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Sally Bird

CITY: BRISBANE

Business: The Retail Collaborator
What?  Startup Membership for Pre-entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners

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How did the idea for your business first come about?
 When I first launched my consulting business I had no idea how hard it was to "build' a business from scratch. 
I was used to working in the corporate world and having my team's support. Once I went out on my own I no longer had a graphic designer, social media coordinator, content writer, finance manager or sidekick. Overnight I was forced to become a Jack of All Trades, and a Master of None. 
I started to wonder if this is why so many businesses in Australia fail to get through their first year. Being a solo-entrepreneur is lonely and daunting. 
I had an overwhelming urge to fix this issue and help small businesses succeed. So back in October last year (2017) I decided to put my consulting role on hold and develop a membership that purely focused on setting up a business and supporting the business owner through their first couple of years.

When did you have a ‘f*ck-it moment’ and decide you were going to go all-in and start your business?
 I was in a contracted role that was about to come to an end as I had achieved everything the company needed me to do. I started looking for work, but after months of looking, I couldn't find anything that interested me. One day I thought "f*ck it" if I can't find a job I love, I will create one.

What were some major challenges you had when starting your business? And how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge for me was working solo and not having my team on hand. I have a vision when it comes to design and content, but I am a creative thinker, not a creative writer so getting the brand identity right was my biggest challenge. I learnt very quickly that content is KIng .. if you don't have those skills you need to outsource them from the beginning. 

I have engaged a content coach to help me in 2018 as I am a big believer in self-development.

What has been your biggest “pinch me” moment?
I think I had my biggest pinch-me moments happened when I first started out consulting. I got to work with some awesome brands and help them reinvent the way they engage their customers. Developing and launching the membership in 4-week turn-around was also a proud moment.

Starting a business can be gruelling - what keeps you motivated, and keeps you going?
There has only been one day where I crawled up into a little ball and cried my eyes out. I remember repeating to myself "what have I done, what am I doing, I can't do this". Then my very patient husband reminded me of why I wanted to do it. 

For me, I have many reasons to keep going. 
Reasons why I keep doing it:
I am a mum and more than anything I want the flexibility to choose my own hours so I can be there for my daughter when she needs me.
I have always been the bridesmaid and never the bride, a.k.a 2IC. You know the saying: "Behind every successful man, there is a woman", well, I finally got sick of being that women and have the inner urge to be my own boss a #girlboss.
I want to work with awesome brands and as many as possible. When you work for a company, you don't get to choose who you collaborate with. Now I am on my own I can work with just about anyone.

How do you create a work-life balance? I work really hard between Monday and Friday, but I make sure the weekends are for family. 
I travel a lot for work as most of my big clients are in Sydney. If I am travelling 3 days in one week, I make sure I am "home" before and after school on the days I am not travelling. If I can't do that I bring my daughter back a gift so she never resents me going away ...

Words of Wisdom / Personal Quote
 The biggest lesson I have learnt so far is that it is ok to make mistakes as it helps you grow and understand the process.
My favourite personal quote at the moment is: "Collaborate, don't compete .... Innovate don't repeat".