So it’s happening! I am currently in the midst of moving (some) furniture down two flights of stairs, and it’s starting to look and feel real!

The fridge arrives on Monday, the second boardroom has tables and chairs ready for our first event, and I’m organising the new internet connection.


is the new name we are using, to quite simply let people know what we do here.

Central Business Associates do also have memberships, collaboration, mentoring and many many other services and benefits within the two spaces, but the main focus of what we offer here is a place to work.
A place to focus on whatever you need to get done, and we will help you be surrounded by others doing the same, to shake off your procrastination!

Procrastinating was exactly where I was myself, around 7 years ago. Working from home, trying to get stuff done, and feeling like I was failing at being a consultant and a small business owner, because I just couldn’t focus and churn the work out.

Since I opened the offices here in Wynnum, I have heard the same successful result from people who finally make the decision to start working here – whether it’s coworking, a part-time office, a full-time office – the same phrase echoes around the walls

I can’t believe how much work I completed today

If you are an existing Member (either Associate or Conduit), you can come and try out the coworking space for only $15 per day.
Conduit Members normally get an offer for a free coworking day once a month (worth more than the annual membership fee!), and then those who want to work #flexibly or ‘whenever suits them’, can have a full-time, 24/7 coworking pass for only $200 per month*!

That’s less than $7 per DAY – whaaaaaaaat?

….one block from the office

Our aim at Central Business Associates, is to provide a way for people in our local community to work flexibly.
What’s the point of having this incredible place in the world to live, if we spend hours of our week sitting in traffic, staring at buildings, or at a windowless wall?

Why do that to ourselves when we could be looking out at the ocean in our beautiful Bayside, enjoying a lunchtime stroll to the waters edge, or later in the day, watching the sun set over the sea?

If you are tired of missing out on the lifestyle you deserve, maybe it’s time to find out if #WorkWynnum is the place for you! Come and have a look round, see if one of the seats or offices is the right fit for you.



*Full-time coworking pass requires a 6 month commitment, and passes/desks are limited. Non-members can enjoy coworking for only $20 per day.


And then there were two….!

I am absolutely delighted to announce that Central Business Associates is soon to be launching Phase 2!

The growth in this business community we have created within the centre has been beyond my expectations, and it was time for some new opportunities – to really complete the #flexiblespace options in our beautiful Bayside.
Of course, it wouldn’t be complete without those #oceanviews, so we went BIGGER, and will now also have a huge #boardroom/ #workshop/ #eventspace for you to use, with the same spectacular windows facing Waterfront Wynnum/Manly (just very slightly lower down in the same iconic building!)

Our #coworking prices have been refreshed to offer our community huge value, at
– only $15 a day for members, or
– only $200 p/mnth for 24/7 access (min 6 month commitment)

There will be more
– private office spaces,
– lots more coworking desks, and another
– breakout lunch space (we do encourage you to leave your desk occasionally!)


We will be refreshing the website, to offer easier booking options, but you can still see more pricing and details here.

More news as it develops, but if you have been thinking about moving out of the home office, or if it’s time to hire staff and you need a space to all work from, get in touch, as there are a few already on my waiting list – we are so excited to be able to welcome more members into the community – will you be joining us?

What is your purpose? What is your ‘Why’?

Why are we here? What is the meaning of life?


Jeez, got any harder questions for me, small business world / other parents / family / world in general?

If, like me – you are exhausted with being asked all these things, and you are weary of reading articles on how to be a small business owner, or an entrepreneur, or a parent, or a good human being – welcome to my world of ‘no judgement’!
I welcome you into my like-minded little cocoon, where no-one is going to ask you to fill out a form to say what are the 3 things you are most passionate about, or your strengths and weaknesses, or your purpose, or your ‘Ikagai(Japanese concept – ‘reason for being’.)

Welcome to quiet.

Just breathe.

I’ll put the kettle on and make us a cup of tea. (just black tea here, no herbal, green, not even peppermint or an Earl Grey in sight!)

Welcome to warmth, and fluffy clouds, and mindfulness….. (WHAT, wait a minute?!)

No, but seriously – it all gets too much sometimes doesn’t it? The expectation we put on ourselves to know it all. To have life figured out, to be ‘the best you’, to have everything organised – to have your s**t together basically.

