Tune in to this episode of Bright Minds of eCommerce as I speak with Business Coach Kristy Robinson. Kirsty shares her journey, valuable lessons, and practical tips for success. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to learn from her experiences and discover how you can embrace change, implement systems, and find the support you need to achieve your business goals. If you’re a business owner or an aspiring entrepreneur looking to navigate the challenges of growth and build a thriving business? This episode’s for you!
In today’s episode you’ll learn:
- The importance of embracing change and challenges, seeing them as opportunities for growth
- How having a strong network can positively impact your business and personal growth
- Insights on how systems and automation can streamline processes, increase efficiency, and ultimately lead to a more productive and thriving business
- How delegation can empower teams, foster innovation, and prevent burnout
- Techniques for managing overwhelm, practical tips for prioritising tasks, practising self-care, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance
- And much more!
[00:00:00] Kristy Robinson: I think overwhelm is something that most business owners encounter from one time or another, especially so for business owners who are in the messy middle. So for business owners who are feeling that sense of overwhelm, I really do think that firstly, mindfulness is going to definitely help you and the second part is to have some support in your business, this is where I come in with my clients, as a coach, I hold space for my clients.
[00:00:27] Dahna Borg: Hi, and welcome to the Bright Minds of eCommerce podcast. I’m Dahna founder of Bright Red Marketing and after helping so many businesses in the e-commerce space over the years, I wanted to bring you the best advice from Australia and experts in e-commerce and e-commerce store owners. If you want to relatable stories and actionable advice and the latest Facebook advertising strategies, you’re in the right place. Want help with your Facebook and Instagram ads. Remember you can always book in a free strategy session at brightredmarketing.com.au forward slash free dash strategy dash session will run through your ads. See [00:01:00] what’s working and what’s not. And no sales pitch. I promise. So let’s get into today’s episode. On today’s episode, we’re joined by Kristy Robinson. Welcome, Kristy.
[00:01:09] Kristy Robinson: Thanks, Donna. I’m so excited to be here.
[00:01:11] Dahna Borg: So good to have you. So tell us a little bit about yourself and how your business came to be.
[00:01:16] Kristy Robinson: Yes, so my business journey started in 2010, so about 12 years ago now. I left a 10 year long career in corporate and started my small business journey with a providore based in Sydney. And so I left a very stable career, started my business, and I was very excited about this process. However, just after I signed the lease, I found out I was pregnant with baby number one, which was both exciting but also very daunting. And I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it work, but we pressed on anyway over the next. Few years of having that business, lots of trials and tribulations. But what I came to realize was how intense it was and how lonely this journey [00:02:00] became. It was such an in an incredible experience. But at the same token, throughout this period, I found myself feeling underneath my business and I didn’t know where to look to find the answers. And back then there was very little support and resources for business owners, let alone female business owners. And so a few years down the track, I found myself after many sleepless nights coming to the decision of what do I do next? And we knew at that point that we wanted to have another child, and I knew. Also at that point that I didn’t wanna bring another life into this high octane, very stressful situation, so I made the decision to sell the business. Which was a difficult decision. So if anyone’s ever sold a business before, there’s a lot of sense of failure wrapped up in that. And so it took me a long time to unpack the decision to do it, but in hindsight now, obviously many years on, I know that it was absolutely the right decision for me. In the seven or so years in between my two businesses, I worked further on my skillset [00:03:00] working my way from sales consultant all the way up to state leadership level, and I became obsessed with coaching. Like I’m talking obsessed. I would spend all my time learning about leadership and coaching, and I knew that that is exactly how. I could support other business owners with their businesses knowing that all the things that I had experienced to that point, I knew that I could pour that into a business. And so when we moved from Sydney to Brisbane, I knew that this was it. This was the time I’d written the business plan a couple of years prior. And so I launched my business. But Dahna, like with many business owners, I struggled with imposter syndrome and serious fear of failure. And so I launched the business with more of a done for you element rather than coaching. However, six months down the track, I realized that really wasn’t the right fit and I needed to own my strength and my power. And so ever since then I’ve been coaching small business owners who are in the messy middle to work through their [00:04:00] challenges so that they can grow their business sustainably.
[00:04:02] Dahna Borg: I love that. And I think that’s so relatable for a lot of people, which I think is always helpful. It’s a good story. You mentioned a couple of things in there that I wanna touch on. You said, About the sense of community. Is there anything you recommend for business owners that are in that space where they do feel really alone?
