Interviews

Business Owner of a Construction Company – Beau Small

 

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

Client satisfaction and working with the team I have around me is the most rewarding. It can be challenging operating with integrity when others are not. Not everyone operates the same way, but it’s a non-negotiable when working within my brand.

 

If people were considering working as a construction business owner what advice would you give?

Make sure it’s your passion, be informed about all of your obligations, and try to have a positive effect in the industry.

 

What qualifications or experience is required to become a construction business owner?

An understanding of construction principles, whether from a trade back ground or from study.

Having the ability to communicate is a must. Being diligent in your approach.

 

What path did you take to become a construction business owner?

I completed an apprenticeship as a carpenter, was a sole trader as a carpenter, a builder on the tools, and then a business owner overseeing all facets of the business.

 

Were there any other careers you considered pursuing when you left school?

I always thought being in the police force would be good.

 

Is this your first career? Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?

I completed 18 months as an apprentice chef, I learnt time management whilst in that role.

I’m open to all opportunities, however I will always be involved in construction in some capacity.

I like watching spaces transform and creating spaces people want to spend time in.

 

What did you want to be when you grew up? 

Successful, more than anything else. The definition of successful has evolved over time.

I had a vision of working with a team where we all get along and enjoy working as unit. Professionally this is my greatest success to date.

 

What are your standard hours?

Being a business owner I don’t believe there are standard hours, I was working on a task until 2 in the morning last Saturday night.

When motivation hits you, you ride the wave. Being passionate about what you do nullifies the clock in and clock out attitude.

 

Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?

In a construction business, I believe the building component is approximately 30% of everything you need to do to run a successful business. The rest is communication and managing expectations.

Frustration comes about when expectations are not met. Understanding everyone’s expectations and delivering upon those expectations for an agreed financial amount can be difficult to manage at times.

 

Dr Harry Markwell – Vet (Specialist in Equine Surgery)

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

The most rewarding part of the job is resolving problems that a client never thought could be fixed, seeing such a variety of cases and, watching how happy horses are sometimes to go home after a long battle with illness.

 

If people were considering becoming a vet what advice would you give them?

You must take the first step, apply. Give it a go! No one was ever born to be a vet, they learn, they train, and they practice. Don’t be afraid to follow you nose and take the opportunities that comes your way because life is an adventure.

 

What experience or qualifications are required to become an equine surgeon?

I undertook a 1.5 year-long internship in the USA right after vet school in a private equine hospital. While there, I applied for a surgery residency in the USA and was lucky enough to get the position. After three years of my residency, I then completed my specialty board exams in equine surgery.

 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

An astronaut, but I thought I’d be too tall to become a fighter pilot first.

 

Were there any other careers you considered pursuing when you left school?

I never wanted to be a vet until right at the end of school. I wanted to work in extensive agriculture and beef cattle production. I had to improve my grades in my first year of uni to make the change to vet school.

 

Is this your first career? Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?

Yes and yes. But I see myself finding some serious hobbies sometime soon that hopefully I can make into a second career.

 

What are your standard hours?

Probably 60-80 hours a week but it can easily reach 100 during the busy time in the Spring.

 

Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?

The most challenging part of the job is making connections with clients who own and love the horses. This part of the job is tough but we work every day to do a better job of it.

Kristy Cummins – Vet Nurse

 

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

 the most rewarding part is when a clients pet gets to go home happy and healthy.

 

If people were considering becoming a vet nurse what advice would you give them?

 I would suggest trying work experience first as this job is not for everybody. and then finding a course at uni or tafe.

 

What experience or qualifications are required to become a vet nurse?

 you need to have a tafe certificate or veterinary technology degree.  

 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

 I didn’t know what I wanted to, but I did know that I wanted to work with horses.

 

Were there any other careers you considered pursuing when you left school?

 No.

 

Is this your first career? Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?

I started working at WestVETS when I was 18 and I am still enjoy working with the horses and being a vet nurse.

 

What are your standard hours?

 I can work anywhere from 38 to 50 hours a week.

Dance Therapist – Yumi Schaefer

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

The most rewarding part is having great fun with my students.

