Jaimie: Well, my guest today is Michelle Broadbent and Michelle is a business strategist with a 20 year career as a trusted advisor to female founders across a variety of industries, including media, marketing, fashion design, executive coaching, and training. Michelle is passionate about seeing women's success.
See, and has supported countless women as they step up from solo preneur to CEO in their business. Michelle is known for smart strategic solutions that build thriving businesses and provide women with the freedom to enjoy what matters most in both business. And life prior to starting her business in 2016, Michelle spent more than a decade in the media industry, playing an integral role in building two startups from solo entities to thriving global brands.
Michelle's superpower is being able to cut through the overwhelm and overdrive of running a business alone as a voice of reason and a motivating force. Focus is on removing roadblocks and identifying the opportunities, structure, and resources to meet the demands of running a business. Michelle has shared her insights on stages, masterclasses, podcast, and in print.
She lives on the Northern beaches of Sydney in Australia with her two daughters and Jet, their pet cavoodle. Michelle Broadbent, welcome to Pitch Perfect.
Michelle: Jaimie, thank you so much for having me.
Jaimie: That's a pretty impressive bio. Now I met you in Uluru last year when we were away on a retreat and we just connected straight away and reading out your bio, it seems that you've kind of have a bit of a passion for helping women in particular.
Was that always your goal or have you kind of just morphed into helping female entrepreneurs?
Michelle: Look, I have been helping female entrepreneurs since I was like a baby, really, like since I was in my very early twenties when, you know, I look back and I go, really, how much help was I? But seriously, like I was, um, I was working in the recruitment industry and I was working in a very boutique.
So it was kind of like me and the founder and two other people. And, um, I think that's where I kind of got my, I guess my like my military stripes, like my training ground in terms of like hands on exposure into what it is really like to build a small business from the ground up. And I know I'm going to age myself here, but we were in like a pretty serious.
Recession back then. So it was like seeing how, like seeing what was possible in a time when I very naively, I guess I didn't realise kind of how challenging things really were for that business and then helping build it and that kind of thing. Um, and ever since then, I have been the woman behind the woman, um, from most of my career and it is a place that I.
Really could add a lot of value and support. I didn't necessarily want to be front and centre all the time. Like I just didn't want to be that person. I was happy for the founder to be front and centre. And I just kind of took care of everything else behind the scenes. So I've been doing it for a long time.
Jaimie: Yeah, I love it. And you've got a background in the media. I mean, I was a journalist for for over 10 years myself. How important do you think having that background is in being able to help? Well, you've gone from building startups from being really, as I said in the intro, solo entities to now massive global brands.
How much of the media background has helped with that?
Michelle: Oh, enormously. So look, I, I think, and again, you know, I, I, I refer to those sort of like the military stripes, I think particularly with media, um, we all know, you know, anyone that has worked in that space, how, how. You constantly have to be pulling your big girl pants on like on a daily basis.
It is very cutthroat. No one wants to know you unless you have got like the next big thing. Right. So I worked in television programming, like the distribution of. TV programs. And, you know, I was competing with like huge, big studios, um, internationally. And, um, the, the founder that I first worked for, she had come from a huge organisation and then decided to go out on her own.
And the shock of like, no one was interested in hearing from her anymore because she didn't have all the big sexy shows and all of that sort of thing. So being able to like, Be scrappy and look for workarounds and, um, you know, look for sort of like, I call it like the backdoor, the, the, the, the, the backdoor entry, the entry down the rear lane of like how to get to people.
And so it really stretched like, um, my, my like my sales skills, my logistics skills as well, like doing stuff on the smell of an oily rag. Um, so it has absolutely helped me now as I run my own business, having experience. In that sort of an environment,
Jaimie: I mean, I guess there would be so many changes, though, from when you were working in the media, which I assume was pre social media to what a marketing campaign and advice you give someone now for boosting their business.
Have you kind of just rolled with the punches when it comes to technology changes and all that sort of thing, or do a lot of the same principles apply nowadays is what they did?
Michelle: Back when you first started, you know what, Jaimie, like I sound like a dinosaur, but yes, that is absolutely true. Like the technology is fantastic and it's sped up the way that we do, like sped up that, you know, the way that we do things, timelines.
