245 It’s Not How It Started

Podcast Summary

Join SJ as she chats about how her business has fluctuated throughout the years and how she’s adapted to each change as they’ve come and gone.

Bible Verse for this season

Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. But doesn’t that contradict what comes two verses earlier: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”

Psalm 112 – Steadfast heart that we don’t have to fear.

Meet SJ!

Our CEO, Sarah Jane, first became a business owner after the purchase of her and her husband’s first property that God encouraged her to buy, which lead to Mountain Ridge Property & Development being founded in 2014.

Since then, she has completed seven renovations, started up her digital marketing business The Automation Girl in 2015, and helped thousands of women with tips to help encourage, strengthen and unite them in business under the CWIB brand that launched in 2017.

She will also soon be offering mentoring for business owners and investors while running The Christian Women Group. 

9th & 10th Sept 2023

Surfair, Macoola, QLD, AUD.

Full transcript

Do you ever feel like how you originally started your business is different to how it is today? I want to have this conversation with you because I was chatting with someone the other day and it was about our businesses and how when we started we had this vision and dream. And, you know, we’ve all been in business, not all of us, but a lot of us have been in business for a few years now. And along the way, we found that things have changed and things aren’t how we originally thought they would be or how they originally looked. And you might be in a position where you’re starting to make decisions or be thinking this, I’m going down a different direction to what I thought. And. I think it’s perfectly okay and today I wanted to permit you to know that it is okay to go in that different direction. And I’ll take you through a bit of my story, Boo’s in the video today, hello.

And then you can see how since 2015, well, We originally bought our first property in 2012, I think it was, how differently things have changed. So I never thought about the business before. And then we were looking at, we just got married, we’ve been living in a rental, and we were looking at buying our first home together, myself and my husband. And basically, we looked for two years. From when we got married, we never found it. And then one day, Nesta said, let’s go and look at this house. And I thought it was the most ugliest house ever. It was full of salmon everywhere like every single wall was salmon. And as soon as I walked in, I just heard God say, you need to buy this house. 

And so we did, we bought that house. And what we came to realize is that we could do something with the land. It was on a really big block. And so we bought it. I started investigating what we could do with the land. I thought maybe we could put a small little granny flat on it. It’s what we call them in Australia. But actually, we could cut. A house on that, which was cool. So I started to learn all about how to do subdivisions and dual occupancies and that kind of stuff. And somehow I stumbled across digital marketing and I thought, Oh, this is cool. I think I could get into this. And so originally started building websites for people and my own websites as well.

While, we were doing the development, so I was working, managing, and doing that. And then that developed into me. Obviously, people would see what I’m doing and they wanted some mentoring. And then in that mentoring, I was like, is it time to bring God into this? So it merged from just doing property to then websites, to then websites and mentoring. And then I wanted to build a community because I couldn’t find one for Christian women who run businesses and that were into making money because basically, yeah, I couldn’t find one and I wanted to be able to relate to them and go, okay, well, I’ve got this faith and then I’m building this money and, you know, traditional values have been that money is the root of all evil, yada, yada, yada. So then it’s gone from property, websites, mentoring. Do I bring God into the situation? Yes, I do. I’ll bring God into it. 

Met a cool woman along the way and then CWIB was founded. And then, so that originally started as just a membership. Then we added the podcast. Then we added the annual conference and then Christian Women in Leadership was added on and Christian women was added on. So even CWRB itself wasn’t where it originally started from and we’ve developed and we’ve evolved and the memberships changed and what we’ve offered has changed because people change, times change and needs change. And through COVID, like, we experienced another change and now we’re out of COVID, we’re experiencing another change again, the economy is in an interesting place people are scared of interest rates and they are rising still so we’re thinking and evolving again to think, okay, well, How can we meet the market’s needs now for where we’re at? No one was super busy, and then everyone was busy with online things due to COVID-19, and now everyone’s like, I think everyone’s kind of online out. And then people are starting to raise their heads again, but they don’t want to get too busy. So it’s been an interesting evolution of… How businesses have started and then how they’ve developed.

And then a couple of years ago, I felt it was time to get my real estate license so that we could buy and help buy properties for other people who want to do a similar thing to what we’ve done. And I am not good at studying. I’m just going to put it out there now. So I’m not good at studying at all. I’m still, I’m halfway through the thought of just sitting down and reading off of a screen and answering questions. It’s just not me. So it’s a grind. Okay. It’s a pure grind but I knew it was in the journey and it was something that we were going to be developing into. And so once I’ll just go back a bit. So once I launched Christian Women in Business and built a membership site, other people wanted to know how I did it. How did I build the website? How did I create the automation? How did I do the email marketing? 

