop, and earn an income, whilst I travel!

‘Travel’, though, is the big unknown, and is totally unique to anything else that you can buy.  Travel is intangible – you can’t see it, taste it, smell it, touch it or sample it.  You can only imagine, dream and envisage what your perfect holiday will be like.  Unlike any other product or service that you can buy, you don’t reap the benefits and get to experience your travel purchase, until weeks, months or even years later. 

I love sharing my passion for travel with my clients, and instilling their own travel bug and desire for adventure.  I enjoy getting to know my clients, and putting together a totally customised and tailor-made holiday itinerary, that is perfectly suited to them…their needs, their wants, their likes, their tastes and their budget.  I enjoy planning their holidays with enthusiasm and attention to detail, as if their holiday was my own.  So, it’s a privilege and a honour to know that my clients totally trust me, are willing to invest in me, (as opposed to booking online, or through a travel agency competitor), and hand over their hard-earned money to plan, organise and book their next streamlined and stress-free dream holiday…which to them is ultimately a big pipe dream and the big unknown, until it actually happens.  I don’t take that huge responsibility lightly. 

And after they’ve returned, when they are looking through their holiday photo albums and travel diaries for years to come, knowing that I played a huge part in making their dreams come to fruition, and getting their bucket list items ticked off, is a really rewarding and positive thing to do.  It puts a smile on my face, and their’s, every time.

And the very best thing about my job?  Nobody else can get away with telling you ‘where to go’!

What’s challenged you most since being in business?

There have been a few challenges since I started my own TravelManagers’ business.  Firstly, having a 5 year break from travel, and leaving all of my previous clients behind when I started my family, I had to start from scratch with building up my client database.  I started with no clients whatsoever, and build it up to where it is now, mostly by repeats, referrals and networking groups.

Secondly, being a mobile travel agent and working from home. I don’t have a shopfront like a retail travel agency store does, therefore I don’t have walk-past traffic and potential business leads walking through my door. 

Sometimes the isolation from working out of home can be hard.  So can the motivation to get out of bed to do some work, or being able to prioritise to do work over household chores, or vice versa.

On the other hand, sometimes, because it’s my own business, I’m more invested in it’s success, and I’ll work extra long hours, more than your average 9 to 5 work day.

Working for myself, it’s very hard to have a consistent, regular income – some months are a lot better than others, and some can be a lot worse.  Try to budget a constant cash flow in your business to survive on, even during the off peak, quieter periods, to tie you over.

Another challenge is that I have to do everything – sell travel, accounting, documentation, invoicing, marketing, advertising, BAS/GST, etc., whereas in previous roles I did what I was good at – booking amazing holidays, whilst other people took care of the rest.  Even though I could outsource some jobs to outside help, I am a bit of a control freak, as my business is my baby, and I like knowing that everything is done, and has been done to my satisfaction level.

What are your greatest achievements to date?

My family – my husband and our two beautiful daughters, and the home we created together.

Creating and maintaining my own profitable and successful mobile travel agency business.

My ‘Diploma in Travel’ accreditation and qualification.

At our TravelManagers 2015 conference, I won the 2015 TravelManagers’ “Spirit” Award, and it’s description is:  “This award is to recognise someone who’s everyday attitude and principles inspire and impregnate the thoughts, feelings and actions of all of us at TravelManagers.  This award is for the person who lives, breathes and consistently demonstrates the heart and soul of TravelManagers.  This award is open to any person within or external to TravelManagers who has been fundamental to developing, maintaining and enhancing TravelManagers’ unique culture.”  This award meant the most to me, as it was aligned with my own morals and ethics.

I earned my “Masters in Cruising” accreditation – the highest cruising accreditation within the travel industry, which certifies me as a cruise expert.

* Nominated as a finalist in the 'Home Based Business' category, of the Casey Cardinia Business Awards for 2016

* Nominated as a finalist in the "Home-Based Business of the Year" category, of the 2013 Casey Business Awards

* Finalist - Business & Professional Services award 2012 (Casey Business Awards)

Casey Business Awards 2012

* Finalist - Business & Professional Services Award 2010 (Casey Business Awards)

Winner - New Business of the Year 2010 (Casey Business Awards)

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned along the way?

* Be your true, authentic self – people like, respect and trust a ‘real’ person over a fake or two-faced one, and are more likely to do business with you.

