Today I'm chatting with Melissa Browne about building financial abundance in your life.
Melissa is the founder of Melissa Browne, her job is to help people reduce their financial overwhelm, to understand why they behave the way they do with their finances and to help them design a life they’re excited about. Melissa's passion is to help women particularly move from where they are now to a place they didn’t even believe was possible. To become financially empowered and financially well in both their finances and in their businesses. To have courageous conversations – whether that’s about finances, money, business or one of the many other things we’re avoiding in life.
We talk about:
Downloads and Resources:
Suzanne Chadwick 0:00
Hey, hey, welcome back to the podcast. Amazing to have you here. Listen, this is such a great episode, and I want to dive straight in. So I'm going to introduce you to today's guest and then we're going to dive in, because I think it's so juicy and so good. And I absolutely loved this conversation with Mel Brown, who you're about to meet if you don't know her or her already. So my guests Mel Bran is a multi award winning serial entrepreneur. She's the co founder of the money bar, a financial planning firm for Gen X and Y. Now Melissa Brown courses, the co founder and director of business at thinkers dot i n q, and innovative long day preschool based on creative and critical thinking, which is amazing. And up until 2019 When she sold the business to an ASX listed accounting firm, CEO of a and TA and award winning accounting firm. She's the author of four books, including more money for shoes, fabulous, but broke the global bestseller on f ck your finances. And her most recent is budgets don't work. But this does. So I started following Mel A while ago, on her awesome Instagram more money for shoes, who doesn't love that, and totally fell in love with her quirky and fun way of talking about money. Now, if you've been around at the brand builders lead podcast for a while, you'll know that I'm super passionate about helping women to manage money better in their business, and more, pay themselves super pay themselves and create more abundance in their life. And so I knew that I wanted to have Michelle on to talk all things money, she talks about property investment and shares investment and tax and all the rest of it. And it's not just about managing our business money. Well, it's about learning to build our money mindset, educate ourselves, leave old beliefs that we're not good with money behind and start setting ourselves up for financial success. So in this episode, Mel is sharing her story. But we're also talking about some of the key things that you can start to think about when it comes to how you can take charge of your money, how you can stop believing that you're not great with it, and actually start to educate yourself and do the things that are going to put you in the driver's seat. So I loved this conversation, and I can't wait to share it with you. So let's dive in. Melissa, welcome to the brand builders lab podcast.
Melissa Browne 3:12
Thank you for having me.
Suzanne Chadwick 3:14
Oh, my pleasure. I've been wanting to have you. I feel like we tried to do this maybe a year ago and uh, yeah. Yeah, we both Yeah. We got here in the end. You know, it's hard when you've been, like swarming all over Europe, Paris, and I was watching. I was like, oh, what's amazing,
Melissa Browne 3:34
I loved it. I'm not gonna lie. Not even going to try and suggest that it was hard work. It was the best time and I'm already planning next year's trip.
Suzanne Chadwick 3:44
Good on you. Good on you. So so good. So Mal, for my audience who don't know you can you just give us a little bit of background. I've given a bit of an intro but a little bit of background on how you ended up here. And why what you talk about is so important for you.
Melissa Browne 4:02
Absolutely. So I would say I'm an accidental accountant, an accidental entrepreneur and an accidental multimillionaire. Like it is just accidental, accidental. But having said that, behind that is also a lot of hard work and determination and being willing and having the courage to actually have a go. So the reason I said accidental for all those things is I'm a Western Sydney chick. I grew up thinking that you got to go a certain down a certain path. I got married, you had kids, and you like for the woman primarily stayed at home, like I just knew what I saw. And I saw a lot of that in my parents and what they had around them. So I grew up I was a smart girl. So my dad funneled me towards law and when I hated that after a few years accounting, and I like to say that if I'd said to my 12 year old So one day you're going to be an accountant, I think I would have cried and not come out of my room. But I just wanted to please Him. And it's that's part of my story is I'm a people pleaser. I'm an introvert. And I just, I just want people to think well of me. So I'm an accidental accountant, simply because I wanted to keep my dad happy, happy, rich, never should do something. Because of that. I started my business simply to do more study. So I left dropped the area, I took on a few clients. And that kind of just grew of its own accord. till the age 33, I cry when I divorced my first husband, I sat there and went, I'm an accountant. I'm divorced, I running my own show, none of those things was ever something I wanted for myself. So if I had the courage to leave him, knowing that my fundamental Christian parents would potentially never speak to me again. Then what else do I have the courage to do? What else do I want to do? And it made me realize that the thing that I loved was an accounting, it was business. And I love to helping women particularly