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The Podcast By Mums & Co

Episode 46: Doing business in the bush, with Tori Kopke of The Rural Business Coach

Tori Kopke

Founder of The Rural Business Coach

October 11, 2022
One third of women owned businesses are run from rural Australia and today's guest has created a business of her own to support them.Tori Kopke is the rural business coach, a self-described champion of women in rural and regional Australia and strives to help them nail their sales process, sort their mindset and find growth opportunities.

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The Rural Business Coach


Produced & Edited by - Morgan Brown
Interviewers - Carrie Kwan and Lucy Kippist
Guest - Tori Kopke

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Episode 46 Transcript

00:01:34:22 - 00:02:00:14

Carrie Kwan

One third of women owned businesses are run from rural Australia and today's guest has created a business of her own to support them. Tori Kopke is the rural business coach, a self-described champion of women in rural and regional Australia and strives to help them nail their sales process, sort their mindset and find growth opportunities. Tori, a big welcome to Mumbition the podcast!

00:02:01:01 - 00:02:04:04

Tori Kopke

Thank you guys so much for having me!

00:02:04:04 - 00:02:18:08

Carrie Kwan

Now, we love hearing women pitching with confidence and clarity. We love sharing the amazing work and journey that businesswomen have been on and are going on. So can you please share yours?

00:02:19:06 - 00:02:37:02

Tori Kopke

Yeah, definitely! So I am Tori Kopke, the rural business coach, and I help rural and regional women discover flexibility and freedom through online businesses. I do so through my one on one coaching programs and my group coaching mastermind, which I absolutely love.

00:02:38:12 - 00:02:49:07

Carrie Kwan

I love how you described that with flexibility and freedom because gosh, don’t we need that in buckets and spade loads as working mums!

00:02:50:18 - 00:03:09:08

Tori Kopke

Yeah! Flexibility and freedom is something that I landed on definitely after motherhood. It was not something that I realised was as important until I really became a mother, because I did start my business before I was a mother. So it was with intention that I have developed flexibility and freedom.

00:03:12:04 - 00:03:45:13

Carrie Kwan

Definitely kudos in terms of that forward thinking. I think that at some point, it's very logical that we want to be there for our family. So being able to take control of what's important to us is one of the most amazing things about running your own business.

Now about your business, you've managed The HUB For Rural Business Women, which is a thriving community for women running businesses from the bush. How would you describe their biggest challenge when it comes to growing their business?

00:03:46:10 - 00:05:47:13

Tori Kopke

Yeah, so my online community, I absolutely love, and I feel really honoured that I am in the place to kind of facilitate this space to bring all these regional and rural women together. What I see over and over again in that community, as well as just with my clients and the people I spend the most time within day-to-day life, is the lifestyle and logistics that we face in the country is unparalleled.

We don't have the convenience of just getting Uber eats for dinner if it's been a hard day at work, we don't have the convenience of “I need to get my car serviced, I'll just book it in and then take a taxi back home.” For me to get my car serviced, I'm looking at least a 6-hour day traveling, booking the car in and that alone is a mission. My child care, because I live on a farm and I'd be driving around 100km a day to take my youngest son to daycare.

Those sorts of logistics that you face living in rural and regional areas are going to undoubtedly be a challenge when you're running your business, so it's about harnessing these opportunities, looking at the challenges head on and coming up with really great strategies to deal with them. It's not just the logistics that are a problem, but we also have really limited Internet. I feel very fortunate that I finally, after years, have reliable Internet, but still, I have three sources of Internet in my home just because it is so unreliable.

Those sorts of logistics are just something that you have to think of. You know, for me to get groceries, we're talking about a two hour round trip. The amount of time that it takes me to do things that it would take someone in the city is exponential. Doctor's appointments, there are so many things that just blow out because of where we live.

00:05:47:21 - 00:06:21:24

Carrie or Lucy

Now, can I just unpack that for a little bit in terms of the logistics? Because I know and you rightly frame that so we can have the convenience of ordering services like food delivery, etc., maybe a little bit easier, that ability to save a bit of time because it doesn't take us 2 hours to get to an appointment.

What do you do in terms of strategies whilst you're en route or traveling, how do you optimise that?

00:06:22:19 - 00:07:17:10

Tori Kopke

Yeah, so I definitely try to optimise it. So I shove, and I know every country woman does this, I shove as many appointments and to the one trip as possible, I do click and collect and then on the way there I do try to like to listen to a podcast or do something that is fulfilling for me since I am traveling so much.

It's one of the reasons why I launched a podcast because for me it's at least a 15-to-20-minute trip into town. So why wouldn't I listen to a podcast during that time? So I definitely try to think about what I'm actually doing on that journey. It's not just jumping in the car on a whim on a Tuesday because I want to go to Kmart. It's got to be pretty planned out and really efficient with my time. Otherwise, the kms that we're doing are absolutely insane.

