Vanessa Bell Mumbition the Podcast


The Podcast By Mums & Co

Episode 53: Three businesses, passion and persistence

Katie Turner

Founder Buckle Bandage

November 29, 2022
Katie Turner knows a thing or two about what it takes to survive and thrive in small business.


Katie Turner Media

Buckle Bandage


Produced & Edited by - Morgan Brown
Interviewers - Carrie Kwan and Lucy Kippist
Guest - Katie Turner

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00:01:13:11 - 00:01:33:03

Lucy Kippist

With over 20 years experience as a small business owner in various industries, Katie Turner knows a thing or two about what it takes to survive and thrive in small business. She joins us on Mumbition the podcast today to share just some of what she's learned along the way. Katie, welcome to Mumbition the podcast.

00:01:33:14 - 00:01:35:00

Katie Turner

Thank you very much for having me.

00:01:35:08 - 00:01:52:17

Carrie Kwan

So, Katie, look, I know you always bring so much energy and passion to what you do, and I think you need it when you've got so many businesses on the fly at the moment. We'd love to hear a little bit more about your story and some of the amazing businesses that you’ve currently got your fingers into.

00:01:53:11 -  00:02:42:05

Thanks, Lucy and Carrie for having me. I want to bring sexy back to business. It's something I'm really passionate about, energetic about, business is about following something that you're passionate about and making money as well. So twenty years in a nutshell. I was brought up by a single mum and watched her do the hard work of working full time and putting herself through a university degree.

I've sort of vowed to myself from there that I was going to maintain financial independence for the rest of my life at the age of 12. So I did put myself through university, an economics degree and, and worked in finance for two years post-degree, and kind of found myself not loving it. 

So I don't love rules; I don't like compliance unless I absolutely have to follow it, like from the tax office. So I left and started my first business in 2004, and since then I've run multiple businesses. I currently have three businesses that I run with a team of 14. So it's not just me, it's us. We run Envisage Fitness and part of that business and the passion that I bring to that is because since I was basically eight or nine years old, I know how good exercise makes me feel and how productive it makes me.

So it's part of my daily routine. Monday to Saturday, Sunday I have a sleep in, but six days a week, I do something for my physical health that always affects my mental health. So I'm quite aware and I've built a business. I've had Envisaged Fitness in and out for 18 years now and part of that strategy is to incorporate exercise into everybody's life, make it fun, make it engaging. It's nothing about transformation. Weight loss is a byproduct, as is improving your heart and lungs. But that real strong mental physical correlation is where I want that business and passionate about it for people to feel it daily as well.

Then along comes a mass media company I used to co-own podcasting studios on Bondi radio for a while and COVID hit. When COVID hit, this business was born because people were approaching me and wanting to know where I went for a great website designer. So shorts, podcast production, which I have my own podcast as well, or video production and I found a great team and now we really cater for those who have no idea about tech, but need it for their businesses to start or grow. So that's really where that business came about. I'm passionate about delivering great customer experience, great customer service. 

So that's off the back of all of my businesses. I say that I'm in the business of people and then just apply the fitness or the media to it. The third business has been a five year journey, I don't know whether I'd do it again.It started as a small idea when my daughter was burnt by a hot car seat buckle in a car in the middle of summer here in Australia. I set off to try and find something that would prevent it and there was nothing on the market here or in the US. So the journey began. We had to follow stringent car safety legislation and our focus group of mums who we approached wanted it to be 100% environmentally friendly, made and designed here in Australia, chewable and met all car safety legislation. So five years later, a fair few different models of the buckle bandage. And we launched in February and it's rained ever since.

00:06:37:10 - 00:07:42:08

Carrie Kwan

How incredible. Katie, I'm just reflecting on your journey so far and it's shaped by wanting to have this financial security for yourself. But it seems like the entrepreneurial bug has truly taken hold for you. You have gone from gym memberships to essentially a product which is heavily regulated in some sense so you can avoid that regulation side of things.