I mean, you know, you're talking to a girl who used to sell, send out, um, programs on videotape, right? And now it's like, you can, you know, this was pre even, I mean, as. You know, the longer I was in the industry, then we were able to send like links to video online and that sort of thing. But when I started it was tape, but the, but the process, like the actual, I guess, the, the, the, like the customer experience and all of that kind of thing.
Like those sorts of things. Don't change. It's just that we bolt in technology throughout that process to make it easier and make things slicker and, you know, make the optics better than the, yeah, the, the photocopied. One sheet that we, you know, that might've been done in PowerPoint or something like that, but that was all, you know, we, we didn't know any better and we didn't have anything like Canva, for example, to, to pull all that sort of stuff together like we do now.
Jaimie: Yeah, how good is Canva? So was that Binta tapes or VHS tapes? When you talk about these.
Michelle: No, they were, they were VHS tapes.
Jaimie: I don't even know that because I'm, I'm 41 soon. Um, and, uh, we used to have beta tapes. They were always better quality than VHS. Yeah. I'm sure my age now. I mean, talking about technology, um, as an online business owner in particular, but even any business owner, we have the opportunity, a fantastic opportunity to take advantage of technology and being able to outsource.
Delegate, create incredible systems where software is doing the work for us rather than us having to everything from email scheduling to scheduling your social media posts, all that sort of thing. And when you were giving, when you gave me a list of topics that you specialise in, there are so many everything from.
Stepping into your superpower to supercharging your time to transform your life. But the 1 that really stood out for me was 5 step reset by delegating and outsourcing. Um, you know, tell me about that. And how do we do it? Because I have struggled to outsource and I've particularly struggled to delegate being a micromanager. What's the secret there?
Michelle: Oh, Jaimie, look, you are not alone. It is a common issue that I see with, um, with business owners. And I'm going to also hand hold my hand up here. Like, I am, I am a control freak. Like, I, I am used to being the one who is You know, making everything happen. Um, so as a business owner myself, it was a big challenge for me even to, um, yeah, just sort of take my paws off things.
But I do see this a lot with women who are, you know, who have sort of come through that initial startup stage of their business and they are getting to a point where they are. Missing out on opportunities because they are so busy doing absolutely everything themselves. Now, we are all incredibly capable men and women.
We can do all sorts of things. I mean, you can Google anything right and teach yourself, but. It doesn't mean that that is what you should be doing. And as a business owner, your ultimate value to your business is you working in your superpower, working on tasks that are going to deliver. You know, revenue into your business, for example, and if you are spending 5 hours resizing images in Canva, that is 5 hours of revenue generating time that you're missing out on.
Delivering. So it's really important as people and look, I want to preempt this by saying in those early days, we are scrappy. We are doing everything ourselves because, you know, unless there's a pot of gold that you are starting with, a lot of business owners are just doing whatever they can to bring the money in the door and they're, you know, rolling up their sleeves and doing absolutely everything because they don't have the Thank you.
The budget necessarily to outsource or delegate to anyone, but I will always advise people to start doing that as soon as they possibly can, even before they're ready, because what. Doing that, what delegating to other people does is that it opens up space for you to do that work that is in your zone of genius.
That's the revenue generating activity. And the longer you spend in the weeds, uh, the, the likelihood of you just burning out increases. And that is usually at the point when women come into my world because they have been doing it all themselves. They've fallen out of love with their businesses, they have probably missed out on some massive opportunity, um, their family probably haven't seen them for months on end and, um, and, you know, I'm not saying don't, you know, none of that is like, I mean, we don't want to live like that, but also we also need to work hard, um, but we don't need to be doing everything ourselves.
We can, but we don't have to, and we shouldn't because our business will not grow because you are only one, you and I, we're but one woman. Yeah.
Jaimie: Yeah. Absolutely. Guilty as charged. A lot of those things. Um, so I guess speaking of starting, what is the first thing that you recommend we outsource?
Michelle: Uh, I recommend you first, I think the first step really is to actually.
Just stop and identify what it is that you are doing in your business. But more importantly, like, what are the tasks that are in your zone of genius that only you can do in your business? So I encourage my clients to do like a time task. Tracking audit so that they, you know, are identifying where all the time is going in, in their lives.