grow their businesses. And the vehicle just happened to be accounting. And that, for me has been a theme throughout my life. I want transformational change, whether that's in my life, or whether it's in the lives of people, I hope, the conduit has just simply been business finance to start. And now personal finance. I think it could have been anything that just happened to be what I'm good at. So my personal story as well is that at age 33, not only did I decide I want to keep doing that and wrote four books, and create a very, very successful accounting and financial advice firm, which I sold just before COVID, and now do financial courses. But my husband as we're going through that divorce, said to me that I'd never make it on my own. You know, we get emotional, we say these throwaway lines. And that because I am that rebel personality, I just took every cent in of the divorce, I cleared out all of my business and personal bank accounts, gave it all to charity. And I wanted to ring them up the next day and say, I'm the charity, and I have that backplane Wow, it meant I had to move into a frat house with five friends into it, which is not as glamorous as it sounds, it was a tiny molds covered basement room. And it took me about three years to come out of that and to come back from less than nothing. Because I didn't have bond, I didn't have wages, I didn't have anything. And fast forward to today in my 40s I now am a multimillionaire and have the choice to work or not simply because in that mocha covered bedroom, I sat there and went, I never want to be in this position. Again. I never want to be reliant on what I'm on the whims of a man. But more than that, I want to be in charge of my own destiny, both with my business, but also with my personal finances. So that's why I say it's sort of accidental, accidental, accidental, but also, in those defining moments, they just woke me up and went no, this is not this is not going to be the story of my life.
Suzanne Chadwick 8:28
Oh my gosh, so many questions now. Okay, so the first one. Okay, what would 12 year old male would have wanted to do if she wasn't pleasing her father?
Melissa Browne 8:44
Chihuahua. I don't know, because I really didn't she did. They say you you want what you see. And I just didn't see anyone. I was in a very blue collar environment. I just didn't see anything that I really wanted to do. I thought for a while I might want to be a hairdresser. I thought for a while I might want to be a policeman. The truth is I wanted to be creative. I used to draw and write and do all those things. But I never thought that could be a career. It never occurred to me. I loved reading. It never occurred to me. You could be a writer. I can never put those things together. So
Suzanne Chadwick 9:21
I says after four books. Yeah, I got it.
Melissa Browne 9:26
I think I would have loved to have studied writing or, and to really geek out on that. I think I would have really enjoyed that.
Suzanne Chadwick 9:34
Amazing. And so when you kind of tried law and you didn't love it, and you went to accounting, were you always good with numbers?
Melissa Browne 9:42
No. So I was but interestingly, I didn't do maths in year 12. Okay, so I did four unit math, and I just hated it. It's one of those things that I just happen to be good at, but it didn't mean that I loved it. I didn't want to be an astrophysicist. I didn't want to be an engineer. So I dropped to three unit it, and I still didn't enjoy it. And so I went to my maths teacher and when I could, I dropped it to unit. And she's made the mistake of saying to me, Well, if you're going to do that, you may as well drop it completely. Which point I went, Oh, is that an option? So I didn't do maths at all in my HSC on my gosh. And I think the learning for that is you don't have to be good at math, to understand the numbers or to know the numbers side of business now, because there's programs that exist for you for that.
Suzanne Chadwick 10:30
Yeah, absolutely. So good. Okay, a couple more questions. We are gonna we are gonna get into just a second. But I'm just like, so your divorce the husband? Why did you give all your money to charity,
Melissa Browne 10:41
it was because of that throw away line where he said, I you'll never make it on your own. And my response to that is, I never want him saying, you're only here because of me. And whether that's because of the joint assets we had, or from a I wanted complete separation, so that he could never look back and say, part of your success you owe to me. So I created that vortex so that that wouldn't happen. Stupid.
Suzanne Chadwick 11:13
I gotta say, sec, what else? All right. So interesting. And I'd love to know, when you look back now, what was your money mindset, like in those early years, and through that period,
Melissa Browne 11:31
my money mindset was a combination of scarcity. And I'm not enough. So those were the two loudest voices in my head, it was you better keep hustling and working because you aren't good enough. Or, you know, you're a Western Sydney chick, who were you to think that you deserve that. You just need to be happy with what you've got. And these things don't happen for cheeks like you like those voices in my head was so loud. And I had to do a lot of work to diminish that. And I think women carry a lot of that with us anyway, around not being enough and comparing, you know, physically, from an early age, we're told to look at ourselves and compare were fed princesses and all these other tropes. And I think that comes through with business, it comes through with personal finance. And it's about recognizing that for me, I had to do a little work around that. And that voice is still there. But it's very, very quiet, and I don't feed it.
