“I’m a list writer. I write a massive list and then just pick three of the most important things. I focus on just getting the 10% most important stuff done and everything else can wait.”
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One of the biggest struggles for business parents is an extreme lack of patience: we want it all now.
We’re fed a barrage of ‘hustle culture’ messages, seeing successful business types on social media promoting how you too can start earning millions today.
But the reality rarely compares with the cold, hard truth: building success takes time.
In my book, I go further into this, but today I wanted to talk to a successful business parent who began one that went into growing one business into five across four countries, and still finding time for their 3 kids.
Tune in to learn:
- How Chris’s partner is now mostly looking after the kids
- The biggest challenges Chris has faced in her business
- How Chris stays super productive
- How Chris manages her large team in different countries
- What is Chris’s biggest success driver
- Chris’s biggest money lessons.
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About Chris Edwards
Chris is a serial entrepreneur having started her first business in 2008 at 28 years old – a lifestyle guide to Singapore called Honeycombers. Today Honeycombers is the go-to resource for local, tourists and expats with over 1 million unique users a month. She has also expanded this business to Hong Kong, Bali and a parenting platform HoneyKids Asia. More recently she has created an entrepreneurial community called Launchpad.
Chris now runs five companies across four countries and spends her time split between Singapore, Bali, Hong Kong and Australia, she is a mum of three children and measures her day by the cuddles she squeezes out of her kids.
Fun fact: Chris has a booming voice – often people hear her before they see her.
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KATE: What are the biggest struggles for parents is an extreme lack of patience. We want it all. Now, we’re fed a barrage of hustle culture messages, seeing successful business types on social media, promoting how you can start earning millions today. But the reality rarely compares with the cold, hard truth. Building Business Success takes time.
In my book, I go into this further, but today, I wanted to talk to a successful business parent who began with one business and then developed it into five across four countries. And she is still finding time for her three children just about my name is Kate toon. I’m the founder of stay tuned, a busy business owner and an okayish parent and today I’m talking to Chris Edwards. Hello, Chris.
CHRIS: Hey, Kate.
KATE: I’m gonna read out your bio, and then we’ll get stuck in so apparently you’re a serial entrepreneur,
just like a serial killer. Butyeah, not cornflakes. So Chris is a serial entrepreneur having started a business in 2008 at 28 years old. Oh gosh, you’re so young and lifestyle guide to Singapore called Honey comas. Today, honey commers is the go to resource for locals, tourists and expats with over 1 million unique users a month. She has also expanded this business to Hong Kong, Bali and a parenting platform honey kids Asia. More recently, she has started an entrepreneurial community called Launch Launchpad. Chris now runs five companies across four countries and spends her time split between Singapore Bali, Hong Kong and Australia. She is a mum of three and measure is measured and like Christ in God. Krishna runs five companies across four countries and spends her time split between Singapore Bali, Hong Kong and Australia. She is a mum of three and measures her day by the cuddles she squeezes out of her kids. Do you still get kids? Cuddles kids?
CHRIS: Oh, yeah, yeah
KATE: How old are they? 14 12 and eight.
So I still get a good cuddle out of my son. But he’s taller than me now. And I have to kind of say don’t cuddle too hard because he’s very, he’s been to the gym a lot. So it’s gone from being like a little human. That was all squidgy to this big man. But it’s kind of nice. Hey, I’ve got a fun fact about you. I don’t know if you know this. I don’t know if you wrote this. Chris has a booming voice often people hear before they see her. I don’t think you’re a boomer.
I’m a bit of a boomer. Yes. It’s a very Yes, I have a strong vocal projection, which works well at events and also when you need to scream at your kids. But
KATE: yes, it’s funny, isn’t it? I think we all I was having recorded this podcast for about 100 years. This one my 15 other ones. You kind of a lot of people have problems with their own voice, don’t they? It’s weird. Because I think I sound quite Northern. And when I’m getting really into a topic, I get a real nasty little monotone going on. Where I’m just really scared. If that happens today, you can boom, I can monotone and I will just lose all the all four listeners that I have. But we’ll see how we go. So we talked a bit about your family setup their three human children. What flavors are they?
I have a girl boy boy, your boy boy.
Okay, cool. Do you have a other half you doing it solo? Once you do it? Yeah,
I have a strong other half really pulls his weight. He Jason is. Yeah, my delightful husband who really? I mean, so I have to say it upfront. He now doesn’t have a full time job. He looks after the kids. So I always like to say that because, you know, I there’s no way I could do everything I do and be a single mom or even be even like a co parenting pulling 50% I mean, I tried that. It was really hard. And then I yeah, I asked him to stop work. And he agreed.
Have you retired your husband to a degree with your business? Yeah, yeah. Well done you but also your school. Shouldn’t it be the I’m joking the other way around? No, that’s amazing. And I love that you acknowledge that and I think it’s a good time for me to acknowledge the fact that you know, my business my my ex partner was still very good friends. Did a lot so I’m not necessarily going to say it was 5050 because I think it’s sometimes If we don’t take into account the mindset, he still practically does a lot these days, he does. He does a lot. He does a lot, probably a bit more than me, and a lot of the kind of grantee things that I don’t enjoy, which is great. And as you said, couldn’t have done what I’ve done. Without that kind of support. You know, I think single parents, it’s just incredibly hard. You know, Yeah,
amazing. Even without businesses, it’s really
Kate Toon 05:26
I just don’t know, I mean, my we, me and my partner is separated, and we do nesting. So one of us goes away every other weekend. It’s all about me, this podcast, I will get back to you in a minute. But the weekends when he’s away, goes away, like on Saturday morning comes back Monday night. And by Monday night, I’m like, gosh, I just need someone else to go out and buy an egg. Do you know what I mean? Does all you need is it can someone else take the recycling out? Can I just have another adult in the house? Just another? Yeah. So can someone just go and get a bloody egg?
