Proudly sponsored by: Victoria’s Small Business Festival
This special edition of In The Company was recorded live at Donkey Wheel House in Melbourne on Tuesday 15 August 2017, in front of a live audience of 50 women as part of the women in business week of the Victorian Small Business Festival.
Based on my book ‘The Leap Stories’, this event featured a panel of women who had taken the leap in their careers to start their own businesses who were keen to share their experiences and insights.
MCed by Tess McCabe, publisher & founder of Creative Minds Publishing and hosted by Kylie Lewis, founder, Of Kin on the panel were Emma Kate Codrington of Emma Kate Co., Kate Vandermeer of The Super Cool and Madeleine Dore of Extraordinary Routines.
This episode is great for anyone considering starting their own business, side gig or would like to be a bit braver in their working life. We give an insider guide on what you need to consider, how to get yourself organised and put together the building blocks for moving forward.
This is the full recording of the whole evening, and you may like to jump ahead:
- Around the 8 minute mark is the introduction of our guest speakers
- Around the 11 minute mark is the start of the panel discussion
- Around the 65 minute mark is the start of the audience Q & A
I hope you enjoy this special episode, and if you’d like to purchase your own copy of The Leap Stories book, please visit ofkin.com/leap
For more about the Small Business Festival visit: festival.business.vic.gov.au
Small Business Victoria
This episode is brought to you by Victoria’s Small Business Festival, happening across the state from in August and early September 2017. Check out festival.business.vic.gov.au to access over 500 free and affordable events to elevate, support and inspire you and your business.
Husband and wife team Emmet and Sarah Condon, founded Remedy Kombucha after becoming increasingly frustrated with the food industry and the number of misleading so-called ‘healthy’ products on shelves. Rather than focus on the negative, they decided to pour that energy into good and make something that was truly natural and good for you.
Sarah and Emmet are passionate about sharing their knowledge of the benefits of kombucha and fermentation and are proud to be part of a growing movement of businesses and individuals taking a stand and showing how easy it really is to make better, healthier choices.
The Condons live in the hinterland of Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula with their three young children. They believe in living a slow, purposeful life, dedicating their day to doing things that they are passionate about: bushwalking, cooking, experimenting with different ferments and practising meditation daily. For more visit: remedykombucha.com
The TOM Co
Melburnian Aimee Marks came up with the idea for organic cotton tampons and pads while working on a high school project: ‘how do I solve the problem of tampons falling out in my handbag?’ But it quickly evolved into something far deeper as she discovered the pesticides and synthetic ingredients used in traditional tampons and pads. In 2009, TOM Organic was launched, giving Australian women access to pure and reliable organic tampons and pads. And after the birth of her twins, in 2016 Aimee launched tooshies baby range: eco nappies and wipes that exist to ensure optimum performance without compromise on the environment. For more visit: thetomco.com
Kylie: This special edition of In the Company was recorded at Donkey Wheelhouse in Melbourne on Tuesday, the 15th of August 2017 in front of a live audience of 50 women, as part of the Women in Business week of the Victorian Small Business Festival.
Based on my book The Leap Stories, this event featured a panel of three women who had taken the leap in their careers to start their own businesses, and who were keen to share their experiences and insights. On the panel was Emma Kate Codrington of Emma Kate Co., Kate Vandermeer of TheSuperCool, and Madeleine Dore of Extraordinary Routines.
This episode is great for anyone considering starting their own business, side gig, or would like to be a bit braver in their working life. I hope you enjoy this special episode, and if you’d like to purchase your own copy of The Leap Stories book, please visit ofkin.com/leap.
Tess: Welcome. My name’s Tess McCabe. I am the lady behind Creative Minds, which is a small publishing company based here in Melbourne. Small as in it’s just me, which I’m sure a lot of you can relate to. Myself and Kylie collaboratively published the book that you’re holding, her book The Leap Stories. And so that’s my connection to tonight. I also have a few other books, which you can see on your left. If any of those are of interest, please come and see my after the talk.
I’m just here really to do a few housekeeping things. Importantly, we’d like to do an Acknowledgement of Country. So we’d like to acknowledge and pay respect to the traditional owners of the land which we live, learn, and work. And pay our respect to their elders past and present, and the elders from other communities who might be here today.
We also want to say thanks to a couple of friends who have sponsored us. Remedy Kombucha, which a couple of you have probably enjoyed. They are providing our beverages tonight. Also Tom Organic – Aimee Marks who started Tom is one of the women profiled in the book. An incredible company providing sustainable, ecologically-minded and ethical sanitary products for women. We’ve got some samples of their products just as you came in at the little registration desk there. Please pick some up if you haven’t already. Enjoy her story, because it’s really quite a wonderful story of how she came to start that business.
I’m going to hand it over to Kylie now and our wonderful panellists. Enjoy yourselves.
Kylie: Thanks Tess. Hello lovely ladies, thank you so much for coming along today. It’s such a delight to have a beautiful room of such gorgeous faces. A few little things: I would like to firstly thank Tess for making this whole event possible, because she was the one that said, “Hey if you ever want to make The Leap Stories into a book let me know.” And I went, “That sounds like a damn good idea, why don’t we get together and do that?” So the book that you’re holding in your hands is 100% responsible because Tess took the leap to become a publisher herself. So it’s a nice kind of feeding round back circle to why we’re actually here tonight. So, thanks so much Tess for everything that you do.
I’d also like to thank the Small Business Victoria team for inclusion in the festival. This is actually the Women in Business Week of the Victorian Small Business Festival. Thank you to Ashley and Nick and Barbara Cullen who’s the director of Small Business Victoria for making tonight possible and providing this amazing venue.
Alright, we’re going to get started in a tick, but before we do that, can we all just take one big collective breath and arrive in the room? So breathing in … and out. I always find that it’s helpful just to ground our feet, arrive in the room fully and be present so that we can get going.
The next little thing that I have – this is actually an interactive session, I’m guessing that you may not have planned for this – but I strongly believe that courage is built through our words and our actions. And so tonight I am going to ask you to start flexing your courage muscle a little bit by turning to someone that you don’t know, perhaps someone behind you or in front of you, and just within 30 seconds each – so one person gets 30 seconds, the next person gets 30 seconds – talk about the leap that is brewing on your mind as to why you’re here tonight.
So you have 30 seconds just to turn to somebody you don’t know. So be brave, use your words. Take another breath in if you need, another fortifying breath if we need, to turn to someone that you don’t know, and let them know about your leap that you’ve got on your mind. Go!
Alright ladies. I hope you remember your name of your new friend. Did you ask their name? And if you’ve forgotten I give you permission to ask again. Yes. I never get it locked in the first time.
Alright let’s come back. So you now already have made a leaping buddy. So if you feel so inclined, feel free to exchange some details so that you can keep each other accountable. We’re going to do another little thing at the end about what you might do in the next two weeks concerning a leap but I’m getting ahead of myself. So, we’d better get these lovely ladies up here because this is actually really all why we’re here.
So I’m going to introduce them one by one, kind of like “come on down,” Sale of the Century style. So I’m going to start with Emma Kate Codrington, who leapt from Adelaide to London to work as a graphic designer. Where after not having her visa renewed had to land back in Australia, back to hometown of Adelaide where she decided to take a leap to start her own stationery brand, Emma Kate Co. Alongside that Emma’s beautiful Instagram feed and travel blog writing have seen her become a digital influencer.
In 2016 in an effort to fund a new diary product, Emma also launched a Kickstarter campaign which saw her raise $50G to get her product to market. And I do believe you’re doing it again this year?
Emma Kate: The Kickstarter bit, the launch, yeah.
Kylie: Yes, excellent. And now we’re lucky enough to have her living in Melbourne. That was the other leap she made to come over. So please welcome Emma.
Good timing, Charles. Well-timed. The reason why Emma leapt to Melbourne just walked in the room. Kate Vandermeer is the owner of TheSuperCool, an internationally award-winning homewares, lifestlye, and kids retail outlet. Before starting TheSuperCool Kate had a long career in fashion retail, consulting and teaching.
Inspired by the idea of vintage peddlers travelling from town to town with a mobile trove. Come on in, ladies. Kate pulled her consultancy business back to part-time while she started a series of pop-up stores around Melbourne before anyone was doing pop-ups.
Today Kate and hubby – she got hubby on the payroll after a few years – both work full-time in TheSuperCool which has a flagship store at the South Melbourne Market, which has won several awards and only operates four days a week in retail. How’s that for a smart move?
She also has an online store, occasional pop-ups, and a string of creative collaborations. Welcome.
Kate: Thank you.
Kylie: Thank you. And finally, Madeleine. Madeleine Dore is a freelance writer, interviewer, and founder of the blog Extraordinary Routines, where she explores the daily routines of creatives across different fields.
Before leaping to her own creative career she was the full-time deputy editor of ArtsHub. She’s a regular contributor to the Design Files and has been published in Fairfax newspapers, Kinfolk, Yen, The Big Issue, Womankind, and several others.
Madeleine regularly engages in social experiments, which she writes about, including a 30-day habit experiment, a dating habit experiment, and a year of meeting with strangers. She also has a second Instagram account called Mortality Musings, which-
Madeleine: Just reminds me not to procrastinate, because I’m going to die.
Kylie: So there we go, and there’s something about that actually in the very back of the book from Martha Beck as well. Because you may as well leap because you’re going to die anyway. So, welcome.
Madeleine: Thank you.
Kylie: Round of applause for Madeleine. Alright, so how are we going to run tonight? I have a few questions that I want to propose to these ladies, and then we all have a series of Q&As at the end. And we actually have prizes for people who ask questions. We are totally bribing you for interactivity, but it’ll be well worth your time.
I actually just wanted to start off and just say thank you for doing this, and for coming along and being brave enough to share your stories with us. But I’m really interested to understand why you chose the particular leap that you did. And maybe we can start with you, Emma.
