Episode 3 - Break Up Like A BossSep 07, 2022
The Do Divorce Right podcast is a new podcast dedicated to looking at the many different aspects of divorce, interviews with women who have their own incredible divorce stories or those who can offer some great advice as you go through yours. Hosted by Becca Maxwell, a divorce coach and relational intelligence consultant, the focus here is to help you to find the strength and support to help you heal, feel lighter and in a better frame of mind to face the inevitable challenges of your divorce journey.
In this episode Becca hears from the super dynamic and fabulous Fiona Morris who has gone from bankruptcy post divorce to building multiple successful businesses. Hear in this episode the promise that she made to herself - despite her heartache - and how this has driven her to incredible success in all facets of life. This is a truly relatable and inspiring rags to riches story!
You can find Fiona here:
Welcome to the Do Divorce Right podcast. I'm your host, Becca Maxwell. And I'm here to help you transition through your divorce with ease and integrity, to not only survive the challenges of your divorce, but to thrive as you come out the other side of it with a much better life than you ever hoped possible.
On this show, we talk about many different aspects of divorce, interview women who have their own incredible divorce stories, or those who can offer some great advice as you go through yours. The focus here is to help you find the strength and support to help you feel lighter, happier, more positive, and in a better frame of mind to face the inevitable challenges of your current journey.
On today's episode, I'm talking to a super fabulous guest who's going to share with us her positive divorce story. And this is no average story!
Following her divorce, Fiona has gone through a bankruptcy and started again from scratch as a single mom, building a seven figure business, which is not only phenomenal, but also supports other single moms and people who are rebuilding their lives. Fiona, I'm super excited to talk with you and hear some of your suggestions for listeners today on how they can Do Divorce Right.
But first, could you tell me a little bit more about your story?
Well, in a bit of a snapshot, I came from a really sort of difficult upbringing. So I didn't have sort of a good education or any grounding in how to do life, and I fell pregnant at 21. And I was single, pregnant. So that was a really big growing up curve. And so I was a single mom until my beautiful Gideon was eight. And I just desperately wanted to be loved. So I got married as we do. And I'd sort of been in and out of a lot of different jobs, I'd always enjoyed the entrepreneurial side of things. So when the mining downturn came, I sort of went from safety and HR and things like that into our cleaning business. I met my ex husband and got very quickly got custody of his three children. And so I wound up a mom of four, wow, overnight, overnight, so that was a big learning curve for me as well. So we were married for six years, together for nine. So it was a big part of my life. I raised my stepchildren, sort of from 8, 9, 12, 14 years of age, through to when we split in December of 2017.
And things had been bad for a pretty long time, as anyone probably on the inside of separation and divorce knows that, you know, there will usually be some warning signs that things aren't, aren't working. And there's lots of different pursuits of fixing things or mending.
And you know, I can definitely look and say we did all we could to be on the same page. But the way it kind of happened for me is that I was left holding the bag. So the timeline of things was December 8, I got a call from the ATO that they had frozen our business account. And that was Friday, the 8th of December. My husband left the next day, just because we'd been having a lot of problems, and I had already asked him to leave after finding that he had a drug addiction. And so Wow. It was a really tough time. And so the 8th of December, the ATO froze our bank accounts, the 13th of December was my birthday. And that's when the accountant and the administrator said you've got some choices to make; you can go bankrupt, you can trade through, which is kind of like working triple of what you're capable of’ to get out of a hole’. They said, ‘you can do something illegal, which you know, we're not going to recommend, but it can be done. You can do something dodgy, or you can sell the business. They are your options. And they said ‘we wouldn't buy it. So we're recommending that you go insolvent’.
And if at any point in time, you didn't want to have to do both of those things at once. Like I didn't want to have to lose my husband and my business but anybody that has either faced or has divorced knows that the world that you thought you had boom, overnight. That's not your world anymore. Yeah.
