Jules Brooke is on a mission to amplify the voices of women entrepreneurs, especially those over 40. It’s her drive, ambition, and persistent determination to blaze new trails that attribute to her success in graphic design, sales, and public relations. With so much to learn from her, it’s an honor to have her be our guide to Australia, the next country on our audio tour this season.
By the time she was twelve years old, Jules already experienced living in different countries and adapting to different cultures – experiences that might take a lifetime for others. Shortly after, her family relocated to Australia. Though she moved to England as an adult and did a bit more traveling around the world, there was something about Australia that kept tugging at her heartstrings.
In this episode, Jules shares what makes Australia a great place to start, grow, and scale a business. She specifically explains her own entrepreneurial journey in starting her company, Handle Your Own PR, as well as her She’s the Boss show which has evolved into a movement.
And the resources – oh, the resources! Jules offers a comprehensive list of resources sure to get you headed in the right direction. If you’ve ever been curious about what it takes to do business in Australia or with Australian businesses, then this episode is for you!
This episode is sponsored by:
Special Guest: Jules Brooke, CEO & Founder – Handle Your Own PR
Location: Kingsville, Victoria AUSTRALIA
Air Date: December 4, 2022
Handle Your Own PR: teach you how to ‘spin’ your story to make it irresistible to journalists, editors and producers across newspapers, magazines, blogs, radio and TV.
Goods and Services Tax (GST in Australia): is a broad-based tax of 10% on most goods, services and other items sold or consumed in Australia. Some things don’t have GST included, these are called GST-free sales.
More About Guest, Jules Brooke:
Jules Brooke started hosting a show about female founders called She’s The Boss on Ticker TV back in late 2019. On the back of that, Jules started a Facebook Group and also started running free weekly zoom lunches for female founders under the name ‘She’s The Boss’ and this was followed by a podcast series, She’s The Boss Chats, where Jules interviews female founders about their entrepreneurial journey.
After parting with Ticker TV, Jules started the She’s The Boss YouTube channel where she interviews amazing female founders from around the world. Jules’s plans for She’s The Boss include growing the community of supportive female founders and women in business and starting the first on-demand global TV network for women in business in 2021.
Jules is also the founder of Handle Your Own PR, a PR SaaS platform in Australia for small business owners, experts, and entrepreneurs who want to get publicity for their brands.
More About Host, Alicia Butler Pierre:
Alicia Butler Pierre is the Founder & CEO of Equilibria, Inc. Her career in operations began over 20 years ago while working as an engineer in various chemical plants and oil refineries. She invented the Kasennu™ framework for business infrastructure and authored, Behind the Façade: How to Structure Company Operations for Sustainable Success. It is the world’s first published book on business infrastructure for small businesses. Alicia hosts the weekly Business Infrastructure podcast with a global audience across 60 countries.
More About Sponsor, Equilibria, Inc.:
Equilibria, Inc. is an operations management firm specializing in business infrastructure for fast-growing organizations. Our mission is to provide access to tips, resources, and proven frameworks that revolutionize the way small businesses operate. We do that through original podcast episodes, blog posts, videos, presentations, workshops, and coaching sessions.
After relaxing for a week in Brazil, we’ve had a chance to recover from jetsetting around the world. And it’s a good thing because we’ll need all the energy we can to muster as we brace for another long flight. We’re headed down under to Australia.
I’m Alicia Butler Pierre and this is Season 18 of the Business Infrastructure podcast – the show where we share operational tips, tactics, and tools for curing back-office blues. Every entrepreneur I’ve ever met in Australia is brilliant and full of great ideas. It’s almost like there’s something in the air. Something that breeds creativity, ingenuity, and innovation. And we’re about to find out what makes Australia as attractive as a small business hub.
This episode is underwritten by Equilibria, Inc. the company behind this podcast where we design scale-ready business infrastructure for fast-growing small businesses.
