Episode 54:

Clearing Overwhelm and Setting Healthy Boundaries as we welcome the New Future of Travel with Michelle Broadbent

You can listen directly here. 

If you've listened to our previous episode, I talked about the recent news we've been hearing all over the world about the world slowly opening up. I invited a special guest onto this episode as I wanted to dig a little deeper into the topic with an incredible woman who champions other women on their business journey. Michelle Broadbent. 

We both want you to be ready for what is on its way with regards to bookings and to get prepared as things start to unfold for now and the future! Helping you to clear the overwhelm and be the boss in your business. 

Michelle says she's ‘the woman behind the woman’, and the sounding board and cheerleader and is very passionate about seeing others succeed. But she’s so much more. 

She provides realistic, practical solutions and operational support together with out-of-the-box creative ideas - all served with a big dose of TLC. 

She and I have a lot of things in common and one you will hear about in this episode. (Please excuse my singing - OMG I almost died when I realised I did this and it is now recorded. ) 

Michelle shares with us ways to help to clear overwhelm, manage our time well, set up boundaries to ensure that we are on top of our business and not our business on top of us. 

As we move on to a new era, I want you to be in charge and put yourself in the driver's seat. Do what you can do right now. One step at a time. 

Organise, plan and understand your clients better and connect with them. Plug into a group that will help you grow, succeed and be accountable. 

On that note, we’d also love to have you in the Achievers in Travel - Facebook group, make sure you join the FREE community. Achievers in Travel - Accountability group

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Links Mentioned in the Episode

In-Person Planning Sessions - Get your Travel Business Ready and Organised for 2022

Achievers in Travel Facebook Group

Michelle Broadbent’s Website 

Michelle Broadbent’s Facebook Page 

Michelle Broadbent’s Instagram Page

Quotes from this Episode

“Work out those things that work for you and put yourself in the driver’s seat because you don’t want to live your entire life according to other people’s agendas”. - Roslyn Ranse

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Show Transcription: 

Ros: Well hello, there Travel Agent Achievers. Welcome back to another episode. I'm so excited that you're here today and I'm super happy today. The reason for that is the positive news that's coming out about vaccinations and the increase of them globally, but also how the world is starting to open up again. And you know what, it's about time. I have been forever hopeful and positive around all of this. 


But I just hope that today you are able to smile and know that you're not alone in this journey, and I'm really excited to see where you're going in the future. Now today we have a special guest with us, Michelle Broadbent. Michelle is a business strategist with, you know, 20-year career as a trusted advisor to female entrepreneurs across many industries. Now, this includes media, fashion, design, travel, of course, coaching, sales, training and recruitment. Michelle and I met several months ago, but we've been on this journey and I see that there are similar areas that we've crossed in our business paths as well, and we'll go into that during this episode. 


She now runs her own business, transforming the businesses and the lives of their owners. She is the woman or she says she's the woman behind the woman, and they're sounding board and cheerleader and are passionate about seeing others succeed. Michelle is known for providing realistic practical solutions, and operational support together with out of the box creative ideas, all served with a big dose of TLC. 


Now, she also has spent a decade in the travel industry playing an integral role in building two startups from solo entities to thriving global brands. And I'm so glad that she's now doing this for herself. She's supported hundreds of women, and her superpower is being able to cut through the overwhelm. 


That comes from running a business alone, removing the roadblocks and identifying the right opportunities and resources to bring an idea to life. She has her own podcast and Michelle Broadbent as a business strategist. But she also has, you know, a beautiful family. She's a single mom to two girls, a teenager and an 11-year-old, she lives on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. I'm just so excited. She's here.


We are talking today about a number of different things. But I will hope that you get a lot out of this as much as I do as well. All right, everybody here is the wonderful Michelle. Michelle, welcome to the travel agent achievers podcast. I'm so excited that you're here.


Michelle: I'm so excited to be here with Roz. Thanks for having me.


Ros: Can you just share a little bit I've done a bit of an intro about your background. And you I was saying that there are so many areas that you and I could have potentially met each other in the past and then our career and different things. But would you mind just sharing a bit about your background for the audience? Sure.


Michelle: So I have Yeah, I think our lives have crossed over in many, many ways. And I love that I'm speaking to the travel industry because it has always been a passion of mine. So I've always been the woman behind the woman, whether in small business and in big business, but I have a small gift, small businesses kind of in my DNA. 


So my aunt who I am super, super close to stealing. She had corporate travel agent businesses as I was growing up. So I used to like to hang out there during the school holidays, I always defaulted to her when I was between jobs, and I'd go and like temp there and that sort of thing. So I loved it. But I actually, you know, have worked in big businesses as well but then ended up working in the television industry before I started my own business, worked in the television industry for a number of years. And as I said, I have always been that sort of woman behind the woman I helped to set up businesses from scratch. 


