Real Talk for Women in Business

S1. E8- Unscripted REAL TALK - When sh*t hits the fan

September 07, 2021 Season 1 Episode 8
Real Talk for Women in Business
S1. E8- Unscripted REAL TALK - When sh*t hits the fan
Show Notes Transcript

In this weeks episode,  Leeha and Nichol have gone off-script to bring you a frank and honest real talk about when sh*t hits the fan in your life and business. 

During this podcast, Nichol and Leeha share some of the challenges they have experienced over the past few weeks with COVID, illness and running their businesses.

Key highlights include: 

  • Being honest and transparent with your clients
  • Taking care of yourself, so you can take care of others
  • Setting expectations with yourself and your clients
  • Being a mum, and running a business
  • Finding your tribe
  • Benefits of being part of a local network
  • Setting priorities that align with your overall goal
  • Building your motivation

This episode of real talk - has REAL TALK, which means there is a bit more swearing than normal.


Women’s networking

Ipswich Women in Business

Hawkesbury Women in Business


The Secret by Rhonda Byrne (currently playing on Netflix AU)

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (currently playing on Foxtel AU)


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 discovery call with Leeha from Meridian Digital 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 Coaching today: BOOK YOUR FREE CLARITY CALL  

Visit us at:


 📍 Today's podcast is all about: What happens when shit hits the fan. Now you might be thinking, is this really an inappropriate topic for a business podcast? And let me tell you, it certainly is. Nic and I have faced a fair amount of challenges over the last few weeks and this kind of shit is going to happen in business all the time, particularly when you're juggling a lot of different things, whether you're in your business full time, whether you're part-time, whether you've got a team around you, or you’re a solo entrepreneur, stuff is going to happen and it's going to impact your day to day running of your business and your health and all that kind of stuff. So today's podcast is completely unscripted, It is not rehearsed.

We have a few dot points, but we just wanted to share and have a real conversation between us and let you be part of that conversation because at the end of the day, this is The Real Talk for Women in Business, and that's what we're all about. 

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 right here with me, finally, we finally get together again is my soulful friend and colleague Nichol Stark. 

Hello? Hello? Yes, I'm actually here for once. Hi everyone, My name is Nic and I am a coach and I empower women in life, business and positions of leadership to intuitively connect to all aspects of their life so that they can attract the life and business that they not only desire but deserve. And right now is a really important time for us to be doing these.

Yeah, as I said in the intro, today is an unscripted conversation between Nic and I and sometimes the best shit comes from these conversations. Let me tell you we end up in tears and fits of laughter and... Our podcast is all about real conversations and as much as we want to offer sort of those tidbits of value and helping from a business perspective, it's important to step back and just reflect on how fucking hard it is to be a business owner at times, particularly when shit hits the fan. 

Absolutely, and so for those that are not either in Australia or not in New South Wales, we're in our eighth week of lockdown. So when we talk shit hitting the fan, I've got kids at home with homeschooling, I've actually found myself a little bit unmotivated as well because not being able to go out and still having to have clients and trying to attract clients and babe, wholly within a conversation with a client can fucking be so hard at times. Not that I don't love being with them, It's just the motivational side is, is really difficult at the moment.

Yeah, and I'm in Queensland so we're in a pretty lucky position compared to what New South Wales is going through at the moment. And I was doing it tough in my one little lockdown so I can't imagine what you're going through Nic, with this being your eighth lockdown and being so extended as well. It's just, it's full-on at the moment. For everybody, it doesn't matter where you are in Australia. You've, everyone's got shit going on, but you know, it's particularly difficult with the way COVID is escalating in our states at the moment. 

Yeah, COVID's just, I think COVID's an underlying pain that everyone's ass at the moment, but there's also other issues that come when you're running a business. So, I mean, we're going to run through this today, but I was sick a couple of weeks ago, as you know, we have an allergic reaction so I don't know what was going on, but I've had two allergic reactions in a couple of weeks and I've ended up in the hospital and administering myself those EpiPen things, but that's just a mind, a mind fuck anyway but, um, having to do that, then being in hospital and wondering what's going on with my clients and, The big thing for me was I had to be really transparent with them and be really clear and say, look, I can't meet with you. This is why I didn't want to hide anything, That's not who I am. 

