"I get to be both"

with Lauren Armes, founder of WellToDo and coach

Show notes:

Lauren Armes’ plan was never to build a wildly successful business and then exit. But motherhood (and Covid!) was a catalyst for change. Not only did Lauren’s definition of success change, but how she wanted to build her life did too.

So Lauren sold WellToDo to focus on motherhood, yes, but also on building her purpose-led coaching business around her family. A night and day difference between her current and previous businesses.

I think for me, the stand out point from our conversation is the ‘I get to be both’ point, we can be great mums and great business owners at the same time. We just need the right support. I’ve had so many conversations with mums disappointed in themselves because their business isn’t where they want it to be, but they are also main carer for their kids, taking care of ageing parents, looking after a household… the list goes on.

Lauren is really clear on where she wants to invest her time as a business owner and as a mum, and is transparent about where she outsources and gets help so she can find fulfilment as both. She doesn’t do it all: Lauren is not a domestic goddess, she is an outsourcing queen. As you can imagine, this is music to my ears.

Listen in for:

  • Lauren’s journey from Australia to London, building and selling WellToDo and scaling her ‘side hustle’ coaching into a heart led and successful business
  • How pregnancy was the catalyst in changing
  • Lauren’s definition of success and what that meant for WellToDo, and how she runs her coaching business now
  • How Lauren finds balance, where we find ROI on your time as a business owner, what our kids will remember and where we find fulfilment as mums and founders
  • Being honest about where you have help, it’s not realistic or helpful to think that a mum and business owner is ‘doing it all’
  • We get to be both: a great mum and a great business owner
  • What kind of business owner are you? One that can step away from your business and it runs itself, or one whose business relies on its founder
  • Measurements of success, a big team and a lovely office is one version of success, but come with their own problems
  • Men and women all want the same things when it comes to balancing business and family
  • Lauren’s advice on how to build authority as a business owner

Links:

Website
Instagram
LinkedIn

 

About Lauren Armes:

Lauren Armes is the leading business coach for wellness experts (with ACTUAL real-world CEO experience).

In 2014 Lauren founded the global wellness industry media company, Welltodo – which was acquired by Fitt Insider in 2022. Building and scaling a business in the wellness industry, and then exiting, provides her with real-world, in-the-trenches insight that gets results for her clients..

She now coaches experts in wellness to create 6 & 7 figure online businesses so they can transform lives (without sacrificing their own) Lauren’s clients include some names many of us in the mum community might know including Adrienne Herbert, Zoe Blaskey and our very own former podcast guest Hollie Grant. – just to name a few!
Not only this, but Lauren is also a mummy and spent the past few years navigating this new role to her world.

If you are in the wellness industry THIS is the podcast for you, Lauren has been featured as an industry authority on the BBC series The Apprentice, as well as by Forbes, The Times, BBC, Evening Standard, Glamour, Grazia, Cosmopolitan and many more.

She also hosts EXPERTS, a podcast about building and scaling a successful expert business in the wellness industry and as well as her brand Beyond Seven – THE home for business resources, courses and high-level coaching for health and wellness practitioners, coaches and experts, to create greater impact, money and freedom.

Lauren Armes’ Links:

Website
Instagram
LinkedIn

Transcript:

Caroline

I’m going to be direct with you and, as the person Mary who edits my podcast will know, I am not the most direct person, but I am going to be right now, I want to get sponsorship for this podcast and I want it to grow because I feel the response from this community and the response from the growth in less than a year is that we need to continue these conversations and to do that, we need sponsorship. We need to be able to pay the team to continue to support me and my time to do this. And how can you help with that? Well you’re listening, so thank you very much. But please, please, please like or leave a review wherever you are listening right now. I literally left another podcast a review on Apple Podcasts the other day, and it took me two minutes. It took so little time. I did it from my iPhone. Please, please do it and come and tell me when you’ve done it so I can thank you personally.

Intro

Hello. I’m Caroline Marshall, and welcome to Bump to Business Owner the podcast speaking to mums in business. You. I’ll be in conversation with some of the most inspiring women and mothers in enterprise about their journey, how they created their successful businesses alongside raising their children and what that looks like in work and family life.

Caroline:
Hello and welcome to today’s episode of Bump to Business Owner. I’m your host, Caroline Marshall, and today I’m so pleased to welcome Lauren Armes. Lauren Armes is the leading business coach for wellness experts with actual real world CEO experience. In 2014, Lauren founded the Global Wellness Industry Media Company Welltodo, which was acquired by Fit Insider in 2022. Building and scaling a business in the wellness industry and then exiting provides her with real world, in the trenches insight that gets results for her clients. She now coaches experts in wellness to create six and seven figure online businesses so they can transform lives without sacrificing their own. Lauren’s clients include some names. Many of us in the mum community might know, including Adrienne Herbert, Zoe Blaskey and our very own former podcast guest Hollie Grant, just to name a few. Not only this, but Lauren is also a mummy and spent the past few years navigating this new role to her world.

