#BYOB Episode 002 - Carol Benton: From Big Blue to Family time; how to make the jump and start your own business

BYOB podcast Carol Benton

Have you considered leaving the corporate world and starting your own business? Waving goodbye to a secure corporate role to follow your passion can, initially, seem daunting but the potential rewards can be life changing.

In this episode I’m joined by Carol Benton of Words2Win to talk about what motivated her to leave her own corporate job to become a successful business writer and communications consultant. Carol and I talk about Carol’s own catalyst for changing her career and why her network was, and remains, such a key contributor to her success. We also discuss how, by focusing on what she loved about her old role, Carol identified a new career that would both challenge and fulfil her.

Download in iTunes or get the links here - BYOB Podcast

If you prefer to read, here is the transcription...

[0:02:51] ANDREW:  So welcome to the podcast I’m Andrew Ford your host and today I’m very happy to have a good friend of mine and client Carol Benton from Words2Win who is going to tell us a little about her story and her journey going from a corporate employee to running her very own business.  So welcome Carol.

 

[0:03:08] CAROL: Thank you Andrew.

 

[0:03:09] ANDREW: So what I’d like to do in these episodes is to track your journey but just for the listeners out there could you just give us a quick synopsis of what you do today, what is Words2Win and where you came from before we dive deep in the background.

 

[0:03:24] CAROL: Sure, I’m a communication coach and a business writer so Words2Win is a business that helps clients win more business through effective communication.

 

[0:03:35] ANDREW: Nice pitch.

 

[0:03:36] CAROL: Wonder where I learnt that, thank you, so I help people to articulate their value and then to put that into a consistent message across a number of different formats, where that’s brochure, whether that's their web sites, whether that’s a great pitch, I help them articulate their value and then communicate it.

 

[0:03:57] ANDREW: But you didn’t always do that so give us a quick background.

 

[0:04:00] CAROL: No, I spent 30 years in corporate life in IBM, IBM UK and IBM Australia, in a number of roles, mainly client facing so sales, marketing, leadership roles, a little stint in operations as well so back office, so yeah, 30 years in corporate IT sales.

 

[0:04:25] ANDREW: And how long have you been doing Words2Win?

 

[0:04:27] CAROL: Just under 2 years.

 

[0:04:28] ANDREW: Great, So what we’re going to do now, I’d just like to delve into that background in a little more detail, so tell me about your time at IBM, so the things you loved to do, the different roles you had, just give us a synopsis of what life is like working for a big corporate, for those that have never done so.

 

[0:04:44] CAROL:  Sure, I joined as a graduate and the training was outstanding. I was in a marketing and sales role and IBM worked on the bases that they didn’t need people who already knew a lot of technical stuff, they wanted people who had the basics of communication skills and they would teach us the technical stuff that we needed to know, so we had excellent training.  I really enjoyed working with clients, the primary role was to understand the client's business, understand their issues and then put together solutions to help solve those issues, when I look back at it, people used to say to me you’ve got a degree in French and Spanish, how come you're working in an IT company in sales, and I’d say but you know what it’s not that different because what I’m doing is I’m taking something that the customer has, an issue, or some knowledge about their business and I’m translating that, and also taking what IBM has, and pulling the two together, I’m translating from what the customer needs into what IBM could offer and that was all about communication, that was the primary skill, it was all about communication and I really really enjoyed that.

 

[0:06:16] ANDREW: And this is the, I think, some people think that working for somebody else is not the right solution, most people should be out there doing their own thing, some entrepreneurs are very like that, you know I came from a corporate background, we met at IBM and I had great times in my corporate life, not always but at times, and I think for me it was, when I went off to do my own thing it was for a reason, there’s a catalyst for change, and I think the workplace has changed as well, when I started at IBM I got zero training you know the training was dried up by then, I was only there for a short period of time, but for you, you were there for a long period of time, you probably settled in you didn’t know anything else, so what was the catalyst for changing for you?

 

[0:06:59] CAROL:  It was interesting because I was enjoying what I was doing, by this stage, by the end, when I say 30 years in IBM in fact the last 3 years IBM sold the division that I was running and we were part of Toshiba, but very much still the same people and the same culture, and I was leading a business that manufactured and sold point of sale hardware products and I did enjoy that….

 

[0:07:25] ANDREW:  Give me some examples of what that is?

