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Today I have the pleasure to Interview Riana Avis
Riana is on her 4th career:
- Information technology
- Business owner as a coach and consultant
Originally from South Africa, she now brings all her skills, knowledge and talents together to help her clients get a grip on their business. Gentle. Effective. Empowering.
In this episode, we talk about
- How to keep focused in your business
- How to get the clarity you need to move forward
- How to keep things simple
Connect with Riana Avis
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– Hello ladies and gentleman. Welcome to another episode of, Explode Your Expert Biz Show. And today, we are here with the one and the only, Riana Avis. How you doing, Riana?
– Hi Simone, I’m doing fine thanks, how are you?
– I’m really well. Are you surviving this heat wave?
– Yes, gosh! It’s incredible, but yes. I’m still here. Still breathing.
– Are you enjoying it? Are you enjoying it? You one of these kind of people that, it’s like, “No, no. “I prefer like the cooler, British weather.” Or .
– I prefer something between the cooler British weather and the heat wave.
– So I’m not asking for much. If it gets too hot, I think, “No, no, no. “This is too much.” And if it gets cool in the British weather, like, today’s kind of perfect inside, but outside, it’s like, “Oh I need a cardigan.” You know?
– Exactly. For our international guests that are listening at this moment, you’ve got to understand that in the UK, there is nothing like mild weather, from what I’ve realised. Or it’s August and it’s freezing cold. Or, they’re like at 40 degrees Celsius. So, right now, we are in this heat wave. So that’s why I asked the question. But I’ll stop talking about heat. That’s not why we are here. We are here to talk about focus in business. Before we go into the topic, can you tell a bit about yourself and what you do and what projects are you working on?
– So yes. So me, I’m a business coach in consulting and I work with people with big hearts, is about the best way I can describe it. They tend to be other service based businesses. Whose service, you know, who just love helping people and because I’m a people person, I just love helping people grow. I love helping people, be happy, you know? It sounds really quirky and it’s something I steered away from a long time, for a long time. I like to help people be happy. But when the penny dropped, it really dropped big time for me. And also, the fact that I’m a people person, took me quite a long time to realise because I was always very process oriented. Very results oriented. Very, “Let’s get this working smarter, not harder. “Let’s keep making things simple.” And it’s not like I don’t do that anymore, it’s just, it’s all come more together, if that makes sense.
– So what was the penny? What was the moment where the penny dropped for you? What made that change for you now?
– That’s a really good question . I went from being a radiographer into IT. When I worked with radiographer, with people in radiography, was like, yes a body, we position it in a certain way. We tell the body, you know, “Breathe in.” Hold it and hopefully we tell them to breathe again. But you didn’t really react with the person per se. When I went into IT, it was now helping people to get a job done, or having to get a job done, but you couldn’t just sort of say, “Do this, do this, do that, do the other. “Get the job done.” It’s now you really have to ask people. You have to motivate people. You have to get people on board. You know ? And so, that took me awhile to realise and as I progressed through my IT career, I realised that I was a person, a people person. So both really, I remember being a child and I was told you know, I could work with machines, or I could work with people. It’s still true and sometimes I want to do the more analytical stuff and sometimes I want to do the more people stuff. So sometimes it’s quite difficult to say, exactly when the penny dropped. It’s kind of you have all of these diverse messages,
– All through my life, but they are becoming more, centred now. It’s taken a long time, Simone.
– Well I mean, it’s always you know, in a business, is there’s always an evolution and we understand things about ourself. We understand things about our business and, this level of awareness that determines also our changes and our directions, as well.
– Absolutely, yeah.
– And that links perfectly to the topic in which we are talking about today, because I know that in particular, for a long time, you have been helping businesses overcome like, become very process, become more efficient. Looking at their processes. Looking at their systems. And now you are as well working more on the personal side as well identifying the focus that the business owner can have. And before we’re talking, there was, we could identify a bit more the fact that the reason, more focus on the personal side, what you said, making people happy, the self care. And also there is the other part of the focus of the business on how do we identify opportunities? How do we survive the overwhelm of things to focus on? That’s what I would love to talk about today, so, let’s start from the beginning. We live in an environment, in a society where there is, there are a lot of opportunities. Where there is a alot, where there is a lot of opportunities, they are everywhere. So can you, can you start from there and then we’ll start exploring how do we then identify, which one of the opportunities, which aren’t a distraction. What to say yes to, or to say no to.