[00:04:18] Kristy Robinson: Oh, look, there’s a lot of things you can do. I mean, back when I had my first business, Instagram was. Not even launched. When I launched my first business, there was no Facebook groups. There was no online community. I think back then the only thing that was available to me was going to business chicks. And even that was still, you know, you’re only networking with the people around you. But I would suggest with anyone who is out there running a business, doing it alone, you absolutely need people around you. So whether that is in person, and now that we’re coming out the other side of the pandemic, and of course it’s going to be around for some time now, but getting out of. Our shell. I think that we feel like we are connected to the world because we’re behind screens, but I think being in front of [00:05:00] people is the best way to build relationships. And then also online, of course. But I do think that if you haven’t been out networking, that’s a really great place to start. And of course you can’t go past having a mentor or a coach.
[00:05:13] Dahna Borg: Yeah. I love that. I think it’s been a really hard thing for me personally because in Covid I have worked from home, I’ve always worked from home. I never had that sort of work colleague relationships. And then Covid hit and all of a sudden all my social stuff went down the drain. So for me personally, I’ve actively tried to join masterminds and groups and things that. In Covid, we’re doing Zoom calls, but now we do lunches, and I think that’s made such a big difference for me as well.
[00:05:39] Kristy Robinson: Yeah, I think that we get too comfortable behind our screens, and I know I’ve been guilty of that and because of the pandemic, I think that many people suffer from a little bit of social anxiety and a little bit of awkwardness because we haven’t really been doing as much of that over the past couple of years. But absolutely, to your point, getting in front of people having lunch. [00:06:00] Connecting with people in real life, that’s where you’re gonna get serotonin as well. You’re gonna feel really good after an experience like that, and you’re going to fast track relationships in person than what you would online too.
[00:06:10] Dahna Borg: Yeah, totally agree. So I know something that you really focus on is systems. So can you give us a bit of an idea of why the systems are so important, especially for an e-commerce business?
[00:06:20] Kristy Robinson: The thing about systems is that systems are a way of being able to get from A to B in the most effective way. And I think that when you don’t have systems in place in your business, you end up. Doing the same things over and over and over again. And if you are touching and doing all the things that could be streamlined or automated, then that is a sunk cost in terms of time. And let’s face it, our greatest resource as a business owner is time. And if you are was wasting time, then that’s gonna detract from really important aspects of your business. Perhaps income generating aspects or growth tasks that are gonna take your business to the next level. So in my [00:07:00] view, systems are imperative, but also it safeguards your business, Dahna. So if you are the only person that knows what to do or how to do and all locked up in your brain, then you are unable to get support in your business, which, There will come a point in your business, in your eComm business, where you will need to get extra support. And if you have all of that in your brain and not documented, then that’s gonna be really hard to bring someone else into the business. And it’s gonna be much more time intensive because you’re going to have to take it out, put it down into a system.
[00:07:34] Dahna Borg: Yeah, I think that’s so true. I think a lot of e-commerce businesses, especially when they’re starting out, obviously they’re doing everything themselves. And then it gets to the point where they’re ready to hire someone, and that becomes an absolute mission because. Literally everything is in their head and it’s really hard to get out. So I think that’s great in terms of even doing that when it’s just you, even if it’s just like really simple systems. But just sort of getting a bit more streamlined and organized so that when you do [00:08:00] get to that point of growing and hiring it’s not such a mission.
[00:08:04] Kristy Robinson: And here’s the thing, I think you are absolutely right in that sense. Do it now because when your business grows, growth can happen really rapid. And if you are not prepared for that, then there’s going to be a whole knock on effect inside your business if you don’t have those systems in place so that you can bring the right people into the business or be able to bring in a new tool to be able to support you.
[00:08:27] Dahna Borg: Do you have any favorite systems you like to implement for businesses? Not necessarily software, but particular processes and systems that you find really helpful for most businesses.
[00:08:36] Kristy Robinson: Well, I think starting with what are the repeatable tasks in your business? What are things that get done all the time? So that can range from your marketing right through to your distribution, how you’re handling your clients and so forth. So having standard operating procedures. Is important for every business. And so even just starting there, and then from there, you’ll be able to get a good gauge [00:09:00] on what sort of tool you might need to implement in your business to be able to support that with automations and and so forth.
[00:09:06] Dahna Borg: Yeah, lovely. I know a lot of people get really sort of overwhelmed with automations. Do you have any sort of tips for people dealing with that overwhelm?
