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Australia’s most inspirational women online share their secrets

Australia’s most inspirational women online share their secrets

Jane Copeland
Jane Copeland of Coping With Jane

Jane Copeland is the publisher of Copingwithjane.com and author of the book Boardroom to Baby. After giving birth to her first child at the age of 37, Jane realised that her dreams of going back to her senior management corporate job were quickly becoming a distant memory. As a result, she reinvented herself and set up the blog CopingwithJane. Now, with the reputation of being The Fairy Blogmother, and following the huge success of her blog, Jane now helps aspiring and current business owners establish their businesses online and become famous to their audience.

"It's okay not to have it all figured out. Sometimes it can be a process of experimentation."

1 What has been your number one secret to career success?
Determination, taking action and implementing fast.

2 What advice would you offer in terms of how to select a career path?
It's okay not to have it all figured out. Sometimes it can be a process of experimentation. It's okay to try things on and see what fits, so to speak. It's really by taking action as opposed to thinking about things. Answers come from actions.

3 Have you changed careers at any point? Please tell us in brief about your personal career journey.
I've actually had quite a varied career and have worked in roles as diverse as a fashion stylist to investment banker. In general though, I've worked in corporate roles across marketing, communications and business development. Immediately prior to starting Coping with Jane, I was working in a senior management business development role for a global training provider that saw me work across the Asia Pacific.

4 What did you study? What role has your education played in shaping your career?
In order to keep your finger on the pulse ongoing education is essential. I have studied journalism, marketing and communication. That said I am constantly learning and continue to educate myself daily. These days it tends to be via online programs, reading, working with coaches.

5 Is there anything else that you have always dreamed of studying?
Design, specifically fashion design.

6 How can we encourage and support more female entrepreneurs in Australia?
Visibility is key. What I mean by that is the more women see that it is possible to be a female entrepreneur, the more they will feel it is assessable.

7 What inspired you to start your blog/website?
I was inspired to create it because when I was preparing to become a first time mum, I realised the importance the online space can play in a multitude of ways. My vision was to create a place where women could hang out and discuss real life issues and develop strategies to live life successfully. The site has now evolved into its present form, which is a place where women can learn how to create, build & market their businesses online, and features weekly articles from myself and a bunch of amazing contributors.

Australia’s most inspirational women online share their secrets

Mia Freedman
Mia Freedman of Mamamia

Mia Freedman is the founder, publisher and editorial director of Australia's leading women's website Mamamia.com.au. She began her career in magazines, editing Cosmopolitan for 7 years and going on to become the Editor-In-Chief of Cosmopolitan, Cleo and Dolly magazines. After a brief stint as a commercial TV executive, she walked away from corporate life in 2007 to start a personal blog called Mamamia.com.au which she grew solo until her husband came on board as CEO in 2010. Together, they transformed Mamamia into Australia's leading women's website with hundreds of contributors and a full time editorial team.

"Assume that you will have a number of different jobs and even careers in your life."

1 What has been your number one secret to career success?
I've tried to focus my career on things that I enjoy, particularly writing and engaging with women.

2 What advice would you offer in terms of how to select a career path?
Assume that you will have a number of different jobs and even careers in your life. Don't make the mistake of thinking what you choose to do after school locks you in to anything. I know so many people who are doing things that have nothing to do with the degrees they have. Be open to changing direction, retraining and exploring different career opportunities.

3 Have you changed careers at any point? Please tell us in brief about your personal career journey.
I've always worked in female-centric media but for the first 15 years that was magazines. I then briefly tried being a TV executive which was a disaster! But I'm glad I did it because it pushed me to venture into the digital work and start mamamia.com.au

4 What did you study? What role has your education played in shaping your career?
I studied communications and journalism briefly at uni after taking a gap year but I only lasted about a year or so before getting in on the ground floor by doing work experience at Cleo magazine.

5 Is there anything else that you have always dreamed of studying?
I would love to study psychology one day. My mum is a psychologist and I've always been interested in it.

6 How can we encourage and support more female entrepreneurs in Australia?
Ironically, a lack of flexible work practices in most businesses is what pushes many women to start their own. Studies show that even when a woman is working long hours, her stress is less if she has control over those hours. As opposed to someone who has to be at their desk during hours determined by someone else. Also, as Sheryl Sandberg said in her book Lean In (which should be compulsory reading for every man and woman), "the most important career decision a woman makes is the partner she chooses." If you want to be in a relationship, you need someone who respects and supports your career path.

