Why I've Chosen to Be My Own Boss

Ashlee is the Founder, Chief Editor & Content Director of Her Economy. She started Her Economy when she realised that there was no single business-lifestyle publication covering finance, tech, wellness, style and beauty news for the career woman who’s always on the go like her. Passionate about Change Management and Transformation, she consults for large companies in how to better understand their Employee Experience utilising Tech & Future-focused HR practise. 

What is a typical day like for you?

My alarm goes off between 6:15-6:30am, I prefer to have 30-40 minutes by myself in the morning to collect my thoughts not rush around before work otherwise it sets the tone not only for the day but possibly the week. I don’t like the term “work-life” balance as its never resonated with me and I prefer to focus on improving work-life integration. That said, I plan my weeks meticulously on a Sunday evening, and also at the end of each day (which includes meetings, work and self-care). 

Name a few of your daily habits? 

I always start the day with hot water mixed with Lemon, Apple Cider Vinegar and Cayenne pepper. I’ll get ready for work and then eat breakfast. I usually try to eat by 7pm and wake up hungry so skipping breakfast for me is always a no-go. I don’t drive so I always try to walk at least 15,000 steps or more on a weekday.

What would be your biggest piece of advice to your 20-year-old self?

If you don’t belong, don’t be long. I think too often people think there is an expectation to get 2-5 years’ experience with a company at the expense of their happiness, limited career growth or a pay less than they deserve. When I first started my career people would always say “how bad it looks to keep moving from company to company”. We spend more time at work than anywhere, and if your company isn’t helping you to grow professionally whilst looking after your own happiness, why would you help grow their business?

Talk to me about your employment history?

For the short length of my career, my employment history is long. I’ve worked with some amazing companies. My experience spans across Marketing, Education, Health, Recruitment and HR, Change management, Consulting and most recently HR Technology.

My dream job would be any job that allows me to combine my skills, experience and interest in Employee Experience, the Future of Work, Tech, and traveling. 

In addition to being paid, how does your career bring value to your life?

Knowing that my work is impacting a whole employee workforce, improving the way a business operates and their customer experience, brings me a lot of satisfaction at the end of each day

Do you have any other skills or talents others don’t really know about?

In the last couple of years, I developed an interest in Digital Marketing and wanted to better understand the process that Marketing and Research companies go through to assess online behaviours, from search terms to products, devices and demographics. So, I taught myself how to use Adwords, Google Analytics and MOZ, completing three freelance Digital Marketing landscape projects for Health and Wellness companies. I had to put my head down and lock myself away for them, but it has really helped me up-skill and I’m glad I took that time.

With a background in STEM related roles, was there ever a time you can recall where you became aware that your gender, religion, or the way you look has influenced an outcome (positively or negatively)

Even though I was always tinkering with tech and computers from an early age I never really thought about it as a career. Now when I look back, I think it’s because people rarely spoke about tech-related career paths and I just wasn’t exposed to that industry growing up. Without any STEM background, I felt I had to battle a bit to convince people to give me a shot. I think if you have a strong interest in something (as I did with HR Tech) companies need to be more trusting that a candidate is willing to pick up the necessary skills and learn. If you look at the statistics - Australia has a major Technology and IT skills shortage and low female representation. Moving into jobs of the future, I now see this as such an advantage for me.

What publications do you regularly read? 

Tough one! I’m a big reader and love anything on Tech, Customer/Employee Experience, Health and Wellness and what these landscapes will look like in the future. I really enjoy Chatbots Magazine, Monocle and anything by Sir Richard Hames, the CEO of Zappos, The Future Laboratory, Dr Mona Vand, Blake Morgan and Ashley Goldsmith CPO at Workday.

You’ve worked as a business analyst within some of Australia’s largest companies, what made you decide to branch out and start something on your own and how are you finding the difference?

I’ve been doing my own thing since early 2012, and my website Her Economy has been in a constant process of iteration and refinement since then. I decided to start it just after graduating and realised there was no single resource for me to access information relative to where I was in my career. My friends and peers were discussing the same problems I was trying to solve so it made sense.

You mentioned you are a fan of project-based working/gig work. What is it about this style of working that benefits you?

For me it’s about the impact you can have on a business, the incredibly talented people you work with, the pace and skills and experience you learn. All of the projects I have worked on have been multi-million-dollar large scale digital or HR Tech transformation projects, and I know if I wasn’t working in a project environment, I could never gain the experience I have to date.

Can you tell me a little bit about any challenges you’ve faced in recruitment or employment? 

 The biggest challenges I’ve found is external recruitment companies not understanding the roles they are recruiting for, or individual skills required - particularly in the tech products space. Often, I’ve found traditional recruiters can’t always fully articulate the job requirements and either over or undersell a job. I can’t imagine the negative impacts this has on both companies and candidates. For me personally, having developed a diverse resume spanning Tech, HR and Change Management, it can be challenging finding a role that combine all three areas and not just one.

 

Ashlee is the Founder, Chief Editor & Content Director of Her Economy. She started Her Economy when she realised that there was no single business-lifestyle publication covering finance, tech, wellness, style and beauty news for the career woman who’s always on the go like her.  Her Economy is her way of sharing all the thoughts, ideas, collaborations and design concepts she’s had along the way while connecting with other career-minded women. Ashlee has worked with some of Australia’s Leading enterprises across Media, Communications, Technology, Finance, Health, Marketing and Management.

 

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