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Imposter Syndrome rears it’s head. This is kind of like the episode where they try to bring in the new person playing Dr Who so you get used to them.

That’s how I feel right now ha ha – not that I’m putting myself in a category with Dr Who – but I do almost feel like an imposter, a cuckoo trying to sneak into the nest while no-one’s looking, except I’m introducing myself, and we’re both staying, and we’re the same person…

Right, that analogy failed. Let’s try again.

There are many sides to me. I’m a consultant, a parent, a woman, and…. (I used to be a singer, but that’s a story for another day…)

I’m also a writer, of sorts. I’ve been writing, in different forms, my whole life, and in more recent years, I’ve been taking it a bit more seriously and actually realising other people are taking me seriously too (thankfully!). I don’t profess to be great, and I didn’t study it anywhere – I just love it, a lot. It truly sparks joy – isn’t that what we are all supposed to be looking for?

And, as you will know if you’ve been around for any length of time on this site, or in my life, I like to blend my life and work as much as I can, so I’ve been trying to make a point of doing this more and more. So, this is another extension of that. I’ve been working (extremely slowly) on some serious writing, for a couple of books (one fiction, one non-fiction) and also on a bit of a fun blog, and I wanted to at least associate them in some way, so people will be able to connect the dots if they want to. (I personally love connecting dots!)

The Blog

Growing up, and moving through my corporate years, I was frankly mostly exhausted.

I wondered how everyone else seemed to cope with everyday life, and I was often this crumpled heap in the bathroom, trying to take a quick power-nap before rejoining for round two of ‘Get over it, this is your normal workweek’!

It wasn’t until I hit my early 40’s (I’m not that quick at figuring things out, I like to be sure before I make big life decisions!), that a series of ‘aha’ moments while reading some insightful articles, had me realise that

  • I’m an Introvert (Myers Briggs INFP for anyone vaguely interested, but I won’t judge you if you’re not😉)
  • I’m Highly Sensitive (not in a ‘oh poor me, pity me’ sense, in an actual scientific, can’t help it, I can assure you! sort of way)
  • I don’t like keeping my creative and business lives separate, as it makes me feel like I’m being inauthentic, which is frankly exhausting. Which takes me back to the beginning of my point!  

So – I decided it was time for a merge…. The blog and it’s socials have been quietly (and like I said, sloooooooowly) running in the background, since 2016, and whilst they will still retain their own site, I thought it was time they were connected in some small way, so I can stop feeling like I have more than one identity – plus how else would you know to come and ask me to do any writing for you, 😉 if you happen to like my style? All joking aside, that’s not why I’m here – my intro is done, I’ll leave a link between them now, and make sure I say hello now and again in each, as each – if that makes sense… You are welcome to join me on either journey!

Signing off, quietly…

a dark forest with a stream flowing through it, lit with sunlight coming through the trees, taking you on a journey..

The past few years have been a different kind of chaos for those of us in small business.

I’ve heard people talk recently about how it was actually nice to have the occasional 3-day lockdown and spend time at home with family or binge-watch that show you’ve had on your watchlist for 6 months. And I agree, that time was precious, and should be repeated more often!

However, for those of us who rely on everyone being out and about and doing ‘normal’ stuff to keep our small businesses financially viable, we were more likely living in a state of anxiety day-to-day, wondering when everyone was coming back out to spend with us again.

As most of you know if you’ve been following me for a while, when I started Central Business Associates, I wanted to find ways to bring people together, to show them how to collaborate, to share their skills and learn from each other, and team up with others who were good at the tasks they didn’t like doing so much, or that just weren’t within their range of expertise.

Through being involved in local networking events and running the workspaces in Wynnum for almost 6 years, I was able to find people I needed most to work with – who had skills that I either lacked, or that I needed an enhanced version of, in order to move my (and their) business forward. And others found me for the same reason.

I thrive being able to help people achieve their potential. My main values are Leadership and Ethics, and I want to inspire people towards self-leadership and learning, but in a sustainable and purposeful way, and not only for financial gain (we can’t ‘take it with us’, as we are often being told!)

In general, I’ve met and connected with, so many incredible and talented people, all within this suburban community of Brisbane’s Bayside in Queensland – I’d never have imagined it was possible in such a small part of this vast country we live in. It’s made me realise the huge potential there is for this type of collaborative working (and co-operative – more on this in a later blog – there is exciting news coming soon!) – not just flexible-working – which is the big buzzword out there at the moment (and I was talking about it more than 5 years ago by the way…😉).

