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Starting a New Business Venture (Ft. Timber & Wolf)
As you know, I love supporting local small businesses and especially supporting (and admiring!) other women in business. I enjoy chatting all things self-employment and love finding out what makes other entrepreneurs ‘tick’. What do they enjoy and what do they find challenging about going out “on their own” and chasing their business dreams.
I feel the more we as a community expose all of the raw and honest components to solo-entrepeneurship (both positive and negative); the more empowered and better equipped others will be to follow in their footsteps and chase their own dreams.
Today I was lucky enough to interview Ash Browne from Timber & Wolf,
an Interior Design & Architect based in Perth, Australia.
I would love for you to have a read and get to know Ash a little better….
(Post continues after photos…)
1. Tell us a little bit about your business?
Where do I start? I guess I’ve always had a passion for helping people and I’ve always dreamt of running my own business. Meeting my partner Matt a few years ago gave me the kick I needed – if it wasn’t for him I think I would be still dreaming about doing my own thing but not actually doing it. I was, like most, waiting on the ‘right time’ to start my own gig or always saying to myself ‘when I finish the projects I am currently working on then I’ll be ready.’
Timber & Wolf Is not only my business but my passion.
I specialise In helping people with commercial and residential projects combining my background In Interiors, architectural and graphic design. My work ranges In scope from custom cabinetry to full fit outs and documentation that Is ready for council submission and construction.
Timber & Wolf was created with the intention to bridge the gap that is often seen in client-designer communication and collaborative projects. The need for more to be designed and the communication to be easy and understandable for those engaging designers was something that fuelled the creation and lead to a business that quickly grew and expanded.
2. Tell us a little bit about yourself – what makes you tick.
I have always been a passionate and creative person who loves the beach, long road trips and chilling with my four-legged paw child Loui! Surround me with good friends, coffee and plants and I am sold. I have so many gorgeous people that Inspire me everyday so I owe a lot of my drive and enthusiasm to them. I definitely vibe off the people I surround myself with.
3. What is your favourite coffee shop or restaurant?
I have so many places that I go to for my weekend coffee and breakfast needs! I am lover of all things eclectic and creative so I find It hard to go past Hobart Street Deli and Chinta’s Café. Both places have a great community vibe and do magnificent coffee so you can’t go wrong!
4. On an average week; How many hours are you working on your business and how many hours are you working for other people (if applicable)?
Its hard to keep track of how many hours I spend ‘working’ each week. I think when you love what you do It stops feeling like work (until you have to do all the back end ‘leave It until the last minute’ tasks that keep business ticking!)
If I had to put my finger on It I would say I work 6-7 hours on my own business per day. I also work for a local tile company as a sales representative and designer on Wednesday’s and Saturday’s for a total of 13 hours a week.
5. When you’re not working, you are….?
If I’m not working you will find me in the garden, at the gym or walking the dog along the coast. In saying that I get up to quite a bit when I’m not working. Lately I have been doing quite a few hikes and watching a little bit too much Netflix! It’s all about balance though so I make sure I catch up with family and friends and try to squeeze in some ‘me’ time.
6. What would you say your biggest strengths are?
I can cook, I’m OCD clean and I can talk to almost anyone. I don’t know If these as great traits to shout from the roof tops but I can’t help but speak the truth!
I think being able to communicate really well and not being afraid to meet new people has really helped me In my business growth. I’m also really good at listening. Sometimes people ask me as a designer ‘what style do you prefer’ and to be honest I don’t want to be a designer that tells people how things should look but Instead help them to bring their Ideas to life.
I’m also really good at pushing myself and keeping on track. I constantly get asked If It Is hard to work for yourself and If I struggle to stay focused.
I guess the short answer Is YES it is really hard to run your own business. The challenges are greater and the buck stops with you. But you have the chance to make a difference and meet some great people along the way. I rarely have a day where I can’t motivate myself so I must be living what I love!
7. What is your greatest accomplishment?
My greatest accomplishment Is a personal one but I think sometimes we spend too much time helping others that we forget to help ourselves.
I grew up a really shy kid and struggled a lot to find my confidence and feel comfortable in my own skin. I still, like most, have my daily struggles but I don’t let them hold me back anymore. If anything, I push myself harder to do the things that scare me or hold me back. This has been my greatest struggle but also my greatest accomplishment.
8. Which is your favourite social media platform?
I’m a very visual person so I would have to say Instagram Is my go to social platform. In saying that I do love Facebook groups and the ability to do live videos.
