After spending 20 years as a Professor of Nursing and Director at two hospital Research Centres, Linda Worrall-Carter decided it was time to pursue a path more aligned with her purpose. She resigned from her day job and founded Her Heart, a charity that raises awareness of heart disease, which as it stands, is the biggest killer in women.
Statistics show that every hour a woman in Australia dies of heart disease, which means that every single day 24 lives are lost at the hands of a disease that is actually preventable in 80% of cases. Her Heart’s mission is to empower women with the information they need to protect themselves from heart disease and to eventually eradicate heart disease in women across the world.
Although making the switch from working in a large team environment to running her own business was a challenge for Linda she says: “I could not continue to do more research in an area when I knew what was needed was actually a huge media awareness prevention campaign.”
Since starting Her Heart in June 2015, Linda has been awarded the Casey Kinnaird Community Award at the Female Entrepreneur Awards for her dedication to her inspiring yet ambitious vision.
We caught up with Linda to find out more about how she has built her business and how she will actualise her vision.
Why did you decide to leave your job of 20 years to build your own business? Was there an ‘aha moment’?
Looking back now, I can recall that when Australia hosted the World Congress of Cardiology in mid 2014, being disappointed that although we had progressed significantly with our research in women and heart disease, we had not gathered the same momentum, or awareness in the general community. I can also recall speaking to someone about the importance of knowing the symptoms and they were quite outraged asking me, “how do women NOT know that this is their biggest killer?”. I knew that 2015 had to be different.
What would you tell people who are scared of leaving a comfortable job to pursue their passion?
That you only live once (it’s not a dress rehearsal) and you are not really living if you don’t feel uncomfortable and out of your comfort zone!
What have been your biggest challenges since starting your business?
One: Leaving behind the “team”.
Starting from nothing is always challenging. While getting funding is always a difficult and critical issue, I actually found leaving the “team” that I had created in my previous job the most difficult.
However only 6 months after launching Her Heart I am moving into an exciting time as I am working with some really great people. There really is nothing more rewarding than having a supportive team to share the journey with. Finding The Entourage and spending time with like-minded people has helped me enormously!
Two: Systemising my business
On a practical level, there is also the need to set up different systems and processes, as these are integral to providing a strong platform for growth of the business. Working with The Entourage has really helped me develop this side of the business.
What have been your biggest wins since starting your business?
Winning the Casey Kinnaird Community Award in the Female Entrepreneur Awards was amazing. We have had a huge amount of exposure through this and interest from some groups to partner with. We’ve had over 6000 people access the website, over 75 different countries and over 50 of these countries have been actively moving through the website. Our following across social media is also growing, which will be an important part of reaching our audience of women between the ages of 25 and 40.
What is the best piece of advice you have received since starting?
To be myself, to stay humble, not try to hide my weaknesses and to stay strong! Also to ask for help … this is something I have had to get better at doing.
What advice would you give to someone just starting a business or who wants to start? What do you wish you had been told at the beginning?
To stay focussed, to really believe in what you are doing but also to stay open to what might happen. If it’s a business that you really do believe in, then find like-minded people to support your venture. Try and stay positive (so surround yourself with positive people) and look after your own health in the process.
What impact has the Scalable & Saleable Program and our community had on your business and your life?
The importance of being part of a supportive community when building a social venture (charity in my case) or a business cannot be underestimated, The Entourage provided this, along with teaching me the business skills that I needed to get me through the hard times. I have found like minded people, we have established business collaborations and some will continue being good friends well after the course finishes.
What do you hope to achieve in the next year?
In 2016 we will be working with strategic partners to grow awareness in the community. We’ll be hosting events in order to make people aware of the risk factors and symptoms of heart disease, as it’s really important to engage people so they understand the symptoms. We’ll also be providing practical resources and support for women to reduce the risk for them and give them access to better treatment.
Linda has been able to grow Her Heart through guidance from the Scalable & Saleable community. If you want to find out if you could benefit from joining our growing community of over 800 entrepreneurs too, click here to book in a free business discovery session.