Tess Robinson never thought she would end up an entrepreneur.
In fact growing up she didn't even know what that was.
She lived next to Lighthouse Beach in Port Macquarie.
It was a "simple but blessed" childhood.
"We never went without," she said.
A creative child she had her eye on working in magazines.
"I knew I was good at art and good at organising things," she said.
"I kind of just assumed that I would go into magazines because that was my only reference point coming from such a small town," she said.
She went to uni but found herself unhappy.
"I am the world's biggest university drop out," she jokes self-deprecatingly.
Ms Robinson studied four different degrees and dropped out of all of them.
"I enjoyed the content and I think it was what I needed at the time but I just didn't enjoy uni, I found it a little too theoretical," Ms Robinson said.
But like so many successful entrepreneurs dropping out of university proved to be a blessing.
It allowed her to carve out her own path.
Fast forward eight years and she is the owner of successful design and branding business Smack Bang Designs.
Recently she was awardedB&T Magazine's Entrepreneur of the Year award.
Branding she believes is essential to business.
"Building a brand is creating a platform to connect with your customer," she said.
"If you are not connecting with your customer and if they are not able to find resonance with you they won't do business with you.
"You have to build that trust and emotional connection.
"We build that connection."
Her business is so successful she has been able to move out of Sydney and manage it from Wollongong where she lives with her partner and 11 month old daughter.
"Neither my partner or I were stoked to live in the city," she said.
"We wanted to start a family and have our own house with a garden."
So what advice would she give young people trying to carve their own path in today's fast-paced world?
"Be prepared to experiment," she said.
"You don't know what you are destined for until you throw yourself into things."
Her other piece of advice is to "define for yourself what success looks like".
"I opted out of the Sydney rat race," she said.
"I could have easily changed my perception of success to suit those around me but my perception of success is to have a home with a garden, have a family and go to the beach and not work ungodly hours everyday."
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