Something we love at Business Chicks is celebrating the triumphs of our Premium members. We couldn’t miss the opportunity to profile member, Caroline Guillemain-Brunne, who has been selected as the champion of Victoria’s Small Business Festival. Pretty incredible, right?
So, we get to know Caroline and despite her successes, she refuses to be “super human”.
What does a day in the life of Caroline look like?
I’m not a morning person so my amazing husband is kind enough to start my day off by bringing me tea in bed most mornings, how good does that sound?
The working hours of my day change frequently due to the projects I’m working on and the needs of my clients so no two days are identical, which I love.
Evenings, however, run like clockwork. I have two sons, so we sit down as a family for dinner at 6pm each evening. We have a lovely gratitude ritual – during dinner we share four key things with each other from the day; one thing we are grateful for, one thing we did for someone else, one thing we learnt and what we are hoping for the following day.
For people who don’t know a lot about Organise.Curate.Design, what’s it all about?
Do you have a list of life admin tasks that are adding to your mental load? You know those important but not urgent things like reviewing your mobile phone plan, reading the school newsletter and updating your calendar with reminders, buying that gift for your friend’s upcoming birthday?
You know, all the life admin stuff? Well, that is where your Life Assistant at Organise.Curate.Design. (OCD) comes in.
We help people organise their to-do list to make sense of the never-ending items, and we will action items on the list on their behalf.
And, do you remember the light-bulb moment you realised you needed to start Organise.Curate.Design?
It was actually at the Women in Focus and Business Chicks Financial Wellbeing event in early 2017. I was sitting in the audience listening to the speakers talk about the important items women often ignore, which can cause significant financial issues in their future. I remember running through my important but not urgent to do list in my head, the big-ticket items were my Will and my super.
After the event I struggled to find the time to focus on actioning the tasks and began researching options to get some help. I found virtual assistants and concierge services, none of which suited the personal and hands-on service I needed.
I spoke with friends to see how they were managing their to do lists and some laughed at me, saying they didn’t have time to think about their Will and they could barely get their kids to school on time!
I remember thinking, oh my goodness, we all need a Life Assistant!
You’re being celebrated as the champion of Victoria’s Small Business Festival this year. Congratulations! How have you gone from launching Organise.Curate.Design just last year to Small Business Champion?
To be honest, it’s all about putting yourself out there. If you don’t ask, if you don’t put your hand up – the answer will always be no. I had attended Small Business Festival events over the past few years and was keen to be involved as an event host this year, so I put my hand up and they said yes.
I am hosting the Young Monash Business Networking event on Thursday 23rd August and also exhibiting at 9 to Thrive in Melbourne. When they called out for applications to be the Small Business Festival Champion I put my hand up again. I have an interesting background in business and know how much I have learnt from other people by hearing their business journey, hopefully someone gains some insights from hearing my story.
Thanks #monashbizawards for a wonderful night. It was such an honour to be a finalist in the #microbusiness category. Congratulations to all of the winners and finalists and I hope to see you all soon. #organise #curate #design #worklifebalance #lifeassistant #businessassistant #local #business #monashbusinessawards #monash
You’re such a big advocate for how the Small Business Festival brings a community together. How important is that to you?
Business is hard work and it can also be isolating. My interactions with the festival have helped me immensely. I have met some wonderful people, some of which I still call on today if I get stuck with a particular area of my business. The tools I picked up from the events have been responsible for key success points in my business. I also love the diversity of the schedule and that it is available to the entire Victorian business community.
You’re also part of Business Chicks’ PowerPlayers program. How has that shaped your business experience?
I am incredibly grateful for the PowerPlayers program. Running another business, having a family and getting a start-up off the ground is no easy feat! The peer to peer mentoring that occurs within the program is a key benefit that I have experienced. Within my pack I have women I lean on with years of experience in various areas of business. They are my go-to when things get hard or when I want to share a win with people that know the hard work that has happened behind the scenes. Being a PowerPlayer has taken me to a level in business that is simply bad-ass, you know you can achieve anything when you have a pack of women behind you who have your back.
For someone who’s thinking of starting their own business, what are the three things you think you should know?
Develop the purpose of your business and its values early on. These elements will set the tone for the voice of your business and will soon become your brands signature. It helps if the values of the business align with your own personal values as you can live and breathe them and your clients will connect with the authenticity of your brand.
Set some clear goals and limitations before you get started. They will come in handy when things get hard. You will have days when you think it’s not working, or when you want to give up. That’s normal, it is usually a sign that something brilliant is coming around the corner.
Find some people that can be your support crew. Friends and family are great but they usually won’t understand what you are trying to achieve and you may find their feedback frustrating.
When you’re having a tough day, who do you lean? Who’s in your support network?
My husband, who makes me tea in the morning and brings me wine or chocolate in the evenings if needed.
My children, they are great at putting life back into perspective and helping me switch off from work.
My PowerPlayers pack members, we have a group chat, it’s often where I go to when I need to vent.
A few other business friends, they are my lifeline outside of PowerPlayers and are always there when I need to catch up or need a pick me up.
How do you take care of yourself and your mind?
Journalling is a good way to get things out of my head. I find once I write something down I can break it down and work through it.
Sitting in my emotions and letting myself feel them. I sounds a little silly but if I’m sad I need to let myself be sad, be in the moment and then let it pass in its own time. The more you try to ignore your emotions the longer the negative ones tend to linger.
I love to sleep, so if I need to I’ll take time out for a nap or down time to recharge. I’m not trying to be super human and no-one wants to be around me when I’m tired and cranky!
Finally, what are you really excited about right now?
I have a massive week coming up and I’m looking forward to meeting lots of new people at the events I’m involved with. I know the next week will open so many door and will take OCD to a whole new level, knowing that gives me excited nervous butterflies in my tummy.
Oh, and life in general! Just being in the moment and being excited by the thought that some of the best days of our lives haven’t happened yet.
Presented by Small Business Victoria, the Small Business Festival is an annual curated events program providing ideas, information and networking opportunities with hundreds of events held online and across metropolitan and regional Victoria. The festival runs from 1-31 August and offers a wide range of practical, interactive and innovative events. For more information please visit https://festival.business.vic.gov.au/