Creating a Life-First Business with Michelle Pontvert


Creating a Life-First Business with Michelle Pontvert


This week on The Wholehearted Business Show I’m chatting with the lovely Michelle Pontvert. Michelle is a Life-First Business Strategist and founder of the Business Chic Shop where she sells streamlined solutions to simplify growing a business around your real-life circumstances.

She’s also a neurodivergent, multi-passionate entrepreneur juggling running two businesses with being a hands-on Mum while living the expat life in Paris, France.

I’ve been in the same online business circles as Michelle for ages, and her life-first business philosophy has always resonated with me so I knew she’d be an amazing guest on the show.

Tune in to learn:

  • What a life-first business is, and how to create it from the start of your journey
  • How Michelle runs her business around her family priorities and how she prioritises her work tasks
  • What productised services are, and how they can help you deliver a coaching service in a more specific streamlined way
  • How Michelle eliminated deadlines from her business
  • Why it’s ok to reschedule in your life-first business

Michelle’s links:

Watch this episode on YouTube and subscribe to my channel here

Listen to this episode on The Wholehearted Business Show Podcast: Listen on Apple Podcasts / Listen on Spotify



So welcome, Michelle. It is so lovely to have you on the whole heart of business show.

We were just saying before we started that we feel like we’ve been kind of in the same online business circles for a little while. And you’ve certainly been coming at the right inbox for a long time. I’ve been getting your emails and it’s really lovely to have you on because I feel like. Everyone who listens to the show is going to definitely like vibe with your vibe around what it is that you do, which we’re going to get into.

But before we start kind of looking into that, I’d love just to know a little bit more about you, where you’re based and a little bit about your 

Michelle: business. Yeah, thanks so much for having me on. This is such a good excuse for us to just have a chat because we have been circling each other for a long time.

So my story is probably a bit convoluted but I’m Australian originally I now live in France and there’s a big detour around the world to get there. I started my business five years ago now with a very little kid in arms started kind of out of necessity. I originally [00:02:00] was working in film, that’s what my background is in, and I left that career after about three years in because I realized fundamentally that that kind of work was not a good fit for my personality, but also the life I wanted to lead.

I’ve grown up with very career focused parents and career focused family. And I was sort of I want to say indoctrinated into that logic, only to wake up as an adult to realize, actually, I wanted my family to take first spot in my priorities. And film, if anyone listening or watching knows anything about that industry, it is a very intense work lifestyle, where you work 12 to 14 hour days, you don’t know when your next projects are, you work days and nights, and it’s just incompatible with little kids.

So even way before I got pregnant, way before my husband and I even got married. I started to realize that that industry was just never going to work with the life I wanted to lead. So I left film, moved to France, and started my whole life over again in my 20s, [00:03:00] and basically fumbled around for a while trying to figure out what I wanted to do, and sort of fell into marketing because a lot of those skills translated quite nicely, potted around in marketing quite well, got pregnant, and then got let go on maternity leave from my pretty steady job.

So that was a really big hit, and Is that sort of state of postpartum fog of distress of losing my job of just being a bit lost. I had a business friend who really just like told me I could do it, and encourage me to start a business of my own and so I did. I started off as a web designer I did the sort of traditional big long custom projects and.

That was fine for a while. It scratched the itch. It got some money in the door, but I realized pretty quickly that big long projects like that just were really challenging with having a little kid who I found out later on has additional support needs and just really needed a lot from me. And I found those big projects with [00:04:00] lots of client calls with lots of needs on me of demands on me, which is really, really challenging so I shifted into productized services.

So basically selling the same exact service, really streamlined, really systematized down and selling much smaller packages to people. And that was much better. And then that kind of led me to going full into the product side and opening up a shop. And now I have all sorts of different products all around streamlined systems, helping make.

Like selling your stuff easier, marketing your stuff easier, even building offers that are more supportive for what ultimately I do now, which is help people build a business that fits around their life first. And that’s kind of the core of everything I’ve done in my business and what I’m turning around to teach everyone now is there is an easier way to do this and you can really advocate for what you need in your life and what you want in your life and build a business that supports that.

