Advice to young people

We asked the people featured on this website about their advice and top tips for young people in relation to career development and work. In the following eight videos you can hear what they had to say.

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Set a goal and do your research (Part 1)


There’s so many ways to get into nursing these days, so whether it’s doing enrolled nursing and working as an enrolled nurse studying to be registered nurse, or even just becoming an enrolled nurse, I think, do your research. There’s always ways to do what you need to do. There are jobs that complement your study, for example, disability support work. In uni you don’t get taught how to look after people with disabilities, and I think something like that is great. It’s good money too. It’s super flexible and works really well with the uni and in terms of like caring for patients with complex care needs. So yeah, “Do your research” would be my first one.


I would say one of the most important things is the communication between parents and students. I’ve always wanted to be a teacher and my parents knew that from a very young age that I wanted to be a teacher. And even though one stage, my business skills were better than well, my business skills were my best subject. And Dad was like, “Maybe you should go in business.” Even though Dad was like, “Oh, that’s your best subject maybe you should go in the business field.” And I was just like, “But I want to be a teacher.” They were like, “Okay, we’ll step back. She wants to be a teacher. She can just be a teacher. That’s what she wants to be.” And I think it’s that communication, being able to talk to my parents. So to other Pasifika students out there – talk to your parents, I know it’s hard.

I’m telling you I found it really hard at the time, even though it was instilled in us to talk to Mum and Dad. I always told Mum and Dad issues that were happening because I didn’t want to get in trouble. So that’s why I spoke up. But talk to your parents about what it is that you want to do, know that there are different avenues to go through. Like I had to go to uni because I wanted to be a teacher, but there are different avenues out there and research. Do your research, look into it. My parents would have been happy if we wanted to do VCAL, if we wanted to just finish Year 12 and go into a job, and that was going to be a stable job, Mum and Dad would have been happy with that. That’s what my brothers have done. They’ve trialled different things and each time my parents are still there just encouraging them, saying, “That’s what you want.” So talk to your parents, do research and know your worth, know that you’re amazing and that you’re somebody so you could be anything you want to be.


You’ve got to have a goal. “What goals you have?” You go, “Yeah.” Just because you couldn’t see it, you could set it, set a goal and say, “This is what I want to do.”

I’m very passionate about helping people. And the way I see myself helping is when you ask them those questions, “Do you have a goal in life?” “Where do you see yourself going in the next three to five years?” That’s something that you do in business. And I’ve applied that in a personal sense, because I believe that what is business side…the way that business is ran, it can be applied to your normal day life and, everyday life, is set goals for yourself.

And I use myself as an example and say, “Look at where I am now. It could have taken me a shorter time to get where I am now. If I took this advice that I’m giving you right now, when I was 21.” And, then you realise that the advice that you hear, or that people who are wise that are giving you that advice, they’re trying to cut your time in half of trying to get to where you want to get to. And my advice is listen to those kinds of advice, because they’re very handy and helpful. And, if you feel like, “Oh, well, I don’t know where to go,” start with your parents. Ask your Dad, ask your Mum, “How did you get to where you are? And how do you…” And, then from there, you go to your uncles, aunties, and even people that you’re close to, your teachers, people that are doing business, that are doing well, they don’t even have to do well.

You can even ask those who are not doing well, because in life, every failure is not a fail for me, it’s just a learning curve. It’s just to get to the next stage or jumping that next hurdle. Because, if you look at things as a failure, you’re only going to put yourself on a pause and say, “I’m going to stop here until I work out how to fix this failure.” But you can’t, because then you can’t progress to forwarding that. What you got to do is when you fail get back up and keep walking, it says that in the Bible. And, learning those things and learning the spiritual aspect, especially with God and the Christianity side of things, you realise that biblically, a lot of things do make sense, but you’ve got to look at it in the nowadays terms. And that’s what I realised what I learned in high school…sorry, Sunday school to Youth. And, then what I learned now, I realised, “Man, there is so many answers there that we do not ask the right questions.” And that’s what my advice is, for those who are seeking that is. Ask the right questions and you’ll get the right answers or ask the right questions and you’ll get the right direction, or the right pathway. And that was me. That’s something that I’ve been learning now, or have been learning in the last five to seven years.


