Hello and welcome to the grow small business podcast. I'm your host Troy true in each week we speak with an owner who has grown a business with five to 30 team members to something bigger. Diving into their numbers and unearthing the pain they've experienced, we explore what they did to overcome each barrier, and what they would do differently from day one. Let's get into it.
Welcome, everyone. Today I'm interviewing Julie Perkins from wise minds. She's based out of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Thanks for your time today, Julie.
Well, thank you very, very much for having me try. I look forward to it.
Let's start with how we know each other. Thomas from Kip caster put us in touch that you might be a great guest for us.
Yeah, I hope I can fulfill that special. And obviously, I've listened to a few of them, or I hope I've got something to say towards your audience for sure.
We'll tell our audience a bit about your business, what it does and how makes money.
Well, I opened up a business that supports female entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. And I had this incredible career. And I think there's very few people in life that can say that it went very smoothly, and they loved every moment of it, but I'm one of those. And I opened up Specsavers in the Netherlands in Northern Europe for 20 years. And after all a while is of course, as you're growing, I found myself at this pitch event. And there were five amazing women on the stage pitching away their businesses, their Bible businesses, and one person one. And I thought to myself, what happens to the other four people's dreams? So that was my sort of core to start a company that grabbed these guys, and thought, how can I learn from my 20 years experience of growing a brand from scratch in Northern Europe, and put it into a shorter program where I can support female entrepreneurs, so that no one loses their dream, and keep these great ideas alive in the community. So that's where my spine started. And that's how it began. And it's been going for now three years. And of course, pivoting and growing like that. But it's a lot of fun. For sure. So that's how I started really.
So you would have started just after COVID Hit the world, I guess.
Yeah, well, funnily enough, started just before COVID, about four months. And as I was about to launch, and we had this great idea that we were going to get this magical team go into people's companies and say, here's the team that you'll be able to afford in two years time, and then grow the business that way, then COVID arrived. And of course, the world shut down. So I put a message out there and I said, Listen, I grow businesses, anyone need any help growing theirs or surviving during this period of time? And I had five people go, Yes, please. And then it was this prime opportunity to trial this program under extreme conditions. And also for me, I realized how much I love doing it. And so it's gone from strength there. So that was my sort of bid for COVID. Really, because no one could go out. So that's what I did. So yes, COVID, in a way, helped me to really pivot before I started, that probably doesn't even make sense. But you know what I mean?
So that means obviously, you started with an online model delivering the education support online, when COVID kind of settled down a bit did you then add in any in person stuff, everything's just always been online,
led to a mixture of both. I mean, that's the thing with small businesses, I think we realized that the founder is very time scarce. And having this program online, very much works in with their pattern of work. And using zoom of course, but now I'm putting a lot of the course actually into online training modules so they could work on it in their own time. And I think sort of going with the pattern of that very much helps. But any opportunity I love for face to face and if people are in the Netherlands, I will meet them face to face and in the UK. But the majority of it is trying to dance with their time schedules, either in the evening and the day. And of course zoom just works perfectly for that. So it's blended I think is the best description,
your growth online training courses, obviously, grown hugely, particularly after COVID but I had Mark Ritson on as a marketing professor for 25 years is British, and now lives here in Tasmania, just south of Hobart where I live, that he was episode 200. It was a cracking interview. I might send that one through to listen to Yeah, but he moved away from lecturing because his first child was being born and didn't want to be on the road six months of the year. And he says it's really interesting the cast he says he didn't think teaching online was going to be as impactful powerful as in person because he taught a lot in marketing, a lot of MBA, so London Business School, MIT Melbourne Business School, but he found the opposite because particularly for MBAs, you're working 40 hours a week you got a family at home. But the NBA asks you to come in on a Saturday and Sunday and sit in that classroom, it's really hard to concentrate and get the most out of it. So he's really been really surprised. In this year 2023, he'll have 8000 students through his two online courses.
Yeah, I think it very much fits in with the pattern of life, and how we can integrate ongoing learning, which is so key now, especially in entrepreneurship and small businesses, how you've got the spare 10 minutes how, you know, you've got a spare sort of 20 minutes, 30 minutes, you want to be able to dip in and out. And that was an interesting feedback as well from the program is, you don't always need consultancy. But your designated time. So we actually inbuilt something where you can request a guide, and then go in, so you can dip in and out of that as well. But like a joker card, where you can play it and bring it in, according to your needs. And we're all different. And I think that pattern is something we've very much learned how to balance person online. And that sort of self learning approach. And it's been a really interesting journey to discover all what works, but you think about it, you've got to be in the mood for learning, you've got to be in the in that right? You know, that time, but you also have to program it. So I suppose it's a mixture of both, really.