I find myself occasionally losing track of time and pinning ideas on Pinterest but I find the realness of Instagram and Facebook more of a draw card. Instagram has been great for my business as well so It’s a big tick from me!
9. What is something that most people don’t know about you?
This Is a tricky one because I don’t hide much and can over share more than I am willing to admit! I think most people don’t realise that I have had a few life and career changes. I used to be a gymnast as a kid and almost got accepted Into the Olympics and finished school with the dream of becoming a Vet Scientist. How things have changed – but I wouldn’t change It for the world!
10.When did the idea for your business first come to you, and did you act on it straight away? Why?
I’ve always had the Idea that I wanted to run my own business but I always found excuses and reasons not to. My biggest Influencers where, as I mentioned before, my partner in crime Matt and working for large practices and seeing what they were doing and knowing I could do I better (as ridiculous as It sounds!)
11.What are the best things about running your own business and being self-employed?
I think sometimes the best things about running my business can also be the worst things about running my business. I love having the freedom to work my own hours as sometimes I can be more productive early in the morning or late at night.
I also like It when I have a new Idea or find a way to do something better and I can just run with It rather than asking for approval from management!
12.What are the trickiest parts about running your own business and being self-employed?
Making time for myself, my partner and my friends. Sometimes I get so caught up in what I am doing that I work non-stop and then crash as I haven’t allowed myself any down time. I think the biggest thing for me is to remember we are all human, we need to pace ourselves and make sure we mix business and pleasure more evenly. You only live once so live well!
13. Do you find working for yourself versus working in a large environment, lonely? If so; how do you combat that?
Not at all! I work from home and from my office In Subiaco (which Is actually a share space full of other crazy and like-minded people). I also try and spend at least a day a week catching up with people and marketing myself so I am almost always around other people.
14.What are your biggest road blocks in business?
I think we all have grand Ideas and want to be successful quickly but sometimes things take time, and money, to set up. I don’t think I’d consider It a road block, maybe more so a hurdle, but I think money Is always something you wish you had more of so you can focus on marketing and getting your business out there more.
15. How do you stay motivated to achieve your small and big business goals?
Talk to people – you are not alone in what you are doing and sometimes It’s nice to be reminded of that.
There Is no benefit to struggling alone so don’t be afraid to put up your hand and ask for help. It can sometimes be the push you need to get back on the horse.
I also love replacing talk back radio with podcasts on the drive to work. It can really change the way I feel about approaching the day and can help to Increase my focus.
16. Do you have any tips you can share on: how to start a business, how to manage your time effectively, how to grow your business; or any other tips that may be useful to my readers?
Just start! It sounds so simple but It was the hardest thing for me to do. I kept thinking that working for someone else was secure and that I could grow in the job and move up the corporate ladder but the reality Is you can get made redundant or get knocked back so where is the stability in that?
Surround yourself with like-minded people. I find that mindset Is everything and when you surround yourself with positive and driven people you are more likely to feel positive and driven (you guessed it!)
17.What are your current business goals – short term and long term?
I want to get more active in regard to networking and challenging myself to do more public speaking and workshops. I want to make sure I am doing little things every day that help others and not just focus on the being in the office.
There are a few other big Ideas that I have in the works at the moment but you will have to wait and see!
18.Who are your biggest influencers/inspiration; both personally and professionally?
Everyone and anyone. It probably sounds like a cop out to answer this question in such a way but I couldn’t answer It any other way.
People who are generous and friendly and those that are down right negative help push me in the right direction simultaneously. You learn from the good and the bad so I wouldn’t want one without the other (even though we could all do with a bit more good in our day!)
19.What are your thoughts on collaboration? Who have you collaborated with recently and who would you like to collaborate with in the future?
I think collaboration Is underrated and should be something that we all do more of. I think in my Industry in particular we can get worried about collaborating as sometimes designers and architects keep their Ideas close. But when you collaborate and Interact with others you can not only Increase your network and business reach but come up with better solutions to business problems and ways to approach new things.
20.What is your favourite quote?
‘For every kind soul you meet with a beautiful story to tell, may you now that you are worthy of being seen that way as well’
Morgan Harper Nichols
I hope you all enjoyed getting to know Ash a little more, as I have! Ash and myself share so many similiarities, so it doesn’t surprise me that we are both solo-business-adventurers! You can find out more about Ash and her Business Timber & Wolf via her website www.TimberandWolf.com