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Kathryn Brooks: Feeling Charitable? 3 Tips for Businesses to Get the Most out of Giving!

Kathryn Brooks, Social Threads. Photo: PK Photography.

Kathryn Brooks, Social Threads. Photo: PK Photography.

Here at the business real, we're big on giving back and contributing to the greater good. That's why we've teamed up with Thankyou, a social enterprise dedicated to ending world poverty through our everyday purchasing power. When we heard about Kathryn Brooks from Social Threads, we wanted to share her expertise to help more business owners out there get the most out of their charitable collabs so it continues feeling great to give.

Kathryn has built her social enterprise working with charities and businesses to create tangible not tokenistic impact. She does this by helping them partner together for maximum mutual benefit. Her 3 tips to help you get the most out of the beautiful thing that is giving are below. More info about Social Threads can be found here.

Let’s face it, when you’re starting out in business or even a couple of years in – you put everything you have into it. Time, money, energy, blood, sweat and a lot of tears! So, what’s left to give to a charity or needy cause?

Not much really but businesses can still find creative ways to give back.

The most common feedback from small to medium size businesses who donate to a charity or cause is they don’t feel adequately recognised or are burnt by past experiences, that their contributions are not valued... It’s not to say we give expecting anything back, but some horror stories highlight common mistakes businesses make, including:

1.     Only looking at the big charities

2.     Thinking the only way to contribute is monetarily

3.     Not setting clear boundaries about what you’re prepared to do and what you’re not prepared to do

Targeting the big charities

Often, when we look to give, we look towards the charities that are very visible in doing incredible things (to be fair there’s a lot out there... over 52, 000 registered charities in Australia). But we tend to go with the ones know of. These are often the bigger ones and have the marketing budget to extend their reach. The benefit of giving to a registered charity is that they have Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status, which means that for $2 or above you donate, it’s tax deductible.

I am in no way discounting the incredible work they do, but there is a great deal of other causes that would really benefit from assistance and there is probably more scope in how you work with them. The chances are that a big charity will not have the capacity to recognise each donor (think of the number of individual donors, companies and corporates giving) in the way you might be seeking. Whereas a smaller charity or cause would likely have greater capacity to do this, on their social media, newsletter and through their networks. Where the smaller charities lack, they make up with immense gratitude as their need and lack of resources or ability to attract resources can be much greater than their bigger counterparts.

We never really talk about the ‘little guys’, so in addition the number of registered charities, Australia also has 600, 000 Not For Profits and a further countless community organisations that don’t fall under these classifications. Examples of these organisations might be your local playgroup, youth service, women’s refuge or neighbourhood centre. These literally run on the smell of an oily rag but are so important for our community.

Thinking the only way to contribute is monetarily

Most people think that the only way to support a cause or charity is to give money. Sure, that’s great and important, but it can be hard when it’s already a challenge to cover your business costs.
What you don’t realise is that perhaps there’s another way you can contribute – you have a unique set of skills, experience and resources that might be exactly what an organisation or group could benefit from.

An example of this is a yoga studio I worked with, located across the road from a youth service. The service’s most challenging youth were a group of 15-year-old boys with anger issues. Together, we found a solution of the yoga teacher donating her time for one hour a week to teach the boys mindfulness practices. It gave them life skills and created a safe, harmonious space for them to come to weekly and work with the youth service around their other needs.

Not setting clear boundaries

Treat any engagement with a charity, community organisation or cause as developing a relationship in the same way you would with a client or business partnership. Consider building a meaningful relationship that can flourish into a mutually beneficial partnership. It is important to consider what you can do for them, that actually helps and meets their needs. But also ask how can they benefit you? Maybe it’s your logo on their website, or being invited to an event they’re hosting, or referring their network to your amazing business.

By developing this relationship, conversations can emerge that break down any assumptions or expectations and work towards fostering a partnership. I encourage businesses to communicate what their limitations are, as part of clearly defined boundaries and to consider drafting a MOU. You are giving your time, skills and energy which are valuable so it’s ok to protect yourself.

Energise and Ignite your Passion

There is a community organisation, charity or cause for pretty much anything – it’s a matter of tapping into what you are passionate about or what might strategically align with the mission of your business. There are countless choices, and once you start researching you might get a bit overwhelmed – so I encourage you to start local. It can be calling your local Council or talking with friends who work in the community sector.
Once you find that cause that ‘lights you up’ it will ignite something within you, foster a way to give in a more authentic way and develop a stronger connection with our local and wider community. We’re tribal beings, so get connected!

If you need help to connect to a cause or charity, get in touch with Kathryn via mail@socialthreads.org

Sarah Cross: The changing face of entrepreneurship

Sarah Cross got in touch with us to share some valuable info about how business has changed over the past two decades. We think it's pretty interesting - understanding how entrepreneurs hustled back then versus how we hustle now. What's better? What's changed? What have we learnt about the evolving nature of business? Read Sarah's blog below to find out from her perspective. More info about Sarah can be found here.

I started my first business as a passionate but naïve 24-year-old. In those days there were no laptops and limited websites, so I had nothing but the Yellow Pages, a phone, a big idea and a whole lot of determination.

When I started my coaching business two years ago so much had changed, including me.  I was a Mum the second time round, and had a suite of business tricks from my earlier experience up my sleeve.

In 1998 business ownership was certainly a lonely and isolating road that only a few dared to venture. Although in some ways there is so much more support today, modern business can be more challenging. There is much more competition and business now moves at a much faster pace.

There are many more, but here are the five key differences between starting a business today compared to 19 years ago:

1. The Internet – It seems obvious, but the digital age has changed things drastically. The internet enables wider connections. I currently coach clients all over Australia and even overseas.

Thinking back to my first business I didn’t even have a website until five years in. I seriously used a Yellow Pages and a good old fashioned telephone to kick start the business and it worked. I called company after company asking them if they wanted gift hampers for their contacts and lucky for me many of them said yes! In 2003 I launched the online component of my business and saw things quickly evolve and grow from there.

2. Remote life – One of the benefits of the internet is working from anywhere I please. With two sons in tow this mainly means from my home study rather than the sort of glamorous locations I might have chosen in my 20s. Additionally now when I travel the business can come with me.

3. Ability to switch off – The internet, remote life and the pace means not being able to switch off. There is no doubt my first business was often on my mind, yet when it came to going on holidays or even on the weekends when I didn’t have to work I could just turn off. There were no constant reminders like a smart phone telling me what needed to be actioned.

In my first business I actually went on a European holiday for four weeks. With a team at home assisting I was able to completely turn off and only communicate each week when I phoned in.

4. Social media – Mark Zuckerburg would have still been in school when I started my first business. If only I could have seen then the possibilities that lay ahead with social media and how it could connect you with your customers and clients. Something that has surprised me with my second business is how much I rely on Facebook. The business community groups I use are incredible for connecting me with clients and fellow business owners and I also have used it to find my suppliers.

5. Female entrepreneurs and support - There were no endearing or not so endearing terms for women in business like fempreneur and mumpreneur when I started, because there weren’t enough of us to warrant it! Over the years I’ve been thrilled to see an increase in women starting businesses. It was not the done thing when I started mine and the female support around me today is invaluable. I also love that the majority of my clients are business mums who have left corporate Australia to raise young families and chose not to return because they want to create a lifestyle of freedom and flexibility. I love that this is now a viable option for women.

The daily adventures of Eliza McCann

Eliza combined her love of travel with her passion for children's books to create a kids travel journal. Something to get them off ipads... To ignite their excitement about travelling. To fuel their imagination. A book to connect children with all the wondrous parts of travel - culture, language, landscape, people. You can see more about her book here. 

We asked her what a day in the life of her business is like. After reading this we've decided we're all going to Eliza's house for wine and dinner.

Morning ritual

-       Alarm time? Mostly it’s 6am but some days it’s earlier because I’m cursed/blessed with having a daughter who is a really great swimmer which means we have to get to the pool by 5.15am. She wants to set the alarm for 4.55am so we can be there early but I can’t seem to bring myself to do it. It feels so ‘middle of the night’. The only time I’ll set an alarm that early is for an international flight.

-       Breakfast menu? My best friend came to stay with me and introduced me to Chai tea so I boil up a pot every morning and drink it while I eat my muesli.  There’s one brand of Chai tea that I just love. They sold out the other day which was heartbreaking.

-       Exercise? I love exercise, and If I don’t work out I become grumpy and mean. I try and go to a class whether it be boxing, spin or a circuit, at least four times a week. Living in Melbourne is fabulous because it’s so cycle friendly so I love going for a ride. I also try and walk everywhere I can.

Work arrival

-       What’s the first thing you do? The first thing I do when I get to work is order a coffee because I don’t have an office and work from my local coffee shop. My husband and I set up our laptops across from one another and beaver away.  I pop up and ask him questions at which point he puts on his noise cancelling headphones.

-       What does your day generally look like? We stay there until about midday and then we wander home and raid the fridge for leftovers. My husband is a super cook so there’s usually something pretty delicious in there.

-       What’s on your lunch menu? It could be anything from vegetable frittata to leftover bolognaise.

-       How many problems do you solve throughout the day? That depends what stage I’m at with a book. It could be anything from figuring out what kind of illustration would best suit some text or the price of printing and shipping.

-       Afternoon ritual

-       Maybe a sugar hit or sneaky wine? I would love to have a sneaky wine but I enjoy picking my kids up from school in the afternoon so I don’t think it’d be a good looking to chat to the other parents with booze breathe. Sugar is more my thing. I love to bake. So if I can, I’ll make something before I pick up my ten year old and eight year old girls. There’s nothing more comforting than the smell of baking in the house. My husband curses me and tells me I’m making him fat but it’s not my fault he’s got no self-control!

Night ritual

-       More wine? Ok. Now I can have some wine. We lived in Bali for five years and wine was outrageously expensive so even after being back a year, I still wander down the aisle of our local bottle shop all starry eyed. My husband and I play the game..’How much would you expect to pay for this in Bali’? It’s normally around ten times the price. Wine is such a good reason to have moved back to Australia.

-       Favourite TV show? I love binge-watching TV series.  I’m nearly at the end of Big Little Lies and we recently watched Rectify which I loved. It’s so hard when you say ‘just one more’ knowing you have to be up at 5am, but I manage.

-       Dinner regime? Or maybe you food prep on a Sunday? We eat around 6.30pm or 7am. We all sit down at the dinner table. No screens allowed. I’ve been with my kids most of the afternoon so we’ve pretty much covered all the juicy topics but it’s nice to hang out with them. Even better, they’re on clean-up duty. Someone always has to go to the bathroom at just the right time and they do a really terrible job but it’s better than nothing!

-       Family time? Kids homework etc I’m not very good at supervising homework. I’m terrified what’s going to happen when they get past Year 6 math as I’m terrible at it! The girls will often put on an after dinner performance…something relaxing like Katy Perry’s ‘ROAR’. There’s some pretty sensational dance routines and lip syncing that goes on in our house. We just need a disco ball.

-        Once the kids are asleep I have every intention to sit down and work but I generally end up watching ‘just one episode’ or reading my book and falling asleep on the same page every night.

The Femeconomy Effect: shop your way to gender equality

Jade Collins (left) and Alanna Bastin-Byrne - Founders, Femeconomy

Jade Collins (left) and Alanna Bastin-Byrne - Founders, Femeconomy

It's no secret now that we are practically besties with Alanna and Jade from Femeconomy who live and breathe our message about how much your purchasing decisions matter. They've taken the fact that women are making 85% of the consumer purchasing decisions and gathered together the best of the best female lead brands so that ladies (and men) can shop in a place that supports the accelerated growth of gender equality. How clever clogs is that?!

Further to this, they go about their business with such heart and authenticity, we wanted to hear about their business REAL journey so far. Jade so kindly shared her real with us below. 

Get shopping with Femeconomy here.

1.      Please tell us a bit about your company and your background

At Femeconomy we want women to shop brands with female leaders to create gender equality. With 2000 consumer brands on the site, our goal is to help the Australian Institute of Company Directors reach its goal of 30% of women on boards by 2018. We aim to use the economic lever of women making 85% of consumer purchase decisions to advance gender equality at a faster rate. We call it The Femeconomy Effect. The criteria to be a Femeconomy approved brand is to have at least 30% of women on the Board of Directors or be 50% female owned. So far over 700 brands meet our criteria.

Our goal is to map women lead businesses so that other women can find and support them. Any business who meets our criteria can choose to submit their brand.

I have over 19 years of global experience in corporate executive human resources and management consulting roles in the mining, energy and aerospace industries, leading large scale, complex change management programs. I have HR, Psychology and MBA qualifications. I’ve found that my leadership experience in large corporates is invaluable for creating networks and engaging others to increase gender equality in leadership across industries. I am currently a member of the Queensland Government's Strategic Advisory Group for the Toward Gender Parity: Women on Boards Initiative.

