Meet Caroline Guillemain-Brunne from Organise.Curate.Design
Caroline Guillemain-Brunne has over thirteen years experience in the events industry, having managed a range of major internationally recognised events and exhibitions throughout Australia.
She has specialised in the management of first aid and medical services since 2009 and has become known as the most qualified and sought after account manager of this service. Caroline has an exclusive understanding and insight of the requirements of her role, far beyond her peers within the industry. She has used this experience as one of the two owners of EventAid to grow the business to being one of the most reputable providers within the industry and the employer of choice.
Throughout her career Caroline has been continuously recognised for her efficiency and professionalism when looking after clients. She is known for her ability to meet her client’s expectations whilst managing various projects and deadlines.
Using these skills Caroline has launched Organise.Curate.Design to assist clients find work life balance in their personal lives. Managing their life admin and easing their workload to enable clients to outsource their To Do Lists and gain time in their day to pursue the things they love.
Tell us about your business
At Organise.Curate.Design (OCD) we do just that, we organise your life admin, curate the details to identify what needs to stay and what simply needs to go and we work with you to design what you want your life to look like in the near future.
We are a service-based business that see ourselves as the masters of life admin. We do this by taking on your day to day tasks. Your personal Life Assistant can assist with a one-off clean-up project or can be ongoing taking on regular tasks and errands. We work with our clients to identify the key things on their to do list and what they are comfortable outsourcing to us to free up their time and restore some balance. For those wanting to learn how to better manage their life admin we also provide a coaching service. Where we hold your hand and keep you accountable so you can enjoy the benefits of a more organised life.
Why and when did you start your own business?
If you ask anyone who knows me, I am by the far one of the most organised and efficient people that they know. I am a business owner, a wife, a mother and involved in various charity and mentoring groups. After attending a business finance event in early 2017 I was struck with the dread of not having important items ticked off my to do list. When I thought about it, I was procrastinating on those items because they required time that I felt I didn’t have spare. After speaking to some friends, they too had growing to do lists, which meant they always felt as though they were failing as an employee, parent or friend. Simply not feeling like they were nailing being an ‘adult’. I had a simple thought, I outsource cleaning my house to free up time, why am I not outsourcing the niggly admin tasks and errands that are taking up so much of my time. The idea of a Life Assistant sounded like heaven, so I thought why not share that slice of heaven with everyone else.
What does being a business owner mean to you?
It is an incredible sense of hard-earned freedom. It’s not easy being a business owner but the feeling of freedom and knowing that it’s all riding on you is a sense of adrenaline that I love.
What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?
I have various mentors and supporters, most of which I class as peer mentors as the relationships are very fluid. A dear friend of mine Andrew Wilson, who unfortunately passed from cancer 2 years ago was one of my greatest influencers. During the very short friendship that we shared he always pushed me to challenge myself, encouraged me to be fearless and cut out the bullsh*t. You always need someone that I going to push you outside of your comfort zone when things get a little tough.
What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?
I am one of the two owners of EventAid, a first aid services business which was founded in 2010 by my business partner. In 2015 we did the unthinkable and won the tender to provide first aid and medical services to all events at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). This was a significant moment for our company and was the year we shifted from new kid on the block to the provider to look out for. The previous provider at the MCG had held the contract for 93 years. I don’t think there will be a moment in our industry quite this monumental again.
What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our readers?
Though not received personally, and not just business advice, but life advice would have to be the recent words of Oprah. “What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have”. I believe that if we honour our truth and stay in sync with our values then everything else will align.
What has been the most effective marketing initiatives or programs you have used to promote your business?
Word of mouth has worked best for EventAid and is proving to be the best method for OCD. Both businesses are service based and clients can’t help but share how happy they are when they receive outstanding authentic service. Tap into your best clients if you can and source testimonials and recommendations, they are your best advocates.
What is one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?
Don’t underestimate the power of your clients being your biggest advocates. Look after them, check in with them and take the time to understand why they use you, what they want you to continue doing and what areas you can improve in. I take the time to have a coffee with some of these advocate clients once a year to ensure our business is on track and is customer-centric.
Are there any resources or tools you’d like to share with other small business owners that have helped you run your business?
Last year at EventAid we had to deal with multiple human resource issues. We are not in a position to employ a full time HR qualified staff member so I was referred to a company called HR staff & stuff. Deb and her team are brilliant, they move fast and ensure we get what we need to cover all aspects legally and morally. What I also love about their model is you pay for a block of time upfront then use the time that you need when you need it.
Though this is advice WBS members shouldn’t be surprised by, I highly recommend being a part of as many networking groups as possible. Physical groups and online social media-based groups. These groups are great for building your network of allies, bouncing ideas and feeling supported in the world of business that can be complex and daunting at times. I am a member of Business Chicks and am a part of their Power Player program. I also subscribe to various Facebook Groups created for women in business.