I think don’t be so hard on yourself. Try everything and anything. Ideas are left in your head to die. So you get them out there.

And that’s something that’s really important. Try everything, understand that. Don’t feel like, don’t put pressure on yourself when people judge you. Create a process, which is a process I’ve created is break it down.

You want to understand…if you’re not an expert in that industry, find someone that’s an expert in that industry. You need to understand how every part of the wheels, every part like how every cog works in that company or that bit of machinery so that you can understand everything. Every process that’s needed, whether it’s a delivery service. And that’s your idea. 

You want to know? When it gets picked up, what time does it get picked up? How much fuel does it use? You want to know every little bit, how big the market is, who your competitors are. You need to understand what features, what value that they bring so that what you’re developing is either going to be better add more value in the product, or it’s going to be cheaper. And that’s going to come down to focusing on the problem.

So focus…in the beginning, you want to be 99.9% focused on the problem because your ideas pretty much your ideas, just an assumption, your own assumption on what the problem is. And until you collect data from the actual, your potential customers, it’s always going to be an assumption. So you need to have your idea, but if the data that you’re collecting back from the business owners or your actual users or customers, you need to listen to that and go, okay, now I need to pivot and go this way. Because the problem that I initially thought was the major problem isn’t the major problem this is, or you might find out it isn’t a problem. So then at least you know that you haven’t gone and spent money and you can move on to your next idea or your next project. So focus on the problem. You don’t need money to start an idea and just have a go.

Set a goal and do your research (Part 2)


When I grew up, I didn’t have people that look like me obviously or Pacific professionals in my community that I could sort of look to for advice and feel comfortable going up to, to ask them questions about how they got to where they were. So instead of looking for the exact person that I wanted to look up to, I started just seeing different kinds of adults and the way that they carried themselves.

I started to take note of the type of work they did. I would sort of just focus on aspects of this person, whether it was a personal aspect or a professional aspect. Even just the way they dress, if I like the way they dress, they don’t have to be Pacific Islander but if I can just focus on those things and keep that in mind, just to let myself think really as to like, “That’s really nice. That would be really awesome to experience. I want a job like that.” Just keep in mind the things that you like and don’t be afraid to create your own imaginary life that you would just love, the person you want to be, the places you want to go, whatever work you want to have.

You don’t have to have an exact copy of that person walking around in your life that you can look up to, but you can just let yourself think freely about the type of life you want to live and start to look for clues around you or in your phone. Start to look up places you want to go, jobs that you might like to have and keep that in mind. I think just being able to keep these different things in mind and doing your best to really prioritise that regardless of what’s happening at home or what you’re going through each day. Just really value yourself enough to dream, I think that’s the most basic start to getting to where you want to go in life. Really valuing your own desires too, which I know can be hard in Pacific households. But you are your own person and if you are not okay, your family isn’t going to be okay. So don’t try too hard unless you’re okay. Let yourself think freely and imagine the life that you want to live.

You have your phone, so don’t waste too much time just on social media. But thinking of your phone like pretty much a portal into the life you want. Sometimes Google was the best thing that I could have. Just Googling some key words about the type of things that I want to do in a career, that was really good because I didn’t know what exactly it was I wanted to do. But if I typed in a few words and just kept researching on Google, that could lead me to some sort of website or some sort of blog or something that could just give me an indication of what it is I could do. Don’t be too embarrassed to talk to teachers or just people in your community. People are just people. They’re just human beings. They’re not going to bite you. They’re not going to eat you. Just see them as regular people that, even if they have these fancy titles or these jobs or these things that seem a little bit off putting, or a little bit too out of your reach or out of your league, don’t think about it too much. If you have a question to ask has go and ask them. They’re just human beings and most likely they’ll be happy to talk to you.


Yeah. Probably the first one is just go out and see what’s out in your local community. Definitely employers, as well as I guess, just making the connections. They appreciate you working in your community and trying to make that connection there.

The second one, I would say just pursue what you want to do, regardless of what it is and regardless of what people say. 


I would recommend that you go and actually volunteer two weeks down at your local clinic and just figure out if it’s for you. Do you like it? Because that can save you a lot of stress and a lot of time and money because it is expensive. You could finish up with a degree and have this $60,000 debt hanging over your head and you don’t even use it, and that’s not just with physio, it could be other university degrees. 