– And that’s a really good question and it’s, one, it’s tough. Because, there is such a lot out there and I think as you get to know more about your business, and what you want from your business, and what you want for your life, it’s much easier to say then, “Okay, “this is an opportunity and I’m gonna go with that. “This is a distraction.” But I think it also takes some time to get to know yourself and where you wanna take your business. So for instance, last year, I was working with a client who out of the blue, came up with this idea of, she’s found this perfect place for a new office. And it’s like, you know, when I work with my clients, we start quite broad. So what is it that you want for your life? You know? And, what is it you want for your business? What is that you want to experience? What is important this year? What’s important in the next 90 days? You know, that kind of structure. And then we just focus on the next 90 days and if there’s anything else comes up, then you park it to review for the next opportunity. There we were in this 90 day cycle and she’s saying, “I found this perfect office, “and we’ve just got to do it.” And now you have to say, “Okay, so what makes it “so perfect?” And then I always ask the client to explain. Explain your reasoning behind it. What would you benefit? How will you benefit? How will it, why now? And it’s getting those, behind those clarifying questions, that then helps the client decide, this is a real opportunity and it’s not just a distraction. You know and for me, as a business coach of consulting, when you in there, it’s like, “No, no, no. “This is not on your plan at all. “We can’t do this. And, “It’s absolutely the right thing “for the business to do at that point.” Is not right either. So, you know, you kind of walk a fine line. So does that answer your question a little?
– Yeah, yeah, no absolutely. So what happened with the client? Did they get the office? Or not?
– You know, yes, she that became , that then became our primary project for the next 90 days, basically, because, then it was handing in the notice in the current office. Getting somebody else on board to be a partner, on a new office. Getting the new offices painted and refurbished and, she’s just so happy there and everybody else is happy there. It’s a much bigger space. It’s a much, when I say cleaner space, she actually got, what’s the word? Feng shui? Is that?
– Yeah. Yeah, yeah.
– How you pronounce it?
– Yeah, yeah.
– She had somebody in to do that. And, she’s so much happier, in that environment. So this absolutely is the right thing for her to do at the time. But, you know, it was a question of, “Are we just distracting here?” Or, “Is this a real opportunity?”
– Yep, yep.
– And clearly this was a real opportunity, but we did the work around the edges, you know? What’s good about this? What’s not so good? What’s gonna work? What’s not gonna work? Why now? Why does everything else have to be parked for now?
– Mm-hmm, mm-hmm .
– Yeah, no, it makes sense. So you mentioned I shared a few questions and a few things to explore and I would love to go deeper into those ones, because I think that, for everyone that’s listening, you know, if every time and before making a decision, we can ask ourselves those questions, which you started explaining. Then, we can have the tools to always identify, is this the right decision for this moment, or is it something that needs to be parked? So you mentioned already a few questions. Can we have like a pool of questions that we can ask ourself, that for example, you would ask your client, when you are to go through this process, so then we can almost do like a self assessment, when something like this happen.
– Okay, well first of all, I would ask, so where did this come from? Where did this idea come from? And I can’t specifically say, yes, yes, the one key question, because it can be different for different people.
– Sure, absolutely. I wanted like a pool of questions, that we can ask
– To start, that thought process.
– Yeah. Yeah, is this like a brand new idea that just seems like a new thing, that’s like teasing you? Is this something that you’ve thought about before? And been playing with? Have you thought about the financial impact? Have you thought about the impact to your existing clients and the existing people that you’re working with? What needs to change in terms of, advising your clients? You’re gonna be in a different space and how much time do you need, to set this all up? Are you going in this by yourself? Or are you going in with somebody else? What processes need to be in place? What agreements need to be in place? What is it gonna cost you? You know, on an ongoing basis, is it going to be, you know, more of an expense? All those kind of questions. And of course, once the client comes back with, their response, there’s always another question that you can ask them. But essentially, what I’m looking for is, a glaring picture.
– You know? Just, they’ve thought about, “How am I gonna get from A to B?” And as they answer the questions that I’m asking, I can kind of see where the gaps are.
