00:02:06:08 - 00:02:19:03
So, we're passionate about sharing and telling willing women's stories. It's something that we advocate for every day. We'd love to hear your story, too, Bronwyn. Tell us a bit about yourself and how you've come about with your business.
00:02:20:11 - 00:04:18:10
Okay, hello from [name of indigenous country name] country, it's really awesome to be here. Not sure if I can sort of squeeze it into the little time that we've got here, but it's a big story. So, after having four children and running this tight, tidy little bookkeeping business from home since 2005, I started to outgrow it and I knew I could offer so much more. I've tried and tried so many things, but nothing really fit until I found coaching.
Right when that happened, my whole world turned upside down, my husband of 25 years, just left out of the blue. But it all happened right at the right moment to get me to expand into something I didn't see coming.
That healing process was incredibly powerful and the start of a new me. So, as part of the training to become a coach, I needed to go through that coaching process myself, and that was completely transformational. It put me back in touch with who I am at my core, and it was then that I discovered permaculture. Permaculture is this design framework that was first developed in the seventies, although it builds on the wisdom of ancient cultures around the world, and it became this world wide movement to harness the power of nature to live in harmony with the earth.
It's what I've been wanting to do throughout my whole life, I just never knew what it was called. So, after I did my coaching training and after I remarried, I did my permaculture training. So now I had this right brain business coaching practice and this left brain permaculture passion and eventually, I figured out how to blend them to offer permaculture business coaching.
So, my story is one of rebirth, self-discovery, identity and growth, and finding out that love and harmony really do make the world go round. I found that I am the bridge between business and permaculture.
00:04:18:23 - 00:05:07:20
Wow. Now, that there has been a transformative journey, and I certainly am an advocate of harmony, it's something that as we've grown, certainly from my perspective, growing older and potentially that little bit wiser, we are trying to actually harmonise so many different parts of our lives and what's important to us. So, that's an amazing journey that you've been on.
If I can dove a little bit deeper, Bronwyn, in terms of the permaculture for business, it is something really unique. Could you give us an idea of how that works, how you might be actually integrating coaching for permaculture business and any stories that you might like to share about some of the work you're doing?
00:05:08:24 - 00:07:39:03
Sure. So, I guess in traditional business coaching, you might focus on the numbers and, you know, I am a numbers person. I love doing that. But in coaching, you could set goals to achieve a certain milestone or measurement of growth. The coaching I was trained in also focuses on aligning to your core values and working through the things that are getting in your way of achieving those results that you want.
But with permaculture, it shifts that perspective. So, there are three overarching ethics, being earth care, people care and fair share, and that traditional goal to be as successful as possible in terms of money or market share, they just don't really fit anymore. This is more for the people who understand that there's more to life and business than the profit and loss report.
They want to know that their business is eco-sustainable too. After the three ethics, there are 12 design principles for permaculture that were originally developed to use in a garden or natural environment. But I saw the business wisdom in them and how these principles can be used to guide the small business journey to achieve both providing for your family and enhancing your experience as a small business owner, as well as living in harmony with the earth. I've written a bit of an introduction for each of these principles on my website, evertrue.com.au, and I'm putting together a book that delves a lot deeper that is available through my coaching programs. These principles, the one that stood out to me the most first, was the principle of attaining yield, meaning that when you put effort into growing your garden, there needs to be a reward at the end of it.
To me, that just says that's the return of profit, everything has to be worth doing to do it. That was the start of it to then go through all the other principles which are like, observe and interact, use renewable resources, use small and slow solutions, use and value diversity. It all gives this perspective of how to approach the problems and the challenges you have in your business.
00:07:43:23 - 00:09:24:19
Oh, wow. And what really kind of stood out to me, Bronwyn, is you're absolutely right in terms of there’s been this shift that we've noticed, especially with business owners that are run by women, we find that a lot of the areas that they want to make impact in tend to have some purpose behind it, they want to make a difference.
Sustainability has really come to the fore in terms of how we leave an impression or what we're sort of… how do I say it? I think it's just in terms of how we can make the biggest impact possible without making it in the wrong areas?
It was fascinating to hear about the design principles, because I definitely hear we’re culture driven, we're values driven. So, there's a really nice sort of connection to extend this to a sustainable and how we're actually affecting our environments, it's really fascinating.
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Bronwyn, what I was thinking about when I was listening to you explain all that, which is absolutely fascinating. You're based in regional WA, you've been in business, as you mentioned before, since 2005. So you've been in this small business space for a long time. But I'm wondering, given where you are located, what are three things that you've done to help create visibility for your business over the years? And it can be in relation to this business.