So they were the doula of the things like in terms of that, that sort of front and centre person. And then I took care of all of the behind the scenes stuff and helped grow the business by, you know, bringing in people to actually feel all of the roles that I was kind of just doing, resolve as we as we grew and Funnily enough, the last role that I had within one of those businesses before I, before I started my own business was I was selling in flight entertainment. 


So I used to, I used to, like work with all of the airlines and travel a lot, and all of that kind of thing. So I have loved that part of my job. But the travel and what was required to be really good and successful in that role. Just was not sustainable to me, you know, television and media, like, you know, I don't care what anyone says, but it is ideally suited to people who don't have a family. 


And it just wasn't working for me, I'd had my second child by then I was missing out on birthdays and things like that. And it just didn't align with my values anymore. But I was like, I don't know what to do. I don't, you know, I don't know what to do once I leave my permanent job. So I left with an inkling that I wanted to start my own thing. 


But I wasn't 100% certain what that was. So I actually worked with a coach to help unlock that. And from that came the business as it was when it started, which was five years ago now. And I was very much sort of hands on as like a business manager supporting female entrepreneurs. But I knew that I was kind of happy doing that for a while. 


But I knew that I wanted to do more in this sort of more big picture strategy, that kind of thing. advisory work, which is what I now do. And yeah, that's probably the long winded version of how I got to where I am now.


Ros: I love working in a travel agency, you know, with your art back in the day. I mean, when was your first international trip? Do you remember? Yeah, I did Disneyland as a teenager. That was amigo. How's that for? Yeah, so. So I'm one of four kids. And my dad at the time this is I mean, this is back in the 80s was doing heaps of work in America. And yeah, I just remember him surprising us one day saying we're all going to Disneyland. So we went to Disneyland and Hawaii. Yeah, I was a teenager, and my brothers and my sister were younger than me. So it was like, was it the best? Yes. You'll never forget that ever. Yeah.


And the other thing they're hearing you say, I was the woman behind the woman? And have you heard of the book? Rocket fuel? 


Michele: Yes, Yes, I have. 


Ros: Yeah, we use that integrator. I was absolutely okay. You're not necessarily the visionary. So for anybody out there, we'll have a link to the book, if you want to have a read of it. It's one of the best books that I think I've read about rocket fuel, talking about the different roles in a business, having somebody who is generally the business owner, that's generally how it comes to be that you are the visionary and thinking big picture and the strategy. 


And then you have the right people in your business as the integrators and the integrators are the ones that get out there and do all the jobs, they do the things for you. So I'm sure that if you were the one also saying hang on that's parked fun for later. So working with these big business owners or small business owners, whoever they were in your role as the woman behind the woman or the integrator. Was that hard to say? No, we're not doing that now, or did you have that opportunity?


Michelle: Oh, no, I did like I was. So it's funny that they were that like you said, the visionary but a lot of the a lot like I've worked very tightly with them on the vision as well, because often what I was finding, particularly for the businesses that I worked for, those founders came from very large organisations where they had been for a really long period of time. So they, it was kind of they only knew one way of doing things. 


Whereas because I had worked for a number of different size and scale organisations, I was exposed to different ways of doing things. So a lot of the time it was that that sounds awful to say like reeducation, that that's not in a war, I know the best way so therefore your ways are not so good. It was more like a look, actually there are easier ways to do this. There are less complicated ways to do this. We don't need to do all of this all by ourselves. And I think of some of the stuff that we used to do. And also the value of bringing in experts as well was really, really important. 


So I think I definitely always waited until I had, like, I call it like my feet firmly under the desk before I started throwing my weight around. It's not like I would just walk into a business and go, Hey, you know, we were never like that. But then as I got more confidence and had that real understanding, and I felt like that was always the thing that I needed to do was have a proper understanding of, you know, the industry and what was going on? And who was who in the zoo, and all of that sort of thing to actually be able to have to make those educated decisions and to have an impact. 


Ros:  Yeah absolutely. So you also, I mean, you've worked in recruitment as well. And you and I have certainly aligned in that. That was a long time ago. Now I know electri training there. Yes, yes, I loved I've spoken to you before about this. And one of the things that I've heard you say was that you had to get on the phone and make 100 calls a day or something.


But it was 100 calls a week, it was 100 a week. Yeah, this is where you and I differ for me, you just got on with it. And I remember you saying that it was really hard, but you just did it. Whereas for me that was the hardest thing was to pick up and cold call and I know that I'm not a cold call sales person at all, I am much more build relationships and things take time. And I don't want to, you know, pick up and go, Hey, have you got this job? Like, how did you find that?


