Inspirational People: Jodie Willmer and Robert Nagy

Jodie and Robert run Happy Changemakers, a coaching practice formed to help business owners reduce overwhelm and burnout while building their dreams and doing good for the world. Having been in operation for over 7 years, and both coming from diverse and highly-skilled backgrounds, Jodie and Robert know a thing or two about navigating life and business as an entrepreneur.

We sat down with them to find out about their entrepreneurship story.

What inspired you to start your own business?

Jodie: When we decided to start our business, I was working as a CEO for a not-for-profit. We started Happy Changemakers to give ourselves more freedom, and combine our talents and skills to help people flourish in life and business. 

Robert: Even though Jodie and I were both in great jobs, we found ourselves at a point where we no longer felt fulfilled in our roles. I was working as a 2IC for an electronics company at the time, and was ready for a new challenge. We didn’t have big plans for our business in the beginning, we just knew that we wanted to make a difference and contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

Do you consider yourself entrepreneurial? 

Jodie: Yes, I do. My interpretation of the term “entrepreneur” is someone who seeks to solve problems for others, and makes a profit from doing so. Packaging our expertise as a product is also very entrepreneurial. 

Robert: When we left our careers to pursue our business, we untethered ourselves from the safety and certainty which comes with working a 9-5 job, and instead pursued our passion. I believe this appetite for risk, and the ability to take on something new and unfamiliar is what makes us entrepreneurial.

What do you think makes an entrepreneur successful?

Jodie: Successful entrepreneurs realise that sales is not something to be afraid of. Sales is being of service, and being able to value your time and expertise and package it in a way that someone can easily say “yes” to. Where people have a lot of doubt is when they think they aren’t worthy, or can’t help someone in the way that they want. Part of being an entrepreneur is being able to back yourself, and say “I have something of value” and “i can do this”.

Robert: I believe success as an entrepreneur takes a couple of things. Firstly, the right type of mindset where you’re willing to take calculated risks. Seeking safety and comfort doesn’t really fall in line with that mindset. Secondly, you need to have a good understanding of what’s happening around you in terms of industry, technological, and societal trends. It’s important to be in tune with what’s around, and what isn’t, in order to identify potentially viable gaps in the marketplace. 

You also need the ability to execute and get an idea off the ground. It’s one thing to have a great idea, but another to share it with the world and make a real go of it.

What’s one myth about entrepreneurship that you think should be busted?

Jodie: One myth that really needs to be busted is that you need to be good at everything. That’s simply not true. An entrepreneur needs to identify their superpower and focus on leveraging that fully. You can have too many balls in the air and spread yourself too thinly, but it’s crucial to be of singular focus. It’s also important to remember that done is better than perfect — so get your idea out there, gain feedback, reflect, and move forward. 

Robert: I used to think that you needed to be someone special to be an entrepreneur, or had achieved something exceptional before you could “graduate” to entrepreneurship. However, I think we all have elements of an entrepreneurial spirit within us — an appetite for risk, a “get up and go” mentality, a willingness to experiment, and a desire to try new things. Anyone can become an entrepreneur if they’re willing to accept the risks and challenges which come with executing an idea. 

What’s been the best thing about your adventure so far?

Jodie: Working with Rob! We’re both fortunate to be able to call on each other’s strengths. Working and living together 24/7 has its challenges, but it’s also incredibly rewarding and we never get bored with one another!

Robert: The best thing about our adventure is spending quality time and working with my best friend and partner, Jodie. We’ve learnt a lot about each other and our individual approaches to things, and we’ve grown with and through each other as a result.

Have you had any failures along the way where you’ve learned a valuable lesson?

Jodie: Through our mistakes and failures, we’ve learnt that we were trading time for money. Navigating COVID-19 has certainly taught us a lot, too. It has caused a significant impact on people’s abilities to utilise our services, so we’ve had to map out new services and programs that aren’t dependent on us physically being somewhere — such as online courses and webinars. 

We’ve also experienced many circumstances where we were spinning our wheels, and saying “yes” to too many things. To avoid spreading ourselves too thinly, we’ve had to develop healthy boundaries and working hours, and remain focussed on what’s most important to us, and where we should best spend our effort and time. 

Robert: There’s been a couple! Through our very first business and the mistakes we made along the way, we learnt a lot about the importance of creating a sustainable business model, and on focussing our efforts rather than spreading them between projects or ventures.

We’ve also learnt a lot through subcontracting and forming partnerships with other businesses. One of our early failures involved being too dependent on others instead of making our own way in the world. While partnerships and collaborations are great, they should be done for the right reasons. Too often people use them as a distraction or as a safety net, instead of developing confidence in their own skills and abilities.

What advice would you give to someone considering entrepreneurship and self-employment?

Jodie: My advice would be to focus on creating systems within your business so that it runs seamlessly. This frees up brain space for more creative things, and also allows you to tweak things as you go rather than reinvent the wheel each time. Creating a system that’s easy to replicate will help you to become more efficient, while reducing stress and overwhelm. 

Robert: I would say set yourself a goal and objective and stay true to it. I’ve seen many people start implementing an idea, only to give up when it starts to become challenging on some level or another. This can become a vicious cycle. You need to have an idea that you believe in enough to throw everything into it! It’s also important to experiment and make adjustments to your business in response to what’s happening around you — just as long as you stay true to what you set out to achieve in the first place.

If you’d like to learn more about Jodie and Robert, and their business, Happy Changemakers, head to their website www.happychangemakers.com

 

 


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