Real Talk for Women in Business

S1. E1 - Real Talk with Leeha and Nichol

May 07, 2021 Real Talk for Women in Business Season 1 Episode 1
Real Talk for Women in Business
S1. E1 - Real Talk with Leeha and Nichol
Show Notes Transcript

Welcome to our new podcast - Real talk for Women in Business. 

We wanted to create a safe space where we could help women entrepreneurs take off in their business. 

We share real truths, real insights and really practical tips when it comes to juggling all things life and business.

Real talk doesn’t sugar coat what being in business is. We talk about ALL aspects of business and how it's influenced by everything going on in our lives. 

In todays episode, we will share a little bit about ourselves, including: 

  • Who are we
  • Our background and job history and qualifications
  • What we love about running our own business
  • What can absolutely sh!t us
  • Why we even thought it would be a good idea to kick off a podcast
  • What do we wish we had've known before we started a new business

Call to Action

We hope you’ve enjoyed tuning in to this episode. We would love it if you could please take a few minutes to leave a rating and a few words about why you love Real Talk for Women in Business.

If you have any feedback or questions regarding today's podcast or have a specific topic you would like us to cover, email:

If you would like to know about how an all-inclusive copywriting and website package can help you find your brand voice and connect you with clients, arrange a quick chat with Leeha from Meridian Digital (formally Mind Your Words) today: BOOK NOW

If you would like to learn how a Business coach can support your business needs, book a connection call with Nichol from Nichol Stark Business and Leadership coaching today: BOOK YOUR FREE CLARITY CALL  

Contact us today

If you have any feedback or questions regarding todays podcast, or have a specific topic you would like us to cover, email:

Visit us at:

Hey there. 

Welcome to the Real Talk for Women in Business Podcast, a podcast all about helping women entrepreneurs take off in their business. We share real truths, real insights, and really practical tips when it comes to juggling all things, life and business. My name is Leeha Debnam and I'm a coffee-loving copywriter and website designer. My business is Mind Your Words, and that's where I help the owners of growing service-based businesses connect with clients through my all-inclusive copywriting and website packages. And of course, right here with me is my soulful friend and colleague Nichol Stark. 

Hi everyone. My name is Nic and I’m an intuitive business and leadership coach who helps women in business get the clarity they need to transform their passion into a thriving business. I hope we may connect to their greatest potential and I help them live their life with meaning and purpose in order to have a pretty positive impact on those, around them in the world.

Essentially, when a client needs to go from A to Z, I've coached them with B through Y and when I'm not helping the wonderful women in this field, you'll find me with a big ass cup of tea tracky dacks on and hair up in a barn enjoying farm life.

For our first-ever podcast, Leeha and I thought it would be a good idea to introduce ourselves and what we do and why we want to start a podcast. 

For me, this podcast is really about saying it how it is. I think there's so many podcasts out there that talk about all the positive aspects of being in business and they focus on marketing and sales and all that kind of stuff. We want to cover that stuff as well, but we want to break it down and we want to share with you some of the hard truths about being in business and the juggle, particularly if you're a mum in business or if you're just launching your business. So that's what real talk means to me. What about you Nic? 

Yeah, I'm exactly the same. Running a business is only one component of running a business and it's only one component of our lives. And to be honest, when we look at ourselves as entrepreneurs, it encompasses everything. So we wanted to talk about the challenges I have. I want us to talk about the wins, how things have transpired in my business and, and potentially, you know, some of my clients as well, but I wanted it to be down to earth.

I've seen so many, and the least I've listened to, I've seen, I've read so many different coaches and podcasts and people that talk about all these wonderful things. You can do this and you can do that. But fuck mate, it's just, it's not like that. You know, there's so many other elements that need to be considered when you're thinking about starting your own business, but also when you're running your business. So for me, it was really, like I said, it's that realness, it's bringing it down to earth and hopefully, others will resonate with it.

Yeah, I think there's this picture that's being painted about, you know, oh, you should start a side hustle and then you should take your hustle full time. And it's, you know, it's not as easy as doing that. And for me, I'm still working three days a week and running my business too. And there's a lot of me out there with other women doing the same kind of thing. And it's pretty hard. And there are some massive highs and I've learnt so much since being in business, but there's also been some lows and real talk about setting those expectations so that, you know if you are thinking about starting a business or you're scaling a business that you've got other women out there that are going through or have been through the same kind of thing.