Michelle: Oh, my god, it wasn't easy. Like I did resist it. And if you ask anyone that I worked with, back in the day, I would find any excuse not to do it. But what I realised was that it was a numbers game. And that sounds pretty brutal, but that came, it was sort of reluctant, like the reluctant acceptance, I guess it was like, Okay, if I do this number of calls, it will result in X number of client visits. And then from doing those X number of client visits, each deed turns into jobs, and I couldn't argue the numbers, there was no other way of magically making stuff happen other than doing the work. 


And it's a practice that I have applied in so many, like, particularly as a business owner, myself, now, it's just like, you can you can fight it, but and there's always different ways, you know, different ways of doing things but but actually connecting with the clients and letting them know that you're, you know, what you've got available, making it easy for them to buy from you making making it known what's happening, what, what how you can help them that, you know, and I see it a lot with the women that I work with that are they're almost too scared to tell people that they've got this great offer, or, you know, you know, they're the best kept secret in their industry. And it's like, you know, that if you just start telling people and just follow them, you know, follow those. 


So follow the numbers, follow the bouncy ball, and then you will see the results. And I think too, when you start to see the results, then you feel confident about taking the action and continuing to take the action.


Ros: Yeah so I talked about this, as well as being the best kept secret. And being in travel. And as travel professionals. We understand, you know, the deals and we understand what's going on out there. But if we don't actually tell our clients what we're experts at, or the industry or the nature who we work with, nobody will ever know. So I don't want any of the travel professionals you know, being the best kept secret because we are damn good at their jobs. 


And we no travel inside and out and I want our clients to know that and also understand it so it is down to the numbers and I hear you with that and I absolutely agree with you that if you send a certain amount of emails, if you are connecting with your clients and phoning them or sending them cards, like doing different things to connect and build those relationships, their sales will come they do and I think it needs I will caveat this that it does need to be genuine love. Always knows you know it's a high reaching out like no but like there's so it's so easy to to figure out ways to connect with people that are genuine and that is what business is at the end of the day, especially in a service business. You're helping people and as service providers too I think we forget how valuable the stuff that we'd like you, we just know stuff because we just know. Right. 


And I think particularly with travel and obviously working in that world and and, you know, I used to listen to all of the airline people and it was like they were talking a different language. Right. Right. But that was just how they spoke. 


And it made sense to them. But I think as service providers, we do forget that we know things that other people don't know. And they will pay us for that to be the interpreter of all the information to be the one that Yeah, knows the secrets, they know where the secret deals are, they know where the absolute don't go to that hotel, no, go to this hotel, don't catch that flight, don't, you know, don't connect through six different cities to save yourself. $60 like, Don't do that to yourself, like people do need to be told even though we know we think more doesn't everyone know that? 


Ros: And they don't work with a lot of different service providers and business owners in that sense. So is this something that comes up? In general across different service industries?


Michelle: Absolutely, it is a universal thing. Because when you are talented at at anything wet, you know, like you guys are, but there are a whole, you know, raft of service providers where and you'll see it you'll feel it yourself to like you think if you go you know, maybe to a medical specialist or something like that, and they do they start speaking like, you understand what it is that they're that they're talking about, but I bet it if you are able to decipher and like be that sort of almost middleman like the interpreter of the information. 


So that and I see that too, with financial people, you know that they talk finance jargon, and you're sitting there going, I don't understand. But the ones that are doing well, yes, but the ones that do super well are the ones that speak to us, like we're not idiots. And they make and they give us the short paths and they just make life easier for us. 


But I do see some people get too caught up in the technicality of what they do. But it's it you need to be the one who, yeah, who can interpret that and find that connection between your customer and you and just get rid of all of the fluff and the scary stuff. 


Yeah, the jargon and all of that kind of thing. But yes, it is , it is a problem. But then once you get around it, and you realise, and it's kind of that real aha moment. It's like, Oh, my God, that people don't know how to do this thing, do they need me to do this for them? And it's like, That's right, they do so


Ros: Exactly. It's something we've been talking about within our achievers, community and mastermind. And amongst the travel agent, achievers community in general, is that, you know, showcasing your expertise, but also breaking it down. Over the last 18 months or two years now, we've come from a place where the bookings have just come and the industry was absolutely booming. But then over the last 18 months, we've really turned into like risk management specialists, and legal interpreters because of the terms and conditions that we're having to negotiate and read through and understand. 


And that is, I think, a really important skill that we need to tell our customers about, because they don't understand Otherwise, they could very easily just go back to booking something online through an online aggregator, but they don't understand the issues and the troubles that they could get into moving forward as well. 


So I love that you're saying Don't be the best kept secret, you got to get back out there. You've got to showcase your expertise, but also break it down so that it isn't jargon. And I was just having this conversation Exactly. 