7 What inspired you to start your blog/website?
Traditional media - magazines, newspapers and TV - just weren't cutting it. Women wanted to engage in real time, on demand and they wanted a two way conversation. The online space enables us to engage with millions of women each month in a way no other form of media could.

Australia’s most inspirational women online share their secrets

Angela Priestley
Angela Priestley of Women's Agenda

Angela Priestley is the founding editor of Women's Agenda, a publication for career-minded women. She has been a journalist and editor for ten years, writing about and editing publications on legal affairs, business, politics and technology. She's a passionate advocate and supporter of making career opportunities more accessible to men and women, no matter what their life choices. Her first book, Women Who Seize the Moment: 11 lessons from those who create their own success, is published this month.

"Stop wasting time expecting the career you want to simply come to you."

1 What has been your number one secret to career success?
Stop wasting time expecting the career you want to simply come to you. It won't. You have to actively go out and get it, even if you don't yet believe you have the experience or qualifications to make it happen.

2 What advice would you offer in terms of how to select a career path?
I believe the days of selecting the one career path are over. Change is constant and if you're not moving with the times you'll be left behind. Stay flexible and adaptable enough to change your career according to the shifting needs and opportunities that come up in our world.

3 Have you changed careers at any point? Please tell us in brief about your personal career journey.
I've always wanted to be a journalist but thought that would involve working in newspapers. I could never have imagined what it'd mean to be an digital editor. I faffed about for a few years after school -- studying, travelling and working casual jobs while doing a bit of freelance work -- before working full-time on business magazines, even covering storage management systems and touring data centres for a technology magazine at one point! I spent a number of years as editor of Lawyers Weekly which is where I actively started taking an interest in gender diversity at work (in that case in the legal profession) before moving over to Private Media to launch a large digital project with Crikey. Always keen to pursue stories that promote women's interests at work, I was absolutely thrilled when then Private Media publisher Marina Go invited me to be the launch editor of Women's Agenda.

4 What did you study? What role has your education played in shaping your career?
I studied Journalism at the University of Technology in Sydney followed by a Master of International Relations at Macquarie. The journalism degree was a lot of fun and gave me the career focus I needed at the time. I loved studying so continued with the masters part-time -- really out of interest as opposed to pursuing it as a career move.

5 Is there anything else that you have always dreamed of studying?
Architecture! I'd like to think there are some very simple similarities between designing a new home and coming up with the basic sketch of a new magazine or online publication. Of course it's much more complicated than that, but we can always dream.

6 How can we encourage and support more female entrepreneurs in Australia?
We need to see more women getting comfortable with pitching for funding and more VC's opening their eyes to the competitive edge and new business markets female entrepreneurs can tap.

7 What inspired you to start your blog/website?
Back in 2012 we saw a gap in the market to launch a digital publication that spoke to career-minded women and advocate for their needs. So we jumped at it. We've since expanded the brand to include our Leadership Awards, a Weekender edition and online mentoring platform called My Agenda. We're about encouraging all career and life choices and focusing on the news and issues that matter to women's workplace participation. Women's Agenda is published by Private Media, so we've been able to tap the resources of a company with existing digital platforms including Crikey, Smart Company and Property Observer.

Australia’s most inspirational women online share their secrets

Nikki Parkinson
Nikki Parkinson of Styling You

Nikki Parkinson is a former journalist and now full-time professional blogger at www.stylingyou.com.au. Her first book, Unlock Your Style, will be published by Hachette in August 2014. Each day she enjoys connecting with the online Styling You community, helping women find their own personal style by offering tips and suggestions that are affordable and accessible.

"Celebrate the women around you who are doing good things from a business perspective."

1 What has been your number one secret to career success?
Being open to new opportunities when they have crossed my path.

2 What advice would you offer in terms of how to select a career path?
If you can marry doing something you love and earning an income, work won't necessarily be easy but turning up each day will be.

3 Have you changed careers at any point? Please tell us in brief about your personal career journey.
I was a journalist for 20 years before I resigned to start my own personal styling business almost six years ago. Within a few years, I stopped doing personal styling consultations as my blog that had been started to market the styling business became the greater business focus. I now am a full-time professional blogger and author.

