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How I Got Here: Entrepreneur Doone Roisin on the joys and challenges of striking out on your own

WORDS BY CAIT EMMA BURKE

“I used to be terrified of public speaking and it was that fear that pushed me to start a podcast and get better at public speaking and storytelling.”

Have you ever stalked someone on LinkedIn and wondered how on earth they managed to land that wildly impressive job? While it might look like smooth sailing, there’s no doubt been a heck of a lot of hard work involved in getting there.

So what lessons have been learnt and what skills have proved invaluable in getting them from daydreaming about success to actually being at the top of their industry?


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Welcome to How I Got Here, where we talk to people who are killing it in their respective fields about how they landed their awe-inspiring jobs, exploring the peaks and pits, the failures and the wins, and most importantly the knowledge, advice and practical tips they’ve gleaned along the way.

This week we’re delving into the career journey of Doone Roisin, the founder and host of modern media company, Female Startup Club. Doone’s journey hasn’t been straightforward – it’s involved dropping out of uni and pulling some bold but impressive stunts to get the attention of businesses and CEOs over the years – but the one consistency has been her entrepreneurial spirit.

Even before she really knew what an entrepreneur was, she was approaching her career in innovative ways and felt unrestrained by convention. After accruing experience in the media and fashion industries and cutting her teeth creating social communities for The Iconic, she realised it was time for her to venture out on her own.

Now, with a successful podcast and a recently released debut book to her name, Doone has established herself as a young media powerhouse. Here’s what she’s learnt along the way.

What do you do and what’s your official job title?

I’m the host and founder of a modern media company called Female Startup Club! We’re on a mission to help women build impactful eCommerce and direct-to-consumer businesses through inspirational and practical content.

Take us back to when you were first starting out. Did you study to get into your chosen field, or did you start out with an internship/entry-level role and climb the ladder? Tell us the story.

Definitely not! I was a uni dropout and went on to do a course in visual communications; which funnily enough has helped me endlessly since then (circa 2007/2008) but social media certainly wasn’t anything of note when it came to a career path. After I graduated I wanted to work in fashion – that was THE dream. Glossy mags. So I took it upon myself to get experience.

At the time there was a free glossy in Brisbane that got sent out with the Courier Mail, and it was my only chance of getting experience in the industry. So one day I went to my local nursery and bought a thyme herb, potted it up in a cute pot and attached a card that said “Could I have a moment of your time?”.

I dressed up in my finest delivery looking outfit (hi-vis oversized shirt and my Nike kicks) and off I went in search of the editorial director (and also to have a snoop in the offices). [It’s] important to note that there weren’t any open internships advertised at the time but the next day I had a 12-week internship and got started right away. 

 

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A post shared by Your Hype Girl (@dooneroisin)

After a handful of these experiences – I also may or may not have defaced a building in order to get the attention of a certain CEO… which worked a treat. But I don’t recommend that, pretty sure it’s illegal! – I heard along the grapevine about a new business opening in Sydney. It was a website selling fashion online. At the time, in 2011, this was not the norm and online shopping was only just getting started in Australia.

I promptly packed my bags and headed to Sydney in search of my fashion dream and joined what we now know as The Iconic as an intern. This role quickly turned into [a] creator of our social communities and my business card read ‘Professional Facebooker’. Ha! It’s also here that I learned of words like startup and entrepreneurship; it was a well-funded biz that was scrappy and super exciting. This is where I decided that one day I’d do my own thing.

What challenges/hurdles have you faced getting to where you are now? Can you tell us about one in particular?

In the very beginning when I didn’t have any credibility yet and the show had just started, I was often getting ‘no’ or being ghosted on my emails and it was something I really had to learn not to take to heart. (Even to this day it’s still the case – I get ‘no’ all the time from women who I admire so much!) One of the very first people I emailed asking to be on the show was Arianna Huffington. Since [then] I’ve emailed her on the same date each year; November 2019, November 2020, November 2021. I always get a response but it’s not the ‘yes!’ I hope for. 

When you’re small and just starting out it’s easy to take everything personally but over the last two years, I’ve come to realise that rejection is part of the journey, but also that a ‘no’ isn’t a no forever. When you’re committed to building something special, it really does take time and persistence.

 

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A post shared by Your Hype Girl (@dooneroisin)

What do you want people to know about your industry/your role?

I think a lot of people look at entrepreneurship as this very glamorous path, but it’s very challenging and takes a lot of resilience, grit and time. If you’re working a nine to five and have that security of a monthly paycheck, don’t underestimate what you can do by having something that continues to pay your bills and allows you to invest into your business on the side slowly. 

If your goal is to make more money or you need more money in general, going all in and quitting your job is not a vibe. Being able to invest in your own side hustle gives you the freedom to make the choices that are right for you and your business rather than from a place of necessity. Take time to build your business to a place where you can transition without adding additional pressure and stress to an already stressful thing!   

What’s the best part about your role?

FREEDOM. I’m big on lifestyle design. It took a few years but my husband and I have both worked really hard to build businesses that are entirely online and allow us to be wherever we want to be, when we want to be there. We were able to spend almost two years pre-pandemic dotting around Bali, Australia and Europe. Being able to work from anywhere in the world has been a real gamechanger and allows us to live the way we want to live. 

What would surprise people about your role?

We spend a lot of time creating content (like a lot!!) for our various social media accounts (TikTok, Twitter, Instagram both personal and business, YouTube etc) but something people are often surprised about is that I don’t actually consume social media.

A few years ago I stopped watching stories on Instagram and last June I stopped scrolling on Instagram altogether – I was desperate for a break but given that we grow entirely organically through social media and content marketing I knew I would need to continue producing content but stop consuming content. And it was the best decision for my mental health. And saving time!

What skills have served you well in your industry?

I used to be terrified of public speaking and it was that fear that pushed me to start a podcast and get better at public speaking and storytelling; I would say strengthening that skill has been one of the best decisions of my life and something I continue to place importance on and work at getting better. 

And on a similar note, being able to talk and have genuine conversations with people is so underrated. Networking is a huge part of any career and being able to genuinely converse and enjoy the company of new people is a skill worth working on if it doesn’t come naturally to you.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to be in a role like yours one day? 

Start building your online presence! The world has changed so much that you have the power to build a community from scratch [and] for free just with an iPhone and time. Being able to create compelling content and stories is the most important skill set of our generation IMO.

Even if you’re still working your nine to five, think about Future You and what your goals are when you look down the track. I encourage you to jump on TikTok and take advantage of its craziness – it could literally change your life.

What about a practical tip?

Set yourself a goal to publish one Tikok video a day for 30 days in a niche that you’re passionate about and see what happens.

@dooneroisin

Doone’s book ‘Your Hype Girl’ is out now, head here to get a copy. 

Read the rest of the How I Got Here series here.

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