2.    What are some epic achievement highlights in your career?

Being promoted and moved geographically quite rapidly within one company was a highlight. It was a challenging and rewarding time in my life, during which I moved 14 times in 11 years. This was a time of amazing personal and professional growth.

Launching Femeconomy in September 2016, and the recognition that has occurred since then has been a wonderful highlight. Something amazing happens to us every single day right now. I firmly believe the best is yet to come though.

3.    Who do you look up to in the business world?

Leaders who genuinely show their care for people who they lead, and who are inclusive.

4.    What is your business REAL moment? Because, let’s face it, business is not glamourous all the time – we want to know your real stories and how you overcame your struggles.

 Realising we had wasted almost 2 months of our start up journey waiting on the outcome of a grant application before we commenced our website build was a very valuable early learning. Painful at the time, but it taught us to keep moving forward under our own steam, and it also helped push us over the edge of our decision to bootstrap. We are very content with that decision now 12 months in, and I recommend it as a necessary mindset for business owners. We treat every cent as precious, have a clearly agreed budget and plan and we are genuinely not comfortable to spend money that isn’t ours, until we have proven our minimum viable product.

5.    What is the best advice you’ve ever received and how do you apply this every day, month or year?

Be present in the moment. I believe that true connection with other people is the meaning of life. I try to be fully present, curious about others, willing to participate in life and to give back.

Also, greet life with a sense of humour. Laughter is the best thing. Most of my close friends and family will attest to the fact that I am irreverent.

Best networking tip ever – go into all networking situations with the mindset you are there to meet a new friend. It helps you to relax and show up as yourself rather than your position title or your company representative.

6.    What is the one mobile app you can’t live without?

Maps. I’m known for having a shocking sense of direction. GPS has revolutionised my life. I still allow a 30 minute travel buffer as ‘getting lost time’ though. It generally means I habitually arrive early.

7.    What is your best tip for time management?

Read Eat That Frog. Tackle the largest, most important task on your list first every day. Just start. Develop mastery of your email, messages and social media. Don’t let them control you and steal your productive time. Put your phone away and onto silent while you work on the things that will have the most impact.

8.    What are your favourite things on your work desk RIGHT now and WHY?

My To Do list. Because I’d be lost without it. I love the sense of achievement and progress from moving things forward, and I admit to writing things in I just did so I can check them off.

9.    What are your growth plans for your business?

Go global. We want to expand Femeconomy to the USA and UK, once we have an established brand presence in Australia.

10. How do you ‘work-life balance’?

With extreme discipline. It’s hard because I love working, and I derive immense intrinsic satisfaction from it. But I love my family and friends more. So I need to be ruthless about carving out time, booking holidays and silencing my inner dialogue around work. And I am.

11.    Let’s future gaze – if you could see yourself in the next 10 years, what would your life look like?

More holidays. Still working flexibly, perhaps from different international locations. Travel is life.

12.  Lastly, what is your favourite thing to do in your downtime?

Read. Swim. Spend time with friends and family. Appreciate wine and food. Travel.

Andrew Constantine: Keeping businesses ahead of hackers

Hackers aren't interested in small business, right? Technology is safe because everyone is using it, right? WRONG. The biggest mistake you can make with your cyber security is assuming that as a small business you won't be hacked. We asked Cyber Security Expert, Andrew Constantine from CIO Cyber Security to give us some tips on how you can protect your cyber assets.

Andrew reiterated that ASX and even small businesses will be hacked if they don’t have a key focus on cyber security in the next 2-3 years. The flood of devices will continue to grow and less businesses are taking precautions and instead are just utilising the same approach they did 30 years ago. 

“The best defence is having an absolute powerhouse offense.  Every corporate business really needs to think differently and outside the box when it comes to protecting their company's information assets. What worked 5, 15, 50 years ago isn’t the case now - so it doesn’t make sense that businesses are using that same approach in today's world,” said Mr Constantine. 

“Big and small business can and will be hacked if they don’t step outside their comfort zones,” he said. 

“For example, a large private equity business we have been working with didn’t realise we had entire access to their systems until two weeks had gone by and we actually told them - they couldn’t detect us within their systems!  That is a huge area of concern, not only for the business but stakeholders too.” 

“It’s about adopting the new trends. If you stick to the same old strategies you will have the same old results. We aren’t here to lose points, in fact we always are and will be 1, 2 and 3 steps ahead of the curve because of our totally robust model. We call it the 'Attack Proof Triangle' - which has 3 key area’s every single business must address in order for them to be fully 'attack proof.'”  

Mr Constantine said a hacker doesn’t care how big or small a company is - the #1 priority for an attacker is to prove they are smarter than everyone else in which they are - knowledge plays a vital role again. Here are 5 tips to consider about your cyber security: 

1. What used to work doesn’t anymore. Every single business is told to defend when in reality that is a nil-all approach or even a loss. It's the wrong approach - when you invite pressure you will lose.

2. Don’t rely on automated tools. Automated security tools are great, however if they don’t know a threat exists there’s nothing that can be done to stop that threat.

3. The cloud could can be a double edged sword. There are many who say the cloud is great and many who say they would never put their information in the cloud.  At the end of the day you must do your due diligence when utilising the hybrid cloud.

4. Think twice when someone says, “it’s safe.” We’ve seen all those credit cards who claim they are full proof, yet it’s easy to flaw them - It’s about having the best possible response over the uncontrollable.

5. Collaborate, collaborate and collaborate. People follow people - collaborate with other leaders and advisors.  You never know what they may find before someone else does. 

Mr Constantine said these key 5 elements will definitely help businesses looking to power up their offense.  Andrew has worked with technology executives on all levels and leaving his corporate role behind to embarked on his own journey of educating over 10,000 technology executives. You can find him here.

Dr Kal: A Day in the Life of an Acupuncturist

Ever wondered how acupuncture could benefit your overall health? Dr Kal is the guy to ask. He's not only passionate about the business of Chinese Medicine, he's also a down to earth, genuinely nice bloke who approaches everything with humour and heart.

Dr Kal founded Ki Acupuncture, Canberra in late 2014 after recognising there are many talented Chinese Medicine Doctors who leave the industry because they lack the business skills required to make a living. This results in few successful clinics. He aims to create a business where talented practitioners can come to work, be busy (all in moderation) and earn a good living doing what they love... Helping others.

"We work in such an amazing field, we get to so often make a huge difference in the lives of our patients," Dr Kal says. "I love what I do, I love helping others and am glad I can help a few other acupuncturists to stay in the line of work they love too."

So what's a day in the life of Dr Kal like? Thought you'd never ask! Here it is below for you. More info about Dr Kal can be found here.

Morning ritual

-  Alarm time? Unfortunately it’s often 5am!
-  Breakfast menu? Buffet breakfast at the Hyatt if I’m networking! Chia seeds, fruit, nuts and yoghurt if it’s a non-networking work day. Crispy bacon, butter sautéed mushrooms, grilled zucchini, poached eggs and hollandaise if it’s the weekend… (I’m an ex-chef).
-  Exercise? Not enough :-P ... My biceps get quite a workout carrying around my 8 week old son. My fiancé might say I get a bit of exercise pushing my luck.

At work
-  What’s the first thing you do? Turn on the coffee machine!
-  What does your day generally look like? A couple of days a week my day starts with a 6:45 or 7:30 networking breakfast. I love getting out to meet new people here in Canberra (since I’m still fairly new to the region) and talking about my work/passion… Acupuncture!

Other day’s I’m at the clinic by 6:30 to open up for my first client at 7am. 'Why so early?!' You ask. Well, it wasn’t my idea- all my 8am spots were booked out and so many people wanted appointments before work so 7am became the start time (no, I’m not opening up for 6am no matter how many people ask for it!)

-  What’s on your lunch menu? Most days I’m so busy I forget about it. But lately I’ve been eating quinoa salad and roast capsicum stuffed with spinach and ricotta (my amazing fiancé is an awesome cook too).
-  How many problems do you solve throughout the day? Lots! Health practitioner, small business owner with 4 staff, and new dad… So many problems to solve! Mostly as a small business owner I find that I’m always wearing many hats (marketing, website management, graphic design, social media, HR, cleaner, etc) and so often the problems are “I’ve never done this before but I need it done, so time to learn a new skill.”

Afternoon ritual

- Maybe a sugar hit or sneaky wine? Sneaky dash over to the Milk Crate Café for a LARGE cappuccino (it’s awesome that the best coffee in town is so close I can see it from my reception windows.)

Night ritual

- More wine? A red wine with a dash of soda water (just try it, you’ll be surprised!)
- Favourite TV show? Game of thrones, the walking dead, the big bang theory.
- Dinner regime? Or maybe you food prep on a Sunday? We often do a big cook on the weekend and freeze it for easy meals during the week. If stuck for inspiration I’ll often resort to my favourite, peanut satay (the secret ingredient is a large spoon of peanut butter.)
- Family time? Kids homework etc. Leo is only 8 weeks old so thankfully there’s no homework yet. Plenty of cuddles, a few nappy changes, and lots of time just staring thinking “wow you’re cute!”

What do you pack for a Digital Picnic? Cacti, Flamingos & Unicorns, of course!

Cat King and Cherie Clonan - The Digital Picnic.

Cat King and Cherie Clonan - The Digital Picnic.

For our next Q&A interview, we speak to literally the coolest, most fun-loving, REAL women in digital! Meet, Cherie and Cat from The Digital Picnic! These two social media geniuses have done business their way since the beginning and totally rocked it. Case in point: they met online! If that isn’t ‘on-brand’, then we don’t know what is!

They share their business REAL story below. More info about The Digital Picnic can be found here: https://www.thedigitalpicnic.com.au/

1.      Please tell us a bit about your company and your background

We met online via Facebook, OF COURSE! What started as friendly banter on a local Facebook group in the Inner Western suburbs of Melbourne, blossomed into what is now The Digital Picnic.

The Digital Picnic offers social media workshops and digital media training to individuals, small business owners and corporate teams who want to become more social savvy. We’ve trained over 600 social media workshop attendees and run social media workshops across Australia, in addition to our ePicnic Online Social Media Course.

The Digital Picnic manages a range of digital media services for our clients including social media strategy development, content planning, email marketing and influencer outreach.

Cherie - In all honesty, I was always destined to ultimately land up in social media marketing; even before social media marketing was a thing.

In high school, I was the uber-nerdy type that people paid to do their assignments for them [yep.  It’s true.  My first forray into entrepreneurialism, ha!].  I was on the high school chess club [this is where my love of strategy well and truly began, & flowed seamlessly into developing digital marketing strategies for small-large business’ today via TDP].  When my household got the internet [albeit, dial-up], it was one of the happiest days of my life & I lost hours exploring everything online I could possibly explore; mostly being drawn to anything that had some degree of online community feel about it [i.e from yahoo chat rooms where I practiced my French, to mIRC chat rooms where I practiced coding].

You name it? I wanted to be a part of it.

As an adult, I played around with freelancing writing > landed gigs freelance writing for parenting magazines > wrote a blog > grew my readership to 80,000 unique views per month > received invitations to manage online communities on behalf of the parenting magazines I wrote for > moved into social media marketing for small - large business’.

Years later, I loved my craft so much that I decided I wanted to teach it; and that’s my happily ever after, because I’m doing what I love / naturally good at, every single day.

Cat - I’ve worked in the marketing space for the past 18 years, with the last 10 of those specialising in digital marketing. Throughout my career I’ve worked in hospitality, property, utilities and until I went on maternity leave I was the digital manager for a global beauty brand. When I wasn’t able to return to my previous role in a part time capacity I started my own digital marketing coaching business, working with small business owners to upskill them in the digital space. Shortly after Cherie and I ran our very first TDP workshop - not quite expecting it to become what it has today ;) 2017 sees me return full time to TDP now that my youngest will be in daycare and I can’t wait to have full days in the office with our brilliant team!

2. What are some epic achievement highlights in your career?

Cherie - it’s been staying true to my personal goal of #socialmediaforsocialgood

We have facilitated all day training workshops for those within the NFP space, particularly those NFP providers who are working on causes close to our heart [i.e our favourite experience was working with an NFP in the domestic violence space, rehoming women at risk into safe houses].

I don’t think anything about what I am achieving in business matters to me, if I haven’t used my business & its influence to make a positive impact into the lives of those who need it the most.

Cat - Now? I’m really proud of the fact we now have a team - transitioning our business to a company structure and employing staff was such a huge thing! We’ve had a number of points in our journey that have felt incredibly scary, but then there’s huge growth and transformation that happens as a result. It’s definitely a rollercoaster

In my past life - working for a global beauty brand was intense, but an incredible experience. Working in international teams with large budgets and having the opportunity to innovate in the digital space are things that I’ll never forget.