After waking up from a deep sleep aboard Equilibria Airlines, we notice that we have about an hour left before landing. Once we land at the Melbourne airport, we make our way to the outside. If you’re worried about finding our host, then don’t. You can’t miss her! She’s the beautiful woman whose personality is just as spunky and warm as her pink hair! Her name is Jules Brooke. She’s a serial entrepreneur, woman entrepreneur advocate, and Public Relations expert. We’re headed to her office in Kingsville, Victoria, a suburb of Melbourne.
This is Episode 231 – Doing Business in Australia with Jules Brooke
I’m really excited about this. My name is Jules Brooke, I live in Australia. I was actually born in Ireland just to confuse people. And spent most of my youth until I was 12, traveling around to different countries in Europe, cause my dad was in the Army. And then I moved to Australia.
By the time Jules was a young adult, she’d already experienced different countries and cultures. When I researched her background, I discovered that she has a degree in psychology. Some of the best salespeople I’ve met have degrees in psychology. I wondered, did her psychology degree serve as a launching pad for her ultimate career in P.R.?
That is a really good question, and the answer’s probably gonna surprise you, but it had absolutely no impact at all. So I went from finishing my degree into sales, and I worked in sales for a long time. And then I did a long time in graphic design, I did five months in a design company and then started my own. And then from graphic design, I went over to London, worked in London for a long time in design, but also advertising and sales promotion. came back to Australia, did was a new business director for a big graphic design company, and then fell into PR completely by accident and taught myself how to do it because I picked up clients before I really knew how to do it.
Sounds like there’s an interesting backstory to Jules “falling into PR by accident.”
It was, it’s a really funny story, there was a guy in Australia called Mark Mitchell. He was a comedian. He had a show he was a character called Con the Fruiter. I had just started a company which I called Handle Communications, And Mark met me at a party, thought that because I was there with someone who was in PR, thought that I did PR and rang me a couple of weeks later and he said, “Jules, this DVD company is bringing out the best of Con the Fruiter DVD. And I’ve told them you’re the best person in Australia to do the PR.”
At the time, I had a little baby who was about six months old. I was trying to build my business and there was quite a lot of money on the table. And I grabbed it, and I rang all my friends who were in PR and said, “How about we split the fee? I’ll do the client facing side of it, you do the work.” And they said, “No, we’re too busy. You should give it a go Jules; you’ll be good at it!” And so, I guess through circumstances I had to give it a try. Basically, Mark Mitchell said, “Don’t worry, there is some famous TV shows and radio show hosts that I know. Just give them a call. Tell them I want an interview.” So that’s what I did.
Three weeks later, Jules reported to that DVD company that she secured eight interviews for Mark! Needless to say, they were impressed and just like that Jules unleashed a new skill.
I discovered I loved it. Like I really loved it. When you get into PR and you ring journalists and they go, “Oh, this sounds great.” It’s quite shocking at first. But you realize that the media really, really needs people to interview and articles to publish. So that really started me on my journey. And from there I built up a PR agency. Ultimately, we had about eight staff, and we taught mums and waiters and all sorts of people who were friends of ours who were great people, but didn’t have PR skills, how to do PR.
By this point, Jules already knew the business infrastructure required to start, build, and grow a business from her previous design company. But this time she wanted a partner for help run her new PR agency.
And my gorgeous friend Simone said, “Yes, I’ve done PR before.” And then she bought into the business. So we ran it together for about six or seven years. And then I turned around to her and said, I really want to teach people, I think Handle Your Own PR’s where I want to go. Do you wanna take over the agency?
Simone said yes, but strongly disagreed with Jules’ decision to pursue yet another business that would focus exclusively on PR training and coaching. But Jules moved on and didn’t look back.
I ultimately did the crazy thing no entrepreneur should do, and sold my house and invested it in building a PRSaaS platform. SaaS is, software as a service. And it means that people can go on, build their media contact list, write their media release, and choose what journalists they want to send it out to and send it out with an email all from within the one platform.
