I recently finished reading a book called Chapter One by Daniel Flynn, Co-Founder of the Thankyou group. It was a seriously awesome read…so much so that I couldn’t put it down and read the whole thing on our flight from Sydney to Cairns! I won’t go into the whole story (you need to buy the book for that and you’ll see why), but the underlying message of the book is that you have the power to change stuff. WE have the power to change stuff!
I first read about Daniel and the Thankyou story in issue 31 of the Collective magazine and it got me thinking about all the people who have inspired us along this crazy journey. We are all about empowering you guys to break the rules and follow your dreams so this is what inspired us to write this post…and we hope you love it! As you know, we quit our jobs to travel the world, but we’re not the only ones out there doing cool stuff.
We believe that life is about way more than sitting at a desk for 40 hours a week for 40 years, we believe it’s about freedom, choice and making a difference in the world, no matter how small. We’ve definitely had help along the way from multiple friends, mentors and business partners who have cheered us on and inspired us to keep going.
So, we’d like you to meet a few of the people we’ve met on our journey who constantly inspire us to do better and keep making change in the world, whether it’s through blogging, business or adventures around the world!
Meet three lady bosses who are all killing it in their fields and who we’ve been lucky enough to get to know…A fellow blogger, a business badass and an eco-adventurer.
Nicola Easterby, Blogger Extraordinaire
We met Nicola at a blogging event last year and have watched her rise to success ever since as she’s gone on to work with the likes of Visa, Mimco and Topdeck. As bloggers ourselves, we’ve got a huge admiration for Nicola and what she’s created with Polkadot Passport. Her photography is seriously amazing and she’s definitely hit up a few places on her many trips around the globe shooting and blogging that are up there on our wishlist! With 31 countries under her belt at only 21 years old, Nicola is living proof that you can travel the world without a full-time career or thousands in the bank. We asked her to spill the beans on her life as a full-time blogger and freelance photographer…
TFT: How did you get into blogging?
NE: I guess you could say I kind of fell into the blogging world!
I’ve always had a massive passion for photography. After my first big trip overseas I felt like I needed a place to share my photos and stories from my travels so starting a blog felt like the best avenue to go down. My first two years of traveling were entirely self-funded, and my blog was really just a place to keep my friends and family updated on my adventures.
About a year after starting my blog and building up a decent amount of content from my travels, I went to a seminar that was all about how to become a full-time blogger. Up until that point, I’d never considered that you could actually make a living from a blog! It was a real turning moment for me. I knew that running a travel blog was what I wanted to do full-time so I started to focus all my time and energy into making it a reality. I’ve never looked back from that moment!
TFT: What is the best thing about your lifestyle now compared to before you started Polkadot Passport?
NE: The freedom and spontaneity of it all! For most people, it would be a little terrifying not knowing where you’re going to be or what you are going to be doing a month from now, but I thrive off the excitement of it. I love having the freedom to go where I want when I want and to be able to work from anywhere in the world. It feels so liberating!
TFT: What’s your advice to anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
NE: The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that success doesn’t come overnight. It took me a year and a half of tirelessly investing in my travel blog and Instagram before I started to build a decent following and started to actually earn an income from Polkadot Passport.
You can’t let yourself get discouraged when you don’t see an instant return for your efforts. If you love what you do, set goals and stay motivated. Everything else comes in time. It takes patience, perseverance and passion. The other most important thing I’ve learned is not to compare yourself to others. Everyone is on a different journey, and you’ve just got to ride your own wave and see where it takes you!
TFT: What’s the one thing that you can’t travel without?
NE: I’ve recently become very hat obsessed…I don’t think I can go on a trip now without packing at least three!
Jane Lu, Business Guru
Founder and Chief Executive Pony at Showpo
We met Jane while sweating it out at F45 in Surry Hills and instantly loved her sense of humor! When we discovered she was in fact a serious lady boss with a long list of business accolades and a multi-million dollar fashion business under her belt (at only 29!), we were well impressed! She’s a totally awesome boss (she was working out with her staff!) and a huge advocate for women getting out there and kicking butt in the competitive startup environment. So much so that she co-founded a women’s business network called Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine…says it all really. As if that wasn’t enough she was crowned Cosmo’s 2015 Entrepreneur of the Year and has tens of thousands of peeps following her on social media. We had a couple of questions that we just had to ask her…
TFT: What made you break free from a typical career path and become an entrepreneur?
JL: I was always very academically driven growing up and the only career path I knew was to work in corporate. When I turned 18 I got a cadetship position with Big 4 accounting firm KPMG. I was working full-time and studying a Bachelor of Commerce at UNSW at night. This was actually by far my biggest accomplishment up until that point and I was very happy with myself. Looking back, I still think this was one of the best things to happen to me because it made me realise at a young age (because I started so early) that the corporate path was not for me! I hate accounting – I don’t know what I was thinking?!?!
I quit my job in 2010 to work on a side business I had. Sadly, it wasn’t because I believed in the business, it was just because I hated my job. For the record, I absolutely don’t think that is the right reason to start a business! But I did it regardless. Unfortunately, a month after I quit my job, that business failed. I was so devastated. All of a sudden, I was unemployed and my business had failed. It was in the middle of the GFC, so I would have had no luck rejoining the workforce. My only option was to start a new business. A month later, I got back on the horse and started Showpo.
TFT: What gets you up in the morning, what drives you?