And so there's, you know, that element of this is, this is bad. I was sitting there going, I need him to come back. Like I can't deal with that and that at once, but he wasn't coming back and I had the kids with me and I had our business, I had our house, I had the debt. I had all the cleaners looking at me, and that was in December 2017. And then I went through I made a few decisions which obviously we’ll go to. But on, you know, if we want to just do a quick fast forward, I now have two businesses. One is a seven figure business and one's a six figure business. I'm in the best emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual place that I've ever been in, I actually get a bit emotional. I haven't told this whole story, this is actually the first place that this story is being told. Thank you. I think it can help other women. I was 140 kilos, I've since lost 62 kilos and I'm absolutely in love with life and in love with myself. And the milestones that I've hit, I just bought my son a house. In the divorce he suffered, kids suffer in divorce. And I noticed he moved a lot. And so I bought him a house. And I now travel the country training cleaners and cleaning business owners, and predominantly women how to transform their business life. I'm not a counsellor, I still go to one. So yeah, that's been the transformation.
That's phenomenal. And I'm sure you couldn't have imagined back in December 2017, that you would be where you are now. Right? It's just the journey.
No. There are a lot of dark moments, huge amount of dark moments, there was a lot of not being able to get out of bed, how there was a lot of different things but I think I got some very sound advice straightaway. And I jumped online and started doing all these courses. Like, and I actually wrote one called “Breakup, like a boss” or “Divorce, do it right” but I just made some rules for myself. And one of them was that I was not going to be the same version of myself during divorce as I was through marriage. And that's because I carried a lot of regret about how I behaved. And by the time you're leaving, you've said some stuff, right? I've said some nasty things I had, effectively, the relationship is damaged to the point where someone doesn't think it can be fixed. And for me, that was him. I asked him to move out. But then I wanted to fix it. And he didn't. And so I had to make some rules for myself. And number one was I did not drink alcohol for 14 months. I didn't want for myself to be able to have one or two too many glasses of wine, get some courage and get behind that keyboard and do more damage.
The next thing I decided, my second rule was his family is no longer your family in the regards of I wasn't to go to his family and demonize him or get support from them. We weren't together, we didn't have children together. So it is a little bit different. But I made a rule for myself that his family were not my support mechanism. And I'm really glad I did that. I'm really glad I did that. Because honestly, the first place he went to, to make sure that I was a stranger, was his family. And that was probably one of the biggest shocks you know, like think you know how this is gonna go. And then ship happens where you're like, Oh, I did not realize that would hurt that much. Like I didn't realize that would happen so quickly, either. Two or three days, I was unfriended off Facebook, was unfriended on Instagram. I was a stranger. And so it's because people want to support and rally their person. And overnight, you'll know
They take sides too quickly.
So number one was no alcohol.
Number two was his family are not my family.
And number three, I was not to be nasty, call him a name or text anything in anger.
That was the hardest one.
Yeah, that is phenomenal. I'm a big fan of this. A big fan.
I had to get some girlfriends. Yeah, yeah.
My next rule was to ask for help all the time.
So I texted all my girlfriends and said, “hey, guess what? I need a lounge to cry on for the next six months, I'm going to need you. I'm going to need you to invite me to things. My family unit is over. I have nothing to come home to anymore. My teenagers are off doing their thing. I'm going to need you to support me”, and quite often they would invite me for dinner and I wouldn't eat anything. I’d cry on the lounge. And they knew that that was what I needed.
And then I needed one or two people to send those text messages to, that I wished I could send to him that weren’t going to do any good for anyone.
So I started journaling. I started journaling and getting it out and it was a long process, a long healing process for me. And in the same 14 months that I didn't drink I also stayed single however, I was the biggest weight that I've ever been. So I actually think, had I been a little bit more loving towards myself, I probably would have pursued something earlier. But I just waited. So yeah, I made some rules for myself and I stuck to them.
They're incredibly positive and helpful rules.
I'm interested, you said that you didn't want to be the same version of yourself in the marriage as in the divorce. And that, that is extremely emotionally intelligent to acknowledge that so quickly.
I think for a lot of people, we struggled to see the fault in ourselves, or we struggle to separate bad behaviour, you know, and draw a line in it and say, “This is not who I want to be anymore”. Was there, was there a catalyst to that beyond him not coming back?
What was it that made you decide, okay, that's how I behaved then. Not anymore for me.
So I'd started counselling a little bit before we'd separated so I'd started individual counselling and marriage counselling.