3. Who do you look up to in the business world?

Cherie - Kate Toon.  Zoe Foster-Blake.  The women who are hustling their small businesses into the early hours of the night, with little people waking them in the early hours of the morning the following morning.  The brave.  The intelligent.  The creative.  The kind.

Mostly, I’m attracted to business owners who are renowned for their kindness.  I’ll be entirely honest, I’ve met a lot of arseholes, & so I am positively attracted to anyone who continues to operate a business whilst staying true to their “good-egg” roots ;)

Cat - LOL, Cherie and I have so much in common - which is why we make such great business partners! ;) We both adore Kate Toon at the moment, she’s a breath of fresh air and loves to poke fun at the entrepreneurial fluff that is clogging up our Facebook feeds!!

On a more broad level I love reading about how other working mums do it their way - I find other people’s routines and approach fascinating so I’m a huge fan of The Grace Tales.

4. What is your business REAL moment? Because, let’s face it, business is not glamourous all the time – we want to know your real stories and how you overcame your struggles.

Cat - Being a partnership, communication and respect are critical to the success of our business. I guess I see our business almost as a second marriage - and in the beginning we probably spent way more time communicating [at all hours of the day] with each other than our actual partners! Obviously that wasn’t healthy or sustainable in the long term so we’ve introduced a few things to help us manage our business day to day and allow us to have more work/life boundaries.

Cherie - Oh man, this is easy.  2016. I’ve never worked so hard in my entire life, & I didn’t tell my friends / family, because I was genuinely too embarrassed to admit how many hours I was pulling each week.  I was grappling with comparison’itis, & jealous of everyone who talked about this alleged work / life balance, because I can tell you now, 2016 for me came with absolutely zilch balance and seemingly no life outside of work.

Now? I’m seeing the fruits of that positively insane labour.  We can afford staff now.  We’re building a team.  And I’m learning that this “work/life balance” thing only comes if you’re willing to put in some initially incredibly intense hours.

It sounds cliche, but good things come to those who work hard for them, & so I’m enjoying 2017 so much thanks to 2016’s blood / sweat / [plenty of] tears.

5. What is the best advice you’ve ever received and how do you apply this every day, month or year?

Cat - Run your own race - it’s so easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing, particularly on social media. Our space [social media training] has new competitors popping up all the time - we trust in the strength of the brand we’ve built, believe in good business karma - there’s enough business to go around :)

Cherie - trust your gut.  Those e-mails from potential new leads that just … make you feel a little bit uncomfortable about the possibility of working together? Don’t work with them. 

The client that you’re spending as many hours justifying your value / work, as you are actually executing said work? Fire them.

That attractive opportunity that seems almost-too-good-to-be-true making you lose sleep at night because you can’t quite put your finger on it, but something just doesn’t feel right? Something ain’t right, and your gut ain’t wrong.

6. What is the one mobile app you can’t live without?

Cat - Instagram! Now that Instagram stories are a huge feature of Instagram it's our fave social platform more than ever, both for business and personal use. It can be a huge time suck though, but that’s one of the upsides of having a digital business ;)

Cherie - Asana.  I mean seriously, unicorns fly across my screen when I check off deadlines, … what’s not to love?!

In all seriousness though, Asana keeps me on track, & working in accordance with which deadline is due according to its priority.  Genuinely can’t imagine business life without this magnificent app.

7. What is your best tip for time management?

As Cherie mentioned above, we use Asana as a team - it’s brilliant for task management, reminders, and general team communication and collaboration.

8. What are your favourite things on your work desk RIGHT now and WHY?

Cat - A cup of coffee - always!  [Sad, but true :) ]. We’ve had a lot of fun styling up our office space so there’s always gorgeous things to catch your eye and make you smile - and you’ll see our signature cacti and flamingos EVERYWHERE.  People are really attracted to our brand and our beautiful workshop attendees often send us cards and gifts in the flamingo / cactus theme.

Cherie - my children’s art.  I only have to look to my left, & I have this colourful little reminder of all of the reasons that I’m sat at that desk right there.

9. What are your growth plans for your business?

Cat - We have some really exciting events planned for this year and are looking at ways that we can expand some of our service offerings.

2016 was a big year for us with hiring some fabulous team members to help us- we feel really blessed to have the support of these talented women!

Cherie - 2016 was a huge year of growth [beyond what we even anticipated], so we’re really aiming to streamline our processes / nail our customer service in 2017.

It’s so important to us that we don’t just continue to grow, without putting in appropriate processes to make sure we [& our little team] are dotting all of the business i’s and crossing all of the business t’s.

10. How do you ‘work-life balance’?

Cherie - Hm, I’m not sure I’ll ever have the answer to this, but I can share one recent work/life balance hack that I’ve recently implemented this year;

I uninstalled the Facebook app / Facebook messenger from my phone.  I personally can’t stand the timestamp feature on Facebook that lets everyone know when you were last active on FB, as it means that [if you’re not careful] client’s can say, “oh, while I’ve got you, can you do x, y and z?” and / or see that you’ve ‘seen’ a message despite the fact that at that point in time, it doesn’t suit you to respond to it.

Try it guys, this tiny little life hack has changed my life.  I now check FB for 20 minutes in the morning, and 30 minutes at night; in my own time, and on my terms :)

Now when I log on to Facebook? I wade through 100+ notifications that - actually - aren’t really all that important in the whole scheme of things.  But the thing is, when you have the app connected to your phone, you think all of the ‘likes’ and the ‘so and so has liked your comment’ and the ‘someone you don’t even know has commented below a post you commented on’ are all important, because they’re red notifications

Not for me, not any more.

They’re just 70+ notifications I scroll through now in order to get to the stuff that matters; i.e my Dad commenting on a photo of his grandchildren, an invitation to a friend’s birthday who I haven’t caught up with in far too long, friend’s having babies, & all of the stuff that Facebook used to be exclusively designed for ;)

Cat -

Having a business in the social media space it's really easy to work on your business [and your clients businesses’] ALL the time. Cherie and I are both chronic people pleasers and it’staken a long time, but I’m finally at a point where I can go for a decent amount of time NOT looking at my phone and checking in on email / social channels / all the THINGS. The moment I do, I feel I need to be ‘on’, regardless of whether something is urgent or not. For me, not checking obsessively helps be more in the moment.

Finding time for ‘me’ with a young baby has been hard this past year, but this year I’m scheduling in that ‘me’ time and treating it as ‘not-negotiable’ time ;)

From a practical perspective I use Asana to help organise me / jot down things to remember, and a personalised wall calendar to try and tame the family and our growing list of activities.

11. Let’s future gaze – if you could see yourself in the next 10 years, what would your life look like?
Cat - OMG - I’ll have 2 kids [almost] in high school! Wowsers ;)   But, seriously, I’d love for TDP to be the benchmark provider of practical, results based training in the digital marketing space. We’re building a great reputation, and I’m excited to see where the TDP journey takes us.

Cherie - Sheesh, 10 years from now is hard to imagine.

Personally? I’d love to be happy, because that encompasses everything I want from my life; happiness and health.

Professionally? My goals are exactly on par with Cat’s above, which is probably why we’re in small business together ;)

12. Lastly, what is your favourite thing to do in your downtime?

Cat - spend time with my family - our kids are still very young, so we’re still discovering their amazing individual personalities. Time spent together is treasured and I love that I have had the opportunity to put my family first and still do what I am passionate about.

Cherie - I’m a real homebody.  I’m happiest when I’m with my family; whether that’s doing big, fun things, or small staying-at-home things.  It doesn’t matter.  If I’m with them? I’m at my happiest.

Outside of Mum life? I want to explore my interest in photography further, & this year I’ve enrolled in 3-4 different professional development courses to develop to really grow professionally, which has been in line with some of the resolutions I had for 2017.

Shevonne Joyce: Why are we so addicted to people pleasing?

Today I want to get real about people pleasing. This came up for me recently last week when I realised that I was actually doing it. People who know me will be like “WHHHAAATTT” - I know… The long story short is… I’m human.

I started to think about why I was people pleasing, how I enabled it to play out in my own business and how it’s preventing me from being able to grow and serve others. I want to point out that I’m not what you would classify as a chronic people pleaser, however there have been times when it’s crept in undetected.

I would like to preface this with the fact that a healthy amount of people pleasing can actually be of benefit to you. Like with everything, it’s about balance and moderation. After all, making other people feel good, helping our clients to achieve, feels great, right? Where you need to assess is when you find yourself people pleasing to your own detriment.

Why, as humans, are we so addicted to people pleasing?

Basically, we don’t want to be alone. We are biologically programmed to be part of a community, a collective, to play our roles, to be loved, nurtured, to feel secure. I’m sure you’ve all heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, right? This guy knows what he is talking about. It’s part of the very fabric of our existence and it’s a beautiful thing. Feeling loved, connected, appreciated and accepted is important. Giving and receiving is a key part of our wellbeing and that of others. Being part of a society is about finding genuine connection, friends, family, love, relationships, clients – people who help us evolve, grow and enjoy!

The key difference is between being generous, thoughtful and caring and constantly putting other people before yourself for fear of what they will think of you – at the compromise of your own health and sanity. The reality is, only you get to decide what’s best for your business, life, who you want to be and what you want to do.

We generally people please because we don’t want to be alone, but in reality when the pleasing is off balance, we end up very alone - surrounded by all these people who really don’t give a bleep about us. Because guess what, the more you sacrifice of yourself to appease other people, the more they demand of you – and take from you. Where does this leave you? Running on empty.

I’ve worked with women who have spent years people pleasing and totally losing themselves in the process. Through the work we’ve done together, they have been able to overcome it and go on to create healthy people pleasing boundaries in their business and life.

How does problematic people pleasing translate into business?

There are many ways this can cause problems in your business, but here are a few examples:

  • You end up spending time working with clients that are not the best fit for your business. Signing up clients that are misaligned with what you offer, setting up unachievable standards and failing to deliver or over-promising to land a deal can stifle the growth of your business. Not only will this deplete your time, energy (and let’s face it, money), it will also lead to those clients being dissatisfied with your work.

If you’ve heard our podcast you would know we talk about how “not all dollars are created equal” (wise words by Paul McCarthy). Truer words have never been spoken. As the business owner, it is your responsibility for setting up an appropriate business model and establishing who your ideal clients are, what you offer and how you service them. This means sometimes you are not able to offer exactly what someone is looking for and this is totally okay. One way of overcoming this is to establish a great referral network so you can refer them to other businesses or resources that are in their best interests.

  • You’re so busy trying to please your clients that sometimes you might not be doing what’s best for them. If we aren’t doing what’s best for our clients, where does that leave us? This can include telling clients what they want to hear all the time, feeling unable to constructively say no to them and in some cases just saying nothing at all.
  • You’re making business decisions based on your need to please other people. This means you are not thinking commercially or objectively about what’s in the best interest of anyone. This can manifest across all aspects of business and usually ends up with the people pleaser doing all the leg work, being taken advantage of, enabling their business to go in the wrong direction, not charging what they are worth and in some cases doing a lot of work for free.
  • You people please because you expect reciprocity. This does not always occur nor can it be expected. Decide what you are comfortable giving and to whom its best given too and then give freely. That’s true generosity.

Sure, you might bleep off some people in the process of deciding not to constantly people please – but they are not your people. The truth is people who align to your authenticity are your kind of people and will flock to you like a moth to flame. In this case, sacrificing people pleasing is giving up people who aren’t truly your people, for better people who can’t get enough of you just as you are.

What can you do if you find yourself people pleasing to your own detriment? Awareness is the first step to overcoming it. Don’t beat yourself up, it happens to the best of us. Simply course correct. Change takes time, practice, investment and dedication.

If you’re struggling to break this pattern on your own and it’s potentially damaging to yourself, your business or your clients, the good news is that with the right support and resources you can overcome it and find the balance that works for you. As always, please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.

Shevonne x

Shevonne Joyce works with female entrepreneurs to grow their mindset and their business. She is also the Co-founder and Co-host of The Business Experiment and a regular contributor to publications such as Girl Bosses Australia. More information about Shevonne can be found here: www.shevonnejoyce.com

Emily Chadbourne: The Business Real Of Finding Epic Love

Emily Chadbourne, Founder - That Crazy Little Thing Called Love.

Emily Chadbourne, Founder - That Crazy Little Thing Called Love.

Are you sick of the same old same old when it comes to dating and relationships? Meet Emily Chadbourne from That Crazy Little Thing Called Love.