I see collaborative working in the small business context like corporate teamwork in a way – it’s getting together with, or putting together, a good group of people with a great mix of skills who can do just about everything between them – high five! 🙌

So – back to that chaos..

There is no way to properly explain the difference that having those others around made to that chaos. The calm that it brought to the panic that each of us individually felt, at different moments, over the last few years.

  • I can’t do this!
  • I need to go and get a job, I can’t sustain this business any more!
  • There’s not enough work!
  • I’ve got too much work, and not enough hours in the day, but I can’t afford to hire anyone to help!

Slowly, we all came to realise that we were all in different boats, but in the same choppy waters. So, we tied our boats together. And shared our fears, and funny stories, and our skills and experience.

And we are still here. And we are probably stronger, and much more sustainable (dare I say buoyant!) than before.

So, I just wanted to do a bit of a shoutout to a few of them, and say thankyou for rescuing me from the storm – I’ve come out the other side, and I’m in much calmer waters now, and excited about the next bit of the journey. In no order of awesomeness (actually, I made it backwards alphabetical, for a change)

Michelle, from Lanceley Marketing and…… (something else, coming soon!!!),

Lauren, from Bayside Admin,

Kelly, from Adaptable Quality,

Kathryn, from SteinArt, and

Amy, from Nurturing Confidence

my thanks to you all for your various contributions to my survival, and my business growth in the last few years!

Next time, I will be talking about what I got up to when things were not so busy in my consultancy boat… (

With our office move becoming public, I was excited to be asked to do an interview with Leisa from Dot Dash Events, as part of their Tide Talks series.
It gave me another opportunity to let more people know where we are heading off to, and what services I will be able to spend my time offering once we move.

All of us who are moving into the Mt Carmel Centre are looking forward to see what new collaborative opportunities it will create for all of our businesses.

Check out the full interview here on their website, have a read of the previous blogs and chats. Maybe even see if you’d like to feature in their future interviews!

Our Community Manager, Celia Newlands, brings a wide variety of skills to the business.

“I’m always looking for new ways to help small businesses and sole traders within the community. As a natural part of my role as a Community Manager, I’m often in a position to connect people who may be able to collaborate together in order to resolve both their problems, and as a result, grow both businesses. Over time, people have often joked about me being a ‘business dating service’ (I really hated that one!) and a small business surgery. The second nickname has kind of stuck and is now an integral part of our Membership offering.”

I am meeting people at all different stages of running a business – from developing a great idea for a business, right through to struggling to grow past a plateau.
In the midst of working ‘inside’ the business every day, they often can’t see the proverbial ‘wood for the trees’.
Having worked in change management, I am always looking in from the outside, which often makes it easier to see how simple tweaks could really improve things. And I don’t shy away from the hard questions – if I need you to see that your business will only grow if you stop micro-managing everyone, I will (gently) tell you! 😉

Some people might need to find Marketing support (and there are SO many different areas of speciality in that field), others a great Graphic Designer to help them build or create brand consistency.
Maybe the reason the business isn’t growing is that you are undervaluing yourself and not charging enough, or maybe you have lost your passion in amongst the business development, & the numbers that don’t make sense, or you feel the staff are letting you down….

The list goes on, but my enthusiasm to find a solution doesn’t wane – it’s what drives me, and gets me jumping out of bed every morning, excited to go to work (those who work with me will testify to this) – even on Mondays!

The service is a general information offering, but I tailor it as much as possible to you and your businesses needs, based on the information you provide. Always trying to find a local service provider to help if I can, as I am really passionate about growing the local economy.
I will ask questions to help clarify the areas a business may be struggling with, or where they are seeking a service provider, before making suggestions of who may be able to assist. It will often consist of more than one option, so you can compare and see which provider fits your needs best.

