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#306 Jo Brassett – Transcript

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Jess Brady
This week’s conversation is with Jo Brassett. Jo is the director of insurance advisory services, not only does she run the team, she is the sole advisor within her business. And she is a solo parent of a small child. So I wanted to know how she got any balance. And surprisingly, the answer was yes. So then I’m was very keen to find out practically, how has she been able to set up her business and her personal life for success? Enjoy.

Jess Brady
Hello, Jo. Welcome.

Jo Brassett
Hi, Jess. How are you?

Jess Brady
Good, good, good. I’m, I’m very excited by this chat. As I said to you, when we were organizing this, I’m using this as an opportunity to reconnect with people that I used to know a million years ago, and also find out what is going on in your business and your life. And you’ve had so many changes. And I actually think from the little that I do know so far, you’re pioneering what we all want as the dream. So no pressure. But today, I’d love to learn more about what you do, how you’ve got there, and what it’s enabled from a life perspective, because it’s great to have a lovely business. It’s great to have happy clients. But ultimately, if you’re not looking after yourself and having a great laugh along the way, we’ll probably need to ask ourselves why so?

Jo Brassett
Exactly. Right.

Jess Brady
Exactly. Exactly. I’m very excited. Tell me, Jo, for the people that don’t know you. What is your story and your background?

Jo Brassett
Okay, so I have found you want to go?

Jess Brady
To go? You don’t have to tell us about you know, the birth or anything, you know, you can you can start from wherever you like. But you know, people are often interested in how did you get to where you you are? And yeah, what are the big things that have influenced sort of the decisions that you’ve made along the way?

Jo Brassett
Okay, so I never knew what I wanted to do when I left school. So I just kind of, I was always a bit arty and kind of did a bit of graphic design and visual merchandising and showcard, and ticket writing and all these kinds of things. And then my parents were always, you know, should do some office management, you know, course and make sure that you kind of keep your kind of skills up. And so I did that. They were always running a financial planning, which is made it was mainly insurance, both on the general and on the life side. So they have ways run this business ever since I was a kid. But I never grew up going, oh, yeah, I want to join the business. So I kind of went off and did my own thing and kind of dabbled in different areas, but mainly all still around like marketing and advertising and being a PA and all those kinds of things. And then I went overseas for six and a half years and worked in an investment bank traveled and did a lot of holidaying and finding myself and you know, figuring out kind of what I like to do when I’m good at all those things. So I never I never went to uni. But I did a lot of courses. I’ve got a high learner so I’m always learning things and taking on stuff. And so I did all that. And then my sister was having a baby. So I came back here to Australia and then worked in an investment bank over here, which I didn’t really enjoy and then set a moment I think I need to join the business like you need to show me what you do. It sounds really good. I think I’m kind of ready to join up. So I did that in 2000 and to eight, and didn’t really have any kind of ideas about what I wanted to kind of do within the business, but worked my way up from, you know, being a CSO and understanding how all that worked, and then working with dad and, and just kind of learning the tracks, really and then doing all muddy study at the same time. And so yeah, so I started quite, I suppose late, and I didn’t really kind of have any of those qualifications under my belt, but I did all of them. And then eventually became an advisor, and just took over from my parents, I think was about three years ago now and purchased the business. And now I’m paying them off over time for the business. But yeah, and so I have now I run a general and a life plus financial planning practice. And yeah, we were based in North Sydney, as well as working from home. That’s kind of me and shell.

Jess Brady
It’s an interesting one, because obviously, there are a number of people who are in generational financial planning businesses, but I think the ones that I know, certainly, it has always been their interest or aspiration to immediately step into the business when they were old enough and then start from there. So it’s interesting that you went and had this whole other life really, and it’s all every weariness and no doubt that’s helped you when you come back and thought, What will I do in this business differently?

Jo Brassett
Yeah, exactly. And I think because I was a little bit old, by that point, it did probably make a little bit more of a difference. Because I had that kind of experience, I’d been out I’d figured out kind of, I’d done all my traveling or not finished. But you know, I did a lot of traveling and probably had my kind of university years overseas. So I come a little bit out of my system. And then by the time I came back, I just kind of the skill sets that I incorporated over the time and what I had naturally just kind of fit quite nicely. So it was

Jess Brady
good. And what does the business look like now in terms of staff, and you know, the types of people that you help, etc?

