A trip down memory lane…
Reflecting on a decade of entrepreneurship brings both nostalgia and pride.
Over these ten years, I’ve discovered that the journey of business is marked by challenges, failures, and breakthroughs.
Each experience has shaped my path, transforming me into the entrepreneur I am today. Through these years, I’ve come to appreciate that success is often built upon the lessons learned during moments of uncertainty and growth.
I share my journey not to simply recount my story, but to hopefully inspire others walking a similar path. Business is not just about numbers and strategies; it’s a blend of resilience, determination, and adaptability.
I was working in the corporate world in HR and honestly, I dreaded every moment of it. The whole nine-to-five routine was not for me.
I had always had the dream to start my own business and set myself a goal to own a business before I turned 25.
After tying the knot in 2012, I got a taste of event planning while organizing my wedding. And that’s when it hit me like a ton of bricks – why not turn this passion into my profession? I decided to become a Wedding Planner and Stylist, despite everyone telling me it was a bad idea.
This shift wasn’t at all easy, but it marked the beginning of a journey that was authentically mine, redefining what success truly meant to me.
2013 – Started Willow Tree Creative
Absolutely clueless, I took the leap and started Willow Tree Creative without a clear roadmap.
My first few years were full of mistakes and so much imposter syndrome! I compared myself to everyone in the industry and never felt that my work would be good enough. The eve of each wedding felt like a sleepless battle, my mind swamped with the pressure to create nothing short of magic for my clients.
I nearly gave up a hundred times and doubted myself at every turn but I pushed through every challenge and kept the momentum alive.
Throughout 2014-2015 I did absolutely everything I could to grow visibility for my brand, putting myself out there and trying all sorts of strategies.
All that hustle started paying off as my brand began to catch the eye of industry experts and big-name publications.
My work and business were acknowledged as a top wedding stylist by renowned magazines I dreamed of being featured in.
It was a humbling affirmation that my efforts were paying off.
2016 – Started Styled Images
After several years of diving into the world of weddings, life took an unexpected turn. My husband fell ill, and with the weight of three mortgages on our shoulders, I faced a tough decision. I returned to a full-time role in HR.
I knew it was time to move on from weddings and I put my business up for sale, turning the page on that chapter.
But knowing I still needed a creative outlet in my life I co-founded a stock image business alongside my friend Christine.
And to add even more excitement to the mix, mid-2016 brought the news of my first pregnancy. Picture this: a whirlwind of full-time HR work, weekend weddings, starting a new business and spending my evenings tutoring for the Australian Wedding Academy.
Life was a beautiful chaos that tested my multitasking skills to the max!
2017-2018 Sold my 1st Business
Every journey has chapters that close to pave the way for new beginnings.
As you can imagine at this point I was burnt out. I was entirely done with weddings and I knew that I needed to move on. I had achieved more than I ever thought was going to be possible for me and I knew the business was not going to work for me to continue with a newborn.
I thankfully found a buyer for my Wedding Styling Business and did my very last wedding when my son was just a few weeks old.
During this time we could also recognize that Styled Images wasn’t working for various reasons and we made the difficult decision to close the business.
At the end of 2018 we made the decision to move back to NZ.
2019 – Started Socialised
After a holiday around the South Island and with the encouragement of two friends who recognized my skill in social media management from my previous businesses, I felt a strong desire to start a new business. Returning from the holiday, I had a business plan hastily jotted down on random bits of paper, outlining my vision for Socialised.
I went into my very first client meeting not knowing what a FB Pixel was but I fumbled my way through the first few months and immersed myself in learning everything I possibly could. I joined communities and signed up for courses to learn quick! The business experienced rapid growth; by the time of our launch party, we were already hiring our first staff member.
Discovering I was pregnant just a week before the launch party marked the beginning of a challenging year and a half ahead.
I never allowed myself a break; my focus remained steadfastly on money and growth, causing me to overlook my own well-being. This period was the most stressful I had ever felt in my life.
Juggling the responsibilities of being the best for my clients, the financial support for our family, and the demands of parenting a newborn and toddler weighed heavily on me.
Realizing the need for a change, I tried reducing my workload and exploring new business avenues. However, it became apparent that these measures were insufficient.
I faced the difficult realization that this phase of my life wasn’t suited for this business, leading me to put it up for sale.
The day following this decision, I already had a buyer!
Recognizing when to let go is as vital as when to persevere.
2022 – started Golden Brands.
After taking a much-needed break from not owning a business, I contemplated my entire journey, reflecting on the struggles and challenges I had faced.
It was evident that numerous other business owners around me were facing the same roadblocks and hurdles. Armed with firsthand knowledge of the difficulties this journey entails, I knew I needed to establish a platform that could offer support to small business owners just like me. Together, I knew we could uplift one another and craft genuinely successful businesses.
For a whole year, I sat on this business idea putting it in the too-hard basket, until a psychic told me that I was going to launch a membership site for small business owners. This was the push I needed, and I got to work starting Golden Brands.
As I write this, our community has over 70 incredible, ambitious small business owners. I’m SO excited for the future of this business and how it will continue to empower more of you!
This is just the start!