So in 2020, when you launch the business, how old were you when you started was mind.
I was just after 50, after Korea, so it was a beautiful way of moving into a new era, as well. So
do you have some key numbers you can share that illustrate the growth of the business over the last few years?
Well, when we first started, of course, it was just myself, but I came from big corporate, so I knew exactly who I needed to surround myself with. And of course, you can't always afford that right at the beginning. So I started off by really surrounding myself with people who were not part time but sort of freelance getting the right skills around me. So we move very quickly into probably what was the equivalent of four full time people in varying forms. And I think that sort of ecosystem that we built right at the beginning, gave us the opportunity to have a team that we would have had in corporate world at two years. But the skills that way, we had more of like a project growth team as the team, which worked very well. And of course, as we've evolved, that team has become more firmer, as part of wise winds on an ongoing basis. It's great for small businesses, because you can work out what you need, who you need, and, and really unite with values. That was the key thing. Our team was strong with values rather than contracts of employment. And then, of course, we've evolved to make a core team now, which is solid for people full time really, as well as an outskirt of people who do you know, obviously social media, as well as people that you can draw in so that your people in the company are as relevant as possible, long answer for full time.
And when was the moment you felt that you had succeeded?
Well, I believe as I teach all the entrepreneurs that growth is a series of waves. So every time I get on and off a wave, I think it's a sort of a milestone, I think after COVID, having saved five businesses in various forms, and was a big milestone, where I just thought, actually what you've learned through corporate life, this incredible journey I had really does have value to other people who haven't had that exposure. That was a big success moment for me, where I thought, yep, this is viable, where you're getting that reaction from it. And that was really very interesting. And that chance to trial, the tools that you use, and people go, Oh, my goodness, that makes sense. I get that. I think that was a big milestone, but really straight after COVID When five businesses still existed, I mean, warm feeling a lot of ego feeling for me, but on the whole, that's what I set out to do. And that was a big success. So I knew it could go somewhere. Yep. What does success look like to you? For me, obviously, I've had a I've got a three year vision, not a three year plan, a three year vision of change that I want to make. And that's something that I strive for every day and get the people inspire that to that vision. That's a big thing that we believe at wise minds. And that is to ensure that female entrepreneurs grow their businesses in a seamless way. And it's simpler than they think. So we have a united way of celebrating with all of the people because not everyone works with us every day that we celebrate every three great story of an entrepreneur, whether they want to share it or not. And our mantra is to keep great ideas alive in the community. So we're very much on a celebratory on purpose focus that would be if we are keeping those ideas alive, the good ones. And entrepreneurs are celebrating success getting out of no man's land. That's how I see success. I don't mind if it's 510 500 across the world, it's just that celebration of that story. That's really what successes in the future.
Number one thing you'd recommend to marketing a fast growing business,
it has to go straight into strong network for me. I think social media, especially in consultancy, is tough, it's hard. You can talk about stories, and it's got a place to play for positioning you. But the biggest advice for me is how to associate yourself with others in the industry, by making a very specific niche out of yourself, who are you? What do you believe? And how do you position because the strength of how people get to know about you, and what you do comes from others, and how they promote you. And they have to be clear. So you have to position yourself in this beautiful niche, and be very clear about what you do and who you fit into who you support. You are very clear, I'll take people who have knock on the door of a venture capitalist and say, no, no, thank you. That's my customer, and very clear. And also, I pass people on to other people. So it's a this network is very strong, but only if you associate your people yourself with people who share values, and that you are very clear with the change that you want to make and how you dance with others. And I think that was the greatest learning was the power of the network. And that comes from your customers as well. They're part of our network. And we started an alumni for graduates very early on. So actually customer one, they got known as a graduate and alumni. And we celebrated their success. And that is the greatest marketing tool you can have. But we take our network very seriously and invest in it, and cherish it really and celebrate it.
