Every set back will push you forward

Taryn William is a perfect example of how far your career can take you no matter where you start. She began modelling at the age of 16 and experienced a lot of challenges from the industry: ridiculously long working hours, poor, late (or sometimes no) pay, lack of support from any Union or professional body. But by going through this challenging time of her life she found the gap, a need that can be met, problem that can be solved – this is what entrepreneurs do.

Taryn Wiliams is a managing director of WINK, a modelling and promotions agency that, in contrary to the norm of the industry, is able to pay within 7 days to 350 models in her portfolio. Taryn worked with high profile clients like M.A.C, Quantas, Vodafone and recently she even made onto the ‘2012’s Hot 30 Under 30’ list by Smart Company.

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Kasia: Taryn, what was the inspiration to start your business?
Taryn: I was inspired to start WINK after years of being in the modelling, promotional and events industry myself, and seeing that there was a better way to do things. I found that, in general, models weren’t treated very well, paid on time and were pretty fearful of asking their agents for change. I felt that there was a place in the industry for a commercial modelling agency that was like a family – really cared about the models, helped them grow and develop, and importantly paid them on time.

Kasia: How did you find the strength and knowledge to run the business?
Taryn: I’d studied event management & marketing, and worked as a model for a number of years, so knew the industry pretty much inside out. I’d also worked as an event produce and photographic producer/rep, so understood things from the clients’ side too. I’ve always been pretty strong willed, and determined when I put my mind to something that I’ll achieve it!

I was very lucky to have a mentor from very early on in my career, who had himself started 2 businesses, and was very successful. I couldn’t have done it without his guidance and advice – a mentor is truly invaluable.

Kasia: Divorce is the second most stressful life event after death of a spouse according to psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe. How did you cope with the stress while still running a successful business?
Taryn: It’s definitely stressful & time consuming, but it really made me aware of how lucky I was to have the business. There was no hiding under the doona feeling sorry for myself – I had a successful business to run, and the phone doesn’t stop ringing because you’re having a bad day. I’m very lucky to have an amazing assistant who was invaluable during this time, as well as my incredible family & friends. It’s been a great period to put things in perspective and amazing how when you remove conflict and drama from your life how much more productive you are!

Kasia: Obviously you have mastered it; what tips can you give busy women to have the perfect work-life balance?
Taryn: Don’t feel guilty about outsourcing things to other people – no one can do it all! Do your shopping online, get a cleaner, get your washing & ironing done at the dry cleaner. Whatever frees you up to do what you do best – working on your business. It’s also important to schedule time in your diary for exercise – both mentally and physically this plays a huge part in me being the best I can be, and I book it in just like any other meeting. I’m also learning to ask for help – your family & friends are an invaluable support and are almost always more than willing to help, and flattered to be asked!

Kasia: What are your future plans?
Taryn: Next goal is opening our hair & makeup artist agency, WINK makeup – hopefully in the next month. I’m really excited about it! WINK models is growing in such a beautiful organic way, I hope it will continue to do so, and we’re booking more and more big campaigns which is great.

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Personally I hope to get a holiday in the diary in the next month – I’ve just hopped off the phone to my travel agent about Vietnam, so fingers crossed!