Emily is an f-bomb dropping dating coach who is about as raw and real at it gets when it comes to both business and finding epic love. She talks frequently about how the work she does is about getting real with clients so they can get real with themselves... It's frankly refreshing. When Jemimah and Shevonne came across Emily, they just knew they couldn't live another day without having her as part of the business real blog series. If anyone is going to tell it to you straight, it's Emily. Read more below for her take on what it's really like experiencing a real day in the life of a dating coach. You can also see more about Emily via her website here:

"When I was approached to write this article, I must admit to delusions of grandeur. I imagined myself as the English Carrie Bradshaw living in Australia. In my fantastical mind, I’d be writing this at an open window, the Melbourne breeze blowing the muslin curtains around my beautifully framed face which is of course, glowing with a gentle tan and kissed by the morning sun.

But here’s the reality.

I’m in a pyjama onesie, on my sofa, with unwashed hair and its approaching midnight.

Because this is about the Business Real, right? So with your permission, I’m going to share with you the messy, crazy and not so graceful reality of a day in my life as a dating coach and founder of That Crazy Thing Called Love. I warn you now, it’s not always pretty!

Every night I set an alarm,

And every morning I snooze the crap out of it.

Sometimes it’s just 15 minutes; on a cold morning up to an hour.

I’ve read that snoozing is a colossal waste of time but I like to ease into my days whenever possible. I use my time in this slumber to visualise the completion of my goals, be grateful for my unbelievably comfortable bed and message my closest friends to wish them a beautiful day. This morning ‘ritual’ is important for me. – it’s connects me with myself, my vision and my tribe – I love my friends.

Coffee is a big part of my life and I drink my first cup in bed once I’ve hit a conscious enough state to boil water safely. While I do this I check social media.

Facebook is a huge part of my business and my main marketing platform so I start interacting and networking before I even brush my teeth. 

And then…I think about going to the gym.

I’m not a graceful exerciser but I drag my sorry arse into Exercise Studio 1 wearing the t-shirt I wore to bed and looking like something from a zombie apocalypse at least 3 times a week. I got flabby a couple of years ago and didn’t like it. So I changed it. And those endorphins are pretty awesome too!

My reward upon returning home from the gym? Another coffee as I shower and get game ready.

I work from home so it’s can be an effort not to put sweat pants back on after my morning shower. But my Grandma always used to say, “if you’re always ready Em, you’ll always be ready.”  So I take the time to put my face on (even if it’s just BB cream and mascara) and style my hair – You never know who you might bump into at your local supermarket (although undoubtedly when I bump into Brad Pitt I’ll be buying tampons!)

My average day consists of client calls, interviews, marketing, HR-ing myself, accounting, project management – with the exception of IT, I am every department in my business.

So it’s tough for me to describe how a working day looks exactly.

But I will tell you this.

I get easily overwhelmed so I try to keep to just 3 new projects at a time.

I work on these along with general business admin, pretty solidly from 11am until around 3pm and then I tend to pause because honestly, it’s around this time that my brain melts.

I used to resist it and try and power through but now I make a conscious effort to work from a space of inspiration. And I’m never inspired at 3pm. Ever.

Instead I use this time for what I do best with little energy – people.

I chat on the phone to members of my business tribe (who are awesome and the tribe is growing), I meet networking contacts for coffee because, coffee! And also because relationships are key to how I generate business and honestly, relationships are how I enjoy doing business.

I tend to graze throughout the day (read, eat continuously) but always have dinner with a friend. This solves 2 problems.

1.     It means I have some kind of social life.

2.     It means I don’t have to cook. Because I can’t. Like, at all. Like, seriously!

I’m usually home by 8pm and will happily work solidly into the evening until I’m out of inspiration or my laptop overheats!

That about sums up a typical working day for me, but I’d like to add a couple of things which are important in my REAL of business.

The first is this. There are always boxes of tissues in my work space. I never used to be a crier. I thought it to be the sign of breaking point and distress and Goddam it, I WASN’T STRESSED!!!!!

But as I’m evolving as a business owner and as a human, I’ve come to embrace tears. They are a release of emotion, an expression of what’s going on in the body and soul and one of the most bloody satisfying things to do on a shit day. Or a great day for that matter.

And lastly, I’ve made a conscious effort of late to make time for meditation and mindfulness in my day. I resisted this for a long time because honestly, I thought it was all a bit wanky. Nice and all that, but really – come on. Who has time to sit on their arse for 20 minutes and think of nothing? Not me!

But as I’ve made friends with my feminine (she’s such a babe) I’ve been much kinder to myself and more focused on the present.

A great friend once said to me “Em, everything is perfect, now.”

And it’s stuck with me.

I have seen such a shift in my relationships, my business results and my happiness since giving myself space to quieten my internal dialogue so I can tune into my true self.

It builds real self-trust for me and I actively encourage my clients (and you) to do the same." 

Peace Mitchell: Mumpreneur Extraordinaire

Peace Mitchell, Co-founder - Ausmumpreneur Australia.

Peace Mitchell, Co-founder - Ausmumpreneur Australia.

The world of work is changing. Now more than ever more people are deciding to take the leap into the world of entrepreneurship. The Business Experiment is passionate about supporting the growth of entrepreneurship and changing the world for world changers. A large segment of world changers includes the growing number of Mumpreneurs who are driving the growth of small business and totally kicking arse along the way. One such Mumpreneur is Peace Mitchell, the Co-founder of Ausmumpreneur Australia.

Peace is the kind of world changer who doesn't just sit around asking for change. She has been working tirelessly, alongside her business partner Katy Garner, to build a network of over 75,000 Mumpreneurs to connect, advocate for and pioneer the way forward for working and business owning Mums. She's also the Director of the Women's Business School, has 4 businesses and 4 children and spends what free time she has daydreaming about travelling to exotic destinations.

We thank Peace for taking the time to share her business real with us. More information about Ausmumpreneur Australia can be found here and the Women's Business School, here.

1. Please tell us a bit about your company and your background

I'm co-founder of Ausmumpreneur Australia's #1 community for mums in business and I'm also co-founder of The Women's Business School, a global business school created especially for women. I'm also mum to 4 children, which is a full time job on its own. Before I had children I was a teacher and I love the opportunity to guide people through the challenges they're facing no matter what age or stage they're at.

2. What are some epic achievement highlights in your career?

I'm really proud of the sense of community we've created through the Ausmumpreneur Network. I'm a member of a lot of business groups but I rarely find the supportive, kind and generous atmosphere that we have within the AusMum community. Building my own School is also something I'm really proud of, as a former teacher it feels right for me to be using education to change the world and the lives of women.

3. Who do you look up to in the business world?

There are so many amazing women I look up to. My favourite right now is Julia Pimsleur, the author of Million Dollar Women. We had the opportunity to interview her in New York City last month and it was so great being able to meet her in person and hear about her journey from small business owner to raising $2 million in venture capital to now best-selling author.

4. What is your business REAL moment?

I struggle with overwhelm all the time. Having 4 children is a full time responsibility so there are always competing demands of family and business to consider when I'm planning my time. It can be difficult managing everything and I often fantasise about running away to Hibiscus island for a mini break.

5. What is the best advice you've ever received and how do you apply this every day, month or year?

"It's not a race" is my favourite saying of all time. It reminds me that 1. I don't have to compare myself to anyone else or what they're doing, this is my own journey and 2. It's ok to be strategic and do things in a reasonable amount of time, as entrepreneurs we often want everything done right now! And 3. You don't have to push yourself into the ground to have a successful business. That's what gives you burnout so I prefer to 'let it be easy' rather than 'hustling.' It works for me!

6. What is the one mobile app you can't live without?

Audible - I love audiobooks so much! I love reading so I save novels for old school books and read business books and personal development books on audio. It's a great way to create time for learning new things because I listen when I'm out walking each afternoon.

7. What is your best tip for time management?

Go to bed early and get up early. It's the only way. I find I need to get a good night's sleep so almost never work at night and prefer planning my day each morning and then starting with the most important tasks first.

8. What are your favourite things on your work desk RIGHT now and WHY?

Oh I love this question! Ha! I'm working at the kitchen table today but sometimes I work at cafes, co-working spaces or in my bedroom office. Right now I have the novel I'm reading 'the storyteller's daughter, a notepad with notes from the event I attended last week, the year 7 subject selections booklet, my favourite tea cup and a whole stack of my three year old's Peppa Pig colouring pages and stickers.

9. What are the growth plans for your business?

I have such big dreams for my business. 2017 will be all about polishing and refining everything we've created in 2016. We introduced a lot of new ideas and some worked and some didn't. The ones that worked will continue to improve upon so they're even better and the ones that didn't work we'll revisit and look at whether to do things differently or shelve them for now. I feel like it will be a year to establish ourselves and continue building a strong foundation.

10. How do you 'work-life balance'?

I have clear boundaries around my time. I almost never work after 5pm or on weekends at all. I find I start to feel resentful if I've been working too much and then I'm not really giving my best to the business so it's more productive to take a break.

11. Lets future gaze - if you could see yourself in the next 10 years, what would your life look like?

I hope that my business is making a difference to the lives of women globally, inspiring women to believe in themselves and supporting them to create and build successful and profitable businesses.

12. Lastly, what is your favourite thing to do in your downtime?

I love being near the water so this can be anything from a bubble bath, to taking a walk on the beach, to having a swim or going sailing. I especially love going to the beach or getting out on the ocean for a few days and find it's really relaxing and helps soothe the soul.



A day in the life of a traditional Japanese tattoo artist

If you thought you had to travel all the way to Japan to experience the traditional form of Japanese tattooing, think again – it’s right here in Surry Hills, Sydney.  

Horisumi–Kian Forreal is one of the industry’s most prominent traditional Japanese tattoo artists and opened his own studio, Authentink Studio, in 2013 after the culmination of 23 years’ hard work, world travel, study, discipline and perseverance. 

Originally from Canada, Kian acquired his first tattoo in 1986 and since then his passion for tattoos has taken over his world.  Kian is proficient in all custom tattooing styles, from small on-point pieces to sleeves, back pieces and full Japanese bodysuits and has earned a reputation for being one of the best and most prominent artists in his field.

So what does a day in the life look like of someone in this space? We find out!

A day in the life of Horisumi–Kian Forreal

As the owner of one of the busiest custom tattoo studios in Australia my day starts pretty early! I usually get up at 7am and eat some fruit for breakfast with my baby daughter before heading out to the gym, for a run or to martial arts class.  As I sit on my ass all day at work I need to do something physical every day to stay fit and keep the blood flowing strong. Running not only keeps my head straight and my body lean but also lets me see some outdoors and sunshine daily which I definitely need in my life.

After all my personal morning activities and rituals I get into the studio around 10 and go through the day with my staff, make sure I know about anything unusual and I brief them on my day ahead so we are all on the same page. I purposely seat myself in the middle of the busiest area of the studio so I can see and hear all that transpires throughout the day while I myself am tattooing. I run my studio like a pirate ship with myself as the captain, obviously, and my trusted staff on the deck running the show and dealing with the artists and clients alike. It works very well as I make everyone understand that they are stakeholders in the business and how it runs, not just myself.  We all break and eat lunch together in the afternoon, I try to bring my own home cooked lunch when I can as I am tired off all the local take out but sometimes you have to eat what’s available. I prefer a salad of organic meats and fresh salads when possible and some rice of course to back it up.

In a customer service industry such as tattooing you are constantly dealing with a multitude of personalities and small issues, every day is like Tetris solving all the little issues and making it all fit nicely. This is a part of the work I really enjoy, making everyone come together and be happy in the end.

Coffee is the fuel that makes the shop run, we have a professional level 7 coffee machine here so there are no hiccups in supply and we all get what we need throughout the day. Most of us are healthy eaters here so we try to avoid soft drinks or sugar throughout the day, but after work more than a few beers are drank to unwind.

The days are long here so after all is said and done I usually don’t get home until 7:30pm to eat a lovely home cooked meal by my wife and with my beautiful daughter. We eat and laugh and then usually watch a show together before she gets put to bed for the evening and I start my night routine of either preparing artwork for the next day or painting something for myself. Most of my nights are spent doing something creative at least for a few hours… otherwise I just get lost binge watching TV series and nothing good comes of that.

I put aside at least one of my days off as family time to spend with my girls where I do my best to leave work behind and just enjoy their company and do simple things like going for walks along the beach and playing in the park.  Those are the best days!




Michelle Shimmy: from boardroom to pole dance academy

Michelle Shimmy - Co-founder, Pole Dance Academy

Michelle Shimmy - Co-founder, Pole Dance Academy

It’s not every day you hear that someone has quit their day job in corporate law to pursue a passion for pole dancing! Which is why we are so drawn to this story.