How did you fund the business, I was self
funding at the beginning, because as I said, I've come out of a great, great career. And this was something that I very much wanted to do. So I was self funded. And now I've started to put my program online, that was a new wave. And that was funded in terms of a loan into it to get that one done. But that was a very important part from going from, I liked doing this hobby, etc, into, I am now a viable, serious business traveling through and this is going through these waves of growth. So it's a very important milestone to get this working through. Very important.
If you're a startup today, with plenty of funding, would you go into your industry?
Oh, yeah, without a doubt. When I first started helping other entrepreneurs, I realized that even though I've had a great career, passing on that information, and helping others and uplifting others, is just what I simply love doing. The fact that a lot of people haven't had the exposure I've had or the experience that I've had, it makes this 20 years of hard graft really worthwhile. You know, I know its success. perspectivism. That's been wonderful. That was something but when I took that success and passed it on to others, that feeling is priceless. It really is I go straight back into it, the people we meet, I know it's a cookie cutter statement. But it makes you look at the world differently. Because once you understand people's stories and how you can make that story really matter. You look at communities in a different way and look at people and know that there is really good things going on, and how much small businesses, you know, form the backbone of many societies. And just to be a part of keeping that strong, is just now even smiling, telling you the story. It's just such a genuine good feel factor. It really is. Well, yeah, as
you would know, Julie, small businesses in in all developed nations anyway, generate the preponderance of jobs more than 50% of the jobs in that country. So it's something like 60 to 70% of jobs, the rest of government and big business or medium sized business, but most of the jobs in developed nations are in small business.
Yeah, and I think there's such a beautiful opportunity after COVID Because we often talk about one of the biggest challenges for small businesses is the right people on board and when to take them on. And there's such an opportunity for small businesses to grab great people because in COVID, we questioned a lot about what we're doing why we're working, working close to high We've questioned a massive amount. And this is such a big opportunity for small businesses, if they can get their communications right and inspire the change that they're making, and the difference that they make. It's very appealing to get the right people to come and join. And I think that's one of the beautiful things about small businesses in communities and wherever the communities Town Country. It's like such a positive impact. And I think that's a really important factor when looking to recruit nowadays, and I think it's a big advantage for small businesses, if they can communicate their vision and inspire people to join, it's magnetic,
in your outline the most stressful point in your small business growth journey, so our audience can learn from it.
Yeah, right at the beginning, I think are gonna go to Specsavers perhaps looking at this one. And of course, it's a big brand. But when we were opening in the Netherlands, it was small, you're only as big as the people who know you where you are. So it was very small. And I think that was the origin of the story that I'm in now is I was 3am sat in this garden and everything was right. And it was supposed to be growing fast. And I was sat there hands in the air going, what more can I do. And I think that pressure of starting up a business, being the founder, and in this case, I was the founder in the Netherlands. And the pressure that's on you, it makes you hold on to things so very tight. And you can get caught up in this whirlwind, this hamster wheel so easily without realizing. And you can get stuck and the business starts to grow around you. And I think my biggest pressure point was when those walls were this thickest. And you didn't even realize you'd got yourself into that founder's trap, and how you get out of it. In terms of understanding, of course, I was surrounded by great people. And I said, what more can I do. And they said to me, the greatest piece of advice that I've ever heard, which was make yourself redundant, of which I was horrified at the time. But what they were saying is make yourself redundant from the position you are now and really, that's been the sort of the journey that I took with Specsavers out here to every six months, make yourself redundant, put yourself back in make yourself redundant because that space for a founder of a small business is priceless. And if we can keep that space between ourselves and our business by continually looking in, it's the healthiest way of growing your business. And it gives space for you to live to be your true self, but space for others, these amazing people that you attract, to really contribute towards the journey. And I think that was the hardest thing I learned was how easy it is to get trapped. And how I will read for the great people that I was surrounded with, who will have the honest conversation going you're holding on to everything and how you take yourself out of that. And I do it with all entrepreneurs. Now. It's a big issue where it's on waves. At the beginning. No one loves the child like you do. You hold on tight, and it's trying to grow up as a teenager and you're still trying to feed it milk, you know, it's like, and that was a beautiful journey that I took the greatest learning ever, for me.
And whatever in business do you feel you've had to work on the most to add the greatest value?