4 What did you study? What role has your education played in shaping your career?
I studied a Bachelor of Arts majoring in journalism. It helped me to get a graduate position at a newspaper. The rest was learned on the job.

5 Is there anything else that you have always dreamed of studying?
Now that I'm a small business owner, I'm doing short online courses in aspects of running a business. I've also done public speaking courses.

6 How can we encourage and support more female entrepreneurs in Australia?
I think it's important to honour and support the role that all women play in business and the workplace. For me, I think it can start at a grass-roots' level. Celebrate the women around you who are doing good things from a business perspective. My girlfriends in business are some of my greatest inspirations and this culture of respect and support for each other helps us to grow.

7 What inspired you to start your blog/website?
My blog was originally a marketing tool for my personal styling business. I was lucky that my first web developer created it on a Wordpress platform as that enabled me to morph my content into the business it is today.

Australia’s most inspirational women online share their secrets

Claire Moffat
Claire Moffat of ConnectedWomen

CEO of Australia's leading online news service for the consumer electronics industry and creator of ConnectedWomen, Claire Moffat enables business leaders to understand who the female consumer is and how they can engage with her authentically. A leading authority on consumer electronics, women and the new media, Claire's deep understandings of women's needs and her skills in communicating this to business provide invaluable tools to increase revenue and profit. Constantly networking with women from all walks of life and travelling the world reporting on the best latest trends, innovations and technologies. Claire delivers tailored keynotes that confront, engage and provides any audience with guidelines for change.

"Never give up, no matter how hard it gets."

1 What has been your number one secret to career success?
Never giving up no matter how hard it gets.

2 What advice would you offer in terms of how to select a career path?
Well, I always desired to own a media business but when I started out as a journalist I didn't think that was possible. So I soon learnt that it is important to do work that you truly enjoy as that will sustain you, but it is just as important to have a plan to grow your skills and to think long term. If I hadn't had substantial experience in the media, I may not have been successful at my digital media business.

3 Have you changed careers at any point? Please tell us in brief about your personal career journey.
I have worked as a journalist and editor for 40 years now and there were many times I tried different things. I love fashion, so I studied fashion and wardrobe consulting but it didn't satisfy me as much as writing. I also tried PR, but again that was not as appealing for me. I am pleased I tried a few things as it makes me understand myself better. However, now as a company director, I wish I had undertaken business studies much earlier to prepare me to run a small business.

4 What did you study? What role has your education played in shaping your career?
Education is fundamental to any success, particularly for women now as technology is changing the way we do things constantly. I was one of the first graduates in the first ever Arts Degree in Communications at UTS. But as this was ahead of the curve the traditional publishers didn't know what to do with me when I applied for a job! I continue to train and study and set goals for my growth annually.

5 Is there anything else that you have always dreamed of studying?
Today, I wish I had studied both Law and Economics as they would have helped as a business writer.

6 How can we encourage and support more female entrepreneurs in Australia?
There needs to be a platform of support from industry and the government that starts at secondary school and follows through to university. It needs to be tailored to women's needs.

7 What inspired you to start your blog/website?
I started ConnectedWomen because women we telling me how difficult it was to buy technology from male sales staff. Research showed that globally 60% of women left these stores without a purchase. So I started the site and weekly newsletter to inform women and to give them confidence when they went into a store.

Australia’s most inspirational women online share their secrets

Liz Atkinson

Liz Atkinson is one of Australia's leading female social entrepreneurs. From moving to Australia as a backpacker in 2001, Liz has gone on to launch Zest Possibilities which houses a group of million dollar companies on an international stage. Combining her business acumen with social ventures, Liz and her team have raised over $116 Million dollars for Australian & International charities. Liz is an energetic and enthusiastic public speaker. Her story and focus on Leadership has lead to invitations to speak to a range of audiences including Microsoft, RMIT and The Unconvention. Liz has recently accepted a position on the board of advisors for Shoestring media Group and with a desire to make a difference she now advises for the charity AusCam that rescue trafficked women and children in Cambodia. In early 2014 Liz was named as Number 13 on the Top 50 Australian female Entrepreneurs under 40 list.

"...its important to believe in what you do and be passionate about it."

1 What has been your number one secret to career success?
Not giving up when the times got tough! I believe that during these tough times its extra important to try to switch off every evening so you don't take your stress home with you. Having a cut off point each night and then ensuring out of work you are having fun and keeping balance is a big factor for riding the wave and getting past obstacles.

