After a year flying solo, Elissa Doxey no longer apologises for being a business consultant; and she also enjoys networking events!
Describe your “aha” moment; when did your business idea first come to you?
Mine was less of an “Aha” and more of an “Oh?” moment. I’d been employed by a not-for-profit organisation for 12 years and working my way up to a senior role; when an amalgamation began and it was made clear that I should look for another position. I took long service leave, completed my MBA, and looked for something new. The lack of senior, part-time/flexible employment opportunities was disappointing, as was the reluctance of recruiters to recognise transferable skills.
The first incarnation of Spindle Consulting was a bit of an experiment; almost a year later, I’m slowly getting used to describing myself as a business consultant (without prefacing it with an apology!). And I am preparing to re-launch Spindle focusing on organisations wanting to pursue social responsibility or sustainability goals, whether big or small.
Describe for me the “why” of your business
Spindle helps make business meaningful; we provide thoughtful solutions when it comes to sustainable footprints and impacts on communities. From my own perspective, it allows me the flexibility in hours and projects and also to utilise my wide skillset, which is often difficult to do as an employee. I love being able to advise on strategy, business acquisition, marketing, policy, HR, Business Project Management and interior decoration (okay, I admit that last was a one-off client question!).
Has anything surprised you about working for yourself?
I had always thought of myself as a terrible networker, but I actually enjoy it now. I’m not great at the old elevator pitch – I much prefer a conversation – but I find networking events much more interesting as a business owner than I did as an employee.After over twenty years in the workforce and two kids, it’s nice to be able to direct the pace!
Once you became a soloist, what about your life changed almost immediately? And what changes have been slower to come?
The most immediate change has been being able to pick up my kids from school most days. I’ve also taken on volunteer roles as a school councillor and Auskick coach, and enjoy getting to know my local community.
The slower changes have concerned adjusting to life as a soloist, rather than an employee. I’ve worked out my peak productive times in front of the computer, and try to stick to a schedule. Late last year I started a couch-to-5km running program to focus on my fitness; while recent insomnia has unfortunately impacted the time I’ve spent on my business, I’ve maintained running. As an employee I don’t think I would have been able to do this so easily.
Got a tip you’d like to share with our community about soloism?
If you can, get a coach, or enlist a friend, who can talk you through the tough times and keep you accountable.