And yeah, so that's kind of where we're at with real talk. And we're going to cover a lot of different topics from juggling your business and juggling family to brand voice dealing with difficult clients, overcoming imposter syndrome, finding the right lead magnet, how to get raving testimonials. 

We are going to look at strategy, we're going to look at self-love, we're going to look at how to run a business, how to be work in your business, as well as on your business, every day, I'm learning something new. And I think, you know, what we're going to do with the things that we learn on an everyday basis is bring that into this conversation and talk about how we've approached things and what it looks like today.

All right. So, because this is our first podcast, we thought that what we do today is not only just sort of talk about what real talk means to us but give you a bit of an overview as to who we are, where we've come from and you know why you should be listening to our podcasts basically. So I'm going to kick off and yeah.

So my name is Leeha Debnam I'm a mom and I have three children. And I have a partner and I'm based in Ipswich, in Queensland at the moment. Although we are building our dream home on the sunshine coast, as we speak, I have been in the federal public service now for 14 years. And for me, you know, I reached a point in that corporate career where it was, you know, continue to climb that corporate ladder. Which was a hundred percent what I was doing to realizing that it no longer filled my happiness bucket and I wanted to do more. So I've worked in granting programs primarily for that entire time. So helping small businesses get off the ground with small business grants, and I got a little bit sick and tired of being the one kind of approving those applications and handing out that money, but not actually making a difference with those businesses. So I really wanted to do more and I just started, I guess, thinking about what my skills were and what could I bring to another business. 

So quick, a quick question for you, uh, your juggling life and a three day a week job, plus your new business. How are you doing that? How are you managing the mental wellbeing? How you managing, tell me a little bit about that's sort of things. 

Yeah. If we're really being honest, it varies from week to week. Right. This year I started to do two days a week in the business and,  my little man who's almost three is in daycare five days a week. So that was a big mummy guilt thing that I needed to get over. But what was happening was I was working late nights every night and I was cranky ass mama. One of the things I put in place was to work two days in the business. And yes, my little boy is at daycare. I mean, he thrives at daycare, but still being away from him from that day was a big change for me. But it meant that I wasn't having to work nights as much. So that was one element. So I've cut down on working nights. But as I said, it changes from week to week. So one week I can do three nights and be super cranky. But then the next two or three weeks I'm okay. Well, you know, I might work one night this week, which is on my business. I tend to try and work on my business at night times and do my client work during the day. And yeah, just putting in places, things like that. I'm not there yet, particularly around the health and wellness stuff, which I'm working on.

And you've taken that bold move to work two jobs at once. It's not like a side hustle because it's two distinct things. Yeah. I did that cold, just chopped it off. So I've resigned. And instead of my job, so I-

You were pretty high up in that corporate. Like you had a massive amount of responsibility.

Yeah, I did. Look, I was in an executive position and, but I was not loving it. I wasn't enjoying the fact that I wasn't helping people. I didn't see my family, I was drinking excessively and eating badly and travelling every week into state and it was horrible. It just, it wasn't me. And I just, I was running on empty and I hated myself. The kids and Justin, what they, you could say, I would just stay away from her. I was just a, I was a bitch, I was horrible, absolutely horrible. So when I had a hysterectomy and I had a couple of months off Justin and I just sat there and said, there's no way I'm going back. I just stopped for the best. For me, it's not the best for the family. And I've been looking to start my own business anyway for probably about six months before that. So it was a great opportunity just to go cold turkey and start fresh. 

Yeah. And so how did you decide what that business is going to look like? Like for me, I went, I guess, on a bit of a self-exploration to try and work out what my skills were. And at the time I felt like a rundown public servant that had nothing to give. Like I have a law degree, I have a degree in sociology. I am like a fully qualified lawyer, but that isn't what I wanted to do.

I didn't want to go and start a legal firm or go down that avenue. But I really had to think about what were people coming to me and asking me for all the time and that was writing. In my day job, if there was a letter to be written, if there was an assessment to be completed, it was my assessments that we used as the templates for other people.

So I went, oh, can I, what can I do with writing? And I had no idea what copywriting was at the time. And so I went on a hunt and I accidentally stumbled across. I think I Googled, you know, careers for writers and stumbled across the hot copy podcast by Kate Toon and Belinda Weaver, who I believe was one of my copywriting mentors, an amazing mentor. And then, oh my goodness, that's what I can do. Like that was my epiphany. That was shit. I've found something that I think I'm going to be good at. So what was that like for you? Like what did you think in that moment where you're okay. I need to change careers, but what am I going to do? 

