Going it alone

Going it alone
SHARE
THIS



Setting up as an entrepreneur takes guts, brains and bucket-loads of determination. Lucy Clark meets some of Australia’s highest-flying media and marketing female entrepreneurs to hear their success stories

Making it as a successful female entrepreneur isn't easy. 

First there’s the matter of juggling children and family life as the traditional homemaker of the family. Then there’s the question of being brave enough to do it. Not to mention ancient gender stereotypes of women lacking self-confidence and power in the corporate world.

Australia’s marketing and media landscape is not short of inspirational entrepreneurial tales, many of which are female success stories.

All of their stories are different, but they also all have two things in common: a rare – but enormous – ambition, and the willingness to take a risk.

Some entrepreneurs, such as Mamamia’s Mia Freedman, never intended on going it alone and stumbled into entrepreneurial success. Others, more commonly, had always harboured a desire to be their own boss.

“My husband always worked for himself and, while I always saw the freedom in that, I also saw the pressure that comes with the bottom line always belonging to you,” says Freedman, creator of Mamamia.com.au and former Cosmopolitan editor. “I was really happy. It just got to the point where it seemed like going out on my own was the right thing to do. But it does take balls – or maybe I should say ‘boobs’ – to go out on your own.”

Lisa Messenger, owner of The Messenger Group and editor of Messenger Collective magazine, had a different outlook from the start: “I always wanted to have my own business. I had that inherent drive and wanted to do my own thing and change the world.”

And those who have done both and are now out on their own say they never look back.

Bahar Etminan, former brand manager for Estee Lauder’s Bobbi Brown and Origins, and now founder and editor of Rescu.com.au, says: “I would never want to work for someone else now.

“One of the things I really love is the opportunity to be contrary and do things that your gut tells you are right but all the stats tell you are wrong. Your appetite for risk and your ability to wear stress has to be incredible. Comfortable, for me, is uncomfortable.”

Does gender matter?

Of course, of all the successful female entrepreneurs out there, none of them believe their gender is an issue – least of all Messenger.

She says: “I don’t think it’s more challenging being a woman. As a business owner, I have never found that to be the case. A lot of people use that as an excuse.

“There are opportunities for men and women equally – just get out there and have self-belief. For me, it’s about having an unwavering self-belief, having a go and not listening to the nay-sayers.”

But, Messenger adds: “I don’t have children, and I have a huge amount of admiration for friends who have their own businesses and have children. That can be more difficult. But these days, a lot of husbands stay at home.”

Balancing children with work is made easier by today’s digital world, as Etminan outlines: “Digital is an amazingly equal playing field. I had a baby two-and-a-half years ago. Working in digital meant I could work from home, which I did for two years. I was able to work full time in the way that suited me.”

Another frequently touted issue is that of self-confidence amongst women at work.

Lorraine Murphy, former PR manager at Naked Communications and founder of blogger agency The Remarkables Group, says: “I would like to think there is no difference whether you are a man or a woman, but I think women are less good at putting themselves forward for things.

“Women would rather know, if they are going for a position, that they could 100% do the job, whereas a guy would go for it if they were 70 or 80% sure. Men are naturally better at telling their own stories, women are more reticent.”

Freedman agrees, citing Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In: “The book talks about how success and likeability are negatively correlated for women and positively correlated for men. All the positive attributes you give to men who are successful are seen as negatives for women.

“We still call little girls ‘bossy’, for example, whereas we’d say little boys have got great leadership potential. That’s a real hurdle to overcome. Sandberg says that, until men start leaning in at home, it’s hard for women to lean in at work. If you want to have kids, you really need that support at home. That’s one of the biggest challenges that women face.”

And Meredith Cranmer, who set up the Australian arm of brand experience agency Because after working for the agency in London, adds: “Women often lack confidence and are not very good at self-PR. Men are much more confident, whereas women hide their lights under a bushel sometimes.”

Another challenge for women is accepting that it’s ok to not be a master of everything.

Cranmer says: “Women tend to naturally multi-task. When you set up a business you think you need to be an expert at everything. But you need to understand what you are really good at and focus on that, and build a team to support you – and know that it’s ok to not be good at everything.”

Role models

Having role models and mentors to turn to when you’re out on your own is vital. But how important is it for women to look to other women for this?

Samantha Dybac, founder of brand strategy agency Sammway, is NSW leader for the League of Extraordinary Women, a place for women to network and meet like-minded women.

“Men do that at the pub or at a sports event, that’s where they get together,” says Dybac. “The League of Extraordinary Women is a place for women who are in the same boat to get together.”

Cranmer adds:  “There are lots of women’s networking groups out there and that’s no bad thing – they all have different niches. Female role models are very important. I am lucky that I have Sharon Ritchie, the founder of Because in the UK.”