Emma Kate: Okay. My leap happened because I had no other choice. What I wanted in life couldn’t happen. I was living in London and I had no choice but to leave. And so I thought, well that life strategy didn’t work out so I’m just going to do what I’ve always wanted to do, and I have no life accountability currently so I’m just going to go for it. And I had always loved paper, so I thought I’m just going to launch in and launch a stationery brand.
Kylie: So working from a graphic designer, you decided “I’m not going to do this for anyone else anymore. I’m going to do it for myself.”
Emma Kate: Yeah. I worked in publishing, which was great, and I loved the full-time job and the 9-5 and the paid holidays and all of those things. But ultimately, working for myself has always been the end goal and I didn’t really have a timeline attached to that but when life played out the way that it did, I thought well, now’s a great time.
Kylie: So, London kicked you out.
Emma Kate: Yeah. Officially, yes.
Emma Kate: Yeah, very ungracefully from my end as well. I did not want to leave and I didn’t do so very gracefully. But I just decided that life had to happen that way so I may as well embrace the other side. As it turned out, Australia’s pretty great.
Kylie: So it’s taking a bad situation and going, well how could I reframe this to where-
Emma Kate: Yeah, just running with opportunity and reframing negative to positive.
Kylie: Yep, great. And what about you, Kate?
Kate: I’ve leapt heaps of times. I think I’m a serial leaper, but not in the Olympic sense. So, firstly hello and thanks everyone for coming, because it’d be a bit sad if we weren’t talking to anyone in the room so I thank you.
So, the most recent leap being TheSuperCool, my husband and I on our honeymoon had talked about, “Let’s work together. Let’s do something together. We’ve got such good skillsets, let’s do something.” And honestly we’d go for walks everywhere after work, and we’d complain about our jobs, and we were just trying to work out what we could do. And there were many many many dodgy ideas there. But on our honeymoon we came up with TheSuperCool idea and it was mainly from looking around lots of great gift stores that really had an incredible vibe that we kind of thought, let’s make this germ turn into something and be excited by it.
We basically leapt because I was running a consultancy which was a leap from a previous leap, and I decided that I wanted to work with my husband and I thought, let’s try and give it a go and so I started it part-time and my husband started at part-time with a full-time job where he travelled heaps. So there wasn’t a lot of sleep the first year.
Kylie: And so that was before your intern arrived?
Kate: Correct, three-and-a-half-year-old intern, yes. So we wanted to work together because ultimately we wanted to co-parent and create a life where we could be parents, we could run a business, but it would all be cohesive. Which you know, that’s the dream before you have children. And then after you have children you realise that doesn’t exist. So you’ve then got to find a new way to embrace having children and working together. It is great, he’s 100% a great father who’s very present, and I do my best to be there and be present as well. But we definitely co-parent. He’s South American so he’s very big into bringing up children. That’s a big part of their culture.
Kylie: And you really minimised the risk in the beginning with how you set up the business.
Kate: Absolutely. Yes, so we first began by doing pop-ups. There was very little overhead. We took money that we’d saved and thought, let’s just give it a go. I was doing it part-time so I could fall back and try other things if it didn’t work out. I took on a job that I didn’t really want to do consulting because I knew that that would bring in money to fund this leap, whereas previously I was more picky and wanted to do things that spoke to my soul. But I could see that the end goal was worth it. And my husband about a year into it decided he could no longer be stretched in every direction, and we thought, let’s just give it a go. Worse case scenario we fail. So what, let’s just go and get another job. So we were just, let’s give it a go. Particularly before children we thought, why not.
Kylie: Yeah, and so you straddled from fashion retailing to homeware retailing.
Kate: Correct. So I’ve actually worked with a few clients in setting up pop-up retails and guiding them from a marketing, social media point of view. So I had some experience. I’d worked in retail off-and-on since I was 15, so I knew the goal. I’d done some trend forecasting with WGSN which is a trend forecasting agency, and I knew there was an opportunity. My husband and I both realised, retail had become this thing where it was with my own DJs it was always on sale. It was always open. It was always being ignored when you walked into the store. Someone was on their phone, or someone was like, oh yeah that looks great on you, you know. Just completely boring, terrible, soulless experience. And we thought, there’s got to be a way to just totally turn this on its head and be less available, a bit like dating. If you’re always there, you’re a stalker. Whereas if you’re less available, people want you, right? That’s the theory.
Kate: So we thought, why not try that with retail and be less available and be open less and make people hunt for the experience. And Twitter had just kind of started gaining momentum. We’re talking six years ago, which isn’t that long but in social media land is ancient. And people starting following us on Twitter. I think Instagram had only just begun and we were back in those early filter phases, do you remember? Hipstamatic, thank you. Everything was a little bit ’70s. So that’s how it all started and people just started following us around with social media. We were lucky. But it was very, leap without any major strategy.
Kylie: Yeah, which is a reoccurring theme actually, in a lot of stories that I write about. Which brings me to you, Madeleine. Talk about your leap from your dream job.
Madeleine: I guess the leap from the full-time job at ArtsHub was partially a win but also partially quite pragmatic. The win part of it was seeing Miranda July who is a filmmaker and artist. She spoke in Melbourne last year. And one thing that really resonated was this idea that we have to remind ourselves again and again that we’re free in our creative practise. So we can actually kind of find ourselves in our own little boxes and have rules that we’ve created for ourselves that trap us, in a way.
Kylie: I’ve said, remember, forget, remember, forget.
Madeleine: Yeah, that you’re actually free to do what you want. And while I landed the dream job and I thought that that’s what I should be doing, and I should be following its trajectory, that kind of really stirred something and – wait a second I can actually break away from that if I want to and explore something else. So that was sort of resonating and marinating in my mind.
And then the pragmatic part of it was that I was working on Extraordinary Routines as a side project alongside my work, and I started getting people approach me for the profiles that I was doing, which follows a day in the life of a creative. They were saying, “Could you write this for our graduate brochure or our own personal blog?” And so these were commercial, paid opportunities and I thought, maybe I could actually support myself doing this instead of working full time as a journalist and have some time to play around with different ideas. So that was the pragmatic leap, seeing that there was a net there, actually.
Kylie: So a side gig, so started up on the side just to test the waters and see what it looked like.
Madeleine: Yeah, exactly. I went down to four days a week at ArtsHub, and that other day I would spend on client work or pitching freelancing ideas and that kind of thing.
Kylie: So asking to go to four days, how was that?
Madeleine: I had a really good relationship with my editor, so it was very lucky. She originally hired me because of what I’d done with Extraordinary Routines as a side project. She was quite impressed by someone starting something themselves and seeing it through. So that got me the job, but then she also saw it grow as I grew into the role as well. So she understood that my time was getting different demands and that kind of thing.
Kylie: So that’s a really interesting thing though, that your side gig actually got you the full-time gig on the other side. So that proactivity and self-starting, self-drive …
Madeleine: Absolutely. I started it because I couldn’t find the job that I wanted, so I created the job that I wanted in a small way. Even if I was doing it in my own free time, and I wasn’t getting paid for doing it. It was much like kind of a self-initiated internship and it actually led to the work that I wanted.
Kylie: I love that, did you hear that? I couldn’t find the job that I wanted so I created it in the way that I wanted it. That’s definitely how I feel that my leap happened. I was like, I just want to be more flexible, have more control over my own time, and run this how I want to run it, working with the kind of people that I want to work with on the kind of work that I want to be doing. Absolutely, fantastic.
In the book, I have deliberately left out any reference really to passion. Because there’s a lot of rhetoric in this space about, “Find your passion and it will all work out.” Unless you’ve read Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Magic Lessons” which I highly recommend that you read.
I didn’t actually feel very passionate about what I was doing. I was kind of just burnt out from my role and just said I can’t do this anymore, I just need some space to figure it out. Probably took me a little while out of doing that to find actually what lit me up again.
I was just interested in your take. Passion versus curiosity versus something else, as a part of a contributing factor to your leap.
Madeleine: Yeah that’s a really good point because I think … it’s a bit like when someone says to you, “So what inspires you?” You know, well that’s … life inspires you. You can’t say it’s one design or it’s one musician or it’s one experience. I think passion can be anything and passion is curiosity as well. For me, I’ve been passionate several times in my life about different career ambitions and I’ve created a lot of ideal jobs I would like as well, because I was passionate.
A classic example, which I kind of look back and have a bit of a giggle about now but at the time I was gung-ho: I was 15, I lived in the country in Shepparton. There’s no fashion in Shepparton. The fashion is Blundstones and keeping it very country. I really wanted to be the editor of Vogue. So I wrote a letter to the current editor at the time. So this is late ’80s. Every single month, for a year. And eventually I think her assistant who opened all the mail got sick of seeing my name come up and sent me a letter back and said, “Fine you can come and do work experience.” Honestly the woops from the country probably came to Melbourne and then via Sydney. Possibly in this day in age that’s a bit stalker-y, but back then when you had to hand-write the letter, it wasn’t email-
Kylie: No I think that’s tenacity.
Madeleine: So anyway, I got to do work experience at Vogue. And it was life-changing for me. The preparation for the outfits to come to work experience was just-
Kylie: No pressure!
Madeleine: And I was like, “Mum, I have to get that dress because I’m going to be in Sydney and there’s all these fashion people” and she’s like, whatever. I think it comes back down to passion, and I do think if you feel that passion like it’s the whole, I-can’t-go-to-sleep, when the idea first sets a light in you, and you have to write down heaps of things in a journal or in your notes in your phone. It’s that thing that keeps staying with you that you can’t let go. That’s passion. Curiosity’s like, let’s try it.
Before TheSuperCool Noonie and I decided to go and do a café course in Sydney to learn what it was like to run a café for two days. And we totally realised at the end of that, we’re not passionate about café ownership. We really don’t care about food, we really don’t want to wash up. What we’re keen on is the experience and the excitement and the music and the sharing and the idea of how it’s going to be decorated, which has nothing to do with running a café really at the heart and soul of it.