Laura: Yeah, that’s amazing. What a journey that you’ve been on as well. Especially getting made redundant [00:05:00] on maternity leave. That’s shocking and it probably felt like a really horrendous moment but obviously it’s getting you to where you are now, which sounds like it’s a greater balance that you would That you have now that you would’ve had before.

Definitely. There’s so many things I wanna dive into with this actually, I think is really interesting. But do you wanna tell something, you used the term life first business, which is something that I’ve really resonated with, that you’ve talked about. Yeah. And again, I know the people who listen to the show will have heard me talk about this for myself, but I’d love to hear a bit more about how you approach Life First Business, what it looks like for you, but also how you support other people to figure out what that looks like for them.

Michelle: Yeah, so I really do think of it as as much like a strategy as it is a practice. So theoretically, yes, I’ve built, you know, offers that are much more flexible, that don’t require my time as much or at all to be delivered so that I’m sort of removing myself from a lot of the things I’m selling. So that I can have life happen [00:06:00] whenever it does really being intentional about the marketing, the sales, the systems, all the stuff behind the scenes in the business to make sure that it’s.

As independent from my time as possible, but also really respecting my energy. On top of being a caregiver of a special needs kid, I also have really fluctuating energy levels myself. And I found showing up live for a lot of things really challenging. So being really intentional about creating.

Systems, systems is like my love language, but like systems behind how you actually set up your business, how you run things, what you let into your business so that they really support you as a human and your life first, before the strategy, before the optimizing for income, before all the other shiny things that people will sort of sell you on in business.

I really approach it from like, let’s make sure the human is happy. First and the life that they need to live and people they’re supporting are taken care of. I feel like the practice of that is that you can say [00:07:00] all this and it sounds really great on paper, but in practice you need to actually confront those challenges when people push on your boundaries, when you do actually want to make some money urgently.

And that’s where a lot of my products I have in my shop are really focused around those, you know, concrete moments when you really need to practice the life first approach, when you need to streamline things, when you need to. You find an easier way to sell when you need to refine your offers to take out some of the people and you think when you need to remove a very practical standpoint of like, if you’re stuck with this problem, here is a solution to help you streamline and simplify that and remove some of that stress because it doesn’t need to be as stressful.

Laura: Yeah. Yeah. And I think a lot of, I mean, again, you’d like most of the people who listen to the show are health and life coaches, so are used to having a big part of their business being there. The one to one work, but having to show up. And I think certainly what I’ve started to see with some of my clients [00:08:00] is, is that they’re really starting to struggle with having their businesses set up in a way that is.

Reliant so much on that I have to show up live for these people, you know, and be available and things like that. If someone’s starting to realize that their business is set up like that and thinking, Oh, I don’t think this is sustainable over the long term. Where would you suggest that they start looking in terms of perhaps systems, like is there a, is there a helpful start point?


Michelle: Oh, it’s definitely a useful question. And I get a lot of people asking me pretty much the same version of that. So I think it’s, it’s a completely fair thing because you get into the habit of doing things the way you always done, or you were taught to do them.

And we don’t realize some of the resistance that we build up to certain parts of how we’ve set things up. We’ve just done it. We’ve always done it that way, but we don’t realize that some elements of that process can actually be really draining on us. So I encourage people to start with like [00:09:00] stepping back.

From living in it of feeling all those feelings and taking a really objective audit of what are they doing in their business day to day, week to week, month to month, and kind of ranking it in terms of stress level, in terms of energy, in terms of impact and getting really critical about what are you letting into this business?

What are you letting into the way you work? And does it need to be there at all? Does it need to maybe be optimized? Does it need to maybe be shifted so that it’s less draining or creating less resistance? Because most of the time we’ve just done things a certain way because that’s the way we were taught or that’s the way we’ve always done them, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only way to do things.

And I find particularly with in person, one on one type of offers, a lot of the strain can be around things like payment and chasing people up and, you know, following up with people who don’t show or, you know, trying to get people to book things in. Those are things that are super easy to streamline, super easy to automate and completely take off [00:10:00] your plate.

