Episode 23

Creating the life and business of your dreams with Tina Tower

What’s the point in building an epic and successful business if you work all the time and your life sucks?!

Tina Tower shares in this episode how to have the life of your dreams.

 

In this Episode:

  • 02.25: About Tina Tower
  • 09.20: How to fund travelling the world with kids
  • 11.13: About Tina Tower’s New Book ‘One Life’
  • 12.53: How to create happiness and balance in life
  • 20.15: Tina’s sneak peak into the lessons in her new book
  • 24.22: What is next for Tina Tower?  

 

Links

Tina’s Bio

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 runs a wildly successful online business, continues to travel the world with her family and shares her skills and knowledge with other entrepreneur’s through her online business programs, Scale Up & Laptop Life.

Tina believes in business for good and supports charities that work towards theUN Global Sustainability Goals.

 

Transcription

CLARE:

Today’s guest is Tina Tower. She’s an author, podcast host and has created a series of online programs for women to up level their business, but the cool thing I’m chatting to Tina about today is creating an amazing life as well as an amazing business. Today she touches on how to identify how your dream life looks like, and how to transition there. Because there is so much more to life than a successful business. I loved recording this episode and I hope you enjoy!

 

You’re listening to the Clare Wood podcast, where we talk all things business, finance, marketing, and mindset for entrepreneurs, sharing practical tips, and actionable advice to help you take your business to the next level. Introducing your host: me! I’m Clare Wood, I’m a numbers geek, a travel lover, and a reality tv addict, and I’m here to empower you to create an extraordinary business and an amazing life, because I believe you don’t have to choose between the two. Now let’s dive right in to today’s episode.

 

CLARE:

Today I have joining me, Tina Tower. Welcome Tina!

 

TINA:

Thank you Clare, so great to be here!

 

CLARE:

Now I’m going to ask you something cheeky straight of the bat. Is Tina Tower your real name?

 

TINA:

Yes, yes it is!

 

CLARE:

What an awesome name!

 

TINA:

Do you know, my name is one of my favourite things. It’s so memorable and when I first met my husband, I was 18, and when he introduced himself and I found out his surname was Tower, I was like “Tina Tower” ohhhh! His stock went right up. I loved it and I thought I will be Tina Tower forever.

 

CLARE:

I thought, she must have a stage name, because that is such a powerful, incredible name. So I did think maybe it wouldn’t be your real name. 

 

TINA:

I got lucky with the name.

 

CLARE:

For anyone listening, who hasn’t met their special someone, the last name is super important. Mine is Wood. Solid name and I don’t have to repeat it unlike my first name which no one can ever spell.

 

So for those who don’t know who Tina Tower is, I’d love for you to share a bit about who you are and what you do.

 

About Tina Tower

 

TINA:

I always find it hard to put it into a nutshell which I guess most of us do when we are high achievers, trying to do things all over the shop. But I started my first business when I was 20 as an educational toy store and tutoring place and then it grew from there. I ended up doing that for a few years had babies, and you would know how much that shakes your earth, then I had to reinvent the business and started licencing the programs, because I’m a teacher by trade, so started doing that and grew the licensing and it turned into franchising, we franchised for 6 years, so in 6 years we went from 0 to 33 locations around the county which was big and fast and fun. Then I sold that company in 2016 and was on a earner, and travelled the world for 9months and now I run online programs.

 

CLARE:

Awesome, my take is that you are sort of a business coach, because you help entrepreneurs build their businesses, but one of the things I find super exciting that you just glossed over there was the nearly a year of travelling with 2 children. So I’d love to dive into that a little more. So how did that come about?

 

TINA:

When my Husband and I met, before we had kids, and you have these moments and conversations about this is the life we are going to lead and this is what we stand for, and then life just snowball and happens, but one of those dreams for both of us was to travel the world, we are both big travellers and go overseas about 2-3 times a year and we have done that the kids whole life. So they are used to travelling and being in third world countries, and we do different types of travel, and then when I sold my business I was on an earn out and it was much much tougher than what I anticipated, and at the end of that I had adrenal fatigue and massive burn out and I needed some time and space to recover, I didn’t know what to do next, I had a major identify crisis, and you know when we are defined by our business and we try not to but it is a really hard not to, and I had an education business since I was 20, so my whole adult life was defined by this. A couple of months after I exited the business I went to my favourite conference which is the South By South West Conference in Texas, and you meet people and they say, “what do you do?” and I went to say what I did then had this breakdown in front of this guy which was embarrassing because I didn’t know who I was anymore, and I felt like I needed time and space to do that, but in that time I had also started 4 new businesses because there was space! Then one day, my husband went away for 2 weeks surfing, and I got to spend all this time with the kids, which was different because he has always been a stay at home dad, and I had been working at my business, so for me to get that full on time with the kids I just loved it. And I was upset when he came back, I thought because he’s back, I better go back to work, and I looked at them and realised how much I missed them, how fast it was going, how much I was missing out and so I made a really rash decision and booked us a ticket around the world and that was June/May last year (2018), so we sold our house and our cars and we left at the start of August. It was pretty quick.