 

[0:07:27] CAROL:  So that's essentially electronic cash registers, to put it in very simple terms it's the machines that you go through at the checkout in Woolworths or Coles and all the stuff around them, the software and the maintenance to support them, and the services, so a large and interesting business and I ran that for Australia and New Zealand and I enjoyed many many aspects of it.  I’d say there were several catalysts to me moving.  The first was the sale of the business to another company and whilst we were initially given a lot of autonomy, we were set up pretty much an autonomous business under that umbrella, we the leadership of the new owners became more and more and more involved so I felt that I still had all the responsibility but I had less and less authority and control to run things that I felt I knew the Australian and New Zealand territory well and I felt that I knew how I wanted to run that.  So that was the first thing.  The second thing was that my family was getting older, I have two children and I had to travel a lot with the job as you can imagine covering the whole of Australia and New Zealand plus international travel, I was away an awful lot, and the thing they never tell you when you become a parent is that actually your children need you more as teenagers…

 

[0:09:04] ANDREW: Yeah, I’ve heard this from a lot of people…

 

[0:09:04] CAROL: So how old are yours now?

 

[0:09:06] ANDREW: They’re 12 and 7…

 

[0:09:06] CAROL: Yeah, you’re nearly there…

 

[0:09:09] ANDREW: I think I’m in the easy period now…

 

[0:09:13] CAROL:  ...we had had help at home when the kids were younger and I was away a lot and I just suddenly realised they need you more, and the problems aren't ones you can just put a bandaid on, they are problems that need to be talked about and also as they get older you think I haven’t got long left with them living at home and actually wanting to be with me, so that was the second catalyst, and the third was much more practical it was financial, there was a restructure, there was an opportunity to leave with a payout.  The new company we had a three year transition where we were still on IBM terms and conditions and as you know IBM conditions were quite generous in terms of payouts, and I left two months before the IBM terms and conditions reverted to those of the new ownership which were going to be less generous and I just thought after thirty years this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to ...there were the other catalysts and then that one made it a decision I couldn’t refuse.

 

[0:10:24] ANDREW: Makes it a simple decision really…

 

[0:10:24] CAROL: It actually made it a fairly simple decision….

 

[0:10:27] ANDREW: I get that a lot from our clients is that, when the values start to be eroded, so family values or other things in your life, your personal life, that makes work more challenging and then you’ve got business challenges on top, people who have the propensity to leave, but they don’t leave because it's hard to make that transition unless someone calls them for a new job or they have an opportunity to exit with some money which makes the landing softer when you get out…

 

[0:10:57] CAROL: So yeah, those were the three catalysts I guess for me…

 

[0:11:01] ANDREW: You must have been fearful I mean thirty years in the same company it must have been a big decision?

 

[0:11:04] CAROL: Yes, it's interesting, thirty years in the same company however part of the interest in working for a very large corporate like that is that you do do lots of different things so I didn’t feel like...I hadn’t been thirty years in the same job I had been in IBM UK, IBM Australia, back to IBM UK , back to IBM Australia, probably changed jobs every three or four years...two to four years, but even so yes I remember having a discussion with my husband saying I don’t know if I’ll know who I am if I leave…

 

[0:11:38] ANDREW: Yeah that identity….

 

[0:11:39] CAROL: It was so much a part of my identity and as you know picking up the phone to a potential new client or someone and  having that name behind you of a major blue chip corporate is very empowering, people generally take your call and is was that if I’m not that person who am I business wise who am I so yes there was a lot of fear…

 

[0:12:03] ANDREW: But not even just business wise, you go to a BBQ the next morning and they go oh what do you do and you're like, nothing, I used to work for IBM...

 

[0:12:13] CAROL: I used to work for IBM exactly right, so yes it was scary…

 

[0:12:15] ANDREW: And so you jumped out, you get the money, you had the nice exit and you probably took some time off I’d imaging to think about what you wanted to do so how did you start on the path to figure it out, because I think a lot of people who leave a corporate situation particularly after a while or even if they have been in many corporate but the same kind of role if they are going to go and do something different, even if it’s working for someone else but a different type of position or a different industry, it's a transition so how do you figure out, or how did you figure out what to do next?

 

[0:12:50] CAROL: Yeah look I had no idea when I left and the first thing I did was take two months, two months off.