Because I’ve already been there. So we used to have a rule that you weren’t allowed to leave the house unless you took a child with you because it’s just so much to be home with,
hopefully one of your own children.
It’s like, well, what do you mean going without a child somewhere? That’s not fair? No, no, super important.
Kate Toon 06:11
You need to divide and conquer. Like, I don’t understand. I see family. Sometimes the whole family has gone to the supermarket together. Why do that one parent should suffer? Yeah. And then the other one can be at home just kind of lying in the bath crying, you know, that’s why all of you suffer, why try and do family outings to Kohl’s you know, divide and conquer has always worked really well for us. So, you know, now you’re obviously a megalomaniac entrepreneur, serial entrepreneur. But as a mom, as a parent, what do you think your parenting style is? I don’t think you’ve got to that chapter in the book yet, but it was quite a thing for me.
CHRIS First of all, I wanted to say, congratulations, Kate, this book is exactly what the world needed. Because I think there’s so many of us trying to do this. And we aren’t really seen. But I mean, I think I posted on Instagram on page two, when you talk about how you’re dealing with a client called Barry, who really can’t understand marketing, I have such a hard relate and and then the light of the in the night garden, I was like, Oh my gosh, she’s she was there when I was doing that was just so that unnecessary. When you if you have read the book, you’ll understand what I’m saying. But you’re talking about the the feeling of like you want to be with your kid, but you also got to solve various problems. And it’s just you’re totally torn in half. And the way you just yeah, the way you capture that feeling of just having these really strong, conflicting drivers in your life. And, you know, you want to do everything well, right. I mean, not I’m not a perfectionist by any means. And I think that’s one of the reasons I have been successful. But I, you know, I want to definitely look back and think I did that. Well. That’s what I want. And that’s what’s really, really friggin challenging and even your title or life perfect. In your book, you discuss the title. And he said, No, it’s six figures, not seven figures, because I you could have written seven figures, right. But it’s about it’s not about achieving everything. It’s just about working out what you really want and getting the balance right. And the balance for most people is six figures. Right? So yeah, I just you know that. Well, thank
Thank you so much for getting into that. I think the six figures thing is really interesting, because later on in the book, I do dig into it because I’ve actually had been a big disparage other people who bang on about six figures, I mean, seven figures is even worse now apparently has to be eight figures. But you know, six figures is often nonsense, you know, it’s revenue. And then people are taking you know, and it’s 100k. It’s not 999k. And then you know, they’re barely taking a salary. They’re spending most of that on personal development and Facebook ads. And so in reality, they probably can earn more just working at Woolies checkout, want to feel like a business owner. So the six figures thing, it was an interesting time. It just sounds dead good, I think but I do break it down inside the book. But I do say in the book that I think seven figures is unachievable for most people unless they’re willing to make huge sacrifice, which is to your point. I don’t believe there is balance. I think balance is another thing that’s great upon especially women, that you’re supposed to be able to kind of balance these two impossible scales, you know, and I actually think that one day it’s it’s it’s the business that wins the next day it’s the kids that win very rarely is it you that win and that you very rarely have a week where all goes swimmingly. You might have a great week in business like you might be traveling to Singapore, seeing your team over there and feeling like a crap mum. Then you come back and it’s school halls and you spend loads of time with your kidney like God I really need to speak to the body people but I don’t have you know, it’s very rare, isn’t it to have a yeah A week, you know?
it’s really funny because like, Yes, I had a fantastic trip up to Asia in in June and I did events in KL and Hong Kong and Singapore and I was writing such a high. And I rang my husband, I was sitting in the airport at Hong Kong watching the planes as early for my flight, I remember it so clearly. And I rang him and I said, No, how’s everything at home? And he said, I don’t know whether I should tell you this, but we’re in the emergency department. I’m like, Oh, my God, you know, like, it’s just like, Ah, of course. Of course.
Of course, that would happen,
you know, and your heart breaks and you’re like, Oh, my God, I’m not even in the country. And it was my my youngest had an asthma attack. And he handled you know, all the kids. He’s the one who’s most anxious and scared. And, and, and he’s there saying all I wanted to cuddle with mom. And I’m like, Oh, my heart out and stamp on it was a beautiful home that wouldn’t have happened.
Yeah, that’s, that’s the thing. I mean, especially now, you know, when when you’ve kind of handed over the reins a little bit to your partner. It sounds glorious in one respect, but then there’s also guilt about that. Yeah. Because we’ve grown up in a we, you know, we’re similar ages, and we grew up as still in a very gendered mums do this dads. Were kind of we were the transition generation, I think. But you know, how has how have other people reacted to you retiring your husband and him doing alliances? Is he kind of doing the lion’s share of the parenting now? O
Yeah. And for that is a lot of driving like we live out of town. And yeah, so he, actually dad? And yeah, he’s, I mean, he’s great. He’s totally invested. And he loves it. And he’s incredibly patient, man. So it kind of itsuits him really well. And he, but you know, what’s really interesting is, I mean, it took him a little while to get comfortable to just socially go on. And I’m the mom basically, is how he would explain it. And but yeah, it was really interesting for him to have other dads kind of off, man, actually, just in social scenarios, kind of just understand that that could be really cool. Yeah, and, yeah, now he’s like, he totally owns that he’s really proud that we’ve been able to make this flip and this choice and really give our kids a dedicated parent or resource. You know,
it’s funny, though, that he described it as I’m the mum, because it’s still there, you know, you’re the dad. What are your kids? Do? You know, it’s weird, though. It’s, you know, I think, you know, what, whoever chooses to stay at home financially, it’s really tough unless you’ve got a successful business. But the number of times, I just wished my ex would just give up work, because I earned 10 times probably more than that, what he earned. And it would have been so much easier just to have someone that was looking after I, you know, I sometimes say to people, I need a wife, I don’t need a wife, I just need a partner that does that stuff. So I can do this stuff. And I’m the one that’s makes more money. So it should be me, but that that his sense of pride, and Manly identity and identity and all of that. And also, this is the challenge that women have, you know, regardless of this economic thing, that we we need something that makes us feel fulfilled and inspired. We have our own dreams and goals, and they don’t just go away. When you squeeze out a human, you know, it doesn’t just eradicate all your goals and desires. But they are constantly in conflict with your parental goals. And that’s the chair.