And the lady had me doing like these mantras; these woowoo voodoo mantra things.
And what actually happened is it was the second or third day when I realized he's not coming back.
Normally, he'd go for a night or two, and he'd come back. And I thought ‘he's not, he's not coming back’. And I stood in front of the mirror. And I quite simply didn't like what I saw. I didn't like what I saw, physically, I didn't like who I saw, I didn't like that I even had started to look at myself, like he looked at me.
And, you know, there is a point at which you know, that it's over for one person. And I remember clearly that he looked at me in a way that I had never seen him look at me before.
And so then what I realized is that I had started to look at myself like that. And I had started. So I got up and I looked in the mirror, and I went to say the mantra, and it was something really simple, like I am beautiful, I am lovable. I'm enough. And I couldn't, I couldn't get to the end of it. And I realized that throughout my marriage that I had become unlovable that I had behaved in the regards of I thought I was unlovable so I treated myself like I was, and then that manifested in me being quite verbally abusive, quite manipulative.
And I, I don't know why I was able to take responsibility. And I don't actually even know where I got the courage to ask him to leave because I then spent, you know, 12 months begging him to come back, and he'd already moved on to numerous other people.
So I think there is every justification to make that person the villain. And we want to do that, that's pretty normal for our brains to want to do. But in order to make him the villain, you have to be the victim. And that is incredibly disempowering. And I think that that's what made me go, this is me. Everyone asks me “what happened?! Like, you are 60 kilos lighter, you're now running this million dollar business, you're in front of the camera all the time, it's a different person, what happened?” and I quite simply say, I, I looked in the mirror, and I didn't like what I saw. I had to face myself. And I didn't like what I saw. So I changed it.
But if you had a marriage that's come to demise, you've said and done things that have hurt the other person. And I don't even know if it was like a bit of self righteousness that I wanted to divorce without adding anything to the fire.
And so, you know, that's the 18th of December, right? Or the 13th of December. So I went to Christmas at his mom and dads and was half expecting him to be at Christmas, and he wasn't.
And so I did not say a bad word. And his mom actually pulled me aside - and she's the most difficult woman to please in the world- and she said, you are handling this with elegance and grace that I've never seen in you. And it really, it really hurt me. But it also empowered me because she hadn't seen that. Because I hadn't been walking in that. I was a different version of myself.
Yeah. You made that decision. That's incredible. I'm gonna ask you a pretty pointy question. How did you, how did you go about forgiving yourself then for behaving in a way that wasn't aligned with who you wanted to be?
That's tough. So to add this to another layer, I was actually a really abusive person to my stepchildren. And I was a pretty abusive person all round. I'd grown up in that. So it was pretty normal. The process of forgiving yourself is a repeated commitment to you. It's not like a once off thing. It's a forever thing.
Unfortunately, I put all the responsibility for loving me into the hands of my husband; making me feel loved and making me feel worthy was his job.
So when I didn't feel those things, I was like, “How dare you not be a good husband?” or “I'm feeling this at the moment”. It took a lot for me to realize that our feelings are our own.
So I started counselling, googling life coach. I googled, can you die from grief?
So I didn't eat. Yeah. Yep. So there was a period of time, he didn't come to Christmas. And he actually blew the entire contents of our Christmas fund. So he was doing everything that he needed to do for me to hate him. He just made it easy to do that.
So Christmas came and went, and he sort of moved on to someone else. And I remember my girlfriends coming around; I wasn't eating, I wasn't looking after myself. And they typed out a piece of paper that said, “Stuff I need to do to stay alive”, and it was: drink 12 glasses of water, it was move for 30 minutes, and they made me tick it off. Because I was off work at this point, in bed, crying, vomit, crying vomit, we know what the dark times look like. And I feel like in this moment, as much as I do want to shine a light on how transformational this has been, that you are going to have the deepest of grieving, there is only one more painful thing than grieving someone who's dead and buried. It's grieving someone who walks the earth and doesn't have you in their life by choice. That hurts because you can see them there in your life, but you're not there anymore.
So it was huge. So I went off to the doctors, and the doctor threw a bunch of pills at me. And I didn't need that in my life. So I started Googling. And I started researching and I hit the gym and I realized I started a five pillars and I still use it to this day.