And you just focus on your zone of genius, which is being there in the moment with the person. So it’s really important to identify like where the pain is coming from so that we can. Diagnose it and then treat it properly. If you find actually in that audit that you find the actual work challenging, that’s where I think it’s worth exploring, like, can we Use the expertise, use the knowledge you have in a different way to still support people, but really shift the style of offer you have so that you’re still showing up at your best and making the money you need to really support your life and your, your work, but not creating all that resistance around it.

And as someone who has low energy, I understand that we can have all the systems we like, but some days you just can’t show up for other people. And I think that’s as important to take note of and really understand in yourself as like admin and all the other stuff too. 

Laura: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, it’s so, I think that’s so important and I really resonated with what you said earlier as well about boundaries and I think that’s something that I [00:11:00] know some of the people who some, some coaches really struggle with because I think we have this thing where we think like someone’s paying us this money to, you know, for a coaching package and if we are not literally available all of the time, given everything, Yeah.

Then where a bad person or, you know, a bitch or something terrible like that, and I mean, because I feel like systems can help support our boundaries. Is that something that you, you see as 

Michelle: well? On boundaries. People don’t want it because do I think if we take this like really literally, a boundary is just a limitation and a limitation around what you do and you don’t do. And I think a lot of people get all sorts of feelings and emotions mixed into that.

But I think a lot of times when people cross those boundaries. It’s just because they didn’t know they existed. . So I find a lot of what actually helps with that, the boundaries ahead of time and prepare people for how you’re going to work with them, set them [00:12:00] up so they know your limitations, they understand what’s included, what’s not, how you work your response time, how it’s going to work for feedback or refunds, like giving people the knowledge of how your business works because They don’t know that innately.

They’re just coming in with all the past experiences from other things they’ve done, other businesses they’ve interacted with, and applying assumptions until they’re taught better. And it’s really our job as business owners to help communicate, Hey, this is my house, this is my business, this is how things work.

And I think just having that preemptive communication kind of conversation around how we work, how things, and where those limitations are, removes a lot of the pushing against the boundaries, removes a lot of the emotion, a lot of the resistance. And I think particularly for people who are very people pleasing, who kind of get hung up on this, doing it once and automating it can remove a [00:13:00] lot of the resistance around actually holding those boundaries.

And it’s so much easier to say, Oh, actually I have a policy around this than having to invent that on the spot when someone’s actually confronted you with something. So I actually find it’s a much more healthy practice to just say, right, I’m designing my business. Here’s what I include. Here’s what I don’t think through those different layers.

You want to create protections for yourself, come up with a system to communicate them, and then you don’t have to really deal with it. You just point people to that information. I feel like that really helps with removing some of the resistance. 

Laura: Yeah. Yeah. Oh, that makes total sense. Yeah. I think it could just make such a big difference having, even just thinking about what those are, because I think a lot of, you’re right in saying that I think a lot of people start their businesses and it’s just, well, this is how it’s done.

And, you know, they’re just kind of carry on. You know, just, this is how it’s always been done. This is how it’s been taught and don’t really stop and think, is this what I want my business to look like for me? You know, and. 

Michelle: Yeah, and that, you 

Laura: know, the just kind of do that and then they realize at some [00:14:00] point, often they get burnt out certainly with client work, they can really struggle.

So having, I love that whole approach of actually like really looking at this really early on in your business, actually, in terms of. Is this really work for you, honestly, because, you know, I’m a mom as well. I know that, you know, you were saying that you are as well, and I think a lot of us do start businesses because we want to have that flexibility around our families.

And how we can build that in. I mean, how’s that look like for you? I know that you were saying that you’ve got a child who’s got additional needs as well. Was that something, it sounds like something you were factoring in really early, thinking about before you were even pregnant. But what does that look like now?