Jo Brassett
Yeah, so we have five people in Sydney, so there’s myself and a CSO. And then I also have a practice manager. And we also have two general staff members, so an account manager and an account executive. And then we have five, then we have six staff in the Philippines. So I have three support staff for the life side of the business, and three support staff for the general business.

Jess Brady
Okay. And as someone who also has a team offshore, I’m fascinated to hear how has that helped your business? And what challenges have you found from having that team offshore?

Jo Brassett
Okay, so because I did purchase the business from my parents, I’m still paying them off, right? So when they were kind of moving out of the business, I was like, what, how am I going to continue to afford to pay for people who aren’t actually going to be working in the business. So I had to figure out a way of being able to have staff but not have the overheads and the costs around all of that. So it was, it was definitely in my mind when dad was still working with me. But we just and we did try another company, and it just didn’t really work out. So this was our second company, we’re using five elk. And that was our second company that we did use. And I think I was listening to a podcast and they were talking about I was like, I just need to start this again and see if I can kind of get this going. We started with one on the on the life side. And then we just built up from there. So I believe that the key thing is to have great systems and have somebody who can really manage that person like they are in Sydney. So you know, Leah has been with me for like 12 years. And so she knows how I work and we work really well together. And so getting her to really manage this person, bit by bit, and we’ve just grown kind of organically. So it hasn’t been like that’s just put in three people straightaway. It’s it’s been virtually one a year kind of on either side. And on the general side, they didn’t want to put in anybody. They were like, No, that’s not how we work. You know, that’s that’s not going to work for us. And I said, Look, if all they did was just do your filing, wouldn’t that be helpful? And so they were like, well, yeah, okay, so let’s just start with that. So we just started with some things and then as they’ve progressed just Been able to hand over more and more and more. And to the point now where we’ve got, you know, three on each side, I mean, that’s definitely taken down the cost that I had, and the overheads and the super, and the workers comp and all of those things that you need to end the space. In Sydney, we’ve downgraded from where we were to a much smaller space. And COVID actually helped with that they actually, were already in place with five out and then they were like, well, we can answer your phones because we have to work from home. So I was like, Well, how are we? How are we going to do that? How’s that going to work for us? So they kind of said, well, we can step in and answer your phones when you’re not there. So that took away the reception element, which also helps the staff, but there’s so many different bits and pieces that they do help with anything that we can delegate that is, you know, more administration faced. That’s what we do now. So we use those skill sets.

Jess Brady
And if someone was thinking about using that sort of model or system for the very first time, what, what knowledge and pearls of wisdom would you impart on them to help them on their journey?

Jo Brassett
Let’s have a think about that. I think it’s important to have the right company to help you to implement all of this. So really, the Danielle’s and Danielle at five L, they work really well as a team. And they give us a real lot of support in when we bring on new staff members, when we’re interviewing, they actually do a lot of the front end training as well. So they already put them through like iris and advisor logic, and they have people over there who train for you. So that takes a lot of the pressure off of that they put into a load of courses, we pay for them to do more courses if we can, so the more information that they can get, the better. We also ask them to, and it’s unusual, the way that we do things, I think, because Danielle told me, you know, usually they just give them, you just give your staff members something that they do. And they generally just do the same thing every day. But we we give them everything. So you know, I’m always asking them to think and, you know, think ahead of me, we talk on teams all the time. So you know, where it’s like they’re in the office. And I we really work with a strength space kind of culture. So whatever they’re really good at, and we really tried to bring that on board so that, you know, we can get the best out of people, but also crossing over in case somebody is off going to have a baby, and then you’ve got somebody else who needs to step in, you don’t want to ever be in a situation where you haven’t got support. Yeah, yeah,

Jess Brady
it is interesting, because we were told that we were giving our team to broader role, and to actually narrow it down so that they aren’t doing sort of the same or similar thing. And that repetition was important. But it sounds like actually, if you’ve got the systems in place, which I’m sure you do, because I know that you’re an organized human. And you sort of empower them to go and learn more and and have the space I guess, to go and investigate before they come and see you they actually can do a breadth of different things for you over time.

