Tina Tower has captured attention with her raw and real approach to building business and her willingness to share failures as well as her successes. Tina is an example of what happens when you define what you want in life and go after it with all you've got.
Being driven from a young age, Tina started to invest in property at 18, started her business at 20, got married, had two children and graduated from the University of Sydney. She opened an educational toy store, ran tutoring centres, wrote curriculum and licensed it to teachers around the country and eventually launched her franchise system which she built to over 30 sites. And this was all before her 30th birthday.
Tina has won multiple business awards including the Australian Telstra Young Business Woman of the year as well as being featured on Sky Business, The Huffington Post and The Financial Review.
She now works nomadically while travelling the world with her family and shares her skills and knowledge with other entrepreneur's through her online business programs, Scale Up & Laptop Life.
Question: What inspired you to sell your company and set off, with your family, for an 18-month-long holiday?
Tina Tower: A huge combination of things. I had been running my company, Begin Bright for 12 years and I was feeling tired. I built to a nationwide franchise with over 33 locations, had a great team and was making a fantastic impact in children's education but my role had changed into something I was no longer enjoying. Running a fast growing franchise was very time and responsibility demanding and I wanted to be able to enjoy my family before my children got too old.
We'd always dreamed of going on a trip but for a while it was a kind of pipe dream that we were working towards but had no idea how to make it a reality. Then, we decided to book the ticket and then we had to just figure it out and make the rest happen.
Question: Where are you travelling to?
Tina Tower: So far we've been to Phillipines, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Japan, Cambodia and we're currently in Thailand. Next is China, Mongolia, Russia, Montenegro and then all over Europe. Then down to Africa, South America, Central America, Canada, America and home. Though who knows, anything can happen!
Question: Can you share your advice for living positively, passionately, and purposefully?
Tina Tower: I've always been infused with the notion of "life's short". I've always come at life playing full out and going after my dreams and trying to make an impact. There have been times when I've felt really in flow and on purpose and then other times where life has pivoted in a direction that I didn't even notice way the wrong way. Then, it's being able to say "no, no, no, this isn't what I want my life to look like" and having the courage to change it.
I think passion comes out when you're in a life you love and as a society, we're in this collective struggle. It's cool to be busy all the time and just an accepted way of life to be under immense stress. I'm done with the stress. I don't want to live that way and do believe that we have other options to live much happier and more fulfilled lives.
Question: Why did you decide to take the step into online business coaching?
Tina Tower: What a wonderful world online is! I ran a service based business for over a decade and while I loved it and working so closely with people, it's hard work. There's only so much money you can charge for services and to make money, directly correlates to more time spent. I feel like I missed so much of my kids' lives because I was working my butt off and that was even having a highly systemised and successful business.
I get to help a lot of people through online business coaching programs and have a lot of personal contact so it's really the best of both worlds. What I'm really trying to help people with now is taking the expertise that they have a putting it into an online program so that they can create a more leveraged business.
Question: What advice do you have for other women hoping to join the entrepreneurial world and launch their own business?
Tina Tower: Go for it! If it's something you want to do and it light's you up, you absolutely owe it to yourself to give it a try. It can be very overwhelming and there's such an information overload so I'd just focus on one thing at a time and find someone with a playbook that you can use to get you started so that you have something to follow from start to end to get you up and running. So often, people get stuck at a stage instead of seeking help and then taking action to make it happen.
Question: How do you create a work/life balance?
Tina Tower: Consciously choose how you want to spend your time and energy and be disciplined to stick with it. It's really easy to slip into being a workaholic, I know, I've been there. But it doesn't help the rest of your life and it certainly doesn't help the quality of your work either. More doesn't equal better. I really do think you can do everything you want to do. There's enough time in the week to have a great relationship with your partner, connect and nurture your children, build your business empire, connect through great friendships, keep yourself healthy and work on your own education. You don't ace it every day and that's totally fine, but I think we should always be striving to have a holistically beautiful life.
Question: How can we turn our own side hustle into a business empire?
Tina Tower: Be patient with yourself and put in the focused work. Business failure rates are pretty high because I think people give up too easily. You here of all of these success stories of people making $100k in their first year and then you start and you feel like you're falling short and give up. I think we need to view it more of an experiment and get started, see what works, tweak it, improve it and keep going. If you focus on serving people to the best of your ability, you'll eventually get there. One thing I've learnt is it will always take longer and cost more than what we initially anticipate! In talking with some of my girlfriends I know that we reached the level we did because we just simply didn't give up.
Question: What tips do you have for staying productive and avoiding procrastination?
Tina Tower: Don't work too much. I'm really systematic with how I spend my time so that I don't waste any. When there's too much time, you can find yourself scrolling through facebook instead of getting work done because your brain actually needs a break and so it goes for that (although that doesn't help the situation). I am a big fan of lists and carry a little A6 notebook wherever I go to write down any ideas so that when I sit down at my computer, I am really clear about what I'm there to do and I get in, do it and then close it off. I don't want to procrastinate because I want to go and play with my kids, or go for a walk or talk to a friend on the phone or have laugh with my husband. If I don't get done what I need to then I lose out on the other things which aren't an option.
The trick is to not keep adding more and more stuff to your list that just gives you an endless stream of tasks to do. There is ALWAYS more that you could be doing, but do you need to? Every time you go to do something, ask yourself "Do I really need to do this to help me to live my ideal life?". If not, either delegate it or just cross it off and move on.
Question: Do you have a morning routine? Can you share it with us?
Tina Tower: Every time I see this question I always wish I stuck to a better morning routine! When I was in the thick of my business and working ridiculously long hours, I would get up and meditate and journal and head off to the office. I had an intense schedule that worked for me to get done what I needed to. Now I'm much more relaxed. After my business sale in 2016 I felt like I had neglected my family a bit in the sprint to the finish line and so changed my morning routine so that when I wake up, I call the kids into bed and we cuddle while my husband goes and makes coffee. Then we sit and drink it for around 30 minutes chatting. I never did it before because I was always in such a rush to get things done and head off. That, and I refused to drink instant coffee! :) But it has been one of the greatest things for our relationship and such a nice way to start the day.
I think it's best to start the day in whatever way makes you feel happy. The world is always going to throw unpredictability our way so if you can start the day in a good state, it allows you to respond better to external things that are happening throughout the day.
Question: What is your business motto?
Tina Tower: "Life is both too long and too short to not do something you love" and the quickest way to success is to serve as many people as you can, beautifully.
Interview by Brooke Hunter