Talk us through your journey that has led to your life now as the Founder & Editor in Chief of the Collective Hub, a best selling author, entrepreneur and investor?
Oh wow – that is a super tricky one to “smush” into one blog post. Truth is I’ve written 10 books in the past six years on the subject – so that’s a total of 2080 pages … but let’s try. I started my career as a horse riding instructor (something not many know about me). I then worked for others for a few years primarily in conference and event management.
In October 2001 I started my own business and then proceeded to bumble along overservicing and undercharging and being everything to everyone for the next 11 years. I was having a hell of a lot of fun but hadn’t really hit my purpose, was making good money and was “comfortable” but I don’t believe comfortable is a good place to be. So after not really being able to scale, never having more than three staff, in March 2013 I launched Collective Hub – a print magazine for entrepreneurs telling the story behind the story, being real, raw, relatable and attainable. I entered the magazine industry never having worked for a magazine or the media but I had a huge burning desire and passion to help other entrepreneurs. Everything was stacked against me – an age-old, highly saturated (5500 print mags in Australia alone at the time) industry that people said was dead or dying. Within 18 months, that print mag was in 37 countries and I had people like Anna Wintour asking me to go and meet with her in NYC. It was like an 11-year overnight success and what happened next, and since was the stuff of my wildest dreams. It's been and continues to be quite the journey! I’m a living, breathing testament to the fact that truly anything is possible.
What's something we don't know about you that'd surprise us?
There’s little I haven’t said out loud before but maybe that I generally sleep eight to ten hours every single night. That surprises people. They often think that to be a high functioning entrepreneur you only sleep four hours a night. Not true for me. I am rarely, if ever tired but I go hard in the sleeping category to have the energy I have.
Can you share with us some secrets of what it takes to get noticed in your career, be a game-changer or even launch a startup?
I think to start with; ‘what is your purpose?’ What is your why? What lights you up? What can you do in the world to make a difference to others? Start with that. Always. If you start with wanting to have a big brand or be noticed, I think that is the wrong motivation. Once you truly feel into your purpose and do things with the right intentions, in my experience the synchronicity and the serendipity and the opportunities that unfold are extraordinary. For me, it ALL starts with purpose and a positive mindset. And from there, be willing to back yourself, cultivate an unwavering self-belief, work hard and always have fun. Don’t try to be anyone else. Be the truest version of you. People will fall in love with that. And know that you don’t have to do it all yourself. Surround yourself with people who can support you.
When growing your business, what unexpected obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
So many. In 19 years of having my own businesses, there is little I haven’t faced or overcome. In my experience it doesn’t matter what business or industry you are in, we all face a lot of the same problems - and often they are to do with cash flow. The biggest obstacle I faced was three and a half years into the Collective Hub journey. I started with three staff and within a short period of time, I had 34 full-time staff and a very big global multi-media business. So I went from being a visionary and a great creator and leader to being at the helm of a business that was all about operations. I’m a great founder and a great creative but the operations at a granular level does my head in. I didn’t have the right detail orientated, operational implementor by my side for our immense global growth. So I very nearly lost it all (you can read my most raw book to date Risk & Resilience which pretty much charts this journey of “what not to do” in business and why you have to break a brand in order to remake it sometimes). That was tough, but in equal measure to starting Collective Hub in 2013 was having the courage to “break it” in 2018. It is so much stronger, more sustainable and future-proofed as a brand now.
Love your latest book 'Work from wherever', such fresh insight into building a brand on the move. What are your 5 essentials for working from anywhere?
It really comes down to two key things in my mind:
2) Great tech.
A lot of people glorifying the idea of roaming the world having location freedom. The reality I believe is that without some structure we can be “busy” but not very productive. So I am a big believer in creating specific rituals and routines to set you up for success. For example, I divide my day into two. Before 10 am is ‘me’ time. It’s when I am proactive. I do yoga, run, meditate, listen to podcasts and journal. From 10 am its game on – reactive time to the world. That gives me some structure wherever I am in the world.
The second thing is great tech. I wasn’t always technologically savvy and I still have my challenges. But with a very big global team running now several businesses across several industries I have to use tech every day. Contrary to what I would have previously believed, we are so much more productive working where we want, how we want, from where we want. It’s all about output now as opposed to bums on seats in an office. There is freedom in that for everyone.