And I encourage them to look at business and life because as a business owner, the first thing that you might outsource is cleaning your house. Or it could be getting someone in to pick the kids up from school of an afternoon so that you can work until five o'clock, for example. Um, or it could be, you know, if, um, finance is like just causing your brain to fry.
And that's often where I see people going first is to like some kind of finance or bookkeeping situation, because that is one of those things that. Like, no matter what we have to take care of as business owners, you know, things like sexy, you know, social media posts and all of that sort of thing. Like, you know, the tax department aren't going to come and shut the doors on your business if you're not doing that, whereas the compliance and that sort of thing.
So it's really the tasks that are not in your zone of genius that cause you pain and do not, you know, do not. Give you joy. I mean, a lot of things that we do in our business can cause us pain, but it's identifying what those ones are that are really sucking up your time. Um, and also where there is like, I particularly in those early stages, it's looking at that.
Okay. If I were to pay someone else. Say, um, like, for example, let's just pick a bookkeeper at a hundred dollars an hour to do my invoicing for me or to do my baths once a quarter. Um, it's going to take that bookkeeper, like probably a quarter of the amount of time that it is going to take you. And if you look at your charge out rates to, you know, for you to do your job, um, whatever that difference is like, that's the opportunity.
Cost there. If you're, you know, whereas you could actually claw back time and money by outsourcing to an expert.
Jaimie: Absolutely. I've outsourced my bookkeeping. Best thing I ever did. What about emails? This is like me asking a. Free advice here because my emails are a mess. I don't get back to people and it's not just the emails, right?
In this day and age, I've got messages coming through on LinkedIn, through my website, uh, through Instagram, through Facebook messenger, um, and then my emails. I've got. Emails just amongst all the spam, which newsletters I'm a part of and want to subscribe to. Do you recommend outsourcing your emails? I'm very protective of it because of privacy and all that sort of thing.
And if you do outsource it, how do you do it? Do you get someone to reply on your behalf? I'd love to know the secret
Michelle: there. Yeah. Inbox management is a really, like, it's one of those things that. Is once it's done properly, it is the most liberating thing in the world. And you know what I will say in terms of like truly stepping into that CEO role, having a gatekeeper like that is like, it's just.
It is such a game changer and, but I will, you know, going back to what I said, it's like, if done properly, because there is, I have seen this done, like, disastrously, because the founder has simply just gone, I need someone to manage my inbox. Here's my inbox off you go. And that person who. You know, it does not know anything about your business, does not know anything about what your priorities are, does not know anything about what the goals and objectives and all of that are of the business is just going to kind of go into freefall or just do it the way that they think that they should do it.
And this is where it comes back to having someone who is an expert who is going to manage you, who's going to manage up, um, who will ask those questions. Um, but it's also. I will always advise like the business owner to come up with their, it's like the blueprint of how they want their, their inbox dealt with.
So, you know, who are the VIPs that, that, that, you know, what is that sort of triage system in terms of, you know, what, what does dealt with. Look like, and that's going to be different, depending on, you know, how your business runs, um, you know, like, for example, with you, Jaimie, it's, it's like, you know, what is that sort of expectation in terms of customer service delivery to the people that are in your groups and your programs and that kind of thing.
And I do believe that a lot of that you're probably, you will find like the longer that you're doing things, there's, there's going to be like. Sounds awful, but like a rinse and repeat, like you're going to be answering the same questions. Where's my login? How do I, you know, um, I need to update my credit card details or what time's the next masterclass?
Like those sorts of questions do not need to be answered by. You, it's lovely that people have a direct line to you, but, and this is all about, it's all about how you present it as well to your customers and your community, you know, this person is your, like your wing woman or wing man, like they're going to be your right hand and it's how you integrate them into your business.
That's what will set you up for success.
Jaimie: So if you get someone in, especially to do your inbox management, would you suggest, and as you said, every business is different, but something along the lines of meeting with them once a day to go through the previous day, or that if you met them in the afternoon to go through the day's emails to tell them to answer questions on a daily basis, what is the ideal situation?