The biggest challenge is meeting everyone’s needs.

 

If people were considering becoming a dance therapist what advice would you give them?

Get yourself knowledgeable and spread your network.

 

What qualifications or experience is required to become a dance therapist?

Certificate course and graduate diploma, and experience accumulation.

 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

PE teacher

 

Were there any other careers you considered pursuing when you left school?

Flight attendant and conference organiser.

 

Is this your first career? Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?

Yes, for a life time!

 

What are your standard hours?

During the day. One to two hours a day.

 

Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?

Infinite possibility.

General Manager of Non-profit – Nicole Hard

 

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is watching how individuals change over the period they are with us. It’s great to really see people’s attitude and confidence change and to watch them develop personally and professionally. I love it when they tell me “I’ve leaving because I have a job”.

The most challenging part of the job is raising funds. I need to raise over $350k each year to keep the doors open.

 

If people were considering working in a non-profit organisation what advice would you give them?

Go for it, everyone has a skill they can share and that skill can really impact and change the course of someone’s life.

 

What qualifications or experience is required to become a general manager of a non-profit organisation?

I don’t think there are any set rules. I’ve found in my experience having senior management experience in large business has really helped me strategically plan. Having a strong vision and the confidence to take risks has enabled me to position Suited to Success for the future. It also helps having solid financial skills. I’m a big fan of constantly learning new skills, challenging myself and expanding my thought concepts.

 

What path did you take to become a general manager of a non-profit?

I worked for a not for profit statutory authority for 8 years where I gained management experience working in many different department. I was fortunate enough to then go on to consult to large multi site not for profits and commercial businesses nationally.

 

Is this your first career? Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?

No, I started in the mail room part time at WorkCover Queensland when I was studying at University.

I was very ambitous and wanted to work in every department and learn as much as I could.

I was initially attracted to the people management side of the business but I then became a bit of an expert in complex forecasting calculations and auditing.

I moved into roles where I was consulting to large employers in complex environment and worked on some multi-million dollar projects all over Queensland.

I always had an underlying want to give back to the community so in 2013 I quit my professional career to do some volunteer work while I figured out my next step. After volunteering I realised that I had so many skills that could be applied to further benefit the community and I loved it so much that I stayed.

 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A policewoman

 

What are your standard hours?

38hrs per week. I strongly believe in a work life balance. I make sure that my health and wellbeing are looked after first and foremost, that way I’m much more mentally switched on, efficient and effective in my role.

 

Taxidermist – Ali Douglas

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

It is most rewarding when you’ve worked away at a challenging animal and you manage to pull it altogether into something that looks animated and lifelike again. Some animals are very difficult because they come to us in such poor condition. Sometimes they’re very rare & you know you may never get another. That’s pretty nerve wracking & challenging. It’s also rewarding to know that I am contributing to science & a greater understanding of the environment. Seeing children & families interacting with my specimens on the display floors is a real highlight.

 

If people were considering becoming a taxidermist what advice would you give them?

Taxidermy in Australia is not an easy profession and a particularly niche market. There are very limited taxidermy jobs available within museums with only a handful of practitioners still working within our major institutions. This has been because of shifting priorities, out sourcing of exhibitions & a decline in demand. Commercial taxidermists are limited to working with feral species & pets because of our strict environmental laws that make native animals off limits. This is a great surprise to most people. Within the museum I have all the permits and permissions for Australian fauna.

 

What qualifications or experience is required to become a taxidermist?

Taxidermy is essentially a learn in the job profession. I learnt many years ago from volunteering with the taxidermist at the Qld museum. In America & Europe there are courses you can do to learn. In Australia, there are a couple of people offering short workshops but no formal school or qualification. Some commercial taxidermists may take on assistants.

 

What path did you take to become a taxidermist?

I should say that I’m not just a taxidermist. That’s just one of the many things I do as part of the exhibitions team at the Queensland Museum. From school I went to art college at QUT and did a bachelor of Visual Arts majoring in Sculpture and painting. I volunteered at the museum before finding work with a public art company. I worked as a sculptor, moulder & caster, mosaicist foundry assistant and sometimes designer. In my early 20s I went to England and for 6 years worked as a prop maker & later set designer for theatre companies. In 2000 I returned to Australia & finally got a job at the museum on the strength of my painting and Sculptural skills and the fact that I could do Taxidermy. I have been there ever since! I have also continued to work as a visual artist exhibiting my paintings and ceramics.

