Tina Tower is an award-winning serial entrepreneur who has founded, grown, and sold several businesses and franchises.
Her new book, Million Dollar Micro Business talks about how you can package your expertise into an online course.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I started my first business at the age of 20, that went from being a small suburban tutoring centre and educational toy store, to a licence program and then a franchise. After 5 years of franchising I had opened 35 Begin Bright centres with 120 staff.
After Begin Bright was acquired by an International education company in 2016, I started business coaching other people to scale their serviced based business.
After a while, I found myself repeating a lot of the same fundamentals again and again to people who were paying top dollar for private coaching. So, I put the repetitive content into an online course. It went off!
To put location freedom to the test, I set off to travel the world for a year with my husband and two children, where we visited 28 countries – all while growing the online business in a couple of hours a day.
Since returning from travel, my online empire continued to grow and it’s been a revelation that this ‘little’ online business that I run from home on my small Australian East Coast farm with a couple of staff makes far more money and has such a greater and wider impact, than I ever did in running a franchise company. I now help hundreds of women turn their expertise into online digital businesses and build their own empires.
I have written two books, with the second one, Million Dollar Micro Business, released in July 2021. Million Dollar Micro Business is everything you need to get started in the online course world.
It’s a step-by- step guide on how to turn your expertise into a highly-profitable online course that will be available to millions of people around the world. In Million Dollar Micro-Business, you’ll learn the secrets for creating a profitable and engaging online course.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
My day usually starts with my 2 children, 6 month old sheepadoodle, and 7 year old groodle waking me up around 6:30am for cuddles in bed. I then make my way to my porch where I have my morning coffee with my husband and discuss the day ahead, the year ahead and everything else in between.
I then head up to my ‘leisure lounge’ , a special area I created for myself (think female version of man cave), where I move my body, meditate and manifest for the day ahead.
My office, Casa Rosada, is a short 30 second walk down the driveway on my property, where I sit down and say good morning to my other staff members at 8am where we chat, catch up and plan for what’s next in our fast moving world.
The start of my week is usually filled with private coaching calls and podcast interviews, where the rest of my week is the time I use to be creative and work on the next big thing we are planning for.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
We’ve adopted a four day work week in our office, where the first three days are jam packed and our team is very collaborative, and then Thursdays my staff work from home implementing all the things, and I often use this time to record my own podcast or film course content.
We then tend to have Fridays off, only briefly checking in and actioning anything urgent. I run in sprints, and it’s important for me to have rest time, fun time and family time scheduled into my week so that my cup remains filled and my energy is nurtured.
I’ve done the “hustle and grind” thing with my franchise company, and that type of burn out is something I do not want to ever go back to. Building a digital online course business has allowed me to design the life that I want to live, without having to sacrifice areas of my life.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
I’m a big believer that all work and no play will kill you. In 2016, the hardest year of my life (you can read about it in my book Million Dollar Micro Business) I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue. It happens to high-achieving people so easily.
When we are committed to what we’re building, it’s very easy to get in the situation where growth is fast and opportunities are flying in. Work increases, and because you don’t want to miss any opportunities, you work harder. I’ve been there and I’ve done that, which is why it is so important to me now to ensure that I have the right balance.
In order to achieve the right balance there are a few key players involved.
I surround myself with the right people: I have been through chapters in my life where people are just plain energy suckers. You know the ones I’m talking about, the ones who suck your energy and never give anything back. I don’t stand for that anymore. I simply put up a fence, and do not let them into my bubble.
I journal: or, less eloquently put, I brain dump. Being an entrepreneur, there are always new ideas, new ways to do things, new things to try, and if I didn’t write these down or put them into my task based software, I’m sure my mind would actually implode. Writing these things down helps me have a clear head and stress less knowing that my ideas aren’t going anywhere, but they are just forming a neat orderly line elsewhere.
I systemise: My members or anyone that has worked with me, if they are reading this, will laugh. I am a systems and automations girl through and through. By automating, systemising and delegating the small things that take up way too much time, it allows me to have more space and energy to work on the revenue-producing activities that I love.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
As I mentioned before, when we are committed to building a business that we’ve dreamt about and it’s finally coming to life, it’s hard to say no to the opportunities that come through.
But, I know what happens when you don’t take care of yourself, so that’s why it is so important to have rules in place that I live my life by. Firstly, when it comes to work related areas of my life, I set boundaries.
With my clients, my team and myself. Often, I get so many messages or emails saying something along the lines of “can I just pick your brain for 5 minutes…” and I used to feel so guilty saying no.
But now, I’ve learnt to accept that I haven’t worked for over 16 years to fill my days with 5 minute calls here and there and that it’s ok to simply push back and say “of course, here is the link to my 1:1 strategy session where we can dive deep into your business and help you get unstuck”. Why would anyone else respect my time, if I didn’t respect it myself?
The other thing I have been doing in the last 12 months, is learning to play piano. Sounds silly, but it is something that I have wanted to pick back up from when I was younger for years, but I just haven’t had the time.
So now, every Wednesday, I pack my things and go off to my piano lesson, with a waiting room full of school kids waiting for their lesson next.
Often, I have so much going on during my Wednesday that I could easily cancel, but I have committed this to myself, to my teacher and it is a non-negotiable that I stick to it. Just like exercise, you may dread doing a workout beforehand, but you never regret it once it’s complete!
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
My top five books are:
- Chillpreneur: The New Rules for Creating Success, Freedom, and Abundance on Your Terms by Denise Duffield-Thomas
- Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself by Mike Michaelowicz
- We Should All Be Millionaires: A Woman’s Guide to Earning More, Building Wealth, and Gaining Economic Power by Rachel Rogers
- The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris
- The One Minute Millionaire Mark Victor Hansen
My top podcasts:
- Chill & Prosper with Denise Duffield Thomas
- Melissa Browne Financial Expert
- School of Greatness Podcast
- Mind Your Business Podcast
- The Life Coach School
The best newsletter and the only one I still subscribe to is Seth Godin’s. He’s such a legend.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
I speak about this a lot in my new book, Million Dollar Micro Business, because truthfully, there is no way I could run my million dollar online business without the tech and software that I use.
For example, Kajabi, the platform I run my entire business from, is $150 per month and I do everything from it. I mean everything. Emails, my course content, my payment and accounting system, my database management, literally everything. Other systems that I can’t live without, which I go into detail in the book, are monday.com, Canva.com, my Apple computer & iPhone are also a given.
8) If you could read an interview about life work-life balance, who would that be?
Sara Blakely, I just love her.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
The main thing I think everyone needs to understand is that you have the choice to design the life you love and it’s yours for the taking. We have one life, and one chance to live fully.
By stepping away from what the ‘traditional’ work life looks like, and building a million dollar online course business that works around what you want and how you want to live your life, there is no better definition of success.
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