I think the me it's definitely the operational side. I think when I was at Specsavers, I had just a great big team. But I think for me, it's about taking these great ideas of change, and dancing with the business model and finance and making that work. And I am a believer that if you get purpose, right and you live in embed purpose, the financial the success side, as well will sort itself out. But you have to have that awareness of the finance side that dances alongside and for creative founders. It's what I say to entrepreneurs today. So early governance is very important. And they go no, thank you. It's like you're cutting off their arms. You know. Governance is important, but make it work for you, your stakeholders, your finance, what do you own? What does other people own, especially in the world of creativity and invention right now, go early. You don't have to make yourself a big corporate with governance, but you need to bring governance in. That's the thing I struggle with the most but I know how important it is. You protect others, you protect yourself and you ensure that your value is not just for today. It has the value to carry on for tomorrow is a very important lesson. I struggle with it because of course I just like to create things Step that's very hard.
What I've enjoyed the least about managing fast growth,
the pressure of having so much to do and deciding what's important. And I think having a very clear plan, even though I've got a big purpose, and change is having a clear plan, and saying no to shiny new toys, because everyone loves a shiny new toy. And I work with others on this as well, and trying to stick to creating a core and making that work. So you've got a very strong platform to trial new things off of, but saying no to shiny new toys, and someone say, oh, my gosh, that'd be amazing here. And then I go, Yeah, that would be and I go, Yeah, call first, I've got to, you know, I've got to be known for, you know, the going back to the positioning and the net and the network. I'm trying to establish myself. And I was like this, because niche comes from the sort of Latin to nest, I'd always say that to entrepreneurs, don't be afraid of niche. It's not small. It's nesting to nesler to discover. So if you're going off shiny new things, the nest is kind of not clear. And yeah, I like new things that keeps me energized. So that I find the hardest is saying no, but I'm getting better.
And what do you love most about growing a small business
has to be the people has to be the people and how much value this relationship between it's not just young as an old that you know, an age sorry, this sage approach and how there's such an alignment between what we can give to young entrepreneurs nowadays, not everything, but just what they need to grow. Their experience is they've just got this amazing idea. And when you see what's going on, especially in the sustainability industry, in circular economy, they've got ideas because they see the world differently. And I love that because they've taught me so much. And then just walking in and sort of going there and working with them. Do this, perhaps don't necessarily this is a business canvas, actually giving them some basic tools. And they're like sponges, they're literally flying. And that has to be the young what we give each other. It just feels great. That's what I love is the people I meet every day, it really is a lot of fun. What's been
the biggest mindset shift, you're in your small business growth, journey,
power of the network. I must admit when you're in a big organization, you don't realize the power of the people that you supply yourself with. And I know there's many sayings, but you become blind to it. And when I left Specsavers, you know I have this incredible network of optical Rita the power that a net work and how to network. You know that learning that mindset shift is, I meet people all the time now, I don't need people, but I meet people all the time. And I remember, actually my my father is amazing network. He just says it's not a shop of people. You're always there. I know what I need in five years time. He says I meet people I know people, I shake hands with people. And I interviewed a friend of mine, Allen, who was one of the art directors of Harry Potter. And he says, I shake hands with people like I'm going to know them for the whole of my life. And I thought that's just beautiful Is it because I don't need anyone you don't need people now. You just need to know people when you need them. And I I thought that my approach to how I meet people in how I spend time in the week now, I designate time to get to know people to be at events with no agenda at all. Just to go out be curious beat people. That's been a massive change for me on how I spend my time and how I value it network of people.
The number one habit you think a small business owner needs to develop, maintain,
making yourself redundant on a continual basis. I think that's very important. whoring yourself. Yeah, firing yourself. And I think that space is very important. And I think one of the challenges of small businesses is to keep them interesting, keep them curious. And you know, when you're a small business, you are often really suddenly without realizing this, I sort of said find yourself firefighting your to do list. And when you get to your stage rather than going, I need somebody else to help me with this to do list ask yourself a different question. Why is my to do list? What's the most reoccurring thing on my to do list? Because the problem is your to do list is never the cause. And actually, if you ask yourself the right question, you've got a problem somewhere else and that's why we sort of invented the Powerball where is the blocks to growth and it's on your to do list because something's going wrong somewhere else. And I think by keeping To purpose and keeping values and looking wider at the company, when you're looking at problems is a very important thing to do. And keeping vision and purpose alive for a small business is essential. Because otherwise you get caught very quickly in the day to day running, which is important. But then you start missing what you're doing it for, you stop attracting the right people, people get bored, and we get the Cave of the founder again. And so every six months, who am I? What am I? Who do I want to be? And even if the answer is, hey, I'm just been brilliant this last six months? That's an answer as well. But you're asking yourself the right questions. And for me, it's essential you work I work on my I work with great people, but fundamentally, at 5am. I'm in the gym thinking I'm the one thinking about wise mines. So don't be the king and queen. If you're in Castle, you've got to kind of push yourself in and out would be my greatest piece of advice.