I am so passionate about small business owners, and I know that for startups and small business owners, money is tight often. Mm-hmm. And PR is a free way of marketing yourself. So once you learn how to do it, you can get publicity for free. And publicity can make a massive difference to building awareness for your business. So, I guess, yeah, I’m really passionate about it and I’ve, I’ve never been able to let go of it because it’s just such a needed service, I think.
A needed service, indeed. Not just in Australia, but for entrepreneurs everywhere around the globe. With that in mind, I was curious as to why Jules left London after starting her first company. Why did she move back to Australia, a country with 25 million people compared to the UK with nearly three times as many?
Okay, great question. I was quite homesick. I missed being able to live in a city and have surf beaches and beautiful bay beaches nearby. The other thing with Australia is that it’s quite isolated, but it is a big country, so there’s plenty of places to go if you want to travel.
But I actually didn’t set up a company in London. I set up a company in Australia and then sold it back to my partners before I went to London. And in London I was a freelancer and then came back and started another company. But I do remember still saying to people in London, I’m gonna start a company. And they all looked at me like I had three heads because there’s so much more risk averse over there. People thought I was crazy when I said I wanted to start a business. Whereas in Australia, 97% of our businesses are small businesses started by someone. And there’s a lot of encouragement and a lot of acknowledgements that starting a small business shouldn’t be hard. And, so it was much, much easier to set one up here than I imagine it would’ve been in London.
I’ve interviewed several Australians on this podcast, so I know how pro-business a country it is. But what about for foreigners seeking to do business there?
Look, I think getting working visas to Australia is quite difficult unless you are young and English, we have a very strong association over there so people can go backwards and forwards. If you’re an Australian native, starting a business is super easy. You literally go online, get yourself what’s called an ABN, an Australian business number, buy yourself a domain and off you go if you are from overseas, you need to get a working visa, I think, or partner with someone. There are loopholes, and I don’t know all of them, but you can come in with money. So, if you had a business in the US and you wanted to bring it into Australia, I don’t think that would be terribly hard. I would think that they encourage that. but coming as say an American particularly, and trying to get a working visa in Australia, you would need to be sponsored by someone, which means you’d need to come in, work for someone for three years, have them sponsor you, and then you’d become a permanent resident.
So, I think that’s kind of the way that it would work unless you have a successful business. But say you had $500,000 or a business turning over, you know, in excess of a million, I would think that that makes it much easier to get in into Australia as well. And we have a thing called Austra, and in Austra they’re constantly trying to help Australians reach out to overseas and vice versa. So, and the other one is the Oz, Australian American Chamber of Commerce. I think that they try and facilitate businesses being able to move between the two countries.
Ok, bear with us for a moment – Jules and I are two English-speaking people. So, if you also speak English, language won’t be a barrier for you, but pricing might be. I asked Jules for her opinion on this.
I’m no expert in it at all. So I don’t really want to say too much other than the way that I think of it is that firstly I tend to go and Google what other people are charging in that country. But as a rule of thumb, I would think if it was $60 US, it’s probably 60 Australian dollars. So there is a bit of a loss in terms of the pricing because we then have to round it up. I always thought the same when I lived in London as well, whatever cost a pound over there was really the same as a dollar in Australia. So, that’s kind of how I do it, but there’s no science to it, and I’m no expert at all.
Now that we’ve covered language, pricing, and visas, I wondered if Jules could shed light on some of the myths and misconceptions about life and business in Australia.
We are a country that is, very rich in resources in natural gas and, coal we’re not signing climate treaties and we’re not promising that we’re gonna get to net zero, as fast as other countries. But I think we are a country that is very aware of what’s going on with, the climate. We’re about to move over to electric cars. We don’t like waste.
