By Lauren Ferrone
Flat-broke and completely burned out, Adelaide Hills girl Grace Lever’s “rock bottom” came six years ago.
“I was living in a one-bedroom flat in Sydney, and had to go crawling back to the corporate world to make ends meet… I was so defeated,” she says.
Driving three hours a day to work was costing Grace more than $1,000 a month just in tolls and petrol alone. It left her wondering why she was going “back to a job she didn’t want, only to have no money”.
“I decided to go back to running my own business, even though I wasn’t quite sure how. It was one of the scariest decisions of my life,” she says.
That “scary” decision has now turned into a global business venture for the 28-year-old entrepreneur who is founder of GraceLever.com, which empowers and equips other female entrepreneurs across Australia and beyond, to build profitable lifestyle businesses.
Now living and building her business empire from the Adelaide Hills, Grace – who was recently named South Australian Young Businesswoman of the Year 2016 – shares her love for Adelaide, doing business here and why she’ll never leave…
INSIDE SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Tell us about that light bulb moment to empower other young businesswomen.
GRACE: I’ve had six businesses (currently three) and have done a lot of trial and error myself. I wanted to be able to take all of the stuff I’ve learned over the past eight years and show what works and what works well. I’ve managed to build businesses with seven figures in just 10 months; so, I wanted to make sure I did it all myself first and then I reached the stage where I could easily share this with others.
INSIDE SOUTH AUSTRALIA: What potential did you see in the Adelaide Hills?
GRACE: I got to breaking point in Sydney. I remember sitting in Mosman; stopped at the traffic light. It went green 13 times before our car moved. I was just done; I couldn’t do it one more day. So, we picked our top five places in Australia – and the Adelaide Hills was on that list. Adelaide was new to us, but we heard good things and eventually fell in love with the hills. We packed up six weeks later and moved businesses and lives across – and we’re never leaving
INSIDE SOUTH AUSTRALIA: You’ve experienced global success, but how has South Australia fostered your career?
GRACE: I think the pressure of the bigger cities can really suffocate a female entrepreneur. The freedom South Australia brings and the type of lifestyle here is what everyone dreams of. But no one really knows it exists in South Australia.
INSIDE SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Tell us about your recent business launch in different corners of the globe.
GRACE: We’ve launched in America, and most recently the UK, Canada and New Zealand. I just had to be careful about the model we developed overseas. The program is online and only online. It’s been crazy, we’ve increased business five years in the past 60 days since launching in the States. We’re about to launch in rural and regional Australia next month.
INSIDE SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Any advice for South Australian businesswomen?
GRACE: I felt like I was the only female entrepreneur. I felt quite isolated. It amazing how my thinking has changed. I now speak in front of more than three million female entrepreneurs each month, with 2,000 in my program so far. There are many gifted credible women doing this, and I think I just want them to know there’s no need no need to go it alone.
INSIDE SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Lastly, congratulations on your recent Telstra Women’s Business Award.
GRACE: I’m so thrilled to have been chosen as the winner in these incredibly renowned awards; it’s testimony not only of my hard work, but that of my team. It also provides further verification to the women in my community of their worth as business owners, showing that they have put their trust in a female entrepreneur who is recognised by Telstra and its line-up of esteemed judges.
Grace has sold more than 5,000 tickets to her live workshops ‘Doing Days’. She has more than 40,000 women in her community and 2,000 active and engagement members in her membership group ‘The Doing Academy’.
Telstra Business Women’s Awards recognise the courage, leadership and creativity of businesswomen aged 29 and under, who play a critical role in raising the profile of women in business. Grace joins other State and Territory category winners for the national awards judging in Melbourne on November 16.
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