By Emma Koehn and Angela Castles
Instagram hit 9 million active Australian users in August. In the brand awareness stakes, that’s a lot of eyeballs. But the platform has always been about more than simply showing new product ranges or ideas.
As SmartCompany has previously revealed in its 2015 and 2016 lists of entrepreneurs to follow on the image-sharing platform, the most successful and engaging accounts take followers behind the scenes and into the actual process of balancing business and everyday life.
Instagram allows entrepreneurs to share holidays, moments with family and breakthrough moments for their business, and it can give budding company founders a beyond-the-headlines insight to life as an entrepreneur.
With that in mind, here are 20 Instagram accounts to follow in 2017.
@janine_allis | 3619 followers
The Shark Tank investor and Boost Juice founder’s Instagram feed gives you a good insight into the on-the-go life of the busy entrepreneur.
From yoga shots to gorgeous beach scenes, farm life to TV sets, and the everyday of running a business, follow Allis for a taste of the everyday life of one of the country’s most prominent serial entrepreneurs.
And watch out for the odd appearance from her fellow sharks …
@justindry | 15,500 followers
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Vinomofo co-founder Justin Dry takes you behind the wine scenes on his feed, including snapshots of media commitments, team-building and office dogs.
Don’t expect wine recommendations from this account; instead it’s an insight into the social vibe of the Vinomofo business and what that looks like day to day.
@talinegabriel | 508,000 followers
The founder of health and lifestyle business Hippy Lane uses Instagram to show how her recipes, and commitment to mindfulness, fits into her everyday life.
Gabriel’s eye for design and experimentation with colours has garnered her half a million followers, and she uses the platform to communicate with her audience about new treats and developments within her business.
If you feel the need for a beach escape but don’t have the time to step out of the office, hit follow on this one.
@melbournepreneur | 7616 followers
Co-founder of watch business Uncle Jack and 2017 Hot 30 Under 30 listee Robbie Ball uses Instagram to deliver inspiration and reflections on startup life.
It’s hard to believe Ball is only in his mid 20s, given his insights into topics like the power of self-trust and the productivity value of weekends. He has garnered more than 7000 followers through his posts of business advice, product shots and adorable puppies.
@lucygladewright | 2,770 followers
Hunting for George co-founder Lucy Glade-Wright shares all things art, homewares and hectic photo shoots while growing her Melbourne-based retail business.
If you need style inspiration or want to lift the lid on exactly how entrepreneurs like Glade-Wright get things so chic, this one is for you.
That beautiful turquoise canvas is now two paintings, cut down into edible art bites for your viewing pleasure. One is called Paradise Island and the other Bommie… I’m not sure which one I like more. Best you come see for yourself. Exhibition deets in bio ⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️ #huntingcollective #rowenamartinich
@cyan.taeed | 762 followers
Envato co-founder Cyan Ta’eed has a number of projects on the go, including the very visually-pleasing soon-to-launch chocolate business Hello Tiger.
Her Instagram feed includes insights into the world of Envato, as well as leadership advice. Shots of baked goods and design inspiration across Melbourne could also inspire some to want to relocate their businesses.
@meganhess_offical | 334,000 followers
The Sex and the City illustrator uses her feed to keep her fans and customers updated on new designs, clients and projects.
Each week Hess shares her weekly ‘Monday Morning Coffee’ illustrations, as well as tracking her travels to all sorts of exotic locations for work.
@iflylflat | 1546 followers
The founder of points hacking startup iFLYflat shows you exactly how to do Yoga on a business class aeroplane seat, while also sharing plenty of other insights to startup life and luxury travel.
Steve Hui’s Instagram feed shows what some of the travel options his startup offers look like in reality. Who wouldn’t want to know what it’s like to be all by yourself in a first class cabin?
Lorna Jane Clarkson
@ljclarkson | 188,200 followers
The fitness guru and sportswear mogul has a curated feed of easy-on-the-eyes pastels, peppered with inspirational quotes, yoga poses and the occasional green smoothie.
If you want to be inspired to kickstart your healthy-eating regime, read motivational quotes to perk up the daily grind, or just want to find some inner zen, Clarkson’s Instagram account is a reliable go-to for all of the above.
@jess_hatzis | 5759 followers
Jess Hatzis is the co-creator of frank body and Willow and Blake, and she uses Instagram to track the progress of both businesses, as well as fitness and the lives of her friends, including co-founder Bree Johnson.
Hatzis and Johnson have spent the past couple of years transitioning frank body from a side project into a fully fledged second business, and Hatzis’ account goes behind the scenes on both brands. Her feed is also a good insight into how playfulness and humour of the everyday can cross over into the voice of a business that an entrepreneur is building.
@nathmallon | 21,300 followers
On Instagram, content producer Nath Mallon shares his photography work, much of which is shot from dizzying heights, with his more than 21,000 followers.
The Melbourne-based creator uses the platform to directly display his skill set, and is also worth checking out at that 3:30 slump when you’re thinking about places you’d rather be.
