At the age of 28, Bridget Loudon has just left Sydney for New York where she is taking the business she co-founded three years ago to the next level.
Considered among the top ten female entrepreneurs in Australia, Bridget Loudon and business partner Elizabeth Yue, are the founders of Expert360, a recruitment company which has attracted more than $5 million in investment funding from groups and individuals, including former Macquarie Bank CEO Allan Moss.
Loudon and Yue were staffers at global management consultant firm Bain & Co, when they spotted a flaw in the traditional methods of recruitment marketing and set about exploiting it.
Paying just $180 to set up a website and sending out 1000 LinkedIn messages to consultants within 48 hours of their July 2013 launch the partners signed up 700 people and changed the face of the industry.
They now have 7000 management consultants in 92 countries, more than a thousand business users and $15m in projects posted.
They are considered a 'driving change' in the $200 billion management consultant market, which had used the same business model for half a century.
Loudon, who scored 99.9 in her HSC but said what she had learned since leaving schoool was more important, had already started and then sold her first company by the age of 21.
Loudon and Yue met at Bain after they both started at the company in 2010.
Bain, like other management consultant firms, employed the the highly costly practice of sending in teams of consultants to advise companies seeking change.
A year into their jobs, the two noticed that the common practice of sending in consultants wasn't working for some businesses.
'Companies were saying they didn't need a full team but they did need high calibre people,' Loudon told the Australian Financial Review Magazine.
She said the conventional model not only didn't suit some companies, but also didn't suit consultants who might have been highly skilled, but wanted work flexibility because they were pregnant, or wanted to work part-time.
'We'll look back in ten years time and say that was absolutely crazy. For me the purpose now is creating a workplace in which people have choice and don't have to step off.'
Loudon said her motivating force was a 'hunger to have an impact on society'.
BRIDGET LOUDON'S SUCCESS TIPS - AND THE WORST ADVICE SHE'S EVER RECEIVED
Business entrepreneur Bridget Loudon, 28, listed her top tips for women wanting to get into business for marieclaire magazine.
1. Self belief: My biggest advice for women to starting a business is to have self belief. The biggest hurdle in achieving something or leaving your corporate job is to have the self belief that things can be done.
2. Resilience: Along the way, 90 to 95 per cent of people from family to friends to investors will say it can't be done but it's having the resilience and the self belief to move past that that is one of the biggest things you need to hold close to you when you're doing this.
3. Worst advice: I think the worst piece of advice I've ever received is "it's too risky for your Bridget, don't do it" And that can be anything from going to start the business to an expansion strategy.
4. Take calculated risks: I think calculated risk is an excellent thing and people see you have a good thing and it works You get advice not to conitnue to push the boundaries, so I think "it's too risky, don't do it is probably the worst piece of advice I've ever had.'
5. Take a break after a bad day: As an entrepreneur it's really important to be able to bounce back from a bad day at work. I think one of the things I do is I just stop and try to relax. Often the tendency is to do more, make more calls, send more emails, but it's so important to be able to manage yourself.What I do is taken an hour out, have a glass of wine and read a book that's not related to my work, speak to friends, do some meditation, have a lie down and just try and switch my brain off for an hour or two. Because recovering from a bad day at work, which we all have, is a really important part of being a successful entrepreneur
'We took the best of consulting (the people), stripped away the overhead and inefficiencies and put it on a digital platform to allow clients and consultants to come together in a flexible way to deliver great work (on-site and remotely),' Yue and Loudon say on their Expert360 site.
The business partners started Expert360 in 2012 while they were still at Bain, and financed it themselves through savings and their credit cards, before finally leaving their jobs to launch the start-up firm.
The company's clients have included Woolworths, AMP, Virgin, Qantas, ebay, Mastercard and Australia Post, but with a third of its business coming from the US, Yue and Loudon decided to set up an office in Manhattan.
'Consulting is a $US350 billion industry and its home is New York, compared to the Australian market which is around $US8 billion,' Loudon told the Financial Review.
They now plan to challenge the reigning four management consultant firms in America, their old company Bain, and the other top three, McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, and Deloitte Consulting.
It hasn't been all plain sailing. Loudon said she had been told by many people that leaving a safe job and starting up a company was too great a risk, and that 'is probably the worst piece of advice I've ever had'.
She said the best advice she could give to young would-be entrepreneurs was 'to have self belief ... and take calculated risks'.
The biggest hurdle in achieving something or leaving your corporate job is to have the self belief that things can be done,' she told marieclaire magazine.
'Along the way, 90 to 95 per cent of people from family to friends to investors will say it can't be done but it's having the resilience and the self belief to move past that.
'That is one of the biggest things you need to hold close to you when you're doing this.'
Loudon also said that it was important to relax and take time out 'after a bad day'.
As an entrepreneur it's really important to be able to bounce back from a bad day at work,' she said.
'I think one of the things I do is I just stop and try to relax. Often the tendency is to do more, make more calls, send more emails, but it's so important to be able to manage yourself.
'What I do is taken an hour out, have a glass of wine and read a book that's not related to my work, speak to friends, do some meditation, have a lie down and just try and switch my brain off for an hour or two.'