What do you do for fun/relaxation?
For fun and to dial up the adrenaline I love to box, and a few years ago I had my first fight in the ring at a women’s boxing clinic. To zone out and relax I love snuggles on the couch with my youngest son and reading a good book.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful woman in business?
- Resilience – it’s not always easy but you need to push through sometimes.
- Patience – business is hard, but if you believe in what you are offering things will work out if you stick at it
- Determination – Knowing what your goals are and maneuvering until you reach them
What fears have you faced in business? Have you overcome it/them? How do you manage fear?
Like most people I’ve suffered from imposter syndrome. Feeling as though I wasn’t good enough or would be found out and asked to leave. I have overcome that fear but reminding myself that I’m actually insignificant in the grand scheme of things, a spec in the universe so who really cares if things don’t quite go to plan. Tomorrow is a new day so I can get back up and keep going, time will pass and I’m grateful that I get to live the life that I do. A little pep talk like that usually turns the fear into nervous energy which I then transfer into the drive I need to push myself out of my comfort zone. Telling yourself that you give no f*cks also helps. If something doesn’t align with your values then pushing it aside and walking away when you need to.
What are your top 5 goals you want to achieve by the end of 2018?
- Being more present and spending quality time with my children, husband and loved ones
- Building OCD and helping various clients achieve life balance
- Assisting my husband in building his business Crowd Culture
- Organising a handful of events to raise money for a few chosen charities
- Volunteering my time to mentor and support women in business
What makes you happy?
Being around happy people and helping them to create positive experiences in their lives
Have you had to make any sacrifices whilst running your business? If so, what are they?
Yes, as Damn Quentin Bryce says, “You can have it all, but not all at the same time”. Peaks in my career and business success have at times meant less time with family and friends. My health has also suffered at times when juggling the demands of business and family. Though I do believe these things come in peaks and troughs and it’s best to embrace the positive in live and see the best in things. These sacrifices are another reason why I’ve created OCD. People can start finding balance and stop giving up the things they love because they are consumed by day to day tasks.
Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most and why?
A good friend of my Garry Rodakis owns a café called Sycamore Meadows in Reservoir. This is the most recent venture for Garry who has owned various café’s around Australia. I met Garry after becoming a loyal customer at a café he (previously) owned near my home. The way he greeted his clients, knew them by name, by what they liked to order and the level of detail and customer service was next level. Garry lives and breathes authenticity and you can forget time in his presence and he has passed that through the rest of his business and his team. This is how clients should feel when they interact with you and your business. The culture and atmosphere he creates in every business he owns is second to none.
Where do you see yourself and your business in 2-5 years?
I’d like OCD to have 5-10 life assistants working with clients around Australia and for the term Life Assistant to be widely known. I’d like for OCD to be well established so it can contribute to charity events and support women in business in a sponsorship capacity.
What book has inspired you the most?
Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. I learnt so much about myself whilst reading Lean In and found ways to support other women in the process. I highly recommend it to any woman at any stage of their career.
How do you measure your success in business?
My success is based partly on client satisfaction, staff satisfaction and personal satisfaction. Business is often a juggling act between these three elements but when your team is happy, your clients are happy and you get up in the morning and want to go to work that is a huge sign of success.
Where is your dream destination to go for a holiday and why?
I plan to celebrate my 40th (which is still a little while away) in Brazil at carnival. It’s always been my dream destination and I plan to spend some time there and exploring other areas of South America. I’ve always loved the thought of being a little wild and letting my hair down at one of the worlds biggest parties.
What is your favourite inspirational quote?
I don’t have a favourite, but currently I have on my screen saver “What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven’t happened yet”. Those words make me feel very warm and hopeful for the future.
What are your top 5 business tips?
- Surround yourself with likeminded people that challenge you
- Reach out for help when you need it, there is no such thing as a stupid question
- Schedule time for yourself, avoid burnout and try to have some down time
- Set big goals as well as little ones and write them down, there is a true power in putting pen to paper and holding yourself accountable to your dreams
- Celebrate your wins, even a little happy dance to break up the day before you jump into the next challenge.
Why did you become a WBS Member?
- I was referred by a friend who thought I could contribute to the group and build some new networks. Thanks so much for having me.
Connect with Organise.Curate.Design
Join us for the next WBS Event
WBS is coming to Boronia. Our launch event will be on the 9th March 2018 at the Zagames Boronia. Caroline will be our guest speaker and presents -Aligning your life with your values. Caroline will share her story of how she has overcome imposter syndrome, worked with her dream clients and hired the right staff by staying true to her values.
Book your tickets here: https://goo.gl/msH34U.
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