Suzanne Chadwick 12:29
Where do you think that voice comes from? Was it just society? Or do you feel like it was parents family friends, like why were had that sort of built up?
Melissa Browne 12:38
I definitely think it's part of society. No, I grew up with the supermodel culture, I grew up with a diet culture and that constantly that you know who you are, it's not enough, you need to constantly be wanting to be thinner, or to be blonder or to be you know, you just have this physical attribute that you're supposed to want, which was is so damaging, and for me, personally, was extraordinarily damaging. But also I grew up in a very quite violent, inconsistent household. So that as well, that safety was removed for me. So I grew up, just being hyper alert, and being aware that life was hard. And you know, you just had to you needed to be careful. So I think that twin thing of both, absolutely, how I grew up, but also society and how it absolutely talks to men and women different differently, that I that I grabbed those mindsets.
Suzanne Chadwick 13:39
So interesting. And so you start your firm. And through that, you obviously said that you sold it just before COVID What was your experience of building this firm and and having, you know, this near entrepreneurial journey that you were going on? Yes. So
Melissa Browne 13:57
I, I really decided to invest in myself. So in my mid 30s, when I decided that the mission that I wanted was to help women, particularly that and because that was bigger than me, it meant that I could invest in myself. So I looked, and I'm super competitive, and I grew up in it as an athlete. So if I know if I'm in those environments, that is where I'm going to succeed. So I put myself into a coaching program for accountants, and it was mainly blokes. And that also fueled something in me to want to beat the boys. So I every quarter had to fly to Brisbane. And I invested really my business was a quarter of a million bucks at that point. I was investing half of my profit in this program. And my thing was, I just really want to grow and I think I'm going to need something beyond me to help me get there. And so I did that and that gave me the processes and the support and the competitive environment. Meant to want to do more. And I took one of my team with me each time, because sometimes in business, it's really lonely and it's isolating, and you need someone else to get it as much as you get it. So that when you're not there, they can be running as well. So I took her with me. And we ended up being one of the very few feet. So I'm a solo owner of an accounting firm. I was one of the very few solo female orange seven figure accounting firms in Australia. And I sold that to an ASX listed firm. And I'm super proud of that. Because again, congrats. That's awesome. We did something different. I wasn't scared to do it to really be feminine in that. And we attracted both blokes and women, because they just wanted something different, which I loved.
Suzanne Chadwick 15:52
Yeah, so I got. And so once you had sold it COVID as well. So what's your business journey been like? And what what was your thoughts around like, the new mission? So you've sold it, you're gonna start this, this other business? What were you sort of thinking? What were you seeing that you felt like you could really help?
Melissa Browne 16:12
So I had always intended to sell by 50. And the year that I sold it, I'd had suffered a compressed nerve in my neck. And I had three really good friends say to me, at three different times, why are you pushing it so hard? You clearly aren't loving it anymore. Like they knew me really well. And they had the permission to say these things into my life, because we were those good friends. And they just said, Why 15? Like, why are you waiting? So I sold it, pre COVID. And I'm so grateful that I did. But I sold it without a plan, which is so not me. I'm the one that needs to read the last page of a book. Yeah. But I've met at Nick Tina tower, who you know, just before and she taught me Oh, she just showed me a glimpse of online, the online course world and what was possible. And because I am an introvert, I looked at that and went, Ah, I do not enjoy one on ones, this concept of teaching people to fish rather than fishing for them. And doing it in a way where I'm not having to expend that energy one on one is, so what I was created to do. So I started to delve into online courses pre COVID. And then of course, during COVID. We're all in front of screen screens. I feel like it was the perfect time for me where people cared about their finances more than ever before, because suddenly they were forced to. And they were in an environment where they were used to zoom now we're used to online learning. So the vehicle that I wanted to use, absolutely exploded. So this has been whilst I would never have chosen COVID Like so many of us. It's been the perfect storm for a business like mine, because it's just been so necessary.
Suzanne Chadwick 18:01
Yeah, absolutely. And I was saying to you a little bit earlier, my my listeners will know, like I talk about profitability and managing money and really thinking ahead about you know, superannuation, and because I feel like in the entrepreneurial space, especially with women, there are some beliefs around feeling like money is hard, but a lot of us grew up with that story of, I don't know how to manage money. You know, it's hard. It is a boys club. You know, like, I'll let my husband look after it. Like all of these things. I talk to clients all the time of Eminem. Yep, yeah, like you don't even don't be salesy because money or money is a dirty word or the rest of it. And so one of the reasons why I wanted to have you on as well is because it's great for us to make money in our business. But I am passionate like you about us becoming really savvy with how we manage money in our life. And our business is one of those elements. So what are you seeing when you know, I guess in the female entrepreneur space, I know that you that's not the only people you work with. But when it comes to money, money management, all the things you teach, what are you seeing?