[00:09:17] Kristy Robinson: Yeah, well look, I think automation can sound like such a big piece of work, but I think if you’ve got the standard operating procedures in place, so if you’ve got the process, that’s what we’re talking about here is a process essentially. So these are the step-by-step processes that we take from doing task A for instance, and. If you’ve got that documented, then putting that into an automation is going to be so much easier. But the problem is, is that what a lot of business owners do is they start with the automation and then they’re like, oh, I better think of a process. I better take that outta my head. But they’re not thinking about, well, what’s the process that I want moving forward? And so if you’ve got those standard operating procedures, for instance, it does make it easier. So that’s the first thing. The second thing is, is that you can start small. You don’t need to automate. Your entire business from the get go, you can start with simple things that become a bit of a time choke hold for you and start with that. Once you’ve nailed that, move on to the next thing.
[00:10:14] Dahna Borg: I think that’s really good and also good advice for me who’s in the process of automating things.
[00:10:19] Kristy Robinson: I love that.
[00:10:20] Dahna Borg: You said something before as well in terms of, when you start outsourcing and, hiring people, I know a lot of people have problems and challenges around sort of letting go and letting other people take over tasks and things. Do you have any recommendations or tips for people in that sort of situation?
[00:10:36] Kristy Robinson: Oh, you’re on the money. I think a lot of people really struggle with letting go of control, especially because to your point, what you mentioned before was that as business owners, we do all the things. And so handing that over to someone else feels like, well, are they gonna do as good a job as you? But I think my question to you is is this the best use of your time? You have to be coming back to what is the best use of my time? And if my time is spent in my emails responding to inquiries, when I could be thinking about, what does this next product launch look like? Or, how can I refine this product over here? And you’ve almost got to think about it in the sense of, well, yes, I can do that, and, maybe I can do that really well. But I can actually spend my time more effectively in other areas of my business. So that’s the first thing. The second thing is you need to get the right fit in your business and not just, thinking, okay, well I need to get a va, and the VA can do everything. And that’s, I think that’s what a lot of people do is they, their first resources, a va and expecting the VA to be able to do absolutely everything, whereas you’re probably. You are probably better off with two VAs one VA that helps you with the tech side of your business and one that might help you with the client journey or the customer service and things like that. So really thinking about getting the right resources in for the right tasks and not trying to get one resource in to do all things because you’ve been able to do all things. [00:12:00] It’s very different as a business owner to be able to do that versus someone who’s coming into someone else’s business.
[00:12:04] Dahna Borg: Yes, and I feel like people don’t pay enough for someone to be able to do all the things.
[00:12:09] Kristy Robinson: Oh, totally. But also you’re not getting the best resource for your business either, because you know you don’t want a jack of all trades. You want a specialist to help you with aspects of your business, and that’s where you are gonna get the best results.
[00:12:20] Dahna Borg: Yeah, I totally agree. I just find it funny when someone’s like, I want my first VA and I want them to be able to do customer service marketing and my web tech and my emails, and I’m like, those are four very specialized roles.
[00:12:31] Kristy Robinson: A hundred percent.
[00:12:32] Dahna Borg: So we touched on a couple of things that would help with this, but I know it’s something that you work with. Are there any recommendations for business owners feeling very overwhelmed by their business as a whole?
[00:12:42] Kristy Robinson: I think overwhelm is something that most business owners encounter from one time or another, especially so for business owners who are in the messy middle. Messy middle, as I describe it, is coming out of that startup stage and your business is really growing at this point. And so to this point, most business owners have been doing all the things themselves and it’s worked right, but then when you get to this point in your business, you’ve got volume on top of that. You don’t have the same amount of time to be able to deliver on. All the things in your business. And what ultimately ends up happening is that there becomes these stress points that create additional overwhelm for the business owner. So let’s say for example, you’ve got all of these sales and you don’t have the time to be able to fulfil those sales or deliver on those sales, or maybe you don’t have enough stock. And so that creates. Enormous amount of pressure for the business owner in addition to the responsibility of running a business, of growing a business of all of the things. So for business owners who are feeling that sense of overwhelm, I really do think that, firstly, mindfulness is going to definitely help you and t having some sort of mindfulness practice, whether that is going for a walk, listening to some calm music in the forest or in a reserve. That’s what I do. Or whether it’s journaling or whether it’s. Just whatever that might look like for you. So I think that some sort of mindfulness exercise is essential. he second part that I would say is to have some support in your business, and this is where I come in with my clients, is that as a coach, I hold space for my clients. I hold space for them to be able to come. Bring their challenges, help them work through their challenges so that they can move forward. And it might seem like a big investment, hiring a coach or a mentor or whatever that might look like for your business. But if you are constantly feeling overwhelmed and reactive in your business, then that’s actually going to limit your growth and it’s also going to ultimately lead to burnout. So I think having someone in your business supporting you, the business owner is essential.
