Isn’t it funny how far off most of us were when it came to predicting what we’d be when we grew up? Personally, I was always convinced I’d become a geologist — until I went to school and realised I had little to no interest in science. Then, it was an artist, then an actor, then finally (and correctly) a writer. On the other hand, there was my little brother — who due to his obsession with Thomas The Tank Engine, wanted to be a ‘choo choo train’ until he was about 6. Strangely enough, his dreams of becoming a locomotive were never realised and now, aged 20, he’s studying law at uni.
The point is, there are many things that change the course of your career over the years. Your interests and goals change and you realise what you’re good (and not so good at). But perhaps one of the things that can be most influential on someone’s career is the advice they get from the people around them. Whether it’s from a teacher, uni tutor, parent, friend, mentor or even a celebrity, these little pearls of wisdom can totally reorientate your future. We rounded up some of the coolest female entrepreneurs and business babes we know and asked them to dish on the best, most life-changing advice they’ve ever received. Prepared to be inspired, motivated and pretty much ready to launch a business of your own!
Doing the unrealistic is easier than doing the realistic. It’s lonely at the top. 99% of the world is convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for mediocre. Therefore, competition is fiercest for ‘realistic’ goals.
-Tim Ferris, The 4-Hour Work Week
I’m one of those unlucky souls who was forced into studying and finishing two uni degrees, only to realise I didn’t want to be a lawyer. But my life changed when I read that book — I realised that competition is fiercest for ‘realistic’ goals. So, fast forward four months and I’ve created my own copywriting business while also working full-time and I honestly couldn’t be happier!
Authenticity breeds abundance.
-Life Coach, Julie Parker
I was at a conference where Julie spoke about creating a heart-centred business. At this point, my dreams were merely a blooming bud in my mind – nothing was actually in motion yet. But when I heard her say that, I finally felt as if I could create a life where my wildest dreams could come true. It gave me permission to create a business on my own terms, in a way that I felt aligned with my values. Now as CEO of YCL Jewels, every decision I make comes from the heart. Sometimes, this involves taking big risks, but I believe it’s one the reasons we have such engaged and loyal customers!
You are only given the hurdles you can handle in life, so each challenge makes a better version of who we are
I’m a lash extension stylist and I teach a lot of students to do lashes. That quote was actually something I made up myself when some of them were having a tough time! As someone who owned my second business by the age of 26, while raising three wild boys (and a girl coming any week now), this is how I approach challenges in my own life!
Learn to be uncomfortable, because nobody ever became successful from being complacent!
I got this advice from my business coach and mentor. It taught me the importance of stepping outside your comfort zone and putting yourself out there – because what’s the worst that can happen? Because of this advice, I decided to bite the bullet and create my own business, Natural Therapist Jobs.
Create your own opportunities. It’s very easy to sit back and hope things come to us, but with a bit of hard work, planning and focus, it’s surprising how many opportunities you can create during your own career.
I’m not sure where I picked this piece of advice up from (possibly my entrepreneurial family members), but it’s something I’ve always lived by. Early in my career, I worked in a large global mining company in a support role. One day, my manager announced she was going on maternity leave, and told me she’d be starting the process of recruiting someone to cover her maternity. The next day I approached her with a business case of how I’d be able to do her job – she took that to her manager, he interviewed me, and I received a promotion into her role very quickly.
They weren’t expecting me to express an interest, and to be honest I wasn’t expecting to be doing my manager’s role at that early stage in my career – but I was able to act quickly and create an opportunity for myself. Even now as the founder of my own career consultancy, Milkshake Group, I still look back on this career-defining moment really fondly.
Stay in your own lane. Keep swimming forward and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing.
–The Skinny Confidential blogger, Lauryn Evarts
This piece of advice really resonated with me and as the founder of accessories label, Walker Avenue, I think about it every day. While I think it’s good to know who your competitors are, it’s pointless to constantly watch them and compare yourself to them. I truly believe in any job or small business, you need to go with your gut and follow your own path.
Remember why you’re doing this.
This advice came from my partner. I run a yoga accessory company called Akasha Yoga Pieces – a business idea that evolved while we were living in a small village in Guatemala. We were in awe of the beautiful handcrafted textiles that were being produced and we wanted to give back and support these incredibly talented people. It’s so easy to get caught up in the everyday tasks of running a small business and the stresses of making money and being successful — not to mention the challenges of working out of a third world country. And as I voiced these frustrations and concerns to my partner, the above was his response. And the bottom line is, we’re doing this to make a difference to people’s lives. I remind myself of this everyday now.
Be willing to feel fear and risk the possibility of failure.
This isn’t necessarily advice anyone’s given me, it’s something I’ve picked up along the way. It’s my daily mantra and without it, I wouldn’t have been able to start my two businesses!