To the tee about this with one of my private coaching clients. She was telling me all of these brilliant things. And I said, well hang on a second. How does that actually work? Like, how does that happen? She's at all and went off on another tangent. I said, No, no, let's stop and break it down. 


Because when you're talking to a consumer, they want to know, how do I get the visa? How do I get from here to here? Why do you know what's included in these packages? So really breaking it down and for an industry professional, and this is I think across any industry and correct me if I'm wrong, that we do get so caught up in? 


Well, that's the language that we use. Yeah, we might as well just use that everywhere but not realising that we've got to talk to the consumer slightly differently.


Michelle: That's right. And I, you know, I get them to, you know, tell it to me, like, I'm a dummy. And because I am outside of their industry, you know, most of the women that I work with, you know, they, they're across a variety of industries. 

So I'm not really familiar with their, you know, vernacular and all of that sort of thing. I'm like, okay, so hold on a sec, just explain that to me. And I think that's what you need to do, like, you know, check in with yourself, read, isn't there? Like, there's some kind of like, six year old reading thing where you would like, you know, show someone your, your website or show someone your landing page or so someone?

Ros:  Could a six-year-old understand this is actually a brilliant app, but it's called the Hemingway app. Yes, I've heard of that. Yeah, Hemingway, is where you come up with your text into and it's a web browser, you just pop it the text that you would write, pop it into the web browser, and it says, No, this is like for a university student, yes. To get it down to a grade six, or a grade level or something. Yeah. So you're really breaking that language down. So yeah, Hemingway app


Michelle: I love it. Yeah, that's great. It Was really, really helpful. 


Ros: Okay, so moving on from that, I mean, we've got travel professionals across and different service providers that you've worked with, that you've seen, you know, go from the struggles, and come through to the other side, what would you say? Are some of the biggest areas of impact? Like what are some of the things that you would recommend business owners do to really get to reach their goals?


Michelle: Um, so if they're kind of in a bit of an overwhelmed state, yeah, yeah.


Ros: Because I know we, I wanted to talk about boundaries here for travel professionals, and, you know, preface it by saying that a couple of years ago, so pre COVID, the amount of business owners that I spoke to, particularly in travel, were overwhelmed, there was so much work that was coming in, but not understanding you know, how to do it differently, or, or cut, not necessarily cut corners, but have the processes and systems in place to be able to scale business and know what was coming in without missing deadlines without missing ticketing things. 


And I spoke to so many travel professionals, and it still brings a tear to my eye hearing how they were, you know, sitting in the bathroom crying because they didn't know how to didn't want to pick up the phone, and didn't know how they were going to get through the work that they had accumulated. 


Because that's what they'd always dreamt for. They'd started a business to be able to book incredible travel experiences, but we're at a point where it was just too much. And the reason why they got into travel or to run their own business, and I think this is across the board with small business owners is to create a lifestyle and to have the freedom and flexibility and for us in travel, a lot of travel business owners are parents as well. 


So to be able to drop off kids pick them up. But for me, it was you know, the boundaries and I saw that something had to shift. So for you working with so many different business owners, what are some of the things that you think could you know, improve that for the future? Sure. So I think I can clarify that very well.


Michelle: No, I totally understand what you're saying Roz and I will say that, you know, hospitality travel, that that area of service provision is notoriously boundary bending work because you are at the mercy of you know, we when your clients need you and if your clients are stuck in another country and they're not able to get out and they're there, you know that they're looking to you to get them home.


It's not really it's not one of those scenarios where you can go out sorry like not taking calls after three today because you know, like, I understand that right? And I'm sure that you are probably sitting there going if she's going to tell us to you know ring fence our time and data right like you've probably heard it all before in terms of protecting your time and that kind of thing. So I think what I want to, I guess refrain. That is yes, you are the boss of you like that is something that I say all the time. 


And you as a business owner, you dictate how people are going to work with you. So for example like if you think of like a dentist for example, and you you know, something goes you know, you're sitting there chewing your your your dinner and you crack open the feeling that your dentist has has put in Well, you're not going to call your dentist at home at nine o'clock at night and say, Hey, come around right now and fix the problem. 


Like, there's a kind of there's, there's, you know, there's a triage system that is involved. The same if you ended up at the hospital, you know, you're not going to expect your GP to be there at 11pm when you've fallen over and hurt yourself. 


So I think you need to look at, like, as an independent business owner, you can do anything, you are clever and capable, but you can't do everything yourself. So it's almost like working out a framework where you like, where you're absolutely essential, and then where we can taper you off and look for ways of being able to do that. 


So is it you know, having, like an after hours emergency number, for example, like I'm just using that as an example of something. Because, yes, I appreciate that, that, that what you do is very important to your customers. But you're also really important as well, like your time is important. Your family is important, what you touched on Royals, about people, starting up businesses for the freedom and flexibility and ending up absolutely, like, you know, with no, no freedom and flexibility. 