Melissa Browne 19:17
So it's all the things you're talking about? Where it's really so if I spoke to a group of guys and a group of women, they would act very differently with their businesses. Neither of them is right. So I was in an organization called entrepreneurs, organization eo 85%. Male and at networking events, quite literally, this is how they would introduce themselves. Hi, my name is Mark. I've got a $5 million business. Hi, I'm Trevor My business is doing 10 mil. Hi, I'm Steve my businesses doing 20 mil like that is how they would introduce themselves. I've never met a woman that introduced themselves that way. Whereas with that with those blokes, what I would do is because that's ego All right, yeah, I would say to them, I love that what's your profit, and it was like, how big is your penis, they were horrified. They were mortified. Because they businesses might have been turning a profit or their profit might have been teeny tiny. So they, so just because they're talking about those things, doesn't actually mean they've got it right. But as women, I want to see us care about the numbers more to realize that it's not and feminine to want to make money in our business. And then if we gonna spend that much time, that much energy, and that much stress on our businesses, we may as well make it as profitable as they can be. And the thing that I know from women is that when women make the money in a community, family benefits and the community benefits. So perhaps for women, what I've discovered is that oftentimes, you need to make the vision bigger than you. Because if it's just you, chances are you won't push yourself, and you don't want you think it's not right to make that much money. So oftentimes, before you can get there mentally, it's about saying, Okay, well, what could you do? Like, how much do you want? And what would that look like? And what could you do as a result of having that? So it's reverse engineering it. But one of the biggest things I'm seeing with women in business particularly, is they're not putting their own financial oxygen mask on, they're not looking after themselves. They're not paying themselves superannuation. And that, like, That scares the bejesus out of me when women over 55 and most at risk of homelessness, because they don't have enough super. So it's understanding that, yes, we need to care about our businesses. But actually, we need to put our financial oxygen masks on over here as well, in our personal finances.
Suzanne Chadwick 21:53
Yeah. How can they do that? Mel, like when we're thinking about that, because we, I think we are kind of dealing with, with that money mindset. And, and then also feeling capable in managing and understanding the profit and doing the super and all the rest of it. Are there things that you talk about that really help women to shift into that mindset, one of them being something bigger than yourself? Yeah, anything else that you you teach your clients.
Melissa Browne 22:22
So the first is absolutely having a bigger than themselves. Second is understanding your money story, because often how the story you grow up grew up with when it came to money in fixed every part of your story, whether it's personal finance, or business finance. So my personal money story around not being enough and scarcity. I absolutely broke that to my business. And what I thought I was capable of in my business is far less than what I actually was capable of. So sometimes it's putting yourself in situations where you see other women and other people that are doing what you don't think you're capable of, or even blokes like whatever, so that you can say, if she can do it, I can do it. And it's that thing around what you see you can become. So I think that's the other big part of it. But third is to normalize it. And it's normalized talking about money. I went to a planning day last week with some good friends, that we've been in a group for quite a long time. And we were we meet regularly to talk about business. And we started to talk about our goals for next year. And I just put my hand up and said, If we're going to do this, can we please talk numbers? Because even in that safe space, and like, Oh, I just want to grow? Or I want to do this? And like, let's put numbers around this? Why are we so scared? And I think part of it is we might not think we're capable of reaching that. Know, if I say I want to make a million bucks in my business. And I don't think I'm capable of that. Do I really want to put it out there. And yet, what I know is that if you say you want to hit a million bucks, you might not hit a mill, but you might hit 800,000. Whereas if you're just trying for 500, you might hit three. So sometimes it's putting goals beyond like in your mind, unrealistic goals, so that you overshoot the limiting place you think you should be? And to ask the question, well, if you were to go there, what would you need to be doing? And then to start to do that?
Suzanne Chadwick 24:24
Yeah, I think the other thing with that is, what if I put my numbers out there and like other people think that's not enough? Or like the comparison of somebody might be like, well, I'm going to be hitting a million somebody else's, like, I'd really love to hit 700,000 or whatever it is. Yeah.