Right now getting into physiotherapy is a bit of a challenge because there is a certain ENTER (ATAR) score that you need, so if you don’t get there straight away, don’t be disheartened because if you did what I asked and you went and checked it out and you really enjoy it, you can see yourself doing it, you’re self-aware and you understand where you are in your own development, you’re obviously needing to try and enter a certain level at high school, if you don’t get there, don’t stress out because you can actually do another course which then instead of going straight in, you can take one step up and take a step sideways and then away you go. Believe me, no one cares what your ENTER score is after that sort of initial couple of weeks, no one ever asks you again, okay, and it’s only a snapshot on your life, it’s a drop in the ocean. There’s so much life left to live. Don’t worry about what your ENTER score is. If you’re ashamed because it was less than 50, who cares, go and do a diploma in something, then work hard, get educated, then you’ll find year one, year two later you’ll get into your physiotherapy degree and then away you go. If anything, it’ll build you up stronger because you had the resilience to be consistent and chip away.

The best physios I know didn’t get in straight away, they were the ones that actually went the long way round.

Find your mentors


As I said earlier, it always seemed to be that I was the only Islander wherever I was, in my undergrad, in my honours, in my medical school, and I really found that hard, not having any other Islanders around. When we interact, it’s just different to how we interact with each other to how we interact with other people. We just get each other, if that makes sense.  

And so, I think my advice probably would be to try and find someone that you can have as a mentor, another Pacific Islander. And in saying that, I put my hand up for anyone that wants to have someone to talk to that if you’re thinking about doing medicine, or something, I’ll be happy to mentor someone through. Someone who’s been through it before, and an Islander would be ideal. And there are a few of us here in Australia, it’s just a matter of finding them. And I’m happy to, as I said, put my hand up to do that.

And I guess staying firm in your faith knowing that if God gave you this dream to be a doctor or to be whatever dream he’s put in your heart, that he will equip you and help you to achieve that. And while at times you might think you want to give up…and I’m not going to lie, there were many times I wanted to give up, but you just have to keep your eyes on the prize and if you really want this, you can do it.


Surround yourself with a lot of mentors and learn from them. The other things to also take into account is use our people’s skills, network with people. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. That’s what I’ve learned through my work experience is that a lot of the times I was employed as a youth worker before I even had the qualifications. Just go for it. Don’t second guess yourself. Surround yourself with mentors and just do you. At times parents might not see it, but they will see it, because that’s what happened with my parents. My parents were a bit hesitant with the volunteering, but once they seen the stuff that I was able to do and the impacts that I had in the community, it changed their whole perspective.


I think there’s two things. A connection between young people and people who are professionals or who are working or who are slightly older. I think there’s some mentoring that could be happening, some better kind of mentoring kind of connections because there’s so much that can be shared between us. But for me, it’s about hearing it from people who know you, who can make you feel safe.

We’re not going to judge. And in fact, somebody who could be a sort of a long-term mentor support. It’s also a touch point for you. The people who, when you speak to them make you feel like you’re not crazy. You’re normal and how you’re feeling is perfectly normal are the people that we need to be putting in front of these young people because I’m confident that it’s not a matter of them not having the ability to do something, but it’s about us being able to help them find those pathways.

I guess the other piece of advice is, it’s okay to be confused. I didn’t know what I wanted as a teenager either. Some days, I was up, other days I was down. It’s perfectly normal. Look for those people that you trust who are just there to listen. But I think for people like myself, I would be more than interested, more than happy to do any kind of mentoring and stuff like that. And that doesn’t mean that I take you to the office and introduce you to people. That’s so boring. It would just be just listening or chatting or what’s your interests and it would be on us to develop those kinds of…I don’t know, even questions. Things that we can chat to you about that might help you think stuff through. Yeah, I think there’s so much potential. And there’s so much bravery, young people that they don’t see it. I think it’s up to us to show it to them.

