In the latest episode of the Strivin & Thrivin podcast we catch up with Brooke Tierney, Founder and Managing Director of The Sister. Packed full of inspiring stories and solid dad advice (because, really, they know best), we definitely recommend setting aside some time to give this one a full listen.
Born to be a business lady
“Did I want to own a business? Did I want to be a marketer? Absolutely not”.
What Brooke did know when she was younger was that she wanted to be a business lady, “whatever that was”. Growing up going to work with her Dad and playing around with his typewriter sparked an interest in Brooke that would resurface years later.
“I didn’t grow up going, I want to get married and have kids. I grew up going, I want to be a business lady.
“That then turned to, I wanted to be a park ranger, but ultimately when I left school, I wanted to be a physiotherapist. I wanted to be in sports medicine or sports psychology but I knew I wouldn’t get the grades. So I picked a course that would eventually get me there. I hated the university I got into, so I scrambled for a degree and found one, which was tourism. I hated the finance part, so I ended up with a marketing degree.
‘Sitting here now, was it what I wanted to do? No. Am I glad I’m doing it? Absolutely!”
So what is it that has drawn Brooke back to the marketing/business world all these years later?
“I think ultimately for me the love came down to the challenge of trying to change behaviours, because for me, that’s what a marketer is.We try and change, influence or push for a change in behaviour that consumers sometimes know they want or, quite often, have no idea they want.”
Fake it till you make it
We all know owning your own business is bloody tough, now more than ever. With five years of The Sister under her belt, we wondered what were some of the biggest lessons Brooke has learnt along the way?
First lesson, and one we’ve certainly heard before, fake it till you make it.
“Something a mentor said to me was you have to act like you’re a big business and you have to think of yourself as a giant corporate.
“I remember I had my budget done for the year and I was trying to save money. I cut out all my expenses around taking clients out for lunch. The first thing my mentor said was, that is the last thing you cut. You take them to the nice restaurants and you make them feel like you own this giant business.”
Second lesson (courtesy of Brooke’s dad), it’s okay to be uncomfortable – if you are, you’re properly heading in the right direction.
“I remember I was just about to rent an office space for the team … I spoke to my dad and he said, if you’re already at the stage of, what if it doesn’t work, your past wondering if it’s going to work … If you’re already questioning whether you should take it, you’ve already made [the decision].”
Dive in the deep end
Early on in her career, Brooke learnt the importance of just giving things a crack. At the age of 21, Brooke was tapped on the shoulder and asked to come to Sydney for a job. After completing her first week’s worth of work in just three days, the boss gave Brooke his to-do list.
“He said, I don’t care if it’s wrong, just jump in and have a look.
“I think I’ve tried to maintain that… just have a crack, try and work above your level …You’ll find out in yourself whether you’ve got broader capability than you probably imagine.”
Everything ends in triumph
To quote Ted Lasso, “Fairy tales do not start, nor do they end, at the dark forest … it will all work out. It may not work out how you think it will or how you hope it does. But believe me, it will all work out, exactly as it’s supposed to.”
What does that have to do with career and business?
Things won’t always be sunshine and roses. As Brooke’s brother once said to her, “there’s always that bit in the middle of a movie where it all turns to shit and you’re questioning why and how and is this the right thing, but everything ends in triumph”. If you can keep persisting, keep pushing down whatever path you’re taking, things will be ok in the end.
Want to hear more, check out the episode now!