Q&A - Shelley Friesen

September 02, 2019

Image of Melbourne Social Co founder, Shelley Friesen

Shelley Friesen may not have intended to be the ‘poster child’ of female empowerment when she founded digital marketing agency Melbourne Social Co 8 years ago. But now with a team of 15 female employees by her side, she’s proud to talk about being a woman in business - especially if it inspires others to do the same!

What is one word you would use to describe yourself?


What’s it like to run your own business?

Running a business is certainly a high-pressure role. I've become more patient, resilient and understanding in the process.

Who is your biggest inspiration in life, and why?

I’m inspired by strong female personalities - business owners or leaders in their industry - such as ELLE magazine editor and fellow Aussie, Lauren Brown, or Go-To founder Zoe Foster Blake. It might be a bit cliché, but I also love Michelle Obama!

What do you see as your biggest achievement in life and why?

Running a successful business, one that has a great reputation and one that is staffed entirely by women. I didn’t set out to have an all-female team, but I love it.

What do you love about being a woman?

I love being able to dress up and express myself though my wardrobe.

What do you find difficult about being a woman?

It’s not unique to being a woman per se, but life is a constant juggling act. Juggling work life, home life, a social life and now motherhood … there’s always so much to do, so little time!

What did you dream of doing for a career as a child?

When I was a child I wanted to be a singer, or a tennis player. As a teenager, I wanted to work in magazines - which I ended up doing - and run a business … which is also what I ended up doing!

What I love most about being a female business owner is inspiring other women to take that leap of faith too and follow their dreams. Gender should not be a deterrent.

What age did you fall in love with your body?

I’m not sure ‘love’ is the right word, but I've always been really comfortable with who I am and how I look. Recently having a baby has certainly given me a new appreciation for my body and what it can do!

How has having a child changed you?

It's definitely given me more perspective on life and has taught me to slow down and enjoy the little things.

What little things do you like to indulge in?

I don't have a lot of spare time on my hands these days, but I do love a good design magazine and of course, Netflix!

What is your favourite body part, and why?

Probably my arms and upper body, especially now as I can use them to cuddle my baby girl.

What type of undies are you - brief, boyleg or g string


If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?

As a younger person I lacked a little confidence, particularly in front of crowds. My advice would be to back myself - and my experience - and to not worry what others think.

What is your mantra in life?

Say, “yes!”, and figure it out later.

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