Jo Brassett
Yeah, look, I think that also comes in time. It also comes with a lot of feedback and delegation, and checking, and, you know, all of those kinds of things that you, you always need to do with any staff member, I’m always one, when I’m training, I give the information on why I’m doing what I’m doing with any staff member. So the reason I’m doing this is because A, B and C so that they get a bit more of a picture on kind of where they fit within the project or the task. So you are right, though, I mean, I am highly organized and very consistent. And so, you know, I tend to we do the same thing all the time. And they do have processes and procedures to follow at all stages. But it can’t just be a robot, you know, you can’t just have somebody who just follows the process of the bouncing ball because that just doesn’t. It’s not real life. And so to be able to give them the opportunity to draft an email First, understand why I’ve done it, and how I’ve how I’ve pitched it and why I’ve pitched it then even when they’re doing that the next time they understand why and then they try to put together the email for me and then I then check it and go okay, it needs tweaking and then by the end of it And then that’s a process because they’ve kind of figured out that that’s a process or they know by the amount of times I’m asking the same questions, Joe’s gonna want to know this. So I will just go back and update her. So I’m, I’m really a big one on making sure that they communicate when they’ve done something as well. So that I know it’s out of my head is out of my head and into into your head, and that you’re confirming back that it’s been completed. So, you know, there’s a lot of systems around that as well. And communication communication is really key.

Jess Brady
Hmm. Use teams predominantly to do that.

Jo Brassett
Teams. Yeah, we use teams, we have advisor logic, so we have tasks. And we have processes and procedures for all of the renewals that we send out the Calendly, invitations, you know, calling up clients, the SMS is like everything, it’s very highly organized, to the point where, you know, they just follow the procedures, and then if it diverts from that, then they know that or they either have to let me know, or then they try to think about it and kind of come up with a solution, and then come and tell me, and then we work on it together.

Jess Brady
And this is interesting, because you have a big team for one advisor. Right, like you are the sole on the life and the financial advice piece. Yeah, you are the sole advisor. And I guess you’ve built a big team, so that you can get everything done that needs to be done in a profitable way that doesn’t chew up all your time has that been sort of why you’ve built the team to be the way it is?

Jo Brassett
Yeah, because I do have a lot of energy. One of my top strengths is, you know, achiever. So I like to achieve a lot. And I have, you know, we use notion and we use tacit notion, like I’ve got everything kind of already organized. So I do a lot within a day. And so if I feel that, and I do generate quite a lot, so when I took over the business from mom and dad, like we have a lot of clients already over the last 45 years. So I took over there. And so then I we don’t lose a lot of clients. So I’m continually building. But at the same time, you know, I’m making sure that I’m servicing the ones that we’ve got, and then looking after the new ones that are coming in. So it has to be more of that. And a lot of that is around the administration. I mean, looking after clients and making sure they’ve got all the information and being communicative and sending out newsletters and all those kinds of things. It makes the clients feel like they’re the only client, but actually, there’s a whole team around to make sure that they feel like that. So you know, it’s important that yeah, I don’t want to ever feel like somebody is not feeling like they’re getting their money’s worth. So I suppose it does need a big support team to ensure that that happens. And then if I feel like we are at that tipping point, which we were last year, where the staff over there were kind of making a few mistakes, they weren’t getting stuff done. I’m like, I think we’re at that tipping point where we need to bring in another staff member because we are growing. And I feel like we need to bring in somebody else. And so I’m always thinking ahead to the next stage and bringing on new staff members, as I feel like is necessary. And now we’re at a situation where everybody is really humming really well, like they’re thinking ahead of me, and they’re not making as many mistakes, and it’s all looking good. And we’re on top of things. And you know, we can do maybe extra little projects to check things because we’ve got more time and more stuff now. So yeah,

Jess Brady
oh, that sounds like a nice place to be and you know, you are the face of the business and you are the the support from a client interaction perspective. But to effectively do that you have, you need to have so much infrastructure, whether it’s systems in tech, and people and all of them sort of helping you have that time to be able to keep great relationships and bring on new ones. And it’s interesting, because I don’t know very many advisors that have a team of your size for one advisor. And I think that it proves that this type of business model can work whereas what I’ve seen happen a lot in the past is people bring on more advisors, and they normally have you know, one advisor and maybe one power planner or one, CSO. Actually, you’ve gone down quite a different route. It does leave you in that there’s risk, which we can’t sort of chat through that. But I think that business model is unusual and yet seems to be highly successful in your world. Yeah, it