(02:18):
If you are in the wellness industry, this is the podcast for you. Lauren has been featured as an industry authority on the BBC series, the Apprentice, as well as by Forbes, the Times BBC, Evening Standard, Glamour, Grazia, Cosmopolitan, and many more. She also hosts EXPERTS, a podcast about building and scaling a successful expert business in the wellness industry and as well as her brand beyond seven, the home for business resources, courses and high level coaching for health and wellness practitioners, coaches and experts to create greater impact, money and freedom. Wow, what a biography you’ve got there. Lauren. Thanks so much for coming today.

Lauren (02:54):
Thank you. And you read it so well. It’s like a whistle stop tour of my life over the last five years.

Caroline (03:02):
It’s quite incredible. And I think something we’ll talk about is that I’ve not had an exited founder on the podcast before, so really I feel like, so I had a friend who sold her business last year and the first thing she put on LinkedIn was exited founder. And I’m like, you’re owning that title. So I think so many founders want to be there, so I think it’ll be really interesting to chat about. But Lauren, tell us about your career and business path that led you here and also led you to the UK as well.

Lauren (03:29):
Yeah, for sure. I mean, I studied business. I started out thinking I wanted to work in businesses. I never thought that I would own a business. It just wasn’t really on my radar. I’m a small town country girl from Australia. My parents were very middle class teacher, my dad was a head teacher. I just didn’t know that that was a possibility. And it was such an exciting opportunity for me when I decided to make the move to the UK in 2013, to have my eyes open to just the incredible opportunities that exist for entrepreneurs. And I think being in a city like London in your mid twenties, you are just so, I don’t know, you’re just exposed to so many incredible opportunities and new ways of thinking, and that was certainly me. I moved to the UK to just come and experience living abroad as an Aussie, you don’t really need much of an excuse to go and live somewhere else that’s not an island in the middle of nowhere.

(04:33):
And I only thought that I would stay for two years, but I got a job in business development and marketing and I started to immerse myself in the wellness industry as a consumer, not so much because I wanted to start a business in it, but because I think growing up in Australia, wellness was very much an inherent part of our lifestyle. And in a city like London, you actually needed to particularly at that time, find a kind of wellness community to do the things that you like doing, whether that’s exercise or eating healthy food or going to yoga. That was almost a sub niche kind of within itself. It was like an alternative lifestyle almost.

Caroline (05:15):
I can imagine that pre covid. Yeah.

Lauren (05:17):
Yeah. It wasn’t a thing. It was like the first indoor spinning studio opened and the first juice bar opened and it was like salad was like a reinvention…

Caroline (05:29):
…the avocado flew in.

Lauren (05:31):
Yeah, exactly. Coconut water was such a trend. So yeah, at that time whilst working in my full-time job, I started writing about the wellness industry in the UK and I created an Instagram account and I started sharing cool new places that were opening and it built a lot of really quick organic momentum. But very quickly I realised that I was more interested in the business side of things. So I started meeting the people who were opening these cool new businesses and launching new brands. And I started doing a little bit of just sort of consulting work focus group type stuff with Lululemon when they moved to the uk. And eventually I realised that I wanted to start a business in the wellness industry. So I kept building this platform, writing about the wellness industry, and then I guess one day it dawned on me that that could become the business, that I could actually become the platform, the go-to resource for building a business in the wellness industry.

(06:32):
So yeah, that’s what well to do became, and I launched an event business off the back of that, and my first guest that I interviewed was Deliciously Ella, and I mean she was a proper newbie. She was just running some workshops and cooking classes in a juice bar in Chelsea, and she came and talked about building her business in inverted comm, which now is obviously a multimillion dollar global empire. But at the time we filled a room, I had 200 people in a room who just wanted to know how do I become the next deliciously Ella? How do I start a business in this space? And so it became kind of a beast of its own really, and that led me to become quite obsessed in a healthy way with the wellness industry and all that it encompasses.

Caroline (07:25):
I love that there’s so many things to touch on because it drew on so much from your childhood and the wellbeing he had in Australia. I think that many will relate growing up with maybe teacher parents and not seeing that even business experience, let alone running a business. And I think that’s the great thing about London is there’s so many business owners and we’re also happy to chat about it. I think competition is a given, and so just share your information. And I think that is a good part about London, isn’t it? Do you think that really helped you? You just got to speak with founders who are so willing to chat?

