Want to flourish in a creative industry such as entertainment, marketing, advertising, PR, design, photography, media or the arts?
Would you love to score your dream job or start a business doing something you love and be earning a great income – but you aren't sure how to make that happen?
Then this is the career hack you've been waiting for.
In You've Got This, two successful creative founders share their secrets for the very first time about what they've learnt in over twenty years of doing business – all so that you can get ahead.
It's full of practical advice and easily implementable tips on topics including how to stand out from the crowd by investing in your personal brand, negotiating a promotion, overcoming setbacks, managing your workload, mastering public speaking, and so much more.
Refreshingly honest and indispensable, You've Got This will help you reach your creative and earning potential and find career fulfilment, without it sucking the life out of you.
The working world can be competitive and fast-paced, and the unfortunate reality is that many clever graduates and smart professionals are struggling with feeling anxious or frustrated. And with recent world events, now more than ever many are assessing their values and motivations.
But thankfully, there's a way to take charge.
And after reading this book, it'll all be clear. Because trust us: you've got this.
About the author:
Bec Brown has been working as a professional communicator for twenty years, beginning as a vocalist and vocal coach, then retraining to become a PR professional. She's the founder and Managing Director of The Comms Department, a PR, corporate communications and crisis management agency, where she and her team work with some of Australia's biggest and best-known media, entertainment, travel and lifestyle brands. At the 2019 Mumbrella Comms Con Awards, Australia and New Zealand's most prestigious PR industry awards, Bec was one of five finalists for PR Professional of the Year. Every year The Comms Department has entered the awards it has been shortlisted for Small PR Agency of the Year. Bec's professional experience is also backed by study – a Graduate Diploma in Media and Communications, Certificates in Social Psychology and Negotiation, and a Bachelor of Music.
You've Got This
Penguin Books Australia
Author: Bec Brown
RRP: $ 29.99
Question: What originally inspired the idea of You've Got This?
Bec Brown: I wrote You've Got This for three reasons – a lot of graduates, young professionals and those wanting to start their own business were coming to me for advice, so it was time to compile that knowledge.
Secondly, I had a really rough time navigating my career in my late teens and twenties. At times I felt very rudderless, especially when I was changing careers. I wish someone had handed me a book like You've Got This as getting practical and honest advice from someone who'd gone before me would have been a game-changer. Ultimately, if this book can help just one other person to not go through some of the angst that I did, it's done its job.
And thirdly, part author proceeds from every book sold will be donated to two incredible charities that support women - Fitted for Work and Life Changing Experiences.
Question: What did you learn, about yourself, whilst writing the book?
Bec Brown: I've heard writing being described once as "tasting life twice" and I think that's so true.
When I was writing the book, it forced me to think very hard about all of it – if it was sound advice that'd truly help others and when I knew that to be true, whether or not I was applying that same advice properly in my own life.
I was editing the chapter on 'Overcoming setbacks and dealing with change' in March right when COVID really hit Australia – when there was so much uncertainty and change happening for us all. I took a lot of comfort from the contents of that chapter and it certainly made my life and my family, friends' and team's lives a lot calmer and happier too.
The chapter on 'How to be cool in a crisis' is also very relevant right now and regularly reviewing it through the editing process was a good reminder on what works best.
Question: What's the main message you hope readers take from You've Got This?
Bec Brown: You've Got This is for those who want to succeed in their career in any creative industry, but also for those who want to start their own business. It's full of tips and real-life stories on what works and what doesn't – based both on research and some on my own shocking mistakes, which I'm very honest about!
With this ongoing global event that has left the Aussie job-market so uncertain, it's a timely guide that offers practical solutions and easy-to-action advice, to help people reach their creative and earning potential and find career fulfilment, minus the anxiety or burn out.
It isn't naturally ingrained in a lot of creatives to also be commercial, so often people will create amazing work, but they can't sell what they create to be able to make a good living, to support themselves, their families and their community. So this book also offers some great advice on how to do that.
It's also been beautifully illustrated and reads more like a magazine than a book, so it's easy to dip in and out of and is an enjoyable read.
Question: Can you share some tips with us, featured in the book?
Bec Brown: You've Got This covers a lot of ground, all based around creating a sustainable and successful career.