So you need to start, as you mean to continue, you need to communicate to your clients. This is what happens in the event of this is, you know, these, this is when I'm available, and know when to like, when enough is enough, like where is the line, you need to establish that line. 


And I think what happens when we're in a service based business is so we're so reliant on our clients to give us business that we forget that actually, we can dictate how we work with them, we can because it's our business just like the dentist just just like your GP does, just like other service providers do. 


And, you know, if we're getting down to brass tacks, like doctors, they actually save lives. We're not saving lives, we're enhancing lives, we're making people's lives wonderful. But we're not, we're not. And we're not ambulance drivers. And you know what, even the ambulance drivers don't get to the patient in time sometimes. And I know that I'm probably getting a bit ranty but I get really upset that you know, when I hear stories of like our, I had to leave the the birthday party to take the call from the client who was screaming at me down the phone from the airport, because blah, blah, blah. 


And I know that that is a very real situation because I have been in those experiences and I've seen it, you know, but you have to communicate, you have to let your customers know when they can and can't get hold of you and what they can and can't for and in the event of this is where you go. And it's also about coming at that from a proactive place, setting up your you know, your working time to work for you. 


So that you can have that freedom, flexibility and Okay, yes, right, you're going to be there for your kids between three and five in the afternoon. But you know that you then in order to be able to do that you do need to jump back on blind when they've gone to bed from you know, two nights a week from 730 to 930 or whatever if your children go to bed at 730 that's really fantastic. But I know that a lot of people don't.


So it wasn't for me at seven o'clock but it's working out like those things that work for you and putting yourself in the driver's seat because you don't want to live your entire life according to other people's agendas you you can't you will burn out there is no wonderful end result of living your life that way that there isn't and and I've seen it


Ros: I've been in those positions myself where I didn't have the clear boundaries or I didn't have the information out there for my clients and I look back on my own self now in my business and say, Raj is such a goose. I've been, you know, being wheeled into the theatre in a hospital and I've got my laptop on me and my mom took a photo and she said Are you kidding me? You are working and I'm like but I got a ticket flight so you know this has to happen and she was like No, don't be sad you. 


You are on your way to the operating theatre and you are trying to take a flight. That is ridiculous. Now, like I've learned these things over time, and even having a baby that changed my world I couldn't, I physically couldn't pick up the phone. And I felt so guilty. But nobody ever told me that, okay, a baby is actually going to take you all day to look after, you're not going to be able to just put it down and concentrate on your business. And this is where I've also seen in business, the peaks and the troughs as well, where I've lost business because I haven't communicated correctly. 


And that's my own fault. But I'm very clear now that I don't work before I take Jackson to school. So 930 in the morning, I'm very faced with going and getting my coffee down by the beach and coming home. But that takes time. And then also in the afternoon, I want to be able to pick him up, I want to be able to take him to his activities. So if that means that my work schedule is shortened, or I need to fit everything within these times, then I also know that I need the support outside of these hours, to have the right people on my team that can take those calls, in the hours that I'm not available or to get back to clients when I'm not available to do so. And that's just designing the business that I want to have. It's not the same for everybody. But it is being very faced with those boundaries to say, Okay, if you're going to call me at seven o'clock at night, sorry, but I'm probably putting my son to sleep. 


But I also know when all my clients are travelling, I block that time. So if something were to happen, I can be available if I need to go into emergency response. And that's where I also communicate with my clients and say, Look, I may not be holding your hand at the airport to get your passport across, I'll get you that seat to get right there. But I am in the background, and I will follow you through your trip. If I see something coming up, I will be the first person on it. So in communicating, I agree with you. And I think that that's an awesome point to get across is to say that you just need to talk to your client and get it out there.


Michelle: And you touched on those two roles about the infrastructure in your business, Jen, it's tough. Like I mean, look, emergencies do happen. But if you're doing your job as that incredible, you know, service provider interpreter of the information, the CEO of the red flags, which is what you are right, you know, it's coming back to, you know, stuff that other people don't know, you know, all the things that need to be considered before a trip, for example. 


So is it an automated email that they get 24 hours from your business saying, Hey, you know, don't forget your flights at five o'clock tomorrow afternoon, have you got your Boom, boom, boom, don't forget to do this, don't forget to check in like just put yourself in the shoes, walk through the chute like that, you know, walk in the shoes of your customer, and make sure that you've covered that all off. And you know, the way that we can automate things in our businesses now is incredible, is to be able to, you know, have all of that just happening magically for us. 


And whether it is that we have held orders, knowing that the work that you are doing during the time that you have available, so like, you know, you're very boundaries with your time rise, and it's like, okay, after 930 when I do sit down at my desk today that you are doing the work that only you can do in your business, like that high value zone of genius work. 