And it's exercise, nutrition, hydration, sleep and rest.
And a little fun fact for those listening at home, there are seven types of rest; sleep is only one.
Sleep, is only one type of rest so we don't rest.
And so the last pillar is connection to self. So you can live and die by those five pillars. I reckon. If I miss one of those, my day seems a bit shabby. So I started just going through the motions, and I was faking it for so long. The smile wasn't real, it didn't feel real. And I think the pain of thinking about him lingered for years.
But the pain of him and us started to diminish as the love of self started to grow. And then one day I just realized that I didn't hurt when I thought about him anymore. And when I thought about the how unfair it was and how lost I was.
So you know, I did things like went back to church. I joined with like clubs, making cards and things. I signed up to every free emotional freedom and divorce course and breakup course, I even listened to James Hussey constantly, you know, whatever I could to keep moving forward and that momentum, you know, don't be scared to ask for help. But also don't stay in a spot for longer than you need to. The valleys are there to let us know what the peaks are like, just don't set up camp there.
I met a lady earlier this year, I drove seven hours to a place called ningun. And we did a hoarders claim, sort of squalor and hoarders clean for her; her daughter had called us. Her partner had come home 18 years ago and said, I've met somebody else you need to move out there's a truck coming at 9am. And she never got over it.
Brutal by the way, that's horrendous,
Never got over it. 18 years later, she's living in squalor. She's an alcoholic, she had an absolutely just horrific time. And her family love her and want the best for her. But she's stuck in it. And she can't get past ‘but he destroyed my life’.
Any person that can leave you and leave you with a destroyed life, did you a favor because not one person should ever be your life. That's a burden on them. That's a huge thing on them. You need to have .. Your personal responsibility is to have a life within you untouchable by everybody else.
That's our responsibility; is to have that wholeness.
I think it's incredible. What you just said about this lady who's been affected for 18 years by that one statement and also what you said earlier around, allowing somebody else to have that control of you means that you're admitting to being a victim and how disempowering that is.
Yeah, to not have agency over yourself to not be able to make choices, your own life because that person has such a hold over you.
I had no idea who I even was!
The first thing that counsellor said to me when he left was Fiona, who are you?
And I said, Okay, well, I had my answer ready to go, right, because I was so justified.
This is what I do.
And yes, I was like, “I'm a mom. I'm a stepmom, I'm a business owner, I am a cleaning trainer”. Dadada.
And she was, and I said, “and I'm a wife”.
And she said, “No, they’re jobs you do or hats you wear. They're not who you are”.
And I burst into tears. And she's like, ..and I almost threw up the words. I was like, “Oh my God, I am no one”.
Because I had latched my identity to being a wife, and a mother, and a stepmother and a business owner. So when that went, I was literally no one. I didn't, I didn't even know who I was. And I just, that took me a longer time than anything else. I think the fact that I was a 40 year old woman, and I had no idea what I liked. I had no idea who I wanted to be. And I didn't know how to build that. And I just started from scratch again
I love that.
You've made me just think of what you said earlier, where you joined some weird groups, or you did like cardmaking, or whatever. I've done exactly the same thing. So when you're reinventing a life, whether you know, I've been a serial expat, and I've lived all over the world, and, and you do need to kind of start from scratch each time.
It's like, alright, well, what am I going to do with this blank slate, whether it's the end of a marriage, and you're setting up your brand new home for the first time, and it's all your own, you've got to make decisions about that.
Or whether it's, “well, what do I do with my time?”
And I do think, you know, when you say starting from scratch, it's almost like trial and error.
Okay, I might try a wine and cheese night and see if I meet people there. I might, yeah, I remember in Singapore, I joined art gallery openings. So I would sign up to email lists of any art gallery that was opening. And I would go along. And I just happen to see this one lady again, and again and again. And one day, we just got brave enough to say, “I see you all the time, like who are you?”
And we've been great friends for 20 years now. So those opportunities of trial and error trying.. what's going on at the library in that group and any any of these things is a great idea to
Yeah, I love that that's probably created a really lovely friendship.
And I think I've also realized that courage is a muscle.
