Secrets of successful CEOs: Leading businesswomen reveal how they’ve made it to the top – and the advice they would give their younger selves
- Roxy Jacenko and other Australian CEOs told FEMAIL their secrets to success
- Ms Jacenko of Sweaty Betty PR said that if you ‘don’t evolve, you will fail’
- Alison Egan of Sparkling White Smile said staff must have a strong work ethic
- Maria Molland of THINX told FEMAIL that ‘mistakes are critical to success’
There is no manual when it comes to starting up your own business.
As expected, it’s quite a daunting task with staff to employ and manage, budgets to adhere to and goals to meet.
Here, Roxy Jacenko and other Australian CEOs reveal their secrets to success.
They also shared the advice they would give their younger selves and what they look for when hiring employees.
‘If you don’t change and evolve, you will fail’: Roxy Jacenko (pictured) and other Australian CEOs revealed their secrets to success, and the advice they would give to their younger self
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ROXY JACENKO – SWEATY BETTY PR, THE MINISTRY OF TALENT AND SOCIAL UNION
Ms Jacenko told FEMAIL the biggest risk she has taken in business is anticipating market trends, and ‘jumping on them’ even when she was not 100 per cent certain.
What advice would Roxy give to her younger self?
* Always follow your gut instinct – almost every time, your intuition is right
* Get all of your back-end systems in place from day one. It will make for a smoother start and is easier to scale-up as your business becomes more complex
‘A great example was starting The Ministry of Talent. At the time, there wasn’t really anything like it in the Australian market,’ she said.
‘Did I know how to operate a talent management agency? Absolutely not.’
Ms Jacenko explained how she saw an opportunity and learnt as she went along.
‘The result is that The Ministry of Talent now represents over 60 of Australia’s leading digital influencers and off the back of that, I saw an opportunity to create Social Union – a content creation agency,’ she said.
What are Roxy’s tips on navigating social media in business?
* Consistency is vital. Develop your own style, tone, frequency, and stick with it
* Work on creating your own style and really owning it. Post high quality images, make sure they’re relevant to your product, services or offering
* Post frequently (ideally once a day at minimum) and don’t ramble in your captions and use relevant hashtags
‘It’s more of a risk to be stagnant and not progressing,’ Ms Jacenko added. ‘If you don’t change and evolve, you will fail, especially in today’s competitive climate.’
Ms Jacenko said it’s the ‘non-teachable’ personality traits that are key to when hiring staff.
‘While hard skills related to the job are important, for me it’s the non-teachable personality traits. I look for people who are dedicated, honest, loyal and hard-working. I want my staff to treat the business as if it’s their own, to care about going above and beyond for each and every client, on every single project.’
Ms Jacenko said that when it comes to achieving a work life balance, it all comes down to priorities.
‘You can’t have it all, all the time, so you need to decide what is absolutely vital for you, and the work, to create your own version of balance around those priorities,’ she said.
‘Decide what you want, decide what you need and then create your priorities based on that, not on what someone else tells you balance should look like.’
‘They must have an extremely strong work ethic’: Alison Egan (pictured) of Sparkling White Smile, said that when it comes to hiring, the right people are crucial
ALISON EGAN – SPARKLING WHITE SMILE
Ms Egan, who runs the successful teeth whitening business Sparkling White Smile, told FEMAIL the biggest risk she has made in business is franchising.
‘It’s taken two years to research, work with my team, lawyers and accountants to ensure we have the correct processes,’ she said.
What attributes does Alison look for in her employees?
* A strong work ethic, but are also warm and kind
* Dedication to the job
‘Now it’s complete and we’re rolling out across Australia, the payoff has been enormous. I love introducing new people to the brand, seeing them grow and begin working for themselves.’
Ms Egan said that she would tell her younger self to ‘ignore everyone else’.
‘Not really ignore, but I think most people who have a full-time job always have, and can’t imagine themselves running a business. I started thinking about all the negatives, rather than focusing on what I was really capable of creating,’ she explained.
Ms Egan said when it comes to hiring, the right people is crucial.
‘They must have an extremely strong work ethic, but are warm, caring and kind. When people take their work seriously, and dedicate themselves 100 per cent to it, I know they’ll do the same for our customers,’ she said.
