Julie Austin is an award-winning writer, inventor and multiple business owner. Her patented product, Swiggies (wrist water bottles), have been a NASDAQ product of the year semi-finalist and are currently sold in 24 countries. She has appeared on ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX News, along with dozens of TV shows, magazines and radio shows around the world. She’s a “go to” media expert in the fields of innovation and creativity.
Her new book, “The Money Garden: How to Plant the Seeds for a Lifetime of Income,” is currently available on Amazon.
What are you working on right now?
I am working on my second book, preparing for a two-day seminar and am speaking on innovation and creativity for corporations and non-profits.
3 Trends that excite you?
I’m hoping that the U.S. increases exports to other countries. I’ve imported, but I’ve never exported, and have a new product made in the U.S. ready for export.
The Internet — It’s always changing and growing, linking us with the world as a whole.
Licensing — It’s a huge industry that continues to grow. I have a line of products that I’m working on that will be ready once the economy turns around.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I’m a fly by the seat of my pants kind of entrepreneur. I put out version 1.0 and start there. Ideas always change. The most important thing is just to take action and start somewhere. It will improve as you figure out exactly what your customer wants and how you can best serve them.
What is one mistake you’ve made that our readers can learn from?
Expanding my business too fast before building up a better cash flow. I’ve learned that it’s the things you are able to do with no money at all that will bring you the best results.
What is one book and one tool that helps you bring ideas to life?
Boy, I can’t really pinpoint just one book, but I would have to say that “The 4-Hour Workweek” sits on my desk for inspiration. It gets right to the point and provides step-by-step advice on how to streamline your business and put it on autopilot. I strive to only work four hours a week. (It hasn’t happened yet.)
As far as software goes, you’re going to think this is crazy, but what I use to bring ideas to life is whiteboards. They completely cover my office. I like to mind map and see everything at a glance.
What is one idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
In hospitals nurses are often short-staffed and find themselves running from patient to patient even for small things. What if patients could have something like Skype in their rooms and they could call the front desk for non-emergency questions? The nurse would be able to see them and the patient could see the nurse. If they could see the patient, instead of just talking to them, it would be much more helpful in solving their problems.
Why do you advocate having multiple streams of income?
It’s always better not to put all of your eggs in one basket. If you have multiple businesses and multiple business streams, you have a better chance of having one or more of them making money. Technology changes, and the world changes. It’s better to stay ahead of the curve with more than one source.
How did your background in the TV and film world prepare you for the career you have now?
It didn’t really prepare me to be an inventor, but being a writer did prepare me to write books, speeches and ad copy. Being an actor prepared me by making me a better speaker and being fearless as an entrepreneur. Also, the daily hustle of having to sell yourself as an actor prepared me for all of the cold calls I’ve had to make as a business owner.