Right? Yeah, yeah, that’s exactly you’ve now that it is in constant conflict. And yeah, and this Yeah. And there’s so much guilt around all that to like, you know, not if sometimes just feel like you’re doing everything badly.
Yeah, that’s it. And in, in the book, I talk about what makes a good parent, which is obviously an impossible question. And one of the exercises I give in the book is to make a list of what you think is a good parent, and then work directly look at what’s going to conflict with that in your business. So for me, I used to love reading my son a story at night. That’s the thing I don’t know why it’s really important to me that my son reads he doesn’t read much now because of Tiktok. Although I did catch him reading 1984 the other day and I literally open the door, caught it and shut the door again, because it was one of the best moments of my life. That was really important to me, okay, sports, take him to sport don’t give a shit. You know, I mean, do not give a crap about taking him to sport and standing on the sideline. But what that meant was, I could not do evening zooms. It was because I had a lot of clients in Europe a lot of members in Europe and it was like I just don’t want to give my evening up that’s gonna do the in conflict with something I think’s important. So I could be huge. In Europe right now probably couldn’t, but I could have been, but I made that choice and it’s just about choices, isn’t it? You know,
Yeah, yeah, and that’s that time zone one’s a really important one. And that’s, that’s something someone actually said to me, you know, you can expand launchpad to whatever corner of the planet you want to or the world, but um, just be really conscious of the time zones and what that means for your life. So yeah, it is tricky. I’ve got enough time zones and cities. And look, I don’t, I don’t want any more I you know, the one of the challenges and you’ll have to relate to this is just like, it’s, it’s fun launching new things and coming up with ideas and really rewarding when they work and you get great feedback. But you’ve also always got to come back to the why, which you talked about in your book as well. Why am I doing this? Is this serving what I want out of life? Or Or am I just doing this? Because it’s fun for now? Or am I you know, am I building something that I’m going to really regret down the track? You know,
I talked about you know, me myself and I and today me often makes terrible decisions for tomorrow me, you know, like, are just back to back meetings all day with no, I won’t be able to go for a week for seven hours. Thanks, yesterday me. But even now, like I was just I just applied to speak at some speaking thing in Asia in March. And I know that March will roll around and if I get it, I’ll be like, brilliant. When it when it comes in. I’ll be like, Yeah, I’ll show off on like a social media graphic. Speaking in Asia, March will come around and be like, I don’t want to go, I just want to stay at home can’t be bothered, you know, and it’s, but I can’t stop myself. It’s really challenging, isn’t it? Let’s talk about we’ve talked about some of the challenges. So you know, now you’ve got this great situation where your partner’s, you know, being a mum stroke, dad. But obviously, up until then, you’ve been juggling like a beast, you know, you’ve been creating these new empires, both overseas. I assume you were in Singapore when you started Honeycomb, Michigan. Yes.
No, so I lived in Singapore for Lebanese, all my babies were born there. And I had a wonderful Filipino helper called Silvia, who was another parent in the House who did all the meals. And she was great cook, and she had all the washing. And she would, you know, she would read the kids stories. She was literally have no other parents. So we had three parents in the house.
My, my best friend lives in Singapore, which is why I was there speaking at your event, and everybody has a helper and there’s no kind of weird judgement about that. It’s not classist or, you know, anti socialist or anything. You know, I mean, Singapore is kind of a wealthy area anyway. But everybody has that. So it’s kind of accepted over here. You’d be seen as a little bit looser than LA if you had a live in continuous housekeeper stroke, Nanny stroke everything, wouldn’t you? I think?
Absolutely, absolutely. But I think you know, that also facilitated me to spend more time on the business and not have to think about I mean, cooking meals and meal planning is the biggest, the biggest. Yeah, yeah. And
Kate Toon 18:09
people have to eat every night. You know, exactly what I think all the time. Really. I’m gonna do another meal. I’ll gonna think about another meal. But um, yeah, I think that’s actually one of my biggest hacks. Now is Monday morning. I go and play tennis. And I go and have a coffee and I meal plan for the week. Youknow, I love that I do it to my other hack is I do Marley spoon, which is a little bit expensive, but it’s to me, I only have two meals a week. And then you know, you actually, you know, includes enough herbs, I’m always buying herbs. And then I just find them eight months later at the bottom of the fridge like you know, glued to the side of the cabinet. So I do that. We also have fish finger night, which is brilliant. So on Wednesdays, when I do have zooms my son makes his own fishing because he loves. He doesn’t love fish fingers. So we have fish finger and I and then we have one takeaway night. So I’ve got two mighty spoons, fish finger night and takeaway night, it means I’m really only cooking three nights a week. And even I can come up with ideas for three nights a week, you know, you have to come up with these sort of methodologies that people would be like, Oh, fish fingers, how common but I’m like, whatever. He loves them. It works for our little family and donate them you know, like that.