Sometimes it’s about pursing things and seeing if that’s right. So we went and did the course, but it was money really well spent because we didn’t go and buy or rent or lease for a space and spend all the money you’d have to spend on setting up a café.
Kylie: Yeah, and that’s so wise, the idea of being able to actually run a little experiment or to place a little bet without having to have too much invested on the line.
Madeleine: So that, for me, was curiosity.
Madeleine: We realised it wasn’t our passion. Passion for me comes back down to, is it something that just will get you up even when it’s really tough and when you’re financially on the edge? Is it something that you would be willing to forego a festival or an awesome catch-up with your friends, whose 30th/20th/40th/50s? It’s got to be the thing that just, it does not matter what’s going on in your life, you still want to get up in the morning and do it.
Kylie: So, did you guys have that kind of burning desire to do your thing, or not?
You’re going “yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah.” And you’re just going, “Naaaah.”
Emma Kate: I did but I think I also live by curiosity because I didn’t really have an end goal. I just knew that I had to go all-in and start something but I didn’t really know what that would look like. And I think the curiosity is what got me to the launch point. I think it was just following the feeling and going, yeah that feels right I’m going to go there. Or knowing that the passion was really underlying all of that. I wanted to make a difference and I really wanted to live a life on my terms and all of those non-negotiables that I said after London. I’m going to live by that now, no question. But I didn’t have the end goal and even now I don’t know where my brand’s going, I don’t really have a five-year grand plan or everything figured out. If something feels right I go for it and see how it feels and I’m not too long-termed.
Kylie: We’re going to go with that tonight, long-termed. What about you, Madeleine?
Madeleine: I love this distinction between curiosity being kind of the starting point and then the passion, that’s something you can grow into. I think I’m still very much at the curiosity stage. I don’t think I’ve had the experience in my life of something being all-consuming. I’ve often been envious of people who can sit at the piano for hours, or tinker away with a craft or something, because I’ve never had that kind of full-on, jump in and dive. Just following any kind of thread of curiosity, it can still render some really interesting experiences and you can still follow through and see where it leads.
Kylie: Yeah, because I get worried about the passion message because if you don’t have passion, then what? You know, and so that’s where the Liz Gilbert piece comes in and says, well what are you curious about? Because curiosity doesn’t actually owe you anything. Whereas passion you feel like it owes you something, you know? If you do it, that it’ll work out when that might not be the case. I feel like, as I said, it took me a little while of following my curiosity. What would happen if I just went and somebody referred me to talk to somebody and I started consulting, what would that look like? And that then kind of had a knock on it for a whole lot of other things.
Kate: I don’t think passion has to be forever either. I think you can have short-term passions.
Emma Kate: That’s right, yeah.
Kate: Like other fits, like at the end of the day … I’m sure TheSuperCool will end at some point and then there will be something else we’ll be passionate about. And I think that’s okay, you know? Take the pressure off.
I think it’s good to have short-term passions, if you get where I’m coming from.
Madeleine: Write a dating book, as a next short-term passion?
Kate: I’ve only really dated one man, but anyway …
Kylie: We can have that discussion afterwards and talk about your dating habit projects to get a little bit more into that.
So one of the things I just want to cover off with that is, just because you leap once doesn’t mean that it’s the end, or that that’s the final decision. One leap tends to lead to another, tends to lead to another, tends to lead to another. The more you do the stronger you get, the more willing you are just to experiment and to think that, I’ve got choices. To remember and forget, remember and forget, that I’ve actually got choices.
In some of the work that I do with my coaching clients, I often find that they have a really negative voice inside their head or they forget that they do have a choice in what they can do and it’s often the distinction between their inner critic voice. And I think we all can hear what that inner critic voice sounds like: “You’re not enough, not smart enough, can’t do it, too risky, you don’t have what it takes, it’s not going to work.” Blah blah blah blah.
As opposed to an inner mentor voice, which guides you into going, it’ll be okay. So I’m just wondering … we all have an inner critic. Nobody gets out of jail free on that front. So I’m just wondering how you guys deal with your inner critic when it comes to doing something out of the box and courageous.
Emma Kate: I think for me, I always when the inner critic pops up, I look back retrospectively and go, hey Em, you’ve done this before, you’ve done that before, you’ve got this. And quite often, especially with travel, I’ll find myself in a situation and I’ll go, oh no, I don’t know where I am going. Hang on a minute, I’ve lived overseas before by myself. I’ve travelled to a place I don’t speak the language, and you’re nervous about catching the Melbourne metro? Like, what? But I do, I still get nervous and I have to just remember that and I find the confidence there by going, I’ve done this before in a different way. I think that’s how I combat the critic.
Madeleine: Yeah. I wallow with my critic. I love to hang out with my critic.
Kylie: Does it have a name?
Madeleine: It does, it does! Um, Shelly, because – this is real – Shelly comes and hangs out with me. And it’s Shelly because it’s the shell of Madeleine. The shell of a human. And it leads to things like procrastination and getting in my own way and being a total blocker to any idea or creative project. And the only way to get rid of Shelly is to give her other people to hang out with. So that’s when I speak with friends and other creative people.
I got into a real funk when I’d just started freelancing because I saw what I was doing day-to-day and I thought, I’m not doing enough and I’m sleeping in and I’m watching Netflix during the day. And I just thought, I’m doing this all wrong. And the antidote to that was actually speaking to other freelancers, and they all said, “Uh, yeah that’s freelancing. We all do that.” And we kind of had this competition of, “No I’m the worst freelancer,” “No no, I am!”
And so it kind of … they had their Shellys, I had my Shellys, and they all just hung out, and we got rid of them. I think just knowing that you are being really critical of yourself but also everyone else is too, and you can kind of support each other and find your way out that way.
Kylie: Yeah, so hang out with your tribe.
Kylie: Awesome. What about you?
Kate: I guess over time I’ve realised, the inner critic’s essential, because that’s the only way to find your inner mentor. So for me, listening more to my inner mentor is about finding the space to be quiet and to find quiet moments in my day. Which is a challenge, but I make better business decisions, I’m better as a mum, I’m better as a friend, I’m better as a wife, when I have more quiet time. Even if it’s five minutes here and there or a bath – for myself, not for my daughter. And even just ten minutes to meditate. Whatever it is, just to find some quiet time.
I’ve made much better business decisions since I’ve found quiet time, and my quiet time gives me my intuition back. And my intuition helps me guide the business. So the first five years – so we’re up to six years in October – so until very recently, five years of business I’ve really just listened to my critic. I was just chasing my tail, I was like, “Oh woo woo woo, adrenaline, adrenaline, woo let’s do this.” And it was just running from one thing to another. So some very interesting things have been in and out of our store as a result. So for me, finding the inner mentor is about finding quiet time so I can listen to my intuition.
Kylie: Yeah, beautiful. And I saw a meme on Instagram and it said, “My alone time is for everyone’s safety.” I just thought that was amazing.
Kate: Absolutely, that’s so true.
Kylie: But it is that kind of, I need to be able to hear myself out of all of that stuff because there is somebody who is wiser and more reassuring that is there if I give them the opportunity to listen. And if you don’t have that voice, come and talk to me afterwards because I’ve got a really good resource to help you find your inner mentor voice.
Kate: This episode of In the Company is brought to you by the 2017 Small Business Festival, which is run by the Victorian Government in Australia, and is designed to help start-ups and small to medium businesses go from strength to strength. Check out the festival website to find free and affordable events all across Melbourne and regional Victoria throughout the months of August and early September. There’s over 500 events, including workshops, webinars, mentoring, and podcasts just like this one. Visit festival.business.vic.gov.au to learn, grow, and connect.
Kylie: One of the things that we’ve touched on briefly in the beginning was, how did you leverage what you already knew to take into what your leap became, and how did you fill in the gaps?
Madeleine: I can talk about my stranger experiment, perhaps, for that one.
Kylie: Yeah, great!
Madeleine: So my gaps were clients. I didn’t have them. Or I had very few of them. And also understanding how freelancing worked. I’d had some experience but being a deputy editor it was kind of reversing the situation. So to fill the gaps I was committed to meeting a new person every week. And a lot of those people were in the same kind of industry that I was in, so it meant that it was this experiment to broaden my social circles, but also pick the brains of various freelance writers and editors and so on.
From that experiment I ended up meeting 78 people in one year. And I keep meeting a stranger every week, or someone who’s kind of a distant acquaintance. And I would say to put a really rough percentage to it, I think about 65-70% of the corporate client work I got was from a stranger that I met through that experiment. So I really recommend meeting people face-to-face, not so that you can take, take, take from them, but also just introduce who you are and you never know when you might pop into their mind down the track. So it’s patience but it’s also really putting yourself out there.
Kylie: How did you reach out to strangers? Were there people you identified and went, I’m going after them?
Madeleine: I’m going after you! A lot of them were through social media, so I’m lucky to have an engaged following and to kind of recognise the same people over and over and you kind of just … you slide into their DMs, and just ask-
Kylie: So you just DM people on Instagram?
Madeleine: Yeah, or send a formal email. And I also have the reverse situation, where people will ask if I would like to meet them, and it’s just about saying yes and being open to that too. So finding strangers came easily and then it snowballs because you meet someone new, and then they have their circle of friends to introduce you to. So I found it’s really important that if you connect to someone, to connect with them quite soon after so that you really build a relationship rather than just kind of dissipating and not really seeing them again for a while.
Kylie: Yep. So that’s a really great point to make. I can’t remember where I read about it but it’s in one of the many books that I’ve read on this, but the idea of embracing the curiosity piece and just reaching out to someone. Not asking for a job or asking for a referral or anything, but perhaps saying, “I’m really interested in what you are doing and I would just like to know more.” Is that kind of your approach?
Madeleine: Absolutely, and I try to go in with how I can help someone else. And I takes the pressure off me, but it also gives this nice sense of generosity to the encounter.
Kylie: Yeah, absolutely. So, one every week?
Madeleine: For the experiment yes, and now it fluctuates but it’s an average of definitely one new person a week and a coffee or a drink.
