Coffee Chats with Nicole Smith and Sarina Lowe

An Idea Discovered

Watch The Live Conversation Here

Full Conversation Transcript

Good afternoon, and welcome to the first of many afternoon coffee chats with Nicole and Serena. Today we’re going to be talking a little bit about business and a joint love for just getting things all organised and a big idea that we came and reached of recent times that you may have seen sprinkled across the socials already. So we are just waiting for Sarina to come on board and join. So we’ll let Instagram do its fabulous thing that we’ve got our coffee’s ready to go. So hopefully, if you’re watching, pop in the comments and say hello, let us know what coffee you’re drinking this afternoon. And get ready for a fabulous conversation. So I wonder if I can invite Serena myself. Let’s see. Here we go. Oh, get this here we go invite that stillness thing.

Fabulous. I think this is the first time I’ve actually hosted and insta live. Here we go.

I love your top today. Nicole. Gorgeous.

Thank you. I was on a call earlier. I think I popped it in and stories. And this new potential client said did you choose that headband strategically for our call? I just said no. This is just me. So it exactly so much fun. We got some humans coming in. Hello, everybody. Nice to see you. Well, where should we start? We’ll do a little bit of an introduction about who we are and what that’s all about in case we’ve got people from your side who don’t know who I am. And my study didn’t know you all. So do you want to go first? Yeah, so sure.

So I’m Sarina Lowe. I’m the founder of the Androsia Connection, which is a consulting agency and I work with businesses on in the partnerships and sponsorships space. So I’m really passionate about creating partnerships with purpose. And essentially that means using marketing techniques, partnership sponsorship techniques to align to align sponsorships and partnerships to a business’s goals and values, essentially, in a nutshell saying it really quickly.

So good was a fun day, especially if you’ve worked with the amazing Cathy Rast, discovers what words actually can do.

So tell us what,

Yeah what do I do? So I’m Nicole Smith, my businesses, The Artisans Business Solutions, and we support businesses to find the missing pieces between how they’re operating right now and where they want to be playing. So we look at processes, systems, tech and all the things how we can design, create, and connect them into your businesses and worlds. So in a nutshell, that is me.

So good. Nailed it.

I’m ready. Ready. And hello, Joey. John, welcome to your first live we are pumped as well. So, let’s just have a chat. First of all about starting our businesses. I do want to I’d love to know love you to share a little bit more about your business journey because the Androsia Connection may not be the first business that you’ve been involved in.

Oh, that’s exactly it. So I love, I love this question. And I think it ties really nicely into what I’m doing now. So it’s interesting that Joe is on this call, because she was actually there when I started my very first business. I, I am an ideas person. I love marketing. I love ideas. I love coming up with creative content, all of that sort of stuff. And I think once I start chatting to a business owner, I get very engrossed and creative very quickly. So it’s actually one of Joey’s friends that first encouraged me to start my business. We were sitting around on a Sunday afternoon having a chat. He was talking to me about his social media. And I gave him a few ideas around what creative things that he could put on social media to maybe attract more people into his business. And very quickly, he said to me, you should become our social media manager. And I was like, in a full time job at the time, I was like, Absolutely not. That is not what I do, like no way. And then one month later, I was freelancing for them. I left my permanent job. About three months later, I picked up a few more clients. And I ran that social media business for about a year and a half, until I decided to go back full time into sponsorship. I love love the creative elements of social media, but for me the actual execution was not where I loved playing. So I went back into sponsorship all that and worked at RMIT. So I worked at in the education sector and And when I finished up with them, it was conversations again with people like Joey and other friends that really drove me to niche into the partnerships and sponsorship space. And I think I have been avoiding that for a long time, but quickly realised that it’s my passion area. You know, when I was working at RMIT, I had so many conversations with people where they would be like, Oh, my God, you’re the sponsorship expert, I want to talk to you, you know, and you’d find that you’re almost consulting within the business. And you’re doing all these great big projects, figuring out where they’re spending their money, how they’re spending it, why they’re spending it, giving creative ideas, teaching people how to bring their business and their businesses, their sponsorship, so and so that was back in 2020. And as we’ve discussed, like, offline a lot, Nicole, I’ve done a lot of contracts in that time. So my business grown, but in a different way to what yours has, I spent a lot of time in contracts. Now I’m getting some time to really spend in the business. And I’m really loving putting all the marketing plans together, building my website, all that fun stuff. So I suppose that’s like my business background.