Build support networks


But if I was to give advice to all my Pacific Islander brothers and sisters out there, it would be, take it step by step. Even though if you feel like you’re struggling, if you feel like you’re not going to get anywhere. If you really, really want something, you’ve got to set your mind to it, you’ve got to write down your goals. And as hard as it is, and you may not have the people that will support you, you are your own person. You have your own authority on you. You can do whatever you want in life, and you can pursue whatever you want. You just have to believe in yourself, have faith in yourself, trust in yourself that you can get there day by day and block out whatever everyone is saying to you or if you don’t even have that support.

If you want the support from your parents, show them that you want their support. Be there, talk to your parents. They may not be that type that want to help you, or they may not show it. They may be just out there but sit down with them and tell them, “Mum and Dad, I want you to help me, I want to pursue this, will you help me?”

It may not go the way you want it to go, or it may go your way. And don’t let cost or don’t let people stereotype you or anything hold you back because there are some things that can be like, “Oh, very expensive, I can’t do that.” Just risk it, just go and take it because you never know where it can take you. 

And also, being careful with the people that you hang around with. It’s really important to have good friends. I know that as well for myself. My parents have taught me that as well. That they said to me, they know the type of person you are from the friends that you hang out with. So it’s very important to surround yourself with people that actually care about what you’re doing. 

I was just surrounded by a lot of kids at my school that were getting good grades, kids who would actually work well with me and kids who wanted to pursue and have great careers, great jobs for their career, being financially stable, stuff like that.

And that’s why I am the person I am today, because I’ve had all those different experiences that had helped me and then the support from my parents. So just take it day by day, and it’s going to be very hard to try and keep up to the standards of other people. But it’s just all about being patient and just having that urgent faith in yourself that you can do it. Because I believe that we are so much more capable of doing whatever we want in this world. 


To the younger Pacific Islander kids, I would love to pass on some advice of, “Try to be a bit more interactive with your Islander family. Be a bit more in their culture, try to get with their language,” things like that, very simple things. It will help you connect a lot more with the other kids in your culture, help you make a lot more connections, kind of deal, and it’s just beneficial in the long run, being connected with your extended family, and with where you come from.


Thank you. So the best advice I would give, from my experience, is that if you have an uncle, or your Dad, or an elder, or your brother, that is working in any skills, any area of work, and if you are interested in that area, don’t be afraid to ask. Don’t be afraid to go and hang around them and ask. One thing that I’ve learnt is asking, because you won’t learn anything if you don’t ask. If you just sit there and look, how would you know how that thing is done? Yeah, you can see someone doing something, right, but there is techniques and ways to do it. There is prep work before you do something, and you have to prepare yourself, the tools necessary to do it. So instead of sitting down, you need to ask a lot of questions. 

Another thing is not just ask a question, but you need to watch and pay attention, and take interest in something. If you’re interested in something, then you would want to know more about something. And the more you want to know about something, the more you will learn about something. And the more you learn about something, the more you will get to either like it or dislike it. And the drive behind all this is, you have to find something that you like.

Another one is that you have to, don’t always…oh, how should I phrase this to make it more understanding? Don’t be afraid to take constructive criticism. You will come across, a lot of people will put you down, “Oh no, this job won’t pay you that much. Oh, why you want to do that?” Just because of someone’s unsuccessful path, doesn’t mean that…if they put you down, don’t even feel sad or feel put down, you need to always put your head up. If they put you down, just take it as a constructive criticism and look to your goal, look to your goal and work towards it. Yeah, what else can I think of that’s…I think I’ve covered the most important ones. 

Oh, and keep in mind, is because I know we’re all Islanders and, well, this goes for anyone. We have to listen. Sometimes we don’t want to listen when someone’s telling you something, but if you don’t listen, it’s all connected. See, if you look at something, if you don’t ask, you won’t know. If you look at something, if you ask, if you don’t listen, it wouldn’t stick with you. But if you look at something, you ask the question and you listen, it will be with you. Something with me is, I always respect elderly people. Doesn’t matter, older people than me. I respect everyone, but elderly people, I respect more. I give more respect to them because the knowledge they have, I don’t have. You see? So, the more time you spend with elderly people, the more knowledge you will get.  You will learn some things that when you go to school, you won’t learn. So that’s, coming from an Islander background, that’s how it is.