[00:14:50] Dahna Borg: I think something a lot of people can take note from and whether, maybe a business coach is outta their budget at the moment, but you can find mentors. [00:15:00] Masterminds, memberships and those sorts of things that give you a little bit of that while you get to that point.
[00:15:04] Kristy Robinson: Absolutely. And the other thing is, group coaching as well is really great for that because some people might not be able to hire a one-to-one coach, but having group being in a group setting or as you said, a mastermind, just being around other people that are in the same sort of situation, there’s some comfort in knowing you are not alone and that there are other people in a similar situation to you.
[00:15:25] Dahna Borg: Totally agree. What are some of the core areas you think business owners need to focus on if they want to start scaling and growing?
[00:15:32] Kristy Robinson: Well, the first thing is can you handle the growth? So to our point, question. so to our point before is that if your business isn’t set up for volume, then that’s the first thing you need to do because Happy customers they may not be that loud, but they’re great. But if you have unhappy customers, they are loud. And that can be detrimental to your business to scale too quickly. And I can think of a brand. A clothing brand. I won’t say what type of clothing it is. And they were doing really well, putting in all these Facebook ads, and I remember ordering a piece of clothing from them and it took three months for it to be
[00:16:13] Dahna Borg: What.
[00:16:14] Kristy Robinson: Now, bear in mind, Dahna, this was probably five years ago now that this happened, and I still remember and I still look at their Facebook ads to this day and think about that experience, right?
[00:16:26] Dahna Borg: As you would.
[00:16:27] Kristy Robinson: As you would, but I mean, they’re killing it. They’re doing so well. But I think about it and I think about how it would’ve been so much better to make sure that you’ve got either production set up, you’ve got the product ready to go before you are putting on Facebook ads. I think often, there’s this pressure to just go big and then apologize later if it goes wrong. But I do think that you also need to protect your brand because customers have long memories. As an example of what I just said before, I’m very aware of what it’s like to be a business owner and I’m very aware of the issues and I have no [00:17:00] judgment, so please don’t think I’m judging this brand. But I also think that those are things that last in people’s memory. So, If you’re thinking it’s time to scale, make sure that your business is ready to scale and can handle volume of clients.
[00:17:12] Dahna Borg: You mentioned it briefly before, but when does someone know it’s a good time to hire a business coach, to hire that sort of help?
[00:17:21] Kristy Robinson: I think everybody’s different, but I think that if you are finding yourself looping on the same sorts of challenges, mindset issues, that you are unable to take action. I think that sometimes we, we know that. We wanna get to this point. And we know that this is our goal, but our actions are not congruent with that. And we’re often keeping ourselves stuck by doing the opposite of what we need to be doing. If that’s essentially what we’re talking about here is self-sabotage. And if you are in that place where you’re just not able to take the actions or you just don’t know what to do, then hiring a business coach is really gonna help you. And I wanna caveat, every business coach is [00:18:00] different, but my philosophy is in alignment with true coaching philosophy in that you, Dahna, are the expert of your business. Me, Kristy I’m the expert of my business and our role as a coach or a business coach is to ask you the right questions so that you know where to look. And that’s half the battle when you are in the story. When you are in your own business, you don’t even know where to look because there’s so many things that are vying for your attention. But a business coach will help. Take you out of the heat, take you out of the situation and go, Hey, what’s going on over here? And then that will get you thinking about, Hey, what is going on over there? I didn’t even realize that that was happening. And then you can start to make those decisions. But without that external party, it’s really hard to know where to look because there’s so much going on in your business.
[00:18:42] Dahna Borg: It’s so true, like you just need someone to come in and have a look at things from a fresh set of eyeballs and see things that you haven’t been able to see.
[00:18:49] Kristy Robinson: Yeah, absolutely.
[00:18:50] Dahna Borg: So what would be your top three tips for an e-commerce business?
[00:18:54] Kristy Robinson: My top three tips , I would say, firstly, I think we can’t go past. What we’re saying before is [00:19:00] to document what’s going on inside your business. As you said, Dahna even if you are a solo business owner at this point, get that source of truth into. Be it a project management tool or even in a Word document, whatever that looks like for you. The second one I would say is to listen to yourself and to back yourself. There’s a lot of noise out on the internet that’s gonna tell you how to run your business, and there’s a lot of noise about what does a successful business look like? So you’ve gotta trust that instinct. And then the third one is to surround yourself by people that are gonna help you to get to that next level that are gonna support you, but also they’re gonna. Help challenge you as well.
[00:19:38] Dahna Borg: I love that. And I think you have a podcast on doing things differently and not following just what everyone else seems to be doing on the internet. And I really love that philosophy.