But certainly it's a true testament, how entrepreneurial I think you and a lot of our community are, and just that passion to create solutions and solve big problems, it's amazing. Thank you for sharing your journey with us so far. 

00:07:42:08 - 00:08:22:14

Lucy Kippist

Katie, it's so interesting to see the trajectory of those businesses and also the fact that you've run both a service type business and now also have a product type business. A lot of our community are either one or the other, and they're also in between those two and five years in terms of where their business is at. But it doesn't matter what industry, what stage, time is one of the biggest challenges that we have as business owners and women. So when you look back over your past 20 years experience as you've built up these various businesses, what would you say is one thing that you feel as a business owner is never a waste of your time?

And one thing that pretty much always is a waste of your time?

00:08:22:14 - 00:10:22:07

Katie Turner

Never a waste of my time is talking to other business owners, no matter what stage of business they are. It's sharing ideas, what worked, what hasn't. Also sharing the journey is definitely something that's kept me going over 20 years. 

The thing that hasn't saved me time, or really what I do find doesn't help me, is sharing business journeys with people who've never done it or people telling me how I should run a business when they've never put their money or their risk factor behind it.

I'm always open to conversations, but again, I do find sometimes you have to be careful where you take the advice from. It's always very important to listen, but not necessarily act upon what others say. So and that's always the case, everybody has a fantastic idea, because they want their problem solved by you. 

I recently had somebody say, oh, you should just charge pay as you go for a group fitness session. I did that when I was 25 and found out it's a very hard way to pay the mortgage every week. So we do a direct debit model, unlimited classes, and it's also a financial investment so that people think, well, they're paying it per week, they really should be getting along to classes because, people say for example, at the gym that you've got more members paying with less people going in - it's not the case. You want people actually turning up firstly because you're passionate about their health and fitness. But we know, especially in these times when we've had seven interest rate hikes over a small period of time, if somebody is not utilising their gym membership, that's when they're going to cut it off. I've got two ends of the stick; people who are there five or six times a week will always be there. Regardless of what happens to interest rates, they'll find the money to keep coming.

00:10:23:00 - 00:11:10:05

Lucy Kippist

That pricing thing is so fascinating. We actually just had a workshop recently here at Mums and Co with Ingrid Thompson, who's one of our experts in pricing. Just looking at those different types of models, which I know is not quite what you're saying, but it’s so interesting about human psychology when it comes to paying for something you go versus paying one of the time.

The other thing I wanted to say to your point about knowing when to take the advice and from who, I just wonder,  that's great advice. But is that something that comes with experience too? Because that's not something you would necessarily know within that first year of business, that person’s advice might not be relevant to me.

00:11:11:14 - 00:11:46:18

Katie Turner

That’s a testament to you guys in terms of creating Mums and Co, right? Because when I first started, there really weren't any forums per se, back then we weren't online firstly. I had free mentoring sessions from the local chamber of Commerce and that was basically where it was at. Whereas now you've got expert communities and people that you can turn to, like yourselves, where you can go, “right, I know that I can cut down that learning curve in half because I've got expert advice in front of me.”

00:11:46:18 - 00:12:21:18

Carrie Kwan

So now, Heidi, you mentioned before the word risk. When you're talking to people and are they aware of that journey? So thank you for the lovely segue into my question, which is, how would you describe your relationship to risk? I would probably classify as a risk taker, but I won't make the assumption, in terms of if you are, you could really you could let us know in your own words. How has running your own business over the years challenged your approach?

00:12:22:11 - 00:14:04:08

Katie Turner

Yeah, great question. I talk about calculated risk, so I'm a calculated risk taker. That's the difference between jumping out of a plane with a parachute or not. So there's still risk involved in jumping out of a plane, but with a parachute, there’s much less risk. 