Meet the Co-founder of the Pole Dance Academy, Michelle Shimmy – epic girl boss and pole dance extraordinaire! 

Pole Dance Academy is leading the pole dancing phenomenon in Sydney, pushing fitness fanatics in a different direction by offering them an exciting opportunity to increase their fitness, feel sexy and see what they’re capable of; all through pole dancing.

Launched 7 years ago, Michelle Shimmy and Maddie Sparkle are the amazing sister duo behind Pole Dance Academy and opened their first studio to share their passion for pole with the rest of the world. As their favourite form of fitness and self-expression, these two passionate performers were so inspired by the art of pole dancing that they left their corporate careers to start Pole Dance Academy and ignite other people’s interest in this phenomenon.

We throw all the REAL questions at Michelle and here she tells her story. You can find out more about her business here.

1. Please tell us a bit about your company and your background

Pole Dance Academy opened in 2009. We have 3 studios in Sydney, Bondi Junction, Crows Nest and Redfern, offering pole dance, flexibility, handstands, and choreography classes for levels beginner to advanced. My business partner is my sister, Maddie. We run the studios together, teach, compete, train, perform and tour internationally. It’s a very busy and hectic life and we love it! Before we opened the studios, I was a corporate lawyer and Maddie was studying fashion design. We were both taking pole dancing classes, and we loved it so much we decided to make pole dancing our career. 

2. What are some epic achievement highlights in your career?

I’ve won or placed in quite a few pole competitions, but for me the biggest highlight has been watching the competition that we organise, Pole Theatre, grow in to a massive global pole dance phenomenon. Pole Theatre is a competition format that we created here in Sydney four years ago. Now it’s in over 15 countries worldwide and we have an international final, which was held in Prague in October 2016. It’s been amazing to see it spread across the world. We have Pole Theatres in Australia, Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. I’ve had some pretty exciting performance opportunities along the way as well, including performing on a float at the Mardi Gras, being featured on the Voice, and performing at events all over the world.

 3. Who do you look up to in the business world?

I don’t really have any particular business world role models, but I’m always interested in hearing about people who follow their passion and create their own jobs, as Maddie and I did. Our careers didn’t really exist when we started out in pole, and we have had to carve out our own way as we go. It’s exciting. It’s like a choose your own adventure story!

4. What is your business REAL moment? Because, let’s face it, business is not glamorous all the time – we want to know your real stores and how you overcame your struggles.

Negotiating leases is the most stressful thing for sure! This task always falls to me because I have a background in law. Overall, I actually think that the hardest thing about running your own business is being able to take a step back and prioritise what the really important tasks are. It's so easy to get bogged down in the details, and to lose sight of the bigger picture. When I get stressed, I meditate. I only started meditating about 6 months ago, but it's helped me manage my stress levels and anxiety so much. I used to get overwhelmed quite easily, and now whenever I feel that way, I meditate. It helps me to keep perspective. And to remain calm when people are testing my patience.

5. What is the best advice you’ve ever received and how do you apply this every day, month or year?

Never respond to an email or phone call when you’re angry. Draft a response, leave it overnight and come back to it in the morning. It’s so much better to defuse a situation when you’re calm than it is to react in anger. Similarly, never make passive aggressive posts on social media. You just end up looking bad. If you have something to say to someone, just say it to them. If you can’t bring yourself to confront them directly, question how important it is to you to make that Facebook post. If making the post is more important to you than knowing that it will affect how people view you, maybe don’t post it.

6. What is the one mobile app you can’t live without?

I love Instagram so much! For pole dancers, it’s the perfect medium to share our work and connect with pole dancers from around the world. Follow me! @michelleshimmy

7. What is your best tip for time management?

Make lists and tick them off as you get things done. It makes you feel so productive!

8. What are your favourite things on your work desk RIGHT now and WHY?

I actually work from my laptop on the couch at home, so my favourite things on my “desk” would be my cat and dog, who always sit next to me while I’m working!

9. What are your growth plans for your business?

I’d love to grow our range of pole wear/active wear, Shimmy & Sparkle. We just launched it earlier this year. So far it’s had a great response, and I’m excited to build it more.

10. How do you find ‘work-life balance’?

Ummm… That’s tricky. When we first opened, for the first 4 years, there was no such thing as work life balance. I worked a full time job as a lawyer during the day, then taught classes at the studio on the weekend and in the evenings during the week. Somehow we squeezed in admin time as well. It was non-stop. Nowadays, we have a studio manager, Nettie, who is amazing and such a big help to us. We still teach, perform and tour internationally a lot, which means that when we are away it’s pretty exhausting. I always come back from a tour feeling completely shattered. I made a promise to myself this year that 2017 would be the year when I put more time into my personal life. So maybe come back and ask me this time next year!

11. Let’s future gaze – if you could see yourself in the next 10 years, what would your life look like?

I’ll still be pole dancing, hopefully! I would love to see the pole industry grow and develop, and I would love to continue to play a role in building this pole community of ours.

12. Lastly, what is your favourite thing to do in your downtime?

Walk my dog and go to the beach. I love my dog so much! And my cat too, but he’s not as keen on the beach as much as my dog haha.

Living like successful entrepreneurs

Jemimah Ashleigh - Founder, Tangs Design and Co-founder, The Business Experiment

Jemimah Ashleigh - Founder, Tangs Design and Co-founder, The Business Experiment

The business real girls are all about what it really takes to be successful in business. They not only podcast about it, they also test out all those articles you read with tips for business success. Recently, they completed an experiment where they spent a week following the routine of some of the world's most successful entrepreneurs to see if this improved their business. Shevonne was the control subject who did what she has always done. Jemimah followed a 9 step routine that included starting with a 5am wake up each morning, exercising, having a hot shower, completing a passion project, running two businesses and eating the entrepreneurs' breakfasts. She penned this hilarious "day in the life of" account that gives insight into a day of this experiment.

You can see the video of the 'Live Like a Successful Entrepreneur' challenge here.
And listen to the podcast here

5.00       Wake up as part of the 5am 'Live Like a Successful Entrepreneur Challenge'. Wonder why the hell I agreed to this challenge.

5.05        Record a video. I’m half asleep. I’ll later watch this back and be super surprised it makes sense. Dave (my partner) and Munro (my cat) are both still asleep.

5.15        Yoga pants. Check. Yoga mat on the floor. Check. Forget everything I’ve ever learned in five years of yoga classes and roll around like a seal on the floor. Check. Listen to 90’s pop music while doing this. Munro assists by laying next to me.

5.35        Shower. Shave one leg. Forget about the other leg. I will realise this later in the afternoon. Listen to part of a TED X Talk in the shower.

5.45        Dressed in beautiful ‘working at home outfit’ featuring stretchy pants, sports bra and clean t-shirt.

6 - 6.45   Start my passion project by Googling ‘What is a ‘Passion Project’. This is followed by Googling photos of Liam Hemsworth and making a collage of his face. Listen to Natalie Patterson- 'Oh To Be Grateful', 'Resolutions' and 'Healing Humanity'. Check emails. Munro sits next to the computer and sleeps half on the keyboard during this. Dave comes downstairs and asks why there are just photos of Liam Hemsworth everywhere. I say for work. I suspect he does not believe me.

7.00        Breakfast time. This morning is Justin Timberlake's breakfast - poached eggs, with waffles, flaxseed oil. Justin doesn’t have coffee with his breakfast, but I do and I think he would understand so I also make an iced latte. 2 shots of coffee, 4 ice cubes and soy milk.

7.30        Make lunches. Dave leaves for work.

8.00        Start work officially. This morning I am working on putting together some orders for Tangs Design. I have over 200 pairs of earrings that need to be matched with the order and put onto cards. I am able to multi task while doing this. Walking Dead Season 3 is on in the background.

10.00     Break time. Food of choice- Belvita Milk and Grain biscuits and a banana. Check Facebook, Instagram and emails again.

10.30     Errand running. Post Office, buy milk and bread. Remind myself that I am in fact a rockstar. Buy another coffee.

11.30     Podcast editing for the release on Thursday. My sister calls leaves two voicemails. My phone is mostly on silent during the week. I check them and the first one is her talking in a posh accent. The second one is her singing Little Mermaid tunes to my voicemail. I love her.  

12.00     Lunch time. Caeser salad from Aldi and a chocolate protein smoothie. I try to eat well when I can, we juggle a lot of things for The Business Experiment and also Tangs. I eat and work at the same time on the podcast. I try to upload for second tier editing by Shevonne. I will forget to hit upload button. Put on slow cooker for dinner and lunches for the week which this week is green vegetarian curry.

12.30     Start work on Tishi App. This app is being released in two days and Ben and I Skype quickly to discuss. Things are going well. I work on identifying talent which mostly means playing on Etsy and using my contacts.

2.00        Skype meeting with Shevonne and Emily Chadbourne regard a collaboration project in 2017.

3.00        Skype meeting with Shevonne re: The Business Experiment and podcast editing. Realise I forgot to hit upload earlier. Finally upload the podcast for second tier editing.

4.30        Get dressed for uni and realise I’ve only shaved one leg.

5.00        Phone meeting with Daniel Liebeck our photographer regarding an upcoming photoshoot for The Business Experiment. Finish watching Walking Dead season 3.

6.10        Drive to Auslan tutorial. We eat dinner together and sign over dinner. Dinner choice is Grilled Barramundi, vegetables and salad. I also have a pint of soda water which is my favourite drink of all time. Try again to remind myself I am cool.

9.00        Drive home. Make a few calls, including my sister. I get her voicemail and sing Aladdin to her voicemail . Arrive home and hang out with a tired Dave on the couch.

10.00     Go to bed and reluctantly set my alarm for 5am. I reflect on the day and note that yes, this has been a productive day. I watch one episode of Brooklyn 99 and immediately fall asleep.

Jemimah Ashleigh is the Founder of Tangs Design, an Australian, artisan jewellery brand and the Co-founder of The Business Experiment. You can contact her here: tangsdesignjewellery@gmail.com


Purposeful: business can be profitable and still have heart

Mike Davis, Founder - Purposeful

Mike Davis, Founder - Purposeful

At The Business Experiment, we believe that business can have heart and still be profitable. More and more, people care where their products and services are coming from and are looking for businesses who live their purpose and values every day.  We love connecting with entrepreneurs who are using their skills and expertise to start brands that empower and help both businesses and people. One such entrepreneur is Mike Davis, Founding Director of Purposeful. 

Purposeful is a 'Social Impact Advisory', B Corp and startup that aims to create social value by connecting business with social, ethical and environmental causes and initiatives. Mike helps businesses integrate these into their business strategy to achieve improved performance, employee engagement and job satisfaction. He also works closely with not for profits and social enterprises, helping them to improve their strategic focus, communications and to develop purposeful partnerships.

Mike has a strong social and health policy background, having worked as a Senior Advisor in Government and having advised large member based organisations on how to engage with Government to achieve the best outcomes. He is passionate about the role that organisations can play in creating social value and developing more connected and prosperous communities. He has strong public, private, social enterprise and not for profit experience.

He has been kind enough to share his business REAL with us below. You can find more information about Purposeful here

1. Please tell us a bit about your company and your background

I started Purposeful after moonlighting as a consultant to social and ethical organisations for a number of years. I did this while working full time in the health and social policy + strategy space for leading health organisations and Government. I was also completing a Masters of Law (Human Rights) at the same time. I noticed that social enterprise founders, not for profits and small business leaders often had so many things they wanted to achieve, that they weren't focusing on stepping back and tackling the higher value tasks around strategy, advocacy, people, partnerships and policy. I helped them to widen their perspective, refine and start to tick off objectives on their higher order to do list.   

During this time, I noticed a possible connection between the problem of the lack of funding for not for profits and social enterprise to solve societal issues, and the failing of business to properly engage with and meaningfully communicate corporate social responsibility offerings. I felt that purpose and developing a way to apply a practical system to embed social impact and purpose into businesses was a way to achieve solutions to both problems. 

2. What are some epic achievement highlights in your career?

Gaining B Corp certification was a huge achievement as it took about 6 months of hard work given that we don't look or operate as a conventional organisation. It also opened so many opportunities to collaborate and connect with a like minded community. Putting together a great advisory board was also hard but so worthwhile. We are lucky enough to have founders of major global brands, a former state premier and some emerging young star change-makers on our board. We are also about to finalise a partnership with a big purpose driven creative agency to launch our podcast - 'Humans of Purpose'. This was a thrilling unexpected development as I was preparing to self-fund this! 

3. Who do you look up to in the business world?

I have great admiration for founders and managers of not for profits and social enterprises that are having a great impact in society, with minimal funding and support most of the time. The fact that they are operating on a shoestring budget means they must be savvy and work much harder than most! I am a huge fan of the teams at Pollinate and Who Gives a Crap! for the work they do in reporting on social impact. They have also built very successful organisations on the back of this. 