I think it was what do people come to me for? So that was definitely one aspect of it. And that was coaching. So it was giving guidance, helping people develop their capabilities, so really in that coaching, mentoring more than anything, and it was when I was actually moving up the corporate ladder because that's what I always thought I had to do. So as a kid growing up, it was all about big business, being the big businesswoman. 

I think that's kind of ingrained in us. Like, unless I think you've come from a family of business owners who, and entrepreneurs, it's all about getting that job and climbing in that career for as high as you can, working for the man, you know, how much money can I make? Can I go to the next level? It's not. What skills do I have that I can use for me in my business, helping others? 

And that's what I've been doing with people throughout the years is looking at their strengths, not looking at what jobs they were doing, but what strengths are they actually good at? So when I did get to a certain level of my career and I realized I wasn't doing that anymore. So the further up I got the less I was doing of it and I missed it so much. Like I, I knew that I was born to coach. Like I knew that intrinsically, that was who I am and what I loved doing. And I was sitting in a coffee shop with a girlfriend and she was telling me how she was launching her business. And I'm like, this sounds exactly what I want to do, it's where I want to be. And it took me another six months after that conversation to, to have the balls, to actually go and do it because leaving a 23, 3-year career that, you know, and it was a shitload of money, it was fantastic money. And having that job security and that money was a big thing to give up. But at the end of the day, having your husband tell you, you know, you need to do what's right for you and not for everyone else. That was a big wake up call and I thought I need to do it. 

That's the big moment you and I both know that I'm still working on that. It's a whole mentality switch going from having paid income coming in every week to knowing that you’re a hundred percent reliable for your marketing efforts to bring in the projects that you need in order to pay your bills. And I'm still working on that mentality. I think part of that for me is I've got little kids. My job is very secure and it pays very well for what I do. So giving that up to take my business full time is a goal of mine. Like that's where I'm tracking, but I'm not quite there yet. So Nic, what I want to know now is what do you love about your business and what shits you about being in business?

So what I love is I get to be home with my family. So I'm an online coach. I'm not just an online coach, but that's how I manage my business from home and I've never done that before. As the kids were growing up. I didn't say a lot of them now that they're older in the teenage and adult years, I get to spend more time with them. I see my husband so I love being at home, I love getting up and having a cup of tea and being in the sunshine for that first part. Not rushing around, not having to be everything to everyone else. It's just me. So I love that side and the fucking clients I have. I love, I absolutely love talking to them, helping them and just being there to support their growth and their transformation. So that, yeah, it's why I'm here. 

What shits me? Oh, you mentioned it. I'm doing it on my eyes. So apart from having a few close people that I might have conversations with being lonely is horrible. Not being able to have day-to-day conversations where I can bounce ideas off people. I don't mind being the Jack of all trades, I actually really like learning about those things and learning about marketing and sales and social media. I love the learning component of that, but that does shoot me, that I have to do every little bit. I wish I could just, I will eventually I'll hand it over to a VA or something like that, but yeah, that shits me having to do everything. There's not much I don't love about this job. There's not much I don't enjoy. I know that this is exactly where I'm meant to be right now. How about you? 

I love that most of the time running my business and doing my client work doesn't feel like work. Yes. It's really funny because when I first started and you know if you've, you know, started a business, you will experience this. And even if you've been in business for ages, You still even experienced this imposter syndrome and we're going to do an episode on imposter syndrome. But when I first started, it was all about, oh my God, I felt like I was playing shop. Like, do you remember when you're a kid and you used to play shop and maybe your parents buy something off you and you'd play money and all that kind of stuff?

Well, I still feel that like some days I still feel like I'm just kind of playing shop, but people paying me thousands of dollars now to do their copywriting and their website stuff. So don't get me wrong, I take it so serious. And, you know, part of working with me, I'm very client-focused and always go over and above for my clients. But it doesn't feel like work to me. And those late nights that we're talking about, I might some nights work through to midnight, but I love it. I could keep going. Do you know, like if I'm designing a website, I love that aspect and I can just keep going and pushing through because I love it so much. I love what I do and what I deliver and seeing the difference I make for business owners when they get a new website, particularly if they've had a really shitty one in the past, and then they get one that the words and the design all match and the website is functional and it aligns with who they are as a business. And I work with a lot of coaches and HR consultants who have gone from having a really corporate website and to having something that really reflects them. Like, that's what I love, helping them see that.

