Considering a Career Change? Do This First

And pay attention to what happens next

Alexandra Blakemore was smashing it. The advertising guru was highly sought-after and respected. But she was also burned out. On realising that the Adelaide local headed home for a quick sabbatical and to ponder the question -- if she wasn't working in advertising what would she do with herself?

Could she leave it behind? And if she did ... well, what then? Alexandra didn't have a clue and so she asked those who knew her best -- her friends and her family. She put it to them point blank -- what did they think she should do with her life.

"I got some rather fabulous responses back. But one really resonated with me," she recalls.

That one suggestion was that she open a stationary company. Why that exactly? Well, Alexandra was known for her love of quality cards and notepaper and also her old-fashioned habit of penning personalised notes.

It had never occurred to her to make a business out of it, but those who knew her felt it was a perfectly sensible, indeed entirely logical, option.

If hand-written notes are good enough for Drew Barrymore, they're good enough for all of us. Image: Instagram/@Drewbarrymore

Asking this question provided Alexandra with a clear answer. She listened. And then she took action. "I quit my job the next day, went freelance and started French Navy," she says.

The stationary company continues to go from strength to strength and today Alexandra also offers etiquette tips and advice via her site. She's also branched out and launched a second concept -- the Happiness At Work Program.

Along the way she has learned plenty. Alexandra is now familiar with what's involved with launching and running a business and also, how difficult and yet extraordinarily satisfying doing so can be.

But if she'd not asked that one question who knows where she would be today. Possibly still working in a field that was well paid and respected, but no longer setting her soul on fire. Something for us all to think about and right now.

Elle Ferguson of They All Hate Us is a French Navy fan. Image: Instagram/@Missfrenchnavy

Alexandra's Top Five Tips for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Embrace Failure

"There is nothing wrong with making the wrong decision," stresses Alexandra. It will happen sooner or later and that applies to even the most experienced and talented business people. Think of failure as just another word for learning and learning is necessary or you'll never move forward.

Make A Decision

You can always change your mind or direction once you're moving forward, but doing nothing at all? That's akin to deciding to fail. Don't do that to yourself. You deserve the world.

Listen To Your Heart

"Any mistake I’ve made has been because I haven’t listened to myself," says Alexandra. Take a moment, right now, and listen to your inner voice. You've got one and it knows what's best for you. All you need to do is pay attention to what it's telling you. And heed it.

Choose Your Squad Wisely

"Everyone will want to give you their opinion, however it’s your name and your money on the line," she says. By all means listen to everyone and consider everything they might have to say, but only seek counsel from your trusted inner crew.

Be Polite, Be Kind

There is a reason why please and thank you are known as the magic words. We should be using them all day long and with absolutely everyone we cross paths with. Also, if someone helps you in any way, even if they're completely unaware that they did so, take the time write a thank you note. "Trust me, it will always be appreciated," says Alexandra.