I'm also a big fan of Grill'd and Founder Simon Crowe, who has weaved community and purpose throughout his massively successfully business. They also make delicious, ethical and healthy burgers. Also John Mackey of Whole Foods, for the amazing work they have done in creating whole of system stakeholder value and community focus, largely via a conscious capitalism approach to business. 

Simon Sinek and Adam Grant, both professors, academics, writers and organisational theory thought leaders would be my biggest influences in terms of how I behave in the business world. Putting relationships, giving back and putting community at the centre of everything and always remembering to ask 'our why' and not just our 'what' and 'how' as to the things we do and decision we make in business.   

4. What is your business REAL moment?

I was recently asked at a presentation to university business students and aspiring social entrepreneurs about this. I have taken the decision to run a lean startup and as such my team is literally just me and a volunteer that joins me for 4 hours a week to lend a hand. So the challenge is having to always admit to big groups and clients that it's just me! People are usually shocked but eventually we move on to the matters at hand. We will grow soon when our message is more established in the business community, but for now the challenge is doing literally everything in a week. This can range from legal and IP issues to running our social media accounts, to writing proposals and presentations. 

5. What is the best advice you’ve ever received and how do you apply this every day, month or year?

My dad taught me to treat everyone well, as thought they are a close friend. I apply this everyday by choosing to see the best in people and treating them as such. This has led to some great opportunities and relationships, collaborations and partnerships. 

6. What is the one mobile app you can’t live without?

As a podcaster and podcast lover, the "Casts" app is my go to for managing podcasts and planning my listening. It's got great functionality in terms of auto-downloading, sorting and managing my content for me. 

7. What is your best tip for time management?

My best tip would be to use checklists, I use Evernote on my phone and will try to plan what I will do in my days and tick them off as I go. It's hard to explain the satisfaction from such a simple thing like ticking off a to do list task. Having a running idea of what I need to do centres me and helps me shape my day.   

8. What are your favourite things on your work desk RIGHT now and WHY?

I like to keep an insulated cup on my desk and some good quality tea to keep hydrated. I recommend white tea as it has a more delicate taste than green and is also super healthy, packed with anti-oxidants. I'll also make sure I have my laptop hoisted up on a docking station so it's a bit more ergonomic and better for my posture. One day I'll get that standing desk... one day. In the meantime I'll take regular breaks and walks.  

9. What are your growth plans for your business?

We are taking a "slow growth" approach to developing Purposeful. This means concentrating on thought leadership and spreading our message first and in our second phase, we will shift our focus toward building the right client base. As we are working with a fairly innovative approach and set of concepts we are treating this as a "new product or service to market" starting with client education. 

10. How do you ‘work-life balance’?

Not very well at this stage! But I do have a strong commitment to only doing things I enjoy, which means I get our a fair bit to walk, run, play soccer and do some reformer bed pilates. I find sport balances me and allows me to do my best work. I also try and make time for friends and family a few times a week for meals and social occasions. 

11. Let’s future gaze – if you could see yourself in the next 10 years, what would your life look like?

In 10 years, I hope to have a team of about 6-8 people and to have carved out a space as the main provider of social impact and purpose advice in Australia. I hope to have a few kids, be fit and healthy and to be doing more of what I love everyday. 

12. Lastly, what is your favourite thing to do in your downtime?

I love watching documentaries on just about anything and learning as much as I can. I also get a lot of pleasure from playing soccer with friends. 

Shevonne Joyce: Destination 'made it' is a myth

Shevonne is a guest blogger for Girl Bosses Australia and this blog first appeared on their website on 15 November, 2016.

In amongst the mass chaos that ensued the Donald Trump election, news that Sophia Amoruso’s Nasty Gal empire has gone into bankruptcy in the midst of her Business Chicks tour left many #girlbosses shell shocked. Many people have weighed in on the debate about it already; some showing compassion and empathy for what Sophia is going through and others penning prose about how she only has herself to blame. I’m sure over time we will hear more about how the Nasty Gal cards came tumbling down, however regardless of the ins and outs, it’s an important reminder for everyone that business is difficult at any stage – even when you’ve seemingly 'made it.'

There are many reasons why business is hard (and rewarding – let’s be honest) and when I heard this news, I paused to reflect on how to date there have not been enough business real conversations. People are entering the world of business without really understanding what it takes to be successful in business. This is why my business partner Jemimah Ashleigh and I started The Business Experiment and created the business real conversation. We decided it was about time someone spoke about what it really takes to be successful in business; the good, the bad, the ugly. We talk on our global podcast about all the things that no one wants to talk about and listeners contact us regularly to say things like, “I thought I was the only one!” or “thank god someone is finally talking about this!” Is it any wonder that 80% of businesses fail, or in the words of Paul McCarthy “80% of business owners burn out”?

Often people associate business being hard in the beginning – and it is. However, repeatedly over the history of time, seemingly successful companies have dissolved into the abyss. At this point Nasty Gal plans to restructure and seek further investment. What do these examples tell us?  It’s important to recognise that as your business evolves, your challenges evolve. If you fail to keep ahead of the game, you may just find yourself in a tricky situation.

It reminds us to be mindful of all the moving parts in a business and how they can contribute to its overall sustainability. Whilst this is not an exhaustive list of every factor to consider, I've penned a top 5 as a good starting point: 

  • The supply and demand of today may not be that of tomorrow

Supply and demand is a very important thing – your business will tank without it. In fact, it won’t even get off the ground if there is no demand for your products or services. A fundamental step in creating a business is to ensure there is demand and then to build a movement. Simply meeting a demand now is no longer, in itself, a surety for keeping business alive. The world is moving at a faster pace than ever before and a key requirement for being successful in business is keeping ahead of the game as life evolves. I’m sure we all recall the demise of the Blackberry phone in the face of the iphone or Kodak in the face of the digital camera. Blackberry and Kodak, once profitable businesses, ultimately failed to keep ahead of the game. In fact, an employee of Kodak invented the digital camera and while they made money from the patent for a period of time, they ultimately failed to make the most of the technology before them and went bankrupt.

  • Don’t just have a purpose, live your purpose

More and more people are questioning and care about where their products and services are coming from. Businesses have more responsibility than ever to ensure they are delivering on their promises. If your brand is built on the back of a movement to empower women and you are not empowering women in your everyday operations, Houston we have a problem. It’s more than writing some values and a mission statement. Your purpose must be the fabric of your very existence. From your culture, to your production, to the way you treat your customers, your suppliers and employees. As your business grows and becomes more profitable, the need to maintain living your purpose does not diminish. In fact, it becomes more important.

  • Build a culture that empowers others to live your purpose and your brand

Leading on from living your purpose, as your business grows and you employ staff, it’s important to build an internal culture that reflects your purpose and values. Do not underestimate the power and cost associated with high turnover and what the market is saying about working for your brand.

Just like online reviews from customers is growing, so too are online reviews about employers. The age of transparency is upon us more than ever before and quicker than one can toast a piece of bread, people can surf websites like Glassdoor.com and read anonymous reviews from current and past employees.

Sure, the reviews are anecdotal and there is always more than one side to consider. However, when you have 100 reviews, all saying similar things, where there is smoke, there may be fire. Glassdoor.com receives about 30 million unique visitors each month, which indicates that the world is paying attention. Forbes has suggested that businesses are starting to utilise these platforms as a way to get a sense of their cultural undercurrents and keep policies relevant.

How do you build a culture? It’s important to have policies, values, missions and clear parameters on “the way we do things around here.” Exactly what’s required to build culture in your business will depend on the business. The key is to ensure your culture is implemented in practice. A good place to start is ensuring your managers have built strong relationships with your employees, that employees have the tools, processes and resources they need to do their jobs, feel valued and are clear on their purpose.

  • Enable your thinking to evolve along with your business

Think about your strengths and your shortcomings. What kind of development do you need in order to ensure your business has the talent and capability it needs to pioneer? If it’s not something you are willing or able to develop, outsource it to someone who has that capability. We’ve all heard the stories about employees who were technically brilliant, however had terrible people skills and were promoted into management positions without any or with minimal training.

Learning continues throughout business and throughout life. You will face new challenges as your business grows. The biggest mistake any #girlboss can make, is becoming “comfortable” with your success. Think about the types of resources you might need to continue to develop. For example, coaching, mentoring, training etc. Invest in what gives you the most value and contributes to your overall aim.

  • Understand success and failure go hand in hand

There’s a quote that I love by Maya Angelou which has become a bit of life hack: “Do your best until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

Success and failure are less black and white and more a series of triumphs and tribulations. The road, in some parts, may be rocky. Ensure your suspension is up to scratch and do the best you can, with the resources available to you, to navigate the rough terrain. There will be times you make mistakes and blow a tyre. It’s less about the mistake you make and more about how you fix it.

Success is learning through failure. Many of us have failed and reinvented ourselves. All the best #girlbosses do. Embrace it, respect it and learn from it. Remember, destination 'made it' is a myth – we all must continue working hard to reap the rewards of business.

Shevonne Joyce is the Founder of Yellow Palomino and the Co-Founder of The Business Experiment. She works with womenpreneurs to assist them with achieving in business and life. She also co-hosts a weekly podcast about the real of starting a business for the first time and has listeners in 16 countries. Shevonne can be contacted via hello@yellowpalomino.com , on Facebook or Instagram.


Tsuno aims to change the lives of women around the world, one tampon at a time

Roslyn Campbell, Founder - Tsuno.

Roslyn Campbell, Founder - Tsuno.

Jemimah and Shevonne are passionate about world changers. When they heard about the great work Tsuno is doing, they had to share it, talk about it, promote it, empower it. They love the concept of taking western consumerism and turning it into a powerful mechanism for change. The Business Experiment girls are passionate about informing, inspiring, empowering and sharing these amazing initiatives. Today we share the Tsuno story.

Roslyn Campbell, has made successful steps toward changing the feminine hygiene industry over the past few years through the introduction of her brand, Tsuno.

Feminine hygiene is a luxury many people take for granted. The reality is, women all over the world are finding it hard to access sanitary items - even in a country like Australia. In 3rd world countries this issue is compounded, not only from a lack of access to appropriate sanitary products, but also the cultural taboos around menstruation more generally. Girls are forced to improvise, using rags, newspaper, kitchen sponges, leaves and even tree bark.

Deciding to attack the problems she had identified at their roots, Roslyn created Tsuno.

Tsuno is a feminine hygiene social enterprise that aims to be eco-friendly, organic, biodegradable and sustainable, whilst also helping change the lives of women around the world by providing them with basic sanitary products. We've detailed how she's changing the lives of women below.

Alongside Fiction - they have just launched their 'Break The Cycle' campaign - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHqog8I04uM

This video was created for women, and only by women, you can watch the behind the scenes video here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNzAYkGxwc4 

The idea behind Tsuno came after Roslyn discovered the ‘menstrual cup’ in Europe 4 years ago, and decided to research more into feminine hygiene products. Through her research, Roslyn identified a two-part problem with current sanitary products. Firstly, she was shocked to discover how much plastic and other harmful chemicals were used to create every-day tampons and pads. Secondly, she was saddened to learn about girls in Sierra Leone, who were not able to attend school regularly (missing up to 20% of the school year) due to having no efficient or hygienic means to manage menstruation.

Tsuno currently stocks only pads made from natural bamboo, meaning no harsh chemicals are needed to process it. The products are all individually wrapped in biodegradable sleeves, and packaged in recyclable cardboard boxes. She is currently researching how to make the existing pads 100% biodegradable (at this stage, the bottom layer is a breathable polyethylene film to ensure the pad is leak proof.)

Tsuno donates 50% of net profits from the sale of their pads to charities helping to empower women in the developing world. Tsuno is currently working in partnership with the non profit One Girl, who give girls access to education in Sierra Leone and Uganda, and run an amazing menstrual hygiene program called Launch Pad. Tsuno is changing the game and it is so important that women are becoming more and more educated on the topic and understanding how lucky some of us really are.

Not willing to stop there, Roslyn also decided Tsuno would support charities closer to home, here in Australia to ensure that she could also help women who were facing the indignity of not being able to access basic sanitary items. In the last year, more than 10,000 boxes of pads have been donated to Share the DignityThe Asylum Seekers Resource Centre and Essentials for Women South Australia.

Having made a successful impact over the past 2 years, including acquiring stockists in multiple parts of the world, Roslyn has decided to expand Tsuno in the hopes of being able to reach and help more people. Last, but definitely not least, all of Tsuno products are packaged in boxes with beautiful designs created by local artists.

