I recently won The Change Makers Award, with thanks to all the amazing people that voted for me. The award was sponsored by Couttts & Co. and so they made a film about my story, which I want to share with you.
My entrepreneurial journey started in 2005 – I was 20 years old and had just finished my first year of studying at university. I’d spent all of my student loan (probably on buying new clothes!!) and so I had to figure out a way to make some money. I looked into getting a job, but found nothing I liked the look of and then I found an opportunity to start my own online business. I knew nothing about how to build a business, but I grabbed the opportunity!
I spent a lot of time asking for advice, reading business books and learning how to build a successful business. Fours years later I’d built a global business, reaching over 100,000 people every month and selling to thousands of people. When the business became really successful I found myself feeling very lonely and isolated. I spent so much time working by myself, I ended up feeling bored and unfulfilled. Over the next year I went soul searching.
I travelled around Australia, hoping to have an epiphany, but I didn’t! I came back feeling even worse than before, feeling even more lost about what to do.
It wasn’t until February 2011 that I realised where I’d gone wrong. I’d built a business that I wasn’t passionate about, because I’d never stopped to consider what I actually wanted in life or what I was passionate about. I’d built a business and then tried to mould my life around it, when really, I should have built a plan for my life and built my business around that.
So, I spent some time thinking about what I really wanted to achieve, I thought about the kind of person I wanted to be and realised I wanted to do something to make a difference.
I thought about all the problems and challenges in my life – feeling lonely running my business, not knowing any like-minded women to chat with, not having anything to inspire me every day, and so I decided to create the Female Entrepreneur Association.
I started with a website, I created myself, and then I started searching for women who wanted to share their stories about what it’s like to be a female entrepreneur. I had no idea how things would work out or where it would lead, but I really believed in my idea and I was passionate about it and determined to make something happen.
Here I am, just over 18 months later, with over 26,000 women involved, a digital magazine read by thousands of women, lots of new friends and an award. I’ve interviewed some of my idols and i’ve met the most inspiring people – I can honestly say, it’s been the most exciting adventure ever.
But, if I’m being honest, it’s come with its challenges too. There have been times when I’ve felt so confused my head hurts, times when I just didn’t have a clue what I was doing, times when I actually thought to myself, “am I crazy?”. I’ve built this project by myself, with the support of my family and with the help of Natalie in the USA on the magazine. Sometimes I can’t quite believe how I’ve managed to end up here, but I think when you’re passionate about something and when you believe in it so much anything is possible.
I have a quote I look at all the time which says, “Successful people hang on when everyone else has let go.” – I’m the one that hangs on and that’s how I’ve got here. There’s nothing special about me, so if I can do it, everyone can.
I’m excited about where this adventure’s going to lead me next!