 

[0:12:55] ANDREW: You’ve earned that after thirty 30 years.

 

[0:12:56] CAROL: I’ve earned that after thirty 30 years that's right so I went overseas for four weeks to see my family and then I came back and had a bit of a think about it and I assumed I’d get another ...I’d just go..I’d get another job and I had sort of thought well maybe it would be nice to be in a smaller company this time I didn’t want to work for another big IT company because I thought I’ve worked for one of the biggest and the best, I don’t want to try and replicate that, and do you know...after thirty years you know your way around a company, it’s bit like being married to someone after a long time you know their quirks good and bad, you know the way things work, you know you way around and I just thought, to start again with a new company I just thought….

 

[0:13:41] ANDREW: I don’t want to get re-married...

 

[0:13:41] CAROL: That's right, you don’t want to get re-married you know so I really didn’t know what I wanted to do and that’s why I came and spoke to you initially, it wasn’t about what I wanted to do it was about just about what do I do with my LinkedIn profile because I hadn’t updated it because I didn’t want to say looking for work, and I didn’t know what to do so I came along to one of your talks about LinkedIn and I thought oh I must re-connect with Andrew because as you say we’d worked together at IBM and I thought I must re-connect with Andrew now that he’s become a personal branding specialist and ….so my initial thought was I’ll talk to Andrew about my LinkedIn profile while I’m still looking and how do I structure my LinkedIn profile so I can use it to help me find my next job in a company...

 

[0:14:32] ANDREW: Whatever it is...

 

[0:14:32] CAROL: And then you said let's go through the process of just thinking a little bit about what it is you want to do and what sort of job you want to be able to find because that will then affect how we structure your profile and we went through that process and it was like a light bulb moment when you said to me looking at all the answers you have given me to these questions you said do you actually want to work for a company or ...I’m getting the feeling you might like to work for yourself and it was a light bulb moment and I have found that I’ve had that before in the past where you actually it's only when someone else verbalises it that you suddenly realise that oh my god that's what I want.  And I remember when I went into sales in IBM I was in marketing and I was with the whole sales team and they needed a new sales rep and my boss said to me I think you should be the new sales rep and I said sales, oh no, you know, sales is a bit scary you know, with commission ...and then I thought oh my god yeah that's what I want to do and it was just like that I thought, yes I want to work for myself.

 

[0:15:44] ANDREW: I think thats when people, thats why people have coaches and that's why people see other people you know consultants or psychologists or whoever to get an outside opinion because you’re often too close to it and you can’t see how the dots connect logically but other people can so...

 

[0:16:00] CAROL: Absolutely and the irony is that's one of things I help clients do now, they know their business really really well but they have difficulty communicating that, in the way that the market needs to hear it so yeah absolutely, I’m a firm believer that other people can sometimes see things that you can't see so then of course it was what are you going to do if you have your own business and when I left my job my team to work were absolutely fantastic and when I left one of them said to me, and I’m still in touch with all of them,  one of them said to me he said oh he said Carol when you're gone, he said, how are we going to manage with proposals, he said, because we actually worked really well together the sales reps and my technical guru, they would write the sort of the answers to the questions in the proposal and then I would executive summary that sort of pulled all the arguments together and articulated our value proposition and he said to me what are we going to do, he said you’re so good at writing those executive summary and the value proposition, I thought oh year I am actually, yeah I think I am, I wonder if anyone would pay me to help them do that and it started off as, my idea was to do proposals but then of course I realised that people don't have proposals to do every day, they only have a proposal when they have a proposal to write, so I expanded it into other forms of articulating a value proposition.  But the really interesting thing is, yes I knew that I was good at that, and I had been to a talk, I think it was one with you actually, where somebody had said, if you are finding it difficult to find what you are really passionate about, think about what you enjoyed when you were twelve.  It’s a quote from a business coach who’s name I forget at the moment, an American lady, anyway, and I thought, when I was twelve I studied languages and I loved the idea that person A couldn't talk to person B unless they had somebody who spoke both their languages. A is French, B is English, oh I speak French, I can help that person speak to that person, or I can talk to both of them and that idea of translation and communication and that's what I do. That's what I do I translate from internal language to customer language and I help people do that.

 

[0:18:40] ANDREW: Do you articulate that to your clients like that?

 

[0:18:43] CAROL: Sometimes yes...