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He took a lot of people to the team some wins mistakes advice for those listening.
Yeah, I mean, of course, after so much of a journey with both Specsavers and wise minds. I think right at the beginning, when I was opening up Specsavers here, you realize soon that the team that you have that gets you going in that very initial Dynamic Phase isn't the team that's going to get you to the summit. And of course, you're evolving all the time. So at the moment with wise minds, you know, we're very much in a very moving agile ecosystem of people. And how I recruit, and I've got a lot of suppliers out there. I will have first couple of meetings on do we think the same? And actually I recruit and get people on values. Because if you're taking on a supplier, let's assume they can do their job, they can do their skill. But the biggest thing for me it's very intense at the beginning is do we think the same to think exactly the same values? But how do we think about life? How do we think about things? How do we think about dealing with a crisis, and even with our suppliers, we onboard them about purpose, what we think of what the values are, because under pressure, and there's always gonna be pressure. Because life's not like a beautiful flow of daffodils, there's always going to be crisises, how do you deal with it, because onboarding a supplier, and onboarding an employee costs a heck of a lot of money. So if I've got a switch and change halfway through a project, I need to know that six months if something's not going, right, that we can have the hard conversation and not take it personally, we have to know of how we deal with conflict, and how we celebrate how we unite. That, to me is an incredibly think potent thing, we don't have to have exactly the same values. But we have to have pretty similar lenses for which we see the world because it's too intense otherwise, and I can't afford to leave lose a supplier halfway through a huge project, just haven't got the buffer space to do that, as all small businesses have.
What are some things you recommend to building a sustainable and kickass culture to help with the growth?
Well, from a purpose led organization, I have to start there first, having that purpose and sharing the vision is very important. And the picture of vision be very clear to the founder, you don't own that picture. Your job is to inspire people to be curious about that picture. And so that they join in to have the space to be the best they can be. And I started early on talking about COVID, and how it really made us think about who we are. And what we want to do with that those values. In small businesses have a great opportunity to inspire great people to come and join. If they are clear and go, This is what we believe. And then sort of goes, that's similar to what I can see myself living my best life in that company. And there's a big opportunity as a starting point to be magnetic towards those people that you want. But you've got to you've got to put the you know, you've got to say do what you say and having that space, keeping that space and inspiring through celebrate keeping purpose embedded is very important. And that's why we're sort of saying about the firefighting as soon as your firefighting to do lists and your board meetings, your meetings come have you done what's happening here. Ask yourself different questions. Because your job is to keep people curious in the journey of change you're making, and that's how you get the great people and this way A, you know, we encourage sort of very project based growth teams in our small businesses. So you start off with the purpose, and you have the different people around contributing towards it. And that keeps it relevant. So moving slightly away from very traditional hierarchy, that also keeps a real big mix of people interested, and using their skills in a different way. I always remember my, the guy who builds a website, and he looks after everything I don't know about, you know, online and stuff like that. He comes into our meetings, about the development of training an online, and he says, I've never been asked that before. But I see the back office all the time, one of the most useful people in that conversation ever. So you give people exposure and stretch them stretch their values, their skills, very important.
Hello, audience how you've handled balance.
For me, personally, I learned the hard way. And now I am very much in a balanced life, I just believe there is when you're an entrepreneur, there's just life. And then there's work as hobbies, as families, and how you put yourself into each of those channels. That's what I define as balance. For me, my health is very important. I'm in remission with cancer. So I'm on it all the time. I know how much being fit helped me through that. And that's something I keep very, very alive. Every morning, I have a balance between meditation health. And throughout my day, as well, I have little breaks that are called High Performance breaks, which let me recover, get back in because I'm seeing six or seven people a day on Zoom. So I need to turn up as my best self every moment. So I need that break. How do I turn up thinking that that person knows that they're the first person of my day, and these things are very important, and I don't make an Olympic gold medal. My start to the day, the morning routine is what my I'm being asked for on that day, I don't sort of go, I must do 50 minutes of this and 50 minutes this, I just do a balance of whatever is needed. And it works. And when it doesn't work, I've got the tools to go back into it. But Healthy Mind healthy body as an entrepreneur, for sure. You have to turn up at your best self at all times.
