'Lessons We've Learned' From Inspiring Aussie Entrepreneurs

04/12/2015 1:24 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Woman sitting at table with hanging lightbulbs

If you've ever wondered how to turn a light bulb moment into a new job there is perhaps no better place to look than to the increasing number of Australian women forging stellar high-profile careers across the nation.

Whether it's fashion, technology or even waste management, they are redefining ideas about what's possible, and building brands and companies against the odds.

We've teamed up with the Boxing Day release of Joy, the true story of a young woman who turned a lightbulb moment into a life changer, to bring you words of wisdom from four super-successful female entrepreneurs.

Donna Aston

Over the past 20 years, the Melbourne-born fitness trainer and author has earned a reputation as an expert in weight loss and health. She has built a nationwide fitness empire and is known for her no-nonsense approach to diet and exercise.

donna aston

Fitness guru Donna Aston says passion is very important in staying successful

Kate McKibbin

Originally a journalist, McKibbin owns and operates the hugely popular Drop Dead Gorgeous Daily website. The Australian site was established in 2007 and publishes the best fashion and beauty finds from in-house editors and the community.

mckibbin

Online publisher Kate McKibbin advises entrepreneurs to build a support network

Roxy Jacenko

A businesswoman, socialite and renowned publicist, Jacenko is best known as director and founder of Sweaty Betty PR. The company has more than 70 clients, including Peugeot, Coles Supermarkets and Oliver Peoples.

roxy jacenko

Roxy Jacenko is the founder of boom Aussie PR agency Sweaty Betty

Kirsten Carriol

From humble country beginnings to founding and running the internationally awarded Lanolips brand, Carriol is one of Australia's most successful and high-profile beauty entrepreneurs.

roxy jacenko

Kirsten Carriol has gone from country kid to leading beauty entrepreneur

How do you achieve your career goals?

"I think it's important to have a plan, and then to reverse engineer that back to where you are now. Like anything else, if you don't know exactly where you're going and you don't have a clear picture in your mind, it's very unlikely that you'll get there." - Donna Aston

"When it comes to achieving career goals, my advice would be to just make a start. Don't overthink it, don't get stuck on the 'what if's' and 'whys' - just start taking steps towards creating your dream career. I wouldn't say I necessarily had specific career goals, but I had drive and determination." - Roxy Jacenko

"Get help, even if it's just someone coming in for a couple of hours a week, as soon as you can. The sooner you have someone come in to relieve you of the petty admin stuff, the sooner you'll be able to better use your time." - Kate McKibbin

"Passion, persistence and drive. It sounds very corny but without one of those you're going to fail. You have to have all three. You also have to keep your eye on the big picture as well as the small picture ... which can be really hard especially considering all the distractions, like social media, around you." - Kirsten Carriol

What does success mean to you?

"I think it's about being passionate about what you do, and loving what you do - everything else tends to flow from that. My focus has always been on helping people, that's what I do." - Donna Aston

"I've always had a really strong work ethic. I was working after school from the age of 14 and haven't stopped since. For me success was always going to be running my own successful business, even though I didn't know exactly what that would be when I started working." - Roxy Jacenko

"[I think I've] come so far ... and what's so great, even though we've got a long way to go, is that this generation that's coming through now ... it's a completely different world for the women ... it's a much rosier looking picture." - Kate McKibbin

"Success means a happy life. As far as business success goes, if you've got a product, success means fantastic feedback from customers who have used your product and loved it and it's helped them when nothing else could have." - Kirsten Carriol

How do you stay motivated when things get tough?

"It's about having the clarity in a really realistic goal whether that's a year down the track, or five years, or 10 years. Even a weekly or a monthly goal that you choose to reach." - Donna Aston

"Think back to your original dream. Often, in the middle of a tough situation, you can blow the significance of a problem out of proportion. Nothing is more motivating that seeing success come from your personal efforts" - Roxy Jacenko

"Find a community. Whether it's other small business owners or a Facebook group, just to have that support and some people to be able to bounce ideas off who understand what you're going through." - Kate McKibbin

"If you're finding that the passion is not there and the challenges are too great there's nothing wrong with saying 'this isn't working, let's move on'." - Kirsten Carriol

How do you overcome challenges along the way?

"I feel like women tend to have to prove themselves a little bit more to be taken as seriously as men. That probably sounds like something that doesn't exist anymore, but it's alive and well these days. The more strong women that forge ahead, the more it helps those who follow." - Donna Aston

"Keep moving forward - dwelling on mistakes or worrying about the future achieves absolutely nothing. It's wasted time and energy. If you make a mistake, by all means learn from it (it's foolish not to), but don't let it put you off. Hold your head high, move on and prepare for more challenges." - Roxy Jacenko

"Not having the skills or experience can be tough, so I did some entrepreneurial training to cover off those gaps because in business it can sometimes be quite dangerous to figure things out all by yourself - you'll learn the hard way." - Kate McKibbin

"You just have to keep going, that's where passion comes in. If you don't have passion when you're faced with those challenges that's when you give up, but if you do have it, it's actually not that hard to keep going." - Kirsten Carriol

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