Australian-born Greek, Tina Benias, is the brains behind The Startup Specialist, a successful platform which helps start-ups and small businesses to grow their reach with strategic advice on web design, branding, marketing, social media, business operations, customer experience and content creation.
Tina, 29, is herself an entrepreneur, digital media specialist and business coach. Her first registered business, White Dress Weddings, was a label in which she designed wedding dresses that were manufactured overseas. It was so profitable that it enabled her to open a subsidiary brand under the name Eve Adams and specialised in bridesmaids, flower girl dresses and accessories.
After a few years she “got bored”, sold her name and stock and moved from Adelaide to Melbourne to launch Benny with Love, an online Facebook store stocking imported bags and jewellery.
“With this brand came my first blog and my first attempt at building my own website − from scratch,” she explains.
“After a few years in Melbourne I moved back to Adelaide for a short rest and started Hunt & Gather Pops − dairy and sugar-free superfood popsicles. This was a great hit over the Adelaide summer and it was featured in several SA newspapers and blogs.”
Meanwhile, she co-founded Freedom Wellness, a coaching and somatology business and The Wellness Wanderer blog. Aside from running her own businesses she has also been involved in almost every single one of the restaurants her father has owned, including five Greek restaurants and a souvlaki shop.
“Yes, I am a typical Greek!,” she enthuses.
Which brings us to today. This typical Greek spent most of the Australian winter dreaming about escaping to Greece, visiting her village. She would normally do that every year, re-boot and throw herself back to business, but this Greek summer was out of reach.
Having recently moved to Sydney from Melbourne to further her career as a writer in a corporate environment as a content manager, she knew the wait would be long until she could enjoy August in Meganisi.
However tempting her $120k salary was, just three months later she has decided that “there is more to life than the corporate shuffle”.
Together with her Italian boyfriend Giuseppe, she decided to leave the nine-to-five office environment to pursue a career as an independent writer while travelling the world. She plans to write about their adventures in a hope to inspire others to follow their passion and their hearts.
“I absolutely love writing and I love digital media, but I don’t need to be chained to a desk, working in an office with prescribed hours, in fact, my best work comes when I am not thinking about writing,” Tina explains.
“I’d spent my entire professional career chasing a financial goal, thinking that it was the definition of ‘success’, but once I attained it, I realised I was chasing someone else’s definition and that I was fundamentally unhappy.”
Daunting and uncertain as it may sound as a career choice, this lifestyle is gaining all the more ground among young Australian Gen-Ys who are packing up their lives and logging into freelance workspaces all over the world.
“With a simple wi-fi connection I have access to hundreds of global clients and I can work from anywhere,” she tells Neos Kosmos. There are more and more co-working spaces opening up all over the world to support nomads like myself.”
“Flexible work arrangements are becoming more popular in Australian companies, with many offering employees the option to work remotely.”
Tina, who actually became an entrepreneur at the age of 10, has never been afraid of challenges.
Her father George, however, a 1960s migrant from Greece who struggled to offer his family a future in Australia, was naturally concerned after Tina announced her decision to drop everything and move overseas.
“At first Dad was worried about me walking way from such a good job, but he soon understood my restless feet and reminded me that he came to this country with only the change he had in his pocket,” she emphasises.
“If he could make it, I could too.”