It sounds like there’s very little having to show up for things. And thank you very much for showing up for this podcast interview. Because I know, I know we rearranged it, didn’t you? Because we had two kids sick at what, like my, one of my children was sick. So I appreciate your time. But yeah, so how do you kind of, how does it all look around your kind of day to day life with your family?[00:15:00] 

Michelle: Yeah, so I, I am really ruthless with my schedule. I put in all of our life stuff first. So all of his appointments, all of our like, Obligations outside of work, and then I pencil in what I call my desk time. That is when he is at school or he is in daycare and he is taken care of and I can focus on work.

And all my business, everything I do for business has to fit into those chunks of time. And I’m pretty ruthless about not making exceptions unless I’m really excited about something. Not because I feel obligated, but because I really want to. In the rare occasion, I will stay up after he’s in bed because I don’t do any work when he’s around and I will have like a call or a chat or something, but mostly then I have these blocks of time that.

Most of the time I can use, but I can get sick, things happen, and I’ve used what I call my elastic planning approach to flexibly figure out how to get my work done in these somewhat movable blocks of [00:16:00] time, because I, I live in France, we have a social system, I am reliant on a lot of social healthcare and childcare, so I don’t get to say when a lot of things happen.

I’ve had to be really creative with like, how do I actually manage all of this. And it’s really come down to this approach that is a running to do list with kind of a priority ranking rather than deadline approached way of dealing with work. And I actually have done an experiment over the year 2023 where I removed pretty much all deadlines for my business entirely.

So all external deadlines for sure, meaning clients, meaning anything that requires. The shop at a specific time, but also removing a lot of the internal deadlines from my own systems. So when approaching a project, when approaching like creating something, marketing sales, I’m really challenging myself and taking it as like the creative challenge of how do I do this without a sense of deadline or sense of urgency, but rather with a sense of [00:17:00] intention and really working through things mindfully.

In order so that I can get where I want to go, and I found for my personality that has been incredibly liberating. I was never a fan of deadlines I always found them very stress inducing so it’s been hugely liberating for me, but I found, even before remove the deadlines. Rather than setting myself like time blocks where I have to do things and I have to, you know, cram in work into a specific amount of time, which can work really well for some people, I found just having a really clear sense of prioritization in my work.

Of the different projects. I have going the different things I’m juggling within the business and being really thoughtful at the beginning of every desk time session. Every time is it done to work like what’s urgent? What’s important? What needs my attention now? What do I have to do is impactful, but maybe doesn’t have to happen now.

What do I maybe have to do now? But isn’t actually that impactful and what’s not impactful and doesn’t have to happen now and [00:18:00] going through this. It’s called it. An Eisenhower matrix going through this process of prioritizing my tasks and deciding really ruthlessly, like, what do I let in? What do I let go of has really helped me be productive, incredibly productive in those short blocks of time, but also because I’ve let go of deadlines all around.

So when we get sick, when things happen, it’s been, you know, not a big deal cause there’s no deadlines waiting for me at the end. And then practicing a really like. I don’t know, I’m trying to take it as a compassionate approach to rescheduling, that I have to reschedule quite a lot, as you were mentioning.

When I do commit to something with a deadline, with a call, with like a time I have to show up, just being really honest and forthright with communicating with people that, hey, Life happens, sometimes I need to reschedule and I’ve never had anyone push back on that. In fact, I’ve usually had a really great conversation come out of it, just saying, Hey, this is the reality of running our own businesses.

So I’m just going to be really [00:19:00] honest and be human about it and say, you know, this is where I’m at. I need to reschedule. I still want to do this. And just knowing that it’s okay to reschedule and practicing over and over again has been really like taking a lot of the stress out of it too. 

Laura: Yeah, I think that’s such an important thing.

And, you know and I think this is the thing about, I don’t know, I wouldn’t say it’s exclusively a women run or mum run business thing. But I think there’s something that’s really lovely about how understanding everyone is because I’ve had to, I’ve had to reschedule a couple of clients lately because just because I was not having a good day.

And literally, I don’t feel bad about messaging and saying like, I’m really, really sorry, but if I meet with you today, you are not going to be getting the best of me, and that is not what I want for you. If you still want to meet, we can meet, but just be aware I’m like down here. But you know, I’ll, I’ll, I’ll show up and I’ll show [00:20:00] it to the best that I can on that day.