 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I always wanted to be a guide dog trainer!

 

Is this your first career? Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?

This is not my first career. I have worked as a mosaicist, prop maker, set designer, artist and most importantly as a mother of 2 wonderful children! I’m sure I will be with the museum for a long time to come but who knows what the future holds. I’m hoping to again have more time in the future for my art but feel very lucky to have always been able to work at something I love.

 

Hostel Manager – Ali Boyd

 

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

The most rewarding part is seeing backpackers enjoy the most of Australia and seeing that they are having the time of their life. When I came backpacking it was the staff that made the experience amazing and in return I wanted

 

If people were considering becoming a hostel manager what advice would you give them?

Go for it! You definitely won’t be bored. The main thing to remember is the customer experience and if you make them happy then your hostel will automatically have return customers.

 

What qualifications or experience is required to become a hostel manager?

I have no qualifications that relate to this industry however I have a  background in all aspects of the company as I started in housekeeping, moved to bar, travel and then the hostel side of things in general. If you continue to learn in each department it is a great industry to work your way up in.

 

What path did you take to become a hostel manager?

I started in housekeeping, moved on to activities, travel, reception and then Bar Manager. From here I put myself forward to learn the hostel and it went from there.

 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

On the West End stage in a musical.

 

Were there any other careers you considered pursuing when you left school?

I have a degree in Musical Theatre and this is something that I will probably persue when I get older on the side.

 

Is this your first career? Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?

I have learnt a lot in the last two years and it has given me the experience I need to work my way up in any business. I am enjoying this line of work and feel that I am still learning so I hope I will be in this line of work for at least another couple of years.

 

What are your standard hours?

Monday to Friday and 9-5 however I probably have too much fun and go over a little!

 

Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?

Probably some of the events that can happen here with guests. It can be hilarious some of the stories you hear or have to deal with. Naked people stuck outside their rooms is a fun one! Haha

Firefighter – Randall Appleby

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

The most challenging part of being a firefighter is not knowing what the next incident maybe but you have to be ready for it. The job can place you under extreme amounts of physical and psychological pressure.

Most rewarding, anytime you help somebody.

If people were considering becoming a firefighter what advice would you give them?

Make sure you are ready because it takes full commitment. In my opinion the best firefighters are people who have had a lot of life experiences and often worked in many different industries.

What qualifications or experience is required to become a firefighter?

These can often be subject to change. To ensure you have the correct information go to the website www.fire.qld.gov.au at look under the recruit tab.

What path did you take to become a firefighter?

Jack of all trades master of none. I played professional sport for many years and that teamwork environment has helped dramatically. Following my sporting career I worked in a number of areas e.g. Sales, Logistics, Hospitality, Landscaping Supplies.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Police Officer.

Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?

Yes

What are your standard hours?

We work a rotating shift of 2 days (10 hrs) 2 nights (14 hrs) followed by 4 days off. The flexibility is good but the trade of is you often end up working Christmas, New Years, Grand Finals etc.

Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?

Firefighters attend any and every incident you could possible imagine.

Radio Producer – Rob Minshull

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

a) To let local people tell their stories. The privilege of being allowed into people’s homes every weekend, being an intimate part of listeners’ lives.

b) Finding the time to tell all the stories as well as we’d like to.  Working an incredibly long six-hour shift on air on a weekend when almost everyone else is enjoying a day off!

 

If people were considering becoming a radio producer what advice would you give them?

See the story in everything and everyone. Be interested in life and lives around you.

 

What qualifications or experience is required to become a radio producer?

The ability to listen and persuade people to talk. Able to multitask and write in clear, precise and interesting language; to be able to paint a picture with words.  Important to be up-to-date with new and emerging technology.

 

What path did you take to become a radio producer?