 

CLARE:

This is a massive dream of mine, my hubby and I are big travellers, but at the age the kids are now it does seem like hell.

 

TINA:

It would be because your kids are around that 1-4 years?

 

CLARE:

Yes, my littlest has just turned 2. And they aren’t at the stage yet where plane and car travel is pleasant.

 

TINA:

And you can have those romantic ideas and we would see people in customs lines for an hour with toddlers, and they would be throwing tantrums, hungry, pooping their pants, and you’d be like, OMG that looks so bad. So I’d say wait a few years!

 

CLARE:

Yes, that is us when we travel at the moment. We just get there and they want to go to the toilet.

 

Talk to me a little more, while you were travelling were you working at the same time?

 

TINA:

I did a little bit. When I sold the business people were still asking me for coaching and I thought that will be good to keep engaged a little bit. So I did every Tuesday, I had private clients, and then I was getting asked the same questions over and over again, so I thought I’ll put this into a group one because there isn’t any point paying the sky high business coach price when we are doing the same sort of stuff, so let’s drop it and do it together. So I started it as more of a mastermind group without knowing what I was doing, but wanting to help people share and grow and keep myself entertained. Those people were also saying, hey I really love how you’re doing this online thing, and I wasn’t to introduce that to my business, can you help me do that? So about 3-4months into the trip I created a course, ‘How to Make an Online Course’. So we started selling that, and it was a massive success. By the time we got home, I hit the ground running with that new idea, because I had no idea how much I’d love it.

 

How to fund travelling the world with kids

 

CLARE:

I know I keep going back to it, but with the trip, what kind of accommodation were you staying in? How do you fund that period of time travelling with kids?

 

TINA:

I had no desire to travel on a shoe string, and I had just sold my business so I was very cashed up. So we did it nicely, we stayed in all sorts, including some backpackers, we sailed around Croatia in a yacht, we stayed in castles in Italy, we stayed in glass igloos in Finland, but were very conscious about our budget and had decided what we would and how we could do it guilt free and usually I don’t believe in once in a lifetime opportunities but that for us was with our kids at that beautiful in between age, where they were 8 and 10 and old enough to fend for themselves and cope with the hardness that is travel, but young enough that they still wanted to hang out with us and go on adventures. So we went all out.

 

CLARE:

This is so cool. I love that perusing this passion has led you to a whole new passion and business model, which is an online space and the coaching and subsequently creating the course as well. I’ve also seen you’ve got some other exciting things going on and that you have a book coming out soon.

 

About Tina Tower’s New Book ‘One Life’

 

TINA:

Yes, it’s a good time to talk to me about that because I’m so excited, I got the first copy in my hands yesterday about it and I am getting weepy about it, because it really has been a long time dream to do and I took a course about how to write a book in 2006, so it’s taken me a long time to do. I never felt I had the space to write it. But it’s here, it’s called One Life and it’s a hybrid between a business book and a personal development book, with how to create the life of your dreams.

 

CLARE:

It sounds so exciting. And it’s also a massive dream of mine to write a book. And I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Anyone who wants to learn a bit more, I’ll pop a link in the show notes so you can get your hands on it. It’s more than just about business, it’s about creating a business AND the life of your dreams. I heard you talk about, for you, and as I say as part of my intro, a part of creating an extraordinary life is more than just an amazing business. Money and success are fantastic, but they in themselves don’t make you happy.

So I’d love to hear what you think makes people happy and some of your ideas around how people can achieve happiness and balance in their lives?

 

How to create happiness and balance in life

 

TINA:

Yes, and I couldn’t agree more with what you just said. So I can use my example of Big and Bright, the company the franchise I built. On the outside it looked amazing, I started from a small suburban tutoring centre and we ended up with over 120 staff, locations around the country, winning awards left right and centre, media everywhere, and you’d tell people what you did and they would be like “wow, that’s impressive”… but really I was miserable for the last year, so loved it until then, but franchising has a super serious side to it which sucked all the joy right out of me, so I was making a lot of money but it didn’t matter at all. The most important metric of success is joy, so it doesn’t matter how much money you are making, if you don’t feel in alignment with the life you want to lead, it’s just not going to make you happy and then what is the point. What is the point of doing it at all, I’d much rather earn less money and have the time of my life, and go to bed every night with a smile on my face. Now when I tell people what I do 1) I find it really hard to describe still, like well I help women package their expertise into an online package and speaking and stuff. My Grandma definitely does not understand what I do, but people look at and think is it a backyard business because it is nowhere near as impressive as running a franchise company, and the ironic thing is in the last month I just surpassed what I earnt when I was at the top of my franchising which is crazy town for me, and another reason why I love online business so much, because the output is so much less in a service based business for what you get.

