Interested in the business of modelling? This go-getter, Taryn Williams, talked to us about the ins and outs of running an agency, WINK Models, and her career journey.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
I started WINK Models just over seven years ago, after working in the industry in various capacities myself for over nine years. After studying International Business, and Marketing, I knew that the creative & advertising industry was for me. Before starting WINK, I had worked as an event producer, photographic agent, print producer and had modelled myself, so felt I had a great understanding of the industry from both a client and talents view. I was constantly being asked for talent, and connecting people, and felt there was a gap in the market for an agency who offered great commercial talent for both above the line campaigns and events, at reasonable rates, and had a can do attitude and treated both talent and clients like family. Looking back, I am glad I didn’t know how much hard work it would be, as I’m not sure I would have taken the plunge!!
A bit about me personally – I’ve lived in some really interesting countries, and travelled to many more, with my top two so far being India and South Korea. I’m really passionate about health and fitness, and my WINK team train together every morning in an altitude room (just to make things even harder!). I live in Potts Point, have a penchant for great design, Louboutin shoes, and am an absolutely dreadful cook!
What has been one of the things that you’re most proud of and why?
There are a few highlights on the journey so far. Making the Smart Company Hot 30 under 30 List in 2012 was a huge achievement, and really meant so much to me personally. This year, doing the CEO sleep out for the first time (in the pouring rain!) is something I am incredibly proud of. WINK does a lot of charity work throughout the year, as giving back to our community is something we value really highly. I’m proud that in an industry that can be viewed as superficial, unhealthy and self involved, that we’re really changing this stereotype through our self esteem promotion, charity work, talent training and mentoring.
What’s been one of the biggest challenges you’ve encountered in the job?
Delegation! It is not something that comes naturally to me, at all!
How did you overcome this?
I’ll be honest, its a constant work in progress, as my team will attest!! There comes a point where you realise that in order to grow, you have to delegate, and add people to your organisation with complimentary skill sets, who are better than you. Its tough – I’m not going to lie. But it is impossible to do it all on your own, and trying to do so can sabotage what you’re trying to achieve. The important thing is to hire people you admire, who are better than you at what they do. It will motivate you, and make this handing over of responsibility a less daunting task.
Have you had any good mentors along the way to help you?
In the first two years of my business I made a point of asking so many people I admired as possible for their advice and wisdom. It’s a great way to learn from other peoples failings (and successes!) and build a panel of trusted advisors to turn to when you need to workshop ideas. I’ve had some fantastic mentors over the years, and they have been invaluable in the advice they have given me. There have been some standouts; Stephen Giderson from CFO advisory, Glen Condie, & Andrew Thomas.
What one piece of advice would you go back and give to your 20 year old self?
Don’t waste time re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. If a project/idea/employee isn’t working, move on. I spent a lot of time early in the business trying to salvage things like a bad website, a book keeper who wasn’t working out… and that time and money is dead money, you’re throwing it down the same hole you threw the first amount down! Cut your losses. Move on. It’s in the same vein of ‘fail fast’ that is so popular in silicon valley.
Want to feature as an Inspiring Woman or have someone else to put forward? Please email laura @ the work her dot com or fill out the submission form.