Well, I’m here to say I don’t agree. (sucks in breath like a mechanic looking at your car…) – a bit controversial Celia – I’m interested to see where you’re going with this…

Can we all please just slow down?


Accept that we are all very different – we have different things going on in our lives, we have different strengths and weaknesses, and therefore – we CANNOT BE ALL THINGS TO ALL PEOPLE, and WE ARE NOT DESIGNED TO BE PERFECT.

My idea of perfect is different to your idea of perfect anyway. My perfect day is different to yours. My way to relax is probably different to yours. And that’s all perfectly OK.


So what’s the point of todays rant? It’s a combination of things – it’s my frustration at constantly seeing people around me trying to match up to others expectations, and then being horribly disappointed in themselves when they don’t meet the other persons ‘standards’. It’s then seeing these strong, clever, talented individuals begin to wear themselves down over a period of time, about not being ‘good enough’… And it’s about the fact that we all need to



(now, have that cup of tea I made you earlier – this is essential.)
Now – do you have a place that is your ‘comfort zone’? It might be somewhere you can be on your own (I’m not going to lie – one of mine is the bathroom at home – and even then, the dog sits outside the door with her tail sticking underneath, just to let me know she is there…). Or it might be a networking event that is full of like-minded people who ‘get you’. Maybe it’s even going supermarket shopping (alone!) on autopilot.
Just somewhere that you feel good, or feel comfortable, and you can STOP your brain.
Here’s some more examples of mine: 


at my kids swimming lesson, playing word games on my phone

    • – I feel rested and content (as long as I’m winning..!)
  • at my kids gymnastics class for 90 minutes, reading LinkedIn articles that I’ve saved 6 months ago (ok, more like 2 years ago!)
    • – I feel like I’m learning new things
  • in my shared office space, laughing with the other parents who work from there, about the latest disaster in my life (it feels good to laugh about it afterwards, rather than mull over it).
    • – I put things into perspective, and knowing that others have similar things going on in their lives helps. And sometimes someone has a brilliant solution for me that I hadn’t considered!
  • Out and about in my community, popping into local shops and buying gifts
    • – I feel connected to my community, and good about supporting the local economy

You know what? You need to figure out where your ‘moments’ are, and conserve them, and don’t skip them.

And over time, when you are feeling calm and comfortable, and rested – THEN maybe you can write down some thoughts on what your passions are, and what your purpose in life is, and how you can figure out ways to improve your life.
Take a moment to smell the roses (or the jasmine in my case). But don’t try and do it because you feel you have to, or let others rush you into figuring it all out.
You are YOU, and you have your own greatness – and once you are ready, you can open the door of the cocoon and proudly show it off.
But for now, concentrate on finding the ‘moments’, savouring them, and eventually using them to slowly figure it all out.

Disclaimer: Yes, I did mostly write this about myself, and no, I haven’t got it all figured out yet. But I’m a lot clearer than I was, because I’ve found my moments and used them wisely!






Inspiration and Problem-Solving

One of the biggest challenges for any new business can be Business Development, Sales, Self-promotion – whatever you want to call it…
Add in a big dose of ‘introvert’ and ‘been a stay-at-home-mum for many years‘, and as you can imagine, the challenge just gets bigger!

I absolutely LOVE ♥ what I do – I get to help entrepreneurs, micro and small businesses work through issues they have, or connect them to collaborative opportunities, or find the services they need at a price they can afford – these things are so fulfilling for me, that most of the time, it seriously doesn’t even feel like work.

However – ask me to promote MYself, or MY business – well, that’s just too hard!

But what if we turn it around, and think about what happens if we don’t self-promote? What about all the people who are coming into the world of small business, or coming up with new entrepreneurial ideas – what if all they see is us, hiding ourselves away, not wanting to ‘talk about ourselves’? Hmm, not much inspiration there then… Maybe I shouldn’t bother trying to bring this new product to market – looks too hard – I’ll just shelve it.
BOOM – there goes the cure for the common cold…! ( just to give you some perspective on the importance of stepping up!)

So I recognised that there were two much more comfortable elements for me instead of ‘self-promoting’ – Inspiration, and Problem-solving. I can Inspire other people by telling my story, and showing that no matter how terrifying it all seems, it IS possible to put yourself out there. And I can Problem-solve instead of self-promoting – tell people what problem I fix by providing whatever my service or product is.