– And the other thing that I ask them often is, okay, so we look at the numbers. “How do you feel about it? “What’s good about it? “What’s not so good about it ?” You know? “What do you want to do more of “when you’re in this new space and place?” So it kind of goes through all of that and also what’s important is, if they go and, you know, often we, when I say often we normally don’t work by ourselves. So who are the people that you go, that you’re partnering up with here? Are they a good fit for you? Because, if you’re not a good fit, and there is a, there’s an issue further down the line, it’s just not going to be a happy partnership.
– Mm-mm no not at all. Absolutely, I mean, you’re familiar with the business canvas that we have.
– And we and that’s why sadly we created a parking space, in the canvas because there are a lot of people that have great ideas, or a new opportunity comes up and now suddenly, you need to steer away completely and create a new complete strategy for your business.
– Most of the time, that opportunity’s actually a distraction that is distracting you
– From the core. And very selfishly, I create it for myself, because I get excited about everything . Like, “Oh my God! “This is awesome. “This is such a new thing. “I wanna do it right now!” And then there is Caroline and Ben and they’ll say, “No, no, just slow down.” And we don’t need
– To go into Dallas. Put in the parking space. I wanna ask you a question. So you mentioned there was the moment where, you work with this client and actually you found that with your client, that it was a good fit, to take that decision, to even if it wasn’t the plan. The other example of a time where you work with another client and actually it wasn’t a good fit pursuing that decision and it was just like something emotional for the moment. Or maybe it can be a client, or maybe it can be yourself as well.
– Yeah so, I have a client who, she writes, copy for the web, you know? She’s a copywriter. And she’s particularly, that’s her key skill, writing and SEO and all of that. She’s very good with online marketing and all that. And, for awhile, she’s been, working on her packages. So what are the different things that she offers her clients and, so she came up with this idea of, “Maybe I can offer a content strategy. “Maybe I should be stronger in the content strategy arena.” That was one idea. And I personally think that it encompasses, what she does, because there are, you know how you have your clients, they, some of them are new, to whatever they’re doing. Some of them are intermediate. Some of them are more advanced.
– So, so there definitely is the space for her to be content strategist, and so on. But she also came up with this idea of, “What about building websites?” You know, because she is technical. She can do it. And the website idea, although she writes content for the web, obviously, based on what her clients give her and she can do the content strategy thing, which, um, yeah, I can see how that fits in. But the website idea was like, “Now you’re really going into the nitty gritty of, “technical stuff. “Like, do you really want to?” Because people now are gonna say, “You know, oh my website has been hacked.” Or, “I can’t do this on my website.” Or, “There’s on my website, and mess things up.” And now you have to go in and unscramble everything. You know and yeah, there was a time in my life where, I loved that kind of work. , but now, thanks, no thanks. And so we had that discussion. So it put it on, because, on our 90 day plan. There’s a parking list as well. So I said, “Okay, well you know, “let’s put it there as an idea and we’ll “we’ll see how it comes up. “But for now, we’re not gonna go in that direction.”
– So as she worked more on her packages and so also, I did some work for her, where by I actually interviewed her clients, to see, “Okay, how does she deliver for you?” You know? “How would you describe her services and so on?” I learned a lot about her, which was really, really great. And I could just see this website idea, it’s not good.
– Not working.
– And so, the next time we had a session. I said, “Okay, so, “so have you had some more thoughts about the website, “and building websites?” And she says, “I scrapped that idea.” Phew! Good. Good.
– It’s believable, what I’m hearing you say here is, building from the conversation we had just a minute ago, is about identifying what are going to be the consequences of that decision, because you know,
– When we can think just about in the moment and it looks like a great idea, but then in the longer term, and once we explore all the details, then actually it’s not a good idea anymore and so then we can, it’s actually a good thing to do is to scrap it and say,
– “You know what? “Goodbye, let me
– “stay in my lane.”
– And that’s that’s closer to the next question that I want to ask before we wrap up this interview. And it’s about finding space, to think about these things. Because, as entrepreneurs, we can just go on and on and on and on and working really hard.
– Yeah, yeah.
– Hands up, both my hands up.