And that’s when the digital project manager, which is what I was at the time merged and changed into The Automation Girl. So even name changes have come into it, went from digital project manager to more The Automation Girl, because that’s the niche that I really wanted to focus on and help people with. And then I just felt. Well, I have been feeling it for the past couple of years, but this year felt it was time to kind of let the services of that go. So we’re offering a lot of services that morphed into more memberships as well as automation. People wanted their memberships created as well. So nothing that I kind of, I’ve created about the kind of. Stood the same. It’s always developed. It’s always evolved. It’s always moved. I’ve been listening and hearing for opportunities. And how can I serve people? And how can I bring value to the marketplace? And so I want to encourage you to do that too. And to be thinking. Well, this is how I originally started, but I can see this opportunity now. So I’m just going to kind of merge into that. So I’ve still got the automation girl live. If people did want to learn how to set up automation in their businesses, that’s just ticking away in the background. They can subscribe to that. I did Pause that for a little while because I got so busy with the services, but everything’s still there. Everything’s still accessible. So if you want to learn about automation in your business, the automation school is available for you, but yeah, so that’s kind of murfed. I’ve seized services with that. 

The plan was to try and study hard these next couple of months leading up to the conference to get my real estate. License done. So then we can move more into that space and that will be something that hubby and I can share together. I’m still trying to get into the study, but I will. I’ve got a lot of the conference stuff organized now, which is super exciting. I think we’re like. We’re under two months away now. Like, it’s getting close. So that’s exciting. So a lot of that stuff’s been done. Now I need to kind of get down to the nitty-gritty and start getting on with this course again. Lord, give me strength. And, even conferences evolved over time, how it looked at that first conference that we did how we look this is going to feel different. People come and go inside the journey through sometimes their own decisions sometimes what you feel yourself in God and how things, how you want things to look and be and feel and experience. Yeah. Yeah. And I think it’s really important that if people do tell you it’s I know this time that we respect their decision in the process of us evolving, it could be staff members, team members for me, speakers like. We let people go, we let people go with a blessing and everyone is on a journey, everyone moves, and God’s telling them their thing, so I just always try and feel it’s best to respect that and give them the blessing over sending them off with I don’t know, unresolved, not a curse, but, like, bitterness, I guess. 

So as you evolve and as you change, embrace the changes, embrace the people that are going out, embrace the new people that are coming in, embrace the services, the change. The other week we spoke about simplifying your business. Sometimes it’s a season of taking stuff away. I know I’ve just done a massive, what my mom calls fettle which is the English term for minimalism and sorting out your house and just getting rid of stuff that’s not needed. And I’ve done that with the businesses as well. So then I can just focus on what it is that is for this next season. So all this I’m saying, is because I want you to feel like You’re not trapped with where you are today. And if you feel your business isn’t serving you and you’re not serving the market, that’s okay. You can change and evolve. You’re not stuck in this place forever. And pray to God, ask God for. Sometimes we are in the waiting room and waiting for something and sometimes it is just up to us to make that decision and take the risk and trust that God’s got us in the process. I’m always a favour of saying God gave us a brain for a reason and we should use it. So we should use the wisdom and knowledge that God has given us and take action, make decisions evolve and take risks and have that faith that God got us. If it doesn’t work out, that’s okay. You learn something. If it did work out, that’s even better. 

But embracing the change and embracing the season of change and allowing your business and services to evolve and even your prices. It might be that it’s time to increase prices. It’s okay to do that. What I originally charged for a website, to what I was charging for building a website last year, was phenomenally different. It was six times as much. Because I’d learned, I’d grown, I could offer a better website, could offer a better service. I believed in the value of what I could produce and what my team could produce as well. So it’s all the learning, it’s all understanding, it’s always evolving. And I don’t think as business owners, and especially as daughters of God, that we ever kind of come to a place of not contentment, but of just being, we’re constantly evolving. And I think that’s. the way God has made it, that we do continue to learn, that we do continue to build that faith. And in time, who knows where we’ll end up. Like, who knows what the future holds and how successful we’re going to be and, you know, what we can do for the kingdom and seeing God’s word go throughout the earth and all that kind of stuff. You just never know how God’s going to use it in every single season, whether it feels difficult, easy, or different. There’s just always an opportunity to learn. So embrace the season of change, embrace the season of learning. This is your sign if you were waiting for a sign that now’s the time to change, shift it, increase prices, change services, add a service, or take a service away. This is your sign and it is okay and you are going to survive.

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