‘Bernard Salt refers to us as the entrepreneurial capital of Australia and I completely concur with that. I think it’s two-fold. I think it’s happened partly because we haven’t had a choice. So, whilst in the past we were very heavily focused on tourism , people wanting a change in lifestyle perhaps, but had tech skills or had other skills in other areas, have relocated here, haven’t been able to find the kind of roles that they wanted without going back down to Brisbane, for arguments sake. So, they’ve created their own opportunity, they’ve said, ‘I’m going to hang out my shingle and I’m going to do what I do best’ and make a go of it.’ Jennifer Swaine
Bought up in Country NSW Jennifer Swaine is one of five children but losing her younger sister at 17 years of age, it became very apparent the whole family appreciated their community more than anything. This strong sense of community gave Jen a very strong understanding early on in life of the impact people can have on and for each other.
Bold and brave at 18 years of age she rocked on into see the CEO of a major Life Insurance company not realising you just don’t do that kind of thing, but somehow timed it beautifully and had a job by lunchtime! Over seventeen years she built up a career in Sydney around financial services in marketing and PR.
Kissing a few toads along the way Jen finally met the love of her life and married Steve and had her two gorgeous children. She then took a new direction studying interior design. In 2010 they moved to the Sunshine Coast. She loves to challenge the norm but does not consider herself a rebel rouser!
When asked what is the difference between Sydney and the Sunny Coast? Jen believes forming genuine relationships and a great community are crucial and so important. This can take time and patience, but it is imperative. It is unique and special on the Coast, and she is always looking for collaborative opportunities for the people she loves and respects. It is not as ruthless here on the Coast, there is amazing respect and room for everyone.
Jen also believes not everyone is a fit. As we get older, we get more comfortable in our own skin and can choose who we want to work with.
Jen shares what she believes, ‘You know, I think the Coast is special. And you know what? I don’t think it, I know it. I know the Coast is special. I know there’s incredible businesses here. I know there is going to continue to be incredible businesses here. And we are only really now starting to get onto the world stage because there is so much more happening here, particularly in the lead up to the Olympics.’
There is no doubt the number of outstanding businesses here on the coast is phenomenal. So many people doing very special things. Bernard Salt, an Australian demographer and leading social commentators, writers and speakers refers to the Sunny Coast as the entrepreneurial capital of Australia. This can be because many who move here are attracted to the lifestyle and then the coast attracts many innovators and research and development ideas people.
Jennifer talks a lot about what it means to be an entrepreneur and the hard work it takes to be on the edge, to be successful. ‘Know what you do well and own what you do well. Don’t be all things to all people.’ Jen is passionate to see people succeed and to showcase them in all ways.
Jen explains, ‘You know what it takes Kim, it takes a lot of hard work. What people don’t see are the 4am starts and the 2am finishes. They don’t see the weekends that you are not spending with your family. And remember you are doing it by choice though, it’s your own passion and love so no one is making you do it. But if you want to do the right thing by your clients, and you want to deliver outstanding work and you want to give yourself an edge that perhaps somebody else doesn’t have, or in my instance, you have deadlines looming and you do a lot of writing, then that’s what you have to do.’
We talk about resilience and how important it is to handle the knock backs. It is having a lot of confidence and self-love knowing you will not please everyone and knowing that that’s ok. You are not going to float everybody’s boat and again that is ok.
Her definition of self-love would be to be able to say I am ok as I am and worthy as I am. She also says you need to be self-aware to acknowledge your mistakes if you make them or if you are in the wrong or staying in your lane.
Jen recommends getting involved in your local Chamber Alliance to support your business and to network and meet others. Business breakfasts help to keep you connected and in communication with other business-men and women.
We cannot deny the impact covid has had on our community particularly around tourism and hospitality. Coming out the other side Jen says many found different ways to do business. The positives that Australia had to learn was to get back in touch with our manufacturing abilities. The Sunny Coast is also growing in this area and includes clean manufacturing like the tech space as well.
In 2032 Brisbane will be hosting the Olympics which will also showcase the Sunshine Coast hugely. We will see huge improvements in public transport like fast and heavy rail. It is going to make a huge difference to the region.
We talk about the differences between the Gold Coast and Sunny Coast and how we are more known for our relaxed lifestyle and host a huge number of entrepreneurial hubs as well as incredible food and tourism businesses.
Jen explains her own amazing business Sunshine Coast Concierge Services and talks about the importance of your personal brand. It is important to walk the talk and have an alignment to your values and that you match your brand style. And we talk extensively about her amazing skills and business which you will see the links below.
This is a beautiful conversation that could indeed see the population of the Sunshine Coast grow thanks to Jen Swaine’s incredible passion for this region and how much she believes in the entrepreneurial spirit.
A bit more about Jennifer…
Jennifer is passionate and proud to call the Sunshine Coast home having relocated here from Sydney in 2010. As a non-executive director of Visit Sunshine Coast, Chair of the Sunshine Coast Business Awards and Vice President of the Sunshine Coast Chambers Alliance, Jennifer engages with the businesses that make up the fabric of this great region to facilitate connection and collaboration.
Jennifer has her own marketing and communications business and works with a variety of businesses assisting them with their PR, communications, branding and to increase their profile.
Jennifer has a regular business column in InNoosa and Hello Sunshine magazines and is a regular public speaker and emcee.
Her favourite quote is: You cannot reason with the unreasonable. Reasonable people will hear you and it is a two-way thing.
Links to follow:
Linked In: https://au.linkedin.com/in/jenniferswaine
Chamber Alliance: https://www.sunshinecoastchamberalliance.com.au/community/businesssunshinecoast
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