2 What advice would you offer in terms of how to select a career path?
I think its important to believe in what you do and be passionate about it. Every successful person I know has chosen to do something that they truly enjoy. That way when the times get tough you have the belief and the determination to continue.

3 Have you changed careers at any point? Please tell us in brief about your personal career journey.
I have always been in sales since the age of 14 in the UK. The only think I changed were the things I was selling! From car sales, to advertising sales to then moving to Australia where I moved into direct marketing and promotions. I still sell and love selling. I guess the difference is that nowadays I only ever choose clients that I genuinely believe in and make a difference.

4 What did you study? What role has your education played in shaping your career?
I studied a degree in media studies. Although it is quite different to what I do now I believe the self-discipline that it takes to complete a degree helped me to develop time management skills and organisational skills that I use every day running a business.

5 How can we encourage and support more female entrepreneurs in Australia?
I believe that we need to educate young females and let them know that it is possible to follow their dreams and start their own business- its easy! There are so many groups out there now including The League of extraordinary Women that aim to not just motivate and inspire young females, but give real life examples of women that have done it very successfully.

Australia’s most inspirational women online share their secrets

Suzi Dafnis

Suzi Dafnis is the Community Director and CEO of the Australian Businesswomen's Network. A recognised blogger, podcast host, media commentator, social media instructor, public speaker and long-time digital marketer, Suzi is a advocate for education and entrepreneurship amongst women. She has founded businesses in Australia and overseas.

"What would you do even if you didn't get paid?"

1 What has been your number one secret to career success?
Education - An ongoing commitment to improving my business skills. Inspiration - access to inspiring role models. Mentoring - the wisdom of mentors and advisors.

2 What advice would you offer in terms of how to select a career path?
What would you do even if you didn't get paid? What do you value most? Where do you feel you can make a difference? Ask yourself these questions and take that direction. Be prepared to make mistakes and to change course.

3 Have you changed careers at any point? Please tell us in brief about your personal career journey.
I went from various marketing roles to a business owner at age 27. This was a HUGE difference as suddenly I had to learn new skills quickly and learn how to make money off my own efforts.

4 What did you study? What role has your education played in shaping your career?
Marketing, media and communications. Education continues to be key to my development and success. Markets change and trends change so you can't sit still when it comes to your knowledge.

5 How can we encourage and support more female entrepreneurs in Australia?
Promote entrepreneurship as a career option in school and start to train on the basics of running a business, instead of only steering people towards careers as employees.

6 What inspired you to start your blog/website?
We're an online publisher and education provider so our website and blog are our main communication tool with our clients and prospects. Our award-winning herBusiness blog allows us to showcase the talent of great female entrepreneurs.

Australia’s most inspirational women online share their secrets

Kasia Gospos
Kasia Gospos of Leaders in Heels

Kasia Gospos is a founder of the leading Australian online magazine for professional women Leaders in Heels. Every month, diverse and distinguished women who are making their mark in their industries are interviewed and profiled on the site. Launched in 2011 to promote the advancement of women, empower, support and educate it generates 50,000 page views per month. She founded leaders in Heels believing that an education is the most valuable possession anyone can have and that there is no bigger achievement for a woman than achieving her independence. Kasia would love to see more women in leadership positions and hopes to make Leaders in Heels a positive platform for change. Kasia is committed to enhancing women's lives and actively engages via Leaders in Heels in supporting charities like McGrath Foundation and Dress for Success.

"To succeed women need to be passionate, creative, innovative, confident, determined and kind"

1 What has been your number one secret to career success?
In my career I have always lived by six leadership traits that I have described recently in the 'Leaders in Heels' manifesto. To succeed women need to be "passionate, creative, innovative, confident, determined and kind". As an example, a few years ago when for the first time I wanted to have my own online space, I hired a web developer to create a website. Unfortunately he never finished his work and I lost a few thousand dollars. Instead of giving up I decided to teach myself how to build a website, learn basics of html, create graphic design and how to manage social media. Today Leaders in Heels generates 50,000 page views per month and this wouldn't happen without being passionate, creative or determined.