 

[0:18:45] ANDREW: And do they really get it?

 

[0:18:46] CAROL: Yes they do, and in fact I do my own presentation and it starts with me...the very first words out of my mouth are French, I stand up and I say to them do your clients understand what you do, do they hear you, do they understand you, do they take action, and I say that to them in French, and then I say, I bet you didn't understand a word I said, that’s because I was speaking one language, and of course you always have a few people in the audience who speak French and ...oh oui, oui, you know but yes I do use that analogy with clients...

 

[0:19:19] ANDREW: I love that, I love that...I love the fact that you went back to the childhood to find the passion, because I know when you go into corporates you do what they tell you to do, and hopefully it hits on some points of your passion but the benefit I say with people with starting your own business is that you get to design your business around you what you really like to do and make a love list and a hate list and outsource the hate list and do more of the love list right, so now that you’ve been doing it for a while, what are the learnings and the things that you would like to say to the Caral of two years ago when you first started, what are the things that moved the needle for you, was it doing a web site or getting a coach or getting your first sell or getting your first customer, what were the things that really made the difference to get your business successful?

 

[0:20:08] CAROL: I think one of the big things was actually doing your course Andrew, the launch in 12 weeks and you said to us that the aim was after 12 weeks we would sign our first customer and I signed my first customer 3 days after finishing the course.  The thing about that was it gave me a structure because it’s not so much teaching you about things you don’t know, although there was quite a bit I didn’t know,  but it was giving you a structure and an a accountability that said right this week we are going to do this and next week we are going to do that so you need to prepare x y and z, and the people I met on the course and understanding different approaches to a business but I think that really really helped.

 

[0:20:51] ANDREW: So structure and accountability, because you know I work with Dent and obviously Social Star, and it’s not an add for those things but I think that those two elements are really important, so the structure in terms of why am I doing something, what am I doing, and how do I do it, if you know those things you can do it.

 

[0:21:08] CAROL: That’s right, and the hardest part of the course and I remember discussing this with you at the time I think it was about week 2 of the 12 and I think we spent the first 4 weeks on why am I doing what I'm doing, and what exactly am I doing and who am I doing it for and I wasn’t clear about that in my head and by the second week I thought I’m going to have to give this course up and come back to it later and I’m so glad I didn't because the structure and accountability forced me to think about those things and to get them, they might not have been 100 percent at the time of course it evolves but it got me 80 or 90 percent of the way there, enough to be able to then move onto the next stage which was about building your web site articulating my value proposition and then building contacts and finding clients so yes, the structure and accountability especially around the why, was super super important.

 

[0:22:07] ANDREW: And I think that’s the thing if you get that, like in the course we talk about setting intentions, so not necessarily goals, you know, I want to make 100 grand in the first year, by this date but it's a very specific goal but more intention of this is kind of what I want to do, this is how I want my business to be and what it represents and it vague but its more ...it's something more long term because it's not a oh I haven’t hit it by the date I feel disappointed it's more of a overarching theme of where I want to get to in my business and kind of my life in a way so I like that approach because once you get that you’ve got something to aim for, you know I want to be a successful singer not I want to win The Voice this year, because if you don’t get in it’s all over right, you want to have something that is more longer term because you’ve got to persist and the thing is...you know when you tell that story I remember that time and I think that a lot of people who don’t persist, never break through, because they are probably looking for perfection or they are looking for the ultimate outcome not progressing on the journey because the first time you sell something, that’s not going to be the product that you sell 2 years later but you have to go through that and you have to get to the first customer to get to the fifth, to the tenth, and at one hundred you would probably have a better idea but businesses are always evolving but you just have to start ...

 

[0:23:30] CAROL: That;s exactly right and look some of my offerings are productised now they certainly weren’t on day one and other things are sort of still evolving but that’s half the fun of it the products are whatever I want them to be and whatever I need them to be and whatever my clients...

 

[0:23:50] ANDREW: Want you to do...I saw a client previous to this podcast and I was saying to him that the product you start with is not the product you end with and if a customer asks you to do something in the realm of your skill set the answer is always yes at the start.

 

[0:24:05] CAROL: Absolutely, yes, yes...

 

[0:24:06] ANDREW: Because you go , yeah you got money? Because if you start working on stuff you go, you might get to the end of the project and say actually that actually isn’t what I want to do but then you know.