Yeah, I love it, isn’t it? Isn’t it wonderful though, when it organically just you discover what it is that you want to be doing? And you actually allow yourself to lean into it. Because it’s fun, then it’s not hard anymore.

So different, like now that I’ve talked about creative marketing, partnership, sponsorship, I just love it so much. And it’s so easy for me to tell people what I do. And I think like you and I have talked about to really identify who your ideal client is, as well. So yeah, it makes such a big difference, as opposed to Yeah, when I was trying to do something that yes, I’m creative, but not so much on the social media execution.

We got to you know, you work in your in your working world for so many hours of the week, you’ve got to really find that thing that makes you shine and happy. And yeah, absolutely. So good.

Because we started really like when I sort of started the second iteration of our business, you had kind of started not that long before me probably about six months before I back into it. So tell us about that.

Yeah, that’s right. So January 2020, was the start of the art designs, business solutions. Now, I have been doing this type of activity of work for basically my whole career. So what I love to do is come in and find how things can work more efficiently and more enjoyably as well, which is a really big part of any business, I think we’ve all experienced a moment where we’re doing the work, and it’s just a bit IARC. But we have to do it that way. Because someone has told us that’s the way to do it. Oops, sorry. My AdWords is still on technology. So that’s why I started the business because I could really see that the mess that I had been working in, when I moved back from London, it’s another thing we have in common, the old London, living over there, it’s always fun. You know, I could see that the changes that I helped to create an employment in those businesses were a real integral part of that next step of their journey to make it more efficient. And the teams are just, it was amazing. Being that person, you know, the feedback from the teams to say, thank you, like, Thank you for making this easier for us. So yeah, that’s how I started the business. I literally decided, I think it was the October before I went to Scott, who’s still a number one fabulous supporter of mine. I said, I think it’s time. Yeah, I think it’s time to take a step out on my own and give this whole businessing thing a whirl. And, yeah, just over two and a half years later, we’re here and iterating as we keep going, going from strength to strength, right, it’s I know from my side, I feel like I’ve been part of your journey from a pretty early on stage. We met in a community like an online community right in the middle of COVID. And I know and speaking to you and a few others, it was kind of like that gave us so many amazing business owners that we were surrounded by, right? Remember, I was thinking just the other day I remember jumping in on one of your first one of your first workshops that you delivered, and I was like, like we hardly knew each other back then. But we slowly started to build our friendship and it’s been really incredible to see your business grow over those years into what it is today discovering how you you know how you love working with your clients or the systems or the processes. I mean, my God you’ve taught me so many systems and processes in my own bits. This circle my pocketing plan is now like this collaboration of all of my brainstorming ideas and all your process systems that now I look at every day and I’m like, oh my god, this is so good.

Yes, it’s not just a thing over there now. It’s like an actionable plan that we can take off and get excited. Yes.

Oh, good. Well, we took it off.

Sorry. So fine. I think that is one of those things that we came together on is our love of being organised, right?

Oh, my gosh, that’s actually so true. I completely forgot this, that that is how we really connected is that I reached out to you. And I said, Nicole like so for my background, like I love creating templates and things like that working in sponsorship, you have to have templates, you have to have like a working list. And, you know, we’ve discussed our love of doing everything online, because especially when you’re essentially managing you can’t do all of that on a piece of paper, basically. So I used to use Excel

in either right or right to get out of it.

I used to use Excel all the time. Don’t get me wrong, as you and I spoken about. We’re both still love Dell. But I reached out to you really early on in that business process. And I said, Nicole, I know that there’s a better way like what system do I need to be using? I’ve tried Trello. For me, personally, I didn’t love it. I was researching a few of the other ones I think asana and Monday, but then, you know, light bulb clicked hold on Nicole’s the person to ask this to, and you got me on to click up. And forever, my life will be grateful for that. Because it is the system I use every day. And I absolutely love it. So I smell

it’s so good when you connect with the system that you because you do like we rely on these things, in our businesses in our world to keep us organised and structured. And, you know, I know for me, when I first started, I didn’t have a team. But it was always my intention to have fabulous humans around me supporting me and my clients. So when I built these things up, it was always with an intention to delegate. Delegation. So winning winning. But yeah, it’s an I get so excited when by people like you share that story.