Jo Brassett
is unusual and there is risk. For sure. And I feel like probably maybe the next financial year i I’ll need to make a decision on whether I want to bring in an advisor, another adviser or whether I want to bring in another CFO. So I don’t know, I mean, I hold the whole thing about when you when you bring in another advisor is making sure that everybody’s is doing things the right way, you know, I’m checking my own compliance, I’ve got a compliance lady who checks my compliance, you know, all of that. I know, because I’m the one providing the advice. But once you start handing that out to others, you just need to make sure you got checks on that. And I still don’t feel like I am completely set up in a way that I would feel comfortable bringing in another advisor just yet. I am setting that up. I’ve got a steward wheel that I’ve bought on and I’m doing more kind of templated things along that path. So I think that perhaps once I’ve done that, and I feel like I’m at that point, I would bring in another adviser and get them to work with me. But then you got to find the right one. No, it’s like, yeah, it’s a challenge to try and partner up with somebody works the same way and thinks the same way that you do.

Jess Brady
Yeah, from a pool that is sadly shrinking, or you go down a route where you bring in someone that is completely new to do the professional year. And that has a whole gamut of other considerations and opportunities, shall we say?

Jo Brassett
Yeah, exactly. Right. So and it’s not easy to find staff on the general side or on the life side. So you know, and if you do, then it’s going to cost you a lot. So I’m probably thinking a little bit more outside of the box to see if I can make it work in a different way. Because I’m not sure I have the funds at the moment to be able to warrant reading somebody have that kind of caliber,

Jess Brady
huh. It’s a constant dilemma that I know many advisors, or business owners are grappling with. Since you’ve been starting this conversation, you’ve been talking about a lot of tech throughout this conversation. So let’s just do a bit of a recap in terms of what tech you’re using, for what if that’s okay. So it sounds like your financial planning software is advisor logic.

Jo Brassett
It’s been it’s become Yes. So we’ve got the CRM, which is advisor logic, and then we have Calendly, which I send out to all my clients to book in. So clients BDMS, anybody who wants to book in with me, it was in the Calendly. And that’s all color coded. It’s pretty full on anybody. So my diary, they probably like have a bit of a meltdown. But anyway, it makes me feel like it’s my happy place. And then I, I have fidi, which is a newsletter that goes out that I use, and I put, I outsource my articles I do, I have a copywriter and a marketing lady. So each month we do an article, and then that gets put on top of the Fiji newsletter, and the feed the newsletter goes out each month. And that’s to the life and the the financial planning clients. We actually also have a general business insurance newsletter that goes out. And that’s facilitated by CGU. That goes out once a month. And then we have an investment one for the investment clients, just to give them a bit of an investment update. But all of that is facilitated through Fevzi. We what else do we have, we have Iris to do a little bit of iris, which I use,

Jess Brady
you mentioned notion before what’s notion notion,

Jo Brassett
notion is a it’s a free package that you can put it’s a bit like it’s a sales. Because you know when you have when you have projects. And when you have tasks for clients and advisor logic. It’s all about like the clients and what they’re doing. But we also have a company that we run. And there’s a lot of meetings and budgets and targets and you know, sales and all those kinds of things that there’s no real place for that information. So then all those in notion and notion is where we have, We’d note all of our quarterly meetings, we have weekly meetings, we do all of our updates in there. So the sales, I basically use that as my sales force type of environment where I anything that comes into my mind or anyone that books in it just keeps notes in there. And then we translate that we just copy that and put that into adviser logic if they become a client and you know they need a task or anything but that’s kind of how I keep track of it. Interesting. Yeah.

Jess Brady
And then you using the astute wheel in client meetings, is that right?

