For a long time, we as women wanted it all. We wanted to work, build successful careers, run businesses and organisations. But we still want to have a family and be a present and hands on parent. But can we really have it all? Or does something have to give? I’ve always been a working mother. And in my experience, we can have it all. But there is always a price to pay, be it emotionally, mentally, or physically. I think as working mums that can be really hard at times to put ourselves first and give ourselves what we really need. Sometimes all that is just asking for some help. Or sometimes we need some extra space and thinking space, or creative space. And sometimes we need a complete restart and reset. Now my guest today is a pocket rocket from the West. Ashleigh Goodchild. She’s an industry veteran with three young children. She’s building her Empire helping one property manager at a time and she’s also co-founder of one of South Perth’s most successful real estate agencies. She has a super successful podcast, and a new membership and events business called the PM Collective. Talk about juggling many hats! Her motto is collaboration, not competition. And it has industry professionals from all over the country clamouring to work with her. Let’s dive into all her secrets on how she juggles motherhood, parenting, and multiple businesses.
GETTING STARTED IN PROPERTY MANAGEMENT
‘I started when I was around 18. I actually was studying, and I had so many prac hours to do that. I thought well, I’ll go get myself a little job while I’m doing my prac hours, because I knew they were going to take me a while. And I got a job in a real estate office. And the thing was, is the real estate office that I started in, it was purchased by an air hostess and a pilot. And the owner of the company had passed away and they have just bought it as a business venture. And they had no idea on how to run it. And I was 18 They had no idea I had no idea. And so along with them, I just help them find their way we just worked out how to look after this little office. And so as it turns out, you know, accidentally falling into the industry, but just having to take her at multitasking role to help them sort it out. So that’s where I started.’
HOW DO YOU JUGGLE IT ALL – PARENTING, WORKING, BUSINESS?
‘Well, the first secret is that I’m not always sane and I do have melt down moments. That’s the first thing to know. And I find that I’m aware of when I have I think that’s probably the biggest thing that I want people to take away is that we all have the breakdown some of us more frequently than others. For me, I probably have a little breakdown every, maybe four to six months. And when I have that little breakdown, I actually had it the other day, I literally just said, I need to sit in my room, I don’t want to see children, I don’t want to speak to anyone. I just need my own space, and to recognise what things that keep me happy in those moments and very bizarre but a can of Coke, and a cheeseburger meal from McDonald’s a couple of the things that do boost my mood. So, I think number one, identifying when you need that alone time is really important to juggling multiple businesses, but also not being a perfectionist. And I like to refer to life and work as a bit of a tilt, as opposed to a balance. And it’s something that I learned to while ago. And there is no way to balance the two things together. For me, I think that’s impossible. But it’s tilt. And some days, the tilt goes in favour of my children. Some days, the tilt goes in favour of work. And everyone knows that and work know that if my family needs me that it tilts that way. But then equally, my children know that if I’ve got a really busy day, and I can’t make a school carnival, because work has taken priority, they have been grown up to understand that, that tilt shifts, sometimes in favour of them, and sometimes in favour of work. And I make no apologies of the fact that sometimes it is in favour of work. And that’s, that’s how I want my children to understand that working hard is very, very important in life.’
HOW DO YOU START A NEW JOB OR BUSINESS WITH A YOUNG FAMILY?
‘I think that prepping and taking a couple of years to prep your plan and having it as a five year plan. It’s not something that will happen tomorrow. Interesting enough, I was actually just having this conversation with my kids on the way to school today. And they were talking about stay at home mums. And you know what a stay-at-home mum, what that would look like in our family. And I told them what that would look like and the pressure you would put on, you know, their dad and other things like that. So we talked about that. And we also talked about how the reason why I started business. And I started that because I didn’t want to be dependent on a partner for income, I wanted to have children and always have an income coming through when I chose to have them. So, for me starting the business at 23, I knew that I wanted to have children around 28-29. So, for me, it was a five year plan. I said to myself, I’m going to start my business so that in five years time when I’m ready to have children, I can have an income coming through, which is what I wanted. So I’m a that decision then. And so someone now that has children that wants to start their own business, that probably the biggest thing I would say. And it’s just because I’m passionate about it is the personal branding and setting yourself up with a database and a brand that you personally owned. So when I say that, I mean, you know, LinkedIn is a very big one for me, and you setting yourself up on LinkedIn, with your database, your clients, your contacts, and setting that up so that when the time does come for you to set up your business, you’ve got all that groundwork. I think a lot of businesses these days, I see people think it’s easy just to start up thinking, oh, you know where I work at ABC Realty, I’ve got I get lots of new business, and then they go out on their own and then they wonder why they’re not getting any business? Well, it’s because there is a background to it. So sorry, long answer for the question that ultimately setting yourself up with your own personal database on whichever social media platform excites you most, and that you own and you’ve got that no matter what you want to do with your business.’