Kylie: Brilliant. Great. What about you guys?
Emma Kate: I think business was my filling in the gaps. I had no idea about business and I still learn a lot every day. But I think community was also integral for me. Not an official strangers project, but I moved back to Adelaide where I was from and I had an Instameet. I decided to just call on the Adelaide community and connect with people and that became integral with launching my brand six months later.
I had a launch party, and Adelaide’s a really unique place where community is everything and creative support is abounding. I just felt very lucky that we had the Channel 10 Newsreader and See the Night and we had food and a wine sponsor and all of this amazing stuff that I could never have done on my own terms. But yeah business is an ongoing pursuit. Creativity comes very naturally to me so I think that’s my fill in the gaps.
Kylie: So you ask from your community, or do you have-
Emma Kate: Yeah, and actually I’ve had some coaching before, I have a mentor, I just always love connecting with people. Especially at trade shows I find people who are doing the same thing as me in business or at markets. Just really connecting and making time to get to know people doing similar things. They have little tips or hacks or techniques or ideas and you can learn a lot that way.
Kylie: So reaching out to a peer group as well.
Emma Kate: Yeah, definitely.
Kylie: Yep. Great. Right.
Kate: There’s probably a couple of different things. My husband comes from a business analyst background for mining companies. So totally relevant to what we’re doing. So he kind of brought in a lot of skillsets that I didn’t have. He loves doing operations. He loves dealing with the accountant. Not many people say that. And I was always really all about the fun stuff like the buying and the social media and the merchandising in-store and so I was pretty rapped when he said, “Yeah I’ll deal with the accountant.” I’m like, awesome.
So we had a lot of complementary skillsets which kind of gave us confidence to do the leap because often in partnerships people want to do the same thing, and that’s when conflict can arise. So I found that worked quite well for us. Having said that, we’re married and we have a child, and we have a business. There’s plenty of conflict. But we work quite well through it, and we just express ourselves and then we move on.
But in terms of filling in the gaps, I think we’ve just really learned and made mistakes and just tried things. Our whole concept of being a pop-up was to try and meet different neighbourhoods and find out who our key audience was and what products sold where, and it was all very experimental. When I say we went strategic that’s quite genuine. I was very strategic in my previous role consulting to clients so I was like, “Right you should try this and these are your KPIs and this is what you should be doing.” And I really threw a lot of that out of the window because I wanted to follow our passion and just try it.
Because it wasn’t an expensive initial set-up. We just thought, let’s just really be guided by what people are wanting and liking, and what people responded to was that we wanted to buy product that had a story that was made by someone who had another idea that we were supporting their leap. So it was really full-circle. So for us the gap thing was, we’re constantly finding gaps of things we don’t know and so we go out and learn it and we meet lots of people at trade fairs and we’ve done lots of markets. And you meet a lot of other kindred spirits who are also doing it tough. Also sick of unpacking and packing boxes and setting up trade fairs and setting up stands. Then you meet more people and you all want each other to help. It’s all about recommending. It is that recommending thing and sharing, and community.
I think in the creative industry if you don’t share then you’re really sitting by yourself on an island because it is all about sharing and the generosity from other people is what helps everyone move forward.
Kylie: I’m curious to know if you’ve gone back to any of the strategic stuff after the five years of adrenaline have worn off.
Kate: Yes and no. The only probably strategic thing we do now is we look back at budgets. Which we never had budgets, crikey. We look back at budgets because we’ve stayed in one spot, because obviously having a daughter meant that perhaps being as nomadic as we initially were was a little bit tricky. Although we certainly gave that a run for its money.
Three months after having Lola we flew to the US, because we won an award. My mum looked at me the day before and went, “Are you sure we want to do this?” And I was like, “Yeah, it’ll be fine.” So not fine. That was a really tough trip. I just cried so much that trip. So sleep-deprived. But we got back and we got on our feet and we just did it all again. I think probably we look back now and think, okay, what are the categories we’re missing, what are the things that people keep coming into the store and asking us for? That’s really our gap. But we’re still not what I would call ultra-strategic.
Kylie: Yeah, and I think one of the things that when I’m working with a lot of start-ups is that they think they have to have it all worked out before they start. And that’s so not the case. You know, they’re, “I have to be strategic and I have to know all the possible things and in-and-outs of all of this.” And that’s just not true.
Kate: Probably the only strategic thing I would say is good to know is cash flow. There is no dash. You need to understand your profit and loss and you need to understand you might burn through. It depends on how big or small your idea is. You probably can’t be too fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants about that. Unless you’re prepared to just go out and support yourself by doing a job out of hours. And that’s totally what we did.
Kylie: Yeah, so that leads me into a question I had, which was asking about how financially did you fund your leap?
Emma Kate: I moved back home. I hadn’t lived at home since I was 19, and I was 26 I think, and that was a bit of a pain. But Mum and Dad are amazing and they’re my biggest supporters and I love them dearly but independence is also a key message in my life, and it was quite a bit of an ego hit to move back home. But it was necessary, and sacrifice there’s no way around. Launching something that you’ve got to go all in, and that means whatever is required. Also, freelancing. I kept freelancing with graphic design and doing lots of wedding stationery and anything really that came up. Branding … I said yes to everything and that was how I funded it. Lived very simply and I still live simply, but it’s worth it.
Kylie: So it wasn’t an all-in-one put everything on red 26 kind of thing?
Emma Kate: Well I mean, even when I lived in London I always saved money and I’ve always been a really … I guess I travel a lot but I’m also very careful and so I did actually have savings and I did put everything in. But I had the launch party as a strategy to make that back. And it came in very quickly with the initial print run, which helped me do my first trade show and all of these big expenses that are very scary and they still terrify me. I think I’m just conservatively edging two steps forward, one step back, three steps forward two steps back, and keep going forward.
Kylie: What about you Madeleine?
Madeleine: So I had some savings that … I was just working full time so I just had a savings fund that had travel written all over it. But when I decided to take the leap I thought that that would be my safety net fund. And so what I did with those savings is I put together a burn rate calculator. So in a spreadsheet-
Kylie: Cool! Okay, here we go, you guys get that? Burn rate calculator, did we get that?
Madeleine: So kind of a month before I was finishing up I just put in the savings amount and calculated my expenses for each month and then saw how long I could survive if I earned nothing. And once I had that I could just do some projected income. I keep that burn rate calculator spreadsheet updated to this day. It’s a really good way to see what’s coming in as a freelancer, what months are looking a little bit quiet, what expenses I have going out.
So I’ve done a year of freelancing, I definitely haven’t earned near what I was earning as a salaried worker, but it meant that I could be very aware of where my money is and I could take myself overseas. So I spent three months in New York and it really was helpful to have that, because when you’re travelling you can really burn through money without being aware of what you’re doing. I guess that’s what was quite pragmatic about my leap. I did have this safety net because freelancing can be precarious. But I’m just very aware of what’s coming in and what’s going out.
Kylie: Yeah, and keeping your eye on the prize then because you know what you’re shooting for if you’ve got your … you know it’s like having the budget. If you know what you’re actually shooting for then you’re more likely to go, yes well I need to go after that or I need to move on.
Madeleine: Yeah, our mutual friend Fiona, she does that system where she has a goal income. It’s quite a high goal income and having that there means that she knows how many clients she needs, she knows what she needs to hustle to fill in those gaps and reach her goal target income, which is interesting.
Kate: I would also say that, for my husband and I, he had a really good high-paying job and he was used to a certain level of lifestyle with his little frequent-flyer points and getting into his clubs and things. And we were both just like, well if it doesn’t work, he’ll go and find another job. I’ve always had savings. Dad’s always drummed that in from a very young age with the Monopoly money and it’s worked because I always just thought, well if it doesn’t work I’ll go back to consulting. If worse comes to worse I’ll go and get a job in hospitality on the side while I’m doing this. I really don’t care.
I was in between jobs when I was 22 and I had just left a really awesome job at Mimco. I was like, I don’t know what I want to do but I really want to do something and maybe I’ll just start my own jewellery label. And so I kind of started doing that on the side and in the meantime I just went and worked at a factory making jewellery. So not glamorous, but I just didn’t care because it was fuelling my passion. I have always been of the belief, if you really want to do what you want to do there’s always a way, and if you’re prepared to hustle … my husband calls it the mop test, and most of our test don’t hit his mop test. Which is, would they be prepared to mop a floor if you ask them to? And a lot of 21-year-olds don’t want to mop a floor in a shop apparently. According to him, anyway. So for me it’s like, just get down and make it happen and hustle for the money.
So we were never scared about if it didn’t work out, or if we run out of money. We were just like, well we’re a pop-up, we’ll just … obviously we had some budgets to work towards, but we just thought, well if it doesn’t work it doesn’t work. We weren’t scared.
Kylie: Yeah, and so in writing the leap stories over the last few years, I’ve asked this question quite a lot. It’s always interesting to me the responses because yes there’s the kind of like, oh you know I saved up, or I had a bonus but then there was like, I think Emma who is in the book, Emma Fulu. She was living in South Africa, working for the UN. Just had twins, and she said, “I just can’t do this anymore.” And the family of five moved back to Melbourne into one bedroom in her mum’s house. So, I’m thinking, if she can just go, “I can’t do this” there, I have options. There are more options than what you think you have if you want to make it. She went on Centrelink to support them while they re-established themselves, and now she’s doing great stuff with the Equality Institute. So if there’s a will there’s a way, and if you think that you don’t have a choice, you need to look harder because there are always lots of choices.
Kate: And it’s just about being humble. I think at the end of the day if you really want to pursue your passion, I mean obviously you’ve been up against obstacles as has Madeleine. But I think if you’re willing to give it a go then you just make it happen. You go without for a little bit but then hopefully the abundance comes your way later and it all works out.
Madeleine: Yeah, so it’s the capacity to go, well what am I happy to give up in order to get a much bigger idea going in this part of my life? And living more simply.