Jo Brassett
I’m only just starting to implement a shoot well, so before like, I’m kind of doing more other things in Excel and more kind of manual, which I feel could be, as I’m getting busier and busier, I want to do it more online and I want to be able to do it so that it’s more in real time. So I’m, I’ve got a project with my CSO where we’re implementing a steward wheel. And hopefully, by the end of this financial year, we’ll be ready to start using that and implement the processes moving forward on a street, we’ll, and that should then ensure that kind of the strategies are all set ups the same, you know, we can print off as always, if we need to, you know, so I’m looking at that next step to make sure that our process is clean with real time, you know, it’s quicker, those kinds of things. So, not using a student will yet but we will be

Jess Brady
okay. One thing that we haven’t touched on, because we’ve been talking a lot about the business is, you’re a human and have a life. And you, I think, have a really interesting mix. So unless there’s anything really specific that we haven’t asked about from the business perspective, yet, which I’m happy to, I want to talk about how you run the team, run projects, see clients, your solo parent, and you work a four day week. Joe, how tell us for the people who are idiots who can’t work out how to do this, and are working stupid hours, can we talk about your Do you have what we would consider to be

Jo Brassett
balance, I feel like I have balanced. So when Myles was born, I obviously took time off to have him and I ended up at some stage going back three days and then four days, and I never made it back for the fifth day. Because he was going he was like still off, I wanted to spend time with him before he went to school. And dad and I, when we were running the business, we always said look, I’m not really into making massive profits, I want to have a lifestyle business where we can enjoy what we’re doing, and not be stressed out to the max just trying to earn all this money. So that’s kind of still really stuck with me. And also, I must say that my sister is my business coach, and she really does help me in ensuring that I’m looking at that, putting things in place that I’m sticking to the plans, you know, so that really does help. And so I must say she’s a really good one to kind of help me make sure that I am balanced. I outsource everything. We’re like the coaching, the cleaner, the personal training, you know, like the paraplanners, the copyright is the you know, the parents pick up miles like I outsource a lot of things so that I’m concentrating on the things that I really need to concentrate on. And I think that probably why I have that massive changes so that I don’t get bogged down into doing all of the admin, and doing all of the other bits and pieces and the compliance and you know, all those things that so easily can distract you from what you’re doing. I’m still across it. And I’m still on top of it, because we have weekly meetings, but I’m not running those things. But on my mental health, the way that I keep that together is I work two days at home and I work two days in the office COVID has really helped because before I was going out and I was seeing a lot of people and traveling and you know that time to go out the way that my dad used to do it. And the way that I was taught, really changed to mainly being online now. So a lot of people just book online, they prefer it. And it just means that I can see four or five people a day now rather than just maybe one or two. And it does make a big difference to how many people you can service. But you know, I do the gym on a on a Friday and I do spend religiously and aspire on a sauna. And then I go and I still do all my work on my phone and I delegate and and you know the staff are happy. I’m not in on a Friday because I’m not generating more client work. But I’m already delegating stuff before I go on a Thursday and making sure that they’re doing things and teams are pinging the front and center but I’m still, you know, doing my shopping or whatever I’m doing. I’m just managing more on a Friday rather than actually being physically in the office or I don’t have any client appointments on a Friday. And I don’t have any client appointments on a Monday. So Mondays are for like doing, you know, internal meetings, you know, BDMS you know, stuff like that stuff that I need to like sort out for the week and clients are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. So that’s kind of how I coordinate the time so that I make sure that I get everything done.

Jess Brady
Amazing. And we need to normalize outsourcing as much as humanly possible. And, you know, your story is an interesting one. Because, I mean, you were pretty much the succession, like the known succession plan, when you decided you were going to have a baby. Was that really scary? The thought of stepping up and taking on a big responsibility, like running the business, running the team taking on the debt, and having a child by yourself.

Jo Brassett
I, well, I never really thought about having a child by myself until mom was like, well, we’ll help you. So it’s no problem. And, you know, I was thinking, Well, do I want to meet a man? Or do I want to have a baby, I think I want to have a baby first. And then I mean, the man later. So I never thought I was doing it myself. So there was always the family who were going to help me with that. So and that’s been the same all the way through. When I had miles, Dad was still in the business, we still had he working in there. So it never really kind of occurred to me that I was taking it all on without him there at that point, so and then when he was there, I was kind of racking it anyway. So I don’t know, I just kind of felt like, it was just an another piece of paper that I was just going to take over, but it was the same, it’s going to be exactly the same as what I was doing. Just I was going to own it, and they were going to work for me. So you know, it was just, I didn’t really think about it in that way. I suppose if I did, I might have freaked myself out of it. But you know, I don’t kind of think about things like that I kind of just I’m pretty half cup full height type of person. And just, I know, I can always get stuff done. And I have a lot of energy. So you know, I didn’t really kind of think about it in any other way.

