Spotlight | Amy Willis
some people just don’t know how to relax…!
For this week’s Spotlight, we caught up with Amy Willis at Sweet Talk.
This woman is an absolute machine – in all the best ways. A self-employed management consultant, a mother of three boys, and a boundless source of energy and inspiration to those around her. The sort of person who cheerfully picks litter up off the street while wearing white pants and stilletos. The sort of woman to offer a shoulder when it’s needed and a kick up the butt when it’s called for. Basically, the friend we all need.
We chatted to Amy about going out on her own as a consultant, how she entertains three boys, and her pick for a (very rare) date night.
Name: Amy Willis
Occupation: Management Consultant
Known For: Working with Cool (normally stressed) local business owners who want a better life-work blend
Local since: forever!
First things first: why Toowoomba?
I grew up on my grandparent’s lucerne farm on Flagstone Creek Road, along with my cousins who lived within walking distance (21 kids on school holidays made for great childhood memories). I completed most of my schooling in Toowoomba so have always called it home. When I was 20 years old I swapped the country life for the bright lights of Toowoomba with my now-husband.
We have chosen to stay in Toowoomba for a few reasons; the first reason is we are surrounded by family and long-time friends, which is super helpful when you are raising three children (11 months, four and six years old). Secondly, we honestly love Toowoomba and all it has to offer; from its beautiful parks to the emerging cafe scene, choices of schools and opportunities for small business growth. Thirdly (and perhaps most importantly), Toowoomba is the only place that has Super Rooster.
what does your business do?
I educate stressed out (and sometimes emotional) business owners on how they can implement simple structures and processes, giving them clarity and a way to move forward with their business – ultimately to give them a better work-life blend.
The majority of the business owners I have worked with have one thing in common: they are so close to the picture that they overthink things and sometimes get too emotional when decisions need to be made. I teach them how to listen to that logical voice in their head again so that when unexpected challenges arise they have a process they can follow to help them overcome it. I love helping people find where their strengths lie and educating them on how they can use these to their potential, especially when it comes to leading a team.
My whole philosophy is ‘Lead Is a Verb’. I believe it is the things that you actively do in your business that will flow through to your staff, clients and customers. When you approach your business each day with clarity, knowing when to focus on certain tasks and being proactive, your behaviour reflects this. You will exude confidence, which in turn gives your team confidence.
Flip to the other side of the coin, if you’re waking up each day feeling overwhelmed at everything that has to be done, trying to fit it all in in one day, not knowing how to delegate any tasks, feeling like you are running on empty and like you are constantly reacting instead of being proactive, you will create a uneasy work environment that is not sustainable for your team, your business and most importantly your health.
What have you learned about running a business in Toowoomba? What are the unique opportunities, benefits and challenges?
Although my business is relatively new I have been helping my husband run his own renovation business for the last five years and prior to starting my own business I had the privilege of working for and learning from a local entrepreneur/businessman. These years taught me that word of mouth is huge in Toowoomba. If you do a good job, people are more than willing to vouch for you. It’s easy to make your business stand out in Toowoomba compared to bigger cities with a more saturated market.
As a mum of three energetic young boys, my biggest challenge is not something unique to Toowoomba but relatable to any working parent. When you work from home it is sometimes hard to switch off ‘Amy the Management Consultant’ and turn on ‘Amy the wife and mother’. It’s something that I consciously make an effort to improve on daily, taking into account everything that I teach clients and applying it to my own life.
What does an average day look like for you?
One full of coffee, breastmilk, nappies, wipes and food. I try my best to wake up around 5–5.30am before any of the kids do so I can drink my coffee and eat my breakfast in peace before the chaos of the morning starts. This is rarely a success though. It’s like my kids can sense when I am awake and they think they must wake as well.
As soon as the kids wake I go into crazy Mum-mode trying to get myself and our three boys fed, dressed and out the door by 8.00am to drop my eldest off to school. The rest of the day is then spent running errands, doing necessary housework, a client meeting or two (which are normally scheduled around the kids’ nap times) and most importantly keeping the two youngest boys fed, entertained and out of mischief. Before I know it, it’s school pick up time.
I try my best to not have any plans in the afternoon and we normally head straight home so the kids can play until dinner is ready. Once all of our kids are in bed and the kitchen is clean I try to fit in some work if needed and/or spend some quality time with my husband (ie. spend 20 minutes deciding what to watch on Netflix only for both of us to fall asleep in front of the TV five minutes in).
What does your ideal Toowoomba weekend look like?
Plenty of free time for visits to a park with a take-away coffee. Catching up with friends or family and on special occasions a kid-free date night.
Only a Toowoomba local would know…
Skate Haven was the ultimate birthday party location, second only to the party tram at McDonald’s.
FAVOURITE WEEKEND SPOT TO:
PERK UP: Bunker Espresso
RELAX: sitting on the back veranda at my parent’s house watching my children play in the same backyard where I played as a child
EAT: Sweet Talk Coffee
INDULGE: although it’s been a while between visits (#mumlife) my favourite date night spot is Zev’s Bistro. Always on point.
CATCH UP: any park that offers good shade and has coffee close by (think Laurel Bank Park).
BE INSPIRED: anywhere I go where I can have meaningful conversations with like-minded people