Kylie: I hear you with that. You’ve mentioned, briefly each of you, your support crew. So I think it takes a village to take a leap. It takes a village to run a business. It’s not just about the kids, we all need villages. Tell me a little bit about the role that your village plays in helping you take a leap.
Madeleine: Well my mum’s right here in the front row. The lesson I think I’ve had to learn is that there can be a fine line between really supportive friends and sometimes what could be quite toxic or competitive, whether it’s on your side or their side. So really finding that distinction and knowing that you don’t have to be friends with everybody, you can keep a closeness to you and really build trust with certain people so that you’re not being exploited in any way or hurting yourself by being around the wrong people.
Kate: I think you can outgrow certain relationships as you find out more about yourself.
Madeleine: Yeah, which is completely natural and it’s not a bad thing on either party, but I think that we’re too quick to please other people rather than thinking about what we really need from friendship.
Kylie: Hallelujah! Can you say that again?
Madeleine: Yeah, too quick to please other people rather than thinking about what we need from friendship. And saying no.
Kylie: And maybe the different kind of friends and relationships that we need for this part of our life.
Madeleine: Yes, exactly. There’s a fruit salad of friendship out there.
Kate: Healthy and [inaudible 00:46:02] no more work.
Kylie: What about you, Emma?
Emma Kate: I think that travel taught me a lot about the people that I wanted in my life, and coming back a lot of friends had moved on, a lot of friends had moved overseas. I didn’t really have that community that I’d left and a lot of life had changed. You think that you’ll go home and everything’s the same as it was when you left and it just wasn’t. So, it was a beautiful opportunity to find new friends. Social media was my way of doing that. I’ve met some incredible people that are my best friends now.
My parents have always been my number one support system. My mum has in business as well. She still folds all of my greeting cards by hand with her best friend. They drink champagne on a Wednesday night. If I didn’t have them I wouldn’t have a business. That’s so integral. My dad is the mascot for Emma Kate Co at Finders Keepers markets, he’s always there. He has a little handwritten note when I go off to meet my friends or have a break or get some food and he said, “Loving father watching over daughter’s den while she has well-deserved break.” Everyone when he’s not there goes, “Where’s your dad?” He’s such an integral part of the brand. At first I was like, “You should stay back, I’m a grown-up now.” Actually, people love when you just embrace that and that’s my story. I’m so proud of having them as part of my family and my world, so I just embrace it.
I think just really trusting in the genuineness of people and being vulnerable with them and saying, hey this is what’s happened for me and this is where I’m at, and just trusting that they’ll hold you up when you need because business isn’t easy and I do need a lot of support. Meeting Charles, my partner, he’s also in business and just the most incredible support because we’re both living this dream simultaneously in parallel, but different dreams. We have so much to offer each other and I’m very grateful.
Kate: So cute. You should propose now, Charles. Sorry, I ruined it.
I would say definitely my husband’s parents, they’re amazing. If you’ve ever met South Americans you’ll understand. They’re like Italians and Greeks and fabulous. They’re there for you; they have helped us pack boxes, they’ve helped us unpack a hell of a lot of boxes, we’ve used their garage to store stuff, they’ve made us incredible food while we were unpacking the boxes.
We have done 35 pop-ups in Sydney and Melbourne. They’ve travelled … my husband at one point when Lola was six months old (my daughter) my mother-in-law came with me on the plane and would look after her so I could have a sleep, which any new mum knows how freaking awesome that is. Then my father-in-law drove with my husband in our van, Paco, all the way from Melbourne to Sydney and helped take turns so they could get there at the same time that our plane arrived which is physically impossible but they tried. So, they’re just always there, they’re fantastic. Even to this day they look after Lola every weekend so we can work in the store. They’re just amazing.
So without them, there’s no way we’d be where we are today. Aside from the fact that when my father-in-law comes into the store he’s totally security. He’s like, “Look, I don’t like those people over there. They look like they’re going to steal something.” And he’s quite an intimidating character so people do steer clear. And my mother-in-law is always like, “Oh I love that, I saw that on your little Instagram page and that’s really cute. I think that’ll sell well, Kate.” They’re just beautiful.
So, without them we really wouldn’t be able to do what we do, aside from all the other incredible suppliers we’ve met who’ve become family and we call them our brand family. Charles is one of them. We sell his great brand Orbitkey in store and it flies out the door. We’ve just met lots of great people over the time who have built their businesses in a similar fashion to us or at a similar time. We all help each other out. We recommend accountants, we recommend software programmes, we share all sorts of business ideas. It just lessens the load.
Kylie: I think that one of the biggest lessons for me when I started going out on my own too is the kind of people that I could then hang out with just had a different mindset from being someone who was working for someone else full-time. And I didn’t realise that that kind of community existed until I didn’t have to be somewhere else at 9-5 every day of the week. So that was one of the things that really woke me up was to think, I don’t have to do this all on my own.
One of the things I think about, which you touched on really, was that not everyone is going to be supportive of your leap. Not everybody wants you to necessarily take it, because they’re either afraid for you and they want to keep you safe and small and secure. So they actually have your very best interests at heart but perhaps not really what you need to hear. What you need to hear is encouragement, to say that you can do it or that we’ve got your back no matter what happens. Because I think sometimes families can actually be one of the reasons you don’t take a leap.
Kate: And they’re just coming from their experience, so they’re possibly coming because they’re scared or they’ve always had to be careful with money so they’re worried for you.
Kylie: Yes. You sound like you’ve had some experience where people actively said, “What are you doing that for?”
Madeleine: Yeah, it’s a little more grey than that but there just can be a sense of competitiveness as creative people, but you can step outside of that by finding the supportive people. What I actually find helpful is having friends that have completely different disciplines to you, because you can get out of your bubble and you can get quite down on yourself and compare yourself to this other amazing writer who’s doing wonderful things, and then you have a friend who’s a teacher or a nurse or whatever it is. You see how diverse the world is and you can get outside your little creative bubble for a second. So I find that really helpful when it might feel a bit competitive or toxic. Just be like, oh there’s other things happening in the world.
Kylie: Yeah, did you have something to add to that?
Emma Kate: I think for me it’s also a thought when you’re shedding a skin and evolving and people are so used to the you that you have been. Suddenly you’re this new you or you’re changing, and people are a little bit cautious about change and I think over time if the relationship’s meant to work out in a friendship or connection, they’ll evolve with you or appreciate who you’re becoming. But I think knowing that this is how people are feeling, they’re just a little bit uncomfortable with this you that you’re becoming so just being patient with that.
I think for me overwhelmingly, generosity has been so amazing by creatives. I was really surprised by how much people want you to succeed, and I think I can be a little bit suspicious sometimes, like why are they so generous? But it’s just because they want to see you do great things and they believe in you. I think if you’re doing that for other people it’s a lovely community.
Kate: And I think sometimes if you sense a bit of jealousy or a bit of envy, it’s because potentially that person doesn’t have the confidence to do what you’re doing. And maybe by you doing it you can change that within them, or you can not change that because that’s probably up to them to do, but inspire them to do that within themselves.
Kylie: Yeah, so being aware of their discomfort is often a reflection back of where they’re at rather than necessarily anything to do with you.
Kate: Their own story.
Kylie: Yeah. So I wanted to talk about how you take care of yourself in the process of leaping. Specifically around self-compassion. Do you guys have any particular practises about how you take care of yourself when you’re running around with hair on fire and 300 ideas of potentiality kind of running around?
Emma Kate: I think I’m not very good at that still. I’m very much all in, slugging it out, don’t sleep, forget to eat. But it’s just, drive. I just have a constant insatiable drive. I just love so much what I’m doing that I just can’t get enough, which is great but it’s also not that sustainable. So I’m two years in now and I definitely fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. I never have a problem with sleeping, which is great. But I think that’s not going to be realistic for always.
So I think lately it’s been hiring my first employee, which is one week in, and it’s been incredible.
Kylie: Sally, where are you?
Kylie: Wave everyone to Sally, she helped us out today, thank you Sally.
Emma Kate: I can see how amazing it’s going to be trusting in someone else to be there as your right hand and helping, because it’s just grown too big for me now. I think ultimately self-compassion. I think I’m better at the compassion part but the balance, I’m all in and that’s my only way. I just haven’t worked that one out yet.
Kate: Yep, yep. Ditto ditto. Basically the first, probably until we had Lola, was just, adrenaline, adrenaline, adrenaline, adrenaline, adrenaline. My parents called me the whirlwind and I gave that a good talking to, that name.
I think since having a child it’s forced me to just stop because now I have to be in a routine, and that’s been an excellent side effect of having a child aside from the obvious one. Having Lola means that she has to fed, well I should probably eat at the same time she does. So I do now have three full-on meals a day which is good. She goes to bed about 8:00, well we’re not long after her. We just find that having her and naming a bit of a routine has actually made us look after ourselves which is really really good.
It’s so easy to burn out, it’s so easy to be all-in, it’s so easy to just throw yourself to just keep propelling forward. But one thing I wish I could look back at me two years in would be to say, just stop and breathe, girlfriend and just calm the hell down and have a little bit of a meditate. Or go for a walk or just be quiet and read your book that you love to read before bed.
I’ve always loved reading and I think for the first four years of business all I read was order forms. Since I’ve got back into reading again I’m just so much happier and quieter and it’s just so much better. I think moving forward for me is going to be easier because I now give myself some self-compassion. I certainly couldn’t say that I have in the past.
Kylie: It’s a practise that you learn, right? And you often learn it because you crashed.
Kate: Big time crash. Not good for the health.
Kylie: How can we avoid crashing, Madeleine?
Madeleine: Well I wish that I had this perfect self-care routine given I interview people about their routines, but I don’t. But one thing that I think … a pattern that I’ve identified is that the dull days and the crashes are going to be inevitable, and instead of beating myself up when I’m going through one sometimes I think being sort of a day or two long just recognise that I’m actually in a dull period and that I’m at an energetic low, a creative low, and just enjoy watching Netflix for that time. Enjoy the solitude, because there’s always this lovely little kind of rise to it when you do become energised if you allow yourself to rest and just sloth about.
