AN INTERVIEW WITH JESS MCDONALD - AGENTS OF INNOVATION

Jess has two businesses, Agents of Innovation and High Tee's, she's an empowered and powerful business woman with so much to share from retail, marketing and consulting with experience from across the globe! We are really excited to share our interview with Jess. 

Here's a cool quote from her that we liked: 

"Innovation is about building upon existing foundations, to stay relevant, stay ahead of the pack and to be unique. You must take the best bits of the thing, remove the parts not working, reshape it, test it and trial it, pull apart and fit back together so that it is different and better than before. It requires creativity, imagination, some risk, emotional connection, integrity and finding your core values. This is what I see as innovation and it can be applied to anything!"

Jess Mcdonald High Tees and Agents of Innovation Founder Melbourne Australia

Why did you start your business? 

I had worked in Retail and Marketing for all of my career. I had a wonderfully diverse career that took me all over the world and connected me with amazing people. I had always had the desire to have my own business and once I had finished my last role - which was in Japan, I threw myself into starting my own consultancy. It was so exciting and so scary. But I just love working for myself. A few months into starting Agents of Innovation, I became pregnant with my first child. Nothing like starting a new business and then heading to maternity leave. Coming back from maternity leave, I was feeling a little out of the loop and out of practice. So I created a fake company to plug in all my business tools to test them out and get back in the saddle. I created a t shirt company. The more I worked on it - doing the business plan, budgets and marketing, the more the business looked like a lot of fun. I had my evenings free with my daughter soundly asleep, so I started drawing again. I married to the two together and viola - High Tees was born. It acts not only as a fun creative outlet for me but also a great testing ground for my clients with Agents of Innovation.

What inspires you and gets you out of bed in the mornings? 

I love solving problems, strategising, planning and creating. I also love working with people. Working for yourself can be a bit lonely at times but I get to work with so many diverse and interesting people doing so many different things. But really - the thing that gets be out of bed these days is a little 2.5 year old called Adelaide who jumps on me saying "the sun has come up, we need to embrace the day mummy!". Nothing more inspiring than that and so glad I taught her that phrase. Each day needs to be embraced just like a 2.5 year old - with gusto and optimism.

Jess Mcdonald High Tees and Agents of Innovation Founder Melbourne Australia

What's been the best lesson you've learned in business or your career and why? 

Hire or contract people who are better at doing the job than you are. Great, capable people are the best asset you can have. Surround yourself with great people and the good times become wonderful and the tough times bearable. Also - Eat the Frog. Watch it on youtube. Basically, stop worrying about the toughest thing you need to do, just do it, get it out of the way and feel energise that you have done it.

What does the future look like for you? 

Right now my future is feels quite immediate with Christmas planning and prepping in full swing for High Tees. I am hoping it will be a bumper season which will set the business up well for the rest of the financial year. I am also starting to plan when I start taking on more work with Agents of Innovation following having had my second baby. I am just enjoying doing little bits here and there around soaking up all the precious moments with Rory. I am looking forward to building Agents of Innovation and working with extraordinary people. And at some stage in the future I would love to do my MBA.
Jess Mcdonald High Tees and Agents of Innovation Founder Melbourne Australia

What's one piece of advice you'd give other women in business or in their careers? 

Don't apologise for your pricing, your time, your communication, your skill set. Own it all because you are valuable, unique and glorious. Ask for help and be gracious. Every opportunity is a learning experience, just remember to review and reflect. Lastly, CELEBRATE YOUR WINS! The failures are just changes of direction but your wins are hard earned and love 'em!

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