Thank you, because most of those don’t know, but maybe do. We’re working on a few projects together at the moment, we now have a shared click up space. And for me, coming from an account management background, working with my sort of main colleagues, so to speak, would be my clients, because that’s what happens in that partnership sponsorship world and you’re talking to your clients every day, I had these huge Excel documents with all the information in them. And you know, eventually when he could get Microsoft Online, like, what is it office 365. And you could share the live version. I was like, This is amazing. Now, you in click up, I am literally like, this is so good. Like it’s so I mean, I feel like I’m just trying to sell click up here. I’m not.

This is my whole world. I’m like, look, I love click up there on the tools. But have you seen this feature? It’s so good.

Is that real ease of I think with us working on this project together. And I can really see how that could work in the partnership world or in the world. If you’re working with a social media manager or something like that. It’s such a brilliant collaborative tool. I generally use it by myself. I don’t have other people in my business at the moment. But then when I’m working with you, I’ve used it when I work with my designer, I use it when I work with my web developer, I use it even they’re not even on the clickup platform, but it’s easy enough to send stuff to them anyway. Yeah. coffee chats wasn’t meant to be about click up and my love. But I think always comes back to click up. Whenever people are talking to me, they’re like, oh, my gosh, did you know click up to the same? Yeah. Amazing. It’s fun.

Even what we were talking about recently, and as I sort of touched on that beginning, I’ve been through this phase of building out my marketing plan and building out my business plan and all of that. And you showed me a few tips. And as I said earlier, give me some incredible templates, but what it’s meant having that all in a system. Now I’ve done that work on the planning and the ideas dump the creative creativity. I now go into that space in that into that click up space every day. And it’s so easy, like, easy for me to do things now. Like I just I just love it anyway.

I think that’s like if we’re talking systems in in general general, generally Leslie Generally, it really is about identifying the way that we individually like to work, because I don’t believe and I think you’re similar, there isn’t a cookie cutter approach to things, right. And that’s why when I build the templates that I have, which you obviously love, which I’m so excited, I love your feedback, or just like, give me let me make it bad, but so good. But you know, it’s built with the intention for whoever presses install into my ClickUp workspace that they can take it and make it their own, right? Because

yeah. I’ve taken your template, I’ve added some of my bits in it. And now I just use it every day. It’s that, I think, you know, and we’ve spoken a lot about this, you know, offline affair, however you want to say, a term I’ve been using recently, or that’s come up a bit is this idea of the white blank page. So one of the most challenging things when you sit down to do any sort of planning, marketing, business planning, your to do list for the day? Is having the white blank page the Getting Started the like, how am I going to create this? How am I going to make it look, or do the things I wanted to do? So to be able to be given the template is, like game changing for me, because it took so much time out of it? It was like, all the stuff that was already pre populated, and I can just change it a little bit to suit me. And what view? Do I want to see it in? Like, how do I want to look at this? How do I want to interact with it, you know, I’ve got this idea of this content thing that I could do in, I don’t know, six weeks time, I’ll just pop it in there. And then it’s there, when I’m ready to come back to it. And actually, you know, put put coffee in it or put pictures in it or bring it to life essentially,

I think that’s a really big thing. Because we marketing is a big part of business. Right? We do need to share our stories and connect with our communities. And I think that a lot of the blocks are that we don’t actually just know how to get started. And yet we don’t have that plan in place that we can just easily go, Okay, this week, I’m doing three posts on Instagram, and I’m gonna do a real, and I’m gonna do a theme because that’s what the trends are right now. You know that you can go in and be like, here’s the post idea. Great. I know. Now know, I can easily build a go.

Yeah, exactly. I don’t know if you do this, Nicole, but I find myself consuming content. And now I’m like, I think about like, Oh, I’ve got this content idea. I could make it into a real and it’ll look like this. And this when I’m driving or I’m going to walk or whatever I’m doing like I’m just like, I caught myself yesterday, I was like, oh my god, I’m just thinking about how I can turn something into social media.

The hard work out of it, because and let’s let’s dive in. Because people may have seen like things, sprinkling around on socials about our new fabulous workshop. And the idea of how this came to play is last month in the members lounge, I invited Serena to come in and talk about making marketing easy, because this is an area that is important in business and being able to create a system and a strategy that is really enjoyable for you to dance in between is it just makes it so much more fun. Right? So from this presentation and the strategy that you shared with us in that members lounge, I’m like, hang on a second. Let’s make this a thing.

About You know, we’re missing in person workshops. I think one of the things that COVID sort of took away from us is that like online is great. It’s incredible, because you can reach so many people in all different parts of the country across the world, you know, but there’s nothing quite like doing something in person. So when you you know, let’s collaborate, let’s do this. And you said, I want to start a new series of take action workshops. I was like, Great, I’ll be your first person, don’t worry.

It was so easy as well. Because what I’ve noticed, and I know we’ve we’ve spoken about this before that the white picture, the people sign up to the workshops, they go to the master classes, they sign up to the courses and they click through the things and absorb the knowledge, right, which is the strategy that how you’re going to do the things but the missing piece is the technical element of creating the actual system. We’re going to plan and work in each day and make it so enjoyable by the iLab via social media. Easy, let’s do it. Yeah.

And I think that that’s one of the things that I noticed all the time in. You know, I mean, yes, my specialty is partnerships and sponsorship, but a lot of people will talk to me about marketing and like that example that I used stuff very first client that I ever had. And very often very good friends who I’ve developed, because I’ll just throw marketing ideas at them, I can’t help myself. But you’re

talking to the converted here, not marketing, but like anything to do with process or systems, I have to pull myself back sometimes because people are talking and I, my brain goes straight there, and I start to formulate the way that it could work for them. And that’s like, I’m not I’m not really invited in here to this section yet. But I’m ready. When I’m ready, I’m ready for you.

I think like when it comes to marketing, when it comes to systems like marketing is, it’s the best way to get your product out to the world, it’s the way to get your product out to the world, right? It’s the way to connect with your audience, it’s the way to share what you do so that you can bring customers in that so that you can be giving that to your customers, I suppose. But so many people are scared of it. And that’s what I see all the time. And I think it is really about that hand holding and making it easier and making it I think, as I’ve said a few times, one of the things I love and what we really spoke about quite a lot for this workshop is being able to work with the people that are at the workshop, to help them with creative ideas. So give them that really take that advice based on their businesses. And then, you know, with you coming in with all your systems and processes is actually giving them something they can walk away with at the end of the day. So they have a system that they can love. They can live in every day, every two days, every week, whatever is right for their schedule, but it’s there ready for them to use. It’s not just a heap of information that they’re going to have to walk away with. And then yeah, like I think we both agree on that. wanting it to be practical, as you’re calling them, like so that people can take action. Really? Yeah.

The missing piece with a lot of things, you know, business, if you work in a business, if you just general life, you know, you have these ideas and plans and things you want to do. And they only stay plans until you’ve taken action. Right? So the pretty simple title when you think about it, but it’s so if you don’t implement things, you’re going to just stay in the same spot. So yeah, well, I’m keeping us on time because Serena and I have this tendency to talk for hours. So we’re going to keep these coffee chats and value your important time whoever is I can see there’s some people on there. We even got Anna from Dubai joined in so Hello, lovely to see you. Yeah. Sorry. More details. If you are if this sounds like a you’re in Melbourne, and you want to come and see us in person, because we’re pretty fun. There, I’ll put the link in the show show notes. Oh my gosh, who am I recording? Reno? I don’t know. I’ll put the link in the link in our bio. There we go. We’re on Instagram. So we’ll do that. Or if you’re watching the replay on LinkedIn or be on the captions as well. That go to And you can pop your details on the list there because the sales page is not quite ready yet coming out soon. But you’ll be the first to know first to grab your seat to join us since

Yep, and we’ll be back again next Wednesday.

Well. We love a chat. We love a coffee and the Yep, that is it for today, isn’t it?

Yeah. So good. Thanks for calling love. Thanks, everyone. This is so fun.  Awesome. We will see you 230 Melbourne time next Wednesday, right here. And if you’re watching on LinkedIn, you’ll see us next Thursday. Bye. Bye everyone.


Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which we work and live. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. We celebrate the stories, culture and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders of all communities who also work and live on this land.