And honestly, if I had had it said, look, I just can't do it. That's lying to me as well as them. I needed to be really upfront and say, this is the shit that's going down and I can't be with you. And I'm so sorry. And I know that I'm meant to be here as your coach, but I'd just have to be here for myself first. 

And I think that's a big key when it comes to, shit does hit the fan. And if you're not available for your clients, that transparency, like we're all human. And if you're open and transparent about the fact that perhaps you're not going to be available for a coaching session, or you're going to miss a deadline, you put it out there. You be honest and real to your clients or your customers and they're going to respect that.

Now I don't know the statistics, but I'll say at least 90% of them are going to be like, Yeah. You know what? I'm a human shit happens to me all the time. I understand, you know, let's reschedule. They will value that so much more than you're trying to cover your ass and say, yeah, yeah, no, it's all good or it's all good. And then you miss a deadline or you cancel a session at the last minute and that's, what's going to piss your clients off. 

Oh, absolutely. And honestly, a few years ago, if I'd say look back five years ago, it was not the normal for people to be transparent, you know, for the last 10, 15, 20 years, it was really important to have this perception that you had your shit in order that everything was okay. And, you had this outward view, and people's perception of you would be, she's got her shit together, she's actually alright, how can I be like her? And it was all about propping yourself up to look amazing. But actually, in the background, there was so much crap happening and you're falling apart in pieces and all of your energy was going into propping yourself up. And it was the worst thing. But I have to say with COVID, It's actually brought out some humanistic behaviors in people like, you know, people that would never allow people to work from home as an example, and now understanding that you can actually work from home and you can see your family and you can take care of your health. And so the humanistic side is coming out, which is amazing for us business owners. I think that's really important just to show that you're human.

And I have really quite frank conversations with my clients, I tend to establish really good rapport, but you know, a few of my clients have actually become good friends, and when we do talk on the phone, we are having those conversations about, oh you know, my kid bit me today. You know, my little boy's like stage five clinger, I can't peel him off me. And every time I sit down at my computer he's, which I don't do very often when he's here, but in the afternoons, they, they get home sort of around about that 3:30 and if I'm just like, I've just got to finish this off, you know, I'm madly trying to type something out or send an email away and he's off the side of me pulling me away. No, mommy, no, mommy come play blocks or something like that. And, you know, It's frustrating. But, when I have these conversations with my clients, you know, we're laughing and we're commiserating just saying, well that's, that's life. And that's working from home at the moment, which is, more prevalent now with COVID as well. Like you- you're dealing with a lot of different things when you're forced to work from home.

Do you find though that having that conversation, it's if there's a couple of aspects to it, there's the transparency, which is great, but it's also just nice to have someone that gets it and someone that's going to say it's alright, I actually am not worried, I know you’re going to do your stuff, take care of your baby and say it's all fine. Like it's nice to actually have those connections where you can talk and just be yourself with, and you don't have to do all that fat-assing around.

Yeah, they're amazing, actually. I remember having a conversation with one of my clients, she's a mum as well. And I don't know what I had going on that day, but it was, it was full-on. And I just remember trying to talk to her and trying to explain. And I guess I was dancing around what was going on because I'm like, I can't talk about this with my client. And then all of a sudden it kind of just all came, pouring out and I burst into tears and we just kind of like, yeah, it was so refreshing. I didn't feel embarrassed at that point in time, I just felt like here's, another woman running a business, trying to do the best that she can do from home with kids.

I'm pouring my heart and soul out to her, but she's doing the same back to me. Like, we have really honest conversations and I got off that phone and I went, I'm not alone. You have these moments in your business where you're riding these highs, and then you have moments where you, you know, you're down in the, in the, in the pit sort of going like, what the fuck do I do now?

