Jane Harbison is a Premium member with Business Chicks who has built her business on teaching girls creativity after switching careers at 40…
Tell us a little bit about you and your career so far?
I am a country girl. I was very fortunate to grow up near Texas Queensland and my family is still based on our property there. Growing up near a small rural town of 900 people was a constant source of inspiration, resilience and confidence building.
For 20 years, I was a commercial accountant. At 40, I changed from an accountant to a creative and I haven’t looked back. It was probably a space I should have always played in, but when I was young I wasn’t confident there was a career in creativity so I did what was safe at the time.
I don’t want kids to wait until they are 40 to discover what they love. I want our next generation not to be confined by predetermined norms of success established by the generations before them. Rather, I want them to open their mind to discovering what they are good at and who they want to be from an early age and really trust that.
You’re founder of Dreaming Big For Little Girls (DBFLG) – how did it come to fruition?
DBFLG started out as a children’s stationery business. I wanted to create products that facilitated creativity in our children – notebooks, cards etc. Unfortunately, I still have a lot of it in my garage. I still love what I created but mismatched the design and age range so I moved from products to services.
For two years we did face-to-face workshops from my home and soon after created a five day online challenge. While they were unique and the feedback continually blew my mind, the format wasn’t financially sustainable, scalable or getting the reach I needed.
I have been involved in the governance of independent schools for over 15 years, so as a result the third evolution of DBFLG has begun and I will teach teachers on creativity.
The company has a big focus on girls following creative and curious lives. How do you help nurture that in action?
We teach a five step creative process – saturate, percolate, create, celebrate and rejuvenate. At the end of the challenge we have a collection of black and white abstract art and they explain their thinking behind their work, which bridges that gap between creativity and critical thinking.
This pieces come from a recent participant in our five day challenge, Xiana.
Xiana’s mum, Kelly, spoke about her transformation:
“I’ve watched her resilience grow with each challenge. Sometimes she really struggled to come up with an idea for a challenge and this stressed her out. It would have been much easier for her to give up. Instead she persevered and became well acquainted with an effective process that allows her to engage her creativity where and whenever she needs.”
You launched your business in 2013. What is one challenge you have faced and how have you overcome it.
What my offering was, to whom it is best served and loving it so I could sustain it. That is more than one I know! But it is all linked. This is my mantra. As well as teaching it I consciously live it.
If you love what you do, you will stick with it.
If you stick with it, you will get good at it.
If you get good at it, you will be rewarded handsomely for it.
We would love to know – what are you excited for in the upcoming year?
Talking with educators about the five step creative process – whether it’s in schools, podcasts, webinars and seminars.
The future is uncertain. Despite this, I am hopeful about the future and most creatives are hopeful about it. This is because they are confident they can navigate the uncertainty of it. I have faith in our ability to solve problems. In fact, I believe the only thing that is going to solve these problems is our creativity and our preparedness to trust it.