040: Youngest franchisor in Australia at age 27, got to 35 franchisees and sold out after 13 years. Started 6 businesses, travelled the world with the family, started an online business which did $1m in its first 16 months at 65% profit (Tina Tower)

australia fte 1-5 online podcast sales $0.5m-$1m aud Sep 27, 2020

In this episode, I interview Tina Tower, an Australian businesswoman, entrepreneur, author, world traveler, and high-performance business consultant. In 2014, Tina was the winner of the Australian Telstra Young Business Woman of the Year award and was named by Huffington Post as one of the Top 10 Aussie Women to watch in business. In 2004 and aged 20, Tina quit her job as a primary school teacher and started a tutoring business for primary school kids, and ran a shop selling books and toys. She grew that to three stores in seven years and started franchising, becoming Australia’s youngest female franchisor at age 27. 

She got up to 35 franchisees before selling out in 2016 with a two-year earn-out and chucked a big Jerry Maguire tantrum at 19 months which cost her a lot financially on exit. She then started six other businesses, traveled with her family for a year visiting 28 countries, starting with a much needed 90-day digital detox to reconnect with the kids. She now has a business with four full-time employees selling online courses, masterminds, and building online course websites which took 16 months to reach one million dollars in sales and 65% net profit compared with 5% to 8% when franchising. 

Tina funded the first business with credit cards for a while, got a $50,000 loan at 8% from her parents as banks wouldn’t lend to her, and after turning down investment, she funded the growth by moving the family out of their home to rent a dingy flat with two kids (Under three years old) living on $200 a week. She felt she had succeeded when she opened her first store and when she first franchised. The hardest thing to her about growing a small business is believing in oneself, and she says the one thing she would tell herself on day one of starting out in business is, “You’re going to be okay” Listen in, enjoy, and be inspired by Tina’s interesting business journey.

This Cast Covers:

  • From a tutoring center and retail store to a national franchise company, and now a successful online business.
  • How her business grew from 0 to 35 franchises within 5 years.
  • The exhaustion of running more than one store and how she scaled without having to micromanage things herself.
  • Using systems and automation to build a big business with just a few staff.
  • Doing a 10 pm to 3 am shift at a pub to supplement her income when she started her small business.
  • The expensiveness of running a franchise system in comparison to online business.
  • Learning to exit the right way and selling the franchise to an international education company.
  • Going through an identity crisis that led her to chuck a Jerry Maguire tantrum which cost her financially.
  • Considering retirement at 33 but starting six different businesses instead.
  • Selling their house, cars, and leaving everything behind to travel to 28 countries within a year.
  • Hitting a million dollars within 16 months from the online course business model.
  • Working with female course creators and packaging their expertise into online courses.
  • Sticking to 4 to 6 team members with more of a family feel to it and building the biggest, most successful business with that.
  • The valuation of a franchise business and how opening her first business felt like the ultimate success.
  • The look of success for Tina: Making thousands of dollars a day while sitting on a beach.
  • The importance and power of “Showing yourself” as a small business.
  • The lessons she learned from taking different funding options at different stages of her business.
  • Moving out of their house to save the business and how she worked herself out of it all to achieve success.
  • The value and effectiveness of continual learning.
  • Developing and maintaining discipline around time and knowing when to call it.
  • Why she moved from hiring for skills to hiring for personality.
  • Facilitating open communication and transparency to build a kickass culture and help with business growth.
  • Learning to achieve some work-life balance and giving more attention to her health and wellness.
  • Investing in her personal development through a private business coach, business networks, masterminds, and courses.
  • The best decision she made in building a board of directors.
  • The importance of knowing how to set up a business with the goal of either selling it or owning it for the long haul.

Additional Resources:



“Those who market well win” – Tina Tower

“Business is a mind game” – Tina Tower

“Every small business owner must have discipline around time and knowing when to call it” – Tina Tower

“People think entrepreneurship is really easy but there is so much that goes on behind the scenes to get it going” – Tina Tower

“It only takes one bad egg to create any sort of toxicity” – Tina Tower

“If you’re ever doing an earn-out, read the contract as if the worst-case scenario is going to happen” – Tina Tower


Music from https://filmmusic.io “Cold Funk” by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com). License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/