[00:19:49] Kristy Robinson: My podcast is Run your Business Like a Boss. My whole foundational piece is around you’re the expert of your business, but I give you tools and guidance into what to look for and a [00:20:00] lot of awareness building. So I believe that with. Any change that needs to occur in your life and in your business. It all starts with awareness. If you are unaware of what the challenge is, if you’re unaware of what’s going on, then you can’t make any changes. So a lot of the content over on my podcast is about bringing about awareness for you so that you can actually make some true changes inside your business.
[00:20:20] Dahna Borg: I love that. Is there anything you think we’ve missed before we wrap up into our last couple of questions?
[00:20:26] Kristy Robinson: I think the one last thing that I would say is that, You are not alone. Business is a rollercoaster. There’s gonna be the highs and there’s gonna be the lows. And I think that that’s what I really struggled with the first time round is feeling alone. And you are not alone. It’s a hard journey. I think that it’s important to know that.
[00:20:45] Dahna Borg: Do you have any strategies, habits that you follow each day to help you stay on track in your business?
[00:20:51] Kristy Robinson: I have a very structured business in the sense that I know exactly where I wanna be and. In the sense that where I wanna be in my business long term, but also where I wanna be in my life. And I think that we didn’t actually touch on this, but if you haven’t built in space to honor your life priorities, that is going to ultimately lead you to burnout. So for me, I have two little kids, an 11 and a half year old, and a eight and a half year old. So I structure my business so that. I’m able to be there for them after school hours, and so that’s all wrapped up in my business model. That’s not why I do my business. Why I do my business is cause I’m so passionate about business owners and I don’t want any business owner to feel like what I felt all those years ago. But I also honor my boundaries and honor my life in what I want my life to look like. It’s very easy as ambitious. People, type A personalities, which is what a lot of business owners are. Let’s face it, to be addicted, to work, to be addicted, to be busy, to be addicted to significance. All [00:22:00] wrapped up in this thing that we do, but that’s not who we are. So you have to make sure that you’re structuring your business in and around. The things that are important inside your life as well. So even just having that in place is probably my number one tool I would say in my armor, so that I have a successful life as well as a successful business.
[00:22:19] Dahna Borg: I love that. I think especially in a world with so much hustle culture, gross it’s so important to focus on life and I think so many business owners get so excited about starting a business that they ignore the fact that they have a life. And I think that’s why having, outsourcing and growing and so that you can do that is so important. So I’m appreciate you touching on that cuz it’s something I’m quite passionate about as well, is that life is important. Like business is great and we love our businesses, but if they’re taking you away from your life, that makes me sad.
[00:22:51] Kristy Robinson: And I think here’s the thing. Women in business it’s like really rallied up in the last sort of six years or so. And if we think about a lot of [00:23:00] men back in the day, they would retire and they would struggle with, well, who am I? Who am I if I’m not working And if you are thinking to yourself, who am I? If I’m not in my business, well then that’s a problem in and of itself. So we need to make sure that yes, our business is important. Yes, we wanna grow our business. And yes, we have this big vision for our business, but life is such a finite, special. Time that we’re walking this earth and you wanna be able to honor that. I think that was probably my biggest lesson when I hit burnout for the second time, was I don’t get a do over. I don’t get a second chance on this earth, and so I’m gonna make this thing the best that I can.
[00:23:36] Dahna Borg: Yeah, we’re in total agreement on that. Do you have a favorite podcast? Feels anti-climactic after that, but we’ll go with it.
[00:23:44] Kristy Robinson: Oh my gosh. I’m an OG podcast. Listen, I’ve been listening to podcasts since around 2013, and I have so many, I listen to a lot of life podcasts as well. Just, on neurotypical as neurodiversity on Frugal Living on Minimalist [00:24:00] Living. I’ve got so many, I can’t pick a favorite. But I also think that if you are only listening to the. Point of what we said before. If you’re only listening to business podcasts, I would encourage you to listen to your favorite business podcast, but also incorporate some lifestyle ones in there too, because that’s also really fun.
[00:24:16] Dahna Borg: Yeah, I agree. Tell us about how people can visit you.
[00:24:19] Kristy Robinson: Well, first and foremost, my podcast is where you’re gonna get the most from me. I’m also on LinkedIn and Instagram, or on my website.
[00:24:27] Dahna Borg: Wonderful. We’ll put all the links in the show notes. Thank you again for joining us. It’s been a pleasure.
[00:24:31] Kristy Robinson: Thanks, Dahna I’ve really appreciated being here.
[00:24:34] Dahna Borg: Thanks for listening to the bright minds of e-commerce podcast. As always you’ll find the show notes at brightredmarketing.com.au. Forward slash episode 44.