While I’m known for being an entrepreneur, my journey started very differently.
Originally working in the corporate arena, I had the distinct pleasure of working with the marketing teams at companies like Ansett Airlines and Apple. That experience gave me the strength, knowledge and know how to start my first business – a marketing consultancy – from home.
I was always curious however, as to what the internet could do for the future. It was the late 90’s and I could see the opportunities and demise for industries that were awaiting in the future. So, taking on the risks, I started RedBalloon. As context Google had only been around for 3 years and the use of digital was very limited.
I believed in the vision and most importantly, I believed I could create change through something tangible, profitable and powerful.
As many entrepreneurs will tell you, managing people can be the most difficult part of the job and I too had similar challenges. Sometimes I got our employee experience right – sometimes not. However, I knew in my core that I wanted to create an employee experience like no other and once that vision was born – I was clear on how to get there.
I knew that if we looked after our teams well being – our customers would win every time.
I started recruiting the right people for the right roles and realised that I was perhaps not the best person to drive the needs for our employees, but setting the vision was my role.
Taking that into account, in 2011, I realised that my needs for the business as a CEO had changed and I hired my first CEO into the role. A daunting and yet relieving experience. I’ve now had the pleasure of having 2 incredibly talented CEO’s run RedBalloon through different phases of it’s growth.
However, I realised my passion for starting new ventures and supporting growth had not waned and when the opportunity to be involved on Shark Tank became apparently, I jumped at the chance. At the same time, after so many years of implementing fantastic employee engagement strategies into RedBalloon and working with companies who were doing the same, I launched Redii – an employee engagement platform that helps companies create the culture they want.
There are many versions of what entrepreneur means, but to me it truly covers these 8 things:
Definition of Entrepreneurship
- We don’t care what other people think about us (and the older we get the less we care)
- We have trouble imagining failure
- We embrace adversity and difficulty
- We take more risks than others – they are not careless risks – they are measured
- We manage and mitigate our stress – we use our stress, and don’t think of it as a hindrance to a problem
- We are there for the long term
- We will sacrifice almost anything to achieve our vision
- We have the ability to express ourselves and gain support from others