I like to think of our creative lives like seasons. There’s going to be the winters but then there’s going to be the spring. So I just kind of rug up and enjoy the winter now.
Kylie: Yeah, so the piece of work that I love around this was written by a guy called Tony Schwartz in The Power of Full Engagement and he talks about the fact that we can have on seasons and off seasons. And having kids at primary school, and anyone that’s got kids will know that you become on their routine, on their calendar when they’re at school. So you become school term driven and then school holiday driven.
So for me it’s kind of like a school term is a sprint, so I know that for the next ten weeks it’s all guns blazing, I’m in, we’re on a routine: school uniforms, lunches, get that stuff done. Because you know that there will be two weeks where it’s all off the table for a couple of weeks.
For me that’s helped organise my ideas and to realise that we can expend a great amount of energy but we need to then have times for respite and for renewal at the other side of that. And that might not be whole terms, that might look like that in a week. You might have days that are really full-on. At the beginning of the week when energy is high and the end of the week is more strategic or more planning-focused, or that’s the day I get my hair done or I catch up with my bestie for lunch, or something like that. And that’s okay. We need to acknowledge that we’re not actually designed to sit in front of a desk 9-5, five days a week, every week of the year in and out. We are designed to cycle around through that and that’s okay.
Reading that book was actually a revelation because it was like, what? It’s okay to rest? You mean I’m not lazy?
Kate: And there’s so many entrepreneurial spirits out there where they’ve just worked like dogs to get where they are. And you kind of think, is that the footprint? Is that what I have to do? And that’s quite like Lisa Messenger’s whole vibe is, she gets up and she goes for a walk, depending on where she is, and she has quiet time and then she hits the office at 10:00, and I’m like, 10:00? Wow! So much has happened by 10:00. I kind of like that she’s accomplished and she does what she does, but she still remembers that self-care every day.
Kylie: Yeah, and one of the reasons why I love working from home is that I can have a nap. You know, at like 2:30.
Kate: Sure, or be in your UGG boots.
Kylie: Yeah, in my UGG boots. Well that’s the other thing, it’s not a bonus. My work boots at my desk. That’s great.
I think we might actually open it up for questions now. We have prizes for questions, Tess.
Kate: They’re really good, I’ve provided two of them.
Kylie: They’re really good, so I hope you have been formulating some questions because we have prizes to give away. Who would like to ask their first question? Go. Hit us with a question. You get a candle from TheSuperCool that says,
Kate: “Champion. Legend. Icon. Gangster.”
Kylie: That’s right. So it’s from the Connection Exchange. What’s your question?
AudienceMember1: I’m going to ask, I’m loving these: be less available and people will seek you out.
Kate: Am I speaking to you? Directly to the heart.
AudienceMember1: I would really love to know how that’s gone, and how you made the shift, and what kind of brought that on.
Kylie: So talking to the point about being less available and people will seek you out.
Kate: When we did our very first pop-up, we were at Melbourne Central which is open all the time. That was okay, but the second pop-up was at Pope Joan’s, little back which is actually now their bar. We were 10:00 til 3:00 because I got to choose the hours and I live across the road, so it took me one minute to commute. And I just thought, let’s just do it three days a week and let’s see what happens. And so it was all about promoting that they were the hours we were available, and we did that through social media and we always printed a postcard so people could take that with them on recycled paper to say, this is what we’re about.
Now, fast-forwarding six years, we’re at the South Melbourne Market. They’re only open four days a week, and that just really sat with us as being, this is kind of what we’re about. We want to be less available. A lot of people still don’t know what day the market is open because every market’s open a different day, which is not very convenient of them all. So we get people contacting all the time saying, “I thought the market was open on Thursday and I was going to come down.” So, we have online. Online is available all the time, that’s a necessity in current environments. But the actual physicality of coming into our store is four days and they’re 8:00 til 4:00. We’d rate our times.
When we first started we thought, this is so not going to work. But we get people coming in at five past eight on their way to work, getting a present, getting a card. And so we’ve conditioned people to realise that we don’t get to control those hours, they’re dictated by the market. That’s just worked for us. So it means Mondays is our family day, Tuesdays is bank jobs, groceries, clean the house (boring). Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday are the shop days, and Thursday is our collect stock, run around, etcetera days. So we’ve got a very strategic (boring) routine now, but it’s worked. The four days being open is great. People know that we’re open, they respect that we’re in the market, and they come in and they know that that’s the situation.
Just on the weekend a lady wanted to buy a rug, she was just not sure. She had to think about it, and I said, “Just buy it online and collect it in store on Wednesday, that way you won’t miss out on it.” And sure enough today she bought it and she’s going to come collect it tomorrow. So, we’ve just conditioned our customer to understand that’s when we’re open. But having said that, we’ve done a Westfield Dog House pop-up before Christmas that was open a gazillion million hours in the lead up to Christmas til what, three in the morning, which was painful. And we had to staff that, and poor girls clocking off at three in the morning I always felt really worried about their safety getting home. But we’ve done that and that doesn’t work for us, it doesn’t sit true to who we are in our philosophy. So being less available means you’re educating people to follow you and understand when you are open. And not many retailers ask that, because they’re open all the time.
Kylie: We’re also motivated by scarcity, you know FOMO is real, right? So you get to set your own terms. You get to choose how you are accessible. In my own business with my practice, I have consulting clients on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and they’re the choices for when I meet with people. So I get to set the rule so that I have other times in my week that are dedicated for other things. And that doesn’t always hold. There’s flexibility in there, but it’s kind of like they’re my boundaries, they’re my guideposts. They’re my slots that I try and say, “I can see you but only down here.” So you don’t have to be available all the time.
Kate: And hopefully that whole concept – I’m not sure what your leap is going to be – but hopefully that concept means you have some balance in the other parts of your life, because ultimately what we’re all striving for. We want to be able to do other things outside of this passionate leap that we want to take.
Emma Kate: I think for me, one of my key boundaries is email. One of the things that, as soon as I set up my business is I set an auto-responder that someone told me to do because you can set the expectation on when you’ll get back to someone and you don’t have that worry that, oh no what if it’s a really exciting opportunity and what if they’re going to think I don’t check my … when am I going to hear from you? And I think for me, I also get the opportunity to showcase my brand straight away. I get a beautifully composed email going into their inbox, which is warm and generous and everything I want to be, without investing that time. And then when I do have the time I go back to them and say, “I’m here now.” But I love that quote, “Wherever you are, be all there.” And I have those words in the auto-responder and a lot of people come back and go, “Oh my gosh, I just want to say, respect, and also thank you for that lovely email and I can’t wait to hear from you when you reply to me.”
Kylie: And you can get super creative with that, because when I’ve had it as well and actually just said, “This is the jive, here’s a whole bunch of other stuff you can access in the meantime.” Particularly during school holidays is when I do that, but you have it all the time, which is wise.
Emma Kate: Yeah, and it has an FAQ page that, here’s some things I get asked all the time, no I’m not taking on freelance work, yes you can get this, this is where I’m stocked, etcetera. I think it just sets the expectation for the relationship that I’m not going to respond to you in ten minutes, because I might actually be doing something else.
Kylie: Boundaries are important, love that. I think someone down here, Tess? What do we have now? Alright now, you get a copy of The Purpose Project by Carolyn Tate who is featured in The Leap Stories book. This is her latest book, and this is all about discovering your why. So it’s super helpful. And this is part of her pay-it-forward project. I bought a book and she gave me one to pass on, so I’m now passing it on to you.
AudienceMember2: I don’t know if my question is actually big enough to-
Kylie: No no no, it’s all good, hit us with it.
AudienceMember2: There are two parts to my question: one is, how do you know when enough is enough? And how do we compete when there’s a perception that somebody else is going hell for leather?
Kate: The hell for leather one I’ll answer. Constantly, constantly looking at other people going, “They do it so much better.” And when we had our daughter, suddenly I had to put some brakes on because she needed to be breastfed, she needed to be changed, and there were classic moments in the Fitzroy store. Somebody would be banging on the window and I’m changing a nappy in the back room, you know. Like, hello? Running a business here.
At the end of the day there are always going to be other people who can do some things better or get there quicker. But maybe that’s their experience. For me, having a daughter halfway through the growth of our business … I mean, we started the business to be co-parents, so we wanted it to fit into our lives. So our journey has worked out just how it was meant to, but I needed time to work that whole sentence that I just said out.
In terms of the …
Kylie: How do you know when enough is enough?
Kate: I burnt out. I completely burnt out. I had no health left. Just literally physically was a decrepit person. Just reached a point where I went, I can’t even stand up in store, I can’t deal with staff, I don’t even want to talk to the people who are coming to the store. I can’t buy anything anymore. Adrenaline below 50, you know.
Kylie: And what would you say to that person now?
Kate: Go back and give yourself a bloody break! Yeah, I wish I had’ve along the way, been quieter, found my quiet moments. Been a bit slower. My mum always said to me from the get-go, you are going to burn out if you don’t stop. And of course mums know best but I didn’t listen to her.
Kylie: So more self-compassion.
Kate: Way more self-compassion.
Kylie: It’s where it actually starts.
Kate: Well I had to go through that, because this has been a pattern for me my whole life. I just go hell for leather. I get really excited and I don’t stop, and then I stop. But I feel like I’ve got it this time. I probably won’t do that anymore.
Kylie: Yeah, your most important asset in your business is your mental health. Absolutely the number one most important thing. If you don’t have your mental health you don’t have a business. Or it’s much harder to have a business when you’re struggling with your mental health. And the basis of that, if we talk about the energy stuff, is sleep. Making sure that you get enough sleep. And so prioritising your sleep is so important, because if you don’t get enough sleep you’re not capable of making good judgements. Your brain actually literally shrivels up and stops being able to function properly. You know, our prefrontal cortex just basically says, “No I’ve had enough, I need a break. I don’t care what you want me to do, I’m not checked in.” So the sleep thing for me is supremely important. And that’s a self-compassion practice. I can’t do this if I don’t take care of myself. It’s like, you’ve done enough for today, go and have a sleep.
