How these solopreneurs became work wives

Rowena [0:50] – So I met these ladies through a mastermind coaching group that we were all a part of, and I joined that group: one, because I was struggling with what to do in my business and needed to lay some pretty strong foundations. The other main reason I joined was I didn’t realise how freakin lonely it was going to be running a business by myself. I needed to be surrounded by people that felt the same. And I got there and there was a lot of women in that group that I made connections with, but the first person I connected with on a whole ‘nother level was Mikala. We met, we clicked, she’d been stalking my business, I’d been stalking hers, it was kismet. We realised that we could help each other out. We realised that we could– that our services complemented each other. Mikala being an automation, guru and tech queen. We started to realise that we were both really freaking isolated, really needed a different level of connection where we could share ideas and bitch about our weeks and have a cold beverage with someone and just get some perspective. Mikala has fundamentally changed the way that I do business. First time I met her, she gave me hints and tips for getting my inbox down to zero and I was like, “yeah, there’s no freakin’ way in hell that can happen,” like I had at the stage 760 something emails in my inbox. And I was like fun! I’m gonna prove it wrong. I guarantee I can’t do this in two hours. I’m gonna sit down and do it. And of course, Mikala was right, as she often is, and I got my inbox down to zero. And it made me realise that by sharing the small things that we take for granted that we know, we can start to make connections with people and those connections led to wines on Fridays, and then they also led to Gemma.

Gemma [3:11] –  I can jump in at this point and say that funnily enough, for many years, I had actually heard about Rowena and known about Rowena from my best friend who’s also a graphic designer and they happen to work together when I was living in Cairns. So I would hear all of the workplace stories and everything but I’d never actually met her. And then strangely enough, through our women’s mastermind coaching group, we happened to reconnect.

Rowena [3:43] –  And let’s just put in here that Gemma is the copywriter of our group. As you mentioned, we met through an old work wife of mine that we both had, you know, it was one of Gemma’s best friends. Mia was her name, Mia gave me the value of a work wife. And the fact that I’ve managed to move on and have Gemma as one of mine is pretty freakin’ cool.

Gemma [4:08] –  Rowena and I share similar backgrounds. And we’ve always struggled as women in our workplaces, in that corporate environment and to meet someone from a similar background and environment who is real, who’s raw, who’s not trying to hide who they are, who’s just being herself and wants to have that in her business. It was just fabulous. And we had we just created this fantastic working relationship and that’s how I then formed to morph into the work wives.

Rowena [4:41] –  It’s a very exclusive club.

Gemma [4:44] –  Mikala and I actually met through the same mastermind coaching group and I, similar to Rowena, was desperate with some help with automation and tech. It’s just not my cup of tea. And she was just instantly on the ball had everything working like clockwork. I have no idea what it was that she did. Yeah, but it just worked and moving forward, myself and Mikala can work so closely together, share clients, create huge packages as well with Rowena so that the connection of not being alone, of connecting with other fantastic business women and also collaborating through our work has just been wonderful.

Mikala [5:34] – Well, for me, the need for Work Wife Wine Time came about because up until the end of last year, or sort of mid to late last year, I was still working a government job one day a week and my office mate was my work wife. And funnily enough, she’s an awful lot like both Rowena and Gemma. We’d just bitch and whine and laugh and complain and solve each other’s problems and all that sort of thing and leaving that job and leaving Nick, I was really starting to feel isolated, and I think just struggling from working from home without having connection outside of my family. And as Ro said, we met doing a survey thing for her, doing a follow up with a survey and I don’t know, I kind of have this recollection of a meeting was supposed to take half an hour and it kind of maybe took two hours. Because that’s what normally happens. When we have a meeting, it just kind of blows out. And basically, I just found that we had the connection that I was missing. With my original work wife, Nick, and so we then started going, okay, Friday afternoon. Let’s do this. Let’s meet and have a glass of wine and just offload so we started doing that every fortnight. And then Gemma came into it because I’d met Gemma, again through the mastermind group that we were in. And Gemma came to me to do some work together and I really liked, like, she just gets stuff done. It’s really brilliant, she had to put together the copy for her email sequence and it was like, it was just really succinct, and I really liked her work. And then a couple of months later, I heard a podcast that Gemma was on and that was really great. That was like, yup, she really does know her shit. And anyway, Gemma and Ro connected and worked on Rowena’s website and because Rowena was so excited about the copy she’d share it with me and I’m like, wow, this, this is really awesome. Like, it just sounded like Rowena even though it was written by Gemma, so. And for me personally, the two things that I struggle with most of my business are graphic design and copywriting. So, I absolutely love the connection that I have with these two because they’re my weaknesses and they fill those spaces for me so it’s just for me, it’s an awesome little situation and we also get to complain and support each other and bounce ideas off each other and do a lot of laughing, at my expense, but… I’m cool with that.

Gemma [8:31] –  It’s only because we love you!

Rowena [8:36] –  That’s alright, you bring out the best and the worst of us and that’s what you sometimes, sometimes you need that–

Gemma [8:43] –  Yeah, that’s what we both need.