Melissa Browne 24:43
And I think that's a thing where we're all running our own race, and it's women, whether it's comparing our jobs as parents, or comparing how we look or comparing our wealth we are taught for from a very young age to compare and to find ourselves wanting or to judge, you know, we're taught to judge each other and to compete. And it's realizing that we are running our own race, and to cheer each other on and to keep running. You know, you've got someone running next to you who wants a million bucks, and you want 100,000 put out there that you want to get to 100. Because you can learn from the person, that's Adam mill. Whereas if you don't know you can't learn. I remember speaking to a group at Westfield back in the day, and I said to them, I want you to turn to the person next to you. And I just want to share a recent when I financial when you've had, you know, let's not be vulnerable, let's do it. And it was an older woman and a 20 something year old girl. And the 20 year old had just bought an investment property. And the older woman came up to me later and went, Oh, my God, she's killing it. And I would never have thought to talk to her about money before. I'm now having lunch with her tomorrow. And she's going to talk to me about how she's going to share mortgage broking tips and how she did it. She said, I never would have thought to do this, because I judged her. When you said talk to her. And I was thinking great, I've been sat next to her, I'm not going to learn anything. So it's understanding that it's not a competition. And by putting out putting this out there, you can actually learn from people versus hiding. You know, the federal government in Australia has just mandated and taken away. Pay secrecy. And what I know is when you share your pays, womens pays get lifted. So I think the same is true of our business. If we share our goals, if we share our wins, if we share what's worked for us, then all the water rises for all of us and all our businesses get lifted.
Suzanne Chadwick 26:47
Yeah, I love that. I love that. And now one of the things that I love that I'm a bit obsessed with you at the moment, which is the whole shares thing, I download nine shares apps that you should be checking out, I'd be talking to my and this is like another thing like my husband does a lot of investing. And I'm always like, what are we investing in? Like, where is it? What's happening? How are we making that decision and really trying to educate myself, which is while and I'm like, Well, you know, Mel said he really loves that. Sorry. But I think that one of the mindsets that we have a lot of the time is like it's a bit scary. And it's gonna and it's really hard to understand. And it's going to be really complicated and risky. Yeah, like, what what do you sort of teach clients or talk to clients about when that's the mindset, I guess once again, because that's what society has kind of taught us? I guess, I don't know. That's the message to women. Yeah. How do we get over that so that we can start to become more curious with it?
Melissa Browne 27:55
Yeah. So what if talk about something first, and then I'll answer that? Yeah. So as Starling bank research, around how the media talks to men and women found that it talks to women, men and women very differently. To blokes, most of the articles or money makes you more of a man, to women. It's that we overspend and we need to be more frugal. So already, we're being taught that you should handle the money and you shouldn't because you can't be trusted. And women are told, you just need to tighten your belt and trust the blokes like it's it's this unconscious, insidious thing that the media does with us. So that's one, but that meant so a fidelity research piece in the US found that 93% of people surveyed thought that men would make better investors than women. And it says a result of research like this, yet at Warwick Business School longitudinal study found that women and men outperformed the index. So they both performed better than the the general stock market index. And women perfil outperformed the men. Amazing. I know, right. So first of all, I want to bust the myth that women don't make great investors because we really freakin do. We're not as risk. We're not as risky. And we're not prepared to bet the house. So that inherent need for us to be a little safer. And this is this is general because I don't have that.
Suzanne Chadwick 29:22
I figured that Yeah.
Melissa Browne 29:24
So that in here, this actually will help us as an investor, it means that we we won't necessarily want to Tibet, the house. But I also want to say that anything new is scary. If you want to run a marathon for the first time, that could be absolutely frightening. If you want to learn a new language, if you want to have a child. I mean, let's think about what women do anyway. I haven't had one I've chosen not to, but just the concept of having a child and birthing it freaking out. Like my theory is if you can do that, you can do shares properly It means that most of us don't. We don't think that we're capable for a start, which we are that that research piece has proven that also, we're not used to trying something new, it will kind of get to a certain point in our life. And that's kind of I don't I don't know when that happens where that little lizard brain insider says, that's all the new things for you. Just to hang up your boots that you're done, just cruise now. I tried to study I started to learn French this year. So freaking hard. But it's that thing that and it reminded me that we don't often learn something new. And it's hard. And it's about persisting with it. And what I will say, is shares is just a skill, no different than learning to learn a language no different than learning to ride a bike or drive a car. Will it take you a little while initially to learn the lingo? And feel comfortable? Sure. But absolutely over time, the more that you do it, the more you feel comfortable with
Suzanne Chadwick 31:04
it. Yeah, yeah, I'm better. Yeah, I'm trying
Melissa Browne 31:08
to learn. Yeah, yeah, you do need to decide I'm going to give this a crack. Because you could use sharing, I think share investing is the great equalizer. You don't need a deposit of hundreds of 1000s of dollars, you can quite literally invest with someone else's money insofar as I could use a cashback app, or a Shopback app, and use the rewards and invest that way. So there's so lucky, you can do it so cheaply for quite literally 20 bucks, we'll get you started. So it's a beautiful way of starting to invest.
