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Livelihood. It's how we live for many of us, but it's also about how much it costs us to live and run our businesses. For the lucky few, the financial side of starting a business comes easily. For others, the process can be one of the most daunting parts of getting started and being successful. Ingrid Thompson is probably one of the most empathetic people around when it comes to understanding this exact dilemma. Her business, Healthy Numbers is dedicated to helping you overcome the challenges and sail into business success.
Ingrid, welcome to The Mumbition Podcast.
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Thank you so much for having me, and that's a lovely introduction.
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Now, tell us about Healthy Numbers for those who are unaware, what's your 30 second elevator pitch?
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So I believe that everybody deserves to feel financially safe, and it's possible for women to truly create financial safety for themselves. I believe that when you understand how money works, your life changes completely and forever. You can't unlearn once you get it. It's easier than most people think. So that's what I help people to understand their numbers.
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Amazing, and it's such an important area and you do make approaching the number side of the business so easy to understand. So thank you for your pitch.
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Ingrid. We talk a lot here at Mums & Go about how to successfully navigate your business and your life. And how those elements work together and the different types of things you do. But I was wondering in building up the success of your own business, what's been something that you've actually had to stop doing to ensure that your success keeps rolling forward?
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So I have had to stop being quite so concerned about what other people think about what I'm doing. And Eleanor Roosevelt says “you wouldn't worry so much about what others think if you didn't realise how often they don't think about you or how seldom they do”.
And it's one thing to read that, but to actually truly believe that others aren't thinking as much about what you're doing and to just get on and do what you have to do. Just know that the people that I need to talk to can hear me. And they are the only people that are important.
00:03:44:15 - 00:03:59:14
Such a great tip. I think something that we as women struggle with perhaps a little bit more than the men in our life. So I can imagine that in having some strict rules for yourself around that, you've been able to focus more as well.
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I see as women that we tend to be people pleasers and we want to be liked. It's just super important to know that it doesn't matter what other people are thinking that people who you truly are speaking to are the ones that matter.
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Can you share three things that you do each week to inspire your ambition in nurturing your livelihood and protecting your wellbeing?
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Carrie, I love this question. It's easy to say, but not as easy to always do. So one of mine is exercise or movement of some sort, and it's preferably outdoors. It involves looking at the sky and the treetops and the horizon, if I can.
So that's the whole combination of fresh air, sunshine and movement. A good night's sleep as I am an early to bed person. And I'm going to say reading. But spending time with people I like, whether it's in a biography, whether it's watching a TED talk, but just being having people that I like and that are important people and their characters to have those around as well. So it’s exercise, sleep and then having people around me, whether it's physically or somehow electronically. And that keeps all three of those nicely in balance.
00:05:21:02 - 00:05:37:06
I love that you spend time with people that you like because we just don't have time to waste on people that we don't know. It's great to focus our energy.
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I love that too. And I also love the idea of the people included in that group are also people you like reading about. That's excellent.
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We have this rule, if I get into a book and I don't like any of the characters or I don't like what I'm reading about, that's it I don't read anymore. If I'm watching a TED talk and I don't really kind of relate to the way they are expressing it. It's like not wanting to hear any more of this. So I've learned to cut that off and just spend time with people that I like. If I just don't like or if it's not nurturing me, then they don't need to be here.
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That's a good point. And I guess that takes us to the next question really nicely. In terms of nurture, we all know that building up a small business is taxing, to say the least and particularly on those relationships that are closest to us. So here at Mums & Co, we talk a lot about how we rally around a community of support so it could be our partners, our parents, our friends, our clients, our extended family. We'd love to know a bit more about who makes up your Co and how does it all work? How do they come into your life and business to support you?
00:06:52:24 - 00:07:14:08
I really like this question. It had me thinking about who I consider as part of my Co and I think taking from the previous question. Some of my Co don't even know they my Co, because they are on the internet. All the people that I encounter who maybe don't realize that I observe how they're living their lives and how they're behaving and what they're actually doing. That makes me feel that that's the right way to be as well. But my clients would have to be my number one Co when they make incredible changes to their lives and they start to really get a difference to their money, to their financials.
To me, that is just so endorsing of everything that I'm doing and that they're doing. I have somebody who's not frantic right now in this environment because they've already managed to stash away months' of rent in a very short space of time. So they're going in with a buffer. You know, when someone says to me, I can talk to my husband, my accountant with a degree of confidence and I feel equal to them about money. That's my Co letting me know that what's going on is good.
So again, it's my family, my friends, since my mum has passed away. So my aunt was a great influence on my life, but I can hear their words often. My partner is fabulous. And I've got some really lovely friends that I know I can chat to at any time will pick up the phone. So I think it's so it's important to have real people around this. But also I think that Co who are virtual is super important as well.
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Hundred percent and love that. That's a beautiful inclusion there of people that have passed away and that aren't necessarily actually in the real-life space, which is obviously a part of life for all. We feel a lot more comfortable with relationships forged online.
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At Mums & Co we often talk about harmony as this triangle of ambition, of livelihood and well-being. It's almost like this holy trinity for us. I'm wondering if you could describe the shape of a good life for you.