Yeah, happy? No, that’s really important. I think if you can get like a really nice, feel good at the end of the day about what’s for dinner, I think. And I think that’s really important. Because it’s such a nice time with the family too. And you want to be able to be in a really good state of mind not are not
in a rage, rage chopping carrots. My new partner has a slow cooker and that’s what he sort of puts stuff in in the morning. I’ve never been one of those sorts of I’m not that organized. But yeah, that’s another option. And also just you know, kids can have cereal one A week, one’s gonna die. If it’s a choice. I was talking about this with a friend of mine, Nicole, who runs the school mums. And it’s like, if it’s a choice between you rage chopping carrots, or the kids having toasties give them the toasties. Yeah, you know, like one night without carrots is not going to kill them. So you talked about parent guilt, obviously, you know, abandoning your child in the middle of an asthma attack was an awful moment. I’m only joking. I can I can joke with Chris, she’s smiling. Don’t worry, I’m not being cruel. You know that? How do you manage the guilt? You know, how do you mitigate it? How do you justify it to yourself?
Ah, yeah, look, um, it’s a really good question. I don’t know that I have all the answers around it. Like, I just think it’s a feeling that you have at times, and if you didn’t have it, I think there’d be something wrong with you. But I kind of I suppose, for me, I really liked just getting time with the kids one on one individually, and it doesn’t have to be doing anything in particular, you know, like, it’s just this weekend. You know, my son, he really loves Harry Potter. So I’m like, go get your book. And we read each night, same as you I’d love reading to, particularly that some of the other two are readers on their own. So they’re off. But yeah, I’m like in the morning, go get your book. And we’ll read some pages in bed together in the morning. And it was like this, you know, tiny little thing.
Yeah. And it’s beautiful. That this is it. I just want to say the whole thing about if we didn’t feel it, there’ll be something wrong. It’s like the Psychopath Test. If you ask, Am I a psychopath? You’re probably not a psychopath. Right. And, you know, mom guilt parent guilt is there. So we don’t just leave our kids outside the can by wolves. Right. We have to care to a degree. Yes. It’s unfortunate that it turns into Gil a nagging and conflicts but that’s something I’ve talked about as well. I talked about this in book like to reject the notion of quality time. And that’s really reject that for me. It’s one of my big things all time is quality time. You know, even just that pottering around the kitchen in the morning arguing about can you put your lunchbox in your bag for the fifth time? That’s still quality time? Yeah. Some of the best times with my son who’s now 14 And a grunter is just driving him somewhere.
Ya know, driving great time. And like I really am happy to drive. I didn’t like yeah, lots of driving on the weekend. I’m happy to do it. Because I know I’ll get a good chat with. You know, another thing that happened yesterday, so for quick this week. God will quick book week, it’s the vein. Anyway, I don’t know who whoever invented book week obviously also invented school holidays, right? So they’ve just thinking,
Kate Toon 22:42
I’m Kate. And Kate. What can we do to really stuffup everyone’s lives around school anyway. So but you know, we got the costumes and as much as we could, and my daughter’s going as a character out of some book. I can’t remember it. But she needed a Pegasus drawn on her t shirt. And so I sketched it out. And I’m like, You know what, I’ve sketched it out, I’ve started coloring it in, I’m gonna go gardening. I’ve, it’s time for me to go and do something I want to do. And she comes out because Mom, when are you going to finish my Pegasus? And I’m like, You know what, I’ll come back to it. And she came out a second time mom, I really want you to finish this. And I was like, You know what, you need to do this yourself. Or just wait patiently I’m, I need some me time I want to garden. And you know what I left her and it was a not a nice exchange. And I came back and she’d cut it all in. And then she was so proud of herself that she did it on her own. And it looks pretty good. Like, from a distance, it looks like a base of a couple of miles away. It’s fine. But I was like, I’m so glad I didn’t do the nice thing, which was to drop everything off what I wanted to do to serve her which I want to I wanted to give her that time because I don’t have it during the week. But you know, the right thing was to say, do it yourself, you know, like
Kate Toon 24:04
it is it’s often the right thing. My son has this sort of shake that he has every morning but oats and all this stuff. And he’s always like, man, will you make it for me? And I’m like, Absolutely not. I won’t. That’s your That’s your job. Do you know, I mean, the other thing I think about parenting is and the GIL is think about one nice thing you did like you did you know all the minor things that you do. So you’re like, Oh, I’m not being a good mom this weekend. We didn’t go anywhere. We didn’t do it. We didn’t have an outing, but you shopped you cook to clean, you got them up, you watch telly with them. You took the dog for a walk, all these micro things that Dukkha they’re not big enough. They’re not shiny enough to be we’re not creating memories. You are creating memories. You’re creating consistency and warmth and a home environment that feels relaxed, and often fleeing off to a big event is the absolute worst. Everyone’s desperately trying to enjoy themselves. And you come back exhausted and slamming card or you know what I mean? Like oh yeah, the big things we plan to do. Raise your guilt actually turn out wretched. And really, we should just sit in bed and read Harry Potter. That sounds like a perfect, perfect day. You do get a lot done. I mean, yeah, as I said, you know, you’re you’ve got launchpads in various countries, you’ve got different Honeycomb, kids in the honeycombs, you’re a lot going on. And of course, you have a team. So that’s another caveat, the episode of hashtag caveats, but you are productive. Oh, yeah. Doesn’t matter if you have a team or not, you couldn’t achieve all of that if you weren’t a bit of a productivity beast. So what are some of your little productivity hacks that work for you? You’ve talked about meal planning in your personal life or your or in your business life?
