"It's all an experiment. Try everything once, and don't get stuck in your ways."
On the eve of announcing our 2023 TDC Scholarship winner, we sat down with the 2022 Scholar, Amelia Barry, to reflect on the past 12 months. Without a doubt, Amelia has applied herself to every aspect of the scholarship program, exceeding all expectations we already had about her future success.
We've watched her grow both personally and professionally and have enjoyed her active participation in the TDC community. During the year she has successfully rebranded, launched a beautiful new website, worked on some incredible projects and improved her confidence exponentially. In the first part of 2023 she also plans to fulfil one of her life goals by opening her own design studio space. Whilst we don't take credit for all of these achievements, we're very proud to have contributed to her journey.
TDC: Thanks for taking time to speak to us again, Amelia. How does it feel to come to the end of your Scholarship year?
AB: I feel amazing! It's been a transformational 12 months. It certainly didn’t follow a straight line, though. I think when you level up in your business, it requires a different version of you. And that can be challenging. It can feel uncomfortable and really vulnerable.
But that's where having support really helps because then you can transform and step up to what’s necessary for the next level of your business.
And with Andrew's help, I feel so confident moving forward in my business. Overall, it's been pretty life-changing for me personally and professionally.
TDC: As part of the Scholarship, you’ve had access to all of TDC’s classes, courses and programs. What were the 3 biggest lessons you’ve learned during the past 12 months since starting your Scholarship journey?
AB: My number one takeaway is that connection is everything. Having a community of like-minded business owners is just such a game-changer. Andrew does an outstanding job of creating a design community that encourages and fosters that connection. And then, on top of that, is the accountability that comes with being part of a community—when you can state your objectives in front of people with similar goals, and you’re accountable to them, it helps with achieving what you set out to do.
Running your own business can sometimes feel like quite a solo enterprise. But being able to share your journey with those going through similar things has helped me so much. And leaning on a community, having those meaningful discussions, and sharing your fears and worries, just allows you to take a load off.
My second lesson is having the confidence to put myself out there. The confidence I have now is multifaceted. It includes education, understanding the systems and processes I need, feeling confident in the services I provide, and knowing I have a support network if I stumble. It just builds confidence that I’ve got this.
And then my third lesson is how important my physical and mental health is to my business. If I want to excel in my business, grow, and achieve my dreams, I need to support myself, get the right balance, learn healthier habits, and focus on my mindset. In the past, I’d taken my physical and mental health for granted and hadn't given it the amount of conscious effort it requires.
TDC: Even though the scholarship year is complete, your professional collaboration with TDC is still continuing! You’re currently participating in the 2022 Mastermind Program, which we’re incredibly proud to have you a part of. How are you finding the program so far?
AB: I think I did it the perfect way by going through all the programs first because the Mastermind is like a finishing program. I already understood a lot of Andrew’s principles, systems, and practices, but the Mastermind takes it to a whole new level when it comes to marketing, business development, and financial planning.
Setting your overarching goals for the year and beyond creates clarity around your point of difference. I don’t think you ever finish your business plan. It’s constantly evolving; you’re always refining and tweaking it as you go along. It requires a lot of effort, a lot of talking, and a lot of sharing—and the Mastermind program is perfect for that. The amazing experts who come in and share their insights on finances, marketing, and business development just give you that extra set of skills. I feel like it’s taken me to the next level by building on everything else I've learned through the scholarship program.
TDC: We will soon announce the winner of the 2023 TDC Scholarship, of which you’re a judge. How have you found the standard of entries this year?
AB: The standard is very high this year, and I'm really excited to be a judge. It's such a privilege. Going back to community, it's something I'm so passionate about, seeing other people win. I'm so happy to pass on the crown (and, yes, man or woman, I imagine the whole prom queen vibe—they’re going to get a crown!).
TDC: If you had one piece of advice for the newly crowned scholar, what would that be?
AB: It's all an experiment. Try everything once, and don't get stuck in your ways. You’ll be learning a lot quite quickly. Just give it your all because it's such an opportunity.
Keeping an open mind is what it’s all about. I think we get so easily stuck in what has worked before in our business, and often what is working is just pure survival. Sometimes it takes more work on your business to give yourself the freedom to thrive. It has to get harder before it gets better.
TDC: At TDC we believe that balance and wellness are important considerations for business owners. What have you done during the year to make sure you maintain focus on your health, not just achieving success in your business?
AB: My premium group coaching experience made me realise focusing on health and wellness was vital to running a successful business. Andrew talks a lot about balance and finding time for yourself and I also felt motivated and supported by the group to make my health a priority.
So, halfway through last year, I went to a health retreat for a seven-day detox. And that shifted a lot for me. It taught me the importance of keeping my cortisol in check, looking after myself, and putting my physical and mental health first.
Those seven days educated me—it was just enough time to give my body a break and see how different things could be. What I took away from the experience was that when you're simply surviving, you don’t know what it’s like to live differently until you try.
A week offers you a chance to cancel out some of the not-so-healthy habits you’ve been doing to cope every day, like drinking five coffees or whatever it might be. You just don’t know that there's another way of living until you’ve not done it for a week and seen the difference.
What that looks like for me is staying hydrated, drinking electrolytes every morning, and doing some physical activity each day. I'm into sauna, hot therapy, and cold therapy. It's just about getting out of my mind and back into my body, which grounds me and gives me space. When you’re using your brain a lot, and you're creative, it gets overwhelming. And then everything big sort of becomes harder than it should be.
And then there’s mindset—for me, that’s being grateful. I do a gratefulness practice every single morning, and it just sets up the day. It can be anything—I'm grateful to be alive, grateful my sons are healthy, and we have a roof over our heads. When you start listing them, you actually have quite a lot of things to be grateful for.
And the last thing I've started doing is waking up at 4:30 am and having a consistent morning routine—gratitude practice, drinking my electrolytes, listening to something motivational, and then getting down to the hardest tasks first.
TDC: What are you most excited about this coming year?
AB: Big reveal: I’m opening a studio showroom in High Street, Malvern. What I said earlier about each level of business requiring a new version of you? This is a big one.
I'm super-passionate about our world-class Australian designers and artists, and I want to create a space that showcases their pieces to show my clients the potential of what's possible. I'm collaborating with talented designers and artists and filling the space with some stunning pieces—it will be like a gallery space where I can help tell the stories behind these local cultural works.
I was going through a pretty strong growth stage when I met Andrew. What he's given me is the backing and support to make scary decisions like my new studio easier for me. Because now, I know how to plan it, what processes to put in place, and how to prepare financially for a space like this. Ultimately, I feel confident in the process, not terrified.
Keep track of Amelia's amazing trajectory by following her on Instagram @ameliabarryinteriors. We certainly look forward to our continued relationship with her in the TDC community.
Stay well, and believe in you!