Follow your passions (Part 1)


My three tips, well, one is if you have a dream, then just stick to it. And even if you have naysayers, just block them out and just focus on you and what you want to do, because later you could end up regretting it, like how I did and wasting a lot of precious time. So just stick to your guns and just live your dream, or work on your dream. Two is, I really believe that education, knowledge is power, so take advantage of all the resources if you’re still in high school or uni, just focus because it will benefit you in the long run, even if, I know studies are hard, but just stay focused and just think about the endgame.

And the third tip will be, I think just, it’s kind of the same as the first one, just be confident in what you do, just be confident because that will take you far, confidence.


For me I guess the first tip I would have is don’t minimise yourself. Don’t keep yourself down to where you think you should be, because you can do so much better. 

I guess number two is find something that you love to do or find something that you at least enjoy. And it’s okay if it takes a couple of tries, because no one gets it on the first hit. I know I didn’t. Yeah, so I guess just keep trying. Keep doing something. As long as you’re doing something in life, as long as you’re actively trying to find something to pursue, or whether you do something for six months and you don’t like it, that’s fine, that’s okay. 

And I guess the third tip is it’s okay to fail. It’s definitely okay to fail. And don’t regret it if you do fail, because you’ve ultimately learned a lesson. There’s lessons to be learned whether you fail or you succeed, but I guess the failure is more scarier for everyone. So, definitely do not be afraid to fail.


I think you really need to have, and I’m not going to be biased, but a very strong self… sense of identity and confidence, which is really difficult in our culture because I know we’re not a culture that promotes self-recognition and acknowledgement of your worth and your achievements…it’s really big on humility. But within your own self, I think as a female, you really need to believe that you are good. Like if you discover that, “Oh, I’m actually really good at this, or maths and I actually really enjoy it,” I would say…I definitely say I do wear the two hats, I’m not one to go and promote myself in my community, but inside it’s very important that you acknowledge that, “You know what, I’m bloody good at this.” 

I think as a Pacific Islander female, recognising to yourself, “I’m good at this.” And yes, my culture is big on humility, there are ways to navigate that. I don’t think you need to be showy about your gifts, but definitely use that as a mechanism to get out there, because in the Western world, they’re happy for you to brag about yourself. 

So I would definitely say you got to really believe that and accept that, yeah, you’re damn good at whatever it is, whether it’s engineering, and get out there outside the box and know that you don’t have to be that humble person out in the real world. You just be whoever you want to be really and not be afraid of people, I guess, small community coming back, and the backlash was saying that you’re trying to be too showy and you’re leaving us behind. I think that can be…you can recognize that happening because that can happen among your friends or your family.

But you’ve just really got to accept that, “No, this has nothing to do with me leaving my community,” or losing your identity. Sometimes we think that if we go outside our village, we’re not Tongan anymore, or you’re not whatever culture you are. 

And I think it’s really important to recognise that you don’t lose your heritage because you’re stepping out of the village expectations. No one can take that away from you. I don’t know how many people, even family who just give you that phrase, that you’re fie palangi, which is like, “Oh, you want to be a Westerner?” That kind of comment is really unhelpful. But for any Pacific Islander, particularly for females, there’s no such thing. You take the good things of being a Tongan and no-one can take that away from you, or a Pacific Islander. And you go and you share that with the world, because…and it’s a really hard thing because you think, “I’m leaving my culture behind,” or “I’m looking down at my culture,” but you’re not. You just got to recognise, “You know what, I’m actually good at this and I’m going to go out there and promote the fact that I am. This is my background.” And add value to whatever industry you want to go into. 

I think that is really a huge thing is having that confidence. And I’m not saying that everybody is religious in Pacific Islander community but having a really strong foundation for me to my faith, but it can be for anyone. Wherever you draw strength from, I think that’s really important as well, because that’s how you kind of replenish your energy and your support, because you’re not always going to get…it’s definitely not going to be, “Awesome, you’re sailing.” You’re going to get knock backs, so you need that support system wherever that comes from. But that real self-belief that you can step out your village, I think is really key, and knowing that no-one can take your culture away from you till the day you die. It’s something that you keep.