Um, yes. And no, I’m no, I’m not at No, I’m not a massive planner, I’m just, uh, you know, what I do is I, I just write lists. And I’ll just give myself three things to do every day. And I’ll also like, I’ll often be thinking about it on the weekends or at random times, but I’ll just add it into my calendar as a as an appointment, I’ll have like, it’ll say, five, four things I want to do that day. And they’re just like, if nothing else gets done, if I do those four things, that’ll be fine. But yeah, I’m, I have a productive person. And but even having a team that means you have very little time on your own? Yes, yeah, you have a I have. My diary is a lot of meetings just being available for the team to be able to move, I don’t want to be the roadblock. Like I’ve worked with people where you’re like, Oh, we can never get an answer out of them. So I’m really conscious that if you’re, if you’ve got a team, and you’re paying them all this money, you’ve got to support them and get out of the road, don’t be the reason that they get frustrated, or held up and really facilitate them to be able to achieve what they need to achieve. But yeah, I’m a list writer, I definitely love the just just and just I can write a massive list, and then look at it and go, just pick three, pick three of the most important things, I think the 8020 rule, and it’s not even at 20 release, it’s really 9010. Come on, just get the 10 most at the 10% most important stuff done and everything else can wait.
Kate Toon 27:09
I mean, I’m totally with you, I have a one point list, which is like if I could only achieve one thing today, and then a you know, three point and it’s like, I remember this, when I used to try and do running, I’d be like, I’m just gonna run for seven minutes, because no one has an excuse for that. But then you inevitably run a lot longer than that, because you’re in the flow. And I love what you said about the team. And also, I think one of the things when you’re busy is you have all these ideas, and you’re worried they’re gonna get lost in the ether. And they do, right, you know, I’ve had brilliant ideas that I’ve lost. So I have slack, we use Slack as a team. And as soon as I think of anything, I just drop it into my own channel in Slack and try and make it you know, I’ll write, like, do the thing with the blue thing, then I’ll come back on Monday and be like, What the what? So I try and be explanatory. And then I dump things into Asana. So I use Asana for all my projects. And then I just look each day and go, I’m gonna pick couple of these and work on them today. But I’m the same as you, I have a lot of meetings. And it’s funny, because I don’t think of meetings as work. You know, like, real work for me is writing something or making something or planning something meetings feel like, a waste of time, you know, and it’s terrible. Because it is work, of course, it’s work, it’s helping my team, do the thing. So it’s mindset stuff as well, isn’t it? And, you know, what is productivity for you? What is how do you get a sense of achievement? You know, like, what if you’re in if you’re doing something that you really feel like, Oh, this is I’m really in flow here. This is my I really enjoy doing this. What would it be? What’s your favorite thing to do?
Ah, yeah, that’s a really good question. Um, I suppose there’s lots of things but probably writing or creating something or Yeah, right. Writing, Ida ideating. Like, coming up with what is the what is the event? Or what is the concept of what is the next thing but yeah, yeah, it’s really interesting. I definitely have a lot of flow states I often will look up and go holy shitballs is that the time?
Kate Toon 29:03
Yeah, we talked about this in the book as well like deep work and light we’re having light and shade in your day. I love ideation and I think we talked before the podcast started that we love launching things don’t necessarily love keeping those things going. That you know, I’ve just for example, I’m just I’m running a book month in my membership in October to help people write business books and you know writing the sales page pulling the different people in who are going to speak and coming up with the graphics in the logo. Love all of that love it love it. Love it in October, me who has to deliver it will be like you, Dick, you know, because I’ve just planned for like me to do two hour long workshops about pricing and Mark, who’s going to ride those? Oh, yeah, me. Well done. You know, it’s crazy. And now I’m assuming that if you’re playing tennis and having breakfast on a Monday morning that your riches creases, I’m joking, but money obviously is something that you’ve had to come to terms with over the years you know, providing for Yeah, family, but you’ve always got a team to look after? How have you? Have you always been good with money? Have you? Have you always been money literate? Or is this something you’ve learned over the years?