@_lisagorman | 13,600 followers
The founder of Australian cult favourite label Gorman posts all things colour and design.
Between the fan-favourite prints, however, her feed gives you a sense of the things that inspire one of the nation’s highest profile designers, both in and out of fashion. Over the past month she has included a number of posts around the importance of the brand’s free ‘Love is Love’ t-shirt project.
@kaylaitsines | 7.4 million followers
The fitness powerhouse and young Rich Lister has amassed millions of followers (her Instagram reaches the equivalent a third of Australia’s population), and the content is a mix of testimonials, inspiration and fitness material.
Itsines’ ‘Bikini Body’ programs encourage users to share progress on social media and this feed gives you an idea of how hard the entrepreneur works, both in and out of the gym.
@jackwatts4 | 11,300 followers
Melbourne AFL footballer Jack Watts is also co-founder of shorts brand Skwosh, and his Instagram account catalogues his time across both professions.
Many of Watts’ 11,000 followers are clearly footy fans, but anyone who wants to learn more about building a story to create connections with their lifestyle brand should hit “follow”.
@holly_ransom | 7632 followers
The chief executive of Emergent is only 27 but her Instagram feed includes cameos from the likes of Richard Branson and Barack Obama. A keen traveller and sports enthusiast, Ransom’s account includes everything from beautiful Sydney landscapes to news of her latest projects.
Just this week she used the platform to announce her new podcast on entrepreneurship, Coffee Pods.
@alyce_tran | 2146 followers
The Daily Edited co-founder is known for her style, and Tran uses her Instagram feed to track her life on the go, from life in the office to event stages.
Tran’s account is also a useful resource for anyone in the retail game, given it takes you behind the scenes of some of TDE’s more innovative brand strategies, like a recent pop-up monogramming cafe.
@mrtroydouglas | 968 followers
Douglas is the co-founder of sugar-free ice tea Nexba and his self-proclaimed life mantra is, “Live well, love life, leave legacy”, which is exactly what he seems to be doing on his Instagram.
Filled with pristine beach scenes from his hometown of Sydney, jet-setting trips to Hong Kong and Bali and rugged mountain shots, his Instagram is an ode to the benefits of healthy living and embracing adventure — in life, and in business.
Pretty stoked and excited to have been in-store this morning setting up one of our first ever Woolworth’s @nexba Christmas off-locations. Keep your eye out as more will be built in the coming weeks. This particular one is out with the team at Neutral Bay. Thanks to everyone for your support over the years. Our #NaturallyBrave better-for-you brand is here because of you. #Nexba #woolworths
@lanahopkins_monpurse | 1425 followers
Mon Purse founder and chief executive Lana Hopkins splits her time between the global hubs of Sydney, New York, and London, and her Instagram account shows her, and her monogrammed Mon Purse products, on jaunts around these cosmopolitan cities.
Her range of monogrammed purses are available online, in Myers, Selfridge’s and Bloomingdales, and the entrepreneur has just opened a standalone store in the United States.
If you like your entrepreneurial inspiration with a side of fashion inspiration and glamour, Hopkins’ feed is the perfect place to escape and imagine you’re taking on the big city — all from the comfort of your living room.
In ❤️with this little red combo, both share a similar story. Crafted to perfection. Jumpsuit made by Aussie legends @carlazampatti, camera bag made with love by generational Italian artisans. More to come on MP creating magic in ???????? Since embarking on the Mon Purse journey in 2014, one thing we have never compromised on is quality of craftsmanship and have always created all your one of a kind designs in Europe. It was so refreshing to hear how important quality of manufacturing is to so many others. Don’t forget to smell the leather. ????
@shewillshinebiz | 2860 followers
If you’re a female founder looking for advice, tips and support from the startup ecosystem, Danielle Price’s Instagram account is a valuable resource.
As the founder of She Will Shine, a community organisation run for female founders, Price posts images of entrepreneurial events, meetups and workshops, as well as profiles of the She Will Shine community members. There’s also a healthy dose of inspirational quotes for fellow business operators.
Networking is a funny beast, isn’t it? ⠀ Let’s admit it. It can be really awkward. Walking up to group of strangers… making small talk… working out what they do… explaining what you do… and when is the right time to hand over your business card?? *Awkward!*⠀ But never fear, She Will Shine networking night is here! ⠀ It’s the new way of networking. Un-stuffy. Un-intimidating. Un-salesy. Just a great group of female business owners, having honest and genuine conversations and connections. And wine and cheese, that always helps too. And you’re invited!⠀ To book your spot, follow the link in the bio. We can’t wait to meet you!⠀
@dalejbeaumont | 3590 followers
Beaumont is co-founder of BRiN, a voice-controlled app that uses artificial intelligence to provide business advice to its users. While this sounds like a pretty full-on commitment, the founder still has time to take three months of the year off to travel the world with his family, and documents his adventures on his Instagram account, which is also a great source of inspirational entrepreneurial quotes.
When he’s not posting happy snaps in Paris, New York, or some far-flung exotic island, the founder takes to his Instagram to keep his followers updated on BRiN announcements.