So I started to tell my story, and explain how my services can solve problems – and you know what – it felt so much easier!
Below is one of the interviews I did with a wonderful local woman who asked me to share my story – and I actually really enjoyed it, even though it was a teensy bit uncomfortable to start with!

Have a think about how you can tell your story, and explain how and why you do what you do – and what problems it solves.. If you still struggle to see how you can present it, give me a call, and let’s see if we can figure it out together – while we cowork of course!

Conduit Workshops

We are delighted at the response we have had so far to the Conduit Workshop Program! Below is a list of the current program of events we have, and any updates will be posted here, and on our Facebook Page
Bookings can be done directly through the Facebook event, or through Eventbrite.

Tickets are FREE for Conduit Membersfor details and benefits of Conduit Membership, click here

Lunchtime Workshops 2017: 11.30 – 12.30

Date Topic Presenter
May: Mon 15th Bravely Build your Business  Amy Jackson
Jun: Mon 19th Trust: How to Build Trust Online & Offline  Jay Tinkler
Jul: Mon 24th Goals – Get Focused to Get Productive  Amy Jackson
Aug: Mon 14th Building your Support Network  Jay Ellul
Sep: Thu 6th How to attract & retain more customers  Michelle Lanceley/
Celia Newlands
Oct: Mon 23rd Overcoming Blocks / Procrastination  Amy Jackson
Nov: Mon 6th Credit Management & Customer Care  Angela McDonald
November: date TBC End of Year, Celebrate the Wins  Amy Jackson

possible EVENING EVENTS: not yet confirmed

Date TBC PR David Bateson
Date TBC Business Health? Marije Wahle

About the Conduit Program

For details of how and why the program was put together, you can read more here.

The simple explanation is that I wanted to find a way to help sole traders and small businesses find a cost-effective way to access services and networks to help them improve their businesses.

People often ask why I do what I do – I have worked in Customer Service and Leadership positions for many years, but wanted to find a way to use the skills, strengths and experience I have to help small businesses and individuals, specifically within the beautiful and welcoming Brisbane Bayside community that I have chosen to live in, and bring up my family. I didn’t want to have a city commute any more, and I saw a way to work in my community, providing a service that I saw was of benefit to many, and where I could utilise my skills.

The workshops have been tailored to suit the gaps that I have seen in the business community – helping people have confidence in their amazing abilities – to understand their strengths, to know when to ask for help to get through the maze of small business pitfalls, to rise to the challenges, and ultimately, to succeed, and help build a better economy in our community.

Work smarter, not harder!

Just over a year ago, I wrote an article on LinkedIn about flexible working (you can read it here), and this month I found myself back researching, this time from a local perspective. I recently got in touch with the creator of a new facebook page – another local mum. Frustrated by the lack of jobs available during school hours, she had set up the page to see if there are others in a similar situation – keen to get back into the workforce, but not so keen on going back to full-time hours at this point in time. Within a matter of a few days, the page already had almost 300 members, almost entirely Mums within our community!

The whole workplace flexibility issue came back to the forefront of my mind.

What you may not be aware of, is that I have been running my business for the past two and a half years on flexible hours

I have two children at school in our local community, and one of my initial reasons for opening the flexible workspaces was to be able to create an income for myself which didn’t require commuting to the city, and wasn’t going to be awkward if either of my kids needed me for any reason. Being in another country at the other side of the world from our family means less opportunities to call on someone to help out when things don’t go to plan! I’m a ‘give everything to whatever I’m doing’ kind of a person, so the idea of letting my work down, or letting my kids down, was not something I wanted to do. So the reality is I drop the kids at school in the morning (and it’s two schools now – primary and high school), so I’m not at work until about 9am, and then I have to leave at about 2.30pm to start the school pickup process… And eat lunch at some point…

Imagine trying to start up a new business, and only being available during those hours to meet people, to talk about the services we could offer, and then to actually make it all happen. It wasn’t pretty that first year or so, I can tell you – but the more people who got involved, who understood the concept, who became workspace users – the more I was able to breathe out and relax a little. And the more people realised where I was in my chaotic life, the more they opened up about how crazy theirs was too, and we were able to start finding solutions for the crazy – helping each other out when things got difficult, and spreading the word about how it was ok to admit that we weren’t actually available to work 9-5 every day, we couldn’t attend those breakfast networking events, but that these things had no impact on how good we were at our jobs! In some cases, being able to let go of that guilt of trying to pretend we are as available as someone who is working full-time, with no commitments, actually makes us better, more focused – more productive and relaxed. How good does that sound?!