I’m really good question. I think I’m quite risk adverse. Which is unusual, isn’t it, I suppose as an entrepreneur, but maybe it’s not I’m, I’m very cautious. And look, I think I’m, I really quite enjoy the numbers, like I think I quite, you know, enjoy putting a budget together or checking my numbers or reviewing how we’re going. I mean, I probably check my numbers three times a day. It’s a bit addictive. But I think I’ve gotten a lot better. And I’ve surrounded myself with really smart money, people who have put together tools that I use. So I’m now very financially literate with my business, but it definitely wasn’t like that at the beginning. So yeah, I have scorecards for each business. And I have like a live sales sheet where I can see things changing. But yeah, I think finding a really good bookkeeper. And I have a great relationship with anyone who helps me because they’re like, oh, Chris, come on, like this. So it’s, it’s, it’s good to have people around you that are smarter than you, but also can work in your areas of weakness and help you feel really confident and comfortable and allow you to ask silly questions. And really, I think for money, it’s about creating a system that works for you that, you know, most bookkeepers or accountants will create, like, for example, a chart of accounts, that is enormous, because that’s just easy, right? Easier for them. But when you want to look at your p&l, actually, a really small Chart of Accounts, makes it really digestible. And you can notice changes in the numbers a lot more easily. Because you’re not looking at 50 expense lines, you’re looking at 20. Right? So, you know, that was a big life change moment for me. And business is this little thing, chart of accounts. If you get that into a smaller, more manageable piece, it’s actually really enjoyable. And then you go, Oh, hang on a second. Why is that number higher? And and actually, that is exactly the question you should be asking as a business owner, and, and not feeling stupid. But actually, someone needs to question the numbers and really understand every cent that’s in that line. Where does it come from? Is it going to be there next month? Is it going up? Is it going down? So you can feel really confident with your decisions in business? So yeah, I all of that is education and mindset, right? But, again, what’s hard being an entrepreneur is you don’t know any of this until you’re in it. And usually, well, for me, it was like, major mistakes I was making. You know, one of the mistakes you shared in your book, I’ve done exactly that mistake, which was not registering for GST early enough. And in Singapore, you don’t have to register for GST until you hit a million dollars a year. But you have to register the quarter that you hit 250,000. But I did not know that. So I had I had a really big problem. Yeah, that was just because I didn’t have good money. People around me advise you, I
Kate Toon 33:26
want to give you advice. I mean, this is it. I think a couple of things you’ve mentioned there, I think it’s actually quite common for good entrepreneurs to be risk averse. Because I think it’s just a different mentality. I’m an iterative developer, so I don’t go full on into anything, I launch a small version and a bigger version and sell that and grow from there. So I think we’re very similar on that score. I think what you mentioned about employing good people, but also people you can have conversations with some bookkeepers, they’ll want to talk to you from one month to the next, my bookkeeper has to be aware that I want to talk to them a lot. You know, I love what you mentioned there about having tools that make the numbers understandable to you. Because even if you’re using rounded or Xero or MYOB, the interface can be confusing content. So like you and little plug here, we have a new training in Kate toon called pathway to profit. And as part of it, I’ve given my budget spreadsheet, and it’s got the numbers, but it’s got loads of pie charts and diagrams of my budget versus actuals. And what happened last year, and what happened this year. And each month when my bookkeeper puts that together for me, she highlights everything that’s gone up everything that’s a bit more expensive than it was last month and why you know, and it’s funny. I’ve got a new bookkeeper now and she’s looking at the figures and we had a good revenue month, but the expenses were a bit high. And she was like, Yeah, I kind of didn’t question it because the revenue is good. And I was like, no, no, no, we always questioned why their expenses are high. Doesn’t matter how good the revenue is, because I don’t care about revenue. I care about profit, and I care about profit margin. So that’s the figure that I look at net profit margin don’t care about gross profit either. All of this is explained in the book Because I think it’s terminology mean you talking about Chart of Accounts, p&l, that means profit and loss. Five years ago, I didn’t know what any of that meant I didn’t have the language. But another thing that shows this thing and, you know, I just want to know how much money I’ve got left. And is it better than last month and then you know, my bookkeeping when you’re talking about profit, and you talk about profit margin as percentage. And for me, that’s the figures that I look at as a most useful figure for me, personally, people. Because revenue, you can control the kind of can’t always control it. But you can always control your expenses to a degree, you know, your splurge is. So I mean, we talked about productivity, productivity product, it’s, we’ve talked about money. Let’s finish off talking about communication, just from the business point of view. You mentioned that you’ve got a large team, and you mentioned that you use Google Calendar, what other tools do you use to communicate with your team?
I’m very low tech. So we don’t we’ve only just brought in clickup, which is, you know, going so so I mean, it’s
Kate Toon 36:01
it’s like the wish the wish version of Asana. No, I’m joking. It’s fine. Well, yeah,
I don’t know why we went with clickup Instead of Asana. But um, yeah, it’s really we use Gchat to talk to each other, if it’s urgent, emails, regular meetings, like actually finding a rhythm that works for you. So I have Oh, my God, I’ve 35 staff and I think I have something like 13 direct reports, which is way too many. But when I hire people, I literally say, you know, I won’t have a lot of time to spend with you. And you have to be okay and comfortable with that and thrive in an environment where it’s low management touch. And usually I’ll meet with people on a fortnightly or sometimes even monthly, like if they Sr. And they’ve been with me. Yeah, monthly, I’ve got one monthly for half an hour is all I have with this one person who runs pretty much their own business unit, and it’s doing really well, but, and even in that half an hour chat often I’m like, I’ve got to go to another meeting. And she’s like, I’ve just got one more thing, just one more thing. And I’m like, you know, like, just pop it in an email or like, but yeah, I’m I do. Yeah, there’s a lot of just not micromanaging. Like I definitely am, like, I need people to really perform at a level where they don’t need a lot of supervision, except for big new things like launch pad, which is about a year and a half old. And it’s it’s growing really like it’s five ext in terms of members in the first year. Right. So it’s, it’s kind of growing so rapidly, and we are innovating and changing and adding stuff. So that requires a lot of my time. But yeah, other
Kate Toon 37:48
that’s your baby at the moment. That’s your it’s funny because I’m the exact opposite. So I don’t have a such a bigger team, we have quite a small team. And we work very closely together, we micromanage each other, like so they put things on my list, we all do lists in Slack, and we talk every morning, just for 10 minutes, but we talk every single morning, also just for the camaraderie fast because everyone works remotely and you know, it’s we have a giggle, and it’s very hands on. So it’s the exact opposite of you. And as you said, it’s just about finding what works for you and your business and your model. Yeah, it’s interesting, isn’t it? So I mean, it sounds like you have a lot going on. And you mentioned that you know take time on a Monday which I think is quite amazing. The reason why I was told by God is because Monday for me has always been the Darling gotta get on with it you know, you’ve had two days off what you do and get cracking but you take a bit of time to go and play tennis which I love I now take time to go to the gym which I love and walk the dog what is that one of your self care elements? You know what what does self care look like for you?
