Here are the top three takeaways from Cairns Bree James (Founder of Grand Publishing) and Rare Birds Founder and CEO Jo Burston
1. It’s okay to be yourself and create your own tribe
Bree believes that entrepreneurs “are quite different”. She was bullied at school and says she never really fitted in with the other students “probably because I was selling Avon to all their parents.” However, Bree says that you need to accept that it’s okay not to fit in with other groups or tribes – “sometimes you just have to create your own”.
Jo says that she surrounds herself with, “the right people who get me and don’t judge me, and accept me for exactly how I operate”. Like Bree, Jo also “made a tribe, instead of joining a tribe”. Bree says that one thing women do really well is, “nurture each other”, and she now has a really great tribe around her that encourages her and are good at providing guidance (whether she ignores it or not!).
Sometimes you just have to create your own tribe
– Bree James
2. Follow your gut instinct and never give up
Jo says one of the things she’d tell her younger self is to always follow your gut instinct, because it’s always right: “The two times I haven’t followed it, disasters have occurred”. Whether its related to people, a product or a deal, Jo says, “I have that instinctive feeling inside when something is not right… and I know I need to listen to it”.
Bree acknowledges there may be times when you keep being challenged and you wonder, ” ‘is the universe trying to tell me something?’ ” and at these times you need to “do everything you possibly can” and “continue to evolve” because usually, “It’s ‘no’ for now, not ‘no’ forever – most of the time”.
3. Cash is king (and Queen)
Jo acknowledges that cash is absolutely king and says she wishes she’d learnt her financials and how to “understand a balance sheet” when she was a teenager, rather that in her twenties: “If you understand every dollar in your business and what’s happening with it, then you can run a very successful company on its own merits – on its own cash.”
Jo says that when started her business Job Capital, that her investor (a serial entrepreneur who became her mentor as well) would ask her, “’How much cash is in the bank?’ and ‘What are sales today?’” every single day for two years. Now, these are the things Jo looks for in her own business.