Jess Brady
I think that’s very helpful, because I think you can get into this spiral where you overanalyze everything. And you particularly you know, like in our world where we naturally try to plan things, because that’s literally our job. And it can mean that we find ourselves in a situation where we talk ourselves out of doing something like taking on that bigger job, or taking on that additional responsibilities, stepping up, or starting a family or making a big life change where whether it be moved somewhere or do something different. Because we get into this sort of analysis spiral. Yeah. And I guess the big difference for you, Joe, is because you’ve had the control now and the infrastructure, you’ve been able to do it in a way where, you know, like, you have not only the Friday off, but like you build in time throughout the year to make sure that you get breaks as well. Right.

Jo Brassett
Yeah, so I make sure that, you know, I really noticed with COVID, when we weren’t going away for holidays, I really noticed that I wasn’t recuperating, as well as I used to. There’s a lot of brain energy expended in running a business and doing strategies and thinking about clients all the time, you know, you’re, you’re constantly making sure that everybody else is okay. So, you know, especially when, you know, I’ve got miles and I’ve got mom and dad who are aging, and so there’s a lot of stuff going on all the time. So it really is important to take time out to make sure that you’re getting your acupuncture, you’re doing your holidays, you’re doing your detoxes, you’re doing all those things. And so for me, I really made sure that I take six weeks off at Christmas time. So we I have the whole of January off. And you know, partway through December like we generally work the last week and then yeah, throughout the year i i make sure that I have some time off in July and then some time off in August you know, I I really build in those processes so that we made some months quite a bit smaller than others to ensure that I had some time to rest and recuperate and the same but staff like they’re always like there’s no there’s no slow months. Like we just do it in the slow months and they’re like there’s no slow months. Surely there’s gonna be a slow month sometime, but there’s no

Jess Brady
so yeah, I say things like this. I’m like when went quiet and then everyone giggles because it’s not a quiet thing. But I’ve really grappled with this and I think this is something that I have done quite poorly because I think we have normalized easy and I think we have made rest seem wasteful. Which is BS from all of the research that I am learning about which is why I’m enjoying this podcast because it’s really nice to hear people who are doing it and living it and breathing and and would you say that that rest makes you come back as a better leader as a better advisor like what’s the apart from having a lovely time and and enjoying sort of pina coladas or whatever it is that you’re doing, but what does it actually bring to the Business by having that time off.

Jo Brassett
Oh, look, I think even with the four days, you know, being able to have that Friday where, you know, I’m not thinking about client’s strategy or not thinking about the staff per se, I’m still managing, but I’m not like full on in it, it just gives me a three day weekend, every weekend. And so that just revised me as it is, you know, just being able to do that, and then come back and, you know, just manage, not tech not be stressed, like, I don’t feel stressed, like, I don’t feel like I take on stress, I really do manage that quite well. And I feel that comes down to the staff as well, like, they feel less stressed, when dad was running things. It had to be busy, it had to be busy, and you had to be stressed. Because if you weren’t stressed and busy, you weren’t doing a good job, you weren’t making money, and you weren’t getting clients in and it was all stressful because it wasn’t stressful enough. And I just don’t want to live like that.

Jess Brady
And was that because that was like, the old school way of doing things like and you we just need to be more better, more with less sort of mentality.

Jo Brassett
Yeah, and you know, just if you if you’re not busy, and the word busy all the time, you know, it’s you’re not doing a good job. Whereas being actually organized. And in a way where everybody is doing what they’re meant to do means that everybody is enjoying what they’re doing. And it means that Can you hear my dish? Mike, can you hear my dishwasher? It’s actually seen to me

Jess Brady
outsourcing your washing up? Really? This is get appliance as well.

Jo Brassett
Exactly. So yeah, I mean, I do I just feel like you don’t need to be that stressful, busy to, you know, be doing a good job if you just doesn’t need to. I think that’s an old way of thinking of things. And it does feel weird, though. When you first start to do it, you feel like I’m not doing enough like I should we be zero like it feels weird.

Jess Brady
Oh, did you have like guilt almost tell me about what that was like.