Yeah, so I try not to start work until about 11 o’clock each day so every day the morning is mine to go and exercise or have coffee with friends it’s usually those two things and the reason I do that is because I once I get started I can’t stop so my hard stop at the end of the day is usually six o’clock shut tools down kids are home dinners on the table time to have family time. So I yes and then I don’t work Fridays so that’s my I’m trying to do that four days a week and the the thing that I keep coming back to is the reason I did all of this and created this business is because I want a lifestyle like so that I’m going to do lifestyle first because that’s my biggest priority and then I’ll do work second
Kate Toon 39:34
important is it was a simple shift for me to start scheduling my lifestyle stuff into my calendar before business stuff. Yeah, and that was a big shift because I never used to do that and I time block and color block and I use yellow for personal I’m the opposite again. So I will do to the gym and walk the dog but I get that all done by about eight o’clock. My husband does all the morning routine my ex husband and then I will work but I have a hard stop at three He, and I think it’s years and years of school pickup, I cannot work beyond three. I cannot. I don’t do any evenings I do I do one evening a week, one zoom a week in the evening. And I used to, up until recently, I’ve been doing a mastermind, which I’m not sure I’ll do, again, it’s a lot of effort. I used to have Fridays as an optional day. So that was I could work if I wanted to, if I was in something I was passionate about if I wanted to make a new thing, but I could also not take the day off. And, you know, again, people really listened to this and go, well listen to you, too. That sounds nice. But it isn’t a choice, I could make a lot more money. If I made myself work nine to five, if I worked on Fridays, if I worked on Saturday, but a Been there, done that burnt out got sick, you know, drank too much wine, drank too much coffee, and it doesn’t serve. And I go back to the Y which again, we talked about in the book, I started wanting to have more time. And then I was like, Oh, I can make loads of money. And then I was like, Oh, I love being my own boss, I can do whatever I want. And I’ve come full circle and went through a bit of an ego period as well, where I just wanted to be famous and speak at events, and I’ve gone all the way back to time again. And that what the what the fuck am I doing all of this for? If I can’t find half an hour to go to the bloody gym? What? Yeah, who cares? What, what? There’s no prize at the end of this?
No, no. And that’s exactly right. And for me, it’s always like, I did all of this, because I wanted a really nice lifestyle and lifestyle is the goal, you know, it’s not. And I think that that’s what was really nice about your book. And, you know, this just so much hard relate, like, I feel like you’re basically my twin living in Australia and I was all doing this in Singapore, you were doing exactly the same here thing here, I may have had a few more babies. But apart from that, it’s so so similar. And and you do go through this journey where you get on a bit of a high and you win an award and you think, Oh, well, this is quite sexy, but the end of the day, you know, like we don’t have long and you know those moments with your kids. We don’t have, we just don’t have one with them either. You know, like the gonna be gone soon. And it’s devastating.
Kate Toon 42:08
I can’t think about it, like I’m listening to you talk about reading Harry Potter with your, with your child in bed. And it’s like those days have gone for me. And unfortunately, no matter how lovely my son is, and you might indulge me and do it in a kind of ironic way, they will never come back. I will never read Harry Potter in bed with my son again, maybe with his son, you know, 20 years from now. But that’s gone. And I’m not going to feel guilty about that. And I missed opportunities because I did what I felt was right at the time. And I was doing my best and we needed money to be honest. Yeah. You know, it’s not like I was loading it around. I was trying to earn money and support my family. But it’s a short period of time. And, you know, the line is, you know, no one will remember you working so hard except your kids. The truth is they won’t even remember because that’s their reality. The truth is, you’ll remember, and you’ll you’ll there will be little I don’t know if you can get our age and not have regrets.
Yeah, no, totally, totally. And I look, I remember also when I fell pregnant with my third baby, and I was like, at the time my business was, I think we had 10 staff. And it was I really hands on, I didn’t have any support in terms of HR or admin or finance. I was doing all of those, you know? Yeah, hard things that are not my skill set. Like it was not a really, it was a very challenging time. And I remember my editor going I can’t believe you’re pregnant with baby number three. And I was like, Do you know what I just, I just know, I don’t want to look back and think I didn’t have a third baby because I worked. Want to think that you know, and I, I knew that if I didn’t have a third baby, I’d be always wondering, I wonder if I didn’t work so hard, whether I would have had that child you know, so
Kate Toon 43:50
yeah, you never know, obviously, a lot of people posting in Facebook groups about you know, oh, God, I’ve got pregnant and we really, it’s gonna be really challenging. And, you know, generally people like, you’ll never regret that, you know, and I regret not having I couldn’t have any more kids. But if I could have done I would have loved that, you know what I mean? But I think I’m gonna get a guinea pig instead. But we’ll see. But it’s it’s all about, you know, managing your time. Yeah, and managing your ego. And, you know, I guess the big theme for the book is, you know, patience and appreciating that you can do it all but maybe not this week. But you know, you’ve been going for a while now you know, how old you are. 72 She looks really good for been doing this for a while, you know, 10 years 15 years same as me pretty much 15 Literally because my son’s nearly 14 Or just 14 So 15 years you’re still coming up with new ideas you just launched Launchpad Sydney with Is it a debt? I think yes. Yeah. New things coming out. You know, world domination, how do you keep going what is the driver for your for your success, and I’m using our fingers because success means different things to different people. But how do you get up every morning and make Chris Edwards do it all over again.