Lauren (07:58):
Yeah, I mean that’s why the business worked is because I became this kind of conduit for conversation about being in the wellness industry. And it was almost like a place where people who thought, oh, I’m into wellness. I want to start a business, could finally come and have a network of people to share that vision with. Yeah, there was so much excitement about innovation and this buzzing wellness topic that it really brought people together and well, todo actually became more of a community than anything else of just connection, sharing resources and having all of our eyes open to this multi-trillion dollar industry that the UK was really only scraping the surface on. Now all of these things are really normal. And I joke that the first time my mother-in-Law brought home a bottle of coconut water and said to me, have you heard about coconut water? That was like six years after I started my business. And I was like, yes, I have. But you have now too. And it’s so interesting to see how it’s become so mainstream from being such a niche topic not that long ago and you’re

Caroline (09:09):
There at the start. So what did it look like, the growth of that, and did you always think when it became a business and you were running it like, oh, I’m going to sell. Was there a plan for this?

Lauren (09:21):
Yeah, I mean, my exit story is not, I don’t want to sort of downplay it in a way, but it was actually less of a I’m going to build a massive business, scale it and sell it. That was not my intention. I wanted to build something that was a legacy and that I would enjoy building as a lifestyle business, but also a growth business for sure. But I had no understanding of building a business that was executable. And I was at a point in that business where it was ready for investment. It was a profitable business from day one because it had to be, I did not have resources to fall back on. I needed the business to make money and it got to a sizable business without any external investors, which I was really proud of, but it was at a point where it needed that to scale.

(10:13):
And at the same time, I was entering a new chapter of my life. I was pregnant with my first baby and my definition of success was starting to change. And I was also coaching experts in the wellness industry as a very profitable side hustle. So I was sort of building two businesses and my husband was working in the business as well. So at some point in the journey, he left his corporate job and became my business partner. And then Covid hit, and of course we were running a multi-event business. We had an annual conference in London every year with massive sponsorship confirmations in place partners that were invested in that conference. It was called the Business of Wellness Summit. And when Covid hit, we realised that it was going to take a significant toll on the business. Thankfully, it was not solely an event business, it was also a very successful editorial platform and media brand.

(11:15):
And all of this came to gather to form, I guess the catalyst for me deciding that it was time to move on from that business. So on one hand I’m thinking, I’m about to bring this baby into the world and I’m spreading myself too thin as it is. Where is motherhood going to fit into all of this business chaos? The second thing I suppose was covid, which meant that the business was going to have to rapidly change. Anyway, the third thing was I was running this other business coaching, which I absolutely loved, and if I was honest about, was really where my heart was at. And then I guess the fourth thing was my definition of success was changing. So pre Covid, we had this beautiful fancy office just off Oxford Street in central London. It was all the things you dream of as a founder, beautiful team, beautiful office, amazing flourishing business, but there was just this spark that had gone out.

(12:13):
It was almost what I’d describe as the time that a lot of founders experience, which is where you realise you’ve taken it to a certain point in the journey. And for it to keep growing and for the vision to keep evolving, it almost needed to go into the hands of someone with the right experience, with the next level of passion and enthusiasm. And I just felt almost a little bit burnt out by the vision. I’d just lost a little bit of passion for it. So it all kind of combined to, I guess for us to come to this decision that perhaps it was time to exit the business. And we had a number of really great conversations with competitors in the space, and Fit Insider ended up being the perfect partner for us to take well to do on, and they’ve continued the brand and they were really doing what we were doing in the us. So it was a perfect partner for us to hand the world to do brand over to. And yeah, it was the same year that my son Lockie was born, and it just became this period of new beginnings and a massive transition.

Caroline (13:23):
So that’s that 2021 then? Yes,

Lauren (13:25):
Yes.

Caroline (13:25):
Yeah, yeah. Wow. So I can imagine with Covid all of that happening, you just readdressed your life, but it’s lovely that you kind of came to this. Did they approach you to buy it or were you looking for other brands that you thought were next level and would be interested in acquiring?

Lauren (13:40):
Yeah, so we were having a couple of other conversations and then because it’s quite a niche market, they caught wind and reached out and said we’d be interested in being part of the conversation as well. And so that is where that began. And then they obviously became the most suitable partner and the one that we continued the conversation with. But it was a journey in itself. We thought it would take weeks. It took literally months, almost a year to go through the whole process, which was quite stressful at times and not something I’d rushed to go through again if I’m honest. But I also, we completed the deal I think four months after Lockie was born. So yeah, it was a pretty intense time looking back, that all happening kind of at the same time

Caroline (14:31):
As a VA and as VA business owner, I’ve supported clients going through it and also been on the ground source supporting them with it always takes longer our industry really seeing these things. There’s a lot to it, so well done. Do you think pregnancy really helped you push this along of like, okay, my life is definitely changing and I want to change it?