Michelle: Yeah, so in turn, when you bring anyone into your business to do anything, whether it's an admin support person, customer services, finance, anything like that, um, there's a bit of a flow in terms of like, like communication, essentially, because when anyone's brand new, there's a lot more hand holding and a lot more, you know, For want of a better word, micromanaging, like that you need to, it's that kind of reassurance, like, you know, this is what to do, go and do it.
Have you got it checking in that constant communication? So yeah, on like with it over the first few weeks, it might be a daily check in, but then what you want, and this is, this is sort of the ideal that we're all working to, is that it's not. A daily check in that someone is going to really get to know you well enough and what your expectations are and what, again, what done looks like in their role and can take the reins so that they're not, so it, and, and you might not meet with them once a day.
It might be, I don't know. An email summary. It could be, you could have a Slack channel together. Um, I've got clients that like, you know, WhatsApp each other. Like everyone does something different, but it's like, how can you, it's almost like weaning you off that particular task in your business. Um. It's like, you know, when we're weaning our babies, like you don't just do it one night and go, that's it.
Like not, you're not getting fed anymore. Um, it takes, it, it, everyone needs to get used to it. And that's where I see things, yeah, sort of come undone is when that's not managed well.
Jaimie: Yeah, okay. I need to try that for sure. So for us, micromanagers, I heard something the other day. Someone was telling me how they've had a hard lesson as many of us do when it comes to easing back and letting someone else take the reins.
And I traditionally have been very task focused with say, my VA, task, task, task, micromanage, micromanage. But then someone gave me advice recently and said, you need to give them ownership. So, for example, my VA in the last couple of weeks, I've said to her, you take care of writing the blogs, um, putting the blogs up and, you know, she's got all my content, all my words from my other blogs that I've written and podcast episodes.
I've recorded, you take control of the blog writing and uploading, you take control of the carousel creations with Canva. And the thing is, someone said to me, if you're then saying, hey, send them to me before you actually publish them, you're taking ownership away and they might give it to you. 70% and then you make it 90% and give it back.
What happens then is next time they'll go, Oh, I'm just going to give it to her at 60, 70% because she's going to make changes anyway. And so they're not having full ownership and doing their best work. So how do you let go of something like that when you think, Oh, they're producing it at 70% and I could make it better.
We can always make it better. Right. As the biggest owner. What's your advice around that in, in sort of just letting go?
Michelle: Yeah, it is. It is. It is really difficult. I'm not going to lie. Like it is hard, but I think it comes down to, um, done is better than perfect. Right. And in many there is, and it's looking at your business and where can.
done be okay. And what is, you know, so what are your clients paying you for that, you know, only you can do again, coming back to the Jaimie only stuff in the business and then all the other things it's like you have, and it's also comes down to having the right person doing those tasks. So I'm a huge advocate of experts.
over amateurs. Um, but you also want volunteers, not recruits, right? Which means you want people that want to be doing this stuff, that have a passion for it, that have a genuine interest in it, that are like fantastic, like give me all your content. And like, it's like almost like that hoarding, like give it to me and let me run with it.
Because what you're also doing Jaimie, like you're not letting them do their job and it's disempowering. Right. Let's imagine if someone wasn't letting you be Jaimie, like you'd be like, get stuffed and you wouldn't do a great job for them. So I think, you know, they are human beings and, um, but it is, it is difficult to let go of the reins, but that is where seeking clarification, getting proof, um, giving them the rope.
To, you know, not necessarily, you don't want them to hang themselves with the rope, but it's like you, you need them to be able to deliver and then feedback. And obviously you're not going to give them, you know, the most high profile, high viz thing in the business right from the outset. Like, you know, and, and a lot of people, particularly with content, they'll give them a trial run or as part of the interview process, it's like, okay, here's three things, you know, I'm just giving you, you know, a bit of advice here.
It's like, you know, here's, here's, here's a podcast of mine, um, uh, turn it into a blog post and five, um, social media posts and give them like a bit of an experiment and see what they come back with to, to establish. Their level of expertise from the outset. I love that.
Jaimie: So five step reset by delegating and outsourcing, Michelle, what are the five steps?