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I love this concept and I think it's something we've talked about balance, harmony. And it's a struggle. It's always going to be. But I tend to think of it as a juggle, not a struggle because there is constantly one is up. And as you said, it's a triangle or it's like that three-legged stool. At the moment, it's feeling pretty harmonized. But there's been times in my corporate life when I was absolutely about livelihood and ambition, and my well-being was pushed aside. I gained weight, I didn't sleep, I didn't have so much time for friends and family. But there's been other times when my mom wasn't well, I was able to just put everything else aside and just focus on taking care of her.
So I think at different times, it's one of those three pillars or one of those three legs will need more attention. And it's how we balance that. I have a lovely friend who often used to have dishes in his sink, and if you went round to her house, she'd just say, “Well, I was reading a story with one of my children or I was helping somebody make scones. And if these dishes are in the sink, we could wash them up later. But you know, it's set. Let's do what we have to do at the moment because that's what's truly important”.
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It's a beautiful reminder for all of us. You just talk there beautifully about different phases of your business life and being able to dip in and out at certain times and work really hard in others. I was wondering, what is it that you really love the most about your business right now?
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I just love that it's truly at a time when women are starting more businesses than ever, that they claiming ownership of the money, that really getting on top of finances, making good decisions. And I have the privilege of working. So to answer your question. What I’m loving about the businesses, I'm loving the privilege of working with the women and watching them as they get it.
As they really step into a power that isn't there necessarily in the same way when you're working for somebody else. And look you don't always have to run your own business. But I just love that my time is now spent with so many women.
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I'd love to hear for those that are considering starting a business, what is the most important lesson that you'd like to share with them? A bit of a pay it forward, if you will.
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I think you probably won't be surprised at my response to this. It’s to absolutely establish a model that gives financial viability and that can create that financial safety. It's not a business if it's not making money to pay yourself as the owner, to pay your expenses, to make some profit, no matter how big or small. Then what you choose to do with that profit is up to you.
But financial safety comes from financial viability and getting the pricing right. You are generating a continual flow of new clients. What are the systems and processes that will support you so you spend less time in the nitty-gritty? But truly, how do you establish a model to give financial viability? That's the number one thing to get started with.
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That kind of leads to the next question around, how do you actually protect your business from financial risk? I know that's a big question.
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Well, it really is a big question. So we'll be looking at risk and financial risk. The first obvious risk is to make sure you've got all your insurances, your client agreements, make sure your website is protected. The actual practical things that are going to protect you from risk.
Then being financially risky is when you're not making a profit. The revenue has to be more than what's going out. Like doing stuff for free or doing things at low cost. Those are risky in the long term. You can have short bursts of things like that for promotions, but that's a financial risk in the long term. One of the things that I'm really clear about is what I do and what I don't do.
I'm not going to go to jail because I'm telling somebody to do something that's outside my spectrum. I stay in my lane. It's why I am selective about the clients I work with. You reduce your risk by being selective about who you work with and then just having your pricing structure.
That is a pricing structure that can sustain what you're doing. And there's an emotional risk that's attached to getting your pricing wrong because if you end up doing stuff for less than you think you're worth, that is emotionally eroding to people. And we've all been in that. Well, I've certainly been in that boat. For all the people I've ever worked with who felt in that boat is that if you're doing stuff for less than it's then you're worthy of, that just erodes you as well. So that's another risk that's important since a lot of different types of risk in business.
00:14:46:18 - 00:15:13:16
It's such great coverage of risk protection or risk mitigation areas there. Knowing your worth is definitely something that I think small business owners especially women have to kind of find. Whether it's testing the waters, doing some research, understanding the numbers in terms of are your expenses going to be less than the incoming revenue in creating those products and services? It's interesting and it's actually a tricky thing finding the right price point.
00:15:23:22 - 00:15:36:05
It's one of the biggest challenges that a lot of people have. But if you don't know what your basics are, you don't know what your expenses are. You haven't got a grip on how much you want to pay yourself.
Then you're really flying in the dark because that's part of the basis of getting the pricing right. How much does it cost to run the business every day? How many clients do you need every week or every month or every day?
And how much do you need to charge them to make that happen? It's actually a calculation, and then you can start to play with the numbers. Can I ask for $400 or $26 or whatever it is? That's a different aspect of it. But just getting the pricing to actually cover what you're actually doing, that's really purely a matter of exercise.
00:16:11:14 - 00:16:30:17
So you're talking about identifying the financial areas of risk and circumventing them with good planning. But would you consider professional development to be part of your budget planning for your business? And the second part of that question is how much do you yourself spend on that?
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Well to answer the first part of the question, absolutely. It's part of your costs. It's part of your expenses to run the business. And secondly, how much have I spent? A lot and not a lot. I've been at both ends of that spectrum.
So I see myself as a continual learner. So I've paid for professional development courses. I've paid four degrees, for conferences. I've paid to attend courses online. Probably, like most people have paid for things that have never actually even opened or signed into.