happy workers

So – when I heard about Flexible Working Day, and Flexible Working Week – I re-ignited my passion to help others push the world towards having more options available – for everyone – this is not a ‘women thing‘, or a ‘Mum‘ thing – there are so many people looking for flexible options, for so many different reasons – sports people who want to pursue their activity, and need flexibility to attend events or competitions, people who are on the way towards retirement, but who want to stay active in their career for longer, and PARENTS – male and female –
statistics show that Dads DO want flexibility – a Workplace Gender Equality Agency report states:

  • 79% of young fathers would prefer to choose their start and finish times but only 41% actually currently do.
  • 79% of young fathers prefer to work a compressed work-week but only 24% actually do.
  • 56% of young fathers would prefer to work part of their regular hours at home while only 13% actually do.
We opened up the flexible workspace for free on Wednesday 21st June, to celebrate and raise awareness of Flexible Working Day – we had some new faces come in a try out the coworking desks. I also shared my story of how I came to be working flexibly – you can read it here Suburban life – coworking & collaboration credit: B Donnet - Neuroworks Labs

I think there is some good traction happening in this area, and I look forward to seeing what I can do as my part in it all – no matter how small, all movement towards change is good. I’d love to hear others ideas or experiences, so feel free to email me on collaboration@centralbusinessassociates.com.au


Conduit Membership

Conduit Membership Program goes LIVE!

It’s all about Collaboration here at Central Business Associates this week! The Conduit office (yes, we actually have our own office here!) has been hard at work getting everything ready to go. The weekend was all about starting on some SEO with our Marketing Mentor (I was learning from scratch – super-excited about what I picked up in such a short time!), then we had to work on the graphics (when I say ‘we’, I mean our resident Graphic Designer did it all, and I just nodded my head a lot!), and finally on Tuesday, it was time to press ‘GO’ (I managed that bit…)!

A perfect example of how this program works really.
We all run our own businesses, but sometimes we have to recognise that we can’t do it all (well). When it’s time to ask for help. Then we worry that it’s money we can’t afford to take out of our business, but this program shows you ways that you CAN, for less cost than you think, and it will allow you to see the huge benefits of figuring out the bits of running your business that you struggle to do, or just don’t like doing (so you put them off constantly), or even those things that you already know other people should be doing for you, so that you can focus on your strengths, and grow your business!

To find out more about the Conduit membership and program, have a look at more details here

and for the story of how Central Business Associates became a collaboration hub, read more here!


Customer Service

How often do we actually ASK our customers what they want?

Do we get too focussed on what we like, what we want to be doing, on what we THINK they want?

Do you carry out customer satisfaction surveys, customer care calls? These touch-points with your existing or past customers can be the lifeblood of your business, and if you are not doing them, your competitors might be….

Every customer who doesn’t return means extra Business Development for you to find new clients – imagine if they all came back, over and over again…

Contact us if you’d like some assistance in this area – we love helping businesses improve their Customer Service, and have many years of experience of customer care and retention.

For more thoughts, read Celia’s full article on LinkedIn – and if you’ve not connected with her yet, please do so while you are there!

boardroom collaboration
I wrote about this already in 2015, but some specific examples came up and I thought it would be good to share them, to show some actual examples of how working in a shared space can be of huge benefit to your business, and sometimes even to your social life!
noun: serendipity; plural noun: serendipities
  1. the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.
    “a fortunate stroke of serendipity”

flexible workJust how flexible is your flexible work?

I was recently doing some research into ‘flexible working’, and discovered this PwC article, which summed up quite strongly my understanding and experience since opening the business centre. Flexible work means many things to many people, but generally, the business world is changing. More employees, small business owners and entrepreneurs are trying to achieve that work/life balance that many of us spend our whole life trying to create. I have to agree that the statement in the article rings very true for me (not just Millenials!) –
For their part, Millennials do not believe that productivity should be measured by the number of hours worked at the office, but by the output of the work performed. They view work as a “thing” and not a “place”. ”

I wrote this piece on LinkedIn Pulse discussing it further – have a read – I’d love to hear your thoughts!

LinkedIn – Celia Newlands – Flexible Work