* Value your time, your knowledge, your expertise and your worth – don’t discount or undersell your products or services, and charge accordingly for your time and expertise, even for family and friends.  Real friends wouldn’t expect a discount anyway.

* Loyalty is a rare commodity these days.  People will always shop around, including family and friends, and past customers.

* Trust your gut instincts and intuition.  If it doesn’t look, feel or sound right, run a mile.

* You can say ‘no’ to business and clients, especially those PIA (pain in the arse) ones, who always cause whinge and cause problems, always second guess you, always question you, who change their minds repeatedly, and try to screw you down on price. 

* Don’t try the hard sell upfront.  It’s a huge turn-off.  Build up the rapport, relationship and trust, and business will follow naturally.

What’s the toughest decision you’ve had to make since running your own business?

Probably saying ‘no’ to some clients and their business, because they expected me to discount my prices and not charge my standard fees, which I’m always upfront and honest about.  If they don’t value me, my worth, my expertise, product knowledge and my time, they can go elsewhere, despite that I could use the commission from the sale.  They don’t work for nothing, so why should they expect me to?

What are some resources you or your business can’t live without? 

The internet – I can literally work from anywhere, all over the world, if I have internet access, and still earn an income whilst I travel.

My mobile phone – it’s got my life’s events stored in the diary, all of my contacts and clients’ details, photos, passwords, and I’m addicted to social media and using apps too.

Social media – especially Facebook & Instagram, as they are very ‘visual’ platforms, which is perfect for showing off picturesque travel destinations and inspiring the travel bug in people.

Networking business groups – they have been instrumental in building up my client database, assisting my business strategy, giving me fresh ideas, inspiring and motivating me, I get to get out of the house and mingle with likeminded business people, and they have increased my bottom line.

My website!

What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own business or change jobs to an industry/role that they’d love?

If you don’t have a passion for your product, service or industry, don’t do it – you need to love what you do, or else it just becomes another mundane job with little job satisfaction.

Know your stuff – be an expert in your field, have product knowledge, first-hand experience, and never stop learning about industry changes, new trends, new technologies, etc., that are relevant to your business and profession.

If you need to hire staff or outsource it, make sure they are aligned to your business’ mission, vision, values and ethics, as they represent you and your brand.

Step outside of your comfort zone.  Try new things, push the boundaries, think outside the square, take some risks.

Never stop learning – read books; listen to podcasts; do research; do online training courses; watch webinars; watch tutorial videos; attend seminars; listen to public speakers; ask questions; catch up with supplier reps; attend functions, product launches and industry–relevant events; & study what your competition does/doesn’t do.

Don’t forget to work ‘on’ your business, rather than just ‘in’ it.  Schedule time in your day or week, specifically to do this. 

What’s something most people wouldn’t know about you?

Years ago, in my first job, I worked part time in a supermarket as a checkout chick.  ‘Neighbours’ decided to film there, so I ended up being the ‘checkout chick’ in their scenes, but even so, I didn’t get paid for it by the network!

What does your ideal day look like?

Weekdays - a sleep in – I’ll admit it, I’m a night owl, and definitely am not a morning person.  Wake up to a beautiful, sunny day.  Open all the curtains and doors to let in the natural light.  Walk my daughter to school with the dog.  Get home, check emails, do quotes, social media updates.  Catchup with colleagues for a travel industry supplier update for morning tea.  Return home.  Break for lunch & watch Dr Phil.  More emails, quotes, social media.  Check travel documentation, meet clients for coffee in a café to discuss their travel plans and/or hand them their documents.  Pick up my daughter from school with the dog, walk home & do more travel work.  Maybe in the late afternoon, I’ll head off to a travel industry function or product launch.  Otherwise, I’ll veg in front of the tv, visit a friend’s place or play on my laptop in the evenings until late.

Weekends – sleep in’s, maybe some shopping, brunch at a café somewhere, the beach or a bushwalk, some gardening, spending quality time with my family.

What’s one of your favourite quotes?

‘What goes around, comes around’.

‘Everything happens for a reason’.

‘The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only a page’ – St Augustine

‘Of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport’.

Who or what inspires you? 

A beautiful, warm sunny day motivates me to get up, get going and get things done.