And when you're a solo business owner as well, it's even tougher because you don't have somebody to talk to every day and to vent those frustrations so they tend to build up, and you know, I talked to my partner about it, but I can, I kind of see this glaze come across his face because he's like, yes, yes. He's trying to be supportive, but he doesn't like, know what I'm going through.

I'm not laughing- I'm not laughing at you. It's funny. I reckon that talking to someone is such a big piece of- How many times have you and I just got a, can't do, I can't do a session today or I'm so sorry. Like, it's actually with the two of us now. It's, we actually have said, “no more, Sorry” is because life gets in the way and we just need to look for alternatives or look for, you know, another way to do something just because you can't be there on that particular morning doesn't mean it's not going to get done, It just means that need to find another way to do it.

 It's so important to create a support network around you. Nic and I met through a networking group and we actually had a bigger group, but Nic and I really connected and we've kind of, we've developed this amazing friendship.

And when we're not just colleagues anymore, we've become really close friends and we talk about all sorts of shit. You do not want to know what we're talking about before we started recording. But, we’re just so honest and frank with one another, but when you're going through these times, When I have those days where I am feeling overwhelmed or unsure, or I'm starting to lose my mojo or my confidence, I can send Nic a quick Facebook messenger and I know what I'm going to get back is going to encourage me and she's going to pull me out of that rot and to say, get on with your shit. Just you can do this. You just need that sometimes. 

It's, I completely agree. It's that, if you're working on your own, you have so much self-talk that it absolutely pushes you down and it sometimes can be hard to get out of all the shit show that's happening. So understanding who your support network is, and it might be, a peer to peer relationship like we've got with like, it's obviously more than that, but like that business to business, we've got that and friendship, or you might have a friendship group that sometimes that can be hard though, because they may not understand the challenges of a business owner, if they don't have that same situation or your partners, similar sort of thing, it might be a good thing, or might have challenges but find who it is that's going to prop you up and help you through those times, even if it's just someone to talk to.

Networking groups are actually really good if you're someone that does need to talk to people and there's a lot of free networking groups as well as a lot of paid networking groups. 

Networking has come a long way. When I first started my business, I was like, Ooh, networking. It means I've got to go and, put proper clothes on and actually do my makeup and go to a face-to-face event. And, it's all about business. And, I was really fortunate that one of the networking groups that I've been a part of is Ipswich women in business and the culture in there isn't all about selling your services and selling your business and trying to, you know, get leads and all that kind of stuff. It really is just a beautiful, supportive group of other women in business from all different types of backgrounds.

There's shopfronts, there's lawyers, there's graphic designers. It's such a varied group of women, but it's more than just how to improve your business or business-focused stuff. They have wonderful sessions on wellness. And, I remember this, this event that I went to with them, which was at a nursery and the lady that runs it also does essential oils. And, it was just beautiful, you know, being in that setting. And we had somebody come in to talk about wellness and looking after yourself as a business owner and. Well, I guess what I'm trying to say is don't look at networking as just a way to build your business, but look at it as a way to build that support network around you. 

Whoa. And you find actually most shies or most regions have that sort of networking community. So he, we've got the Hawkesbury women in business networking community and then at the moment, they're so good. The lady that leads it, she'll do a post, you know, just think about something, have gratitude or who wants to share what they're selling, because a lot of Sydney can't leave their LGA, so they're trying to promote internally. It's such a great way to just connect to people in your own community as well. Talk about things they’re going on.

Definitely. And if I just jump back to what we're talking about before, about transparency, the other part is setting expectations. So personally, at the moment, I've got a lot going on. I'm doing, some strategy planning for the business for next year. I am building a house, which is sucking the life out of me and I've got two young kids, so it's pretty full-on. Oh and did I mention I work a part-time job as well, so it's pretty bloody full-on and I'm not trying to play the Marta here and say, oh, you know, woe is me. I've got so much going on. I'm so busy. But, one of the things that I've done recently is use that out of office function.

