Alumni Story | Business
Five minutes with… Andrew Ford
Andrew started his career straight out of high school into his grandparents’ company as a jack of all trades. Being exposed to all aspects of the business instilled in him the importance of ethical work. After leading the digital marketing strategies for big name companies, Andrew founded Social Star to help amplify businesses, leaders and entrepreneurs through personal branding using those same strategies. Andrew has also influenced the next gen by sharing his knowledge as a digital marketing, professional development, and brand management lecturer at top Victorian universities, including Swinburne.
What was your experience at Swinburne like?
I was doing an Executive MBA at AGSM (University of Sydney) when my company decided not to fund it anymore and I really had to think, am I enjoying this? I wasn’t and searched for something more my style. The Master of Entrepreneurship and Innovation had just started, and I heard great feedback about the program. On day one I knew I had made the right decision and loved the course!
What is it about your work that you are most passionate about?
Helping clients to love their work is the best reward. When people enjoy their day jobs, their whole life changes. They are better parents, partners and members of the community. They don’t need to use escapes like drinking and drugs to recover from a workday they hate. They feel fulfilled and happy in their lives. It’s so rewarding to see people making the transition.
What have you found most challenging?
Making the transition from corporate live to entrepreneur life is tough. You get use to the monthly pay cheque, the sick leave, holiday pay and having a large support network around you. It’s challenging to wake up every day knowing it’s all on you to succeed. But once you have been doing it for a few years, you get use to it and realise the flexibility in your time, money and who you work with is far more rewarding than the challenges. Freedom is a person’s most precious resource and working for yourself gives you that. Surely that’s worth the effort.
“I heard great feedback about the program. On day one I knew I had made the right decision and loved the course!”
Andrew , Master of Entrepreneurship and Innovation
How central is innovation to your work?
We are constantly innovating our processes and systems to keep up with the changes in social media and digital technology. You can’t stand still in this type of business. Each year I take time out to review our progress and launch new products and systems to better support our clients. We are always learning and finding better ways to help corporate escapees to make the transition to their own businesses.
What advice would you give to current Swinburne students?
Build your personal brand! This means making meaningful connections with those around you, sharing your dreams and keeping them up to date with your progress. You can use channels like LinkedIn to help with your communication. It’s a slow and methodical process to build your tribe but when you do it is the foundation for your career and any business you want to launch in the future. If you want to never be out of work, build your personal brand. Don’t wait.
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