Hearing people’s inspiring stories, about where they started, and how they got to where they are today, whether or not they are famous, a celebrity or an everyday ‘ordinary’ person, especially when they overcame some challenges or adversity.

Being a proud Aussie - watching an Australian athlete winning gold at the Olympics produces happy tears every time & every ANZAC day I shed a tear, paying my respects, thinking of what those diggers had to go through and sacrifice for us.

Anything you’d like to add?

Keep at it, and keep trying – your definition of success won’t happen overnight, but it will start to happen if you keep on applying yourself.

Always under promise and over deliver.  Be accountable for your actions, including any mistakes you make.

There will always be high’s and low’s throughout your business journey.  Try to stay positive during the low’s and surround yourself with people that motivate you, give you fresh ideas, and inspire you, to pick yourself up.  In the quieter times, I always try to use that time to work ‘on’ my business, rather than ‘in’ it, which sometimes I don’t get the chance to do when I’m busy, or I even use that time to ‘spring clean’ my office, and tidy my paperwork and in tray.

Reward yourself on occasion when you reach your targets, get the business, secure the contract or make the sale.  It could be a manicure, pedicure, facial, massage, movie, eating out, buying a new outfit, booking a holiday, etc.

Be personable, be yourself, and show some of your bubbly, outgoing personality to others.  I am always drawn to those people who are positive, friendly, outgoing, funny and upbeat.  And those that have no personality, are negative, blame everyone else for things going wrong, whinge, etc, I steer clear from.  Not only does their negative energy bring me down, but there is no way I’ll ever do business with them.

Finally, you are your brand.  How you look, present yourself, act, talk and interact with others reflects on you and your business.  As they say, you only get that one chance to make a good first impression.

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Zoe Watt

Wildwood Photography

WEBSITE FACEBOOK INSTAGRAM

Where did you grow up and where are you based now?

I grew up in a tiny town of 500 people in South Gippsland.  After spending the last 12 years in another small town in South Gippsland it was time for something a bit bigger.  We moved to Ballarat recently and just love it here. 

What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’? 

I just wanted to create!  Still do.....

When and how did you transition from working for someone else to working for yourself? 

I have always been self-employed or working in family businesses.  

What’s your why?

I love to create!  I also love seeing other people relate to what I create.  Working with newborns, children, families and businesses is the most rewarding part of my job.  Creating amazing images that people will treasure forever and creating a legacy for their family in the most beautiful way possible. In the commercial realm it is about sharing the owner's passion and vision for their business by creating professional images that fully represent their business and what it stands for. This is what drives me.

What do you love about what you do?

I love to create! And I love to connect with people; to see, hear and feel their individual story. I feel privileged working with people and getting to know their stories and the love they have for their families and/or business.

What’s challenged you most since being in business?

Moving to Ballarat and starting all over again was a challenge.  It has also been so exciting though and I am so glad to have made the move.  Also, Keeping motivated even when your to-do list is as long as your arm is my day-to-day challenge with a young family. 

What are your greatest achievements to date?

Being the official photographer for Soar Collective, Ballarat.....I am pretty excited about that. Also building my own website, as I am by no means tech-savy.

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned along the way?

Customer service is so important.  Keeping it real and down to earth.  Deal with any problems that arise straight away and keep communication open. 

What’s the toughest decision you’ve had to make since running your own business?

When moving to Ballarat, finding the right home and studio space for the business.

What are some resources you or your business can’t live without? 

My Camera and lenses!  Also our studio lights. 

What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own business or change jobs to an industry/role that they’d love?

Go for it!!  Believe in yourself and the focus, hard work and discipline it takes....and keep pushing. If you don't leap you will never know.

What’s something most people wouldn’t know about you?

I am a passionate felt maker, and mother.   

What does your ideal day look like?

A nice cup of tea to start the day is essential.  There are so many ideal days for me.  I love change within my work, so a photo shoot, either babies or newborn in the studio or getting out an about for a commercial shoot.  Followed by an afternoon of creating some new props for the studio. 

What’s one of your favourite quotes?

Carpe Diem - Seriously this one has got more and more important as I have got older.

Who or what inspires you? 

I love beauty in nature, in faces, in people.  The golden light in the evening as the sun goes down.  Hearing the birdsong early in the morning.  Colours and textures. 