So I think we can spend money, but there's also a ton of things we can learn without spending a single cent. If you've got a small budget in your business, there are so many resources online, such as a podcast like this. There are is much available to people that you don't need to spend a lot of money on.
But certainly, professional development is part of running a business. And for some people, it's an obligatory part. If you're a medical professional, if you're allied health, if you're a lawyer accountant, you still have to do a certain amount of development to keep your badge, so to speak.
00:17:46:04 - 00:17:52:20
Thank you. Such a great tip. And I guess since we're talking finances, it can be also a tax-deductible expense.
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Absolutely. If you're earning income and you've got expenses, then the expenses come off before the income is decided.
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So what's the number one financial health skill that every business-owning mother should have at the ready?
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I get this question quite a lot. I think it goes back to something you said way back at the very beginning, which is that I think that business owners need to be more savvy. I think most mothers are actually managing budgets and managing money in ways that they have no idea that they're actually doing so. I think first, that women need to understand that they're better at money than they think they are, and they're better at numbers than I think they are.
The number one financial skill is to believe that it's possible that you, as the business owner, are responsible for your money and your numbers and that you truly own that. The skill is for people to believe that they own the numbers, not the bookkeeper, not the accountant or whoever does the accounts. I think that's the big hurdle for people to get across. Alan Joyce is the CEO of Qantas, and he has teams of people figuring out numbers, your seat numbers, capacity etc.
And in the last 18 months, and particularly in this last current environment, he personally has taken a deep interest in many aspects of the numbers, much to the surprise of a lot of his people. Like, “What's he doing over here?”, “How does he know so much about this?”.
He's owning those numbers and he's the CEO. And so I think if you're the CEO of your business, the number one thing is to truly own those numbers and believe that you ought to not the accountant, not the bookkeeper, not whoever's running the numbers. That's the first hurdle.
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Yeah, I love it. Great advice. Ingrid, is there something in the works for you at the moment that you're promoting right now that you'd like to give a plug to?
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Thank you so much for this question.And yes, I am. You won't be surprised to know that it's a business financial health check. So I put this together a little while ago, and it's on my website. So healthynumbers.com.au/healthcheck all one word and it's a simple yes or no questionnaire.
Completely anonymous until you get to the end. And if you want the report, you can put your name in. Just answering those questions alone will give you an idea of where you are, where you need to pay attention, where you can give yourself a pat on the back.
It's 15 simple questions that will help you figure out where you are from a health checkpoint of view financially in your business.
00:22:41:11 - 00:22:57:07
Fanastic. We found that introductions are everything, especially when we're looking at expanding our networks, which is so important to business owners. Who would you like an introduction to for anything and it could be in business or in life?
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Who would I like to be introduced to? I have to admit I have never, ever been asked that question before, and I really struggled to think of somebody. Just this week, I met a fabulous woman who's running a business in the UK, and she makes morning sickness tea and pregnancy tea and tea for pre and postnatal pregnancy. And she's at a stage in her business where she is ready to take the next growth phase. And I thought to myself, wouldn't it be wonderful if she could meet the woman who founded tea too?
So I would love if I could be introduced to Marianne Scherer, who is one of the co-founders of T-2. So that I could put her in touch with this woman in the UK that I could somehow connect them together because I think she's ready to learn from the experience of Mary Shira.
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Thank you for sharing that. We have talked a lot and you've shared a lot. Thank you so much for the ins and outs of business and life for you. Wellbeing is an absolute core value here at Mums & C, because we believe that we all need reminding of how important it is. Is there something that you do in this area daily that we could use as inspiration for ourselves as well?
00:24:15:16 - 00:24:34:00
So mine is really simple. I mentioned earlier about sleep and movement. And exercise being important. My bedroom faces east and I sleep with the curtains barely open and every morning when I wake up, it's either dark or it's almost coming to light.
And that is the most magical part of the day for me. And I just love the way darkness becomes light. Sometimes there are still some stars where I can see the outline of a tree, and I am so grateful for a new day and that's how I start my day.
That's how I start my day. It can make such a difference for me to just watch for a few minutes as the light changes. And sometimes I have to get up quicker and sometimes I can stay there a bit longer. But it's just watching that light and then just being so grateful for another day.
00:25:08:20 - 00:25:16:01
What a profoundly beautiful thing to say. I absolutely love it. I got goosebumps listening to that. It's so simple. It's a great reminder to be grateful and slow down. I'm going to try that myself.
So the last question Ingrid we have for you is in the spirit of women supporting other women, of which you're a fierce advocate for. Would like to say hello to anyone as we wrap up the podcast?
00:25:37:11 - 00:25:57:04
I would like to say hello to the Mumbitous Community, the amazing women who are juggling everything right now, homeschooling and business and finding time for themselves and sleeping and cooking and life is always going to be a juggle. It's never going to be any different. But I think right now the ambitious ones are the ones who are just holding everything together. I really am in awe. I am truly in awe of them all in this moment.
00:26:11:20 - 00:26:25:05
Beautifully, said, Ingrid Thompson, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast today.