00:07:17:10 - 00:08:03:01

Lucy Kippist

Sounds like having that real mindfulness around making the most of those pockets of time that you have, which as we know as a business owner is actually a really big advantage. Obviously, your life circumstances make it that you’re kind of forced into that to do some pretty regular things. But I think what I hear is an advantage because you can take control of your time in that sense.

So if you can really maximise what you're doing, obviously you're going to win back in some way, but I hear you on the inconvenience with childcare, that must be huge and certainly could be an issue. You hear a lot from your community as well, I expect.

00:08:03:17 - 00:08:51:22

Tori Kopke

Yeah, look to be 100% honest. I've got 5 hours of childcare a week and I'm running my business completely online. So when this week my nanny cancelled, so everything's happening between that time and that's just a challenge that I've had to look at and say, “okay, how am I going to still run my business, grow my business?”

That looks like a lot of creative things like outsourcing to VA and changing the structure of some of my programs so that I can really adapt, and that my business will fit this lifestyle that I currently have. Of course, once both my boys are at school, it's going to look totally different, and I'll be able to do so much more. But yeah, it's about efficiency, it's got to be about efficiency in everything I do.

00:08:51:22 - 00:09:16:02

Lucy Kippist

I love the energy that you bring to the Facebook group that you run, The Hub. I'm on that a lot myself and also just in general on your socials and the business. I'm just wondering, what is it that you love? You mentioned in the intro there about your mastermind course, I'm keen to hear about that more too, but what is it that the business is involved in for you that you're really loving at the moment?

00:09:16:22 - 00:10:40:13

Tori Kopke

For me, I think when I first had my first son, I was, as I mentioned, still in business. I was so lonely because I was so far away from the ability to pop down to a networking event. A mother's group was hard to get to because then it would screw up sleeping for the rest of the day and who wants to do that because of the travel? So I was so alone and that's sad. As a new mum, you don't want to be alone.

So for me, I actually started focusing on community, community for my business, community for my online group. I think at the end of the day, if we can build really strong relationships and we can be so relationship focused, it's going to be a game changer, especially in the online world where there's the funnels and there's the automations.

If we can just show up as real people, that's what I love. That is what I love doing. So I love trying to be as transparent as possible. I'm so transparent with my clients about what strategies are working in my life, what's not working, what I've tried and failed, that I love transparency and I love relationships.

That is something that I just think if we can do more of that, we're going to be successful.

00:10:41:10 - 00:11:33:21

Lucy Kippist

100%, I absolutely love that, and I share your passion for that. The idea of making relationships, the key to that, to the central part of all the other work that you do. You also touched on your sales strategy, which is something I know that you promote a lot in your own work about helping us as women, to really get focused on that and to stop being afraid of selling.

I mean, we're in the business of business, we need to be able to sell. I love your approach, could you just share one tip with our community about how to help them move that needle in terms of being able to push out their sales strategy in a different way or taking a different mindset to the idea of selling.

00:11:34:12 - 00:13:27:12

Tori Kopke

I like to call it a two step sales funnel, because sales funnels are so complicated, there's just two steps. We’re either one, building new relationship hubs or two, we're furthering existing relationships. I think if we can step aside from the idea of money and mindset and selling and we just really look at serving and nurturing relationships, then it makes it a lot easier.

But I also think that we have to be courageous, and we have to be brave, and we have to ask for the sale. We have to say, “this is how you could work with me. I would love to help you.” And if we're framing it in that way, “I'd like to help you,” “I'd like to support you,”” Let me help you grow,” “Let me help you transform.” If we come at it with that really solutions focused approach, it doesn't feel like a sale, but we have to put it out there how we can actually do these things to impact other people, whether it be another business or someone's life.

You've got to ask for the sale, you've got to be brave, you've got to get over yourself, put your ego aside and just say, “Hey, is there anything I could do to help you?” And you would be shocked by the number of people that say, “actually, yeah, I could. I would love to work with you,” or “I've been struggling with this thing. Is that something you can help with?”

My latest client that I got, she followed me on Instagram, and I said, “hey, let me know if there's anything I can do to help you in your business.” Boom, straight away. “Hey, actually, one-on-one coaching, that's something. Do you do that?” I just put the opportunity out there and she's my newest client. I think if we approach it with that kind of serving, let me support, let me help, your sales are just going to happen, they're going to happen naturally.

00:13:27:12 - 00:14:20:20

Carrie Kwan

That really speaks to our particular community of business women. It's that ask, whatever you provide in terms of your service, or your product is actually going to probably be the solution to their problems, which is a great reminder.

Now, among a lot of the things that we're passionate about, one of those areas is educating business women around the concept of risk and how it's linked to planning, it’s linked to scenarios, it's linked to thinking about what you want to achieve and where you want to go. The possibilities are different scenarios panning out. I would love to hear what are some of the processes that you've actually put in place to protect your business as it's grown?

00:14:22:02 - 00:15:41:00

Tori Kopke

I think that one of the biggest things that I've done is restructuring, because, as I said, I've got 5 hours of childcare a week. Before my second son, I would have 20 on one clients and it was fine, it was no big deal. Now, there's physically not the time in my week to have 20 on one clients.