Lauren (14:57):
Yeah, a hundred percent. And I think my coaching business that I now run with Jamie, my husband, and then another business partner, Hannah, we could just see the potential that it had. We could see the profitability that was inherent in the business model, which was very different to the business that we were building with. Well, to do an online education business has an inherent level of a profitability, but also just flexibility in it. So moving into this next chapter, we knew we wouldn’t need an office. We knew we would be completely location independent. So many lifestyle benefits that come with starting a family that you suddenly feel are way more important than they ever were before when you had the days were gone where I had the freedom to just go into London and do networking events and have a social life.

Caroline (15:48):
Yeah, because on that I was sharing some news. You are currently pregnant with your second, how far along are you?

Lauren (15:56):
I am, I think I’m 17 weeks. But it’s funny because the first time around you are obsessed over I’m this week. And you remember the app where it tells you what size fruit your baby is…

Caroline (16:07):
…a celery. I know, I know. It’s always ridiculous.

Lauren (16:11):
I have no idea what fruit my baby is right now. I’m just getting through it.

Caroline (16:15):
When is my next appointment? That’s what I should track just to make Exactly. And how does it feel business wise? You are still, like you said, you’ve got two co-partners with your business. Does it feel a lot more lighter and freer this time around than with your first one?

Lauren (16:33):
I can’t even tell you the difference. It’s light and day. I think it was partially mindset as well. I’ve done a lot of, I guess personal work on finding more freedom in this business, not being so chained to it. I have a looser grasp on what success looks like. I think before it was just so much about the metrics and the growth and it still is, I still am very focused on growth and numbers, but there’s now so much more value in this morning, my day today was I went to Monkey Music with my toddler, so that’s part one of the day. And then I came back and transitioned hand over to the nanny, and then I’m just on my computer writing emails, having a strategy call with a client, recording a podcast now, and then come six o’clock or even five o’clock, he’ll be back and I’ll be free to be a mom and have dinner together.

(17:35):
And those are the metrics for success now and the lifestyle that we basically talk about how we’re building a lifestyle first and then a business around that rather than before it was build a business and then kind of fit life in around it. It was the opposite. So our whole mentality has changed and I think as a result, the business is much lighter and much more freedom oriented and still definitely driven by growth and all of those normal business metrics, but life is just so much more important to us in terms of how we feel and our stress levels and the freedom and flexibility that we have.

Caroline (18:13):
Yeah, it’s so true. I was reading a post by Emmie Faust today. Female founders raised her and it was like, you can build great businesses without, and you just got to know, remember your purpose and go back to that. And I can feel that with this second business now, you know your purpose for it. And it’s not just the business, it is the metrics, all of that to have a successful business, but your lifestyle as well. And what I loved as well, what you just said was you went to monkey music and did that and then handed over to a nanny. I think that’s just a release sometimes when people think when you say lifestyle business, you are working and doing the childcare at the same time, which sometimes we do. Everyone has to cross over. Sometimes something happens, you’ve got to pick up an email, whatever. But has it been good for you to have those clear boundaries?

Lauren (18:56):
I think that was one of the reasons why we got in touch because I shared a post on my Instagram. I don’t do a lot of chat about being a mom, but I shared some insight in my sort of finding balance in motherhood journey with being a business owner and how I juggle it all. And I was inspired to share that post by a blog that I read years ago when having a blog was actually a thing. And it was a blog post by an Australian money mentor called Denise Duffield Thomas. And in it she shared how she builds her multimillion dollar business as a mother, and it was just this really honest kind of catalogue or shopping list of methods of support that she invests in and pays for in order to be the multimillion dollar business owner that she is. And I remember reading that list and it was like, I pay for a gardener.

(19:51):
I pay for a housekeeper who cleans our house twice a week and packs my kids’ bags and cleans their uniforms, and I have childcare support someone who picks the kids up and all of these things that although on the face of it they sounded like privilege and it is privilege, I won’t deny that they were investments that she described were what enabled her to run a successful business. And the whole point of the blog post was, I don’t want women to think that I’m some kind of super mom who is literally juggling everything because it’s just not accurate. So we have a nanny that comes full time, three days, solid days a week. Jamie’s parents take Lockie on a Friday. So yeah, I do four pretty much full work days Monday and Friday afternoon we juggle between us. So that’s like us parenting, but I just think it would be remiss of me not to share that we have that level of support.

