Andrea Martins: expat, startup founder, accelerator

When Andrea Martins gave up her head-office, government career to follow her husband abroad, little did she know she would spend nearly 10 years living overseas (Indonesia, Mexico and Malaysia). Even less did she expect to pay-it-forward by creating the largest online site serving expatriate women worldwide, sell that site for six figures, then come back to Australia and start all over again.

Nor could she have imagined, as a high achiever, that she would have trouble getting noticed by employers in Australia, which would lead her to create Story Resumes – a business to help job seekers get noticed with infographics and illustrated résumés.

Or that when she had trouble with home services contractors letting her down, that she would co-found GreenSocks – an Uber for lawn mowing startup – which would be accepted into the inaugural River City Labs Accelerator Program in Brisbane.

Growing up, what kind of career did you want to pursue?

I could never pinpoint my dream career because I always felt that I hadn’t discovered it yet. Everyone around me seemed to have a “stable” career. I thought it would be more exciting to dream about a career that was more daring and a little unstable.

Who inspires you?

Melanie Perkins –Canva co-founder and uber-talented, Australian businesswoman who snared Guy Kawasaki as her chief evangelist

Steve Baxter – Shark Tank investor and incredibly generous Aussie philanthropist who created River City Labs in Brisbane

Melody Biringer – An American friend who continually reinvents herself and had the courage to write her book “Craving Success” about her business failures

Who (apart from you) is most surprised by your achievements?

Probably my parents, who assumed I’d take the “stable” job option.

How have women helped shape your success to date?

I think the answer lies in the camaraderie and friendships I’ve enjoyed with other inspiring women.

What's the key to successfully balancing work and life?

Try not to beat yourself up when your highwire-balancing act doesn’t work out exactly how you planned.

If you had an afternoon to yourself, how would you spend it?

Go for a swim, drive past the ocean and then come back and work at my desk – but on creative tasks, not day-to-day administrative tasks.

Who do you regard as your mentor?

I am fortunate to have met a lot of people who have informally mentored me, without having one specific mentor. Even just recently as part of the River City Labs Accelerator Program, we were treated to so many amazing mentors - Aaron Birkby, Mick Liubinskas, Mathew Myers, Annie Parker - that I couldn’t possibly choose just one!

What personal attributes have you used to overcome adversity in your life?

Positivity, a determination to problem-solve and an intrinsic love of exercise. I find that fresh air and exercise always calms a troubled mind.

If you could make one change to women's lives, what would it be and why?

That when it comes to housework and dishes, we could all twitch our noses like Samantha from Bewitched!

What is the hardest part of your work?

My brain and patience levels are stretched the most when I’m dealing with the government red tape and accounting requirements involved in running a business.

What advice would you give to someone aspiring to success in your field?

Don’t be afraid to start, fail, learn, get better, and then do it again – and again!

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