That's where you should be spending your days and then the other stuff. Yeah, can we automate it? Can we get someone else to do it? Does it need to be done at all? You know, if you've come from a bigger organisation or a different business, just because that's the way they did it? doesn't doesn't work for you? If it doesn't change it? Yeah. Like you're the boss, you get to that's the great thing about having your own business is that you? You don't like Dude, like, like I talked about, you know, the recruitment thing earlier and having to do 100 calls a week. 20 calls a day, and we had to do it every morning from nine o'clock. And we had to be done by 11. Now, okay, the calls might still need to be done. But nine to 11. That might be prime thinking time for you. So do it. Do it straight after lunch or whatever works for you.

Ros: I don't know, but I'm just on this diet. Absolutely. I think with that as well. And with any service provider out there too I mean, for us in our travel business, we have the booking process all mapped out. And we also have for the travel industry, a 67 step booking process. I know it's crazy, right?


Michelle: 67 said I can imagine how that would be for sure.


Ros: There are so many different things that we have to do. But I wanted to set that up so that every single booking has exactly the same thing. happen like every booking is different I get that but there are things that we can be doing to automate along the way and to be sending out reminders to take off that clients have got their insurance and it is a tick off thing yet or a travel professional to say yes this is done yes this is done or yes now send this automated email or their home from a trip what can we do to you know, acknowledge that and thank them or to find out how when to get a testimonial or feedback on their trip there are a lot of things that we can be doing and if we've got a system in place that can have some automation to help you there's no thinking in that that is right so get freeing up your time as you say to do the higher level tasks and I love that that you can you can have that balance right you can and it just frees up all that mental real estate as well you know it's frees up those you know, and we've all been there right when you wake up in the middle of the night and you're like did I used to do that Sorry, I'm swearing you know, did I did I issue those tickets? 


Did I didn't remind them that are there Yeah, the Esther thing I don't even know if they still do that in the US but you know like just that sort of stuff that and because as part of my role when I was you know an EA many many many years ago I used to have to do all the travel bookings for very busy like busy complicated itineraries and stuff and it was the stuff that used to wake me up in the middle of the night the thought of you guys having like that on mass all the time that that just that the pressure the stress, automate it but that's that's a really good point to make that you as an executive assistant or EA or coming from that corporate side. That was a headache for you. 


Whereas for us that's our zone of genius. Yeah, and juggling all those balls and knowing who's travelling like I used to. One of my clients who is still a client used to call me literally and she'd be like, Okay Ross What time's my flight tomorrow? And it would drive me mental because I'm like I sent you all those emails shouldn't be in your calendar, but she relied on me because I would intrinsically know it and I knew that across you know, a couple of 100 clients of mine they can call me and I would know Yes, you're on this flight 


This is the time you're flying make sure you check in now and I would know that off the top of my head I don't know that any more to educate my clients to say go read your emails raise your eyebrows I see added that T calendar This is all come through to you you've got your step by step instructions. And they know that's where to go but that is again it comes back to communication and education for your clients.


Michelle:  Yeah. Oh absolutely.


Ros: Yeah, absolutely. I love it all right. So there's a number of different things that you and I could go on and on and on about on this episode I just love being able to talk with you, Michelle, because you and I, we love business we do you both love working with business owners we both love seeing the progress and how people are improving and giving them the strategies and tools to move forward. So can you tell me a little bit about I mean, who do you work with and what's the work that you do? 


Michelle: So as I've as I've alluded to, like I work with across a number of industries so that the commonality is as they are all female solopreneurs who are working on their own in you know, building their own server space business and essentially what I do for them is unlike that second brain in their business so I'm like the the business partner that without the financial investment or obligations on their part either so I mean they do pay me not not a partner salary bonus within the BI said sadly not and God You know what, there are some businesses that I work with I'm like Jesus, I should have invested with them because they are really like kicking goals, but But no, so they're all solopreneurs and essentially what I do is I help them overcome the overwhelm and the operational challenges of running a business themselves. 


So it's that sounding board the voice of reason that you know, to give them because you know what it's like right? You're running a business by yourself. You know, you might be surrounded by great people, you know, in your personal life, family, friends, that kind of thing. But often you are not surrounded by other people who get it and not so much getting it but, but, but no, no ways to change things or improve things or overcome those challenges or thrash out ideas with and that is that's missing in a lot of people. lives and so I am that person and you know someone to celebrate the highs and you know, commiserate the lows and you know, share play like you know, conduct create plans, share them, bring them to life and keep them accountable as well if that's the work that I do not in a sort of school teacher kind of way but again, where we we can operate our businesses in a bit of a bubble like it's like well I can sit here all day and no one's actually going to know if I you know, bloody made those calls or whatever it is that you you know, you know, that you should be doing but you don't do it. Whereas if you've, you know, with someone like me or you in their lives, it's like well, I've, I've told someone that I'm going to do this so now I actually need to do it, but it's very tailored the work that I do so I meet these women where they are so I take into consideration their whole life. 