You can find more information about Tsuno here

Shevonne Joyce: How mindset affects your ability to grow your business

Ask any successful entrepreneur and they will likely tell you that mindset is critical to your success in business. Yet, people tend to underestimate how much mindset actually impacts all elements of their life, including business growth. Definitions of mindset vary slightly depending on which source you refer too. Essentially mindset is the way you understand and respond to the world around you. It’s about your thinking, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours and can influence everything from the way we build relationships, problem solve, our creative thinking, how we perceive success and failure, valuing our own worth and more. A lot can be determined about our current mindset from what we prioritise and value. For example, Dr. Carol Dweck talks about the idea of “fixed” vs “growth” mindset and how your mindset can contribute to your success in life. A key part of her work includes the fact that mindset can be changed – the brain can be re-wired over time.

Carol demonstrates this with examples of children in school who went from consistently scoring some of the lowest results on tests to out-performing top schools through developing a “growth mindset.” In her book, “Mindset: Changing the Way You Think to Fulfil Your Potential”, she defines “fixed mindset” as “believing your qualities are carved in stone” and the need to “prove yourself over and over.”  In other words, people with a fixed mindset often have black and white thinking about success and failure and rarely push themselves outside of their comfort zone for fear of making mistakes. This means they are more likely not to try new things and operate within the boundaries of what they’ve always known and done.

On the other hand, in her book Carol defines the growth mindset as having the “belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts.” She highlights how this impacts people through focusing on learning as opposed to what you know now - she refers to this in a Tedx talk as "the power of (what you don't know) yet."

How can mindset apply in starting and growing your own business?

The reality is it can impact your business a great deal, in ways you might not have even imagined. Through the coaching work I do, I have seen changes in mindset take place within clients who came to me stuck, burnt out and struggling to overcome the obstacles that were preventing them from getting where they want to be. Mindset in business is about how you operate within your business to cultivate business growth and success.

Here are 5 examples of the ways in which mindset can impact your business:

  • Creativity

From building business strategy, to sales and marketing, creativity is important for growing business. You are always required to think outside the box, keep ahead of the game and try to be original in the way you think about your business. Notwithstanding legal and compliance requirements, on the whole the best part is there’s no pre-determined rules when you are in your own business. The worst part is there’s no pre-determined rules. This requires a truckload of creativity.

Creativity simply cannot flourish when you are stuck in your mindset. Sometimes clients say to me, “I can’t” or “I don’t know what to do.” Referring back to Carol Dweck’s work above, the truth is, they don’t know what to do YET. The beauty of this is, with the right support and resources, it is possible to change thinking, become “unstuck” and work out the best way forward.

I’m a great believer in our potential only being limited by our mindset. A great example of this is how Daniel and Justine Flynn and Jarryd Burns built their social enterprise Thankyou by questioning all the rules, building their own movement against great resistance and being creative in their  implementation. They did not approach this venture from the perspective of “we've never done this before, it will never work, no one will take us seriously.” They googled “how to manufacture bottled water” and went forth with the mindset of “how can we make this happen?”

  • Resilience

We’ve all seen the memes floating around with “failure is the key to success!” What does this actually mean in real life? The failure itself is not the key, what you learn from it and how you grow and evolve is. I saw Paul McCarthy talk at a conference recently and he said “80% of businesses don’t fail. 80% of business owners burn out.” I could not agree more and I believe a large part of this is down to not investing in nurturing and growing mindset.

How do you know it’s time to shake up your mindset? When you’re feeling a bit like a mouse on a wheel – expending tonnes of energy and not seemingly getting anywhere. This is where burn out begins to occur and it can happen at any stage of business. Being able to utilise your mindset to overcome failure, obstacles and adversity, to find the learning and apply it in new and creative ways to move forward is critical. As mentioned above, those who have developed a “growth mindset” are more likely to value the learning than despair over the failure.

  • Accountability

When you are your own boss, no one can hold you accountable but yourself. This can lead to a tendency for procrastination. I’ve coached clients who have a lot of great ideas and are struggling to implement them, which was leading to poor sales and failing businesses. To add insult to injury for them, sometimes they would procrastinate about their need to tackle their procrastination!

Procrastination in itself can be complex. If it is hindering the growth of your business, it’s important to think about what assistance and resources you might need to help you move past it. I’ve worked with clients who have been able to develop tools and strategies that they’ve continued to successfully use after our coaching program finished. One client wrote to me to tell me how she has been using our tools and strategies in her every day life, which I thought was brilliant!

  • Perfectionism

I’ve worked with clients whose perfectionism was driving them to physical exhaustion. It would manifest in different ways from feeling unable to let go of or pass work on, overcommitment and a series of hasty decisions out of fear of making the wrong decision (which inevitably lead them into one mighty pickle).

One example of how you can stifle the growth of your business through perfectionism is feeling unable to delegate work to staff members. This can prevent you from spending valuable time working on your business, because you are always stuck in your business. Being in business is hard, right? You’ve invested so much in growing your business that often the thought of handing it over to someone else can seem incomprehensible, I get it. However, it is possible to work with the clients you want to, build better relationships with your employees and free up more time to take your business to the next level. I know because I've worked with clients who have achieved it.

  • Value and worth

The other day a talented and completely capable woman told me she was unable to define why people would pay her for her services. As in, what benefit they were actually getting out of hiring her. She was comparing herself to others in her industry and how they approach servicing their clients. She knew her differentiator, however couldn’t articulate why anyone would want to pay her for that and she was doing a lot of work for free. She was stuck in her mindset about her value and worth. This is more common than many people would realise and every client I have worked with has had varying degrees of this issue.

In some cases it can be so crippling that people struggle to effectively market themselves, talk about what they offer to potential clients or charge appropriately for their products/services. Through my conversation with her, we were able to unlock the value of her differentiator and suddenly it opened up a whole new world of thinking. She said “Wow! I had never thought of that before.” This is an example of how the mindset can be shifted and unlocked through coaching.

Often people will look to their competitors for the answers. Trying to model your business on what your competitors are doing, can sometimes cause you to miss the value you individually bring to the table. Understanding and applying your value requires self-awareness, understanding your strengths and the ability to leverage your mindset to grow and evolve your value as your business also evolves.

The good news is, it is possible to grow your mindset and develop innovative thinking tools that can span across all areas of your business. Mindset is an important part of being successful in business and in some cases, can be the make or break component to getting where you want to be.

If you would like to chat with me about how I can help you grow your mindset in business, please click here.

Shevonne Joyce is the Founder of Yellow Palomino and the Co-Founder of The Business Experiment. She works with womenpreneurs to assist them with achieving in business and life. She also co-hosts a weekly podcast about the real of starting a business for the first time and has listeners in 16 countries. Shevonne can be contacted via hello@yellowpalomino.com , on Facebook or Instagram.


Breaking down barriers: women pioneering diversity in male dominated industries

Penelope Twemlow.

Penelope Twemlow.

In the first of our Q&A series, we speak to an epic boss lady who is pioneering diversity in a male dominated industry.

Meet Penelope Twemlow, CEO of Energy Skills Queensland. She is also the Founder and Chair of Women in Power - a NFP organisation providing assistance to women in the Electrotech industry, the Chair of the Queensland Government Electrical Safety Education Committee and a member of the National Association of Women in Construction.

She was also recently awarded the 2016 Queensland Telstra Business Women's Award for Social Enterprise and Not For Profit due to her work in the energy, mining, gas and telecommunication industries.

Adding to that she was recently named a finalist in the Brisbane Women in Business Awards, the National Association of Women in Construction Awards, the Australian Institute of Management Awards and the Lord Mayors Business Awards. WOW!

On a personal note, she is a survivor, and now Ambassador, of domestic violence and mental health. Her advocacy work provides assistance to much needed community groups and people.

In our opinion, Penelope is a resilient and inspiring business woman. We can all learn a lot from her.

Here is her business REAL story and we thank her so much for enabling us to share it with you. You can also check out the Energy Skills Queensland website here - http://www.energyskillsqld.com.au/

1.    Please tell us a bit about your company and your background

Energy Skills Queensland is the leading, independent, not-for-profit organisation providing innovative solutions to enable a skilled and safe energy industry. Supporting the electricity, oil and gas, mining and telecommunications sectors, Energy Skills Queensland engages, researches and develops products and services that align to the current and future needs of our stakeholders. 

Energy Skills Queensland support industry, government, training organisations and other stakeholder groups through:

  • The provision of industry intelligence, including workforce planning, research and analysis
  • Sourcing funding to deliver skills development and employment programmes
  • Educational design and programme development
  • Facilitation of engagement activities such as industry leader and training groups

Energy Skills Queensland prides itself on delivering the following benefits to the people we work with:

  • Innovative and agile solutions that add value
  • Deep technical knowledge and industry subject matter expertise
  • Networking and collaboration opportunities.


I am a high calibre executive with 16 years of operational and strategic management experience in national and international high risk environments. I have strong performance in the operational management of large and diverse teams and in-depth program management experience. I drive cultural and behavioural change through exceptional stakeholder and communication skills and have a strong ability to influence thinking, forge strategic alliances, and build consensus.

My career commenced in the Australian Defence Forces where I was involved in projects and deployments around Australia and the ASEAN region, including the management of the United States President visit to Australia. Subsequent to the Forces, my risk and management skills were repeatedly sought out by companies involved in the mining, oil and gas sectors including positions of General Manager and Director. In 2015, I was named Chief Executive Officer of Energy Skills Queensland.

I hold two Masters degrees, two Graduate Diplomas, an Advanced Diploma and a handful of other accredited qualifications. I am a Graduate of the AICD and a fellow of AIM and the Chair of Women in Power and a committee member of the National Association of Women in Construction. 

This year alone, I have been nominated for the Brisbane Women in Business Award, the ACLW 2016 Diversity Awards, the Telstra Business Women’s Awards and the AIM Excellence Awards.

In my spare time, I enjoy anything that is outdoors. I am in training to complete my first half marathon and hope to complete the New York marathon in the near future. I live vicariously through my family pets and I enjoy travelling, dancing, singing and cooking, even though I am not good at many of them.

Due to my family history and life experiences, I am heavily invested in providing assistance and support to the following charitable and community-based organisations:

  • Domestic Violence
  • Heart Foundation
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Soldier On
  • Walking Wounded
  • Beyond Blue.

Last but not least, I am dedicated to continuous improvement so I am studying neuro-linguistic programming so that I can understand how humans work better.

2.    What are some epic achievement highlights in your career?

I have had many proud moments in my life, from blitzing my beam routine in gymnastics when I was a young girl to defending and representing my country in the Australian Defence Force. However, in the last five years, my proudest achievement has been two-fold as they are interlinked: the first was attaining my five-year goal of the CEO position; the second was graduating from the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) whilst being employed full-time as a CEO.  

Since I was a young girl, I have known that I was destined to lead and manage teams and organisations. I have worked diligently and tirelessly throughout my career to position myself, both experience and qualifications-wise, to attain the CEO position. In 2015, I was recognised for my efforts in the energy industry and my abilities for leadership and management, subsequently gaining the title of CEO of Energy Skills Queensland. I am unbelievably proud that I have reached this position, particularly in the high-risk and male-dominated industries in which I have worked.

Since 2010, I have wanted to complete the AICD course so that I could achieve my goal of remunerated Board memberships. In early 2016, after five years of dedicated on-the-job learning and coaching/mentoring from experts, I graduated from the AICD.

Most recently, my greatest achievement has been winning the Telstra Business Womens Award for Queensland for the For Purpose and Social Enterprise category.

3.    Who do you look up to in the business world?

My business mentor is the Chairman of my Board who provides ongoing leadership and management advice, ensuring that I am able to be a more effective leader and CEO. I also look up to strong women in leadership positions, much like Rosie Battie, Elizabeth Broderick and Michaliea Cash.

4.    What is your business REAL moment? Because, let’s face it, business is not glamourous all the time – we want to know your real stores and how you overcame your struggles.

In 2001, I was at sea with the Royal Australian Navy as a Warfare Officer in command of a warship and its’ 300 people. On September 11, the terrorist attacks occurred in the US. On this day, my mother and twin sister were on a plane headed to the US.  

This situation was a time of unknown information and possible ramifications. Without knowing the whereabouts and confirmed status of my family, I was still required to maintain my position on the warship, navigating the ship and ensuring the safety of all on board. I was also required to provide counselling and advice to my troops on similar matters, without knowing any information about my personal situation.

5.    What is the best advice you’ve ever received and how do you apply this every day, month or year?

Never compromise on your integrity.

Integrity is a choice, and while it is influenced by a myriad of factors such as culture, upbringing, influences etc., it cannot be forced. Our standards of integrity are our core principles and values that guide our behaviour. If you have strong and well-defined standards of integrity, you lead by example, and you behave with honesty and do right by yourself and others. 