And how much professional development have you invested in yourself?
Oh, my favorite subjects. I love it. I've always got a course on the go. One of my favorite platforms is Mind Valley. I love their broad viewpoints going back to the accessibility of education, I can do it at 4am in the morning or nine o'clock at night, I feel inspired by their forces and a different way of looking at life. So yeah, I'm a big learning and development. One part of my morning routine is I've got to read at least a chapter of a book, or listen to a podcast, there's got to be some learning in it. Whatever I've got time for so. And that's very important because life is moving very quickly. And I believe there's not one way of growing yourself or a business, you've got to keep yourself different viewpoints different ways to make sure you don't become fixed in your mindset. You need to have a challenge. And my you know, my favorite pastime is playing the game on a monthly basis of challenge them Harvard Business Review. I love it because you get the titles and have a lot of debate with them. By relevant is this what I'm talking about with entrepreneurs? And is this what I believe? Or what else would I add to the article? Because it keeps it interesting? Very sad and weather nerd.
Have you had mentors or coaches along the way?
Yeah, all the way. Life's never achieved by yourself. And I've got a long term coach who's seen me through every crisis, every great time at Specsavers who went on to support me during cancer and to this day, but I I'm also training to be certified as a coach myself in life coach, so I'm a business coach, but not the life coach. And then you meet coaches along the way. So we coach each other. So, to me, the conversations that I have with people are massively essential because in a way, that's the team that's how I gain information. Yeah, I could never think of doing it alone. And I come from a big entrepreneurial family as well. So they are well their life experiences are an inspiration, but they're always a good check in. Especially when we're getting close to things like joint venture partnerships and stuff. I'll head straight to the experts, my parents, so I'll use any way or form and yeah, I think advice is there you can't possibly know everything.
Excuse my ignorance, but we're your parents, the founders and spectators. That's right.
started do I don't do any prep or research before I hit records. I didn't even realize that.
Ya know, so there's so spec so savers. So I'm generation two. And we all have worked in the company. But we're from a very early age, Mary, and Doug said, this is our thing. This isn't for you, it's not your bank. It's not your life. But there was so much growing up in our entrepreneurial family. It breeds curiosity, it breeds a different way of looking at business, you get a much more holistic viewpoint of life, you know, there's not work and life, you know, you grew up with a lot of people walking in and out of the house. That's not really failure. It's just, it's always phrased as, oh, it's a different phase. You know, that's just a beautiful way of looking at things. And I think it that inspires you to look at things and so naturally, we all migrated there. But Marian dog, it's not a family business. It's based call it a company with family values. And with the shed partnership, it's got 3000 owners across the world. So it's not a hierarchy situation. But that taught me a lot in small businesses, they held on to no profit, they shared success very early on. And I think it's the only way of doing it. And some of the women I'm working with now, on sustainable companies, were looking very early to how you can share the share success and share the challenge. And that collaboration, I think, is very open in young people. So it's a beautiful way of growing small businesses in a slightly safer, less risk averse way. Of course, everything's got risk. But that shared, if you give away you'll get a tremendous amount back. And of course, I've got the role models in that every single day, I can do nothing other than promotes that way of growing.
Yeah, all the time I grew up my parents were business owners grow small fuel business to a medium sized one I did on the podcast, actually. And he retired early 2000s, mid to late 50s. And I was selling about 100 million litres a year, he was a BP distributor in country Victoria 100 million litres a year fuel that 80 million top line and 30 team members. So all I really ever knew was watching the ups and downs of a business and one that grew into a you know, reasonable size one as well. So it's been Yeah, but
I think it's beautiful. Because you know, when you say that, in terms of being in your blood, you don't see it at a time if somebody asked me to write a list of everything your parents gave you about running businesses, but it's the way it's infused, because it is entrepreneurship is a roller coaster. And it becomes a pattern of life. And there's the highs and lows to that in family businesses, you know, as kids as well, but you know, there were highs to it. We always had Saturday jobs, all our friends had Saturday jobs, it was always the source of you know, a be involved and in a healthy way. And I really enjoyed it. And I think that's sort of, as you say, it's in your blood, it's a natural thing to celebrate. The small businesses fall short.