To answer your question, happiness is different for everybody and it’s being able to define it, because we are fed this social media all the time about what we should be doing as humans, as women, as mothers, as business owners, and it’s really up to each person to figure out “actually, what is important to me”, what are my values, what do I want to live by, then screw the rules and make it happen.

 

CLARE:

Everyone’s definition is different. I know this is a bad thing to say, but spending 24/7 with my kids would drive me nuts and that is not to say, kudos to people who are their passion, but for me I love having my business, and equally I don’t want to be working and not spending time with my kids. We’ve built, my husband and I, have built businesses where we work 4 days per week so we can have that time with the kids. Everyone has a different definition of what happiness and success looks like. And I love that you don’t define it as, it looks like working 4 hours per week, it looks like travelling the world, it’s different for everyone.

 

TINA:

And there is different stages, different chapters too. I know when my babies were little, it was a value of mine to breastfeed until 1 year old, so I had to adjust my business around that. I had the lead role until then, and I laugh because people think I’m lucky that my husband was a stay at home dad, but he started when they started school. So he got the easy part! But that was the next chapter, when I could ramp things up, and I couldn’t spend 24 hours per day when they were that toddler age because life is very ordinary at that stage, and there are only so many times you can build a block tower and knock it down, which is fun for half a day but doing it all day every day is a lot. But spending 24hrs a day travelling the world with them, I balled my eyes out when we got back to school, because I missed them so much, but that was also because it was such an exciting adventure, there was nothing mundane or ordinary about it. So there are different chapters.

 

CLARE:

And they probably aren’t popping their pants and throwing tantrums at that stage.

 

TINA:

And they are funny, and can have really interesting conversations.

 

CLARE:

It’s interesting because I saw Lorna Jane speak recently and she said the same thing. If you want to create the life of your dreams, do more of the things that you love. And it sounds so simple, like what is revolutionary about that, however when you step back and see what do I love and how much am I doing them in my life, you start to go, I need to make some changes here. Because I’m working a lot and not getting to spend time with my kids or my partner, or I’m not getting to travel, so you start to make little changes right?

 

TINA:

Yes, but it is easier said than done. I know people get stuck in a life, and you think it’s the right thing to do then wake up one day and realise I haven’t belly laughed in a long time or I’m not doing it on a daily basis anymore, or whatever that metric is, when you realise, how did I get here? The position I got to when I decided to sell my business, my goal was always to get to 100 centres across the country and then go international, and that was always what I was working at. And it wasn’t until I was on holiday Nicaragua, and when I travel is when I really have time to stop and think, and get good perspective, when I’ve removed myself from everyday life. I was there, and I was getting a couple emails coming through, and usually I like to switch off but I was getting some urgent things coming through, and I thought, how has this happened, that I have to deal with this shit on a daily basis. This is not fun. And I want life to be fun. So I decided to change, and you can make that decision to change in an instant, but there are huge ramifications and consequences for people which are going to take time. From that moment, it took me a year to sell the company, and work out a heap of stuff like staffing and finance etc. That’s what I think, if someone has ended up in a life that I don’t know how they ended up in, 1) you are lucky to identify it, because a lot of people have trouble identifying what their dream life is, but if you know that it’s systematically going about making the small changes one at a time until you can get there.

 

Tina’s sneak peak into the lessons in her new book

 

CLARE:

So a bit more about the book. If someone was to get a copy of the book, can you give us a sneak peak into something they might learn? Whether it’s about creating an amazing business or an amazing life.

TINA:

It’s a lot of business stories interwoven with lessons from that. A lot of it is centred around cultivating joy in your life, overcoming fear and not being defined by your past. Because a lot of people may have an idea or see someone’s life and go, that’s the life I want but it’s not going to happen because of X, Y, Z. So it’s really about how we can just throw that notion out and go actually you can create anything if you want to.

 

CLARE:

So is it a journey about mindset?

 

TINA:

Yes, it very much touches on a lot of mindset stuff, business and babies. And I was asked by someone the other day if it was a good read for someone who doesn’t have a business, but I said only if they have an interest still in it, because I do talk about business a lot. Because that’s what I know and love. It’s also a message about embracing change and being able to go through those chapters, because it does change all the time.