Kate: I admire the people who don’t need a lot of sleep, like my husband doesn’t need a lot of sleep to function. He can make great decisions and he’s just born that way. I’m just different from him.
Kylie: It’s just not normal.
Kate: It’s not.
Kylie: Between seven and nine hour sleep is average what we need.
Kate: Yeah it’s not normal, but he can do four or five and he’s okay. It’s weird, but I’m grateful.
Kylie: So I’ve done that for a couple of days, and then fallen over and been useless for the next five. So, acknowledging that this isn’t great, this is going to catch up with me. Or I’m going to need a two-hour nap tomorrow during the day.
Kate: But also, just quickly; even when you look at someone else it’s a bit like looking at their Instagram page. It’s a filtered version of their life. So if you see someone else really accelerating and you think, wow I want to be where they’re at, you don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes. You don’t know when they’re going to burn out. You don’t know if they’re burning out of money. You don’t know what’s going on. So it’s always the glamorous version.
Kylie: Anyone that gets you anxious, you’ve got to stop following. You do. Straight up. I really get very careful about what I consume. What were you going to say?
Emma Kate: I was going to second you and say that I compare myself a lot to people doing similar things or following their dreams or that kind of thing, and I think Charles is the person that brings me back. I think it’s bringing you back to your why and your story, and that no one does anything like you. I think just remembering your why, and I think the question that-
Kylie: Which is in the book! You got the perfect book for that!
Kate: Meant to be.
Emma Kate: I need to read it. I think the other element, and I’m not fully resolved on this and I think I’m still figuring it out, is the question I’m asking right now. What’s the hurry in growing? What’s the rush? This is my life, I hope I have quite a few years left. Maybe the joy is just enjoying the process rather than hurrying to the finish point. I don’t actually have an end point so, what’s the hurry? I don’t really have this big five-year goal or point I want to hit. I’m loving every day, so is there actually a need to hurry there?
Kylie: And also like you said, only you can do it in your own way. So the comparison trap, the comparison is the thief of joy. That’s my favourite quote. If I keep looking at what everyone else is doing it takes me out of my own lane. Then I just become an echo chamber rather than creating something and doing something original of my own. Do you find?
Madeleine: That’s why I started Extraordinary Routines because I was comparing myself to people and I wanted to get in their lane and be like, “What are you doing? Show me! Tell me!” Where are you at 8:00 AM, maybe I can be there too and I can be as successful as you.
Speaking to people, I think I’ve interviewed over 50 people about their routines now, and it’s just so humbling to hear everybody from Zoe Foster Blake to Del Kathryn Barton from Debbie Millman – I’m just rolling off some big names.
Kylie: I know, just like those names baby, bring them on!
Madeleine: Nothing major. But they all say this, they all say, “I don’t know when it’s enough. I don’t know if I’m doing it right.” And that’s so awesome to hear that nobody knows if they’re doing it right. And it’s that wonderful thing that Emma said about, you know, take your time, you don’t actually know where things will lead. And no one actually knows where it’s going to lead. And you might die. So I know that’s really morbid but follow Mortality Musings, it’s very inspiring.
Kylie: Yes exactly, keep reminding us.
Next question. Oh we’ve got a few, okay. We have a bag of Toms goodies to give away. I think you might’ve been next, we might come down the front here. Your question, nice and loud.
AudienceMember3: Thank you. Thank you very much. I wanted to bottle a couple of the conversations together to ask my questions, so if you can think about the contributing factors, perspective, and pay forwards is three concepts in this question. My question is, how did you know that moment where your idea went from a conversation and exploration to actually becoming a business on a financial basis?
Kylie: So how did you know when your idea actually became a real thing?
Emma Kate: I think my first trade show was a bit of a big insight. Like, oh wow, this is real.
Kylie: But what about the time before that? Because to get to a trade show you’ve had to decide, I’m going to make products.
Emma Kate: Yeah, I think it was a lot of just intuition and just going, I want to do this, how can I do that, and work backwards. When I knew it was real I think that was when I had stockers who would call me and order. And I’m like, “Alright I have to answer the phone now.” And just knowing it was real, a lot of it had been in my mind I suppose before then. Figuratively.
Kylie: I still think there’s a moment before that. It’s kind of like where you go, I could make some cards. I’m going to make cards. I have made cards. You know? It’s kind of that.
Emma Kate: Yeah I suppose, I guess so.
Kylie: It’s tough, right?
Emma Kate: Yeah it is. I think I’ve just always been doing it and not really taking it in until I realised I had done it already. I don’t know if that’s a great answer. I will say, I think for me it was also the product was not really the focus. It was the story I think for me. I was living and launching this dream of mine and engaging the community around me and I also invested when I launched it, because I had shared with them that six-month journey of figuring it out. So maybe it was that process as well that was real.
Kylie: Can I reframe the question a little bit? Because I ask this in the stories, and it’s the moment of when you decided to choose courage to do it. Is that kind of where you’re getting at? Because for me that’s the one question in all of the stories I’m the most interested in. When did you decide or how did you decide to take the leap? To go, fuck it, I’m all in. I’m going to do it.
AudienceMember3: Yes and no. I think you’ve said the answer there already. I have an idea that I’ve been exploring for quite some time. And whenever I talk to someone there’s always a vested interest and some energetic conversation about how it’s a great idea, keep going. But I haven’t managed to turn that into a business that actually pays a way to such.
Kate: So you’ve started it?
Kate: So for us, we gave ourselves a date we wanted to do our first pop-up. We spoke to Melbourne Central, we said we want to do it here. They said these dates are available, we go, cool that’s the date. And then we went, right that’s two months we’d better start buying some stock, getting a brand, designing a logo. We didn’t worry about staff because my husband and I did it. We just went right, we’re working towards that date. It didn’t become financially break-even until probably three or four months later, because we had to invest so much initially. It wasn’t lots but you had to put money in.
It was when, to answer your question, I realised I could do this full-time instead of part-time instead of doing my other business. We had a lot of interest and I thought, oh there’s something to this. We kind of tried this as an experiment and I feel like there’s more to it and I feel like a lot of things worked out. There were a lot of synchronicity of events that happened all at the same time. Lots of people saying, “Oh we’ve got a spot you could pop-up in.” And someone else said, “I’ve got product I’d like you to sell.” So we kind of just suddenly realised, there’s a little bit of magic dust in the air and we went, let’s give it a go full-time. But I went full-time first before my husband did. Does that answer you?
AudienceMember3: That helps.
Madeleine: I think as a freelance writer it’s a little bit different because I’m the service that I’m selling. So it’s kind of hard to pinpoint moments. Is it when I started university, is it when I started my internship or when I started a side project? So I think when you’re the service it’s about building experience, and that experience can take a long time to pay off. I’ve been a writer for almost five years now, and part of that was being a salaried worker and now it’s freelance, and it’s only now, this tip of the five-year point, where I’m getting people coming to me in terms of magazines and things. That’s because of finally building a profile. So it’s been very very very slow. I don’t know if that’s helpful, but it’s-
Kylie: You talked about the importance of setting a goal and a target and a date and having some concrete things working towards. Maybe there was a financial thing in there? Would it make sense now that I can go full-time? But do you also think that there’s a certain mindset of going, I’m in. This is my business now. I’m going pro in this. Just saying, this is my business, and these are the goals and the targets that I want to meet.
So it’s not about what anybody else says. This is my second book and when I wrote my first book, one of the things … I’ve never written a book before, and I didn’t really own the title of being a writer and author until I owned the title of being a writer and an author. And I set my workspace up like, well if I was a professional writer, what would my workspace look like? What would my day look like? What would my goals be? What would my routines be if I was a writer? And I claimed it. And so I bought myself a big screen and I stuck up things around me to help me and I bought candles and flowers and got my 25-minute sprints going. I behaved the way that I wanted to behave to claim the title of being a writer. So I think you claim it.
Two more questions. Oh we’ve got lots of products though! Time’s running … oh we’ve got a mega pack, oh it better be a good question, no pressure there.
Jade: Well, it just leads me, what you were talking about your book, and I know that you also run consulting. So I took my leap when I realised I couldn’t work for any other PR agency. I couldn’t thrive for any other PR agency that was out there. So I took the leap six years ago and in that time I’ve had three kids and I have that feeling of mortality as well, where I’ve got no time and all these ideas, one of which is writing a book. Making my business easy to access to other businesses so I can pass it on and have that sense of community and share what I know with more people. And it’s just, time!
Kate: The gift pack you’re about to receive is time, okay?
Kylie: I think these, how do I fit it all in or how do I do everything that I want? How do I write a book and have three children and being a consultant and a mum and build my business-
Jade: Yeah, because I feel like even though I’ve been in business for six years it still feels like my first year because I’ve got a one-year-old and I’m essentially starting again.
Jade: The book thing. How do I make that happen and run my business and still be a mum?
Kylie: Self-compassion is what it comes back to. Your hands are full. And grace. I don’t know, for me it’s like … have some self-compassion for where you are, because it’s not going to be like that all the time. I didn’t write my first book until four years ago, so my kids were both at primary school. So that was off the table, you know? That sounds very much to me like not doing enough.
Kylie: You know, I should be doing more, or I should be able to fit this all in. Or maybe if it’s not, it’s how? So what do you need to give up in order to create something else?
Kate: Yeah I was just going to say Jade, I think you’re a mega-star for just even getting to tonight given all of that. But at the end of the day I think you could start just when you have the light bulb moment where you just go, “Oh I want to put that in my book.” Just start jotting it down, and as time goes on, maybe when your little one’s a bit older, and maybe when you find a staff member who you could take on who could be a bit more senior, maybe there will be more time for you to put all those bits together and put the book together. There’s no reason you can’t start now in that initial phase, but maybe sitting down and writing the book right now from start to finish is just not achievable given your time constraints.