Advice: Maria Molland (pictured) of THINK told FEMAIL that she would tell her younger self that ‘mistakes are critical to success’
MARIA MOLLAND – THINX
What advice would Maria give her younger self?
* Mistakes are critical to success
* How one deals with the ups and downs that come with running a company – or any role within a company – is how we grow
* There isn’t an elevator straight to the top
What attributes does Maria look for in her employees?
* Know where your weaknesses lie and what help you will need to strengthen your team
* A company is only as good as its employees
* Great people on your team helps to build a company culture that people want to be a part of
Ms Molland, of feminine hygiene company Thinx, told FEMAIL her biggest risk in business was taking on a CEO role while being a single mother – a parent to a daughter who was only a few months old at the time.
‘That said, I think I have been able to set an example for the company, making it a more family-friendly environment, as well as set an example for my daughter as a working mother,’ she said.
Ms Molland said the advice she would give her younger self is that ‘mistakes are critical to success’.
‘How one deals with the ups and downs that come with running a company – or any role within a company – is a large part of how we grow as professionals,’ she explained.
‘There isn’t an elevator straight to the top, we have to work hard and learn from our mistakes in order to evolve.’
Ms Molland said that work life balance is everything.
‘When I was interviewing with THINX, I was faced with some challenges – I had a three-month-old daughter, and I was a single mother.
‘I was even questioned by a former board member about whether or not I would be able to do the job. That inspired and challenged me to not only show how capable I was, but create a work environment that allows for myself, as well as other parents in the office, to feel some balance.’
Career trajectory: ‘There isn’t an elevator straight to the top, we have to work hard and learn from our mistakes in order to evolve,’ Ms Molland said
BREE TAAFFE – OZ DESIGN FURNITURE
Ms Taaffe, of furniture store Oz Design Funiture, told FEMAIL that it’s important to have good people around you that you trust.
What advice would Bree give her younger self?
* Have good people around you that you trust
* There is no point in trying to do every aspect of the business yourself as that will inhibit growth
* In most areas there are other people who can do it better than you
‘There is no point in trying to do every aspect of the business yourself because that will inhibit growth. Remember that in most areas, there are other people who can do it better than you,’ she explained.
Ms Taaffe said the staff she likes to work with are those who aren’t afraid to stand up, and say they don’t agree with something.
‘People who take on a task and run with it without having to be constantly asked where they are up to on it, people who can admit when they have made a mistake and will bend over backwards to fix it,’ she explained.
What attributes does Bree look for her in employees?
* Those who aren’t afraid to stand up and say they don’t agree with something
* Those who are pro-active
* Those who take on a task and run with it without having to be constantly asked where they are up to on it
‘People who are pro-active, can see five steps ahead so you don’t always have to be doing it for them,’ she added.
Ms Taaffe told FEMAIL that when it comes to navigating the world of social media in business, it’s down to honesty and integrity.
‘Answer your customers’ questions, remember this is another sales channel and customer service online is just as important as in store,’ she said.
‘Also be sure to tell your story,’ she added. ‘It’s not all about the gorgeous sofa and the beautiful rug, but it’s all about the people in the background bringing this all to help our customers create the best home they can.’
‘Taking on too much can lead to burn out’: Bree Taaffe of Oz Design Furniture (pictured), told FEMAIL that when it comes to creating a work life balance, don’t be afraid to ask for help
When it comes to creating a work life balance, Ms Taaffe said to not be afraid to ask for help.
What are Bree’s tips in creating a work life balance?
* Don’t assume that you have to do it all
* Ask for help when needed
* Talk to one another and realise you’re not alone in your struggles
* Be productive in the work environment
* Use your time wisely
‘I have a strong belief that women should not be expected to be working as well as doing all the domestic chores and everything to do with the children and family,’ she said.
‘There are so many things we end up usually taking responsibility for, and as much as we would like to be able to do it all, it can lead to burn out.
‘The more we talk to each other, the more we realise we are not alone in our struggles. In saying that, it also means that when you’re at work, you put your head down because to be effective you need to be productive, and use your time wisely.’
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