My business is Career Matters, and I call myself the CEO – Chief Encouragement Officer. I am so lucky to work with students and young adults aged 16-25 years, across NZ.
I remove the stress and uncertainty that students feel in exploring their career options, and I step in to help parents, by providing an objective, professional assessment of their child’s best career and study options! Because we all know that life’s too short (and study is too expensive!) to settle for anything less than a fulfilling career path; one that gives you purpose.
How did you get started in your business?
Well, it found me! It all began after the Christchurch earthquakes...
In the challenging years after the quakes, I saw many students lose their motivation to succeed. They became overwhelmed and started questioning the point of completing a qualification.
I began using a career-based personality assessment to help these students get excited again about their future, and I never stopped. The quakes may be over, but young people are still facing a lot of uncertainty. The workforce is changing rapidly, and I believe there is a great career path for everyone.
I’m passionate about challenging the way that parents think about helping their children through this process, and I love advocating for the student, as I know that schools and parents are using outdated thinking and strategies, which leads to generalised advice on career exploration and an over zealous focus on University being the answer for everyone. It isn’t.
Tell us what is one thing you do to attract more business?
In terms of attracting new business, referrals comprised 90% of my new clients until recently. In March of 2018, I realised that networking wasn’t a strength of mine, so I decided to connect with 100 new people in April and overcome my awkwardness in this area. It wasn’t fun, but it worked!
Since then, every week I try to include one networking event in my schedule; I also wrote a blog about the surprising things I learned about setting and achieving a daunting networking goal it could help you too!
Since April last year, I’ve noticed that more and more work is coming from those networking events, so now when I working with a new client I ask “What event did I meet you at?” rather than “Who referred you to me?” It’s been a game-changer for my business.
To grow my business, I love small business “mastermind” groups, where I learn from, get inspired by, and gain support from, a group of confident, savvy business women.
It’s taken me out of my business isolation and has kept me going, especially in those times when I wonder whether I’m just flogging a dead horse as I try to change thinking about career exploration for young adults.
Where do you go for help for business resources or outsourcing?
I have gained lots of value from online business networking groups; my favourites in this area are Network NZ, and She Owns It – these groups are full of amazing business owners, and I can ask the dumbest questions (and there have been quite a lot of these, honestly).
Do you a require everything in pristine order to focus or are you less orderly in your workspace/environment?
I love structure in my business, and I thrive when things are organised and planned. But I don’t have the time to be a perfectionist, and I’ve learned to embrace technology and prioritisation as the key to working out where I should best direct my energy (Trello and a detailed dairy/workbook are my favourite tools in this area).
I also notice that women in business tend to be technology-martyrs, as we make sure our children have the best PC etc. for school, while we use crappy outdated devices – addressing this at the start of the year has been huge for my business!
What do you do to get out of your head and unwind?
When I’m not working with young adults, I love to unwind and recharge by walking my dog along the Ashley River in North Canterbury – the quietness allows me to energise (I’m an introvert, so I recharge by spending time alone).
My dog gets to rid NZ of a few rabbits 😊. This thinking time has been critical to supporting my business confidence and creativity, so I book time out each morning for a long walk.
Please reach out to Tracey or pass on the link to this blog if you know someone who would benefit from some career advise.