I only work Mondays and Tuesdays in my business and my clients know that. So my availability Wednesday, Thursday, Friday is very, very limited. If you send me an email, I might get back to you in a few hours. But over the coming months, there's going to be full days where I'm out of the office to do stuff with the house. And what I did this time around was set an out of office, just explaining that I'm out of the office today. If it's urgent, send me a text and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Um, if it's not, I'll respond to you as quickly as I can. And just having that out of office, they are is it's managing those expectations and for your clients, they're not sitting there going, why hasn't she responded? What’s she doing? Why, you know, it's, yeah, It's expectation management. 

Do you put on the bottom of your emails, that your office hours as a, so when you're sending clients emails, do you actually put office hours, Monday and Tuesday or anything like that?

No, but I should. 

 I used to have team members that used to do that, so it was just that constant reminder of, so that when they did want to contact me, if I had any emails, it was really more.

Yeah. I was reading something in, a community that I'm part of on Facebook for website designers and, with website design and especially if you're doing ongoing care as well, you do tend to get a lot of little text messages and a lot of emails and things. And, this particular website designer had put her hours at the bottom and, was really clear on when she answers emails and her response time. And I think that's, yeah, it's really important. I should probably look at doing that. 

Actually, that's good. We're on Facebook as well on messenger. So you can set up automated responses as well. I don't know if you can schedule them on the days that you're not working. But-

A part of me feels nervous putting those days up there, I've got them on Google, my business as well, where we’re open from nine to five on Mondays and Tuesdays. But a part of me gets a bit nervous that people are going to look at that and go, well, why isn't she working Wednesday, Thursday, Friday? And I mean, I think that's just a part of my mindset that I need to overcome, but Yeah.

I think it's that old school wants it as well. Oh, what if, what do you say see that only Monday and Tuesday, maybe they won't want my business because I'm not there Friday, but if it's the right client for you they'll come, they will, I promise.

That's right. That's right.

The other thing- another thing I was thinking decisional talking is around not just sitting the expectation, but also priorities? So if you know that you're going to be out or if you know that you're, I don't know, got a heap of shit on like you do is really setting your priorities around what you're going to do, and when are you going to do it and not just for your business, but for your health. And for, like you say, you've got your house and you've got the kids and you've got you- you got two jobs essentially that you're running. So being really clear about what your priorities are, but then coming back to when you set your priority, why are you're doing that? So if you've got your priority, and it’s, you’ve got, say you've got a hundred things on your list, but pick the ones that continually go back to why you're doing this in the first place so it always reminds you and keeps you on track for your overall goal. So that's just something, for our lovely listeners to think about when they're setting their priorities as well.

Yeah, over the last three weeks with my health, like, I've been sick for three weeks now and I've been on antibiotics as well which It doesn't seem to have helped, but, I know and myself, like when I'm not healthy and when I'm not feeling my best, I don't do my best work.


I'll be honest here. I like my wine like I'm sure many of you do, and with the stress that I've been under and with everything that's been going on, I'm having a hard time in my day job at the moment as well. So I had found myself drinking more as well. And I'm really pleased to say that I'm at week three with no alcohol. So anybody out there that knows me, knows that I like my Trevi and I do not even have a bottle of Trevi in the fridge at the moment. So this is week three, being sick has helped, but, I also may have stopped in at Kmart this morning and bought myself a yoga mat and a eight-kilo kettlebells. 


And, I am taking baby steps.

So reducing my alcohol intake, and now I want to start actually doing a little bit more exercise as well and just getting a little bit healthier, which I'm hoping is going to mean that with the pressure that I'm undone, you know, prioritizing some me time and as much as I hate exercising, I think it's important to do it. 