 

We were in Sydney when we started our business and realised we didn’t like Sydney suburban life, so we sold up and bought a farm north of Byron Bay, and lived in that for 5 years. Everyone when I did that, lawyers, accountants, were telling me you can’t run a growing franchise company from a farm in Pottsville Tina. But I said, that’s the life I want, I want my kids for this age to have space and run and roam, and I can jump on a plane. So I did that and we had a 200% increase in revenue the next year. So don’t take let the rules of what people say, define you and what you do. Travel gives you that as well, that realisation about how constrained we are by a set of rules and expectations set out by society and we think that they are fact. But in every different culture you realise how different that is, and their fact is true to them, but how totally different it is for us and we realise how much everyone is just making it up anyway.

 

CLARE:

I think that is one of my favourite things about travel, when you get outside of your normal environment, you go the sky’s the limit and realise how extremely blessed we are to live in a country like Australia in terms of the things we think are holding us back, and when you look at the practical limitations that other people around the world have, then you realise how insignificant, the hurdles are that we are facing.

 

TINA:

Totally! And that’s the perspective travel gives. I know a couple people are really horrified with some of the places we took our kids to, and still take our kids to, because they are really third work countries. We were stuck in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia for a while and we went into Russia and African countries, and they said what will that do to you kids, and I was like, our fragile souled kids need to realise how privileged they are and keep it in perspective, but so do we as big people too! I think sometimes our problems are our own and are real for us, but keep top of mind as Australians, even the most down and out of us, we are so lucky compared to the majority of the world. Our ability for education, healthcare, fresh food, it really is the greatest country on earth.

 

CLARE:

Yes we are so lucky!

Ok, so let’s chat about what is next for Tina? And what’s going on at the moment really? If someone wanted to connect with you or find out what you are up to at the moment, I’d love for you to share with the listeners.

 

What is next for Tina Tower?  

 

TINA:

Well we are morphing at the moment, this is the thing, it’s the first time in my life that I haven’t had a stringent plan. With franchising I was hyper-planned, so when I got into personal development really young and out of that came visions and planning, I used to have my 10 year vision, down to 5 and 1 year goals, then 90 day action plans and daily tasks, then the days broken into 15mins increments, like crazy hyper-planning! Which worked for franchising, and that style of business that planning really worked. Whereas now, with this business and the online space, we don’t know what’s going to happen in a couple years, and you don’t want to put a ceiling on yourself either, because you could shoot way past that. So half our business is a digital agency, so through coaching a lot of women who were getting their expertise and thought leadership from their service based businesses and then putting that into an online package, that wanted that site built, so a whole arm of our business now is getting their online courses built, their websites built, their podcasts started, all of that running, which is so much fun. And then my part, is to do the coaching and the book is coming out, and we also have a retreat in Palm Springs next March, which I’m so excited about that. It’s my first international retreat and I love Palm Springs, it’s one of my favourite cities in the world. It’s 5 days and just immerse in the learning with other people that are trying to elevate their personal brand and offering to the world. Then it’s just seeing where it goes, I’m speaking a lot. I’m doing a lot of things and it’s fun.

 

CLARE:

That’s so good! And you forgot to mention that you also have a podcast.

 

TINA:

Oh yeah! I do! All the things! I have Her Empire Builder, which is my podcast and also my online program.

CLARE:

Fantastic! If anyone would like to learn more about Tina, I’ll be popping all her links including details of her book, of her retreat and of her programs, into the show notes for today which are available at clarewood.com.au/podcast.

Tina is there anything else you would like to share with people today?

 

TINA:

I think whatever their dream is, that you’ve got within you, just do it! Do it. If you have been thinking about something for long time enough, you owe it to yourself to try, don’t overthink it, and if you fail, do it beautifully and try again.

 

CLARE:

What beautiful parting words! Thank you so much.

 

TINA:

Thanks Clare!

 

CLARE:

Thank you so much for joining me today, if you enjoyed this episode, please make sure you subscribe to receive future episodes, and I’d be so grateful for a review on apple podcast! If you’d like a copy of the show notes or any of the links mentioned today, please jump over to clarewood.com.au/podcast and remember that Clare is spelled CLARE, have a wonderful week and look forward to chatting to you again soon!

About your host

Hi, I’m Clare Wood – I’m a numbers geek, a travel lover, a reality tv addict, and a passionate business coach. I’m here to empower you to create an extraordinary business and an amazing life; because I believe you don’t have to choose between the two.

Follow me on Instagram for daily inspo >>

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