 

[0:24:16] CAROL: Exactly right...

 

[0:24:16] ANDREW: And then you can figure out more what you really want to do because it's a process to get there.

 

[0:24:21] CAROL: I’ve got one of those at the moment, somebody has approached me about a piece of work that's not necessarily what I saw myself doing but it fits in with the skill set and it fits in with what I do, there’s an overlap, so I’ve said let’s explore it further...

 

[0:24:36] ANDREW: Let’s explore it exactly...

 

[0:24:38] CAROL: Nothing to lose...

 

[0:24:38] ANDREW: Nothing to lose correct and because I mostly work with service professionals and so it's a bit more flexible but even products, if you go to a big product manufacturer and say I want 100,000 units of that, it's a special run, if it's big enough they’ll do it...because its business right, we are here to service a client need and if we can make a profit doing it, great, so i guess start with the end in mind but realise we are not at the end, we are at the start.

 

[0:25:03] CAROL: Yes, exactly right...

 

[0:25:04] ANDREW: And you’ve just got to take action and the action is the part that will break through those barriers not the thinking about it.

 

[0:25:14] CAROL: So yeah look doing that course was a big help for me, the other thing I think was, or another thing, was, I would say once of the most valuable things I left my corporate life with was my network and even now, 2 years later most of my clients, a majority of my clients, are people I already knew. So I left my corporate job with a good reputation some good relationships and although I am doing something that is quite different to what I was doing, I think that your professionalism and your integrity hold, nobody has ever said well are you any good at this, they’ve sort of said Carol tell me about what you do now or I’ve actually called them and said can I tell you about what I do now? And they have never sort of said what gives you the qualifications to do that, they trust me, and that network has been invaluable because they them of course recommend you to others that was absolutely invaluable as well...

 

[0:26:26] ANDREW: It’s actually a really interesting point that I think about a lot, I think about branding a lot obviously that's my trade but people think that their brand and credibility is based on the proof of what they do and case studies and those things are important and qualifications can be useful and so forth, but you hit upon the real brand essence which is do you persist, are you relatable, can I work with you, that's the reputational things are you capable, if you’ve been capable at one thing likely you're going to be capable at another thing. It’s just a new set of skills, it's a new output, so it people resonate with you as a brand what ever product you're selling they are likely to be interested in talking about right?

 

[0:27:08] CAROL: Yes.

 

[0:27:08] ANDREW: So that’s really the essence of brand, it's not...you know I do the digital part, how you look and fell on line so people can find you and examine what you do, but that's all based on what you are in real life.

 

[0:27:21] CAROL: Yes of course...

 

[0:27:21] ANDREW: It’s a reflection...you can’t pretend to be credible on line if you're not credible off line, so people forget that part of it.  So, you’ve done that for a couple of years and let’s get to the business where it is today, so we don’t want to go into details of your finance but you're making money, things are going well tell me a bit more about how the business is today...

 

[0:27:44] CAROL: Yeah, the business is going well, financially I’m no worse off, I’m making about the same as I was as my base salary in corporate, and there was some years where that’s all you get, oh not much more, so financially things are ahead of where...I set myself some goals and they are ahead of those goals ...

 

[0:28:09] ANDREW: Congratulations to you...

 

[0:28:10] CAROL: Thank you very much, so that’s going well, I’m getting referrals, I don’t advertise in the sense of paid advertising...

 

[0:28:19] ANDREW: Paid marketing...

 

[0:28:19] CAROL: Yep, I’m a big believer in social media and sharing your knowledge and IP and in fact only last week I had somebody call me somebody completely outside of my network, call me purely on the strength of a LinkedIn article that I published and he called me, we met, and I provided a proposal so...

 

[0:28:43] ANDREW: Content marketing...

 

[0:28:43] CAROL: Content marketing absolutely, as you would expect from somebody who is all about content, so financially things are going ok, I’m getting referrals, I’ve got business coming to me, now I’m not complacent, I still network...

 

[0:28:59] ANDREW: It’s not a passive sport...

 

[0:29:00] CAROL: It’s not a passive sport absolutely, I’ve just joined a new networking group, and I make sure I keep in touch with people but it’s going really well, I mean I’ve got longer term intentions and I can certainly … I haven’t got the detailed steps for all of them, you know for the longer term stuff yet but I can see that they could potentially be achievable yes.  And I’m enjoying it, I’m loving it!