Cadet reporter on local newspaper, radio news broadcast journalist, newspaper reporter in South America, foreign correspondent for BBC radio, SBS Radio manager, ABC Radio manager … and then a parent!

 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Police officer

 

Were there any other careers you considered pursuing when you left school?

Police, politics, civil servant in foreign affairs.

 

Is this your first career? Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?

More-or-less always in radio after starting out in political advisory work.  In the 21st century, I’m not sure any of us have the right or desire to continue in one line of work forever!

 

What are your standard hours?

Normal office hours during weekdays and 5am-1pm on weekends.

 

Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?

It isn’t well-paid!

 

Property Stylist – Jackie Folan-Murphy

 

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

For me the most rewarding part of the of the job would definitely be when my client walks in and sees the property for the first time after it’s been styled and say, “I don’t want to sell,” or “the place has never looked so good!”

The most challenging part is sometimes the availability of stock. I always want to give my clients the best results and that includes having the best furniture for their home. Sometimes during the busy periods it’s just not available.

 

If people were considering becoming a property stylist what advice would you give them?

I would say it’s a great job! It’s competitive, it’s hard work, but it can also be very rewarding. Also if you’re good at what you do the work will follow. Agents who love what you do will use you often. Repeat clients and also referrals are a great way to let you know you’re doing a great job.

 

What qualifications or experience is required to become a property stylist?

Anyone can become a Property Stylist, there is no course or qualification to become one. But I do believe you need to have a natural ability. It’s not something that is taught but something you know, feel and can visualise.

What path did you take to become a property stylist?

I didn’t know what a Property Stylist was until a real estate agent came through my home and said to me, “You should be a home stager!” I had no idea what that was. So when the agent  left I googled, saw a course was being held in 3 weeks and I was on it. The course was focussed more around running the business and informing us on how the Brisbane market worked. It was a fantastic experience and without having done this course I wouldn’t be here doing something that I love everyday.

 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

To be honest I wanted to be a mum, but I did always loved interiors.

 

Were there any other careers you considered pursuing when you left school?

I wanted to do nursing, but things just didn’t happen as intended and I went straight from school to banking.

 

Is this your first career? Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?

No it wasn’t my first career I’ve tried several different jobs but this is certainly the most rewarding job second to being a mum. I have flexibility, I can work when I want, I don’t report to anyone and I make the decisions regarding every decision relating to the business. I will definitely be remaining in this job as I love what I do.

 

What are your standard hours?

Mainly 9-5 Monday to Friday and sometimes on a Saturday for those people who work during the week. But truthfully, when you have your own business it’s all the time, particularly when you doing everything yourself.

 

Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?

I definitely think people underestimate the time taken for every job and just how physically demanding the job is. It’s not just a case of fluffing a few cushions, it’s way more involved. From coming up with the concept and plan of what you will do in every room of a home, then for the big jobs it’s spending an entire day in the warehouse selecting every piece of furniture, artwork, linen and accessory for the home. You then Install the property and you can do anywhere up to 20,000 steps on a job. I certainly enjoy a wine after those days – well earnt I say!

 

Fundraising Whisperer l Publisher l Entrepreneur – Mandy Weidmann

 

Mandy Weidmann is Australia’s ‘Fundraising Whisperer’ – publisher of the Fundraising Directory and author of the Practical Fundraising Handbook for School and Club Volunteers. Mandy believes that parent volunteers shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel all the time and is passionate about providing resources to make fundraising easier (and more fun).

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

Hands down, the most rewarding part of my job is the thrill of helping people. It never gets old. Our work helps school and club fundraising volunteers in a very practical and real way. Every single person on my team is driven by that.

The most challenging part for me is the whole ‘running a business’ thing. I’d much rather forget about the realities of revenue and forecasting (so dull!) and concentrate on providing smart resources so volunteers don’t have to reinvent the wheel all of the time. Fortunately, the core of my advertiser base has been with me for a long time and are really supportive of my work, so, for the most part, I can get on with the important stuff that gets me out of bed each day.

 

If people were considering becoming a publisher what advice would you give them?