00:09:25:13 - 00:11:47:20
Networking has been probably the biggest part of my business. It was funny, with the bookkeeping, you have your set of clients and you don't need to really worry about where your next one's coming from because it just keeps ticking over.
But, coming into coaching where I needed to find an entirely new customer base, networking has really been a big part of my business for a long time. Now, I'm not an off the shelf kind of business, so it's absolutely critical that I get to know the people around me and let them get to know me. So, for the past three or four years, I've been the chairperson of the We're in a Business Support Group, which is a subcommittee of the Peel Chamber of Commerce and I've also joined the Committee of Permaculture West as the Community Garden Coordinator. Being in a regional town, your exposure in just this town is really, really limiting.
So, networking and getting involved in various circles in communities provides exposure that I just would not have otherwise access to. I've been a part of the Mums & Co community for about 18 months now and I've really, really loved the networking that you do with member meetups. It's really wonderful being able to connect with other business owning mums to understand what it's like.
Networking is a lot more than just like your in-person marketing for a business. It's also market research and it's getting feedback and it's developing your branding and your positioning and it puts me in touch with people that can help me as a supplier, a service provider, and something that often gets talked about in my Chamber of Commerce is that you're not selling to this network, you're selling through them to the people that they know and they can recommend to you.
It also helps me to get out of my little small town mentality to see the bigger picture of what's going on out in the real world. In one of your recent workshops that you did with Kate Toon on personal branding, she talks about developing you for top values, and I did that exercise. It was really, really fun. But I found one of my top four values is to build community, and networking is such a perfect way to do that.
00:11:47:20 - 00:12:14:12
We absolutely, absolutely love that answer, yes to all those things. It's a lovely segue to my next question, because you've talked there about the power of introductions, basically, of getting to know people 1 to 1. What do you think's been one of the most important introductions you've either had made to you or you've made over the last 12 months?
00:12:14:12 - 00:12:23:05
Oh, in the last 12 months, that’s a good question. I had one prepared for like years ago.
00:12:23:14 - 00:12:27:05
That's fine, you can use that, take the 12 months out.
00:12:28:10 - 00:13:29:20
Okay. All right. I'm thinking of a time when I first started feeling that I could be more and do more with my little bookkeeping business and back then, I was a nobody from nowhere. But there is something inside me kept niggling at me and I found this Facebook group called The 100 Day Goal, which is run by Julia Bickerstaffe.
In that group, we focused on taking a big goal and breaking it down to 100 little microsteps. I first started to see that I can actually do something big. It was a really beautiful, supportive community that really helped me a lot. Then a few years later, Julia was a keynote speaker at a business conference in WA, so I got to meet her.
Then, when I did my coaching training in Sydney a few years later after that, I caught up with her again. But it was that 100 Day Goal and that introduction to her that was my first turning point that set up all these other turning points that I've had since then.
00:13:31:15 - 00:14:07:03
That's that ripple effect, isn't it? It's something that it's hard to explain as a concept, but as you're doing now, when you're explaining it in actual terms and how it actually happens and the impact of that is fantastic, thank you so much for sharing.
00:14:07:03 - 00:14:30:16
I actually love hearing about the long tail of what an introduction that we've made today might not show fruition until, you know, a year down the track, three years down the track, even, but it's cumulative. All partnerships, collaborations and all dealings with people are, it takes time to, to see if you've got the right fit and alignment and the right opportunities and timing. But that actually always fuels me every time, it makes me super excited to make an exception because I know at some point something magical will happen later down the track.
00:14:31:06 - 00:14:32:07
Bronwyn Chompff Gliddon
That's right, yeah.
00:14:33:13 - 00:15:09:15
I wanted to flip the viewpoint now and maybe turn our conversation to when you're running a business, there’s obviously a step into the unknown. As part of that, you're exposing yourself to different forms of risk. So, I'm really keen to understand how you might use your perspectives that you've learned in business and business coaching. How do you actually view risk and have you adopted a certain set perspective around how you view risk?
00:15:10:18 - 00:17:42:01
Yes, absolutely. I mean, risk is a really natural part of life. There are two permaculture principles that address this. The first one is to use small and slow solutions. So meaning, you start with a small change and see how it goes and see how it responds before you go in with more of that, it's a pretty cautious approach to risk.
But the other principle that addresses it is to creatively use and respond to change, and that recognises that everything always will change and it's really wise to incorporate that into your designs. Change is always a risk because it's new, it's growth, it's moving through the lifecycle and it's moving through the food chain and the seasons change and things get older.