“I try to help clients by letting them know what is available in their own community – often people want to make a human connection with a service provider, and as much as we can all search online for answers these days, sitting down for a face-to-face chat with someone you may be deciding to hand your hard-earned dollars to, or entrust with your clients, is sometimes the best option to gain a real sense of trust.
I am a real believer in authentic recommendation – and even if I’ve not used the services personally, but have worked with the person and feel they could be the right match, I will say that.
I know a little bit about a lot of business subjects, but in these situations, I am really a provider of information as opposed to a specialist (hence ‘small business surgery’!).
Finding the ‘specialist’ can be time-consuming, and having spent most of my career striving to provide excellent Customer Service, finding the right product or service to meet the client’s needs is something I’m proudly confident about.
I’ve built up a large network of local connections, and have researched significantly to find out what is available in our business community, so I can save people a lot of time if they need assistance and aren’t sure where to look.”

Contact Celia if you are interested in utilising the ‘small business surgery’. 0431 639 217

We held our 3rd annual celebration of Flexible Working Day last week.

Each year, to help promote the flexible work concept, we offer free coworking desks, to let people from the local area and surrounds see what flexible working might actually look like for them. And to show that there is an option in between working from home and commuting to the office.

There was an incredible varied mix of professions including :
Virtual Assistance | Project Management | Marketing | Accounting | Management Consulting | Introvert Business Coaching | Cabinet-making | Environmental Science | Autism Mentoring.
Having all of that expertise in the one space was one of those moments where I felt really, really proud of what we have created and achieved within the community at Central Business Associates.

workspace
Flexible workspaces

I was delighted to be asked to be a Flexible Working Day Ambassador by the team at Flexible Working Day .

I was able to showcase the fact that I have truly worked flexibly for the past 14 years, since my first son was born. This has not always been easy (nor is it yet), but it has always allowed my family the flexibility we needed for our lives.
Our need for flexibility has changed consistently over the years, but I have become better at adjusting after each iteration!

When I decided to write an article to go into the Flexible Working Day magazine, I did my usual procrastination trying to decide what to write, when to write it, until eventually, the head of procrastination remembered she had the perfect solution – our new copywriting coworker!
True to her usual level of excellence in her field, she was easily able to write a wonderful piece about the benefits of flexible working, and to write it from my experience.*

Collaboration

This is just another example of the incredible success of true collaboration within a community.
To have the amount of expertise available in one office that we now have, puts us in the enviable position of being able to all offer so many more services to our individual clients.
We can manage the whole process ourselves, and remain our clients point of contact, but not need to ‘do’ the work ourselves.
By accepting that we cannot be all things to all people, and getting experts in each field to carry out the tasks, we provide our clients with a much higher level of service than we could do alone.

What’s not to love about flexible workspaces and collaboration and sticking to what you’re great at?!

*to read the amazing article I refer to, head here (2019 magazine, page 24, ‘My Journey in the World of Flexible Working’). To connect with the amazing copywriter we use, click here and let us know, and we will put you in touch!

What collaboration means to me…

I really wanted to take a bit of time to delve in to explain what collaboration means to me –  why I feel it is such an important part of what we do here at Central Business Associates, but also why it is of great importance for us all to learn how to do it, and do it well!

You really do say it a lot…!

I know, I know! I never particularly used the word ‘collaborate’ until I began planning the concept of Central Business Associates, but I found myself naturally saying the word increasingly when I was explaining my business ideas, and also came to realise that I had been ‘collaborating’ for my whole working life! It was actually one of my major strengths, so I started looking more closely at it.
My research found me suddenly seeing the word everywhere  (you know how that happens – it feels like coincidence, but it’s just your brain seeing what was always there, in a new light!), but there were varying ways that it was being perceived and understood. So I wanted to clarify to you what it means to me, and how I use it in this business, so you can understand how it might benefit you, and how you can access the relevant services for you.

Teamwork!

For me – collaboration is about teamwork – it’s about recognising you can’t do it all alone, or more to the point – you don’t have to do it all alone! If we all work together and use our strengths, we don’t have to battle away alone, and try and do the things that we are not so good at (or that we secretly really don’t enjoy doing!). It’s about give and take – for a partnership to work, everyone has to be bringing strengths to the table, or the imbalance will eventually weigh heavy on the relationship. But it’s also not about expecting something every time you give – it’s about the teamwork – knowing that if the other person or people can help you, they will.
Knowing you have a group of people who have your back is an amazing feeling, and makes you all stronger – isn’t that worth pursuing?

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!
serendipity
ˌsɛr(ə)nˈdɪpɪti/
noun
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”