CAN WE ASK FOR HELP OR OUTSOURCE?
‘I call it outsourcing at home. And I find that I’m saying I don’t like asking for help. And even when it comes to dinner time for me, I feel like well, that’s, you know, very stereotypical that mother’s job in the house to do it. And we’ve, you know, we’ve got six kids in our house. And so, it’s a hard job. And it wasn’t till recently that I’ve actually now started saying to my partner, listen, I need you to do two meals a week, like that’s going to have to be your job. Now, Tuesdays and Thursdays you cook dinner, and it was no problems. But like you said to me, Ash, you just got to ask, and I didn’t ask before. And he said, but if you don’t ask, it gets to a boiling point where then you’re burnt out. And it could have all been resolved very easily with you just talking. And I think talking is such a big thing as well, even from a business point of view and surrounding yourself in a community with like-minded people, is it’s that positive comparisons, and it’s saying to people, well, how are you handling it? What do you outsource at home? You know, do you have a nanny? Do you have a housekeeper, whatever it is to realise that it’s very, very normal. And I think for some silly reason, we don’t think it’s normal. And we don’t, what’s the word? Hold sort of gratitude to people that do outsource a lot, because like, we shouldn’t be looking down on people that you know, have a housekeeper or full-time chef or whatever good on you for, for realising what you need to make sure that you’re living your best life. For me, it is probably like HelloFresh or UberEATS. And spending money on food. Even though I love to cook, I find the prepping of food is quite hard. So I my next goal is to probably have someone who comes in who can do my food shopping can set up a couple of meals for the week, like a bit of a part time housekeeper. That’s the point I would like to be in my life. Where I’ve got that, and I Yeah, hold no sort of shame in saying that, if that’s what I need to live sanely that’s what we do.’
‘COLLABORATION NOT COMPETITION’ – THE PM COLLECTIVE
‘That started out a couple of years ago, where we had a couple of people in the industry reach out to me and say, Ash, do you mind if I just catch up with you so that I can run past my goals? This year? I’m having a few struggles at work can you help me with this? And so I said, Sure, no worries. I had about five people all at the start of like New Year’s Day that asked me and I said that’s fine. But listen, I, I’ve got a bid on this month. Do you mind if you all come and see me together? And we will just like have a nice catch up and sorted out. They will all get no worries at all. And then it ended up being Oh, can we do this next month? And can I please bring someone else? And we ended up having regular catch ups. But then that worked. Then from that we sort of thought, gosh, there’s some people that actually don’t get an opportunity to get out of work and have these discussions? How about we do a podcast so that everyone can hear these conversations that we’re having and these dilemmas we’re having, and it can reach basically a wider audience. So, then we started doing the podcast, and then it came down to the fact that in WA we don’t actually get a lot of conferences and training and nice big events like you guys do over east. So then I was like, Okay, I’ll organise it for us and I You know, fly, you know, jet over from Queensland, and we’ll have this great big event. And that was fantastic as well. So it was just I feel like I’m very much just a driver in the seat. Even though I founded pm collective, I’m just a driver. And I’ve got a big community of people that say, Ash, we’re really struggling with employment that moment, what can we do? Okay, guys, let’s get into the high schools and start doing some career planning for these year twelves or ash, you know, we were struggling with, you know, this problem, okay. Let me facilitate that. So, that’s where I find my position. And my passion is just really being the voice of the property management industry and putting WA and it because I’ve got the motivation and the energy behind me to do it. I feel like it’s, I’m a great person to facilitate that. And also, because my business in the real estate business, I’ve had it for 17 years, and it, I have a great team that look after themselves. So they know that by them looking after a man in the Office allows me to do better things for the industry. So it sort of just all works really nicely together. My staff helped me to give me more time to help the industry. And that’s really what it’s all about and playing to our strengths. And that’s what I feel like I’m doing.’
CAN YOU COMPARTMENTALISE?