When she set out to launch The Remarkables, Murphy hunted out women she looked up to so she could pick their brains. “I wrote to women who I really admired and asked to have lunch with them,” she recalls. “I also tried to build a network of women, and men, around me.’

Striking a balance of both male and female mentors is important.

Freedman says: “My mentors were mostly women, but I mentor people now and one of them is a guy. It’s good to have a balance. If you are looking for a mentor who can help you model your work and family life, look for a woman.

“But that’s not to say that there aren’t a lot of lessons to be learnt from men as well.”

This feature first appeared in the May 24 edition of B&T magazine.

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Women In Media Profile: Aimee Buchanan
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Aimee Buchanan

No Women in Media series would be complete without the irrepressible Aimee Buchanan. Read all her pressibles here.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
SBS To Broadcast All Of The World Cup Group Stage, As Optus Agrees To Reimburse Customers
  • Media

SBS To Broadcast All Of The World Cup Group Stage, As Optus Agrees To Reimburse Customers

SBS and Optus have “mutually agreed” that SBS will  broadcast the remainder of the World Cup group stage up until Friday 29 June. Optus had paid subscriber rights to many of the group stage games, yet technical faults have plagued its streaming service, infuriating viewers and forcing even the prime minister himself to intervene. SBS CEO, Michael Ebeid, said: “The FIFA World Cup is the absolute […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Watching tv and using remote control
  • Advertising
  • Media

GroupM Investment Forecast For Australia: TV On The Rise As Digital Slips

GroupM has updated its 2018 ad investment forecasts and released its initial 2019 outlook. GroupM predicts $24B in net new advertising investment this year, the best annual increment since the bounce back from the global recession in 2010 when $26B was added to investment. GroupM estimates total advertising investment will grow by 4.5 per cent this year […]

Indigenous Campaign Deemed Too Controversial By APN Media To Run
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Indigenous Campaign Deemed Too Controversial By APN Media To Run

Aboriginal Victoria’s campaign in support of Australia’s first-ever treaty legislation, Deadly Questions, has been deemed too controversial to run by one of Australia’s leading outdoor media providers, APN Media. Online platform Deadly Questions provides a safe space for people to ask questions and have them answered by Aboriginal Victorians, to learn more about their cultures, […]

Introducing: YouTube Music Australia
  • Technology

Introducing: YouTube Music Australia

The wait is over! Starting today, YouTube Music is available to everyone in Australia, New Zealand, the U.S, Mexico and South Korea in addition to 12 new countries including Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Now fans around the world can find more of the music […]

Will PR Finally Earn Its Stripes At Cannes This Year?
  • Opinion

Will PR Finally Earn Its Stripes At Cannes This Year?

In this guest post, Haystac’s national general manager, Jason Carnew (pictured below), says with all this talk of Cannes at this time of year, it’s a kindly reminder that the PR business needs to get its act together in terms of awards, work and judging… All eyes on are Cannes as some of the best […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Ex-DDBer Unveils Designer Headscarves For Cancer Survivors
  • Campaigns

Ex-DDBer Unveils Designer Headscarves For Cancer Survivors

Two-times cancer survivor, Frankie Good Stuff Award Winner, ex-DDBer and founder of Bravery Co. Emily Somers has collaborated with a range of top-notch illustrators to produce Australia’s first range of designer headscarves for young cancer warriors. She is now crowdfunding $40,000 to produce the scarves and donate one to all the young women in their 20’s […]

New Advertising Platform Launches Down Under
  • Advertising

New Advertising Platform Launches Down Under

Following its massive success in Europe, Asia and the UAE, the Polishoe concept, which brings a high-demand shoe polish service and HD digital advertising platform together, has landed in Australia.

Set for blue sky, different clouds icons, cloud shapes, labels, symbols, icons. Flat graphic vector elements
  • Technology

PubMatic Unveils Cloud for Publishers And Tech Companies

PubMatic has launched PubMatic Cloud for publishers and tech companies looking to implement and control their own programmatic technology. By accessing PubMatic’s technology, global infrastructure and demand connections on a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) basis, clients are able to achieve full transparency and achieve greater control over their programmatic monetization. As programmatic trading becomes mainstream, innovations such as […]

Women In Media Profile: Claudine Hall
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Claudine Hall

The Women in Media Awards are back for 2018! To celebrate this wonderful fact, and to recognise some of the killer women in our industry, we’ve created a women in media series – and have profiled some pretty inspiring women so far. This week, we chat with Bauer Media head of trade marketing Claudine Hall. […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Cancer Council and Target Tradies Tackle On-The-Job Skin Cancer Risks
  • Campaigns

Cancer Council and Target Tradies Tackle On-The-Job Skin Cancer Risks

Workers on construction sites receive five to 10 times more UV exposure every year compared to indoor workers. Target Tradies and Cancer Council have announced the launch of a partnership to help educate Australian construction workers about the importance of being SunSmart at work. With evidence showing that outdoor workers receive five to 10 times […]

