Olivia O’Connor is a 25-year-old Portland native, living in Sydney, and founder of Don’t Tell Summer. She’s passionate about adventure and inspiring her generation to say yes to the things they would love to do. She’s currently producing Don’t Tell Summer’s first festival, #RadLivin, taking place on the 20th of February in Sydney to inspire you to do what you love now. It’s a mix between a conference and festival with speakers, live music, and like-minded people coming together to get inspired, share their dreams and celebrate living life to the fullest.
Tell us a little bit about your idea and what made you decide to take the plunge and make it happen?
On the 20th of Feb I’m launching a festival called #RadLivin in Sydney. It’s a mix between a fun, inspiring conference and a laid-back festival to inspire you to do what you love now. There will be speakers, live music and young creatives coming in from all over to get inspired, share their dreams and celebrate living life to the fullest.
The whole purpose with the Don’t Tell Summer brand, and now festival, is to inspire our generation to do what they would love to do now, rather than waiting for some point in the future. I’m a very ‘need to do this now’ type of person, just like the message of the brand. There was something about coming up with the idea and wanting to quickly execute it so that I would be able to stand up there on the day of the event and share that I am too, just a young person with a dream who decided to make it happen. There’s no reason why we should wait.
Then the idea was to partner up with brands who are aligned with the vision to help make it come to life. We partnered with companies such as ING Dreamstarter (they support social enterprises in kickstarting their dreams) because we want to give the attendees as many opportunities as possible to connect with the right companies and people that could help make their dreams happen now.
What are you working on right now and what are you most excited about in the next year?
Right now I’m just in the middle of getting #RadLivin together. I am so excited to see this dream come to life. I’m excited to see what comes of the event and where it will head next. There are plans to take it over to the states, but we’re taking it one thing at a time. Just focusing on being completely invested in the event that’s right in front of us.
How do you make ideas happen?
Once I have an idea that I’m extremely passionate about, I need to go for it. If I don’t know how to execute them, I reach out to friends, friends of friends or members of LinkedIn to ask them how they’ve done what they’ve done. Especially with the event, I had never put on anything other than my High School prom before and so I took the time to ask the right questions from people who have gone before me. I also decided to partner up with a couple friends who have done large scale events before.
What role have mentors played in your business life?
I think having a mentor is crucial. I’ve worked with a coach, Debbie Spellman, in the past and I find that once you see that someone you admire is out there doing what you want to be doing, it all seems possible for you as well. Mentors are great for holding you accountable and making you stick to a timeline.
What does your typical day look like?
Right now it looks like running around to meetings with sponsors, speakers or other awesome young people that want to be involved in the #RadLivin event. We’re down to just a couple weeks left and so just fine tuning all of the little details to make it incredible.
What challenges have you faced when starting or growing a business/organisation in Australia?
I think one of the differences I’ve seen from doing business in Australia, versus America, is the nature of the lifestyle here. Everything is very laid back, which is why I love it so much. In America we’re very straight-up and like to do things quickly. I’ve found that things take a bit more time here, which I’ve had to adjust to.
What is one idea you are willing to give away for free?
The idea that the more you take risks, the easier it becomes. When you say yes to something that scares you, your body remembers it. The next time you’re thinking of doing something you’d love to do and fear comes up, you’ll be much more likely to go for it if you’ve done it before. Take a risk now, your future risks will thank you for it.
What people/companies/organisations do you think are doing really cool stuff in your industry, in Australia at the moment?
That’s a good question! We’re still figuring out where we fit into play because we’re full of a few different elements – half conference/half music festival. The best way we were able to describe the event in the beginning was that it’s like going to a young TEDx meets Splendour in the Grass. When it comes to our industry, I honestly feel like it’s young people who are doing what they love now – Jamie Green from One Night Stand, Jess Abraham from Tidal Magazine, Cait Miers photography and so many more.
What about internationally?
Hustle Con, started by Sam Parr, has been extremely innovative in the conference arena. He’s changing the game with how they work in America and is bringing together those in the start-up world to learn about non-technical start-up techniques from start-up founders.
What role do you think business can play in affecting social change?
I think businesses are a key player in social change. We are constantly consuming and being marketed to, imagine if all of the messaging was positive. We’ve already seen a good shift in this – I feel that social change and creating social enterprises is very important to our generation and larger companies, for example, ING with creating Dreamstarter. Larger companies know the power they have and are beginning to do what they can to help support positive change in their community.
Speaking of affecting social change, Is there a particular charity you’d like to support?
I love Action in Africa. They’re a nonprofit that strives to educate, inspire and empower people in Uganda. They’re working to provide sustained education, allowing individuals in the community to reach their untapped potential and ignite economic growth by becoming the next leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs in their country.
Name 3 websites you would recommend to our readers.
Are there opportunities for people to get involved with your idea (e.g. are you looking for funding, interns, marketing help)?
There is! We’re always on the lookout for aligned brands and people to get involved with what we’re creating. If anything I’ve said sparks interest, they can get in touch via [email protected]
We’re aiming to build a community of Australian idea makers helping each other. If you could have one question answered about startups, marketing, social media, accounting, monetization, product development etc. What would it be?
Once you hold an event, what is the best way to continue the momentum and community you’ve just built?
What’s your favourite bar/café/restaurant?
Bar – Ravesis in Bondi
Cafe – Nutrition Station
Restaurant – Little Jean in Double Bay