(20:55):
And I had that from when Lockie was eight weeks. So I was able to go back into my business and this struggle of finding identity as a new mom trying to run a business. I have clients all the time, how do you do it all? Or the answer is, I don’t do it all because my husband and I work together. We have a very, very 50 50 relationship with parenting. He is always there when I’m there. We don’t have a scenario where he goes off to a full-time job elsewhere and comes back late at night, which is the setup that a lot of my clients have. And then they doubt themselves because their business is not where they think it should be because they’re also caring for 1, 2, 3 children at the same time. So I just shared some of that behind the scenes because I just felt it was unfair not to or try and present myself as someone doing it all in inverted. I do it all I guess in a way that feels authentic to me, which I knew was being happy to outsource some of the parenting experience by having a nanny in our home from quite early on versus compromising my business. And that’s just the way I knew I would need it to be for my own mental and emotional health as well. And I know it’s made me the best mom I can be as a result because I have that deep fulfilment from my work and I want to be able to do that as well.

Caroline (22:23):
And you still work flexibly and get all that parenting time that you wouldn’t have the luxury of in another job where you were part-time where you’d probably also be having to do the other bits as well. I think there’s always that potential with your business and the growth you can have and the support you can have. And I think I really relate to that sometimes what’s going to fulfil you as well and continuing to work for a lot of us is that reality, isn’t it?

Lauren (22:49):
A hundred percent. And I didn’t want to feel any mom guilt. I didn’t want to feel, and actually Zoe, who was a client of mine who hosts the mother kind podcast, did a really great episode on mum guilt, talking about how mum guilt is a bit of a myth that actually it’s a combination of different normal human emotions. For example, the feeling of having to choose between two things that you want to do, it’s actually just a natural conflict of emotions that happens. It doesn’t need to be guilt, it’s just the duality of wanting to be in one place and another at the same time and just being content with that. And I decided quite early on in my motherhood journey, I think even before having Lockie that I would never feel guilty about the choices that my husband and I make for our family.

(23:41):
And we have always made those choices that we know are right for us and right for our child without being too influenced by what other people around us are doing. And so then we can categorically say, we’ve made these choices for us and we are content in those decisions and not kind of worrying too much about whether people judged me for going back to work at eight weeks, even though people said things like, wow, that’s super quick. I guess we wanted to always have in mind that we were both here, so it’s not as if I was off and he was working. It was like we were both kind of off on parenting, kind of running a business. It was just our version of it that worked for us.

Caroline (24:27):
You are making it work exactly that. And I love that also what you’re saying, you’re making decisions based on you. I think everyone’s going to make mistakes. You’re going to make mistakes, but at least if you made a mistake, you did it for your reasons, not someone else’s reasons. I feel that’s a far better mistake to make, isn’t it?

Lauren (24:45):
Yeah, of course. And then you reflect on what you learned from it and what you might do differently. And I think baby number two is a good catalyst for that. You’re like, what would we do the same? What would we do do differently? But yeah, I think we’ve always just made decisions between us based on our unique situation, which is quite different to a lot of people’s situation, like I said, where maybe one parent is at home and the other is working. We just have quite a balance set up to begin with that enables us to do things in a very different way.

Caroline (25:17):
And I think something I wanted to ask on maternity leave, hard relate. I went back at eight weeks also, but it wasn’t the right decision. I was going back to an employed role as well. So it’s very, very different circumstances. But I think with my second I had my business and it was a lot was just a lot more fluid. I had after Covid came out, I used things like a crash at the gym. I had that kind of privilege to dip in and out and things and take it go back once I was ready. But did you ever feel like you were missing out on other things to do in maternity leave? I think it’s so ingrained in our culture now to take a year and go to the, even though you’re clearly doing baby classes now, which is great, you’re still doing monkey music.

(25:57):
So I think that’s the joys of business owner. I still take my three-year-old swimming on a Wednesday, our mommy day, and he’s not at school yet. So I think it’s really interesting, this perception that you take a year and then you go back to work and you don’t do any of that. And so I think people think you might miss out on that things, whereas I made peace with my second. I was like, well, this is clearly my thing and that’s what makes me happy, so I need to do this and the parenting rather than the baby clubs and baby coffees every day.

Lauren (26:27):
Yeah, I mean for sure. And if I’m really honest, I remember Vicky and Annie sending me a video of Lockie laughing for the first time and just feeling like this pang of, oh, what a shame. That wasn’t with me. And yet I think I’m quite an emotionally resilient and self-aware person and I’m able to feel that disappointment, but at the same time feel a lot of joy that Vicky, our nanny is honestly the biggest gift we’ve ever had to our family because her being there was such an enabler for us to have the bigger picture life that we created. So for sure, I mean I remember getting texts from our, what’s it called, baby

Caroline (27:18):
Bump and Baby I did Bump.

Lauren (27:19):
Yeah, it was like bumping baby. Exactly. Antenatal and being like, oh, meeting today at 10:00 AM and knowing I had a work call or something not being able to go, even now I see groups of new moms together and think I didn’t get to do a lot of that, but I Like you, I think made my piece with it because of the fact that I kind of saw, well, they had it for a year and then back to work full time. I guess I feel like I have the version of that balance where I do have some mornings with Lockie. I do have some afternoons with him now, a lot of flex, which means that I have more of that in smaller doses, but over a longer period of time, if that makes sense. It’s not like I got the first year and then back to work.