2 What advice would you offer in terms of how to select a career path?
It's important that young people develop curiosity in themselves. I say "develop", because I believe this is something anyone can learn. The more you experience, the more you know, the better you know yourself and your strengths it becomes easier to choose a career path. It's also important to remember that it is never too late to change your career. I encourage anyone to take unconventional routes. The same way as Steve Jobs was taking calligraphy classes while in college, he didn't know that the "dots will connect" later in his life. Cross functional knowledge gives competitive advantage to any future leader.

3 Have you changed careers at any point? Please tell us in brief about your personal career journey.
Yes, I did a few times. Five years ago I worked as a management accountant for a mining company. I had no passion to this sector and I was trying to change the industry for a while. I decided that I wanted to move to a more creative industry like beauty or fashion but every recruiter that I spoke to was saying this would be impossible because I don't have the industry experience. I decided to set up a beauty blog and write 1-3 posts a week to position myself in the beauty sphere. This resulted also in networking opportunities. Three months later I was offered a role in the business intelligence company that provides analysis and market research for the beauty industry. Being proactive not only helped me to change the industry but also the kind of work I did. Having quite a unique set of skills (management accounting, VBA, digital media) I was hired as a business analyst and a product manager responsible for the analysis of the beauty industry and the design and launch of a new consumer market research product "The Beauty Diary". Currently I work as a commercial analyst for one of the fastest growing tech companies in Australia, Vocus Communications, and I also run Leaders in Heels, award winning online Australian magazine for professional women.

4 What did you study? What role has your education played in shaping your career?
I have masters in Finance and Banking and post graduate diploma in Management Accounting and Controlling. I am also a Chartered Management Accountant (CIMA). I believe that an education is the most valuable possession anyone can have. During my career I also took lots of workshops and courses outside of finance such us Visual Basic for Applications, HTML, writing for magazines, Photoshop and Illustrator. These skills are very rare to be held by one person and that's what makes me a unique candidate for future roles.

5 Is there anything else that you have always dreamed of studying?
Creative arts and IT.

6 How can we encourage and support more female entrepreneurs in Australia?
I believe that 1 + 1 can be > 2. In the last two years I realised that the more I collaborate with other entrepreneurs the more successful Leaders in Heels became. Female entrepreneurs should be more open for partnership as that's where the value is created.

7 What inspired you to start your blog/website?
I started Leaders in Heels when I worked as a management accountant in mining. One day a female colleague told me how disappointed she was that she was not given a chance to apply for the vacant roles in our department. I asked her if she told our boss she was interested in that role. She didn't. She hoped that her hard work and talent would be recognised. I come from Poland where women are pretty liberated and are not afraid to ask for what they want. Living and working in multicultural Australia I started realising the differences, the unconscious bias and stereotypes that exist in the workplace. Through Leaders in Heels I want to create a platform where women of all cultures can develop leadership skills and confidence. I was also always interested how other women made it to the top. Leaders in Heels gives me an opportunity to connect with senior executives, interview them and thus learn from them as well. Currently I am also working on leadership notebooks full of inspiration and quotes to assist in developing the 'Leaders in Heels' traits mentioned in our Manifesto.

Australia’s most inspirational women online share their secrets

Frederique Bros
Frederique Bros of Women Love Tech

Frederique Bros worked for over 10 years as a Graphic and Web designer before she noticed a gap the online market in both supporting and guiding women in lifestyle technology. It was in 2011 that she then founded her very popular website: Women Love Tech - a Technology Lifestyle Magazine. Freddie has done something no-one else has, made technology easy, interesting and fun - and her blog was the State winner of the 2013 Australian Web Awards. Technology is a fast industry, and for some it can be hard to stay up-to-date with the latest app or gadget so Freddie's main objective has been to create an online magazine for women who have a love for all things technology. Freddie loves to put herself in your high heels and write about all the fun stuff in beauty, travel, fashion, lifestyle new apps and new websites.

"Find out what you are good at. Be honest with yourself."

1 What has been your number one secret to career success?
I don't know if it's a secret but more like a motto, follow your heart, do something you are passionate about. Life is short, when you run a business there are always some highs and lows, and you will spend at least 10 hours per day at work so you better love what you are doing. Determination and hard work are the keys to success.

2 What advice would you offer in terms of how to select a career path?
Find out what you are good at. It may be that you want to be a fashion designer but if you're not creative don't go there - everyone has a talent. Look at the subjects you loved at school/college and be honest with yourself. I always wanted to be a vet or a marine biologist but I was hopeless when it came to science and maths. If you are not sure of your career path it's a good idea to meet professionals in the industry you would like to work in and ask all the questions you want. It will help you massively!