 

[0:29:26] ANDREW: Isn’t that the point right, because that was the next question is how is it working with your family that you had the challenge with, how much time are you spending, are you spending as much time as you were to produce those same results you had in corporate?

 

[0:29:40] CAROL: You know, it's probably one of those things I need to do better is track my time, because I’m based at home, I still go out and see clients face to face, I think I’d go stir crazy if I didn't so I see clients but I’m not commuting everyday, I’m not travelling, I was away probably 2 or 3 nights a fortnight, I do make the odd trip to Sydney but it’s on my terms, so I’m at home...even if I’m working I’m at home when the kids get home from school, but I might work on a Saturday or Sunday because I want to or because I enjoy it or because I’ve got something to finish off and I can then bill a client you know, so it’s hard to know how many hours I work a week because they’re spread out differently.  But I think it’s probably fewer...for money that is not that different.

 

[0:30:33] ANDREW: Yeah, but you seem to be more relaxed about it in terms of...the thing that I tell people is ...you know people say that time is their most precious resource and I don’t kind of believe that because everyone has the same amount of time so you know, Nelson Mandela had lots of time he was just in prison, so to me it’s the ability to use that time in the way you wish, so if you choose to go and spend time with your family because it’s dinner time and you want to be home with them between I don’t know 5 and 7 o’clock, and then work later then you can do that because it’s your own business, you can work Sunday night because you want to get something out and then take Friday off.  It’s the freedom to do...and it's also the freedom to spend time with who you like. So if you’re doing the jobs you like to do with the people you like, when you like to do it, that’s kind of success in my book.

 

[0:31:20] CAROL: And look, when I travelled a lot I didn't get to exercise as much as I would like to, I go to the gym every morning now, or walk the dog or go for a run you know, because I’m there and I’m based at home so yeah look I’ve got a lot more freedom, I’ve got a lot more flexibility, being based at home gives you flexibility, and I think my husband and children will probably say I’m less stressed, hopefully nicer to be around, you now it’s interesting, I’ve learnt, I’ve had something confirmed to me that I believe I always knew about sales, and that’s that clients will buy when they need what you’ve got, sounds pretty basic doesn’t it, and yet in corporate life as you know Andrew, it's all monthly targets, quarterly targets, committing to a deal and then, you know, have got to bring that deal in this quarter or this month or this week or this day and that caused us in corporate to perform some pretty unnatural acts in terms of reducing prices or asking clients to take something they weren't ready to take all because of those quarterly and monthly targets.  In the end if clients understand what you do, and they want what you offer they will buy it when they are ready and I’ve had a couple of examples where I’ve gone to see somebody and they’ve gone, yep great understand that but we don’t need it at the moment.  In one case a year later that managing director of the client rang me and then, they’re now a client I’m actively working with them and only yesterday I had a call from an opportunity I thought was probably dead, I’d been speaking with this company and then they had sort of put it off and put it off, and then yesterday I get an email saying we’d like to go ahead now, so it just...I love the fact that I’m not having to do things that I know aren't the right way to deal with clients.

 

[0:33:20] ANDREW: Yeah, think it’s called integrity...

 

[0:33:21] CAROL: Absolutely it’s called integrity and I love that in the end when my clients choose to work with me it's because they want what I offer and the time is right for them...

 

[0:33:36] ANDREW: And they’re probably not like crunching you for a discount...

 

[0:33:39] CAROL: No I’ve never given a discount...

 

[0:33:40] ANDREW: Because you don’t have to because you are offering fair value and its just when they’ve got the problem they need a solution and if you position yourself well they’ll come to you.  It reminds me actually of children, talk about children because it’s high on my values but I remember reading when I was  a first time parent that kids need to eat a variety of foods and if they’re not eating vegetables and all that sort of stuff when they are young you’ve got to make them, and so when my first son Hudson was, I remember he was only about 2, and he’s in the high chair and I’ve got to feed him these vegetables because it’s important and da-da-da, and so I tried to force feed it to him. Literally, shove it in his mouth, and I felt terrible but that’s what they are telling me to do ...train him well da-da-da and he just spat it out and sat there for an hour and it was….by the end of it he was crying and I was frustrated and it’s like, no good result.  And over time, I’ve got 2 kids now, and over time I’ve realised when they’re hungry they eat, when they’re not hungry they don’t eat, and if I encourage them along the process they’ll eat all those things.  Hudson now is 12 but he will eat those vegetables, he will do those things, because it’s just part of the process right, so I think that’s the analogue of customers is don’t try and force the broccoli in their mouth because the customer is just going to spit it out and not enjoy the experience...