So when you go through this process, you're going to have to do a lot of really brave scary things. You know, I was like, the best way for me to like, explain myself, even though I was like this aggressive, like outward person.
I was like a baby bird that had been kicked out of the emotional list. Like I didn't know how to function by myself. And I realized that and you can throw lots of terms around like I hear narcissist, and this and that all thrown around about labeling other people. But when I realized I was very codependent on other people - and there is no such thing as a good guy or a bad guy in a relationship, where it's been over years, we like to think that “he cheated, he did drugs, he had mental health issues he stole from me. So therefore he's the bad guy. And I'm the good guy”. And that's not the case.
And it also becomes irrelevant. It becomes so irrelevant as to who did what, but that's how we kind of can play that record. So the sooner that you take the bullets back and put them in your own gun and start shooting, you know, goals for your own life, the better.
I had that extra layer of deciding to go and get gastric sleeve, and I've lost 60 kilos. So what I actually found is every time I dropped a dress size, I had to go again. It was like a whole new thing came up. Yeah. So I've gone 22, 20, 18, 16, 14, 12 to10. So I now have friends and family that have had to make a re-commitment to getting to know me.
And I remember saying at one point in time to a friend who had known me for a while, and he said to me, you know, “I know you and you wouldn't have done it”. And I said, “I'm gonna have to stop you. I'm reinventing myself at such a rapid rate. You don't know me. I don't know me yet. So you definitely don't know me enough to say this is who you're going to be.”
So who you have been and who you're about to be, are two different people.
We are allowed for them to be different people; you can choose to hold on to the bits that you like and you can choose to reinvent other areas. I love that.
And it helps you overcome fear, doesn't it? Yeah. Yeah, try it for the first time. It's really, really scary. Try it again and it's a little bit less scary. And then it becomes second nature.
Tell me about your idea for Breakup Like A Boss. Where did you get that?
So I just realized that there wasn't a lot out there at the time. You know, this was in sort of 2017-2018. And I googled like a mofo trying to find something to help me. And there was some lady called Rory on the internet. And I did something of hers but it was American. And it's a different world over there. It's not the same.
I wanted something for me in the country that I lived in, and there was nothing and so I just decided that I would, like, start and create it. Yeah, I'd done this and, and started, you know, anything. And I actually have gone on to write two other programs; ‘Bariatric Like a Boss and Bond Clean Like A Boss.
So I feel like my mantra is just ‘like a boss’. And I think you can do anything, like break up and be a boss about it and be that best version of yourself and not allow… It doesn't mean I didn't tell him what I thought of him. And it doesn't mean I didn't, you know, say things I probably would not have now, but I didn't damage anything.
So I love the idea of divorcing right. Or breaking up like a boss, having sequences or even having communities of info sharing, we do not have to become bitter, nasty exes.
And to be honest, I've watched quite a few friends go through divorce, where the only person that won was the solicitors making all the money on both sides. Because we're locked in this, you know, view.
And it doesn't serve anybody.
It really doesn't know. However, you know, we couldn't, we couldn't be in the same room for a really long time. And so even through the insolvency, and funnily enough, because of how I behaved during this, I'm so proud of myself.
I’m the same, I”m the same!
And it's a nice place to be like, it really is a nice place to be.
I didn't, I don't need anything from him and his family and support and things like that. I did this by myself. And what's really funny is I ended up selling the business for enough to pay our employees entitlements. And then I went bankrupt three months later. And that was it.
Like I was, I was like, “Oh, my God, how did I do that”.
And so, yeah, I ended up having to go and get a normal job like everybody else. And my, my kids were 18 and 20 by the end, so they moved out of home.
And I don't have a relationship now with my stepchildren. And that's taken a long time.
What you do is, you are no longer married, but you need to become intimately intimately involved with yourself.