And those movements are growing here a lot. Food wise, our food is much cheaper, very healthy. And you know, from my limited experience in the US and I’ve been to New Orleans and LA. The amount of food that you get served over there is a meal is ridiculously wasteful, and we don’t do that here. If you order a cheese and tomato sandwich, it’ll have a slice of cheese and some tomato in it, not 15 slices of cheese. But other than that, I, I think Australia is a great place to live and bring up kids. And I think that’s why people like living here. We don’t have any guns at all, really. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a real gun. And I wouldn’t be alone in that. I think most Australians are the same in terms of business. Our government makes it very easy to start a small business. Our tax situation is kind of fiddly. We’ve got a thing over here called BAS.
Every three months we need to fill out a form and tell everybody how much money we’ve earned, how much, GST, goods and services tax we’ve earned, and then pay it back to the government every quarter. I think we’re a great country to work in and to set up a business in, and the government does really look after sort of small business, but there’s more that always that can be done. Our tax rates I think are higher than yours, but our cost of living is much lower. Hmm. I think that’s kind of the way that it works, but I’m not a hundred percent sure.
Now that is interesting because. I just naturally assumed that the cost of living would be so much higher in Australia.
No, I did. I really did.
Which is why I said that your dollar is really the same as our dollar in terms of buying things. I think the only thing that is absolutely ridiculous in Australia compared to most other countries around the world is our house prices. We have a government that is very much on the side of favoring construction. And so there are so many tax breaks. One of the things that we learned when we came to Australia when I was younger that surprised my father who was a surgeon, was that he was earning the same amount of money as a lot of carpenters and electricians, because in Australia there is huge emphasis on construction and there are lots and lots of tax breaks for people in those industries, which is really interesting but our healthcare is free, which is something that makes a massive difference compared to you guys.
So now we know what makes Australia a great place to live and start a business. Coming up after the break we’ll learn more about Jules’ PR training company, her podcasts, and how Australia’s pro-small business climate provides the perfect environment for her business endeavors to not just grow but thrive!
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We’re back…in Australia with Jules Brooke – a Public Relations genius who, as we learned, fell into that industry quite by accident. Well, it wouldn’t be the last time she’d take on a new challenge by accident. One thing you have to know about Jules – she doesn’t shy away from a challenge. That’s how her own TV show came about. Here’s Jules…
Well, there is a great story to this. So, at the end of 2019, I was on LinkedIn, which by the way is my absolute favorite platform. And I saw a post from a guy, I don’t know, that said, I’m gonna start a TV network and I’m looking for people to interview now. I guess you could call me, a slut for publicity, but I wasn’t gonna turn down an opportunity for an interview. So, I said to him, “Can I come in and would you interview me about Handle Your Own PR?” And he said, “Yep, yep, come in.” And while I was thinking about it, I thought, Gosh, if he’s starting a new TV network, maybe he’d let me have a show about Handle Your Own PR. So I went into this meeting, all gung-ho ready to ask if I could have a show. And he interviewed me three times in the first sort of, you know, half an hour of our meeting, which wasn’t what I was expecting.
And at the end of it he said, “Oh my goodness, you’re so much fun! Would you co-host the lunchtime show with me? And I was like, “Yay, I’ve been discovered!” So, I started the lunchtime show with him, By the way, this is, a platform called Ticker News. It’s online. And he said, “I need loads more content.” And I said, “Why don’t I introduce you to a whole lot of people I know who are on the speaker circuit, because most of them have a following and they would love to have a TV show?” And he said, “Sure.” And I said, “But if I’m going to do that, you’ve gotta let me have my own show.”
And by then, it was just one of those moments and I said, “I’ve gotta have a show about women in business in Australia.” Women in business are virtually invisible in the TV media because the TV media in Australia is a hundred percent owned by white Anglo Saxon men over 50, I want something that focuses on women in business. I want to be able to inspire younger women and know that you don’t have to be special, and you don’t have to be a unicorn in order to be able to run a business. So, I started this show, it was a half hour show that I ran for six months and then we went into lockdown and I dunno if anyone realizes, but where I’m from in Melbourne, we had the longest lockdown of any city in the world.