It's not like Michelle's seven steps to business success and I roll that out and everyone has to follow the bouncy ball it's very much tailored to the unique situation that each woman is in at the time so a lot of the women that I work with have families or want to start a family that's something that I find myself doing you know a lot at the moment is helping people prepare their businesses for babies or that 

Ros: I wish I had you in my corner before I had Jackson because I had no idea what was coming and nobody told me the most amazing time your life but nobody told me or nobody was actually in my corner to say well this is going to change and we're going to need to put some things in place to ensure that you can take care of yourself and the baby as well as the business still operate so our God I wish I had somebody like you in my my corner or even you Michelle back then


Michelle: I was working for someone else then who actually very sadly she had two babies in quite quick succession and didn't have great sort of plans in place and she was like you were saying before was you know working on a laptop while having contractions because there was many voices that needed to go out that you know she hadn't put those those systems in place to make sure that things were covered while she was able to just enjoy that really special time and I think because I you know my kids are a little bit older now that you know we're out of that baby stage but it goes so quickly. And yeah, so I think I come at it with experience knowing what it is really truly like on the other side.


Ros: And having worked with so many women as well in your experience you've seen the different sides of things and how it can work for some people but not for others and it's really comes down to the the personality of them and the support structure around them there are so many different things so I love that you're able to do that for other people and particularly for women business owners. You know we both have that passion in trying to help as many people succeed and come through this time and build the business of their dreams because I know you're a huge champion and you say yourself that you're a cheerleader and a massive massive cheerleader for women 


Michelle: Yeah, I just want and because I know I know that it doesn't need to be difficult right? I mean I'm not saying running isn't as easy it's you know, but but it doesn't need to be heartbreakingly painful and it does it doesn't it absolutely doesn't and if it is that bad you there you need to seek help with you know not saying you know like Pick me Pick me but I'm just saying like find there is an alternative it doesn't need to be like that there is an easier way and and I just want everyone to know that I you know there's the the haitch the haitch word that I that I won't even use because I can't bear it that advocacy of you know that that hustle culture Oh my God, I just don't like hustle grind or that something like No, absolutely not like yes, we need to work but we don't need to compromise our entire lives. 


Ros: Great to get a business we don't absolutely know. I agree with you on that. I think that there are times to be running in sprints and marathons. And there are times to take care of yourself as well and it's finding that balance but that is also a really hard thing. So one of the things we'll finish off on this is really around accountability and planning. I know you work with your clients to do some planning work, how does that all come into play?


Michelle:  Look, I think planning again it's crafting that life that we want right it's crafting the business that we want it's coming and be as service providers so much of our work can be very reactive it can be like you know we're sort of almost in the hands of our work can feel like we're always in the hands of our clients and what what you know what they need at any given moment, but I really believe in the, in the power of planning to set up the way that you're, you know, whether it's looking at an annual plan or a quarterly plan monthly, even daily like how you want things to run and putting yourself in the driver's seat I think it's just so so important because it gives you that kind of overarching look at what are we doing this for? 


Like what is it all for without a plan like what are we just sort of flying by the seat of our pants and you know, we might as well just go and work for someone else, I mean, you know, probably be a lot easier, you know, the potential is there to you know, there's definitely definitely more stable and all of this sort of thing, but with a, with a plan in place for how you want things to play out, you are putting yourself in the driver's seat. 


So that's why I'm a huge advocate for that. And fortunately, I work with a lot of women who really value that process and having a plan and sticking to the plan because essentially, we follow the you know, you set up that plan you carve out the action steps and do the action steps then miraculously things just happen like they do that's how it that's how we get from where we are now to where we want to be, it's just all of those incremental actions that we have intentionally set out to do and try not to get derailed too much which is you know, it can be difficult it's not like a perfect science. 


Ros: But I think starting off in that proactive place is definitely the right grade and having that plan and knowing the direction that you're going in, or you want to go in and mean to reach that I think is a really important part of any business whether you are just starting out or you've been doing it for a few years or even you know 1015 years having that plan and always working towards it and reaching those goals and making sure that they're realistic so I know that this is something new and I also agree on is sometimes we can get so caught up in having the list of things to do or we go Oh yeah, we've got to have five things over this next three months to achieve or 10 things or whatever it might be and we see the blank document that we almost feel inclined to fill it all out but that's not the case and you and I agree on this how do you sort of pre frame that so I'm a huge advocate of whitespace I we need white space in our lives if we plan for every single minute of the day, week month whatever you're not First of all, you're not giving yourself any space to think like oh and just be and that I don't know about you guys but like you know when you go and have your coffee down at the beach in the mornings for me mine is like my walk in the morning. 