But you know, the, they’ve always been really, really fine. And I think there’s just that lovely understanding. I had another podcast guest booked in, she had to reschedule and it’s, and it’s like absolutely fine. And I just think that that’s such a, a lovely thing about a lot of us in this business, online business community, because we just get it.

Like, we just get that life happens and all, but for loads of reasons. 

Michelle: Exactly. Yeah. And I think that’s, as you said, a big part of why a lot of us started this whole thing in the first place. So I think really exercising that flexibility is celebrated. And I think we, we should celebrate each other. Like I’m really excited when someone holds that boundary for themselves and says, you know what?

I need to reschedule something that maybe I’ve asked them to do. And. in a weird way I’ve started turning around and celebrating like good on you for holding that boundary like I’m really excited that you put your life first and I think just changing that mindset behind it of like this is a positive thing this is why we’re [00:21:00] doing this and celebrating it rather than I don’t know some of the old methods we used to have of getting frustrated and annoyed at other people much healthier to just be excited for them 

Laura: because I think as well what’s really interested and I think this ties into this a little bit is I think for a lot of us, and you were talking about your previous career in the film industry, I think a lot of us come into online business and into coaching businesses and various other online businesses, but with the, you know, rarely if we come out of school or gone to university then come out and start running a business, we’ve got like the baggage of the previous, you know, the way that we’ve done things before.

And I feel like that sometimes makes us feel like, you know, like we should be sat at our desk between nine, nine and five, you know, we should be never on every schedule, you know, we should be dragging ourselves into to show up, even though we feel terrible and, you know, things like that. And there’s a bit of deep programming.

Is that something that you resonate with as well? 

Michelle: Yeah, I agree. I think in a weird way, I kind of [00:22:00] saw starting this business as my, my only teenage rebellion. Like I was a very obedient teenager and I didn’t get that time to like go and play effort to the system. I’m going to do things my way. And I feel like in a weird way, starting your own business is doing that is saying, you know, This whole, you know, corporate world, this whole previous career didn’t work for me, and I’m going to rebel against it by doing things my way and really taking back that control and doing things really intentionally.

And yeah, I kind of love that this is the way we get vengeance on a world that didn’t work for us before. I feel like it’s the way that, like, we can, we can really celebrate that and rebel against what didn’t work and be really, like, thoughtful and intentional about how we move forward. I love it. So yeah, I feel like I’m reliving my teens.

Laura: Yeah, I absolutely love that. And I can always remember even when I just moved from, you know, one job that was like a very stable, secure job on paper. to and this is before I became self employed, to another role that was [00:23:00] like a contract based role. And I can remember my parents being like, you must be crazy, you’re leaving this like really stable job, it’s a job for life.

And I was like, ah, and now I’m, you know, doing this completely crazy thing. And I think that, you know, I’ve been saying to a few of my clients recently, it’s like, Making the choice to run an online business to be a coach is brave and just to acknowledge how brave it is to go against the grain of the rest of society, which often is, you know, self sacrificing, you know having to fit yourself into places that aren’t designed for you.

And we get to do this and I think obviously your business is such a wonderful example of how you’ve done that. 

Michelle: Yeah, I think this is where we get to be brave. Like, it’s a brave thing to, like, eschew everything that you’ve been shown, that you’ve been taught is possible. And to say, this doesn’t work, I’m going to go do things my way.

I think that is such a brave, amazing thing to do for us, for our families, to educate maybe those people in your life who, Did, you know, the nine to [00:24:00] five, the boring job, just because it was safe and really show by your actions that we do have more control in this life than we think. And it is up to us and our actions to shape the life we want.

And I really do think that yes, there’s obviously privilege. Yes, there’s obviously circumstances, but ultimately we are the only ones who get to decide how this life we live goes. And I think, you know, there’s something really empowering about that. Like we don’t have to be victims. We can be the ones leading our charge.