And it’s a bit like our Tongan…I would say Tongan national emblem, which is like God and Tonga is my inheritance. I think that’s very true in summing that up, in my situation. It doesn’t matter if I’m born here, and it doesn’t matter if I can’t speak Tongan fluently, or I’m not fully involved in the Tongan community. But no-one can take your inheritance away from you, your Tongan inheritance, or your faith, I think. And that’s huge to step outside your community and go, just because I’m doing something else, if it’s engineering, whatever it is girls want to do, it doesn’t mean that you’re not tied to your culture because no one can take that way. Really having that belief in yourself and say, “This is really important.”

Follow your passions (Part 2)


I like the word nurture, for them to nurture what their passion is. The passion might be very small right now, but you feed it and it becomes its full potential. Surround yourself by supportive people. Really, I’m a big believer in self-affirmation in surrounding yourself with that support. Not only being reliant on your support system, but yourself being your biggest support system.

I know it’s very hard, especially in a pandemic like this, to keep your resilience up, or to have ambition because there’s so much uncertainty. But surround yourself with those people or read the books that are going to encourage you, listen to the podcast, listen to audio books, don’t be afraid to step out. 

These are things that we need to do for ourselves to develop, personal development. Do it, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and reach your full potential, worrying about what other people are going to think about you. It is your dream. It is your passion. It is your journey. Go for it.

Find your support system. It might be your Mum, but you don’t speak to your Mum often enough maybe about these things. Start the conversations. Maybe you be the person to start the conversation if you think it’s worth talking about, if you think it’s something you’re passionate about. Talk to your friends about it. It might be a small thing right now, but surround yourself with the right people you’ll go very far.


I think the first tip would be to be patient. Be patient because they’re going to get knocked back many times, be disheartened. And if you don’t be patient and you fall into being trapped or being sorry for yourself, falling into the negative behaviours because you’ve been rejected, that’s when you’re giving up before truly trying. So the rewards come to people who are patient. That’s what I found. Being knocked down by many job applications, confronting conflicts with different people along the way, people who might not have your back, professionally, people who are difficult inside your organisation and people who are difficult outside your organisation. You have to have a lot of patience. 

And secondly, you also need hope. Not to get downhearted…people often are a bit cynical in this line of work, in the community work, a bit negative. And there has to be a narrative of change is possible. People are inherently good. And you have to hope that things can change for the better. Otherwise, they usually won’t. There are times when I didn’t have much hope and I did kind of give up a bit. And those were times where, truly, the work wasn’t quality. I think we were just trying to push the bill, trying to clock out nine to five. Really, you’re not advancing who you are. You’re not advancing the organisation that you’re working with and the people that you’re working with. It thrives on people who have hope. 

And I think the third one might be you need to have courage, courage in yourself to try something new, be someone who you’re not, and learn that you actually are this person or even the person that you’re not. I think you thrive off your own mistakes, so you need to have the courage to make them and learn more about yourself. You got to have courage to perhaps even break the norms, break structures. 

And people might think bad of you. People might develop a reputation about you that’s not true. So be courageous enough to have people speak bad about you and don’t care. 


I think the first would be to have courage within yourself. We’re all scared. Every day there is something that is going to bring up a fear that is going to trigger you. But if you just keep moving forward and have the courage within yourself, you’ll accomplish your goals. It’s true what they say about do something every day that scares you. 

I’ve been doing that for a lot of my life, flying to places I know nothing about with no-one there and that helped me have the courage to do things to grow my business to have faith in myself. I believe we all have a seat at the table. But I also believe that you need to have a good attitude to be invited back. 

I know there’s a lot of hard work and things that go into getting that seat at the table. But I stress you need to have a good attitude and a kind heart and move forward gently so we can all grow together. Unfortunately, you don’t get invited back. You’re a one-hit-wonder there just taking a photo for Instagram, ay. What’s another one. 

Just if you don’t know what’s going on, it’s okay to say it. I think I definitely grew up in a space where children was seen and not heard. And so it took me a really long time to find my voice to start with, but then also to find my voice and even have the courage to speak to a manager or a boss or anything like the amount of anxiety that would go through me because I wasn’t heard. I didn’t feel heard as a child. 

So it’s okay to ask someone next to you that, you know, what’s happening here? Why is this happening? It’s okay. And that’s the only way we’re going to move in that space respectfully if you understand what’s happening. Sometimes you just got to find the right person to ask.

