Louise Nealon is an award-winning Public Relations Director who specialises in supporting purpose-led organisations and campaigns. Louise started her own business, in partnership, in 2007. After 10 years, she relaunched under her own name.
When Louise began one-to-one business coaching with me in July 2021, she was already earning excellent money, with a stable of retainer clients who considered Louise as part of their team, complemented by recurring annual project work, including a boat in the Sydney to Hobart race and Queer Screen’s Mardi Gras Film Festival.
Having co-owned a PR consultancy in Sydney city and managing a team in her first business, she didn’t really want to lease a city office and hire a team, but was unclear about how she’d earn more otherwise. Louise had rebranded under her own name, with beautiful professional photography, and her business looked awesome from the outside.
But she was keen on more.
Louise had been stuck in an earnings plateau for some time, she hadn’t put her prices up for years, and was keen to redefine her relationship with money as well as her business.
Says Louise, “I was going through the motions. I’d lost my mojo. I was keen to explore various options for redesigning my business model and what they could look like.
“I chose you because I’d been a long-time email subscriber of yours and loved what you said and the way you said it. I loved your purpose. ‘Hustle and heart’ says it all about you.”
Embracing the hustle
The first problem that Louise identified was a great reluctance to negotiate rates and talk about money. She found pricing proposals took a lot of time and energy and understood she needed to change her attitude and beliefs around money and pricing.
We set a conservative monthly revenue goal which she smashed quickly, so the second goal she set was 75% higher again. She’s exceeded this several times since. Part of this progress included speaking with long-term clients about her value and how that could be remunerated better.
Through business coaching, Louise increased her prices, started invoicing upfront, changed her terms and conditions, chased outstanding bills that were causing significant stress, and created proposals to streamline her quotation process, while improving her conversion rate.
“Brook helped me examine my revenue regularly and explore various options to leverage my expertise, cultivate more of the work that I loved, and delegate, outsource, or partner with others who could take on pieces of work that I wasn’t passionate about.”
“I can easily become overwhelmed but Brook has have a way of breaking down complex things and apply a laser focus to see beyond what I can see. She bring this infectious fun energy which changed my opinion on sales, business development and marketing. She made it fun to work on my business.”
Together, Louise and I looked at her innate strengths and talents, things she was deeply curious about exploring, and areas that she was competent in, but had lost interest in.
“You made it about me the business owner, not just the business. I especially enjoyed the insights I gained about designing my ideal lifestyle and how my schedule could look.”
We explored different business models and options for how to manage client work as well as work more collaboratively, to develop her professional skills as well as reduce the isolation that being in business for yourself so often means. Louise became more strategic and focused with her networking, developing a team of service professionals to complement her skill set and offer a wider array of services to clients and prospective clients.
“There was nothing we didn’t explore, from exercise and nutrition, to where I was living – I’ve since moved out of the city and bought a house by the beach with my wife! – to goals that went far beyond the business.” Louise hired an organiser to help her move into her new house, and joined the local bootcamp on the beach.
“I totally appreciate now just how important your attitude, health and wellbeing and outlook is to your business’s bottom line.”
From service provider to business owner
One of the big changes in identity Louise made was from service provider, at the beck and call of clients, to expert and owner. Instead of being paid to do the ‘grunt work’ of raising visibility and publicity on behalf of her clients, Louise is changing her approach, to being paid for her strategic ideas, for others to implement.
“You’ve definitely increased my self-belief and changed my perspective of myself, from service provider to business owner.” Louise now treats her business like one of her clients, scheduling time for regular business planning, brainstorming and creativity.
Louise has improved her decision-making abilities as an owner – which is a central skill – including not agonising about turning down less-than-ideal clients. “You have a great ability to help me find solutions very quickly that always seemd to work.”
Louise can discern between fast decisions and those requiring more consideration, and regularly carves out time making decisions, rather than rushing the process because it feels uncomfortable.
But perhaps the biggest change is the sea change, from an inner-city Sydney suburb, to a beach-side house south of Sydney.
Says Louise, “My self-trust and self-confidence have hugely increased through working with you. Work has gone from something quite stressful to really enjoyable. I see a future for my business now, whereas before my retirement plan was to win Lotto! You make business fun – like I can achieve anything.”