Suzanne Chadwick 31:44
Yeah, I love that. And you do have a download, which we will have in the show notes as well, about the nine, nine apps. I was looking at them the other day as well, which I yeah, I definitely want to try and learn more about it. So that I'm like, What can I invest in? And I remember ages ago, and I don't know what's happened to it since but I remember you were kind of educating on why it would be good to invest in one particular business that had gone public, which was a door I think, at the door beauty.
Melissa Browne 32:12
Yeah, so many women were interested for the first time on Oh, hey, I use this company, and it's floating, should I invest? So I was saying, These are the pros. These are the cons. And now would you do it? So yeah, I think finding companies you're interested in can be a beautiful way to start, I think my answer at the time was it's probably overpriced. And history has gone on to prove that. But you don't have to choose a single company. And most of us shouldn't necessarily do that we can exchange in, we can invest in something called exchange traded funds, which give us a basket of a whole bunch of companies. And we just pick the risk profile or the type of investments that are right for us. So I probably just scare people off with a few words. Trust me when I say sometimes it it quite literally is it's a choose one, set and forget and then just keep investing.
Suzanne Chadwick 33:09
Yeah, I love that. That's so good. And is there anything that you think from a business perspective and managing money in your business that you think is good for us to know, or something we should think about? In order to get the most out of what we're earning in our business?
Melissa Browne 33:28
Yeah, absolutely. So I think one, we need to understand the numbers side of business, there comes a certain point in business where you can win it. But after a while, if you really want to grow your business, if you want it to be the most profitable business that it can be, you got to understand the numbers side of business. So that means things like your sales, your gross profit, your net profit, your wages, ratio, your cash flow, like understanding those things. And those things, the terms might be scary, or they might seem hard, do really not. It is just again, educating yourself. It is. So that would be one as you need to do that. Second would be understanding how much you want to pay yourself to too few women are just eating out of their business bank account, when really they should be paying themselves. And my rule of thumb is if you can go and get a job, if you're worth 150k by going and getting a job, that's what you should be getting to as a minimum in your business. So it's figuring out how can you do that and maybe reverse engineering it right? If I want to get to 150k paying me that means I then need to earn 400,000 in my business. Great. And I want to keep an eye on profits and keep an eye on gross profits and sales so that I know that that's possible, and then physically pay it and pays off super appropriately as well. But also have more than one business bank account. If you're trying to operate from the one bank account you're forgetting about tax you might be thinking Writing about bills. I'm a fan of what we're doing per in personal finance, we're also doing with our businesses. So we want an everyday account, we want to tax account. And we want to buffer account at a very minimum, and the buffer account would have three months worth of expenses in it. So that if there is no way in Australia that talks to the soft landing, not a recession, but a soft landing still might mean a retraction, where we need some funds in reserve, if something if we had a quiet month, rather than freaking out or jumping onto credit. So it's doing those great practices.
Suzanne Chadwick 35:39
Yeah, I love that I am a fan of profit first. I don't know if like some people love it. Some people don't. But I'm just like, I have to listen to everything. But the different bank accounts. I just think when I did that, yeah, like my whole business just completely changed, because
Melissa Browne 35:55
he's focusing on the you focusing on profit, right? Yeah. Suddenly, it's that whole thing where what I water will grow? Yeah, I'm focusing on profits. Guess what? I'm gonna grow my profits from focusing on sales. Yes, sales is great. But without profits. What's the point?
Suzanne Chadwick 36:11
Yeah, absolutely. And I want to touch on something that you just mentioned the, I'd love to ask a question around reinvestment because you were sort of saying when you had your accounting firm, you know, a lot of the money that you had coming in, you were reinvesting in this mastermind or the groups that you were in, what are your thoughts on debt in business? But either growth? Or how do we reinvest? So there's almost two questions there. Yeah.