Arq Group Activates New Branding By Hulsbosch  
  • Media

Arq Group Activates New Branding By Hulsbosch  

Arq Group has launched a new identity created by award-winning agency Hulsbosch, with the business rebranding from Melbourne IT to Arq. Previously known as Melbourne IT, the company was founded in 1996 as one of Melbourne University’s commercial ventures with the sole rights to manage .au domains in the early days of the Internet. Melbourne IT […]

Adshel Unveils ANZ Takeover Via PHD
  • Campaigns
  • Media

Adshel Unveils ANZ Takeover Via PHD

ANZ, in partnership with PHD and Adshel, have taken to the streets with a total take-over of the entire Adshel Live network. For one hour, between 8am and 9am on Tuesday 19 June, ANZ is inviting commuters to download the new ANZ app by showing six different ways the app can help them manage their […]

Carat & Initiative Share The Spoils In WA Government’s $65 Million Media Business
  • Media

Carat & Initiative Share The Spoils In WA Government’s $65 Million Media Business

IPG’s Initiative and Dentsu’s Carat have both been awarded a slice of the West Australian government’s $65 million spend. The government account is broken into two entities – campaign and non-campaign – each with its own agency roster. Carat has retained its long-standing position on the agency panel for all campaign work, which accounts for […]

A Golden Opportunity! Lucky Numbers For Sale!
  • Marketing

A Golden Opportunity! Lucky Numbers For Sale!

In case you missed it last week, a very lucky phone number – 1800 80 80 80 – is up for sale. And it could be yours!

Partner Content

by Customer Connect

The AppNexus Marketplace Launches Guaranteed Views
  • Technology

The AppNexus Marketplace Launches Guaranteed Views

AppNexus, the world’s leading independent advertising technology company, today announced the launch of Guaranteed Views, a marketplace product that changes the way advertising is bought and sold on the open internet. Guaranteed Views enables marketers and agencies to pay only for ads that are measured as viewable and is the first programmatic product that enables 100% viewable buying at scale outside of Facebook and Google.

Women In Media Profile: Kirsty Bloore
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Kirsty Bloore

Bereft of any Monday motivation? Let today's Women in Media profile be like low-current electric waves to the brain.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Dentsu Aegis Network Predicts Australian Ad Spend Growth Of 2.8%
  • Marketing

Dentsu Aegis Network Predicts Australian Ad Spend Growth Of 2.8%

• Ad spend in Australia forecast to grow by 2.8% in 2018 , with main drivers of growth in Government, Retail, Finance and Gambling sectors. • Global advertising spend to grow by 3.9%, revised up from 3.6% in January 2018. • Digital to overtake TV for the first time, to reach 38.4% of global share (TV 35.5%). In 21 out of the 59 markets tracked, digital will be the leading advertising channel in 2018. • One quarter (25.2%) of global ad spend will be delivered through mobile devices for the first time.

Pac Mags Appoints New Client Strategy Director For Victoria
  • Media

Pac Mags Appoints New Client Strategy Director For Victoria

Seven West Media’s Pacific Magazines has announced the appointment of Emma Baston as client strategy director for Victoria. Baston has worked in senior digital media buying and planning roles at various agencies including UM Australia, Cummins&Partners and MindShare, with exposure across the strategy, communications and creative process. She has also worked at Facebook in a […]

Seamless pattern of a crowd of many different people profile heads. Vector background.
  • Media

SBS Launches Diverse Communities Content Initiative

SBS has launched the Short-Form Content Initiative, a commitment to providing increased opportunities for Australian creatives from diverse communities through the commissioning and production of content for SBS On Demand. SBS has partnered with five of Australia’s screen agencies, including Film Victoria, Create NSW, Screen Queensland, Screenwest and South Australian Film Corporation. The initiative aims […]

BIG W Unveils Toy Mania Via M&C Saatchi
  • Campaigns

BIG W Unveils Toy Mania Via M&C Saatchi

BIG W, the home for families, fun and entertainment, has today launched its annual toy sale campaign – Toy Mania. Running until 11 July, the campaign showcases the frenzy and hysteria that comes with the BIG W toy sale. It also highlights that buying toys can be just as fun as playing with them and […]

Datorama Launches AI-Supported Data Visualisation Tool ‘Data Canvas’
  • Technology

Datorama Launches AI-Supported Data Visualisation Tool ‘Data Canvas’

Datorama, a global technology company, today announced the launch of Data Canvas, a suite of new data visualisation capabilities within its Marketing Intelligence platform. Datorama Data Canvas leverages the power of artificial intelligence (AI) in a brand new way — to help marketers create expert-designed dashboards to tell compelling, data-driven stories. Datorama’s previous AI releases have […]