Your career doesn’t always have to be exactly how you planned it, and if it doesn’t turn out as planned, that’s absolutely fine.
This advice came from a former colleague and a good friend of mine. Ever since I was in high school, I thought I was going to be an accountant. I dreamed of being “corporate” and wearing pencil skirts and high heels to work. When I finally landed my dream job at a Big 4 firm, I was so unhappy and I thought that something was wrong with me. Then I was given that piece of advice and it inspired me to make a change. Almost a year ago, I quit my ‘dream job’ for a life of uncertainty and instability as the founder of a start-up, The Sugarfree Box, and I’m so much happier for it!
Lauren Jane — Founder of Inactivewear
If you’re going in to business, launch with your Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
This is a piece of advice I picked up from working at a tech start-up. It’s something I applied to my own activewear business, Inactivewear, and if I hadn’t, I would never have got it off the ground. We seem to stop ourselves when things aren’t perfect, but you just need to get something out there to validate your idea. This comes from the mindset, progress over perfection.
Never stop learning and asking good questions.
I picked up this advice from my manager when I first started out in management consulting. It’s helped me to see every task as an opportunity and every person around me as a potential teacher — and being positive and open-minded truly is everything!
Stop doubting your capabilities, be confident in what you know and for those things you don’t know, learn!
My boss said this to me when I was a personal assistant on a building site. This was by far my favourite job and he gave me the confidence I needed to do what I do today. Knowledge is definitely power and from starting out as a very shy person, I found by learning everything there was to learn about my career and finding the confidence to speak up (even if I had to fake it), it made me believe in myself and my capabilities. Now, I own Rubz and Lolli, a store for baby and toddler shoes — which I started because I found it difficult to find high quality, soft leather shoes for twin my girls that were small enough for their tiny feet!
Figure out what you love to do and use that to design your own career path.
This advice was given to me by my mum, a Vocational Education Teacher, in my final years of high school. She believed in me, and instilled a belief that I could achieve anything if I just gave it a go and I’ve never looked back. I knew I loved Physical Education at school and being active, so I pursued a Sports Science Degree and ended up becoming a Certified Exercise Physiologist and Allied Health Care Professional. Now, I’m applying my science know-how to my soon-to-be-launched swimwear label, Phibii. I can’t wait to make a difference in women’s lives by providing them with flattering, ‘worry-free’ swimwear that will support them in the water. Life is great and I’m stoked to be living by design!
Say yes to opportunities until you are so far ahead that you can start to say no.
I was given this advice from one of my mentors in the fitness industry when I embarked on a career change in 2011. It impacted me greatly in that I was able to get a great start in my career by being open and available to try everything. Without having to decide whether to do something, I just said “yes” and this led to many more great opportunities. This advice was crucial as soon as I completed my fitness studies, I was immediately offered a brand ambassador role which involved featuring on TV commercials and television shows. Had I considered my limited experience in the field I may have doubted myself and missed out. However, armed with that advice, I seized the opportunity with both hands and have not looked back since!
Grow from your challenges.
The best career guidance I’ve recieved hasn’t been from one person, but rather, a series of events. When I first started working after school, I worked in sales for in jewellery and cosmetics, as well as getting diplomas in hairdressing and beauty therapy. Then, I went on to get married and have three boys — but I always dreamed of starting my own business where I could help people. Five years ago, my father who had cancer and my mother who had a serious illness both at the same time. I looked after them 24/7 for two years whilst raising a family.
When both had passed away, I decided it was my time to start my own business. Unfortunately, I was then diagnosed with stage three Lymphoma, Non Hodgkins. I’m happy to say I fought the battle and won and I am now in remission. But during my chemotherapy treatment, I experienced constant hot flushes. This led me to create my business Chilly Towel, an instant cooling towel that helps with overheating. I believe it was my hardships that gave me the strength to take life by the reigns and create something to help others.
There is no plan B.
This came from my art teacher in high school, Kate McDonagh. It came at a time when my life mantra was pretty much “Have a plan B”! Kate, on the other hand, encouraged me to focus only on what I really wanted. She urged me to aim with belief and considered action for my A plan and to have no safety nets or alternatives to dilute my vision. This strengthened my innate belief that we can and will create exactly what we focus on. Because of this advice, I have created five businesses so far and have never worked for anybody else. My current business helps people to let go…literally!
Shilpa Mohan —Interior Designer
Just believe in your abilities and give 100% to whatever you do, and the rest will fall into place
This advice came from my sister. Because of this mindset, I’ve been given the opportunity to start an Interior Design branch of the company I work for, DDC Architecture & Interiors. I’m only 25 and I never thought I would be given the opportunity to manage the design of multi storey apartment buildings and commercial spaces and establishing the start of a whole new part of the company!