Jo Brassett
It was just this thing where I was, I was sitting there. And I was talking to Kathy and I’m like, I feel like I should be doing something like I feel like I should be busier. Like when dad was here. It was always like much busier, the figures were still they were doing really well. And I was still doing what I wanted to do. And I was still able to take the day and it just there was this conscious this realization that, oh, maybe I don’t need to work that hard. Maybe just needs to be smarter, to be able to achieve what I want to achieve. And I still get peaks of that. Now I can move on. And I still maybe I should go back. And then I think walk or do some studies. And maybe I’ll keep the Friday because then I could do some study. And you know, I still do have what little tweaks at that, but not enough to make me want to go back to the five days.

Jess Brady
I think that’s so interesting in terms of like, having to learn how to be okay with not being stressed all the time or racing all the time. Because it would be weird, it would be really weird to have to try to unlearn and give yourself the psychological safety to be like, No, actually, we’re still doing well. We’re just doing it differently. And we’ve got a presumably it’s you know, we’ve got more infrastructure, we’ve got bigger teams. And we’ve, you know, I know, I know you and I know that you’re very organized. So I can imagine that. You know, everything is apart from the fact that we’re human, but I would imagine quite a well oiled machine over there. I think it’s really aspirational Joe, like there’s so many of us who are hoping and wanting to get to that point for people who aren’t as naturally organized as you with your beautiful color coordinated calendars. So outsourcing has been crucial, what are the other sort of tips that you would give to people who want to transition to this style of lifestyle that you have?

Jo Brassett
Get a good coach? Man, amazing, this strength, coaching has been incredible. When dad stepped out he was my sounding board. And so you know, I had no one then to talk to about the running of the business and how that was going to be and the staff and all those kinds of things and money. And, you know, I think that when you’re solo business operator, you do need that person, like I have an accountant, but he doesn’t step into provide me with the information that I need for me to be able to run the business and the staff and all those kinds of things. So, you know, I think having that and I as I said I’m very consistent. So I made sure that we met on a on a weekly basis, and that I gave myself tasks to do on that weekly basis. So that was highly important to start with. So I did that with Katherine right at the very beginning. Just the two of us for a long time. And then when I felt like I was ready, I brought in, like my two leadership team people. And then we sit down now on a weekly basis, and everybody has their own tasks, and we update and we talk. And, you know, that keeps us because we were all pinging emails to each other all the time. And so then it was like, You’re disturbing everybody who’s working because you can’t not get it out of your mind. So at some level, bring it to a meeting and discuss it at a meeting. And that’s, that’s the moment where we discuss all things, compliance, or all things, staff are all things, you know, budgetary, let’s do it there. And that way, we can leave the rest of the week to work on client stuff and, you know, things that we need to work on. So it is really being able to put things into their little pockets to make sure that you’re discussing things at certain times, you know, clients Tuesday to Thursday, day off Friday, you know, internal things on a Monday, BDMS. They only see them on a Monday, when they want to come and see me, like, this is the day that I can see, here’s my calendar, you can book in when I’m free, so then they come and see me when I’m able to do it. Yeah, so I think it’s just making sure that you know, you need to know, I don’t know how to teach anybody to be organized. I don’t know how I don’t know how to impart that knowledge.

Jess Brady
And it’s not even the knowing it’s the doing know, I’m doing different.

Jo Brassett
Right. Yeah. And you know, I think with with Theresa on the the general side, it’s taken a lot for her to think about this in a different way as well, like, it’s probably taken a good two years for me to get the team to think the same way or similar way than what the the way that I do and how to get them to delegate, look, I’ve got great people who always want to do everything. And I’m like, that’s fantastic. But we’re never going to grow, we’re never going to do anything, if we’re all doing it ourselves. If we keep it and we’re not willing to share it or train or to get others to help us, you’re gonna be stuck in the same position. Hmm. So you know, and I feel maybe a little bit of that is because we’ve outsourced we’ve had a little bit more funds to be able to spend on marketing and other areas where I was probably trying to do it all myself before when it’s just not feasible

Jess Brady
or Fun.

Jo Brassett
Fun. Yeah. Fun.