We started out as a print publication and, while we continue to publish that every year, more of our work is now in the ‘influencer’ online space. If we were starting today, we’d probably skip the print publication and simply try to build an audience online. Having said that, our annual Fundraising Directory is much loved and we’ll continue to ‘fight the good fight’ with advertisers who continue to move more of their budgets online and we’ll publish it for as long as there is support for it.

 

What qualifications or experience is required to become a publisher?

As long as you have an engaged audience and passion for your field, you can be a successful publisher. Being prepared to evolve and innovate is a must in a fast-moving environment, but the fundamentals stay the same – if your advertisers find work through you, you can continue to have a business.

 

What path did you take to become the Fundraising Whisperer?

I began working life as a lawyer and I loved every minute of it. I loved studying it (except constitutional law!) and I loved the work. I worked in litigation, though, which is difficult with young children. I went back to work part time after my first two kids, and when I had my third, decided to ‘time out’ for a while.

At around this time, my parents were distributing an eco-friendly laundry detergent and I came up with the ‘brilliant’ idea that it would make a great fundraiser as it operated on a refill system that could provide ongoing revenue to schools. I was wrong (!) but the process of setting it all up showed me that there was nothing out there that did a great job of connecting school and club fundraisers with the suppliers who serviced them.

I met Helen Creswick who ran a hobby website called Fundraising Ideas – she lived locally so we met for a coffee and became soulmates straight away. In the same breath, we both described what was needed – a publication full of supplier information that was sent to schools and clubs, supported by a comprehensive website that supported volunteers. Within two weeks of meeting, we had each put in $500 and started the Fundraising Directory! It was a success from the start and although it was the ‘blind leading the blind’, we had an absolute ball!

Two years later, in 2008, Helen was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer and passed away shortly after. It was truly devastating and took me a long while to recover and get my ‘mojo’ back.

When I reflect on what I’ve achieved, I know she’d be very proud of me. I still miss her – I’m pretty sure we’d still be kicking butt and having a lot of laughs together!

 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I still don’t know!

 

Were there any other careers you considered pursuing when you left school?

See above 🙂

 

Is this your first career? Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?

No, this is my second wind. I have no active plans to ‘retire’ as the Fundraising Whisperer, but forever is a long time…

 

What are your standard hours?

Standard hours? What are they? hahaha.

On my weekends, you’ll often see me heading off to a school fete to interview the organiser and discover cool new tips and tricks to share. I’m also happy to tinker away on projects at night.

During the week, anything is possible. I do a fair bit of running around after my five kids so I really value the flexibility that I have. I have a small but kickass team to support me too.

It’s totally true, though, that if you’re doing something that you love, you’ll never work a day in your life … I am lucky enough to feel like that on most days.

 

Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?

I have been recognised in public a couple of times and asked for a selfie once, which has completely thrown me!

Click here to learn more about school and club fundraising ideas in Australia and join the Fundraising Whisperer Facebook community here.

Florist – Katherine Eldred

 

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

Making something beautiful every day is really rewarding.

Also creating weddings along with a bride/groom (a lot of grooms are more involved) and bringing their inspiration and ideas together. And then seeing the oohs and ahhhs of something that I did – put together with my hands.

The most challenging would be trying to tell people nicely that their ideas or wants are terrible and I don’t want to put my name to it!

 

If people were considering becoming a florist what advice would you give them?

Try it first because it’s not just playing with flowers all day, it’s really hard physical work, lots of lifting, smelly stuff that you don’t even know what it was to begin with!!!

You will never have smooth/nice hands again being a florist.

 

What qualifications, qualities or experience is required to become a florist?

Each state offers a TAFE Cert 3 in Floristry. But you have to have IT!!!

IT is hard to put into words, but definitely a creative flair with colour, texture and shape and an understanding of style and elements of design.

 

What path did you take to become a florist?

I started when I was 14 as a school holiday job. My boss at the time suggested I do the Floristry course that went for 3 years at night. So, at the end of Year 12 I was a qualified florist. And it just went from there. One of the other students owned her own shop and asked me to work for her when I had finished school, and then years later, after a bit of career diversion I went back and bought the shop off her.

 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Florist!! And a Millionaire!!