(28:07):
It was almost like I’ve just created a life of balance for us for a much longer period of time. And that meant sacrificing some of those baby sensory classes and antenatal meetups and things. But it all comes out in the wash and I think you can feel two emotions at once. You can feel a sense of disappointment of missing out, but also feel immense gratitude for the things that you do get that deep fulfilment of having a business, of running a business, of having that part of you deeply fulfilled, which I know clearly with your audience of this podcast is going to be the general feeling of I want to be a great mom, but I also want to be a great business owner. And you get to be both.

Caroline (28:54):
Yeah. Oh, I love that. It’s such a good point to lean into. I think it’s always good to discuss things that might look slightly different like the maternity leave and business owner journey, and that’s why I have this podcast. I definitely have a hard relate to you with that and it’s good to chat about it. I think I’ve got someone on my team right now who’s going through this period and it just looks different for her because that’s what she wants to do. And did you ever feel sort of precious being in the wellbeing industry of becoming a mom and how that would change things? Were there any concerns on your industry and how that changes how you do things or anything like that? I don’t think I’m eloquently putting this, but I think in particular in fitness, they have these pressures. Do you think wellbeing’s the same?

Lauren (29:35):
I guess because my role is very much a consultant and a business strategist, it’s a little bit different, but I do feel like I was quite fortunate in that having a baby didn’t so much disrupt my way of working or what I do. I definitely felt the effects of brain fog and baby brain of not just being as switched on as I previously felt to create the level of content and value for my clients. But again, I’m such a problem solver. I’m such a, I look at things that are challenging me and I’m like, what can I do about it? So the decision to bring another business partner into our business, Hannah, who now coaches delivers client value, manages all our marketing and strategy. She’s been part of, again, a strategic play of building a business that supports me to be a mom. And that means I now know that my business is not solely reliant on me.

(30:36):
If I had to suddenly take the next week off because Lockie was unwell, I know that she would be able to pick up client stuff, she would do pretty much everything that I could do with some exceptions. And again, I wanted a business like that where although there’s this facade of freedom and flexibility that a lot of businesses if you were to take time off, it would actually fall apart. And the truth of that type of business is that it’s not really, it’s not got that solid foundation that if your business can’t run without you, then it needs to be reviewed in terms of systems and processes and mechanisms that we’ve managed to nail down. And that’s been a huge proponent of, again, the business that enables me to be the best business owner but also the best mom that I can be.

Caroline (31:36):
I love that. And are you looking to grow the business over time, grow it as a team, or do you think this is where it’ll stay for the foreseeable future kind of thing? What does growth look like for you?

Lauren (31:48):
Yeah, it’s such a good question. Again, that has changed massively. At one point we had almost 20 employees across our businesses and I thought that was such a good marker of success and growth and actually it just points to a massive payroll at the end of every month and not always, but in the case of our business, it also pointed to some challenges around people and team and the dynamics of HR and all of those things. So again, very consciously with this business, we have built it very in a very lean manner. It doesn’t require a lot of team and people power. So we have a team of five and that’s it. And we are very clear that we can double, triple, quadruple our revenue and not need any more people to deliver what we do because we now sell a lot of digital products. We sell an online course that is completely scalable. The things that’ll get us to our revenue goals actually don’t require any more people. So incredible. We’ve kind of built quite a strong foundation to scale this business now in a way that doesn’t require more people power, which is good.

Caroline (33:00):
I understand that. I think that’s what people forget on the outside. When you’re looking at someone who’s running a business with say, loads of employees or people with lots of people comes people problems no matter what you put the structure in place and that’s great, but it all depends what you want out of life and from your business, and that’s amazing. I see why you’re so in demand for coaching the founders you work with, mainly female or men, and how does it differ the support they kind of need? Because if you are supporting a lot of women like you, I suppose a lot of them will be coming for support about how to scale while having babies.

Lauren (33:33):
Yeah, it’s interesting. We more recently have a really sort of 50 50 split on male and female clients, which is great because unintentionally we had quite a female skew for a while there and we still do in our more foundational courses. I think wellness is a female heavy space. There are lots of female nutritionists and lots of female practitioners across different varying modalities in wellness, but we’ve never categorically said, we’re only for women. So recently we’ve had a flurry of male clients and there’s definite differences. Hannah and I are quite masculine in the way we coach. We’re very strategic. We do a little bit of mindset stuff, but it’s mostly around business model strategy, clear marketing funnels and structures and so on. How do they vary? I think it’s interesting because a lot of our male clients who have kids aspire to the same level of flexibility that the females that we work with do.