Laura: Yes, absolutely. Yeah, I love all of that. Just to jump slightly on to a different, slightly different topic. You mentioned products that, I can’t even say the word, product, I can’t say product, productized? Is it productized? You got it. Services. And I’ve heard this mentioned a few times, and evidently I can’t even say the word.

Would you mind explaining a bit more about what that looks like? Because I think it’s a quite an interesting concept. And Obviously, most of the people that I support are health [00:25:00] and life coaches, and where this might come in might look different for them, but I’d love to understand that a little bit more because I think it sounds like a real way of taking a lot of the faff out of doing things a certain way, but I’ll let you explain a little bit more about how it all works.

Michelle: Yeah, so productized services are really services that you sell as if they were product, meaning that rather than having a custom proposal and a custom, you know, project that you built out specific to that one client, or even having like, ongoing just appointments that you book in, having a really specific outcome and a really specific process that someone can purchase for the same price every time, usually on their website, just like if they went to an e commerce shop.

They purchase it. They know exactly what they’re going to get, and you have a very specific process that you walk them through to get the result they’ve purchased. And it’s yes, a bit more transactional, but I think actually has worked really great. I have a [00:26:00] course all about this. It works really great with coaching as well, because we can get really specific about, What someone wants and help them achieve just that specific goal, rather than having a big open ended scope that can potentially go on forever, but also can potentially lead to people being a bit dissatisfied with not getting the result they’re looking for.

And the great thing of having something that is really streamlined is that you can start to take yourself out of a lot of the sales and delivery processes. And this is where like my heart sings basically by selling the same thing every time you can have the same sales process every time. So you can have one sales page that’s super explicit about exactly what they get, exactly how it works, exactly the deliverables and the results they’re going to get.

You can have Have one checkout process or one purchasing process that you don’t have to be involved with because there’s nothing custom and like available. Then you can have a welcoming and onboarding [00:27:00] process that get time for you to deliver the thing they purchased. And you just squirrel away in your corner, do the thing they’ve purchased, you know, if you’re coaching, you show up for that call with that really clear objective, that really clear outline of what they need.

You have all the backstory ahead of time. You show up to do your work or to coach them in that one specific area. And then at the end, you have a really clear off boarding process as well. Where you give them deliverable, what you’ve worked through with them. You maybe provide them with assets to help keep them accountable to that one thing that they wanted to work on.

And then you can potentially lead them into other things as well. I find having this process that is really slick, really streamlined, takes a pretty much all the admin out of running a business, particularly a service based business, also frees you up mentally and emotionally to just show up for the bit you’d like.

And that I think is the big game changer. That’s what it did for me. But I’ve worked through it with people in my course. I have a course that’s called sell without sales calls because one of the upsides of this is it’s actually a much easier thing to sell when someone knows exactly what they [00:28:00] want, exactly how you’re going to get it for them, they’re going to get in return.

And that process entirely shifts the sales dynamic instead of it being a consultation of negotiating almost like what I want, what you can give and how do we meet in the middle and feel like there’s space for room around pricing. and deliverables and time and, you know, all of the Different pieces, having it be really rigid, I found it’s much easier for people to just come in and buy and even with people who’ve done this process for coaching, they find, you know, people who found them through search engine optimization, through blog posts, through Pinterest.

It’s something so tangible, people don’t need the sales call to be convinced that they can get what they’re looking for. So I found, yes, it’s like great from the delivery process, but it also helps free you up in your marketing and your sales because it is so specific that it kind of sells itself. 

Laura: Yeah.

Yeah. That sounds [00:29:00] really interesting. And like I said, I think for me, that was really interesting. And I, and often. You know, I like asking questions and finding stuff out for myself as well. But yeah, I think for a lot of coaches, we do struggle to like get that, that tangible element, you know, from things.

But I love the way that this could potentially be something that a lot of health and life coaches could create. Because if you focus on, on a very specific outcome that you know that you’ve created a really specific process for, that’s a very narrow kind of focus thing, that could make delivery so much simpler.

Michelle: I had, I’ve had nutritionists go through this process. I’ve had a psychologist and psychiatrist go through it. I’ve had life coaches and what I found the funny thing is because there’s so much you can do in those topics and you feel like.