JL: I’ll be honest; I’m not a morning person. No matter how motivated I am, it’s still a struggle. What keeps me up at night though, is that when I’m trying to sleep I’m so excited for the day ahead and what I want to achieve. I love my business and the people in it.
TFT: What do you love most about being your own boss?
JL: What I love the most is also what scares me the most. I love that I am in control of the vision and direction of the company and the team I lead.
TFT: What’s the best business advice you’ve ever been given?
JL: When the business first started it was called Show Pony. I thought it was cute! As we grew bigger and started selling internationally, I realised that this was going to be a problem because it was such a common term phrase. There were many Show Pony fashion businesses around the world. This left me feeling so stuck! I felt like I had lost the most important asset of the business, our brand, and I thought there was no way around it.
Then my boyfriend’s father told me to harden the f’ up and if I wanted to achieve longevity in my business career, I needed to constantly evolve and adapt.
And he was right. I now welcome change as it brings new opportunities and I always try to challenge the status quo.
TFT: What would you say to someone who wants to start their own business?
JL: If you have an idea, then just do it! Don’t wait for things to be perfect before you start, as they never will be. You will learn so much just from starting. I learned so much from my first business that I didn’t realise at the time would go on to help me with Showpo and my own personal development.
And if you don’t have a good idea, don’t start a business for the sake of it. Don’t drain your cash. Save it for when you do get a good idea. Go and work for a startup or a small business that you’re interested in – it will be an amazing learning curve!
TFT: What’s the one thing you can’t travel without?
JL: I really don’t need much. I’ve traveled in Europe for 3 months with a school backpack (yes, not a big backpacker’s backpack, a 6kg school bag). But if it’s one thing, it’s my phone. I know it’s sad and it’s about experiences, but my memory is terrible! Photos help me remember the good times.
Alison Teal, Filmmaking Adventurer
When we think of Alison, we think of a female Indiana Jones…we also think of the hit Discovery Channel show, Naked & Afraid. We totally loved that show and two years after watching it, our paths crossed with Alison who just so happens to have starred in the show (she was marooned on an island in the Maldives completely naked!). But there’s so much more to this eco-warrior surfer from Hawaii.
Alison started traveling the world early. At just two months old she was off with her adventure-pioneer parents and grew up experiencing the many wonders of the world, being homeschooled along the way. Her story has inspired us so much since we met her and we just had to share some of her wisdom and experience as an adventure filmmaker with you guys…
TFT: Why did you choose not to follow the traditional 9-to-5 path?
AT: Growing up travelling the world, I didn’t really know there was any other way so for me that life was ‘normal’. I think everyone is put here on this planet for a purpose. My mission, taking after my parents who were pioneer leaders in the adventure world and the non-conventional, is to share what you can do to live a life that you absolutely love through my storytelling and my films (and my high on life personality!).
Everybody always says, “You’re living the dream, you don’t have to sit in an office!” but I don’t necessarily think sitting in an office is horrible if that’s what makes you happy. But, if you are unhappy there are ways to get unstuck.
I chose this path because I love waking up in a new place with new inspiration every day. They say that the reason kids are so happy and excited all the time is because they experience something new every minute. We forget that as adults. I’m no scientist but I believe if you keep that young, innocent curiosity and you’ll always be hungry for learning in your next adventure rather than just settling for what you think you should do or what society makes you do.
TFT: What gets you up in the morning and drives you to keep doing what you do?
AT: I love surfing and I think there always has to be balance in everything. I work harder than anyone I know but it’s getting in the ocean for a surf that get’s me up in the morning. Joining forces with the ocean and catching a wave is much like life. You can have ‘I rock’ days and ‘I suck’ days. Sometimes you get that perfect wave and you’re like, yay, I rock! Some days you get dropped in on, you hit a rock or you hit the bottom and you’re like, damn it, I suck! But you have to keep going. So surfing definitely gets me up in the morning.
That and my passion for changing the world through my stories. There’s so much to experience in this world, how could you not want to get up and take on something new every day?! We only get one life as far as I know. The fact that I can live another day, walk and laugh, meet new people and make new friends, that’s pretty motivating.
TFT: What would your advice be to anyone who wants to escape the desk and do something radically different with their life?
AT: Nothing ventured, nothing gained. If you aren’t happy with what you’re doing, you can keep doing it or you can jump. Unless you jump, you won’t ever know. It’s like rewiring your brain, you body and your whole being to say, I’m going to take this leap of faith and trust that the universe and everything out there will support me. And you don’t have to jump off a cliff! You can take baby steps.
What I would suggest is to get your intention clear, either in your mind or down on paper. Declare that dream and then take baby steps towards it. And if you need money to get started, maybe you don’t need to buy that new iPhone or car. You’d be surprised how much you can save over a couple of months if you want to travel or start your own business.
People see ‘overnight successes’ but they don’t see when people are working in a garage for twelve years before their big break. I don’t want to be a Debbie downer and say that it will take forever but you’ve got to start somewhere and surround yourself with people that support you. If you do, I guarantee you won’t look back and say, I wish I hadn’t tried.
TFT: What’s the one thing that you can’t travel without?
AT: Of course my pink surfboard. And a sense of humor. That’s the most important thing to pack on any adventure as it keeps you alive. That’s what kept me alive during Naked & Afraid for sure!
Break the rules and follow your dreams
Comment below if you’ve been inspired by these lady bosses! We’d love to know what you guys loved about their stories.