I’ve just been really sitting here in the sun- what, when there is sun, but it's also seeing the fresh air and just that first 30 minutes in the morning sets me up for the day. I've also been adding half an hour in the afternoon. So in the, I don't know in the morning, I see that the front thing that's because where the sun is, sit in the front yard and then in the afternoon I can sit for half an hour in the backyard. And just sit and not do anything and just like, just feel like a blob on the ground, but it's good. Like it, it's my time that I just spend by myself and I need it. I need it just especially with lockdown and everyone's in there in your face or not new face, or your mind gets in a bit of a haze. It's a bit of a weird feeling. So just having that time by myself and actually consciously not thinking about everything actually helps a lot.

Yeah, I don't get a lot of alone time. I mean, I love my thing to do for me, even though I'm not by myself, it's read the paper on Saturdays and Sundays. Like I just love sitting down and I've set myself up a little area at the front of the house, which when the weather warms up, I'll be able to go and sit out there in the morning and have my morning coffee.

But I wanted to talk about, with COVID lockdowns, with all the shit that's going on, how you keep yourself motivated to keep going. Generally speaking, when it comes to my business, I have limited time. I work two days a week. It's just me. So I can't overload myself with clients, but in the three to four years that I've been in business, there's only been one or two occasions where I haven't had a couple of clients at once, or I haven't gone back to back with projects.

And this has happened to me recently. I mean, it was a blessing in disguise because it has meant that I've been able to do and catch up on shift that has just been building up and building up and doing some strategy stuff like I'm working on changing my business structure for next year. But, also found myself in those moments going, she haven't got a client and then I started to feel myself going down into this, like down into that pit again. I haven't got a client, but I'm trying to grow my business. So I start overthinking stuff. I start losing my motivation. I start my feel, my mojo slipping and running away as well. And, I guess what I'm asking is, how do you get yourself back out of that? What do you do to get back on track and to start feeling motivated again, when, you're unsure and facing all this uncertainty? 

So it's probably three things that I've been doing. Cause I've, I've felt that a lot, especially being unwell for the last couple of weeks. And then. Not having, my backlog of clients over the last couple of months, I felt myself just going down and down and down. And the things that bring me out of it, the first thing is human interaction. So I know that I need human interaction. So coming up to my office and just sitting here by myself, It actually destroys me. I don't sometimes I don't even like being in here because even though it's nice, it's light and I see the outside and I can do all these things. It actually, It still upsets me that I'm talking to myself and I'm not like I get into that rhythm of alright, myself is actually not good enough. And then I start to spiral down and to actually- talking to people and obviously working with you and talking to you has been great. Plus, I've got my best friend that I talk to.

She's been amazing from a spiritual perspective, we're, you know, talking through that and I’ve actually removed myself from even, podcasts and things I enjoy doing before I've started to just go, Nah, I'm not doing it, not doing it. So talking to people is my big thing, and then, uh, find that once I've talked, that gives me energy. So I get energy from people. So after this recording, for example, I know I'm going to be jacked up, like jacked up on and bothered, buzzing for hours. So that for me, I know that that's my energy and that's what it's probably saying. If you know what gives you energy, go to that thing. So for me, it's talking to people it's also walking around my garden and just being with trees and nature. That gives me a bit of a different buzz, but it gives me a good buzz anyway. So doing those things. And then when I know that, I mean that good Headspace I'll sit down and I'll start working on my goals and my strategy. 

The other thing I did, so the other thing I’ve been really, really trying to do every day is sing and dance. So I'll come up to my office and because I sit down or I'm like lying down or I'm like, so enthusiastic and energetic at the moment. So I’m actually forcing myself to move. So I can't see the office, I put the blinds down so no one can see and I just, why am I here? It's backwards and forwards. Like, I really hurt myself because my hips don’t move. So I've been swaying backwards and forwards and just singing at the top of my lungs, all these like really, songs that motivate me.

There’s a song in there, my hips don't move. 

Well they do, they crumble.

I've been actually moving and singing. That's been in the last week of really being, I mean, that's a real, I have to do it. So I actually say the night before, okay. At nine, o'clock go up to your office and you can just do half an hour of singing and moving your hips and I'm starting to get into that routine. And, but it's actually given me a bit of energy. 