The process behind it is so big and it’s so unending. There’s a lot of resistance behind figuring out the one thing that people want, but often it doesn’t take [00:30:00] much to have a conversation with past clients to do a little bit of market research. And people who are employing those kinds of services are so good at just telling you exactly what they want.

They are the best people for market research because they know exactly the desired outcome. And often they are the key to figuring out what kind of product type service you can offer rather than, you know, for a web designer or something, it’s, it’s a bit more clear cut what we can offer, but in those coaching dynamics, people are so clearly struggling with something.

And it’s so specific to them and they understand it so well, that problem, that pain point. That if you ask them about it, they will just tell you. And it’s really, really, it’s like the best goldmine of market research. So I feel like if that’s kind of your case, you’re like, I don’t know what I’d offer. I can do so many things.

Market research is going to be your best friend because people will just tell you exactly what they’re struggling with. 

Laura: Yeah, yeah, and often like in a really specific And I think like, often we’re really, and I suppose another kind of theme that comes into this is I [00:31:00] think often we can be really good at overcomplicating things for ourselves.

Michelle: Oh yeah. Yep. And I think because we, we are multifaceted humans, we are complex people. We don’t want to be machines and just do one thing. And I think that. Is part of what the problem is with running these kinds of businesses is we try and be creative and and multi passionate in every single part of our business, but we don’t need to do our taxes creatively every time there’s certain things that we don’t need to put that creative energy towards and by not having systems in place by not automating or delegating or just streamlining some of the stuff that takes up mental load.

I like to say that keeps tabs open in your brain. You’re taking up all that processing power. If I go with my computer metaphor from the things where you really do need that creative energy, where that is a big asset where you actually are making an impact. So I find when people are kind of in this, I can do everything and everything is [00:32:00] complex and we’ve added all the bells and whistles to every single piece, really challenging you to strip it back, to make it seamless and streamlined and removing a lot of the.

Actually helps free you up for more fun, for more creativity, for chasing more shiny ideas because we’ve got that foundation really solid. And I think that’s kind of the trap that a lot of us multi passionates fall into, but it is kind of Weirdly enough, we need that solid ground so that we can go and chase whatever we want, but you can’t play around with the foundations because then your house is just going to fall down.


Laura: Yeah, and I loved what you were saying before as well about, you know, thinking about what we’re letting in, and I think that’s, even just that little word, you know, what is it that we’re letting in? Because every time we agree to do something, or we work with a client who’s not a good fit, or we’re faffing around on Instagram, or we We’re spending ages doing stuff on Canva, it’s like we’re letting stuff into our space, into our business, into our life.

And actually, I think that’s just such a [00:33:00] good word to remember, like, what are we letting in? Because that’s going to impact us and how we get to show up and actually thinking about, yeah, what we intentionally, like, keep out. I find that quite a nice visualisation in terms of protecting your energy. And your space, but yeah, I think I think the things that we can like that those foundations as well that we can have, you know, ties and, and figured out is, is such a helpful step for anyone’s business.

Michelle: Yeah. And I don’t think it’s maybe the sexiest part of running a business but I think it’s what lets you go and have fun, and I think people often start a lot of things at the beginning because they don’t know what’s going to fit, and that’s fair. But what we don’t want to do is just keep, like, bloating our business with all that extra stuff, because we all have the same 24 hours in a day, some of us less to work on our business than we want, and we all have a finite amount of energy, it can only go in so many places.

So if we’re not really careful, and [00:34:00] I want to say ruthless, about what we let in, we risk actually diluting everything and kind of making none of it work. And that’s kind of the challenge, especially early on. is you do need to try things to see if they’re going to work, to see if they fit. You know, we need to go into the clothes shop and try stuff on, but we need to also be as open to letting things go.

And I think that kind of process of trying things on and returning them to the shop when they don’t fit, it’s important to have both of those sides, because of course you need to see if things are going to work for you, but we need to return what doesn’t work. 

Laura: Absolutely. Yeah. And it’s, that’s the thing as well.