So there's some really important factors that I've learned over the 20 years, you can always go back to a job if you need to, is number one. That's the option. If it doesn't work, you can always go back to a paid employment position, whatever capacity that might be. 

Secondly, never mortgage your house to run a business or to finance a business. I did a quick six month stint as a consultant to an old gym here in Australia, called Contours, and they brought me in for six months as a franchise development consultant and they were on the downturn of their franchises and so many, mostly women, I was speaking to had mortgaged their house to finance the franchise and it was a big lesson there. Only spend what you can or you can make the repayments and never over capitalise.

When I first opened my first gym, I wanted a cable machine for example, and I didn't have the three and a half thousand dollars. So I improvised until I got enough clients through the door to be able to justify that cost. So grow with your clients I think is one of the biggest, don't over capitalise in the get go, validate your business idea first by having the clients paying you enough to then grow rather than the other way round.

00:14:04:08 - 00:14:35:13

Lucy or Carrie

It is that test and learn approach, it's a tricky one, isn't it? Make the right amount of investment into your business at that phase of growth. Looking at it in stages and what do you need to know to be true before you make your next investment to upgrade to the next stage of growth?

00:14:35:13 - 00:15:16:00

Katie Turner

I've seen it so many times in the fitness world, people going out and they're passionate about health and fitness and they buy into a half a million dollar franchise, buy the best equipment to go into there and you've not got the customers through the door yet. So it's that uncalculated risk really, it is trial and testing.

Especially with the Internet these days, you can do it, you can validate your ideas so cheaply, you don't have to come up with a whole retail shop. You can have a landing page to validate whether your idea is going to actually create an income.

00:15:17:20 - 00:16:07:11

Lucy Kippist

Just the point that you made there Katie, referring to when you were doing some consulting work with the Contours gym, it just made me think about your podcast, which is what I want to talk to you about next and the conversations that you have there. You have a podcast called Switch Your Stitch, which you have to say very slowly, and it's very successful.

You have over 60,000 downloads, which is incredible, congratulations! A lot of the conversations that you're having on that podcast are with people who have achieved a really huge degree of success in business. How do those conversations inspire you as a business owner? Have you noticed any themes among these really successful people? What is their secret? Have you uncovered that?

00:16:07:11 - 00:18:40:11

Katie Turner

Yeah, thank you. We are launching our 71st episode this week. A couple of things. I've had Ronni Kahn on there, who's a huge inspiration to me, she founded OzHarvest. One of the biggest conversations we had was around imposter syndrome. I think females especially, even Ronni Kahn, who's like my inspiration, suffered from it at some point during her journey.

The other thing that we talked about was that she side hustled OzHarvest for seven years before she could actually work in it full time. So it's been running now for 15 years, I think, don't quote me on that. But she actually side hustled into it as you know, she had an events company, worked in that full time before she could create her own income to actually transition into working OzHarvest full time, even though it's not for profit, you still have to be paid to run it.

That was a really interesting factor and something that I'm passionate about is that it takes time and it takes time through discipline and consistency, which is the missing piece on social media. Nobody likes to talk about the hard work, the consistency and the discipline, and that's really the golden ticket that everybody is searching for, those three things.

We didn't get to that many downloads from doing a podcast when in the early stages I wanted to give up. I was watching people like James Smith go through the roof and Joe Rogan and all these podcasts blow up. And again, Joe Rogan has been podcasting for over ten years and he was one of the first.

So I think that's a really important factor when being inspired by other business owners as well, no matter where they are. Neil Perry in hospitality launched his new restaurant, Margaret in Double Bay. Open day was the second day of lockdown, July the 23rd, I think it was. The pivots that business owners have to make as well, how flexible you have to be, the contingency plans, not having a blueprint to start with but also being able to adapt and we've never seen it more relatable as the last two years.

00:18:40:19 - 00:19:01:24

Lucy Kippist

I can imagine that ability to stay focused, like it doesn't matter what's happening in the other aspects of your life, but you still focus on your business and maintaining that focus. So you’re conscious of when you need to pivot, but you're also conscious of just being in your business. 