Michelle: So the first thing is to get crystal clear, crystal clear on what it is that you need help with in your business. That is like, you know, the most important thing, because, um, Often when, and that's why I'm saying like doing that time task tracking exercise is really, really important. Um, then it is about establishing exactly, um, what it is that you can, uh, you know, for want of a better word, afford in your business as well.
So looking at the budget, looking at talking about that opportunity cost. Okay. So it's like, what would, if I had, so, you know, you. Do your time task tracking audit. You see, you've got eight, eight, um, hours that you're spending on these time sucky things that you could get someone in. So there's, you know, there's sort of eight hours of revenue, hypothetically.
Right. Um. What could you pay this person? Um, then it is about formulating a really, really clear job description because so often we just slap a title on things and send it out into the universe. And, um, we attract like, All sorts of people, right? So what you want to be doing is getting crystal clear on what that role is, um, so that you are not wasting your time looking for, you know, square pegs to go into round holes, because that's where all these pain points that you were talking about, um, the, you know, the disaster zones and the, you know, messing up the The blogs and all of that sort of thing.
That's where that happens because you're looking for the wrong person. Um, the next step is to tell everyone that you know what you are looking for, because I have a bit of a theory in that you are probably two degrees of separation away from your perfect hire. So really tapping into your network of connections.
Who do you know that's got like a really awesome person. You and I were talking about someone that, you know, where there's like a, um, like a share situation. And I don't know how that came about, but it's like, well, who had that person first? Um, you know, if there's someone in your world that you, you see is like, okay, they're really kicking goals. Who have you got supporting you? What are they doing for you?
Like having those conversations and being aware of who's who in the zoo. Um, but you don't need to be, you know, running ads on seek and getting applications from every single person on a working holiday visa who thinks that, Oh, Jaimie's got a PR business. It's sexy. And you know, I'm going to have like, like that's because we know, um, and so that's number four.
And then number five is obviously something that I touched on earlier, which is how, it's how you bring them into your world. That onboarding that is so, so important and, um, ultimately getting out of their way and letting them do their job.That is the key. Once you've done all those steps in terms of bringing them, getting that right person, I've seen so many people fall short at this final hurdle, um, where. And we talked about the micromanaging, but it's where they don't get out of the way. They don't let them do their job. It's and it's, it's a recipe for disaster. And, um, you've essentially wasted all that time and energy. So you need to, yeah, on board and let them do their job.
Jaimie: Yeah. I love that. Gosh, such great advice, Michelle, if people want to work with you, so you, how do you work? Do you just sort of, um, look at people's business with, you know, an objective point of view and give them advice or do you do a program?
Yeah. How do you work?
Michelle: Yeah, so my, the support that I provide is really tailored to each individual business owner, but it's very much focused around, um, the structure of their business. Like who, who. Is currently in the business, who's supporting them, um, what, who would be, you know, the right person, the right resources and that kind of thing.
So it's structure systems, resources, it's organisation. Um, it's essentially the operate like supporting on that operational front. And, um, I do that. Yeah. You know, one on one capacity.
Jaimie: Yeah, it's great. So we'll put the link to your website in the show notes. But just to clarify, people do want to work within that one on one capacity.
Do you sort of have like an onboarding thing when they give you all their systems and who their team are? Or do you just kind of sit down with them and go in cold and ask those questions?
Michelle: I go in cold. So we do a big, I do a big deep dive and get properly underneath the skin of their business and look at what's working, what's not, establishing what their goals are.
And we make a plan together to actually get there and then it's bolting in all the things that are perhaps missing, um, or dialling up the things that are already there. And the thing is, I think, you know, I want to reassure people that a lot of people are in better shape than they think that they are when it's just that they might.
They don't see what they don't see because they're, they're the only ones looking inside their business. So I'm like that second brain that goes into the business on the operational side of things and, um, yeah, just identify what those opportunities are for them, help remove the roadblocks and get them moving forward and falling back in love with their business.
Jaimie: Oh, I love that. I'm sure there is. So much demand for what you do. If you want to know more about Michelle's services, check out in our show notes are the link to Michelle's website. Michelle Broadbent, thank you so much for coming on to Pitch Perfect.
Michelle: Thanks so much for having me, Jaimie.