I think, I mean, You try things and then you think that you’ve, because you’ve invested time into it, that, oh, that’s like you’re kind of stuck with it, but actually you don’t have to be. Just because you’ve tried something, invested some time, and that’s enough to figure it out and let it go.

Michelle: Yeah, exactly. And you’ve invested time to really understand that something doesn’t fit. That’s still helpful data. If you didn’t know that you hated [00:35:00] Instagram, you would continually wonder that maybe if I just did Instagram. To ground my business would blow up. Now, you know, concretely, you don’t like Instagram and it’s not good for you.

You can close that door and move on. So I think even if you feel like you invested in a course and you spent six months on trying to make something work, still taking the time to actually acknowledge that I did hard work to understand and come to the conclusion that this isn’t working for me. Now I have better understanding of what potentially might work for me.

And I don’t have to keep that. Dream open that door open that maybe one day this could I think that’s just as valuable as actually making it work. 

Laura: Yeah Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, definitely. Well, thank you so much. It’s been such a good conversation I always finish by asking a guest what is your version of success because all of what, you know, big thing for me and my business is we’ve all got different versions of success.

I think in the online business space, there’s like this attachment that we have to all be earning six or seven figures and, you know, going [00:36:00] to Barney and all that kind of stuff. But most of us just want cozy businesses that work for us, but I’d love to know what a version of success looks like. 

Michelle: Yeah, I think mine almost encompasses life and business.

It’s just, I want to live a life well lived. I want to be happy. I want to have space to enjoy creating things that I think are helpful. And that’s basically what I’m trying to make this business do, is help me support my family so that I can be there when they need me, have time for myself to do creative, fun things.

I feel like that’s a pretty good goal. Yeah. Yeah, 

Laura: definitely. Oh, well, thank you so much. It’s been so wonderful to chat. I’d love for you to share where people can find you online. Is there, you’ve got, are you on Instagram? I know you said that some people might not like Instagram, and I’ve got the sense that maybe you’re not that.

Are you, do you do much 

Michelle: on there? I don’t do much on there, but I am on Facebook a bit. I’m the only Michelle Pontvert out there, so I’m really easy to find. I’m on my website. I have a blog that I do every week, and I have an email list that I email really [00:37:00] regularly with all sorts of goodies. And I, yeah, post on Facebook, I post a little bit on Instagram, but genuinely, if you want to hang out with me, my email list is the best place because I really love on my list.

Laura: Yeah. And you’ve got a, you’ve got a fantastic download. So you’ve got the, it’s the life first business assessment, isn’t it? 

Michelle: Yeah, and that is pretty much that auditing process I mentioned earlier. This is an assessment that helps you walk through all the different components of your life and your business and check with yourself with like, how is this doing?

Where am I missing? Where do I need to maybe focus some more energy? And I find I do it every quarter to kind of walk through. Okay. Where is everything at? What needs attention? What’s maybe needing to be let actually go, and I don’t need so much focus on that area, and I find it a really helpful practice to get into.

It’s a super easy process to go through, but I find it really, really valuable because it’s hard to step out of ourselves and be objective. I find it helps to have a process behind it. Oh, 

Laura: definitely. And all the links will be in the description for everyone to go and check out. But thank you so much. This has been such an interesting [00:38:00] conversation.

I think I’ve learned a lot just from talking to you about some of these things. It started to make me think, oh, I really need to look at some of the systems. I think I’ve got fairly decent. But now I’m starting to realize I probably could have better ones. And you’ve got a really great shop I know that we’re both big fans of Notion and you’ve got a shop with some Notion based wonderful things in there, haven’t you?

So if you’re a Notion fan like me go and check out Michelle’s shop. 

Michelle: Yeah, I’ve really had a love affair with Notion over the last year So lots of toolkits built out in Notion, but I also have a bunch of trainings and workshops all around All the stuff we’ve been talking about. So there’s a good hodgepodge of things.

Laura: Yeah, so definitely check that out, everybody. But thank you so much, Michelle. It’s been lovely. Thank you 

Michelle: so much for having me. This was so much fun.


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