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Tara Angelone

Tara.jpeg

Tara Angelone

Eclipse Massage & Beauty

WEBSITE FACEBOOK INSTAGRAM 

Where did you grow up and where are you based now?

I grew up in a small town called Mt Gambier in South Australia. From there I moved to Queensland but have spent the last 15yrs in Berwick, South East Melbourne.

What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’? 

For as long as I can remember all I wanted to be was a Naturopath. Even as a little kid I would read about herbs and what they could fix and mix up natural remedies, while most kids my age wouldn't have even know what a Naturopath was.  I loved the idea that everything could be cured by nature.

When and how did you transition from working for someone else to working for yourself?

I always knew I would work from myself and once qualified in Massage and Beauty opened my own home salon while working in Day Spas around the area, building up knowledge and skills. Eventually I opened my own salon.

What’s your why?

I want to help everyone feel beautiful. I want to create a space where people don't feel judged, feel safe and ask questions to help them feel better about who they are . I want to help people feel confident in themselves.  I want people to leave my salon feeling more relaxed, less stressed and just happier.

What do you love about what you do?

I love helping people. I love it when someone leaves who has been in pain all day with muscle tension or a headache and I can make it go away. I love helping people fix their skin or teaching them how to do their makeup to make them feel more beautiful and confident.

What’s challenged you most since being in business?

Unfortunatelymy trust and faith in people has been tested. Not everyone is here to help and some will take advantage of you and disrespect you. I have learnt to read people better and let people earn my trust rather than to just assume good in all. (I know a little depressing, but it is business and not everyone holds the same morals and values as us).

What are your greatest achievements to date?

I have grown my businessto a point where I don't need to be there everyday.

I have three amazing children who I get to work my hours around as to not miss all the important things.

I have created a work culture that reflects my values .

I'm about to do my first runway make up for a massive event for fashion week :)

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned along the way?

Outsource the things you are not good a t or don't like.

Surround yourself with people who will support and encourage, and doubt is not healthy to be around. 

What’s the toughest decision you’ve had to make since running your own business?

Letting go of Staff that were not right for my business.

What are some resources you or your business can’t live without? 

Online booking systems

Facebook

Support networks (like Soar Collective)

What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own business or change jobs to an industry/role that they’d love?

Do something you love, if you have passion behind you and are are willing to work hard to create your dreams you can't go wrong!

What’s something most people wouldn’t know about you?

Nothing! I talk way, way too much!

What does your ideal day look like?

Working from 9 till 3 so I can be home with my kids before and after school.  In my salon for the morning, networking and planning in the early arvo, quick gym session then home to be a mum.

Ideally I would come home to a clean house and a cooked meal too!

Who or what inspires you? 

People inspire me. I love listening to where someone has come from and what they have done with their life. We are surrounded by so many amazing people each and everyday, we just don't often have the time to listen to their story.

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Leanne Nicholson

Leanne Nicholson

Oraco Marketing

WEBSITE FACEBOOK INSTAGRAM TWITTER

Where did you grow up and where are you based now?

I grew up in Beaconsfield, Victoria and I’m still based here.

What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’? 

Believe it or not, I wanted to be a Graphic Designer. I was always drawing and painting, so I knew I wanted to do something creative. My uncle was a Graphic Designer and introduced me to it. He was a huge inspiration to me.

When and how did you transition from working for someone else to working for yourself?

I started off as a freelancer while working as full time Graphic Designer for a few different companies. Eventually, I decided to drop to part time work so I could spend more time on the business. I did the part time thing for a year and finally took the leap to full time last year.

What’s your why?

To do what I love every day, whilst helping other business owners do what they love every day. To have more freedom, flexibility and time for loved ones, and to support causes close to my heart.

What do you love about what you do?

I love creating. It’s always been a part of me and I don’t feel complete without creativity in my life.

What’s challenged you most since being in business?

Stability. It’s been extremely unpredictable in terms of workflow and cash flow. It’s hard to get used to, but I’m slowly learning to manage it.

What are your greatest achievements to date?

The most rewarding part of my business is hearing my clients’ feedback at the end of a project. When I have successfully interpreted their brief, understood their brand vision and created something that is authentic and unique to them. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing my clients happy.

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned along the way?

I’ve learned to value myself and my time. Unfortunately, I had to learn this the hard way, as many of us do. 

