Describe your “aha” moment; when did your business idea first come to you?
We decided to move back to Perth after living in Melbourne and London for 15 or so years. For many years I had been talking about opening my own business – it felt like it was “put up or shut up” time.
I first told my husband Alex, who is always supportive of whatever hair brained idea I come up with. Of course, a week after opening the doors to the business, I fell pregnant with my second daughter. The business was a blessing in disguise – I had the utmost of flexibility – although a sometimes unreasonable boss with high expectations 😉
When I first started the business was quite generic – anything really to do with human resources and industrial relations and people… I knew that wasn’t quite the right focus. Now I am clear.I do leadership and workplace culture. Every bit of work I do has to be able to link clearly back to that – otherwise I refer it on to someone else.
Describe for me the “why” of your business
My why – because this stuff – the people stuff, the leadership stuff, the culture stuff (often a culture that is not good) is the stuff that keeps people awake at night – just not knowing what to do, how to fix it. It doesn’t have to be like that. My mission is to give people the skills and the courage and the permission to be able to lead courageously, graciously and with impact.
List your three biggest business goals? Which of them scare you the most and why.
- Convert my first book (Do What You Say You’ll Do – a book for new leaders and those reinventing their leadership) into a programme for organisations that WORKS. Not just a sit in a classroom for three days and then forget about it….
- Continue speaking in the media. Have a regular radio / tv/ print spot. Speak on the ABC.
- Finish my Masters…
None of them “scare” me in the traditional sense of the word. But I do not have a good history with post graduate study. I could win an award for most number of courses enrolled and then withdrawn from. So it has become a “thing” – something I actually need to do to show myself I can do it!
What’s cool is that if I had been writing about this a year ago – the point about the media would have scared me.But this year has been so much fun learning more about the media – that is now (almost) getting to the stage where it’s enjoyable rather than terror inducing!
Has anything surprised you about working for yourself?
My employer can be most unreasonable. I work harder than I have ever done in my life. But… who knew that work could be this fun??
It can be lonely working on your own. Choosing good clients who you love working with and having a great support network makes all the difference.
Once you became a soloist, what about your life changed almost immediately; what changes have been slower to come?
Almost immediately it felt like my brain was working again – I had to be “on” every day. Each day a client makes a decision about whether they will engage you or not. You can’t cruise. You have to be able to demonstrate performance and value every day.
The realization that as a soloist you are responsible for it all. The first time I had an IT issue and realized there was no IT department to call – I freaked out. But there is freedom that comes with that too.
Slower changes have been the opportunity to relish the flexibility that has come with the business. When things are quieter, I am getting better at enjoying that downtime rather than panicking.
What’s the best part of the life you’re living now you’re a soloist?
Each year that goes by – I feel more like I am doing what I was put on this planet do to. I feel enormously grateful for that. Yikes – this sounds like it needs some sort of evangelical music to go with it! I LOVE what I do. I LOVE (almost all) of my clients. It’s a privilege to be allowed into their businesses and their lives.
Got a tip you’d like to share with our community about soloism?
My sanity saver is my coven – a group of like-minded fabulous people who I can talk to about anything. Usually over a bottle (or so) of bubbles. Doing it completely on your own with no support is no fun.