That's gold. You wanna make sure that your, your webcam, have things covered your webcam. You might go viral. For all the wrong reasons. I’ll tell you what I've done. Nic and I do coaching sessions as well. And, she knows that for probably the best part of nine months, I've had an item on my to-do list, which is my vision board. Now, a bit of a story here, a few years ago I went through a really tricky part with my family. And, I felt this change in me, which was about recognizing that there's things that I can control and things that I can't control.

And it was this beautiful moment for me when I finally got in that headspace because shit started to go really well. I started my first ever vision board, which if you'd known me in the past, you'd be like, really? She has a vision board? I started manifesting. I started actually putting time aside to really focus on things that I wanted in my life.

And that's when my business started to take off my relationship change, all this good stuff started happening. And, when I look back on what was on that vision board, a lot of things came true and the universe gave me what I had asked for, which is incredible. When you think about it from a pitcher on a vision board to being in reality.

It's amazing. Anyway, so for the best part of nine months, I've had to do a new vision board on my to-do list. And in that time I've moved house and, all this shit's going on and I haven't done it. And then finally on Saturday, I went, fuck this, it's time You got it done. I've felt like I was in the right headspace to do it. And I got it done. And like it's sitting behind me and I'm just so proud that I finally got it done. And like that for me has motivated me and seeing what is on there is motivating me to keep going and to, You know the saying that I didn't have clients. Well, last week I got a rush of three, three proposals, went out, three clients are looking to book and, it's just amazing, I feel so motivated and energized now that I've done my vision board and yeah. That's how I've motivated myself.

I can see it. It looks great. 

Yeah, it looks pretty. Doesn't it? 

When you send it to me, it's like, I love the colors. Like it's so motivational.

Yeah. Yeah, I dunno. It's just if you'd asked me, you know, a couple of years ago about manifesting and what, I wouldn't have even known what that was. I had no idea. And then one of my good girlfriends put me on to, The Secret Life. Is it called The Secret Life? 

Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Yeah, and I watched it on Netflix.

If you haven't watched it, watch it. It's kind of mind-blowing. And even if you don't believe in all that stuff, if it's a bit woo woo for you, I encourage you to still watch it because it's just about changing your mindset and putting it out there what you want and focusing on what you want, believing that you actually, you can do it and that you deserve it and watch it. 

Do you know the movie it's The secret life of Walter Mitty? is another one, similar sort of thing. So it was a person that was all about looking at ways to manifest and to improve, or to get the life that you want. Really.

Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So it's called The Secret.

Ah, yeah. Yeah. I know.

I'm thinking about The Secret Life of Us, on TV. Yeah. But it's called The Secret. So it's, it was on Netflix. I don't know if it's still on there, but have a look and, yeah, it's, it was so interesting. I think I might try and make my 18-year-old stepson sit down and watch it as well. 

Anyway, that's probably it for today. I guess just to wrap up. Like I said, this was an unscripted conversation, I don't think it's going to go viral, but it really is about just real conversations and Nic and I have these conversations quite often and coming back to that point that we talked about having that support network. It's so important. If you've got a business buddy that you can sit down and have really frank conversations with during times of high stress, high pressure, Anything like that, I encourage you to, to talk to that person and, to relieve some of that pressure off yourself and just to recognize that shit happens all the time and you're not alone.

We're all facing our own versions of shit hitting the fan and coming undone and juggling so much. That's just life and that transparency and openness with your family, your friends, your clients, that's, what's going to pull you through. 

Yeah, for sure. And look, we're only here once, so let's make the most of it and that's taking care of yourself as well as running your business. So you need to really focus on making sure you're okay. And looking for those things that you get joy out of to help you out of those times of trouble as well.

So we hope you enjoyed today's podcast. We hope you are well and thriving. And if you've got any questions about what we've talked about today, or if there's anything that you'd like us to talk about, then please send us an email. And yea, we would love to hear from you. 📍  

Thanks, everyone. 

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