Those who are guided by a strong sense of integrity fare much better in professional life, and will be successful where others fail.

6.    What is the one mobile app you can’t live without?

I probably have two apps that I cannot live without. The first is my calendar as it lets me know where I have to be and when. The second is CAMCARD, which allows me to quickly capture new contact details by taking a photo of a business card.

7.    What is your best tip for time management?

Write lists! I am a list person, and without them, I would be lost. I write a new list out each and every day to ensure that the tasks that MUST get done that day are able to be achieved.

8.    What are your favourite things on your work desk RIGHT now and WHY? 

I have a pink stress ball/tension ball in the shape of a pig called ‘Pamela’ which my EA gave to me. I love Pamela as she makes me laugh during the day when I catch a glimpse of her and she also helps me when I am stressed by letting me take out my tension on her.

I also love the photos of my twin sister that remind me of her each and every day and my UK mug and Harry Potter coffee mat. We all have a little child in us somewhere! J

9.    What are your growth plans for your business?

I am a high achiever and I set myself both personal and professional goals.

Professionally, I hope to achieve further government funding to provide additional training and employment programmes through Energy Skills Queensland to further assist disadvantaged community members. Having recently graduated from the Australian Institute of Company Directors, I am also seeking further Board appointments to gain additional experience and grow her Board portfolio. With the committed assistance from the State Government, I hope to officially launch ‘Women in Power’ later this year and grow it into a community that holds a national existence.

10. How do you ‘work-life balance’?

In achieving work-life balance, I always try to make weekends ‘my own’, that is, I try not to arrange any work requirements over the weekend period. Sometimes this cannot be achieved due to operational requirements. I also have a very loving and supportive family who let me know when ‘enough is enough’ and to take some time out for myself.

11. Let’s future gaze – if you could see yourself in the next 10 years, what would your life look like?

In ten years’ time, I would like to see myself in a CEO position of a larger, multi-million or billion dollar company, achieving success both nationally and internationally. In ten years’ time, I will hopefully be able to slow down and settle down with a family of my own. 

12. Lastly, what is your favourite thing to do in your downtime?

My favourite thing to do when I have some time to myself is catch up with friends or play with my family dogs. I also thoroughly enjoy running and working on my physical fitness. 

Shevonne Joyce: The silly season is the best time to get serious about your potential

It’s November and the silly season is now upon us.

Traditionally, the 1st of November signals the perfect time to break out the bubbles and the cheese board, let our hair down and put off all the important things until the new year… Or does it?

Contrary to popular belief, now is actually the best time to get serious about your potential. Of course, make time for bubbles and cheese platters (and we all need to let our locks flow free every now and again), but more than that, make time for yourself. Many people say that business isn’t personal, however I disagree. When you have your own business, you are the brand. Any successful entrepreneur will tell you that ‘mindset’ is one of the most critical elements to being successful in business – even during the festive season.

From now until February is actually the perfect time to invest in preparing yourself for ‘girlbossing’ 2017 like you’ve never ‘girlbossed’ before! Here are my top 5 reasons why:

  • When the world slows down, it gives you space to reflect, grow and learn.

    Some of the best ideas and revelations can occur when your brain stops. The outside world goes quiet and you have time to re-wire. As the everyday demands of working in your business slow down, it enables you to start thinking about working on your business (and yourself). It’s a great time to tackle problems, issues and worries you have been putting off and get your creative juices flowing to sculpt your business strategy for the New Year.
  • Working on your business and yourself now will give you a head start for the New Year.

    While everyone else is rushing back in a mad panic to get their new year’s resolutions in a row, you could be sailing back to work clear on the direction you are heading in – because you’re already one step ahead of yourself! While everyone else is trying to remember their computer password in a fog of champagnes past, you’ll be kicking arse like you’ve never kicked arse before.

    A key aspect to being successful in business, particularly in the beginning is being able to utilise the resources you have at your disposal to achieve your goals – one of these resources is time, which most of us feel like we don’t have enough of. Feeling stressed, trying to prioritise this during the New Year buzz could be counterproductive. Think about what you could achieve if you started now!
  • Investing in yourself is an investment in your business

    “Potential” seems to be buzzword of the century, I get it. The reality is we all have it and it will serve us best if we make the most of it. If you have issues, worries and stress holding you back in business and depleting your energy, potential can be the difference between mediocre and good or good and great. Who wants to be mediocre and just scrape by when you can be good or even better, great?!

    Being in business is hard. The good news is it doesn’t have to be THAT hard if you are investing in the right resources to get you where you want to be. I’m working with coaching clients right now who have recognised that they have the potential to start 2017 renting less headspace to problems and stress and more headspace to implementing goals and strategy to grow themselves and their business. You can too!
  • “Self-care isn’t selfish, it’s mandatory” – Jemimah Ashleigh

    My business partner and co-founder of The Business Experiment, recently wrote a blog about how “self-care isn’t selfish, it’s mandatory.” I absolutely love this sentiment. The way you self-care is entirely an individual decision, based on your needs and personal preferences and can cover body, mind and spirit. People often save all their self-care up for holidays and run themselves to exhaustion the rest of the year. Instead, self-care is something that is best practiced regularly, particularly when you are in the all-consuming world of entrepreneurship!

    Instead of relentlessly being at the grind stone until 5pm on December 23, aim to incorporate self-care into your routine all year round. If you’ve been working to the bone, don’t panic. Instead of putting this off until the New Year, just start. The best place to start is somewhere – and that somewhere is here and now.

    It doesn’t have to be a huge, time consuming or expensive exercise – something as simple as prioritising taking a break from your desk and walking around the block to clear your mind and get your heart pumping can be beneficial. Think about what you need and what’s realistic for you to incorporate regularly. Taking some time out for thinking, creating and problem solving now can be a great way to dedicate time caring for yourself and in turn, your business.
  • Investing in yourself is also investing in those we care about – friends, family, colleagues and clients.

    We spend so much time investing in other people and putting our all into caring about them that we often forget to invest in ourselves – particularly over the silly season.

    When we are our best selves, we have much more to give to those who are important to us. This is true in both our personal and professional lives. Of course, we don’t want to spend the entire holiday season focusing solely on our business – it’s all about balance and being present to the different elements of our lives (including time with our loved ones). However, instead of feeling guilty about prioritising and investing in ourselves, it can help to recognise what the wider benefits could be to everyone who matters to us.

    In summary, the silly season doesn’t have to be entirely silly. It can actually be a great time to begin achieving what you want to achieve now to give yourself the best head start in the New Year! 

    Shevonne x

Shevonne is the founder of Yellow Palomino and the Co-Founder of The Business Experiment. She can be contacted via hello@yellowpalomino.com , on Facebook or Instagram.

Jemimah Ashleigh: Self care isn't selfish

This week is ‘International World Mental Health Week’ so let me start this off by saying that – I get it. Self-care has some serious negative connotations around it. It’s seen as selfish and weak. It’s seen as ‘me time’ and often in the entrepreneurial world, this is frowned upon. To put it nicely, this is a complete load of crap.

Did you know that 1 in 3 people will have a mental illness during their lifetime, or that 1 in 5 people are struggling with a mental health disorder at any time in Australia?

This subject of self-care is so very important to me. Why?

In 2015, I suffered my first ever panic attack. If you haven’t had a panic attack, it basically feels like you are dying. Attacks can last for up to 20 minutes where you are unable to control the physiological symptoms in your body and your internal monologue is less than helpful. I was driving home and then suddenly I couldn’t breathe. My heart rate shot through the roof and I couldn’t control anything about my body. I felt like I was dying.

After my first attack, I went to the doctor and I had it explained to me that my body was flooded with cortisol – the nasty stress hormone –and that my body was set into almost immediate fight of flight mode, or a panic attack.

Long story short and what I want to focus on in this blog, was while there were multiple things that lead to my recovery, the main thing for me was simply self-care. I did it poorly for a long time and now it’s become a very important part of my life and something I want to share.

These are my top self-care tips this week during International Mental Health week.

1.     Bubble bath. I write this blog having just gotten out of the bath this morning. Hot bubbly water, some relaxing music, Lush Bath Bombs and soak away as long as required. I also highly recommend adding a glass of wine, green tea or a soda water while all your stresses drift away. (My music recommendations The Little Stevies – http://www.thelittlestevies.com/ and of course, bathtime essentials - Lush Bath Bombs - https://au.lush.com/products/bath )

2.     Meditation. I’ma massive believer in the power meditation and stretching. I lay my yoga mat in the middle of the lounge room floor. My go-to guru for meditation is Rebecka Beruki. Bex does amazing guided spoken meditation. Meditation reduces stress, encourages a healthy lifestyle, increases happiness and all round is good for your mind body and soul. It works a treat for me.

Find Bex here: www.bexlife.com

3.     Massage. This is my expensive self-care indulgence. Give me a 90 minute massage, hot stone and hot oils and I’m pretty much in bliss for the next 90 minutes.  Massages will improve muscle tension, heighten mental alertness and reduce stress hormones. I recommend following it up with a fresh fruit and veggie juice and doing little to no work for the rest of the day.

4.     Cuddles. Or sexy cuddles. Physical touch can be very soothing and can increase oxytocin hormone levels, or ‘the love hormone’. Cuddling can reduces the risk of heart disease, reduces blood pressure and reduces stress and anxiety. Also, sexy cuddles can be the same amount of exercise as a 30 minute jog.  So…. There is also that.

5.     Mid-morning dance party. In my lounge room, I’ve performed with Beyonce, Fall Out Boy, Celine Dion and not to toot my own horn here, but I am exceptionally amazing at belting out 90’s love ballads.

Throw yourself a sing-a-long, dance, yell, get that heart rate up and get your soul happy. Dance parties are amazing, even if they are solo.

6.     Time Off. There are three types of time off for me:

The Morning/Afternoon Off: I do this usually when something is happening and I need to buy myself a few hours. I hit it hard in the morning or afternoon. For the remainder of the day, I do something to destress. Watch MASH. Nap. I’m a real party animal sometimes.

The Day Off: I try to have a day off once a week. It realistically ends up being around once a fortnight, but I do try! I make no work commitments, run little personal errands and fun coffee dates… it’s the best.

And finally –THE DAYS OFF: This is the holy grail of the entrepreneurial world where you actually have multiple days off in a row. And before you try to say you are too busy to do this – YOU ARE NOT. It can be done. For me, I make sure that I book them in way in advance so I can work around them. DON’T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT EITHER.

Pro Tip here:  Bianca Chech from Sportsluxe (https://www.sportsluxe.com.au/) says that she puts her time off her in her diary. She blocks out time and hours for her self-care time and she always insures she follows it.

7.     Food, glorious food.  I try to ensure that every day I eat high vitamin foods. I’ve found that when I eat poorly and fast food style food, I end up run down, more easily stressed and unwell.

8.     A trusted ear. Talking to someone for me is therapeutic. For me, I crave human interaction and I need to catch up and see my people a lot. There is a reason it is joked that I am the chief schmooze operator. I also see a professional once a month.

9.     Sleep. Or even a ‘Bed day’. Sleep is just about your best friend in self-care. That hour or two that you are missing here and there really adds up and can take a very real physical toll on your body. I ensure I get 7-8 hours’ sleep at least.

A fashion designer friend of mine introduced me to the concept of the ‘Bed Day’. Basically, it’s spend the day in bed. Bring your own snuggly blanket, air conditioning on, food in bed and TV. I’ve done this twice and I lived on episodes of Friends and The Simpsons. I loved it and I feel like I need to do it - then I do.

10.  No phone zone.As an entrepreneur, I carry my phone around with me24/7. I am constantly getting Facebook andInstagram notifications, phone calls, texts… it can get exhausting. So sometimes, I turn my phone onto silent, put it in another room and let the important people to me know that I am going to a No Phone Zone for a few hours.

11.  NO.I have a lot of trouble saying no to things and for Christmas, my business mentor gave me a NO button.  I have had a lot of trouble saying no to things previously and I don’t like missing out. Learning to say no to things is hard. I like helping. I don’t like missing out but I can stretch myself very thin very quickly.

Let’s recap. Self-care isn’t selfish. It’s mandatory. Do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself. Dips in the entrepreneurial world are normal and we all have down days. If you are however worried that you are in an extended dip and things aren’t going well, do reach out and speak to someone. Start with your GP, a trusted friend or any of the hundreds of mental health resources around the world. There are resources that can help you and people who want to help. Take care of yourself and each other.

Jemimah x

Jemimah is the Creative Director of Tangs Design and the Co-founder of The Business Experiment. She can be contacted at tangsdesignjewellery@gmail.com.