 

Were there any other careers you considered pursuing when you left school?

I did want to be a Graphic Designer.

 

Is this your first career? Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?

This was my first career could possibly be my last. I can see myself as some crazy old lady stealing greenery from people’s gardens and creating arrangements in the Brookfield Show.

 

What are your standard hours?

Hours change depending what work is on but usually 2 days week.

 

Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?

Its more physical than everyone thinks. And doesn’t always smell wonderful, and March is funeral season, for some reason more people die in March.

 

Furniture Upcycler – Danielle McDonald

 

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

I love that I have the freedom to work from home first and foremost. Being able to do the school drop offs and pickups is wonderful and I don’t for one minute take that for granted. I am able to work from home, within the hours that I choose, and be there for my kids whenever they need me. What more could you ask for?

As for my work, I love that I can take a piece of furniture that was old, unloved and ugly and make it beautiful again and ready to be re-loved. It goes back into a new home as opposed to going into landfill where they are more often than not headed.

There aren’t too many challenges, but I guess that the biggest one is that I don’t have a guaranteed income from the security of a “normal” job. If I don’t work, then I simply don’t get paid. It’s easy to slack off when you work from home, so you always have to be on the ball.

 

If people were considering becoming a furniture upcycler what advice would you give them?

You really have to love what you do. You have to be passionate about this job, and if you’re not and your heart isn’t in it, it really does show through your work. Then you must master your craft and use the right tools to make the way you work more efficient. Since using the Annie Sloan range of paint and product, my job has become so much easier and far more enjoyable. I’m taking less time to complete each project which means that I can do a lot more in my allocated work day.

 

What qualifications, qualities or experience is required to become a furniture upcycler?

 I really have just taught myself how to do this job, but I have always been into woodwork and have a real passion for what I do and am always keen to learn different techniques.  I’ve done some painting classes and training and just asked questions when I didn’t know what I was doing. When you have a passion for what you do, the learning is the easy part.

 

What path did you take to become a furniture upcyler?

 I kind of just fell into this job. I painted my first piece when I had been suffering from a severe depression and I needed something to take my mind off the harsh realities of what I was dealing with at that time. I found the painting and the whole upcycling process quite therapeutic and it really played a huge part in my recovery. It turned out that I had a passion for this kind of thing, and I was good at what I did, so I decided at that stage to take a punt and try to make a living out of it. Since then I have shared my journey with my customers and followers and try to raise awareness of depression and anxiety and break the stigmas that these illnesses hold in our society. With my illness, I managed to turn something so horrible into something so beautiful and that’s the exact process I think about when upcycling each piece of furniture.

 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

An architect. Since I was a little girl I wanted to design grand homes, but I never made it that far. Instead I’ll create pretty things to go into lovely homes, and that’s good enough for me!

 

Were there any other careers you considered pursuing when you left school?

When I left school, I didn’t go to university and therefore had no real qualifications, so I just looked for work, any kind of work, like most kids did. I started working in the steel industry when I was just 18 and stayed there for the next ten or so years until I left that security of a “real” job to go and have my first baby. Since then, I’ve never ever gone back into the conventional workforce and have just worked from home.

 

Is this your first career? Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?

No, this isn’t my first career and yes, I could definitely do see myself in this line of work, forever!

 

What are your standard hours?

As soon as I wake up, I’m usually on social media – my Facebook page – answering questions from my customers. I then would usually drop the kids to school and work until I pick them up again. If I have a heavy work load, I can then continue on after I have picked the kids up, and have also been known to be painting well after midnight if necessary.

 

Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?

 It’s just so much fun, but I guess you probably could expect that!

 

 

Real Estate Agent – Kym Saunders

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

Feeling like you make a difference to peoples lives assisting them to move on to the next phase of their life

 

If people were considering becoming a real estate agent what advice would you give them?

The first few years are very tough.

 

What qualifications or experience is required to become a real estate agent?

Real estate agents come from all walks of life.  You just need to be very, very dedicated and understand what you are doing has a massive impact on your clients lives.  It is a 24/7 job.

 

What path did you take to become a real estate agent?