– And the reason, just thinking about making those decisions, requires also some thinking time. And without that thinking time, it’s easier to go into maybe a decision or situation to where, if you had just that space, you wouldn’t, actually it was clear, that that wasn’t a good idea, but just because we didn’t have that thinking space, then it was just, “Boom, let’s follow the emotion, “let’s follow the impulse.” So,
– How can we, do you have a suggestion for people to create like this kind of space, where to think about it? Because I know you work with entrepreneurs as well about their life and it’s not just about their business.
– Yeah, so yeah there’s something that, you can call a clarity break, if you like. You know, where you just take time to go for a walk, go for a cycle, some people go running. And just take that time away from your business and of course, one of the best ways to do that, is to actually work with a coach. And somebody that you can spin ideas off of. Just talk things through. Sometimes, you just need to chat things through and hear yourself think, in order to do the thinking. Because when we spin things in our heads, we don’t always take it to conclusion.
– You know? And then somebody can ask you that question. So what happens after that? And what are you gonna do after that? That helps and, I’m not great at doing this for myself either. To sit myself down and coach myself. I find it easier if somebody else asks me those questions.
– It is tough. It is tough, because then the mind can just go in one direction.
– Yes. Yes. Yeah. So. And I have clients. I have a client. I work with a client and she’s actually a, she runs a equestrian centre. I really had to think about that , the proper word, equestrian centre. So you know, she’s on horseback, three quarters of the day, you know? Most of her working hours, she’s on horseback. But even then, she’s working with her clients, not necessarily thinking about her business. So also be careful where you take time out, that you don’t just take, “Oh well I’m taking time out, “because I’m out in the you know, in the fields, “on horseback.”
– Yeah. Right.
– No, you’re actually teaching somebody else. You’re actually working with somebody else. This is not your time. So, another great one for, I know you can go sit you know, be in a bathtub, or something like that. That is some people’s thinking time, it’s not me. And journaling works for me. Journaling works for me. Writing with my left hand, works for me. Really, is this a good idea? What do you mean I this a good idea? What do you mean should I do this ?
– Okay, tell me a bit more about that. So, with you were write with right hand, you would write a question and with the left hand, you would write the answer?
– That’s right.
– Tell me a bit more.
– Tell me a bit more. I’ve never heard this before!
– Haven’t you! Okay, so. I guess I started this when I was really in a bad space myself. And I would say, “I need some answers here, “so what’s the question? “The question is, I need more clarity, “what do I need to know?” And then I would write with whatever comes to mind, I will write with my left hand. You know, so, it’s like my, because my right hand is my dominant hand and this is like the left brain. My logical brain, whereas, writing with my left hand, my non-dominant hand, would be more subconscious. Would be subconscious surfacing. So, things will come out. And I can tell you that, for me, my subconscious can be very frustrating. Because, it’ll come up with, keep on doing what you’re doing. What? Keep on
– There’s nothing
– to change. Oh!
– Nothing to change, yeah. You have all the clarity you need, you know? You love everybody. I’ve got some examples on my website, where I’ve actually taken a photograph , of what I’ve written with my right hand and what came out of my left hand.
– Ah, that’s so brilliant! Wow! Guys, I’m gonna give it a go.
– I’m gonna give it a go and ladies and gentleman, I’m gonna let you know how it works. I’m always up to try something new and actually,
– This sounds like, it makes sense. It makes sense.
– I’ve never tried it before. All right, Riana, it was a great interview. If people want to reach out to you and they want to get in touch with you, what is the best place?
– Well I guess there’s a contact form on my website, www.rianaavis.com. And that is R-I-A-N-A-A-V-I-S.com. And just say, “I wanna speak with you.” And I’ll get in touch.
– That’s brilliant, so guys, make sure you check out the website. Www.rianaavis.com. The link is always in the show notes, so make sure you just check the show notes. You can scroll down, click the link and get in touch with Riana right now. She’s absolutely awesome, as you have experienced from this interview. Riana, thank you very much, for spending some time together today.
– Oh, it’s been brilliant, thank you Simone.
– Oh you’re welcome. Ladies and gentleman, thank you very much for spending some time together today and if you haven’t subscribed yet to the show, make sure you subscribe right now. And as well, we are going to start doing some give aways soon, on the show. So if you ask your questions, I’m going to answer some of your questions here, on the show and if you get picked, then you will win one of our online programmes, as well. So make sure you write your questions, so you can be part of the show too. Thank you very much for listening and remember, together we grow exponentially. Ciao.