So, the concept of risk here is to embrace the opportunities that these changes provide. But like when we talk about risk versus reward, as in maybe going out on a limb to promote permaculture to the business community, that's, that's a big risk. But this is who I am and I just wouldn't be my authentic self if I did it any other way.
So I trust this process, and this trust, I guess, is the antidote to that risk of everything falling apart and failing. I trust that permaculture framework because nature always has the right answer and it's humans that mess things up. But really, there's a greater risk of not doing anything. For example, if you look at regenerative farming, that's been trying to really change the way farming is done as opposed to monoculture and the use of synthetic fertilizers and things like that.
So, you have this risk of upsetting the applecart and the way it's always been done, challenging those old school farmers with a better way of farming. It takes time to try something and to prove it over and over again before this idea takes hold. If we don't make those changes and start doing things in a better way, then we're not going to have much of an environment left, so that's a far greater risk than upsetting a few old farmers. It's time to change and do things a different way and there's always going to be risk and I'm okay with that.
00:17:42:01 - 00:18:29:08
I love that, Bronwyn. Spoken like a true business owner and entrepreneur. Just in terms of change is going to be always constant, that's the saying, but how can we harness that for the right type of the right type of improvements or change? I love your perspective there and there is a bigger risk in terms of standing still.
At Mums & Co, we talk about harmony, which I loved how you referenced that word earlier. Harmony is this triangle of ambition, livelihood and well-being, can you describe the shape of a good life for you?
00:18:29:08 - 00:19:48:01
Yes, absolutely. So, wellbeing for me is self-sufficiency. I've got my vegetable garden, my orchard, I've got my chooks, my ducks and organic living at its best, I’m surrounded by family and nature and living that eco sustainable life.
With livelihood, I'm making a difference. I'm helping small business owners to make their business more eco-sustainable and aligned with their core values and that's something that's so rewarding and fulfilling.
With ambition, I'm developing this legacy of creating a venue for retreats and events, to be a sanctuary, for learning how to permaculture your business and that sounds like a good life to me. I really love this triangle of ambition, livelihood and wellbeing, because it really is exactly what I'm creating here and I see how everything I do in one sphere impacts and supports all the other aspects of my life. It really is this holistic approach to recognise that everything impacts everything else.
00:19:48:01 - 00:20:16:13
Yes, and that is coming through so strongly in all your answers that you're giving. It's fascinating when you break it down, it's obvious, but it's not the way that we tend to think as humans first off, is it? We tend to separate the incredible bind between the natural world and our lives. So, it's an education listening to you, thank you very much.
00:20:16:13 - 00:20:53:13
Thank you. But also, I was just going to say the resources are traditionally such a big distance between business and personal and one thing that I've discovered with the clients that I've worked with is that especially with your small businesses, at the ground roots level, businesses where you can't separate the business and the business owner, I really like to honor that dynamic that they're just one and the same.
00:20:53:13 - 00:21:17:09
100%. Bronwyn, our last question for you is to maybe reflect a little bit on this wonderful community that you have built around you in your business life, and in the spirit of women supporting women, who are some of the mumbitious or the business owning women in your life that you would like to say hello to?
00:21:17:09 - 00:22:30:06
Well, so, huge shout out. They're not all business owners, but they've all been very, very supportive. So, first there is my mum, Heather, my sisters, Charlotte, Christine, Pamela and Anita, even my daughters, Zoe and Skylar, my daughter Zoe for a short period of time decided she wanted to run her own business and make and sell her own soap, which was such a huge proud moment for me.
But they've all been a huge part of my journey. Going through that transformation that started a couple of years back, really beautiful, dear friends Sue Row, Cathy Jo Davis, Jodie Charlton and Christina Benz have been amazing supports for me. Then, I can't forget my coaches, I've worked with two, first Sharon Franks and now I'm working with Veronica Gallagher. I would be lost without my coach, I personally believe that everyone should have their own coach, but that's just me speaking as a coach.
00:22:30:06 - 00:23:11:02
I second that too, Bronwyn.Thank you so much for joining us on Mumbition today. If you'd like to find out more about Bronwyn and permaculture, you will find her on our Mums & Co membership directory.
We hope today's story has inspired you and we'd love to help support your own business journey in 2023. Mums & Co, we help women in business grow. Our three tiers of membership provide strategic advice, access to deep networks and opportunities to be more visible. Head to mumsandco.com.au for more details or book a 1 to 1 call with me, that's Lucy, today. What is the best thing about being a business coach?
00:23:12:19 - 00:23:40:09
The best thing about being a business coach is being able to witness the transformation that happens when there's a big lightbulb moment or a big breakthrough. It's often really emotional for the client, but me being able to witness that, it just makes it happen to me all over again and I really love that.