We had something like 500 days over two years. Oh, it was brutal. And as a result, when we first went into lockdown and the government said “Everybody home, nobody can run businesses. We’re shutting all the cafes; we’re shutting all the restaurants. Flights of being grounded.” it was so shocking. And so many women that I knew were really spiraling. They were just saying, you know, my career’s over, what am I gonna do? I speak on the stage, or I run a co-working space, or I run a bar. And so, I said, “Well, let’s start doing online Zooms on a Friday at the end of the week” to just kind of celebrate together and to support each other.
And from there, things took off! But just as Jules’ old business partner doubted her instinct to focus on Handle Your Own PR, she had to prove some naysayers wrong once again.
The TV show started saying to me, “We don’t really wanna listen to long interviews with old businesswomen.” And I was saying, “I think you’re completely wrong. These women are so inspiring.” And so, I started my podcast, and I was lucky because my son is a producer and my partner is, an audio book producer. So, they’d been trying to get me to start a podcast. Anyway, I think that they thought maybe I’d do 12 episodes. And I think I thought that at the time as well. But here I am 200 episodes later and still going. Then the TV show ended, and I went into the Facebook group for She’s the Boss group. And I said to the girls, “Look, I’m not gonna have a TV show anymore, but I’ll keep going with the podcast.”
And there was this kind of outcry and they said, “You’ve gotta keep going! We love it!” And this is how the universe delivers. A friend of mine who has a big media training company rang me about two hours later and said, “Jules, I’ve just dismantled a whole TV studio’s worth of equipment and I’ve got nowhere to put it during the lockdown. Would you like it?” My son said, “I know how to use all of that equipment. Let’s take it and start doing shows from home.” So, we started the YouTube channel, and I started interviewing extraordinary women from everywhere, from Iceland to Turks and Kaikos from New York to London, and everywhere in between. And I absolutely loved it.
Australia Day on the 26th of January. And most people can take off from Christmas Eve through to Australia Day and only use up 10 days holiday but take off that month. And so, Australia kind of dies in January business wise. So don’t ever plan on launching sort of late December or January you won’t hear from many people because most businesses will be closed. And the only other quirky little fact is I know your tax year goes January to December and ours goes from end of June to end of June every year.
So, we call that a fiscal year. And you are allowed to file taxes that way.
Oh, are you? So, we have to do it that way in Australia, and I think England, it’s April. So it’s interesting how different countries have, you know, different.
Got it. Makes sense. Well, Jules, thank you so much! This was such a treat. You are so full of energy! I’m so inspired by you please don’t hesitate to let us know what we can do to kind of help advance or shed some light on the things that you’re doing, especially in the female entrepreneurship space.
Thank you, Alicia. And look, I find you incredibly inspirational too. And if anybody goes into, She’s the Boss Chats to listen to my podcasts, which are all with amazing women. Alicia is one of them. So, the feeling is very mutual, believe me.
Aw, that’s really sweet and I am honored. Isn’t she amazing? I told you she’d be a ball of energy so let’s give it up for Jules Brooke! If you are interesed in learning how to boost your brand with P.R., then make sure you reach out to Jules. Listen to her podcasts. Watch her YouTube show. I guarantee it will all be worth your time. Links to these things and the other resources she shared are all available at BusinessInfrastructure.TV.
Jules has kindly offered to take us back to the airport. We have one more country left to visit on our tour this season. Where are we going? You’ll have to come back to the show to find out!
Thank you for tuning in! If you enjoyed this episode, then please subscribe and leave a five-star rating and review.
Content is king so make sure you take advantage of it by leveraging Public Relations. You can have the greatest product or service in the world, but if no one knows about you’ll be out of business…fast! Remember, me, Jules as well as the rest of us here at the Business Infrastructure podcast are all here for you so stay focused and be encouraged. This entrepreneurial journey is a marathon and not a sprint.
This episode was written, produced, and narrated by me, Alicia Butler Pierre. Audio editing by Olanrewaju Adeyemo. Original score and sound design by Sabor! Music Enterprises.
This is the Business Infrastructure – Curing Back-Office Blues podcast.