That is when I get my best, you get your best ideas, and do not get your best ideas sitting at your desk in front of your computer screen all day long. So you must have that whitespace to let yourself be but also there needs to be contingency because life does happen. clients do have emergencies kids do get sick you know the car will get a flat tire when you're you know, just a $300 grocery shop of frozen goods on a 30 degree day like Java c I'm guessing that you're speaking from experience but actually you know what it has been you know I'm just like I'm I'm thinking of things that can happen that absolutely it can be re or yes or who are planned and scheduled to the eyeballs You know, I think there is a really nice there needs to be a bit of a blend of like yes, we need the plans, we need the structure we need that framework of what to work towards. 


But and and also coming back to meeting people where they are and you and I are both a fan of Gretchen Rubin and she has her four tendencies and not everyone is an upholder or an obliger right so there are some people who are rebels and they do not want to stick to a plan they do not want like you know, so it's meeting people where they are and go Okay, well, maybe let's look at like a rhythm to life as opposed to a routine and that oh my gosh, you've just bought out for me. The rhythm Life was actually a song that we made a dance to in school. The rhythm of life is a dream. Okay, so I can't sing. Yeah. Everybody else it's from Sweet Charity the musical. I have no idea. Remember yet?


Michelle:  Yes. Yep, I'm pretty sure it's from the musical. Sweet Charity. I think I could be completely wrong. 


Ros: I've just completely gone off on it was my thing at school. 


Michelle:  I know that. Yeah. And mine. Yeah.


Ros: Well, you know, even after I left school, it was still a big part of my world with competing and I danced with the Sydney Dance Company for a while in my early 20s. Because I just loved going to the classes and I loved the energy that it gave me. You still dance? Right?


Michelle: I do. Yeah, yeah. Well, I haven't obviously for quite a few months. And also I had a foot injury earlier in the year so it has been a while but I absolutely love it. That is my release. Like That is my happy sigh of choice. Yeah, definitely. I love it. Love it. I'm not a runner. I won't ever see myself running a marathon or do stuff I'm running. There's a fire. So brothers. 


Ros: Well, I can't wait, Michelle, for you and I to catch up. I know. We're in December. And to have a great bogie and a dance. Yes, gather? Yeah, we'll definitely be something that we can get lots of photos of. And remember for a long time. Thank you so much, Michelle, for being here today and sharing your knowledge and your experience and your passion for the service industry. I really appreciate it and sharing such wonderful information with the travel agency in his community. If people want to find you, how do they do that?


Michelle: So the best place to find me is my website, which is michelle broadbent.com.au. I also hang out on Instagram. So I'm at Mitch at that's m i t c h Broadbent there and you know, you can DM me through there or like you can websites probably the best


Ros: And you also have your own podcast.


Michelle: I do. Yeah, your business boost is the name of my podcast. And that comes out every Monday morning. And that's where I share sort of insights and the sort of behind the scenes of business and lots of tips and practical advice and interviews with other amazing business women and yes, so if you would like to listen to if you want more of me if you haven't heard enough, and we struggled a lot, but if you want some more you can you can find it. Yeah, just look me up on your favourite podcast app. It's your business boost with Michelle Broadbent.


Ros: Love it. Thank you so much, Michelle, for being here. As I said, we can't wait to see you in December. Take care of yourself. And we will speak very, very soon. 


Michelle: Thanks so much Roz. Thank you.


Ros: Wow, okay, that was a really great conversation with Michelle, Robin, I hope you took a lot of information out of that. But you also had some home truths. And you understood some of the things that we are both passionate about, with regards to boundaries. And you know, understanding who your clients are and how you can serve them better with, you know, breaking things down and making it easier for the clients to connect with you. And also you connect with them. One of the big things that Michelle and I are both passionate about is accountability and planning. 


So if you're not a part of our Facebook group, they're achievers in the travel accountability Facebook group, then please jump into that because I love to see you declare what you're working on. And then celebrating with you at the end as well by achieving those incredible goals that I know you set out and you want for your business as well. And on another note talking about planning, we have upcoming our in person planning event in Sydney. 


Coming up in December, I have two options. So we have one in December and also one in January 2022. So if you want to get your business organised, on track planned out and what you want to do and what you want to promote, how you want to do things for 2020 to do things differently, really look towards scaling your business and also getting the right clients on board for you. 

Then check out the travel agent achievers.com website. We'll have a link to the planning session as well. Inside the show notes. I believe it's travelagentachievers.com/forward slash planning day so that you can book your place before it fills up and we will see you live and in person in Sydney, Australia very, very soon. Have a wonderful rest of the week. I look forward to talking to you very soon. Bye For now




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