(34:33):
And maybe that’s just the type of client that we work with, but one particular male client that comes to mind, his primary driver for growing his business is to be able to spend more time with his daughter. So I think it’s nice to be reminded that there are men who want the freedom to spend more time with their families and their children and navigate that in the same way that there are a lot of women. Sometimes we forget that. I mean, I know that’s a really primary driver for my husband as well. He’s definitely not maybe as passionate about the work that we do, but he’s very passionate about the business model that we build because of that desire to have a more balanced family and work life balance. But yeah, I think they actually fundamentally probably want the same things when it comes to balancing work and family, which is interesting.

Caroline (35:25):
Patriarchy is not serving them either.

Lauren (35:28):
It’s really not.

Caroline (35:30):
No, it’s not.

Lauren (35:32):
My clients who struggle the most are the ones whose husbands or partners are in full-time chain to the desk type employment where they just can’t be that helpful at home and these are the women who are trying to build a business and do the nursery pickup and do dinner. And I just think that must be, I haven’t had that experience, so I can’t speak to how other than to outsource as much as possible how to kind of overcome that really.

Caroline (36:06):
Exactly. And I think it would be of disservice to say you can kind of thing, which is exactly what you’re doing by showing what your support is and what your lifestyle is like and how your husband works as well is that I’m exactly the same. I have loads of help at the home. I use wraparound care when I need, and my husband works very flexibly at the minute that changes. But it is that constant thing of reviewing, okay, what’s working, what’s not working and putting in place things in the team that I pay for more so I can take Wednesdays with my child and try, unless it’s an emergency which rarely happens, just try and take that day and make everything else at work not be there kind of thing. And you have to put that in place, otherwise you’re kind of doing a disservice to yourself thinking you can do it all.

Lauren (36:55):
And just going back to that blog, I remember her saying to remember as a mom, there are things that your kids will remember you did, and there will be things that they will not give a beep about when they grow up. They will not remember that you wash their uniform versus someone else washing their uniform

Caroline (37:13):
But taking them swimming or to monkey music. Yes, they will remember that.

Lauren (37:18):
Exactly, and that’s where I define what’s important to outsource, what’s important to get help with versus our nanny. Always in the early days when Lockie was napping, certainly she’d cook us dinner and again, it doesn’t make me a good mom to cook dinner. It makes me a good mom to be present for bedtime and then for Lockie to be in bed and then for me to do some work after that so I know I can make more money doing a couple of hours of work in the evening versus trying to stress over also cooking dinner, also doing the washing. Those things I felt were just more as a business owner, were more sensible to outsource than they were to think I’ve got to be perfect at this as well. I’m just not a domestic goddess. I am a queen outsourcer.

Caroline (38:07):
Love that. I hard relate. Thank you for being on behalf of the outsourcing community. Thank you. No, because I was doing this, I was telling someone this about vintage parcels. I was getting really annoyed at sending them and I was like, I’m just going to give it to charity. I was like, I’m done with vintage. I’m like a supporter of buying off it, but I don’t have the time for this. This is me making money for my business time. It’s eating out of at the end of the day so someone in a charity shop can benefit from our stuff was what my thoughts on this. That’s a lot easier than parcelling everything up and doing the admin for it.

Lauren (38:38):
Which when you break it down to sell a top for £3.50 plus the trip to the post office, it is like this is really a bad return on investment.

Caroline (38:48):
Exactly. And as a business owner, that’s what you look at your time as for that. So it’s either like said time with my kids that yeah, do they want to remember me wrapping up vintage parcels, which if it’s your business or you’re making money off it, go for it.

Lauren (39:01):
A hundred percent.

Caroline (39:02):
Me, my stuff, we were not making money off it, so it was just better off in a charity shop. I think that’s a really good lesson both personally of outsourcing, so you spend that quality time with the children or investing it in your business with the potential to make more money.

Lauren (39:17):
Totally. And it’s me preaching to the choir saying this to you, but the first investment I ever made in my business and my life was getting a VA because it very quickly dawned on me that three hours back from even just my week was three more clients that I could work with and Kat, my va, who’s now almost like our operations manager, she was just such a big learning for me in someone else doing something they are good at doing in your business, and the same is true for in your life as well. If this is all with the caveat of course, that if you run a business where you know that your time spent in that business is worth X amount and making X amount, then everything becomes a, what’s my hourly rate that I’m spending on, like you said, packing vintage parcels or something else.

Caroline (40:07):
And that is from Lauren, a coach, so take her word for it. She knows what she’s talking about on the hourly rate, if you’re me, no longer packing vintage parcels. One of my final questions, you talk about building authority a lot. What advice do you have as a business owner about building your authority in whatever space it is? So virtual assistant industry, wellness industry, building your authority, what does that mean?