3 Have you changed careers at any point? Please tell us in brief about your personal career journey.
I worked as a flight attendant in my 20's, in marketing and design in my 30s and now I am a Tech writer for my blog Women Love Tech and Australian Magazines. Career changes happen with life changes, be flexible and keep an open mind.

4 What did you study? What role has your education played in shaping your career?
In France I studied Philosophy, French Literature and languages (English, Italian & Spanish). In Australia, I studied Business Management, Graphic/Web Design and Multimedia. I always knew I was a creative person but I didn't know how to translate it into a 'real job'. I am lucky to have both an entrepreneurial and creative mind. It can be a tricky mix but it defines me and my current career.

5 Is there anything else that you have always dreamed of studying?
At a young age I was good at writing and I thought I would become a journalist. I guess somehow today I created my dream by becoming a blogger and I have the chance to write about what I am passionate about. I write a minimum of 5 articles per week for Women Love Tech and a few on the side for other websites and magazines.

6 How can we encourage and support more female entrepreneurs in Australia?
We should encourage women to study as much as they can. I am a strong believer in education and research. Try to find someone or a story to inspire you and don't be scared to be an entrepreneur and a strong woman.

7 What inspired you to start your blog/website?
I think sometimes women are lacking confidence in themselves and even more so when it comes to technology. My girlfriends inspired me to start my blog as they were always asking me about the latest cool applications in travel, beauty and fashion as well as how to reset an iPhone or fix a printer. Without knowing it, I was creating my niche - a lifestyle technology magazine. I always try to put myself in my readers high heels to discover what they would like to learn and how can I make their life a bit easier.

Australia’s most inspirational women online share their secrets

Christina Butcher
Christina Butcher of Hair Romance

Christina Butcher is the hair behind Hair Romance, one of the world's biggest hair blogs. She started Hair Romance in 2010 and turned it into a full time business within 18 months. Christina was selected in Kidspot's Top 5 Style Bloggers and in Problogger's Top 15 Bloggers to watch in 2013. She has since launched Nail Romance and Mr & Mrs Romance with her husband Jim. Christina self-published four successful ebooks and her fifth book was recently printed and published in the US and UK. She has spoken at international conferences about the business of blogging and she believes in the power of a good hair day.

"Get to know your strengths and passions and find (or create) a job that makes the most of them."

1 What has been your number one secret to career success?
Be consistent and persistent.

2 What advice would you offer in terms of how to select a career path?
Get to know your strengths and passions and find (or create) a job that makes the most of them. Remember that you'll often not enjoy something until you're good at it, so give it a real go before you say you don't like it.

3 Have you changed careers at any point? Please tell us in brief about your personal career journey.
Many times! I have worked as a retail manager, an interior decorator, a designer, a photographer and was moving into project management when I decided to start my blog. At the time I didn't know blogging could be a career so I've created my dream job.

4 What did you study? What role has your education played in shaping your career?
I studied for a BA in Arts/Science but a travel break in the middle made me change paths. I finished with a BA in Art History and Photography. My study has helped my critical thinking, writing skills and eye for design.

5 Is there anything else that you have always dreamed of studying?
I almost changed my degree to Architecture and have a passion for design. Now in my work online I'd love to learn more about graphic design.

6 How can we encourage and support more female entrepreneurs in Australia?
I'm inspired by the stories of others, so sharing our success is really important. Too often, myself included, we don't like talking about our personal success. It's empowering to see that success comes in all different ways too.

7 What inspired you to start your blog/website?
I was always asked how I did my hair and a colleague suggested my hair deserved a daily blog. I started with the goal to share quick and easy beauty tips for women and that goal is still my motivation today. Travel and food are my other passions and I share my finds along with my husband on Mr & Mrs Romance. We love the he said/she said aspect of writing together.

Australia’s most inspirational women online share their secrets

Kelly Exeter
Kelly Exeter of A Life Less Frantic

Kelly Exeter is a mother, writer, blogger, designer and owner of boutique design agency Swish Design. She spends her days making her clients' lives easier while her nights are spent writing and blogging. In between these two things she loves hanging out with her two young children and (not as young but still basically a kid) husband.

"The business world is evolving at an incredible pace and offers all of us a unique opportunity to almost create our own roles."