What’s the toughest decision you’ve had to make since running your own business?

The toughest decision was definitely going full time. I didn’t feel ready at the time, until someone asked me, ‘Will you ever feel ready?’. It made me realise that it wasn’t something that I could prepare for, or build up slowly, because a business can’t grow unless you put 100% of your time and focus into it.

What are some resources you or your business can’t live without? 

I couldn’t live without social media. It has connected me to my clients and other business owners, and really extended on my website. I also love my marketing and design books, magazines and websites. They keep me up to date with the latest design trends and technology.

What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own business or change jobs to an industry/role that they’d love?

Go for it! It might sound cliché, but life is too short to be in a job that you don’t absolutely love. We spend a large majority of our time at work, so we should be doing something that makes us want to get up every day. Something that we are passionate about.

Same goes for those considering starting their own business. If you truly want it, you will make it happen. There are great resources out there now and fantastic networking opportunities. Make the offer, be authentic and don’t give up.

What’s something most people wouldn’t know about you?

I’m super passionate about wildlife and habitat conservation. I always donate, volunteer and contribute wherever I can. Some of my favourite organizations include Sea Shepherd, Wildlife SOS, Surin Project and Orangutan Project.

What does your ideal day look like?

My favourite days are the ones that start with PT or a run/cycle. I then have a big breakfast and a shower to prepare for the day’s work. I start off by answering emails and going through my tasks. I then spend a majority of the day designing, while I listen to music and getting regular visits from the dogs.

What’s one of your favourite quotes?

Become loyal to your innermost truth. Follow the way when all others abandon it. Walk the path of your own heart.

Who or what inspires you? 

Ethical businesses and organisations with an inspirational WHY. Especially the non-profits dedicated to changing the world for good… And of course those who volunteer in some of them.

A few organizations that inspire me include Sea Shepherd, World Vision, Oxfam, Orangutan Project, Surin Project, Thank You, Wildlife SOS, One Girl…

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Joanne Tighe

Joanne Tighe

The Makers Mailer

WEBSITE FACEBOOK INSTAGRAM TWITTER

Where did you grow up and where are you based now?

I grew up in Frankston, spent 10 years living in Parkdale, then once we started a family moved to the Mornington Peninsula.

What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’? 

I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up!

When and how did you transition from working for someone else to working for yourself?

Once I had children I really couldn’t imagine being told what to do any more. We had decided that I would stay at home to raise the boys rather than use child care, that’s when I started my first business.

What’s your why?

This is a tough question and something I tend to over think. It seems to change every couple of years but right now it’s a combination of having the flexibility to be around for my family, as well as being able to help independent Australian designers capture an eager audience.

What do you love about what you do?

Where do I start?! Sourcing the items for the monthly boxes is certainly fun, however I do love supporting and showcasing the featured makers. From previous experience in my jewellery business, I know how hard it is to get noticed. Helping creatives get their brand out to a wider audience is really rewarding. I understand the love and care that goes into handmade pieces.

What’s challenged you most since being in business?

Time management - I’m easily distracted and need to stick to routine.

Public speaking – I start to shake after 30 seconds.

What are your greatest achievements to date?

Starting my own business – because it’s something most people don’t do.

My family.

Buying a second business.

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned along the way?

I jumped into my first business without enough research, planning or goal setting which was ever so wrong. I cringe when I think back to those early days. This time around I’m determined to get things right!

What’s the toughest decision you’ve had to make since running your own business?

The decision to close my first business wasn’t easy. It’s hard to admit that something you’ve started from scratch just isn’t working.

What are some resources you or your business can’t live without? 

Technical support! I’m happy to pay someone for an hour of their time rather than waste four of mine.

My diary and erasable pens – I love a list.

What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own business or change jobs to an industry/role that they’d love?

Go for it! So often I hear people complaining about their job or dreading Monday morning. Work plays a big part in our lives and shouldn’t be something that makes us miserable.

What’s something most people wouldn’t know about you?

I have a map of Australia shaped birthmark.

What does your ideal day look like?

If it starts with a pre-dawn walk I’m happy for the rest of the day.

What’s one of your favourite quotes?

You must make a choice to take a chance or your life will never change.

Who or what inspires you? 

Getting outdoors for a long walk is always a source of inspiration. The fresh air seems to clear my mind. I always return with new ideas.

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