And so I had a relationship with myself to grow. And I had to build trust with myself. And then I had to build this wonderful freakin relationship with my good friend grief. Grief does not have, there's no time. You can't put a time limit on this. But you can accelerate this by joining programs, by connecting with women like yourself, because at different phases of this, I have kept my eye out for the lady in the artwork, or I've kept my eye out for somebody who's been for that season or a reason. And it turns out that, you know, it was the best thing to ever happen to me, for me to have lost what I thought was the love of my life and my world. And it turns out everything. Yeah, turns out that I am the love my life. And my new partner who we've been together now three years, that's hard for him, because I wasn't in love with myself when I met him. So I fell in love with him. And then I fell in love with myself. So he watched me kinda like, you know .. he has kept up so well. Pete is a gem. But I have reinvented myself like so many times that it's, it's, it's just so reassuring to know that you can pivot any downtime you like. Any
Yeah, yeah. I have a wonderful relationship too and, and I think one of the greatest things about our relationship is that we know we don't need each other. Right? neither of us is incomplete without the other. But everything is so complimentary and wonderful when we're together. We choose this every day. Yeah, “I choose you not because I need to have you, not because there's something missing in me, but because you compliment me”. Yeah, that's a great place to be
It isn't because of the absence of one thing and the presence of the other, like, I always used to think too, going into this new relationship with Pete.. His wife had died a few years before, and so we were both grieving. And so I realized that you did not need to not love and you didn't need to be, you know, that absent .. you're going to love that person that you're getting divorced from. It is unrealistic and unfair. And I think that's why we actually demonize them and hate them and spite spit at them, because we need to hate them in our mind. They need to be the bad guy in order for us to like, love again. And it's not the not the case.
Pete still grieves for his wife. She was a wonderful woman. So why would I expect myself to not miss my husband from time to time my ex husband
Or the life that you built together. The family dynamics that you had at the time.
There were some wonderful, beautiful, sexy, fun, interesting things about him that don't go away now, because we're not together.
In fact, I totally wish him absolute happiness. It's taken a long time to get to there but we are so hard to judge, we're so hard on judging ourselves. And so now I give myself a lot of like, gratitude and a lot of leniency. You know, there were a lot of dark times, and don't get me wrong, we've been, you know, it's been 2018, 19, 20, 21, 22. So I'm coming into the fifth year, and I only exited bankruptcy last year. So there was a lot of shame and a lot of guilt and things to work through.
So don't put a clock on things. But also don't wait around for you to get to like “Oh, when I get to here, I'll do that” or “I'll be ready when…”
You just won't be, so just launch the things that you love to do because I launched Start My Cleaning Business as a bankrupt at 140 kilos. I was locked in COVID. And a girlfriend rang me. This is how Start My Cleaning Biz got birthed; middle of COVID 2020 a friend rings me and she had left a long term violent relationship and had never really had any job of her own since then.
And she’d gone on to marry, and she was just cleaning a couple of houses for 30 bucks an hour. She rang me and said I want to start a cleaning business, can you teach me how? So in the middle of COVID 1, in my pyjamas, with no good video at all I just started recording.
And to this day, I refuse to re-record because as they go through the 90 videos, I get thinner, and the transformation and my ability and my videos get better and better.
And so she did the course. And I drove to Dubbo to teach her how to clean. And she followed the course. And, at the time, I was working as a cleaning trainer doing COVID and infection-control training. I had no interest in starting another cleaning business.
It was the biggest.. it cost me my marriage! If I went bankrupt or like I had no inclination whatsoever, and I was on a restraint.
So the long story short is I started in 2020, creating Start My Cleaning Biz. And it picked up a few clients here and a few clients there, but I never wanted to go out on a limb like that again. And I never wanted to put it out there. I was still wounded. And I was still vulnerable. And I still was mistrusting and I was still “F the world”, you know, deep down there, it was like I was Jekyll and Hyde. And you'll get to that point to where you're like, “Am I that person? Or am I that person? And the answer is you're both”
Absolute, and you’re shedding parts of yourself
Yeah totally and so May 2021 came around, I was well out of my restraint and a client rang and said, “Fiona, can you clean three preschools for us?” And I said, “Yeah, sure”. And I don't even know why I said Yeah, sure, but I realized that I wasn't going to be able to continue with Start My Cleaning Biz and Grow My Cleaning Biz, if I didn't have the credibility of having a successful cleaning business. Because I had one, but it went bankrupt. So in my brain that wasn't successful. Successful is completely profitable, doing great things, earning great money and it's good, sustainable, touches the lives of people - that’s success to me.