Jess Brady
I don’t know many people that have achieved it. And I mean it as imbalance, I thought it was elusive, this sort of utopian destination that doesn’t actually exist, whilst you have small children. And so to be able to have a lifestyle where you’re not missing these years that don’t, you know, come back, they’re only little once and we were talking about, you know, it’s such a nice age when they’re little and still think you’re cool. Want to see that way. I think it’s an enormous achievement, and a huge congrats to you. Because yeah, I am looking at you. And I have known you for a long time. But I’ve watched from the outside and, and wondered if it could be done. And you’ve helped me see that it can. Anything else that we haven’t talked about before I do some rapid fire questions, that you think the expat community would want to learn about your journey or your business or anything really,

Jo Brassett
I suppose. Just with being able to kind of do it all, I think that’s where really Calendly made like a massive difference. I was being dictated, I suppose my times by when I was calling up clients and trying to get them in the diary. And so, you know, that whole process of being able to send out invitations and I still love like being out on a Friday, like walking around and having invitations, just dropping it into my diary, like that’s the best thing ever. So before it was always trying to control clients to come in and see me now it’s like they’re willing to kind of come in and do it themselves. And so you can block off time. So if Miles has got a cross country run next Wednesday morning, I can cross that out of my diary. And so then I make sure that I’m there. So it really is making sure that you’re putting timings around your work life rather than the opposite way and clients will always find another time if they can make that one and if there’s nothing in the dough, then they call me and then we make an exception to the rule but obviously like you know, they will always find a different time to come in and sort something out if they really want to. So, yeah, and the support. I wouldn’t be able to do any of that without my family. Honestly, like mom and dad pick up miles all the time. Like they really take a village. It takes a village. It really does take a village

Jess Brady
and that is okay. I’m wonderful. I am very impressed. I wish I’d learned that piece around the Calendly. Five years ago, because I had a similar thing. But I was, and I guess, you know, the traps of a new business. You know, I was doing my first meeting of the day at 7am. I would offer meetings until 8pm. I worked six days for client meetings. And then I’d spend the seventh day trying to get scramble and get groceries and complete whatever paperwork I needed to get done for the week. And it was awful. And it was so hard for me psychologically, to put boundaries in place. And then when I did, no one cared. No one, no one cared like people. People were like, I can’t do 7am anymore. Fear, you know, that ever. Like I was like, Oh, my gosh, how did it take me to get to the brink of my existence? We’ve got to give ourselves permission, at least try this stuff. And then if it doesn’t work, go from there. So Well, that’s

Jo Brassett
the thing, right? I think you gotta at least try it. And then if that doesn’t work, you try something different, you know, but real growth comes from change, and just trying something different. It’s scary, but sometimes it’s great. You know, you never know what you’re gonna get at the end of it.

Jess Brady
Totally, totally pay. I’d love to chat today. Can we do a couple of random questions. But before we get there, if people want to learn more about you, we’ll chat with you. How can people best Connect?

Jo Brassett
I’m on LinkedIn. And I’m also got my email. It’s a long one. Jo Brassett at insurance advisory service, dot Comdata. You I’ve also got my website. Yeah, I’m all over the place. So you can always try and find me.

Jess Brady
Wonderful. Okay, let’s fire off my last couple of questions. And then I will let you get back to your very structured day. What is one thing that you do to look after your mental health?

Jo Brassett
One thing I do to look at my mental health I take the Friday.

Jess Brady
What is a piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?

Jo Brassett
HSC isn’t everything learn? Look at your strengths and figure out what you’re good at. And then you’ll find a job that will fit in with that.

Jess Brady
So true. Do you have something that’s quite big and exciting on your bucket list that you haven’t ticked off yet?

Jo Brassett
I was supposed to go to Croatia when COVID hit so I would like to go back there at some point. I think that would be lovely.

Jess Brady
Last question. Do you have a book for me to put on my list for my fake book club? For your fears? You say your fake book that I’m part of. So I don’t think that that counts as the real one but I liked

Jo Brassett
Okay, so I’ve got apples never fall by Liane Moriarty.

Jess Brady
You can’t see but she’s actually got the cover of the book.

Jo Brassett
Okay. Yeah, I’ve got the book. I never thought though. Episode Four. And that was from my real book club. I mean, use me

Jess Brady
well not offend my book, but my brilliant. Amazing, Jo. It’s been so lovely to chat to you. Congratulations on both your business and personal success. And I wish you all the very best for the wonderful balanced life that you have been part of.

Jo Brassett
Thank you. It’s been great. It’s been good to catch up.

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