‘I don’t think people have the ability to do that. And I feel and you know, what people might think criticise me for saying this. I think people take the job too, personally, at the end of the day, and they don’t take the emotion out of the situation. And you can’t, it’s actually a really hard thing to teach people would stop being emotional about it, stop taking it so personally stop answering your phone, in the afternoon or after five, I don’t think it’s as easy as just telling people to do it, I really actually genuinely believe you either do it or you don’t do it. And I feel like it, I think that people sweat the small stuff a lot. And to give you an example, we had we had a couple of events last year, in property management, a couple of deaths, a couple of fires. And I remember the property manager who had the death, she just said, Ash, I can’t do anything to like get the death certificate. So I’ve written down my list of things that I need to do. As soon as that death certificate comes through. This is my next job. That’s my next job, she’s going to list. Nothing emotional about it. However, there’s another property manager could quite have easily taken this as a really, really traumatic experience. And I use that as a good example by someone who would take that event as very stressful and personally, and then another property manager who has gone can’t do much about it. Now, this is one that I have to do and was able just to not bring any emotion into it. It was a job. It was a process. And I’m getting that done. And I don’t want to say that, you know, to be unemotional, but just recognising that you can’t do much more or if there’s an argument between an owner and a tenant. Okay, I’ve tried to negotiate guys, I’m in the middle of it, you know, I’m just the messenger. If we can’t come to an agreement, these are our two options. And it’s just a bit more matter of fact, and I just, I feel like that’s probably the biggest problem we’re having. And I think that talking as well. Like, I think the burnout is quite big in the industry by talking to people about that and having tips of what to do. If you are feeling burnt out, recognising three things that make you instantly happy I’m very big on and recognising if I’ve got staff that say to me ash, you know, I’m really feeling mentally drained this week. So I’m going to book a sticky and on Friday, and it’s that’s no problems at all. So being able to be open enough to have to recognise it, it’s probably important. And if you need to have a day off, have a day off.’
TRY SOMETHING NEW IF THE SHOE DOESN’T FIT!
‘There’s something else I was going to add into that as well and its that there’s so many different positions within the property management space that you can go into. And if you find dealing with conflict really, really difficult, and it’s just not in your personality to do, then look at doing something different in the department and say that to your boss, just say, Listen, this isn’t for me dealing with this conflict. You could look at trust account, and you could look at inspections in goings, outgoings routines, maybe you do admin work, maybe you’re better doing BDM work. But if it’s, if you’re not enjoying it, and you’re not good at it, there’s another five different types of positions that will suit your personality. So just don’t be afraid just to say, Listen, it’s just not for me.’
Kylie: I think that’s been a good theme throughout our conversation is communication. It is you know, from what you need at home to what you need in your office, communicating and having the confidence and the courage to just speak up, you’re not going to get in trouble for it. And you know, don’t be afraid to Yeah, have your own voice. At the end of the day, you spend so much time in an office, you want to be happy that you don’t want to be miserable. So everyone Communicate, communicate your needs, wherever you can. Now, I love personal development. And so what is one thing that you can share with the listeners that is either a book or a podcast or some sort of an action item that they could take away? And do immediately after listening to this?
‘My favourite book at the moment is Emma Issacs book, The new hustle.
The new hustle was a big eye opener for me, I got referred to it, to read it by actually a property manager over in Queensland, who said as I’m reading this book, I’ve never met this lady before I speak to her sometimes on Zoom. But she said, You’ve got to read this book. It’s awesome. She said it was so good. She went out and bought a hardcopy book and started highlighting. And I think the reason why that’s my biggest takeaway, and highlight for this year, was because it talks about your own space where quite often sometimes I feel lazy, if I was to have a day off, or actually, I still would have never had a day off. But if I was to have a dump, I’d feel lazy. If I wasn’t working, I would feel lazy. If I wasn’t busy, I was feeling lazy. And even if I went for a walk, I would still think I’m going to put my podcast on to listen to so I feel like I’m still doing something. And this book was very much about not glorifying the word busy and glorifying people who have free time. Because the free time allows your mind and you’d probably I think we’ve talked about it before, but like your nervous system, space and time to be creative and to think and when you are always like busy, which is such a silly word. But if you don’t give your mind or your body that time to think and just process and become creative. So I think we should the book teaches you to glorify that space. So if someone says, you know, what are you doing today, and you say I’m having a day in bed, instead of you know, people thinking, Oh, well, that you being lazy. You’re going no, actually good on you for having a day in bed. You know we should be doing more of this and praising each other for having that that alone time? So that’s my biggest thing.’
It won’t be perfect, but it is possible to juggle many different hats as a working mum, or a mum who runs a business. You just have to accept and acknowledge that, and know that whatever you are going through chances are one of us has already been there or is heading to that destination right now.