 

[0:35:02] CAROL: And you and I have both been there and seen that first hand and had to be part of that and I love the fact that I am free of that and I love the fact that if I say to a client that something will be done, by a certain date or done in a certain way, short of me getting knocked over by a bus, it will be done, where again in corporate life one of the frustrations I had was that you could make a statement or a commitment to a client and then the corporation would decommit on me and my integrity and my reputation was undermined and I love the fact now that my reputation is solely in my hands because in the end that’s all you’ve got your reputation and your integrity and your IP, the product is what I want it to be and if I say it’s going to be done then it’s going to be done.

 

[0:35:56] ANDREW: I love that. So there’s things you probably miss about corporate as well, because corporate has some ...or a job or working for somebody else, so is there any of those things that you think back...

 

[0:36:07] CAROL: I thought the other day yes, I’ll tell you what I miss, my Qantas frequent flyer has gone down from platinum to silver and probably won’t stay silver very long and when I go up to Sydney later this week I’m flying Tiger because it’s all my own money.

 

[0:36:20] ANDREW: I hear you….

 

[0:36:21] CAROL: I miss that...

 

[0:36:24] ANDREW: I walk past the Qantas club and I’m like hi guys

 

[0:36:26] CAROL: Yeah so that, I miss ...I don’t miss the travel but I do miss the perks of when you do travel of being able to jump the queues and...not that we got to fly business club but at least you got the points.

 

[0:36:41] ANDREW: What about being around other people….being part of a big machine...

 

[0:36:45] CAROL: Do you know one of the things I was most worried about along with how will I know who I am was I had all these relationships with my network that were business and friendship it was a great network and I was really worried about what my husband described as not being part of the tribe, but actually I still see a lot of those people, some of them are my clients or we still network so I think I’ve got the balance about right between seeing people you know being based at home, which is great, and getting out and seeing people so no I don’t miss that, I thought I would but I don’t really miss that because I do go and see...even things I could do on the phone sometimes I actually go and do them face to face because I can just because...

 

[0:37:32] ANDREW: Choice...

 

[0:37:33] CAROL: Yeah, choice...is there anything else, not a great deal to be honest.  Isn’t that sad my Qantas points are the thing I suppose, no look I miss my team that I had in my last job that I had in my last job were awesome but do you know most of them are based in Melbourne and we have a coffee and that’s great because I can go and have a coffee with them as a friend, not as a boss so no, not a great deal...

 

[0:37:56] ANDREW: So after all that you have been through now, become your own boss, if you had to give one piece of advice to someone who is sitting in corporate now, who have been there for 20 years 30 years, and they are thinking it’s grating on my values, I’m thinking about making a change but it’s scary, what would be your parting advice to them before they jump ship, or make the decision to jump ship.

 

[0:38:21] CAROL: Oh gosh I would probably say, going back to what we were talking about earlier that sometimes somebody else can be a bit more objective so I found it very valuable, I mean, I jumped before I did this, I would say take some guidance from a coach or whoever and use somebody else's insights to learn about yourself because you often can’t see it yourself.  And actually if I may make that two pieces of advice, so one is to use somebody external and the other is really nurture that network and don’t be afraid to then, whatever you do in your next step whether that is another corporate whether that's another small company whether that's working for yourself, don’t be afraid to keep in touch with those people and you still have the relationship it’s just a changed relationship.  I found the network to be very important, not only as a source of business but actually just a source of still feeling connected and ...part of the tribe.

 

[0:39:31] ANDREW: Carol, congratulations on your success and your advice and we’ll put all your details in the show notes if people want to talk to you about your business proposals and so forth and if anyone wants to connect with you what’s the best way to do that?

 

[0:39:45] CAROL: Probably the best way is either through LinkedIn, Carol Benton, or through my website words to win, words, number two, win.

 

[0:39:56] ANDREW: Thank you Carol.

 

[0:39:57] CAROL: Thank you.

 

[0:39:57] ANDREW: Ok, bye bye.