Banking for 15 years prior to real estate –  I was a mobile lender for 5 of these years.

 

When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to play basketball for Australia and be a teacher.

 

What are your standard hours?

Generally 6 days a week including nights – I do try to have Sundays off but will work if it is necessary.

 

Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?

It is very different to what people think it is.

 

Director of Australian Wild Camel Corporation – Paul Martin

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

Connecting people with good quality food and skin care products. Helping them to understand the benefits of camel milk and why we’ve put it in various products. That’s the key element to camels. It’s the milk, what it does, the probiotic in it, and you’re offering a product that is different to anything else. It’s fairly fun.

Creating opportunities for younger people to get involved in the agriculture industry, where they get to see a product sold. If you’re just selling a commodity like cattle, you’re so far removed from the person that’s eating the steak, there’s no link to your market for what you’re actually selling. There’s been a slight shift in people with money starting to have a bit more choice in where the products they eat are coming from. It’s rewarding educating the consumer on where they can source their products from.

The challenge right now is getting a plumber. I didn’t think it was going to be the biggest challenge of the whole project, but getting tradesmen to come out here is really difficult.

I suppose the challenge is building a project where you haven’t got all the money at the front end to do it. It’s one of the most challenging things but it’s been very positive for this project, because not having the money at the front has meant we’ve been very creative with how we have had to go forward with it. It’s made us think harder and challenge ourselves more. If we’d had what we wanted on day one to do the full project we’d be out at Alice Springs doing it, but we didn’t. So we’ve brought it back to here and done it differently. We linked it to the uni who are doing more development with the actual qualities of the milk. We’re building the brand, and that’s allowed us to start slowly and build numbers.

 

If people were considering a career in agriculture what advice would you give them?

Australia is one of the hardest places to do agriculture in the world. We’re the only first world country that doesn’t get massive subsidies. The flipside is why Australian farmers are so innovative. Problems are the point of opportunity. We’ve been built to be scared of problems, but really you should want to take problems on. If having zero problems means you’re in the Toowong Cemetery you’d say well let’s have the flipside being the more problems you’ve got the more opportunity you’re getting thrown at you. It’s about having that attitude. The more problems I’ve got the more alive I am, compared to the person with none. Be a problem solver. Food and food science, or anything to do with food, is going forward with population growth. So if you’re producing the high-quality stuff, or value adding something along the way, or putting a packet on it there is so much opportunity in this spectrum.

 

What qualifications or experience would be required to work on your farm?

Doing an integrated project like we’re doing means there’s a job for everyone. The guy who drives the tractor, you need people involved with smart ag GPS tracking, recording of daily water use etc. So it’s not just the person who wants to lift things and weld things with their hands, it’s the delicate touches of creating a cheese, pasteurising and dealing with the milk, and taking the milk to a skincare product where you’re looking at elements of science and physiology and human health.

To do this business, we have people catching wild camels and people training them. We have a system of training people, but people with animal experience that can pick up on cues from the animals and understand the feedback animals are giving saves us time. If you’re getting kicked you’ve completely missed about 20 different signals. So, it’s about picking up the signals.

Dairy side – having a few people understanding the machinery of dairy. Coordination of putting cups on and dealing with the animals.

Food safety area –  having respect for food safety documents, and because you’re dealing with food products you need to be conscious of your hygiene, what you do, and make sure it’s repeatable. As you’re moving down the chain you’ve got the café and tourism.

There’s multiple positions here for people with different skill sets but the main thing is to be keen to work, be part of a team, and be happy to do whatever needs doing, especially in a start-up. Take initiative in seeing what needs to be done.

 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I was always going to do something in agriculture. There was a lot of pressure for me to get home during the dry, and I suppose I would’ve spent a bit more time overseas doing a bit of sport. There were some pretty nifty things happening with dairy construction and things like that overseas that were tickling my fancy when I was at college. There was an opportunity for some graduates to go over and be a part of that but I was needed at home as there was a lack of labour that happens with farms. Probably if I was passionate enough about it I would’ve done it. You’re always questioning yourself after the event but looking back, what I did and got involved in put me where I am today so it always happens the way it’s meant to.