We cover everything from how to stand out from the crowd and build an exceptional reputation in a positive and authentic way, to defining your own measure of success and personal brand to ensure you end up on the right career path.
There are also tips on how to build valuable relationships – from networking, working well with your boss, and dealing with office politics, and the dos and don'ts of meetings, work events, and social media.
And because we want a career that we can have for a long time, there's also practical advice on managing your work-life balance so that work remains fun and you never burn out, plus tips on starting your own successful business and other life lessons to apply to your professional life.
Helpful for what's going on in the world today, there's information on how to be cool in a crisis with tips on overcoming challenges, dealing with setbacks or change, and dismissing the fear of failure.
And because I have a music background, there's also a chapter that explains how your voice can be your biggest ally – because how you say something is just as important as what you say, it helps you learn how to master your pitch, pace, tone and volume.
If I were to give just one piece of advice to take away today though, underpinning everything is learning how to be more mindful. When times are challenging – whether at work or with any generalised stress or anxiety - we need to be able to tune out the noise to focus on what's actually important, and meditation or mindfulness greatly helps with that. It helps you to step back from a situation and see all the different possibilities so you can prioritise what's the most urgent task to complete first, second, and so on. Apps like Headspace or 10% Happier are great places to start if you want to begin meditating.
Question: Tell us about The Comms Department?
Bec Brown: The Comms Department is a public relations, corporate communications and crisis management agency, and we work with some of Australia's biggest and best-known media, entertainment, travel, tech and lifestyle brands.
We're a group of nine senior communications professionals and are based in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Auckland, but work globally.
I founded it in 2012 as a solo consultancy but found myself with so many amazing projects to work on that I quickly grew a team and we've evolved into the respected agency that we are today.
Our mission is to promote people, products and ideas that we're truly passionate about and believe in and, in turn, help transform our client's businesses for the better.
Question: What advice do you have for aspiring writers or artists?
Bec Brown: I love the quote that "Small, repeated, daily steps create life transformations" and this really applies with any creative pursuit. Some days you'll feel the creative genius strike and you'll be in flow. Other days you won't feel that at all and it'll be a hard slog. But that's when you just have to persevere. Just keep writing or creating, even if you think it's bad. At least it's something that you can come back to and edit, polish or launch off from next time.
And when it's ready, don't hide your work – be proud of it – share it with others. We only do a disservice to the world when we hide our creative light. We can still be humble when we offer it out to the world – whether in person or on social media for example – but know that your creative output is something that's incredibly helpful to others – whether it's teaching them something, bringing a smile or laugh, or inspiring them to create something too.
Question: What or who inspired your love of reading/writing?
Bec Brown: I grew up on a farm near the Flinders Ranges in South Australia and this was in the 80s and early 90s so it was pre-internet or social media. We only had two channels to watch on the TV so you really had to know how to make your own fun! Reading was something I instinctively loved to do and I'd soon read every book we had in our house, and made my way through the little library at school. I'd be first in line for the mobile library truck that'd roll into town each month. It was through reading and learning how a great story was told that my love of writing then developed. I was also obsessed with the media from an early age – whether that was newspapers, magazines, radio or TV. I loved hearing about other people's lives. It really broadens your mind - and world - so much.
Question: What's next, for you?
Bec Brown: Life is never dull when you're running a PR company – every day delivers new challenges in a 24/7 environment, and with the creative and clever clients that we represent, each day is different and exciting.
We look after Australian Radio Network and iHeartRadio and with the incredible talent who are on their stations across the KIIS, Pure Gold and The Edge networks, there's always an entertaining or heart-warming story to share so they always keep us on our toes. And in addition to managing the PR for streaming service hayu, we've also begun working with Amazon Prime Video and they have an amazing slate of new series and movies launching, so one of the perks of the job is a lot of quality time ahead in front of the TV. Meanwhile we're helping Bras N Things with their amazing new campaign called 'I Am Many Things' that celebrates women's multidimensionality and supports women to confidently be themselves, however they choose to do so. And they're just some of our fab clients!
But ultimately, for the next few months, as well as running The Comms Department, I'm focussed on promoting You've Got This – my aim is to help as many people as I possibly can to create a career that they love and earn great money doing it, minus the anxiety or burnout.
Interview by Gwen van Montfort