Melissa Browne 36:39
So we I have no problems with debt in business. What I do know is that women are often scared of debt, because they don't want to risk their house. But I am absolutely not scared of debt in business, as long as it's the right sort of debt. So if you're just getting a debt to get a car, and that car really has no purpose for your business, I'm probably not a fan of it. But if you're in debt for machinery that's going to help you if you're in going into debt for a course that you know, by doing this, the return on investment is going to be why. Or if you're going into debt for something else, where you sit down and say, right, if I borrow this, this is what needs to happen as a result, so you've got to sit down and have a strategy for debt, both what's the return that you want on it? And then B, if that didn't happen, how would you pay for it? So I've got a preschool that I invest in that my very good friend and educator runs, we absolutely had to go into debt for that. But I sit down and worked out. Right, it needs to take five years to pay off. And the strategy was that we would both consult and put money into it in case the preschool didn't grow. quick enough. That was like our plan B. So yeah, don't no problem at all, with the reinvesting. Particularly, if it's a product business that's growing fast, you'll understand you have to reinvest, and you're gonna probably have to go into debt for that product. Anyway, so that's just a whole different beast. But for for service based businesses, I'm still a fan of reinvesting if I can see your return on that. So if I'm reinvesting on things that aren't going to give me a return on investment, and a really just window dressing, so if every year I'm rejigging my website, and I'm spending on cosmetic things that aren't going to necessarily bring me money, then sure, I'm probably not going to help, I'm probably going to have a problem with that. But if I'm investing in thing reinvesting on staff, so I'm, I'm grabbing staff for growth, which I'm just about to do. Or maybe you're investing in training, or courses, because you know, that this is what will happen as a result, or this is what you want to as a result, then again, I don't have a problem. And I've done that continuously. But your question should always be, what's my return on investment? If I was to do this? And then to track that to see if that actually is true, and prove pull the p&l? If it's if it doesn't work?
Suzanne Chadwick 39:16
Yeah. And is there any, like, Do you have any thoughts on percentage on reinvestment either for yourself or in the business? Because I guess, when we do look at profit versus that as as a very baseline is kind of the 3030 3010 ish, obviously, that that depends on where you are with tax and all the rest of it. But where do you think that that should sort of come out of
Melissa Browne 39:42
so it depends on the type of business that you're in, because some businesses will be really heavy on staff say, and so, accounting and other professional services would be third, staff, generally, it's just their models, generally a third, a third, a third, a third for the owner, a third for the business, and then a third one For you are sorry for for wages and what have you. So it depends on the type of business you are as to what those percentages are. For me, at the moment, being an online business, I'm spending a lot more on advertising than I ever have before as a percentage. But again, that's the nature of what I do. So what I would suggest is that you go and look at benchmarks so that you can buy or see benchmark reports, that will give you an indication as to what the top performing businesses their percentage spends are, and also what an average business their percentage spends are. And that will give you an idea, you know, if if they're spending 20%, on wages, and you're spending 25, you might look at it and go, Okay, I seem to be heavy on wages. Why is that? And do I need to grow my sales quicker, so that I can be back in amongst benchmark, your if you look at that benchmark report, it might say trainings 4%, and you're spending 10. But a significant part of that, which mine was way more than 4%. But a significant part of that is you and this is a return you wanted as a result, then again, I wouldn't have a problem with that. So those benchmark reports are amazing, but always use them to come back to yours. And then question, but is that right for me?
Suzanne Chadwick 41:27
Yeah, I love that. And I feel like that's a conversation that needs to happen more in the entrepreneurial space. Yeah, that I guess, like the quantifiable like reinvestment in the business reinvestment in yourself understanding like, How can I put away for that just like we put away for tax? How am I saying, Okay, well, 10%, or 1%, or whatever it is, 5% of my revenue for the year is my own training budget, because a lot of my listeners, and my community are solopreneurs, like they may have VAs or designers that they contract in. But as far as the revenue for the year goes, or whatever it is, is really looking at saying, Okay, I'm gonna allocate $5,000, or 3000, or 10,000, for myself, to ensure that I feel supported, I continue to grow, I continue to learn those sorts of things as well.
Melissa Browne 42:19
Absolutely. And, and you might, and it's being really careful, too, because if you're a solopreneur, and you are a service base, for example, you you're, you might be looking at a benchmark with and you're comparing yourself to service based businesses with staff, yeah, whereas really, your profit maybe should be more like 50%. So it's being really careful around how you compare. For me as an online business, my profit should be minimum 50%, like minimum. So I watch that very carefully. Because I don't want to overspend and have things go toward things that are that are unnecessary. Having said that, exactly. To your point, I am keenly aware of what I don't know, in this space at the moment. So I am spending on those things to skill me up, that I know I'm spending more heavily than I will in the future. But actually, I'm okay with that. Because I see this as a season of learning and growing, so that I can really propel my business growth. And I, if I'm honest, I've invested more heavily in me than probably any business. That like any other accounting business out there, perhaps, that I knew, simply because I knew that if I was motivated, and if I was skilled up, and if I had not just the business learning, but also the other skills, then that I would be the best business owner that I could possibly be.
