Social Media

20 Australian entrepreneurs to follow on Instagram

Eloise Keating /

Samantha Wills

Jewellery designer Samantha Wills has more than 220,000 followers on Instagram.

Millions of Australians include checking their Instagram feed as one of their daily habits but the photo sharing app is not just a land of selfies and beautiful food; there’s plenty of business inspiration if you know where to look.

According to figures released by Instagram in 2015, some five million Australians use the platform each month.

While recent changes to its timeline are a potential setback for businesses that rely on Instagram for marketing – and Instagram is ramping up its efforts to encourage businesses to advertise – the social network is still an important way for many businesses to reach their fans.

Last year we bought you 10 top Aussie entrepreneurs to follow on Instagram and to add to that list, we’ve uncovered another 20 local entrepreneurs with public Instagram accounts to inspire you.

And don’t forget to say hi to us on Instagram too – you’ll find us at @smartcompanyau.

1. Lisa Messenger

@lisamessenger

93,900 followers

Lisa Messenger is the founder and chief executive of the Collective Hub and her Instagram account is packed full of inspiration for fellow entrepreneurs. Messenger shares her favourite quotes, nuggets of business wisdom and regular snaps of her travels with her more than 93,000 followers. We’ve spotted several photos of Messenger with Virgin founder Richard Branson of late – including one of Branson wearing a mermaid tail.

2. Joe Cross

@joethejuicer

68,300 followers

Joe Cross is the founder and chief executive of health and lifestyle brand Reboot with Joe. The creator of the Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead documentary, Cross is also the author of four books about juice and has invested in companies across the technology, transport, construction, media, finance and healthcare industries. Now a New York local, Cross’ Instagram account offers a glimpse into the life of busy entrepreneur – as well as plenty of fresh juice.

3. Samantha Wills

@samanthawills

221,000 followers

The Instagram account of designer Samantha Wills is glamourous, artistic and inspiring – everything you’d expect from the founder of a $10 million jewellery brand. Wills has recently taken her followers on a trip down memory lane, revisiting some of the highlights of her 12 years in business from her first newspaper profiles to being featured in Forbes magazine.

4. Daniel Flynn 

@danielflynn88

4,439 followers

Social enterprise Thankyou Group is preparing to launch its latest category of products – a dermatologically tested baby care range – and co-founder Daniel Flynn has been taking his Instagram followers behind-the-scenes ahead of the big day. Flynn also keeps his followers up to date with Thankyou Group’s efforts to fund sanitation and water projects in third world countries by posting photos from his travels.

5. Kate Kendall

@katekendall

3,202 followers 

It’s hard not to get travel envy looking at Kate Kendall’s Instagram account. Now based in the US, Kendall is the founder and chief executive of CloudPeeps, a startup that connects small businesses with freelance social media and online marketing professionals. She uses Instagram to document her travels and show her 3,200 followers the many beautiful locations she gets to work from. 

6. Jules Lund

@juleslund

32,900 followers

Many Australians know Jules Lund as a television and radio host, but these days Lund is also the founder of Tribe, an agency that connects social media influencers with brands. Along with family snaps and red carpet appearances, Lund’s Instagram followers are given insight into the always varied days of a startup founder. 

7. Emma Isaacs

@emmaisaacs

12,500 followers

Emma Isaacs is the driving force behind Business Chicks, Australia’s largest community for women, and her Instagram account is a must-follow for anyone interested in entrepreneurship. Isaacs is currently based in the US, where she is establishing a local chapter of Business Chicks. Expect to see plenty of travel pics, behind-the-scenes shots from Business Chicks events, and an inspirational quote or two. 

8. Ben Doolan

@benidoolan

10,900 followers 

Ben Doolan is passionate and fitness and nutrition so it’s no surprise that both feature prominently on his Instagram account. Doolan is the founder of FivePointFour, a business that provides healthy meals to more than 15,000 customers.

9. Jodie Fox

@jodieannefox

4,436 followers

Jodie Fox is one of the co-founders of retailer Shoes of Prey, which recently relocated from Australia to the US. Fox is known for her willingness to share advice and tips she’s learnt from her business journey – from how Shoes of Prey found its name to the top mistakes the founders made – and her Instagram account is equally candid with plenty of photos of friends, travel and of course, great shoes. 

10. Dan Norris

@thedannorris

7,651 followers

Dan Norris is the co-founder of WPCurve, Black Hops Brewing and Starters and Makers, a four-day retreat for online businesses. Norris uses his Instagram account to keep his followers up to date with his businesses and to share advice and tips with other founders.