So May 21. I started The Better Clean Team, and I went to the quote, and she asked me what my business name was, and I spat that out without even registering it.
So I went home, and I said, I said, I said to Pete “So I just started a cleaning business”. He's like ‘what?’ I said, “You know what I'm gonna do, I'm gonna put myself through my own course. And I'm going to put my money where my mouth is”.
And so I documented from May 21 to May 22. And in May 22, we hit $86,000 worth of revenue a month, which is just about exactly $1 million a year, seven figure cleaning business in 12 months, and I didn't even get out of bankruptcy until October 21.
So I don't, for a second, take for granted that transformation. And so in 12 months, we've grown Start My Cleaning Biz growing from one member in 2022, we now have about 82 cleaning business owners in our little network. We've got 600 in our open group. And the cleaning business now employs 20 people, predominantly women and people with disabilities.
So it's been a wonderful chance for me to give back and then earn money. And so
I love this, you're making this so easy for me, I haven't had to interview you at all!
Sorry, I talk the leg of a chair. So yeah,
The people who are going through your program, so the people taking your online course about starting a business for themselves, how many of them would be women who are, you know, starting.. either returning to the workforce, having been stay at home moms, or starting from scratch?
I've had four or five males out of 80. So it would be 87%. Like, you know, 90 out of 100 people that come to us would be women. And normally moms, we don't get a lot of young ones.
However, we do have a little millennial group of two.
And they are all women. And they it's interesting, because they spend the first six months of coaching telling me how dumb they are, how they can't, they don't have any confidence in their ability at all.
And we spend the first six months reframing into “I haven't learned yet”. And Lou who is my first member who I was talking about earlier, she now has, as a woman that's never had any Super and never had anything to herself, her profit after she pays herself is about $5,000 a month, she now has options.
And she's only got a little cleaning business with three or four other cleaners. She only does houses. So it's predominantly women that are led to come to me.
And so when they come in, they either do the course or come into the coaching. And the course is self-paced, and they can do it on their own. And what's interesting is I first called the course “Couch to Cash in Seven Days”, now it's designed so that you could do it:
Start on day one, you buy your cleaning products on day three, and you do your first paid customer on day five. So day seven, you're getting booked and you're bringing money in!
Which is even like..what I actually noticed - and this is probably what really pushed me to make something out of this is - I had a business. And I had education, and I had income and I still couldn't function.
And so when the cleaning business actually went to the administrators, I had to get a normal job. And I realized I would kind of go through phases where I would cry for a bit and then I'd be okay. And so cleaning houses, no one's there to look over your shoulder. They want the end product.
And a lot of women that I then talked to for my program, when they separated from their husband, he was the breadwinner. So the earnings went, and they were stuck with the mortgage and the car payment and the family car and the kids.
So they couldn't work. Anything from not like they can only work nine to two. And I just thought to myself like if this can impact me the way that it has. You just can't function sometimes like you were before.
Being able to just go and clean someone's house, put my headphones in, have a cry whenever I needed to take a moment and get back to vacuuming. It seemed to me the perfect way for women to regain some financial independence when they were going through a divorce and breakup.
I've noticed a theme in these two areas. So when you're talking about growing a business, and when you were talking about, you know, this fundamental change of your divorce, that you sought, help, like you went and looked online, what can I learn? What can I learn from other people? And I think that's a fantastic attitude. Right? Yeah. Yeah. I love
that we can, yeah, there is help out there. There's a lot of it. And I will admit that I found the least helpful to be via the GP, I'm not gonna lie. Yeah, you know, I think that's got a time and a place. But I think that it was recognizing that I had to grow all areas of my life for myself, and learn and - that growth mindset, you either have a growth mindset, or you don't and if you're in a fixed mindset (google that if you need to), I realized that I was in a bit of a fixed mindset, because the alternative was really bloody scary.
Because a growth mindset, you're on your own. And we don't want to be on our own. We want to fit in and stuff like that.
But it's a much kinder way of being on your own, isn't it, to have a growth mindset? To say, okay, yeah, I don't know what this is. I don't know how I'm gonna cope with this, but I'll figure it out.