 

Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?

Most of the stuff we do here people are shocked by! It’s a hard one for me to answer because we come up with problems every day that you solve because they’re there, and you explain that to other people and they fall off their chair. You’ve got to be constantly problem solving. That’s certainly the case with camels. There is enough difference in them that every animal treatment, every ailment you treat is different just slightly to other animals. Because of their digestive tract they don’t give the same feedback as other ruminant or ruminant-style animals. There’s all this stuff that no one has done before and that’s where the team helps. Drawing on a lifetime of agriculture to solve these problems is interesting. This was a challenge within our team’s expertise and capability. You need to be open to challenge everything people think.

 

 

 

Author – Ally Blake

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

As mum to three young kids I am well aware how lucky I am that I can fit my writing around my family time.

With a full-time job I can still attend every school concert, I can help out in class, I can hot glue on craft days with the best of them.  To be able to do both is extremely rewarding.

The biggest challenge is fitting my writing around family time 😊.

Parents out there will know how precious those moments are when you finally get a moment to sit down and have a cuppa and take a breath. Using those moments to work requires willpower, of which I have very little. (Stick an unopened packet of Tim Tams in front of me and I’ll prove it.)  Thankfully I love writing to bits, so the incentive to work is the work itself.  I’ve written in the car at school pick-up.  Late into the night after the kids are asleep.  Editing on the couch while the kids watch a movie snuggled against my side.

So, so lucky.

 

If people were considering becoming an author what advice would you give them?

Read read read.  Write write write.

Reading, a lot, gives you an innate sense of how stories work.  The ebbs and flows. The push and pull. The lifts and falls.  The action and the release.  The layers of conflict required to keep a reader engaged.  To tug on their emotions, to open their minds, to take them away from themselves.

Writing, a lot, is like honing any craft.  The more you do it the better you get.

 

What qualifications or experience is required to become an author?

Not a lot!  To become, and remain, a published author simply requires being able to tell a rollicking good tale.   And then another, and another, and another…

 

What path did you take to become an author?

I wrote.  All the time. From a young age.  Songs, poetry, movie scripts and stories.  I’d write if nobody paid me to do it.

In the writing I hit a point in which I had a story coming together that I thought was actually pretty good.  Blessed with a good dose of blissful naivete, I googled publishers to see how one might go about getting a book published.  Realising my book was shaping up to be a romance, and knowing Harlequin Mills and Boon published such tomes, I started there.  Following the website guidelines I sent in a synopsis and first three chapters.

Many months later I heard they’d like to see more.  At that point it was no longer a fun exercise but an honest to goodness shot, so I buckled down, finished the book, polished it to a shine and sent it away.

Many, many, many months after that, and a couple of sets of suggested revisions later, I got “the call” to say they’d love to buy my book.

Harlequin Mills and Boon receive 20,000 unsolicited manuscripts per year.  From the slush pile they might pick up 10 new authors.  My path was lit by timing, talent, persistence, luck, delight and enthusiasm. And that healthy dose of blissful naivete.

 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A teacher who played the flute.  Then an Academy Award winning director.

 

Is this your first career? Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?

No.  And you bet.

 

What are your standard hours?

No such thing in this gig!

Some writing friends do actually write nine to five Monday to Friday, but they are the exception.

I’ve had twelve-hour writing days.  I’ve had weeks when I’ve not written a word. I’ve had days in which I’ve written ten thousand words.  Other days putting together sentences feels like pulling teeth.

It’s a roller coaster of a job.  Of bliss and doubt, of flowing prose and rabid deletion, of the threat of a looming deadlines while trying to ignore the whisper of the beautiful new idea at the edge of your brain.  All fuelled by bucket loads of caffeine.

So long as the job is complete by the deadline the path to get there is up to you.

 

Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?
  • It’s rare to come up with your own book title.  Huge marketing departments have a big say in such things.
  • How much money you make depends entirely on how many books you sell.  That simple.
  • I have never once dictated a story to an assistant while reclining on a chaise lounge and wearing a feather boa. (Though a floral garland worn atop the head is a direct link to the creative muse: fact.)