1 What has been your number one secret to career success?
Finding people who know more than me about something crucial to my business and paying them to apply their knowledge to my situation.

2 What advice would you offer in terms of how to select a career path?
Understand that there's a good chance the job you'll be doing in 5 years time doesn't exist right now. The business world is evolving at an incredible pace and offers all of us a unique opportunity to almost create our own roles. So I wouldn't obsess too much about selecting the 'right' career path at this point in time. Simply select A career path and see where it takes you. We have no idea what we really want to do with our lives until we've eliminated the things we think we want to do.

3 Have you changed careers at any point? Please tell us in brief about your personal career journey.
Oh my goodness yes. I went to Uni to study Human Movement (Sport Science). I love sport and was 100% sure that was the industry I wanted to work in. I landed a full-time job in Sports Admin and even though I loved the people I worked with, I quickly realised that sport/health and fitness industry was not where I wanted to be forever. After 18 months I re-trained in Graphic Design and multimedia and 12 years later, that's where I am still. I have my own business and love the ability we have to evolve our service offering as the needs of our clients change and expand. It's very exciting.

4 What did you study? What role has your education played in shaping your career?
As mentioned above I studied Human Movement. Even though I don't specifically use my degree any more, my education has given me the ability to be a critical thinker and to see opportunities for what they are. I also made lasting friendships and contacts during my time at uni and those have also played a part in shaping my career.

5 Is there anything else that you have always dreamed of studying?
Writing, communications, digital media, marketing, economics ... the list goes on.

6 How can we encourage and support more female entrepreneurs in Australia?
You can't be what you can't see. The more we celebrate the efforts of current female entrepreneurs doing amazing things, the more clear the pathway for aspiring entrepreneurs will be.

7 What inspired you to start your blog/website?
I love to write, share the cool things I've learned and get people thinking. There's no better outlet for all these things than a blog.

Australia’s most inspirational women online share their secrets

Chantelle Ellem
Chantelle Ellem of Fat Mum Slim

Chantelle Ellem is the blogger behind Fat Mum Slim. She's a mum of two, wife of one and was voted Australia's Most Clickable Woman in 2013. Chantelle was also voted a Finalist for Best Australian Blog in the Blog.gies 2013 and 2014, a Kidspot Top 50 Blogger, selected as the Australian counterpart for the ProBlogger Queensland trip in 2012 and is the creator of the Fat Mum Slim 'Photo a Day' challenges with over 13 million photos shared to date. When she's not blogging, she's outside taking photos of cloud or searching the tastiest cake in town.

"Work is such a big part of our lives that it has to be enjoyable."

1 What has been your number one secret to career success?
It would have to be being persistent. Blogging is hard work, and can be loveless at times (we all know the internet will eat you and your time up with much delight) so I tell anyone that asks to keep at it. And making sure that I always enjoyed it. If I'm not feeling the love, I change things up and make it more enjoyable.

2 What advice would you offer in terms of how to select a career path?
I feel like work is such a big part of our lives that it has to be enjoyable. If you're lucky you can turn your hobby into a career, but if not, you can make your career something that you look forward to doing each day. If you're not sure what your passion is, explore it a little. You can do one job and see how you feel about it. If it's not for you, try something else. Nothing is forever (if you don't want it to be).

3 Have you changed careers at any point? Please tell us in brief about your personal career journey.
I was all set to head off to university to study Communications. I fell ill and had to defer for a year, so I decided to Nanny for a year. I fell in love with it and decided to keep going, which I did for 13 years. I had my daughter and started a blog as a private online journal (thinking nothing of where it could possibly take me) and I ended up switching from Nannying to online/social media work. It was a big switch.

4 What did you study? What role has your education played in shaping your career?
Ah, I'm the rebel without a degree. I haven't studied, just learned a little as I've gone along. It's something that I'd like to explore when my kids are more grown up and less needy.

5 Is there anything else that you have always dreamed of studying?
Yes, I've always wanted to study counselling. It's something I'd still really like to do.

6 How can we encourage and support more female entrepreneurs in Australia?
I think we just have to be cheerleaders for the women around us and let them know they're doing a brilliant job. Women have to juggle so much and we always overfill our plates... so I think we have to cheer each other on.

7 What inspired you to start your blog/website?
My daughter. I wanted to write about my love for her, my new life as a mum, and losing that pesky baby weight as well.