In Do you have a board of directors or advisors at wise mind,
we have a very small board, like three of us, we're very dynamic that moment, because it's still small, but the way that we want to be growing is to take on other people who want to get involved and believe in the same sort of vision as us. So at the moment, it's a very small board of three. But we meet on a regular basis and talk about the BX we're very beehive orientated and look at that strategic direction coming forward. And who do we need? It's a big one. But at the moment, it's small, because the ecosystem of the Agile part of the indirect team is still very large. But over the next year, we're starting to bring that into becoming having a bigger core team, which is very exciting, of course, for any small business as we move into that next wave.
Well, it's good. I mean, you said you talked about good governance from day one early on. So I'd be disappointed if you didn't have board even though it'll be a small one.
But it's funny, it's like very early on beside sort of show for small business founders, is you have to offload you into your business. And that space is critical. I say, it's like you're on camp for on Mount Everest, you've made the hard part of the climb, and you're trying to summit with the same process that got you to camp for and I worked with them to offload stuff and put in new things in order to make them light of the summit. And one of that governance one of it there has got to be financial controls, contracts ownership in a light hearted way that you don't have to kind of wheel in, you know, Uber, but you need to have that light hearted control because it makes people take you more seriously you know, they turn up you go oh, what do you Oh, I don't know. Oh, yeah. Help yourself. You need to be seen. How are you turning up? Are you turning? Are you taking yourself seriously because you Don't expect to other people too until you too. So governance is a big part of that.
Yeah. But truly we're in our final five questions. What do you think's the hardest thing growing a small business?
Definitely, definitely keeping it relevant, keeping it exciting without taking on a lot of shoot new shiny things, keeping to the core, but keeping it curious and moving towards purpose. And the founder continually asking themselves, am I still where I should be? Big hard thing founders love shiny toys.
Sure do. Favorite business book, which has helped me the most.
I think for me, I'm going to have to go butter and badass revision of obviously, my connection to Mindvalley, which I love. That helps me take a wide view. But from one that's really helped me with the entrepreneurs, it has to be a book I picked up recently, which is digital darwinism, which was the second edition with Tom Goodwin. And the thing I liked about it was it places digitalization in a specific way in a business because we will say, oh my goodness, digitalization future and everything. And that can be very overwhelming for small businesses. But I love how he's written with getting you to question where, what for, and also about the history of innovation, because you can start to get it in perspective, if you ever want to read it, his story of electricity is really inspiring. But I gotta leave it at that, because it will inspire you to read it.
Great. Any great podcasts online learning tools use for your own professional development?
Well, as I sort of previously said, Love the Mind Valley platform. But I'm a podcast today because I use it for running. So I habit stack. So 30 minute podcast is great. And I measure my fitness by how exhausted I am, when the person says, and thank you for that.
It's great. One to read, recommend help grow small business? Well,
there's certainly very many tools, I don't want to sell my own, which is the power wall, which is alignment of key drivers, which I think is very, very important. But I think for entrepreneurs, they think the tool out isn't a specific task. tool, it's more of a process, understand your customer journey from the customer's perspective or stage. And then you can start to challenge it. Founders love to step in to the shoes of the customer, they've often started their business because they're passionate about that change. So have that customer journey mapped out. But the true customer journey about the emotions, the pains and the gains. And that to me, would be the greatest tool I'd give to any founder
file on my favorite question, what do you tell yourself on day one of starting out?
For me? Well, first of all, I would say you're gonna really enjoy this ride. And that is going to be the most important thing that keeps you going day and night because it's going to be a very tough journey. It's a roller coaster. And what you've learned from previous life is brilliant. And you can feed it in, but you have to be prepared, that it's a roller coaster going through. And you have to make sure that you're really super geared up for those good times and not good times. So that you keep your eyes on the vision and the purpose, Julie Perkins, your eyes on it and keep fitting well.
All right. Well, thank you very much for your time today. It's really really enjoyed our chat. Congratulations on the growth over the last three years one to four and our team members full time and helping a lot of female business owners out there who grow with a lot less stress and less risk to get to the next level. So really appreciate your time.
Well, thank you very much for having me, Troy. And hopefully paths will cross again, especially when I'm done in Australia
popped down to Tasmania. Well, thank you.
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