What shits me. Yes. I'm going to say it's the loneliness and having to when you first start, you really do have to invest in training and wrapping your head around all the elements of business. And for me, I hate fucking social media. Like it feels like it sucks the life out of me. 2016 was when I started the business long story short, I had some time away but relaunched and you know, everybody's like, you need to post every day, twice a day, you need to follow this formula with, you know, what you're posting to get maximum engagement.

Right, right. Freaking ra. I hate it. I will. That'll probably be the first thing I outsourced. You know, I know how important it is on the same hand because these days that's how you market your business. So we talked about being lonely in business. And the one thing I can say that is, you know, you need to build that support network around you and you, Nic have become one of my greatest supports in my business. And we relied a lot on each other just to talk things through, even though we're in completely different industries. And another piece of advice is don't always assume that somebody in your industry is your competitor because they can be, you can be competitors, but being champions of one another as well. And so, you know, I'm part of copywriting communities where that's the whole thing. It's about collaboration, not competition, and they can be your biggest support, particularly when you're starting out in business.

All right so what's one thing that surprised you Nic about being a business owner and what do you wish that you had known before you started?

I'll start with that one first. I wish I had realized the low maintenance side of it and just the impact that it would have on me and that I need to connect with people on a daily basis. That was probably a massive one for me. What surprised me as a business owner. There's 2.1 million new businesses or business startups in Australia that surprised me and when you’re working in a corporate, you've got a big four or your financial institutions, there's always this competitive thing. And I love the fact that these new startups it's all about collaboration. And you said exactly collaboration over competition. That's probably one thing that's really surprised me is how people will get in and help you if you just ask them. How about you? 

What surprised me as a business owner. With the amount of hats that you would have to wear, oh yes, good one. You're not just delivering for your clients. You need to be the finance department, the marketing department, you need to deliver on the work, you need to be the business owner that builds a business and does all the shit in the background, the strategy, the planning. There is so much that you have to do. And until you reach the point where you're able to outsource that and bring other people in you are that one person, and it is overwhelming, to say the least. So I spent, God knows how many hours bloody, um, learning about social media. You know, I've gone to that many webinars and I still sign up for webinars. Oh my goodness.

I had a big FOMO for probably the first, just over 12 months where I downloaded every single aid book I came across. I don't think I've read them all, but I just had to download because everyone else was doing better than me, what I thought, but actually, they're not doing what I'm doing, I've got to get over my own bullshit and just get on with it. 

If there's one thing I can recommend. Do yourself a favour and start an email address specifically for Ebook. You do not want that shit in your inbox. Seriously, I think I have three email addresses. It's it just, yeah. The amount of webinars and things that you sign up to and lead magnets that you download, you need a separate email and what I'd wish I'd known before I started my business is kind of along the same lines that it requires so much more than just delivering outcomes. And I wish I'd known the big impact that would have on my life. I would've done it sooner. If I have known if I'd known that how happy I'd be doing my business. And even that it comes with a lot of fricking frustration and a lot of overwhelm, I'm so proud of what I've achieved. And I'm so proud to be able to say, I'm a business owner. I am running a business. People are paying me to deliver a service. And it doesn't matter if you're delivering a service or you're selling a product. You're a business owner. If you're down at the local markets, selling earrings, that's your business, you put your heart and soul into your business. So it doesn't matter if you're making $500 a week or you're turning over a million.

You're a business owner. And you need to own that and be proud of that. So, yeah, I agree whether you're just about to launch or if you're trying to scale your business or you are scaling your business and taking it to the next level, you are freaking amazing and you're doing an amazing job and just, yeah. Own that.

Yep, Agreed. Well, thank you very much for this morning and appreciate your time and my time and our time. And can't wait to get podcasts on the road. We've got so many podcasts that will be coming out that will cover various aspects that we've talked about today. 

And just quickly before we go, we would love to know, how you knew what business was right for you. So please email or leave a comment on our podcast. Thanks so much for listening. If you enjoyed today's show, don't forget to leave a review on iTunes, Spotify, Google podcasts, or wherever you were listening from. It will help other people just like you find us to be notified when our next episode is released.

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