To manage that and to still allow for growth, it's been about repackaging and restructuring and that has allowed me to have the growth while still serving my clients. That's where this mastermind, this group coaching program came from, was I really needed to once again maximise my time and be the most efficient that I could while still managing my own risk and allowing for business continuity, allowing for consistent income.

That looked like repackaging it and rejigging what I knew and what I'd done for the last five years. That's something I love to work with my clients on is business continuity, because I think if we have that consistent income coming in and we can kind of plan out six, 12 months of sales and income, it's just going to put us in a really secure place in our business.

00:15:41:00 - 00:16:21:02

Carrie Kwan

That's a really pertinent reminder. I think that's one of the beauties of having a digital component, you can now do a one to many type of approach with the mastermind. A nice segway here is as The Hub is actually a space that's dedicated to digital networking, it's being based in the rural area, the ability to do this has obvious advantages. Can you tell us about your networking habits and how would you describe a great digital connection?

00:16:21:02 - 00:18:00:02

Tori Kopke
I think some of my biggest cheerleaders are ladies online that I've never met, and that's for a couple of reasons. In small towns, our town, I think we have a population of about 400. We don't have a coffee shop for me to go walk into and find other entrepreneurs banging away on a laptop.

I can't physically find people geographically that are going to understand what I do as a business owner, understand what my clients do. Where I'm sitting, it's got to be digital. I think a great digital connection comes from people that are sharing openly and transparently, who are giving, just giving, giving value, giving tips, who are just there to connect.

That is one of the most fun things about The Hub. I ask all sorts of silly questions like, describe your weekend in emojis and we get so many fun responses and there's just fun. I think it's got to be about having that kind of support, having those cheerleader moments and then having fun.

I see it in my clients in the Mastermind, especially because they're such a tight knit group that they are celebrating wins all over the place. They're doing collaborations I didn't even know about. I'm like, “you go, you go facilitate those relationships and grow those relationships!” I can just see that they have all these cheerleading moments.

I think that unwavering support is really important in that kind of digital space and having a great digital network.

00:18:01:10 - 00:18:34:00

Lucy Kippist

100%! I hear you on all of those accounts Tori, I was thinking as you were talking about, you said support a lot of times through this conversation, obviously that's key. It's a vital ingredient to the creation of a small business and to keep it running, community is part of our name being the Co in Mums and Co.

We'd love it if you could share with us a bit more about the men or the women, the friends, the partners, the community as you reference there and how they support you to do the work that you're doing in your business.

00:18:34:17 - 00:20:37:07

Tori Kopke

I'm very lucky that my husband is self-employed, we live on the farm, he works on the farm, we’re farmers. He is my biggest support network because, if in the middle of a work week I suddenly don't have childcare and I've got something like an interview to do, he's definitely the one that steps up and takes over, so he is a key part of my success as well as it goes the other way.

We have periods of intensity on the farm where I am 100% in boots out in the paddock. I know I've said to you Lucy before, “sorry, I'm in the paddock. Let me get back to my office.” So it goes both ways and I think that is a very special relationship that we have. But I know it's not unique because I know women all over the country in my shoes have the same sort of relationship with their partners.

I also have a few really close friends who are very similar to me, and they are expats, so they don't necessarily have their family close by at their beck and call. So we have kind of formed our own family. If there's something that they need, something that I need in terms of childcare, we’re there supporting one another.

My clients light me up like you wouldn't believe. They encourage me, they motivate me. The work that they do spurs me on. So I feel very lucky to be able to work with the clients that I work with. It gets me out of bed every morning just to see what they're up to, see how I can support them, see how I can encourage them.

Full transparency, my cleaner is my life saver. She is the one that keeps me sane. She comes every Friday, it's the best day of the week. I walk out of my office and it's clean. So having a cleaner 100% allows me to do more work.

00:20:38:01 - 00:21:14:08

Lucy Kippist

I love it and love that you've included her there, such an important and beautiful thing, that's brilliant. Tori, thank you so much for joining us on Mumbition the podcast today. Thank you, our listeners, for your time. If you'd like to hear more about Tori or The Rural Business Coach, you can find her on LinkedIn or via Instagram @theruralbusinesscoach

If you haven't already, please come and join the thousands of business only women just like you at www.mumsandco.com.au

00:21:16:21 - 00:21:22:15

Unknown child speaker

What is your favorite thing about living on a farm? Can you answer in emojis?

00:21:23:11 - 00:22:10:24

Tori Kopke

Oh in emojis. I don't know if I could answer it in emojis, but I'd say the dam. So water is one of my favorite things. The wildflowers and the canola. The canola is in bloom right now and it is yellow and it is beautiful.

Getting out on the farm with my kids is the most fantastic experience. If you don't live on a farm, I hope you get the pleasure of taking a weekend to a farm because the kids, the freedom, they just get to run wild. It is the best thing in the world, especially for two little boys. I feel very fortunate that they've got thousands of acres to tear up and my yard is very well fenced. So we can go out and leave them in my clean house.