Rowena [8:45] –  Well, you need that space. I think often working for yourself, you miss that space to not be all about the business, like when your work for eight hours a day for a corporate environment, you know, there’s a very like structure in place you know, there’s these, you have to build your own support systems, you know, you’re, you’re in a space with people, you know you have these options to make connections. And I’m not kidding you since I met you guys my business and my confidence, and my direction is so much more. I don’t have the level of self-doubt I used to have. And if I do you guys smack it out of me pretty fast. You know, I feel like you know, instead of having this endless to do list, yeah it’s still pretty endless, but I know I’ve got people that I can talk through it. You know, I get a problem, I’m sure Mikala has had a billion emails from me at like 11pm at night freaking out about stuff. And the thing is, is that she’s got a one-word solution, she knows the answer. And that is just powerful, but then on the flip side of it, when my daughter decides to give herself a mullet and comes in half naked, while we’re having a zoom call, that’s okay too. You know, it’s the business support. That also takes into consideration your personal life.

Mikala [10:18] –  That’s the thing that I find most valuable, I think about our relationship with the group that we’re in the business group, there is a community and, you know, you’re encouraged to talk about the highs and lows of business in the community. But because the three of us are business to business… businesses, it can be really hard to let go and to actually be yourself in that group because there’s the potential that others will then come to you as a client, and you don’t want them to see you having a meltdown over something and, you know, complaining that you can’t cope. Whereas we can do that we work together, but we have that extra connection where it’s like, you know, I can come into a Work Wife Wine Time and go, “oh my god, it’s all falling apart, I can’t handle my inbox. It’s out of control,” and, you know, just verbal diarrhoea, and we all just listen and then crack jokes and, you know, talk our way around it, but because we know each other so well, we can share those things and there’s no judgement, there’s, you know, it’s just laugh together, cry together. If we can be bothered, come up with a solution together or just drink together.

Rowena [11:32] –  But also, on the flip side of that, like, you guys are the first I think of when I want to celebrate. Like, I tell my husband about something that is amazing in my business and, and I can see how much effect it’s going to have and, you know, I might be picking up a new client or it might be like discovering something new about, you know, a piece of tech or what I want to do or a course or something. Or, for instance, I don’t know, recently I won subscription to something. My husband doesn’t care! Like, he tries to, but he doesn’t have that level of capacity for understanding the intricacies of everything that is that we have to do.

Mikala [12:18] –  Yeah–

Rowena [12:19] –  To do what we are doing so being able to jump on and go, “oh my god, guys, guess what,” having that person to do that with? Yeah. It’s amazing to be able to have someone that gets why that’s such a big deal because you’ve seen the highs and you’ve seen the lows, and you’ve seen the, the struggle that has come before the win.

Gemma [12:42] –  It was, for me it was especially the understanding because I just plummeted into that loneliness, because no one understood what I was doing. Like, “oh you just sit at home all day”. Yeah okay, um, I wish that was the case. That would be fun! You know, and my story’s a bit different. I had just returned home from three years of teaching internationally. Yes, I’m an English teacher as well. And halfway through my third year of teaching in Ecuador, I knew I was going to come home at the end of that contract. So, I wanted to start building something for me to come home to, so at the same time I started building my business from overseas from doing some freelance work. And when I returned home, it was just an extremely lonely time for me because from my parents to friends and family, everyone’s like, “well, when are you going to go back to work? When are you going to get a real job? When are you going to do this?” You know, so it was so difficult and from joining the mastermind group to help me with that knowing there are other people doing this and it is a real thing. And then forming these two connections where I was able to go that one step further, it has just been amazing for me and my business has transformed because it’s also given me that confidence. Because as much as I know I know my shit, you do tend to lose that confidence. It just happens. And now I know that there’s other people doing that, and it really helped me in that sense and to find two other real women! Real!

Rowena [14:20] –  None of that fake bullshit here!

Gemma [14:22] –  No fake bullshit, it was amazing! I spent my entire career around fake bullshit women so that’s just been amazing as well. And this is why we want all of you out there to know that there is a connection, you’re not alone. It’s a real thing. We understand your hardships. We understand your good ships.

Mikala [14:44] –  That’s it and connecting with people that really get you like, I know, working with you guys, like Rowena, I’ve just rebranded, and Rowena did that for me and, like I love it. It’s just brilliant what she’s done. And it’s because we have the connection and we’re on the same level. And so, what she’s delivered, like, it’s just nailed it. I never could have imagined that I would actually love my branding, like I do. And like, it’s quirky, and it’s just me. And Gemma and I are about to start working on my website copy and everything, and it’s the same thing, it’s like, I know Gemma gets me because we have this connection, we have these conversations. And I think it’s, it’s really important to find the people that are on your level, not just to share business with but to work with as well. Because Gemma mentioned before that, you know, we’re looking at providing packages for clients and things and working together and that’s what kind of, again, it’s our connection with each other that actually makes that so easy. Because we know how each other work, we know what we need from each other, to get the stuff done. So that, you know, again, finding your tribe and the people that work well with you. It can really, it can step your business up to the next level in that respect, as well through collaboration.

Rowena [16:04] –  It’s even, like I think probably the biggest first here was putting a guard down a little bit, you know, as well as business and just as women in general. There’s a lot expected of us, but we put even more on ourselves. And it has a tendency to build up a wall you know, life can drill away at you, you know, it can be really hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel sometimes, but by being vulnerable, and also staying true to yourself. It’s amazing what can come in like three-fold, literally three fold! Look at us! The three of us! I kind of feel like invincible in some ways because I’ve got this support network that this is like, real this is based on what we do and how we do it for each other. And we can control our own business destiny. Because when our powers combine! You know, when our powers do combine, we really can overcome anything. My main takeaway from the value of having a work wife is definitely the value of finding your tribe. You find your people, you be honest with them, you be raw with them, you be real with them. And then the connection you’ll make will be invaluable. You know, no fake bullshit here. Be real.