Suzanne Chadwick 43:49
Yeah, and I love that, you know, when you invest in yourself, you're actually investing in the future you as well as your clients. Like I just always think, you know, when I spend however much I spend on myself, I always say to my clients, like you get that. Yeah, like you get Yeah, I spend it on me and then I help you and like you get
Melissa Browne 44:08
put into that, like I get my hair blow dried once a week, I have a cleaner, I have a lymphatic massage once a month, I put that in the bucket, if I'm spending that on myself, I'm a better business owner. Now, my business can't necessarily pay for that. But in my head that forms part of the cost of me doing business, whereas someone else might not have that same cost. So it's it's realizing that some of these things that are seen as selfish things, actually, if they're going to make you perform at a higher level, if that means that you are doing more of what you should be, they're actually a good thing to spend money on which might seem strange that an ex accountant is saying it's okay to have a monthly massage if that's going to be new, a better performer
Suzanne Chadwick 44:55
100% I would decide that finishing on that note as I said to my So to some clients when they were doing their launch, I'm like, you have to like with the emails and we the ads and with the lives and all of that you've also got to block in your self care days we've launched not after
Melissa Browne 45:13
lately, but we were enduring. Yeah, absolutely.
Suzanne Chadwick 45:16
Yeah. And I think we should just have that, in general, in our business that we are. That's part of the upkeep of our business is the upkeep of us and our mental health, and our physical well being, because a lot of times we were the ones who were delivering to the client as well. So yeah, I love that.
Melissa Browne 45:35
Yeah. And if your energy is down, if our energy is off, then that potentially will contribute to lower sales and less productivity. And all in fact, it trickles out.
Suzanne Chadwick 45:47
So what we're saying listener is go and get the massage, go and get a blow dryer, go and get the
Melissa Browne 45:56
Go get the sales, so that you can pay yourself so that you can afford those things. I love
Suzanne Chadwick 46:01
it. So good. Awesome. Well, Val, I have absolutely loved this chat. And I knew that it would be so beneficial to my listeners, just just start getting them thinking yeah, about not just like the money in our business. Although I think that the things that we've talked about, we just can't talk about enough. But also, don't be scared to learn new things. Don't be scared to explore how you can become like, you know, more educated about money within your life, you know, whether it's investment property, just, you know, understanding the budget, whatever you like, we're all capable of doing that.
Melissa Browne 46:42
Absolute freaking literally, we're more than capable, we're actually able to do be really, really good at this. It's just making that conscious choice and starting.
Suzanne Chadwick 46:51
Yeah, for sure. Now, what have you got coming up? Tell us all the things and then for those who are walking the dog or in the car, where can they find you? We'll have all of these links in the show notes as well.
Melissa Browne 47:01
Yeah, so you can come play with me overeating, Stewart more money for shoes. I launched my signature course three times a year the my financial doting plan. So end of Jan will be the next one for that. But we've also got things like shares master classes and property master classes and books and little bite sized things and freebies, you can come and play with. So if you want more on personal finance and and you know this is an area that you need help with, then come play with me.
Suzanne Chadwick 47:29
Yeah, amazing. And your team or you have sent us a link that is specifically for for my audience here which talks about like 50 ways to find an extra 10k in 12 months and then Mel's books. And then you can also check out the financial adulting plan too. So we've got all of the goodies for you, which is amazing. But thank you so much for coming on and talking money.
Melissa Browne 47:52
Oh, absolutely loved it. Thanks for having me. I'm glad we finally did it.
Suzanne Chadwick 47:56
I know and you have to check mails, Instagram out the best handle ever more money for shoes, which I love. And you'll also learn about finance through chocolate frogs.
Melissa Browne 48:08
Who knew that was a thing?
Suzanne Chadwick 48:12
I love it. Amazing. Dave, thanks so much. Thanks. Good to see you too. How good was that? Did you love it? She's so great to follow. And I am always learning about these things. So I just think it's really up to us as women to take charge to make the decision that we are smart enough to manage money we are capable of doing it and that we just have to spend the time like getting better at doing anything in life. We have to spend the time to educate ourselves and learn how to do it and then take action on it. So I hope that this inspired you. Make sure you go follow Mel if you've got any questions send either one of us a DM. But yeah, I love this conversation and I'm so glad I could bring it to you. Well, that's it for another week. It has been amazing to have you here as always, and remember to follow me on all socials at Sue's Chadwick. But thanks so much for listening. If you enjoyed this episode, then I would love you to leave a review so that others can find the podcast and come and hang out with us every week. Until next time, have an awesome week and make sure you keep playing big and branding bold.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai