Which comes first: your life or your business?
A big reason so many people start a business is because they want a freedom-based lifestyle. The freedom to do what YOU want to do, get paid what YOU want to get paid AND do it when and where YOU want to do it.
But what often ends up happening is you start putting your business before your life and that freedom-based lifestyle starts to feel impossible.
So is it actually possible to build a successful life-first business AND maintain a freedom-based lifestyle?
Today’s guest on the How I Do Content Podcast proves it is possible to have a successful life-first business – I’m talking to Tori Kopke.
Let me introduce you to Tori Kopke
Tori is The Rural and Regional Business Coach. She works with women across Australia to create, launch, sell and scale their signature offers.
She does it all from her family farm in the Wheatbelt of WA where she wears many hats: wife, Mum of two little boys, header driver, COO, and more. She’s managed to build a multi-six-figure business in the middle of nowhere during nap times!
Her philosophy is about having a life-first business and she supports her clients to build businesses where their life comes first too.
So, if you’ve been feeling that your business is starting to take over your life a little more than you’d like – you’ll love this interview!
Things You’ll Learn in this Episode of How I Do Content
- Tori shares how she’s built a multi-6-figure life-first business
- How Tori maintains work-life balance while juggling mum, farm and biz life
- How you can prepare for a busy season in life and business
Tori Kopke wasn’t always from a farming background. In fact, at just 21 years old she landed her dream job for a multinational oil and gas company. She was jet-setting around the globe, living her best life – but her heart was captured by a farmer who lived in a small town in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia.
After a few years of commuting to and from the country on the weekends – she was approached by a local machinery manufacturer to take on a general manager role. Through doing this work she realised there was a massive gap in what support was available for regional business owners.
This led to Tori starting her own business to fill this gap in the market to help rural entrepreneurs strategically grow and scale their businesses. Along the way she married said partner, had a couple of children and continues to run her biz alongside running the farm.
Challenges of small-town living
Even though Tori considers herself a ‘city farmer’ – meaning she’s not as remote as some other farming families – there are some challenges with the lack of urban culture you’d find in the city.
The nearest town is 25kms away and consists of a pub and a few supply stores. There are no coworking spaces, ladies’ luncheons or bustling networking communities to help boost your biz vibes. Up until recently, there wasn’t even reliable internet coverage (Praise be to Starlink). And there are other logistical challenges that city dwellers don’t have to consider like a 2-hour round trip for groceries and the incredibly late nights during harvest.
3 tips for juggling biz and life as a regional small business owner
1. Have a solid plan
There’s a LOT to juggle when you’re running a farm. Not only is Tori mum to two kids, she’s meal planning and prepping for the workers during harvest and jumping on the header (a machine that harvests the grain) for hours at a time herself. So having a plan is essential in order for things to run as smoothly as possible.
This looks like working 3 months ahead and includes things like:
- Planning and scheduling social media content
- Mapping out launches
- Forward-loading membership content
2. Set and maintain clear boundaries
Having firm boundaries around when you’re available to your clients and then communicating this with them is important. If they know you are available within certain days or times, there’s no urgency to try and squeeze them in between tasks.
3. Hire a supportive team
When you don’t have the hours in the day, outsourcing means the business can run smoothly even when you’re spending hours out on the header during harvest. Tori has a VA to help with business admin as well as a support coach to help with direct client work.
Outsourcing enhances consistency in your business
We all know consistency is key when it comes to business growth. It can be so hard to stay consistent when you’re juggling all the things alongside running a farm. Outsourcing lends itself to consistency. Having someone on your team to help with those tasks you find boring or overly time-consuming will mean they’re still getting done and helps to keep you on track towards your goals.
What does it mean to build a ‘life-first’ business?
Work-life balance is at the heart of everything Tori practises and encourages for her clients. This means putting life first – ahead of business, every time.
Preparation is the key to flexibility
Although it sounds counterintuitive, if you are as organised as possible – it gives you more flexibility in the areas of your life that truly matter. Being well prepared means your brain space isn’t being taken up moment to moment with things like what clients are booked in or what to cook for dinner.
It’s all about boundaries
Your business will thrive when you have clear boundaries with your clients, your family and also yourself. Communicate with your clients clearly about what they can expect from your time together. Then you’re not stuck wasting mental energy feeling guilty because you haven’t got around to checking their email/voice note.
Get your family on board with what you need from them to support you in your business. And learn to feel confident in saying no to opportunities or situations that won’t serve you.
Develop sustainable practices
If you’re feeling like there’s always massive peaks and troughs in the energy of how you run your business, it’s a good indication you need some support. When you’re juggling a lot, you need business to feel sustainable, otherwise you’ll burn out.
When Tori has clients experiencing these extreme highs and lows – she always encourages them to examine the sustainability of their business practices and whether they need to change things up. This could look like hiring a VA to help you create systems, reworking your offerings or developing a content repurposing strategy.
Package your offerings
Packaging your services is one of the first things Tori looks at with clients who are looking to create more sustainable income. Getting clear on your packages helps to pave the road forward. It helps us determine who we’re selling to, how many sales we need to make and how often. From here you can plan out your sales process and create a sustainable system to streamline the whole thing.
Systemise your business
What are the tasks you are doing on repeat in your business that you could systemise? Being able to automate tasks removes the thought process around them and means more brain space for other (important) things.
Systems don’t have to be complicated. In fact, often the simpler, the better when it comes to your business. It can be as basic as having templates for emails that you send on repeat, or automating a welcome email for new clients that sign up.
Systems are always evolving
Setting up a system in your business today doesn’t mean it’s what you’re going to use in your business for the rest of your life. Think of them as a starting point, that you can change along the way.
The million-dollar secret is the one that works for you
There’s no point trying to base your business model on someone else’s success story. Always focus on what is going to work best for you and your unique circumstances.
Reminder: Frequency and consistency aren’t the same thing.
Trying to keep up with the cadence of someone else’s business model is not going to serve you in the long run. Spend time planning and discovering a frequency that suits you and your business, so that you can be more consistent with your business practices.
For example – if someone is posting a new podcast, a blog and 7 social media posts each week – it doesn’t mean you have to do the same thing!
How to plan for a sustainable 2024
Coming into the end of the year you start to see all the end-of-year sales like Black Friday. Sales don’t mean you have to sell your soul and end the year totally burnt out and overcommitted.
Consider promoting an income-injecting offer over running regular sales or discounting your services. It can also be a great opportunity to start booking clients in for 2024, so you can start the year already booked and not scrambling for sales.
Selling tips for the silly season
Getting clear on your goals for the year’s end and into 2024 will make it much easier when it comes to planning your marketing strategy. Being your authentic self will always feel easier when you’re selling because you’re not pretending to be someone you’re not. It also means you’ll stand out from the crowd because no one else can do you, like you! Don’t be afraid to have fun with your marketing and messaging. Whether it’s dropping a Harry Potter reference ala Tahryn or your fave Schitt’s Creek memes – you’re audience will be drawn to your unique blend of magic.
Connect with Tori Kopke
- Follow Tori on Instagram at @tori.kopke
- Listen to the Big Ideas Rural Podcast at https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/big-ideas-rural/id1502971752
- Join the Catalyst Club at https://www.thepowerproject.com.au/TheCatalystClub
- Find out more at https://www.thepowerproject.com.au/