11. Vanessa Holden

@vanessaholden

6,069 followers

If it’s creative inspiration you’re after, the Instagram account of Vanessa Holden might be just what you’re looking for. Sydney-born Holden is the former senior vice president and creative director of US homewares retailer West Elm and has also previously worked for Donna Hay Magazine in Australia and Martha Stewart Living in the US. Her latest venture is Soul Safari, a global forum for creatives that includes the likes of artist Ken Done and Megan Morton from The School.

12. Jordan Grives 

@jordangrives

2,683 followers

Jordan Grives is the chief executive of the Fonebox Group, a telecommunications company that counts Officeworks, Volkswagen and Holden among its clients. One of the entrepreneurs on SmartCompany’s Hot 30 Under 30 list this year, Grives has always been a self-starter. Grives has more than 2,600 followers on Instagram and he recently used the platform to keep them updated on his efforts to raise tens of thousands of dollars for Vinnies CEO Sleepout. 

13. Taryn Williams 

@tarynwilliams

9,610 followers 

For many entrepreneurs, it’s enough to focus their energy on one business. Not Taryn Williams, founder and chief executive of WINK Models and theright.fit. Like many of the other entrepreneurs on this list, Williams uses Instagram to share small pieces of encouragement for others in business, like the following quote: “You don’t get into something to test the waters, you go into things to make waves”. 

14. Kris Cochrane

@kriscochrane

1,458 followers

Kris Cochrane is the founder of Rapid PT, which claims to be the largest non-franchise personal training company in Australia. Cochrane told SmartCompany earlier this year that he has plans to expand his business into the education space and his enthusiasm for business shines through his Instagram account, whether its photos of staff at training days or work Christmas parties. 

15. Jessica Wilson

@jessmaewilson

2,198 followers 

Jessica Wilson’s Instagram account is packed full of fashion, technology and travel. The 24-year-old founder of fashion app Stashd is making serious waves in her industry, from being the last woman founder to remain on the recent season of Chinese reality television show for entrepreneurs, The Last Unicorn, to speaking at numerous startup conferences. She’s also passionate about supporting women in tech, something which also features throughout her Instagram posts. 

16. Aaron Smith

@ajs_kx

641 followers

Melbourne entrepreneur Aaron Smith founded health and fitness the KX Group in 2010 and if Smith’s Instagram account is anything to go by, the business is continuing to grow through the opening of new studios around the country. KX Group specialises in boutique fitness classes such as pilates and barre. Smith regularly shares photos of the KX team, congratulating them on their studio openings.

17. Sheryl Thai

@hatchthatdream

1,410 followers

Sheryl Thai’s Instagram account is full of daily motivation for her entrepreneurs and business leaders. Thai is the founder of Cupcake Central and the chief executive of the League of Extraordinary Women, a community-based organisation that aims to connect and encourage female entrepreneurs. Expect to see plenty of inspiring quotes and photos of delicious-looking cupcakes on Thai’s account.  

18. Simon Cohen

@simoncohen84

728 followers

As one of the founders of real estate buyers’ agency Cohen Handler, Simon Cohen knows a thing or two about real estate. It’s therefore no surprise that his Instagram account include plenty of shots of impressive views from properties around the country. Cohen founded the agency with business partner Ben Handler in 2009.

19. Briella Brown

@briellabrown

1,295 followers

Briella Brown is one of the entrepreneurs to score a deal on the current season of Channel Ten’s Shark Tank and she uses Instagram to share photos of her travels and time out of the office. Brown is the founder of Your Closet, a luxury dress rental service that allows women in Australia to rent designer dresses for events instead of purchasing new ones. After pitching to the sharks, Brown locked in an $80,000 investment deal with sharks Janine Allis and Naomi Simson, for a combined 30% stake in the business.

20. Anthony Pitt

@apitt1

645 followers

Anthony Pitt founded The Academy Brand in 2007 and has grown the menswear brand into a $10 million retail and wholesale business. On Instgram, Pitt posts previews of The Academy Brand’s latest campaigns and keeps his followers updated on where the next Academy store will open.

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Eloise Keating

Eloise Keating is the editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Eloise was news editor at Books+Publishing, the trade press for the Australian book industry.

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  • Daniel Giffney

    I run a youth travel company STA Travel, for some travel inspiration check out @gifftravels ?✈️✈️✈️

  • Dan Norris always has great advice for start-ups and productivity.

  • Jess

    Jane Lu from Showpo has 160,000 followers!!?@thelazyceo