Confidence and Resilience


The whole thing is mindset. If you don’t have your mind right, if you haven’t cleared all the rubbish in your mind, the negative self-talk. We can always post memes and say that we are strong and whatever, that’s cute. Yeah, post those memes, whatever. But if you’re actually not feeling it inside, it’s not going to help you. You need to actually face, write down the things that you actually believe about yourself, and then just cross it all out. Burn it, because it’s not real. It’s not a thing. That’s what I would say, is mindset and getting, actually paying for that help, also because you have to have someone that you can talk to about your problems and they can help you, give you the tools and the exercises, because I can just tell someone, “Your mindset, your mindset,” and they’ll be like, “Yeah, that’s cool.” But they don’t know how. How do I do that?

So, yeah. That’s my biggest thing. Before you even start a business, even in your career. Even with my kids now. I’ve got a 10-year-old, nine-year-old, a four-year-old and a two-year-old, and I’m working on their mindset already. I tell them every day, “You’re strong. You’re beautiful. You can do anything.” And it’s cool. I’m raising very confident kids. Sometimes I’m like, “They’re too confident.” [laughing] They’re confident, but confidence gets you places.


Don’t listen to the public. Okay? And by that I mean, unfortunately, in society there’s always people that want to bring you down. Whether that’s because they’re jealous of your success, whether they’re jealous of small things, like the fact that you have nice shoes on, or you have more hair than they do. Don’t listen to the public. Do your thing. Only you know what you want to do or where you want to be. And it changes. Like I said earlier, I thought briefly that I wanted to be a nurse. And I’m glad I didn’t end up pursuing that career. But only you know where you want to be. That’s number one.

Number two, don’t forget where you came from. If we can be half the people that our parents were and work as hard or half as hard as our parents did to ensure that we are where we are today, then you will be successful in any career path you take. Our parents and probably our grandparents were the two hardest working generations that have ever existed. If we can be half the people they are, then you will not fail.

And number three, if you fail, don’t worry. You can’t get any lower than that. I’ve failed. To be honest, this is my third company. My first company I went bankrupt. But you know what? Once you get to rock bottom, the only place to go is up. So you pick yourself up and you dust yourself off and you keep on going.


I guess my advice to my younger self, or to students out there would be to just ensure that you’re clear on where you want to be in the long-term. Also think about long-term goals overall, don’t be too hard on yourself in trying to get where you want to get in the next year, because it might not always go to plan, or you might not get there. But it’s all about just maintaining and ensuring that you are following through with what you feel passionate about, or even if you’re not sure about your passion, be sure about who you are, and where you want to go, and how you want to live life, and how you want to see yourself in the bigger picture.

Or take the necessary steps that you think you can do, that you are in control of, and that you do have the power to do, in order to help self-develop yourself. Make sure that you are also around people who are going to uplift you and are going to encourage you.

Speak to the people that have got similar experiences, or somewhere where you want to go. And if you’re not sure, speak to someone within your community, or reach out to someone on social media that you believe that is in the same, is living or doing something that you’re passionate about, that you’re interested in, whether that’s the arts, writing, academia, workforce. And look at the journey that they’ve been on, just for advice and for encouragement, and as well as just for guidance.

And it’s important to always self-encourage yourself. Encourage yourself. Sometimes there are people out there that may not encourage you, or they might be discouraging you. And it’s important just to believe in yourself and what you’re capable of, because that’s what you can stand on when you’ve got no-one else to support you, or no-one else to relate to. I went through similar things myself, and there was a lot of struggles and a lot of hardships and a lot of storms that I’ve been through, but it’s made me who I am today. It’s made me more resilient. It’s increased my determination and my level of endurance, especially when I’m pursuing something, it’s made me more goal-oriented and it’s really set me up to live a successful life.

So just make sure that you stick it out, keep going. I feel like we need to ensure that we’ve finished things, because if you can finish something that means you can, whatever you start next, you will be able to finish it, because you’ve done it. And that’s the first step, that’s high school. That’s Year 12. That’s finishing something because you started it. You’ve spent five years doing it, what, you want to drop out on the last year? It doesn’t make sense, finish it. So then you’ve got that track record to say, “Hey, I am consistent, and I finish things. I always start what I finish.”