Ah, there’s no, there’s, there’s no force required. Like, I totally love what I do. And it’s I’m totally addicted to it. It’s actually the force required is to stop. Yeah. And I said to my husband now that no, I’m on new things. I’m on new things and like this party,
Kate Toon 45:21
did he laugh and walk away? Yeah. You know
what, I went to an event that day and I came home that night and I said, I think I want to be a keynote speaker and he said, stop it. But, um, ya know, there’s a big part of me that wants to do more creative. Like, more creative with my hands and less with, that’s not typing, you know, like, I want to make and create and, you know, I actually really enjoyed ensuring that pick a source on the t shirt.
Kate Toon 45:51
Didn’t buddy finish it, though, did you God, I don’t know. But then you went out to do gardening. I’m exactly the same. Because most of my business is cerebral. It’s all up in my head. I’m literally making things up in my brain. I love nothing more than getting out and digging in the garden. I’m really into carpentry and you know, made all the stuff on my little van I kitted all the cabinets out and everything. And I want to do more of that. Yeah, like my brain switches gear. I said, slip sideways. I’ll be doing it for a couple of hours. And I may not have even had a thought or I’m not clear. Whereas you know, we are from the minute we start sit at our desk. It’s thought thought thought action plan. React. Tell it’s a lot. Yeah, we’re both getting on a bit. So we want to just be puttering around our gardens, I think. Yeah. Yeah, totally. Totally, like
I have have plans for a shithead. And oh, yeah. But yeah, I mean, I definitely think there’ll be a time where I’ll be like, I just want to switch gears because this gear, it is pretty fast. It is a lot. And it’s also hard to turn it off. Like on the weekends, it’s very hard to just try and quieten down the mind a little bit. And
Kate Toon 46:57
very when you’re at that pace, all we you know, which is why I used to take the Fridays is kind of a transition to talk in the book about third space and how you know, we’re kind of busy in business, and then we’re busy parents, and there’s no middle ground between that and when we used to commute to an office, we’d have the hour drive home or the train to just change gears. Yes, it’s very hard to kind of that’s I think a real challenge for a lot of parents is from you just finish an email and then your kid sir. And it’s and then a couple of minutes to defrag and turn my computer off and the desk and you don’t get that so you feel constantly frantic? And yes, you know, I’ve had years of that, and I’m trying to spread it out. And you will be a keynote speaker and you will write your book. I’m thinking book would be good. You know, that we’ve got so much time. I mean, I want to be I don’t necessarily want to retire. I want to work a bit less. I want to have more time to dig in the garden and draw Pegasus. But I don’t want to I don’t know if I could give it up completely. I don’t know. Maybe I will one day. Who knows. What do you think? Yeah,
yeah. So Well, I tried it. When when I had baby number three, I put on the general manager and he said, Look, I’ll do the job, but I want to do it completely independently from you. And I’ll meet you for an hour a week. And I was like, amen. Take it and I tried it and I know I wasn’t I’m happier in it then outside of it. So I get that and it’s just finding the balance right but I think you’re exactly right when you’re going so hard you need this decompress you need you know, if you’re working at this pace, it really is wonderful to have a slow Friday so that you can just you know not be at the same pace the whole time and even just to have a Friday where you can work but you like for me I try not to take meetings right so I have
Kate Toon 48:46
no meetings on a Friday ever and it shuts me when I do because again that’s yesterday me who messed up my Friday. So it’s a different pace, isn’t it? The world gets a bit quieter. None of my two of my team don’t work on Friday and I’m slowly migrating the whole rest of them so I don’t have to respond to quiet the noise down and Potter about you know, time to think and Potter pottering is bored and I think I don’t use important isn’t it? Yeah, well you need to let your brain have time to process stuff and as a copywriter literally my best ideas never come at the keyboard they’re like when I’m having a pool or in the shower or you know walking the dog so I just said poo on my podcast. I think I’ll have to stop there. That’s a great moment to stop. So Miss Edwards where can we find out more about you and the launchpad empire in the honeycomb is Empire
Yeah, I mean lots of different places I suppose the launchpad dot group go and check out that that’s my my latest obsession that is just so rewarding and delightful. All come and hunt me down on LinkedIn. It’s Chris Edwards, honey combers which is my handle on LinkedIn.
Kate Toon 50:00
You’ll realize or Instagram, you’ve got your honeycomb as Launchpad. And I’ll include links to all of these in you can check you out? Well, look, you didn’t boom once during that podcast, there was zero booming so and I don’t think I went monotone so we did well. High fives to us. So five stores. All right. Well, look, thank you so much for your time today, Chris. It’s been smashing.
It’s been so fun. Thanks for having me, Kate.
Kate Toon 50:28
Well, there you go. Chris. Literally at the end of that said, I’ve got to go. I’m late for another meeting because we ran over a little bit slightly longer episode. But I hope you enjoyed it. Thank you for listening to the show. If you are enjoying it. If you get time to take a minute to leave a rating or review. If you’re on i Tunes app, you can just open up the app and scroll to the bottom of the episode there’s a little area to leave reviews. Spotify is bit harder. See how you go. And don’t forget to check the show notes out for this episode at Kate toon.com. You’ll combine my book first six figures in school hours, or buy it on Amazon if you’re not in Australia. Also check us out on Instagram at six figures in school hours.com and not a.com You know what I’m saying at six figures in school hours. Finally, come join my Facebook group. It’s called The Misfit entrepreneurs and it is packed with other business owning parents given tips and advice and non parents just normal humans as well. So until next time, happy juggling. Thank you so much for listening