But I'm gonna figure it out. And I'm gonna learn and I'm gonna be kind to myself when I do to trip up. Yeah, you know, I get it wrong all the time. And so there's no bigger thing that you can get wrong in so many ways, then marriage. And so I think I looked at it and I thought, my best friend, the person I wanted in my life, but the longest doesn't ever want to see me again. Like I'm an epic failure. And I think I applied that failure mindset to everything. I wasn't very kind to myself. So what you just said there is probably a big key to it is we're just learning we're on the way to it's a journey, not looking at yourself and going well, you you stuffed that up. So therefore everything else can be that way as well. Reaching out for help is that first brave, little step. And
And trialing lots of different things. You tried lots of different avenues. You know, you went to the GP that wasn't the solution you needed. It wasn't
So it's just, I think it's, like you said, trying things out. And we set very small goals, and we stay very, very safe. And one of my goals was that by the time I retired, and was like 50, or 60, or 70, or whatever, that I would buy my son a house because I'd never owned a family home. I moved around a lot when I was a kid, and he missed out during his upbringing, because of this marriage that I was in where I was a stepmom overnight, we sacrificed a lot for a big family.
And three or four months ago, I bought him a house with a six figure deposit, and it didn't put a chink in my bank account. So then I realized that if we set a goal and make it big and make it scary, and make it fun, if we then achieve it.. I sat there I was like, “Oh, shit”, I felt - the day after I bought my son that house - I felt exactly the same way as when I stood in front of the mirror. And I didn't like what I see. I felt lost! For a moment this time. But I felt lost. Because my plan ended.
Was it an upper limit problem?,
It was, yeah. but I felt lost and alone. And I was standing there going, what are you going to do now?
You set a new exciting goal
I set a massive goal. And so don't underestimate what you can achieve. And who you can be, by the limitations of who you were.
But that's hard to hear though. To be fair to our listeners, that's hard to hear.
You know, the idea that in just a handful of years, you could be, you know, running a seven figure business and buying your child's house with a six figure deposit. Yeah, it's hard to hear.
But I love what you're saying earlier about, you know, setting goals and making them manageable. And working on that muscle and then you start believing I can achieve this and I can achieve something slightly bigger. I can achieve something slightly bigger. That's phenomenal
Look, I say to a lot of my coaching clients, they say, can I create a million dollar cleaning business in a year? And I say no, I said you got to remember, I've done this before.
And so I don't ever put a time limit on how long you can take but I tell you, what you can do is that you can create financial freedom. And you can sustain yourself by making some really strong decisions to back yourself, either in your job, education or business, whatever you choose.
So, you're right, sometimes, those of us that have come out the other side can forget how big it is to hear something like that. But if I can even bring it down to something more digestible is “you will wake up one day, not in pain, and you will wake up not feeling sick in the stomach and not anxious about what your life is going to be like, because it's not without that person”.
And I had to go through, you know, like, even when the divorce paperwork came, and I was officially divorced, I, two and a half years into a magical loving relationship. It's like the layers of the onion. You know, I had to deal, I had to deal with each layer as it as it came. But women are so resilient. And we are so incredibly wired for multiple, you know, we raise family, like it's funny to me that we make can be like, I've got no skills. I'm like, Woman!
All the things you've done!
The way we’re born. We're born with a pain threshold, we can live through the flu, like you can do things, and you have skills, you have things to offer the world and don’t ever think otherwise. That you have got some magic in you that maybe just doesn't feel so magical right now. But one day - with some nurturing and some care and get that help. Yeah.
Fiona, how can people find you? I'll put the details in the show notes, but..
I'm on Instagram and Facebook, Fiona Morris, of Start my Cleaning Biz and Grow My Cleaning Biz. And just two months ago, we launched the Australian Cleaning Academy, which is why I'm in Melbourne at the moment, but happy for anyone to reach out anytime.
Fiona, thanks so much for sharing your story. For being so vulnerable and honest. And you know, you've gone deep. I love it. So I will put all of your contact details in our show notes and really appreciate it. Thanks, Fiona.
Thanks for having me.
Thanks for listening. I hope you took something of value out of this episode. I'm your host, Becca Maxwell. And you can find me on the web at DoDivorceRight.com on Instagram @dodivorceright. I look forward to connecting with you there.