And I really believe in that principle, when you start something, just finish it, and then go into the next thing. And that’s how life is, life is all about changing the way that you work and adapt, and it’s about doing things seasonally, and doing things that are aligning with your priority, and what is the vision of that particular point in time? And that’s the beauty of it, because you get to do things and then start it, complete it. And it’s only for a period of time. It’s not for the rest of your life. You’re not going to do this for the rest of your life. You could be doing something in the same way, in the same field, but you could be doing different things every month, you could be doing things every, bi-yearly or annually. So really, really important.

Marketing and developing your own style


I would say, try and write for yourself consistently, because that’s when you start to figure out your own style and how you best work. So whether you hold yourself accountable just with a diary or online on a blog or writing stories, I think that’s the best way, because then you start to figure out how to write. Even things like whenever I get invited to a birthday or a wedding, I always write a limerick to someone just because I think it’s fun, but it’s also just kind of…it gets your creative brain going rather than…when I say I’ve written every day for as long as I can remember, it’s because all of that is writing for me. Sometimes I’ll write creative shopping lists. Sometimes I won’t write it down, but I’ll make up a creative story to my daughters. And still for me, that is still writing because my brain is writing it.


Anyone who is a self-taught make-up artist, it’s a lot harder to work in the industry. You do have to prove yourself a lot more. So if you are a self-taught make-up artist, it’s important for you to document your work properly. If you’ve got a social media page for example, making sure that you do a lot of work on there, making sure everything’s clean, your lighting’s great, things like that. That’s the same across the board, everybody has to have a clean Instagram or social media page, making sure you’re posting content regularly and also making sure your lighting’s great, those are three things that are really big in our industry. Taking good quality photos, good lighting, and making sure you’re posting consistently.

But also we have a saying, that’s in the industry, you post what you want to attract. For example, if you do all these glam, ridiculously out-there makeups, that’s kind of what you will attract. So if you’re going to do that, be confident in that, if that’s your style, then be confident in it. 

Well, let’s say you posted supernatural makeups, but you want to do more creative stuff, no-one’s going to come to you for creative because that’s not what you’re showing. So that’s probably one of the biggest tips that I would say is, post what you intend on specialising in. And then in that way you’ll attract that clientele. So developing a signature look is really, really important for makeup artists. I think.


Whenever I work with my marketing clients, the way that I market is you market with your ‘why’, and you market as yourself. Because the two biggest objections are, people feel like they’re not confident. They’re too scared to push forward. Or they feel like they’re copying other people. But you can’t copy a story that is yours. So, before you can get into the marketing side of your business, you really have to work on your mindset. So mindset, looking at who you are and what your values are for your business, and then getting really clear on who you’re talking to. So, I talk about this heaps on my Instagram, as well as who is your target market, and what problem do you solve? Because if you know the answers to these questions, then you’re going to be able to soar.

We’ve been really trying to push that out. Don’t worry about what you look like, worry about what your actual business does, what problem does it solve and who are you talking to, so that you’re attracting the right people who will be able to pay these high price points, who will be able to push your brand out to the people who need to see it. You can be the head, and not the tail.

  • ‘Akesa – Community Facilitator
  • Ama – Lashing Business Administrator & Marketing Coach
  • Annie – International & Community Development Specialist
  • Ashirah – University student
  • Cass – English Teacher, Writer, Project Manager, & President of the Victorian Kiribati Association
  • Chris – Field Officer (HR)
  • Christopher – Carpenter & Stonemason
  • Crofton – Visual Effects & Animation Specialist
  • David – App company CEO
  • Elisabeth – Teacher
  • Elvina – Building Services Mechanical Engineer
  • Fipe – Cacao Products Manufacturing Business Owner
  • Grace – Airline Customer Service Agent
  • Leki – Physiotherapist
  • Luisa – Registered Nurse
  • Malelega – Legal Assistant
  • Marita – Writer
  • Rose – Workplace Consultant
  • Sefita – Community Engagement Officer
  • Semisi – Lawyer
  • Talei – Lawyer & Community Engagement + Government Relations Consultant
  • Teisa – Medical Doctor
  • Tevita – IT Professional
  • Thom – Make-up Artist
  • Venna – Lashing Business Owner & Trainer
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