July 10, 2014
Bio The path that led her to this point
After completing a marketing degree I found myself working in a large advertising agency in my early twenties. It was a pretty crazy, hedonistic time for a few years. I left to have my first little boy when I was 27. When he was two I went back to work full-time for a marketing agency in Melbourne. It was here I got my first taste of PR work. In fact my first project was working on a magnetic wall paint which was a pretty easy media sell. I worked with a great bunch of chicks until I had my second son a few years later.
When baby number two was about two years old a friend of mine asked me to work for her a few days a week at Handle Communications. I had a good balance going on. That friend soon became pregnant with twins and needed more help. I bought half the business from her and together we built it up into quite the little agency. After the GFC we split the business and clients, although we still share some elements of Handle and are still good mates.
I run my arm of the business from my home office which has a beautiful garden view.
I was drawn to PR because I love helping people to get media exposure that really helps them to grow their own businesses. I've seen how influential a great story can be. I still get a huge kick out of opening a newspaper, website or magazine and seeing my client or their product featured on the pages.
The media landscape has changed enormously since I started in this game. These days a good word from an influential blogger can mean as much to a business as a TV interview. I'm excited about where the industry is heading.
My kids are pretty self reliant these days. They get themselves to school and back. I love that working for myself from home means I can see them after school, keep working if they are home sick and take time off when I want to. It's all about balance.
Working for myself means other freedoms too. My days of working on frozen vegetable brands are over! Oh, and I get to choose the tunes we listen to while we work!
Q&A Insider advice & tips
What's been your greatest achievement to date?
I do pro-bono work for Geraldine Cox and her Sunrise Children's Villages in Cambodia. I've been able to get her about six or seven TV interviews, 20 radio interviews and countless print stories. I'm really proud to help this incredible, inspiring woman continue the important work she does. It's such a privilege to be on her team.
What's been your biggest challenge so far?
Sometimes dealing with the flow of work is difficult. One month I might only have a couple of jobs on and be worried about money, the next month there is so much work that I worry about getting it all done. I guess it's one of the joys of running your own business!
Best lesson you've learned along the way?
It took me a while to employ someone. I thought I had to do it all myself. I finally employed Alex - a PR gun who works with me a few days a week - a couple of years ago. She's a great asset to my business and I should have employed her sooner.
A website, book or resource that has helped you in your business or inspired you and why?
Not exactly a business resource, but I couldn't work without iTunes and more recently Pandora. Music is hugely important to me. I can't work without it. My mind simply functions better with a great soundtrack. Right now I can't get enough of Alabama Shakes, Joan as Police Woman and Nick Cave never disappoints!
Which person or brand do you most admire and why?
One of my best mates is Nicole DiPietro-Case. She's a naturopath and has recently launched a range of paleo muesli called Paleo Pure. It's an amazing product. Delicious and really good for you. I love that her motivation is not primarily financial, she genuinely wants to help people improve their health. Love her!
What advice would you give someone starting an independent business in your industry?
Go for it! Be genuine and offer something that makes you good value for your clients. Be creative when you consider the publicity strategy. Not all great opportunities are obvious. We just arranged for our client's hangover relief product, HeadsUp, to be given to all guests at the Rolling Stone website launch party.
Finish this sentence
Everything changed for me when…
I started working from home. There's something so liberating about being able to work in your pyjamas all morning if you want to. It doesn't make you less professional, just more efficient. I found I could get a full day's work done in about four hours without all the distractions of a busy office environment. I don't think I could ever give up the freedom running my own business offers.