Australian born Brooke Mason, creator, and founder of Brooke Mason Creative gives a valuable and in-depth interview for the aspiring female entrepreneur of today
Brooke, a passionate activist for women, she kick-started her entrepreneurial skills into play at the tender age of 15 when she fell in love with photography. The love affair with the darkroom threw her into the spotlight by working at one of the largest creative agencies in Sydney. Brooke spent 15 years honing her skills with the complexities of brand aligning, art directing and project managing. With dedication and purpose, Brooke trail blazed to Los Angeles and quickly became a celebrity photographer, she started building a high profile portfolio which consisted of the Hollywood elite, for leading worldwide editorials such as Marie Claire, Glamour, InStyle, Angeleno Magazine, Vanity UK.
Not satisfied with glass ceilings Brooke encapsulated her passions and skills and founded her own company Brooke Mason Creative, an innovative collection that brings your inner voice to vivid color, making your true potential a reality by strategic creative planning, and vision.
“We care about the brand, your growth, and expansion. A 'one-stop' creative boutique brand agency - we turn you into a personal brand - Marketing that Matters!”
Brooke is also actively involved in the Los Angeles art community by supporting local artists, curating women artist exhibits, and lecturing and mentoring at various schools and conferences. Brooke also has a non-profit group “Women Manifest”, an empowerment group of women to create community and Celebrate and make visible the accomplishments of women. Additionally, she is a member of the LA Art Association.
Why did you want to become an entrepreneur?
There is this drive in many people to go out on their own. I was one of those people. From a very young age, I loved business and was creating ways to make extra pocket money or to keep myself busy. I love being busy! I love pushing myself and doing new things and this comes naturally to me.
What would be your best advice for your teenage self?
It would be, “don’t rush!” I was in such a hurry to be successful and had much disappointment along my youthful journey. If I could tell my teenage self one thing it would be that this journey is worth it, it might take longer than you expect, but that’s okay. I tell my nephews the same thing. They are just like me, we want it now and we are so impatient.
Could you tell us a little bit about how you started your business?
Brooke Mason Creative was a natural formation after years of working with individuals and companies on their marketing needs without being an official office. I made everything official a few years back and have been so happy to have done so. We have a wonderful team and amazing clients. I feel so proud every day of the work we do.
Do you think business school/business degree is necessary?
Education is extremely important. We are super fortunate to live in the time of the internet, where traditional education often takes a back seat. Fundamentals are key in any profession, and once they are mastered, you can start to color outside of the box.
How beneficial do you think an internship is?
Internships are everything! I’d say every young entrepreneur should try and intern for people that inspire them. You learn so much, it’s invaluable. My advice would be; you may not know exactly what you are learning but take it all in like a sponge because sometimes it’s those things that you didn’t notice that sink in and later you look back and see the influence.
At what point do you know your business idea is viable?
The only way I see business as viable is if you have enough customers and money coming in to stay afloat. You can’t expect to be profitable in the first two years but if you’re able to pay your bills then you’re ahead of the game.
How do you find a way to turn to do something that you love into a business?
The first thing you need to do when you want to turn something into a business is seek out anyone else who is doing the same thing and research them the best you can, all of them. Are they successful? What did it take for them to get there and how long? What was their process? Do you like what they’re doing or not and do you think this is profitable enough to invest your money and time into it? Once you do these things it should give you clear idea if this is a good business and will it make you money.
What advice would you give on getting investment?
I’ve had many opportunities to have investors, I have thought long and hard about it. There is a good time to do it and then there’s not. An investor will most likely have a big say in how you run and operate your business because they need to see their investment grow and may even own a percentage of it. It would be needed if you had to expand rapidly, weren’t able to stay afloat but the potential is there or the initial start of the business takes more than you can fund and then it’s a good idea.
It would be a case by case situation if you need an investment or not. There are pros and cons to both.
Do you think it better starts with a smaller investment or go all in?
It depends on what is needed for your business, however, I would far on the side of caution putting all your life savings into something unpredictable. I am not a gambling type person and would hate to see someone lose everything over a dream. I am a calculated risk taker. A business takes time to catch on and it’s not instant gratification.
Do you have any mentors/coaches if so is this advisable?
Yes, this is a great idea! My Father is a CPA and my Mother is an amazing entrepreneur. I have watched them from a young age and ask them questions weekly about things. Mind you, I don’t always take their advice, they tend to be more conservative in their approach than I am, but it’s a good idea to have someone that truly understands the challenges and risks you face. I believe very much so in a mentor or coach!
How do you solve big problems as an entrepreneur?
I approach big problems in the same way I tackle a project for a client. I first identify the weaknesses, strategize, and implement.
How do you overcome your fear of taking the plunge and the business failing?
Failure creates an opportunity for growth and development. They go hand-in-hand. This mindset affords me the opportunity to dive in deep to new projects. Use this energy of fear or self-doubt to feed yourself for growth and desire to not fail, that can be just as strong as the desire to succeed.
Do you think it is more advisable to have a partner or go solo?
I run a Creative Agency, it is key to surround yourself with the most creative people possible. Collaboration is key to the success of a business. I don’t have a business partner, but my teamwork as though we are all partners and we all get involved.
As someone who is self-employed do you have a structured daily routine?
Being self-employed requires disciple. Structure in my daily routine is key! I have a great work/life balance. Generally, my day starts early around 6 am, with fitness and walking my dogs, any personal appointments, and in my office by 10 am. As a creative, I never know where inspiration will hit, so I write everything down. Lots of notes! My desk often becomes an array of papers and drawings, I like to call “organized chaos”.
Do you think it is beneficial to be part of a network?
There is and has always been, great power in building networks. The immediate, viral, and real-time nature of information and communication is nothing short of stunning. Networks provide content resources, personal support, a sense of belonging and personal empowerment.
Are there any books you would recommend?
I love to read! When I'm not expressing myself creatively or working out I often find myself turning to literature for inspiration. For business, an old-time favorite “The Art of War” is incredible, a tough read and it took me a few rounds to get through it. Another good one is Steven Covey “Seven habits of highly successful people” and Napoleon Hill’s “Think and grow rich”.
When do you decide to fully commit and leave your current job to start your business venture?
It’s never a good time to “start a business” as the beginning will always have its adversities. A business should be launched when the entrepreneur has a clear concept of their business and is 100% passionate about what they plan on doing. Find your passion, fit your business to your personal goals, embrace technology, form genuine connections, and define your brand. When all of these boxes are checked you can go ahead and leave your current job.
What would your advice be to a lone female in a roomful of men?
I have been in this situation before and I’ll be honest it can be daunting. It takes confidence supported by due diligence, such as clarifying your vision, create a team to execute it, enlisting support and acting. Recognize your advocates, find mentors, engage in conversations about possibilities, and trust your intuition. Be classy, sassy, and a badass!
What are the biggest challenges you have faced on your journey so far?
There are two main challenges that I faced in the past and continue to face from time to time.
One - not knowing when the phone will ring. You can be sailing high on a bunch of jobs
and then all of a sudden it’s quiet. It’s really hard not to have a freak-out.
Two - being a younger female is a male-driven business world. As much as I’d like to say
this doesn’t exist anymore and as fortunate as I am to live in such an open-minded town, this is still very relevant and we as women are still not seen as; intelligent, capable and successful to our male peers.
What are the pros and cons of being a female entrepreneur?
Unfortunately, there are more cons than pros in the business arena, it’s a male-dominated world. However, the pro’s are the succeeding even through adversity
For bespoke marketing
Keep up with Brooke’s beautiful photographs and busy life on Instagram