Lauren (40:32):
I mean there’s a couple of components to it. What it means is being seen and respected as a leader in your field, the go-to person for what you do in terms of the path to get there, we often really drill down into what is it that you want to be known for and in a world where there is just so much content and so much resource available more and more to stand out and have that authority, I think you need to be really clear on the problem that you solve and who you solve it for and effectively what everyone calls your niche, becoming an authority in the wellness industry is becoming known as the person who can solve IBS symptoms or can prevent chronic migraines or can help you reverse your pre-diabetes or those are the types of areas in which our clients become authorities and then it’s being seen and trusted as an authority in that space and that means that you actually get results for your clients.

(41:34):
That can’t be underestimated. It sounds so obvious to say it, but if you can’t legitimately transform the lives of your clients or their businesses or whatever it is that you do, then you will never build authority and if you’re getting started, that means doing whatever it takes to get clients whose lives you can transform. I don’t even care if you do it for free, I don’t care if you do it for peanuts. Building authority is going to rely on that base of people saying, Caroline is so good at what she does, or Lauren is so good at what she does and you need real people to start saying that and instead of feeling entitled to clients when you’re first starting out, I always just encourage out the people we work with to say, how do I just get runs on the board? Where authority builds from is just you doing your best work and getting real results for people and then you become known and trusted and revered for being that person.

(42:32):
And I guess the final component is time. It takes time to build authority. It doesn’t happen overnight. You don’t consider someone like Joe Wicks to be on authority because he just started, he’s been doing it for 15 years or 10 years or whatever. So many of the people that my clients respect in the wellness industry, I remember deliciously Ella, I remember her being a baby on the stage talking about her cooking classes. She’s built the authority that she has now because she has committed over the long term and lasted I guess the test of time, which so many entrepreneurs don’t because for whatever reason they give up on their idea on themselves or on the commitment and consistency that it takes.

Caroline (43:21):
Yeah, I love it, mentioning Joe Wicks. I remember flashback years and years ago. I was like, who is this guy making these things in his kitchen that was this tiny, Surbiton kitchen

Lauren (43:32):
Shouting out the window at people on the street.

Caroline (43:36):
Then, but people see the overnight success and then the lives they lead, and I think that’s a fantastic note to end on is that commitment and just if you know what your expertise is, what you want to be known for, just keep going.

Lauren (43:50):
Yeah, a hundred percent and don’t feel you have to figure it out on your own as well. I think that’s a big part of it. If you feel like, well, I am doing all the things, I am committed, I am showing up and I have been doing that for five years and it’s still not bearing fruit, then I think that’s where looking outside of yourself and where I value mentor and coaching so much is that sometimes you actually just need someone to see your business with fresh eyes or see where maybe you’re being consistent, but you’re doing the wrong things consistently. You’re making the same mistakes consistently. That can be the hard part about whether you should keep going or not, and people often ask me that I’m being consistent, but am I doing the right things? That’s when I think maybe on occasion or probably more often than not, you actually just need outside perspective and where having someone who is where you want to be can be really helpful in that mentoring or coaching capacity.

Caroline (44:48):
Yeah, I hard agree on that. I’m all for getting a coach or mentor in your business and outsourcing, so I think we’ve done a really good job knowing exactly that is what you need to get to success in that. I love that. Lauren, honestly, thank you so much for joining me today. I think there’s going to be so many people get so much wisdom from here and I love how honest and transparent you are about your journey as well and how on earth you managed to do it to say thank you. Where can people find you if they want to find out more?

Lauren (45:19):
Oh, that’s so kind. Thank you. The best place. Maybe Instagram @laurenarmes. I’d love to connect there and yeah, just so appreciate these conversations happening. I was so grateful when you reached out because I was actually really nervous about sharing some of the more honest parts of my journey because I suppose I haven’t necessarily experienced the transition into motherhood as so much of a struggle. I’ve been quite strategic about it and quite taken quite a different approach, so it is actually really nice to talk about that and feel like there are other moms out there that kind of relate to that approach rather than feeling really alien.

Caroline (46:00):
Definitely. I had a hard relate at times, so no, you are not alien. You are one of her. Thank you for being so transparent and it’s honestly been a pleasure. I can’t wait. Maybe we’ll have you back after number two, after the safe arrival and number two and find out, but it’s like the next phase of your business and family life.

Lauren (46:18):
Yeah, there’s probably moms of two listening, thinking it’s all about to change, you just wait. Thank you for having me.

Outro

Thank you so much for listening to Bump to Business Owner. I hope you enjoyed the conversation. Please do rate, review, follow or subscribe wherever you’re listening. It really helps us to connect with more mums and business owners. You can DM me at Bump to Business Owner on Instagram and I’ll be back next week.

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