00:19:01:24 - 00:19:47:06

Katie Turner

That’s right and that can be quite hard. I have this saying that time management comes down to productivity and predictability. You have to predict how much time you're going to spend doing activities during the week and then give yourself a 20% buffer because what we think we can get done productively is very different to what we can actually get done.

So it's a really important factor for us to not be so hard on ourselves as well as to have our to do lists. My number one tip for every business owner on a Sunday night or Monday morning is to sit down and do the to-do list of everything that has to be done in your business and then give yourself at the end of the week that 20% buffer because life happens.

00:19:47:06 - 00:20:01:14

Carrie Kwan

That advice is gold, we will attest to that and often we need that plan A, plan B, plan C.That's why I asked the risk question the other day and someone said they went up to plan F and it was like, oh, okay.

00:20:03:24 - 00:20:10:20

Katie Turner

Post-COVID times, I'm sure all the way to Z at the moment now.

00:20:10:21 - 00:20:33:18

Carrie Kwan

Katie, you're an active networker and have made some great connections even recently with our amazing community of Mums & Co. I'd love to hear what your approach to digital networking is? What's the effect, what's your go to platform that you use this? Do you have any tips or insights that you can share for people that are finding their own feet with networking?

00:20:34:10 - 00:22:18:14

Katie Turner

Yeah, I use LinkedIn a lot and Facebook actually. Instagram for my sort of demographic, not as effective. LinkedIn gives me the whole piece and people are being more authentic on LinkedIn now than ever before. So it used to be all about professional networking, now people are actually giving you a glimpse into their life as a whole on LinkedIn, which I think is fantastic because we're always taught to be behind the brand.

When I first started, don't associate yourself with the brand, and now consumers want to see who is behind their brand and what a day in their life looks like. I really think to be authentic on the platform that you choose, firstly find out where your target audience are. I'm a big believer that firstly you have to know what impact your product or service has on your customers’ lives, and then you find your tribe through a great marketing message. So how are you solving their problem? That impact statement is imperative for every person going into a product or service based business.

Then finding, where do your tribe live? Are they on LinkedIn? Are they on Facebook? Are they on Instagram? Tik Tok, wherever that tribe lives and then go out with the right message and let them see what a day in the life looks like. Be authentic, be real. If some people don't like showing kids on social media platforms or their children, I'm 100%. You don't have to do that to be a great marketer either. You set the boundaries basically and that's a really important factor in business as well.

00:22:18:14 - 00:23:41:17

Carrie Kwan

That's great advice and I know what you mean there in terms of where every person has stories to tell. Everyone's got different facets of their personality and the parts of their lives that they are comfortable talking about, you can stick to that stick to that realm. But even I, I've had my first Tweets back in 2007ish, thereabouts, and even over the last 14 or so years, I've gone through phases in terms of what I'm comfortable in sharing on those different social media platforms and different sides of it.

Knowing that, I've had two businesses over that period of time too. But the one thing that has remained consistent is people are actually looking for who is the person behind the business, what do you stand for? What are your values and how do you work, how do you show up? That actually indicates how I can trust you as a brand as well and what values the brand has.

00:23:42:04 - 00:24:16:09

Katie Turner

I think that's where the authenticity comes down to it as well, because people will read through you if you're trying to people please or audience grab. I think you really have to be true to your values. I know people think that it can be quite polarising, it doesn't have to be. It's just being authentic in who you're engaging and who your customers are as well, I think is really important. If you try to be something that you're not on today's platforms, you'll be seen. You'll be shown out very, very quickly.

00:24:16:09 - 00:24:43:02

Lucy Kippist

Just bringing the conversation now towards managing family and business. How much does the work you do impact your family dynamic in terms of what's something that you do within your family structure or for yourself that really helps you to integrate business and family in a way that feels harmonious to you?