Kylie: We have this idea. For me to write that book I created this scenario but that meant I put a lot of other stuff on hold. So I kind of said, this is my priority for right now and I have to put other things back. Nothing’s perfect. You’ll never have the perfect conditions to start anything. The amount of notes that I’ve got in my phone … I’ve actually got the beginnings of a movie script in my phone that every time I think, oh that would make a great scene, I just write it in my phone. I dream about having a writing retreat in the woods for two weeks to get the first draught done, but that’s just not going to happen. Just because it’s not perfect doesn’t mean that you can’t make a start, but be compassionate with yourself as well. You know?
Kate: Just put it out there. I want to find a staff person who can help me in my current role so that I can find time to write. Because you just never know-
Jade: [crosstalk 01:23:29] In the consulting business, business does come and go. It’s hard to train on that.
Kate: Someone who cares like you do, too.
Kylie: Do you have my card? We can do hard things. One of my cards on the seat says “We can do hard things.” It is hard. It’s not impossible. There we go. If there’s anybody in the room that could actually offer some help? The wisdom in the room?
AudienceMember5: I don’t really have a question per se, but I’m sitting here opening a business. I’m doing a leap. And it’s funny one of you said, you know, you’ve done it all before. Here I am thinking, this is so hard. And I’m sitting here thinking, I’ve done it before! Shifting priorities and shifting the item.
Kylie: Yeah. What’s on my plate, and how do I move it around? What would you tell your best friend, if she was in your situation? So this is a really good question to ask. It’s a self-compassion talk. If I found my best friend in this situation, what would I wish she would do for herself? That was actually the genesis of my leap. When I was sitting at my desk four weeks before Christmas working for a retailer, uncontrollably crying, and I thought, I can’t. I’m just beside myself. A friend texts me a Fake Buddha quote that was … we didn’t realise it was Fake Buddha at the time but it was something that said, “You can look the whole world for somebody who’s more worthy of your love and affection but that person is you.” You are worthy of your love and affection. And that’s the inner mentor voice as over the inner critic voice.
The inner critic voice says, “I’m not doing enough. I’ll never get to this. Why can’t I make this work? I don’t have time.” Blah blah blah blah blah. The inner mentor voice is the voice of the older, wiser version, more compassionate version of you that is there. And if that’s hard to find think about, well what would my best friend say, or what would I say to my best friend in this situation? I hope that’s helpful.
Do we have … I know we’re running out of time! We’ve got one more question, one more gift. I love that you’re all asking questions! I’m sorry you had had your hand up. I’m sorry but we can talk afterwards, after we mingle.
AudienceMember6: I just want to know how you go about filtering ideas that come in for new creations, new products. How do you manage all that?
Kylie: So how do we filter all the new ideas when you’re a curious, capable, juicy human being that has got lots of things going on in the head. How do you know what to give your attention to?
Emma Kate: It also comes back to the previous question in my mind. I have a one-day shelf. That doesn’t mean it gets discounted forever but it can’t happen right now. And then I have much more time for what I am working on. And that idea that you can do anything but you can’t do everything. Just focusing on a couple of things.
For me I am actively asking my audience what they are seeking, to make sure that what I am designing and making and putting out there in the world is useful and relevant, and it’s what people want. My email list particularly, exceptionally engaged and I have focus groups and inner circles, and I ask them actively, “Is this what can serve you, and how can I make it better?”
Kate: I would say for us, we buy a lot of products. We don’t make our own products. But my husband’s always banged on about us making our own products. I was in product development in fashion a long time ago, and it’s a tough industry and there’s a lot of people ripping other people, small creatives, off. I just said to him, “No, I want to be about championing people who are already doing it.” So I’ve had to filter him. Great that this is being recorded and he’ll hear that. Because at the end of the day I feel like that’s who we are.
We did try doing some product collaborations and the candle is a product collaboration. There are certain things you can do that are collaborative and don’t exhaust you. But for us it’s about filtering the products that come to us. We kind of know what is SuperCool, what is right for our audience. What’s something we’re missing? What resonates with us, what our customer will want. And that’s taken six years to get to. I think it’s constantly changing, too. Again it comes back to, for me, that space to sit there and go, is this right? We’ve made lots of bad decisions with product as well. So it’s learning from that.
Kylie: So don’t be afraid to make a mistake?
Madeleine: For me in terms of organising project ideas, article ideas, places I want to write for, I highly recommend bullet journaling. For me that’s been really good because at the start of a Bullet Journal you do your future planning. So it’s got a six month space – you create this all yourself and there’s a great YouTube video to watch to help you do that – but it gives me a nice six-month overview, and then I can start doing little monthly breakdowns on what I’ll attack that month and then that day. So that’s really helpful for the immediate, this is what’s happening this year.
But then similar to the question that Jade was asking about, “How do you fit it in, these projects?” I have this problem with fitting everything into this timeline, and to try to let go of that and all that pressure to do it all now and do it all before I’m 30, and all these kind of things. I’ve just made this 100 things I want to do before I die – I sound very morbid and obsessed with death – but it’s just kind of helped me say, my gosh I could be doing this in my 70s if I want to. Things will change and there’s no pressure to do it right now.
So there’s the pragmatic bullet journal, and then there’s the kind of “one day” kind of list.
Kylie: So we need to wrap up, so I’m keen to ask you what are some final thoughts that you would like to make sure that people leave with? Perhaps things that you wish you knew when you were taking a leap, or just the best advice that you could possibly share with somebody else.
Madeleine: I think this has been touched on already but I just like it as a takeaway of, don’t compare your insides to other people’s outsides. That’s the biggest trap that I get is comparing myself to other people. The highlight reel on social media. So, stop that.
Emma Kate: That’s really good.
Kate: I would just come back to, perhaps because I’m a little bit older than you ladies, just giving yourself time to work things out and be kind to yourself through your leaps and journeys and business ideas. It doesn’t matter if it fails. When Kylie interviewed me for The Leap Stories, I think there was a question about failure. I’ve had a lot of jobs, I’ve got a lot of different super accounts. And it’s a pain in the ass to roll them way, but … I just, I don’t care. People used to go, “Man, I can’t keep up with you. You’ve changed jobs so much.”
I’ve always been curious, I’ve always wanted to try lots of things, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. We look at someone not staying in a job, you know it’s not every three months they kind of changed every two or three years, but … just try. Nothing bad will happen. You’ll still be alive! Unless you’re going to be a skydiver. But, just try. Just give it a go. There is no harm. The worse that can happen is you have to pick yourself up and go and work at 7-Eleven, and that’s not the worst.
Emma Kate: I would say to say yes as much as possible and then figure it out. To add to that, everything is figureoutable. Because, yeah, it totally is.
Kate: I like that you make up lots of words, that’s good.
Kylie: I think that’s a Marie Forleo thing, right?
Emma Kate: Yeah it is, she says it in her American way. Everything is figureoutable.
Kylie: Should we give them a round of applause?
Now we’re totally over time, and they’re totally going to tell us to get out any second, but I have one thing that I need you to do before we leave, and you have 60 seconds.
There’s a great book by a woman called Tara Mohr called Playing Big, and in it she actually has a whole chapter on what it looks like to take a leap. She defines a leap as something you can execute in the next two weeks. Something that puts you in front of the people that you want to have impact with, and something that gets your adrenaline going.
So you need to pick up your phone in your note sections, or pick up your pen and paper. Or pick up your diary, whatever you have, and I want you to choose at least one thing that you can do in the next two weeks for your leap. You have 60 seconds. Go. One thing. It’s got to put you in front of the people that you aim to serve. It’s not about registering a domain name, it’s not about faffing around on Photoshop for a logo, it’s not about that. It has to involve somebody else. It has to involve emailing that person that you want to reach out to, setting a date for that workshop that you want to run, sending that prototype to whoever it is. Something that puts you in front of the people that you want to serve, that involves someone else. In the next two weeks. In the next two weeks! It gets the adrenaline, feels scary! Feels like, crap. This is homework, I am big on homework.
Has everyone got something? Yes? Something in the next two weeks? Taking a little leap? We start. So asking somebody for a coffee date, submitting an idea to somewhere that you’d like to work with, sending a prototype. Just putting on your website that this is what you do now and sending out an email to people that you know and asking them to support you. Putting it on your Facebook page or whatever, that this is what you do now. Yep. Asking for some support. You got it? Yeah. Hahaha, there’s some sceptical looks in the room.
Alright, we also have a Taking the Leap workshop next Wednesday night. So if you are serious about taking the next step and if you would like to do it in a more structured way and perhaps with a small group of people who would also like to do that, we’re running a workshop next Wednesday night at General Assembly from 6:00 til 8:30, so I would invite you to come along to that. And I’m going to send you some information about that tomorrow. So I hope to see a few of your faces there, that would be really good. We also have an Instagram for business and work life design workshop as well if you would like to partake in those.
On your seats is a survey for the Small Business Festival. They would be mighty grateful if you could take a moment to fill that out before you go today and you could leave them with us.
Thank you everyone for coming along. Thank you for participating, thank you for your attention. I hope that it was useful and it was helpful and I would love to know what your leap is in your next two weeks so feel free to email me those. You have my card. You also have a five dollar voucher for TheSuperCool store.
Kate: No strings, you can come in and just get a card.
Kylie: You can just come in and get a five-dollar card. There’s a little discount card for Emma Kate’s store as well, her beautiful stationery. Our beautiful publisher Tess over there has some of her other books including Conversations Series, Owning It, which if you’re a creative and need to get your head around copyright rules, it’s a brilliant book. There will be a few snacks and things before they officially really boot us out of the building. But thanks for coming along, and I really appreciate all your questions tonight and I look forward to seeing your leaps. Thank you very much! Good luck!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this special episode of In the Company. If you’ve loved what you’ve heard, please leave a review on iTunes, and share the link with anyone who could do with a little bit more courage to take a leap of their own.
To purchase your copy of The Leap Stories book, please visit ofkin.com/leap
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