00:24:44:13 - 00:26:21:14

Katie Turner

Outsource where you can. My friends know me as the outsourcing queen. Whether it's the cleaning, whether it's my social media. When you grow your business to a point that you can start to outsource, again, that comes down to the numbers. When I had my first personal training this year, I did everything from cleaning, washing towers, buying water for my clients to a factor.

I remember thinking the first thing when I start to actually break even is I'm going to outsource washing the towels because I used to go home and put through the washer and dryer and be up until ten or 11 at night. Outsourcing is definitely key to finding a balance that productive versus predictive time management is really important. What you think you can get done in a week, but also realizing that can take a toll or there is an opportunity cost sometimes to that. 

Time management definitely, outsourcing where you can. I always say low tech, I can’t ever do no tech. Unfortunately, my businesses are online so it's always low tech versus no tech.

But yeah, outsourcing is definitely the key and being present. I'm lucky because I do have my own businesses where I can schedule most of my podcasts again between the hours of ten and two. So it's not done when the family is at home and I'm having to quieten them down and throw things at the door for them to be quiet. Which Covid kind of stuffed us up with, but home-based learning.

00:26:21:18 - 00:26:32:05

Lucy Kippist

Laughing about that because we actually started this podcast right at the beginning of that Covid stuff. So yeah, it's making me remember that particular phase of podcasting life.

00:26:32:14 - 00:26:34:13

Katie Turner

Yeah, kids screaming at the door, home-based learning. 

00:26:34:13 - 00:26:50:05

Carrie Kwan

I remember little post-it notes that would be shoved under the door, lots of spelling errors, it was very cute. “Are you done yet?”

00:26:50:22 - 00:27:02:05

Katie Turner

There were a few letters there that I had to question. Didn't quite look non-rude, should I say, some of the lettering and spelling.

00:27:04:11 - 00:27:19:03

Carrie Kwan

Speaking of that integration, at Mums & Co we talk about the daily striving to create harmony across our ambition, livelihood and wellbeing. How would you describe the shape of a great life for you?

00:27:20:11 - 00:28:39:12

Katie Turner

A great life is getting up every morning, quick coffee, off to train. Now, whatever it might be, it might be a walk, it might be a run, it might be a HIIT session, it might be pilates. Just taking that 45 minutes every morning, and I get up at 4:33 every morning. So yeah, don't ask me. I often get asked why it's 33, I can't actually tell you. But yeah, that's definitely part of my everyday shell of what I like to do. 

I'm usually home before any of my household are awake, so in the morning getting people ready for school, whatever it might be. Doing a couple of podcasts, a little bit of admin, the school pick up, I take a weekend every three months, a long weekend from Friday to Monday, every three months away with my family and I ensure I've done that.

I've done that since my first business every three months was to take a four day break. I'm a big advocate of that. Again, it's low tech, it’s not no tech, but it is just spending a little bit more time than normal. We've learned through home-based learning that kids can go don't have to go to school for 18 weeks in a row.

So two days off every three months is not going to hurt them, but it just ensures that we do spend that quality time together.

00:28:41:07 - 00:29:02:06

Lucy Kippist

It's wonderful. Thank you so much for joining us on Mumbition today. If you'd like to find out more about Katie, Buckle Bandage and the Switch Your Stitch podcast, you find all of that on Katie's LinkedIn. If you haven't already, please come and join the thousands of business women just like you at mumsandco.com.au

00:29:02:12 - 00:29:03:24

Katie Turner

Thank you very much for having me.

00:29:05:07 - 00:29:10:11

Lucy Kippist

What's your favorite thing to do to relax? 

00:29:11:03 - 00:29:23:14

Katie Turner

The beach. Walking on the beach, swimming in the salt water, sand between my toes is my happy place. Luckily enough, we have a little unit in Port Macquarie and that is definitely my happy place.