People ask me all the time, who's your go-to-person for XYZ? I get it. I rarely employ someone new unless they've come from a red hot referral - because knowing who to trust (especially when you're only going off well written sales pages), can sometimes be a bit tricky. The following professionals are people I know, like, trust, and therefore recommend.
I've either been deep inside their curriculum and resources and can attest to the quality of their work (clients), or I have employed them personally (contractors) and openly recommend because I've experienced their products, services and workmanship first hand. This distinction is clearly labelled in the two sections below.
These people are consummate professionals, are a hoot to work with, and I guarantee they are open, honest, down to earth and will tell you how it is, no holds barred.
#Important to note: entries are in alphabetical order of 'profession', are here because I genuinely believe in their services, and I do not receive rewards, money or any kind of kickback for listing their links. And for the record, I agree with Maya...
'I don't trust anyone who doesn't laugh.'
Dr Maya Angelou
The professionals I have employed and openly rave about.
Accountant - Michael Bellesini
After the last accountant answered my questions by looking at me like I had horns growing out of my head, then glared at me and said - 'you just need to start making money', I decided it was time for a change. I was referred to Michael and his firm MM Accounting Solutions and haven't looked back since. Michael is friendly, approachable, answers all seemingly idiotic newbie questions with a smile and genuinely cares about getting the best outcomes for your business. He's a hoot to work with and has the patience of a saint. Michael graduated from Murdoch University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Commerce degree, majoring in Accounting and Finance. He commenced work in public practice in 2001 & qualified as a CPA in 2004. He established MM Accounting Solutions in 2010.
Bookkeeper and BAS Agent - Donna Vincent
Donna is my BAS and bookkeeping angel. She's also the founder and Director of Solo Accounts, a simple micro-bookkeeping solution which is designed for Australian small business owners who don't need the complexities of expensive online accounting solutions. Donna is calm, pragmatic, and able to deal with professionals who find themselves in a book-keeping brain-freeze (me) because they'd rather be doing what they're best at (i.e. NOT BOOKKEEPING), she also provides a BAS Review and Lodgement service. As the Lead BAS Agent at Solo Accounts, Donna has 35 years bookkeeping experience, is a Member in Practice of The Australian Institute of Certified Bookkeepers and Registered with the Tax Practitioners Board so you know you’re in good hands. Contact her if you would like the peace of mind that your records have been reviewed by an expert, to save time by having lodgements done for you; and avoid fines by receiving reminders and lodging on time.
Business Strategist - Cat LeBlanc
Business Strategy, for small business owners. I was first referred to Cat after I'd thrown in the business towel following my first failed business attempt. She looked at my skill set and realised there was a huge gap in the market for what I had to offer, and helped me work out a business model that would work for my niche clients. Cat doesn't have a 'one size fits all' kinda approach - she looks at each individual, their skill set and their niche and matches a set of products or services to the kind of ideal clients that you're looking for. I rarely recommend business coaches as I honestly believe that most of what you need is inside yourself already (and can be nurtured with like minded business people!) but if you're at the start of your journey and need someone to help you bring your ideas into a cohesive business model, Cat is your woman!
Copy-writer: websites, storytelling, social media - Jay Crisp Crow
Jay just GETS YOU; and produces killer content to boot. Evidence? When I was going through and revamping my articles, Jay helped proof, edit and rewrote some entirely. Her work was so good, that I was reading one article thinking - GEE! When did I write this? This is GOOD! Then I realised I hadn't. Jay had. That's how much she gets your voice.
Emotional Mastery Mentor - Dianne Tharp
Dianne holds space for people to transform. For people to change their lives, see their truths, peel back the layers, sit with the truth and see it from an angle that they've never seen it before. It gives them power. It gives them the ability to see their lives from an eagle's view, and to make changes, create actions, that bring them peace, knowing that they are doing the best they can with the knowledge they have. With the tools she shares, you're given the chance to change old behaviour patterns, break unhealthy cycles, move from a place of victim or 'I’m not good enough', to fully realizing your potential and your worth. The process isn't fleeting, it takes months and for me is taking years, but what I learn with Dianne continues to build upon itself and within myself, creating change that I know will last a lifetime; it has completely transformed the way I live life, interact with people, respond to situations and run my business. I can safely say that my life has done a complete 180 since meeting Dianne, and I don't know what I'd do without her.
Facebook Ads Consultant - Angela Ponsford
Angela is a qualified Facebook Ads consultant who’s trained with some of the best in the industry; she's also a forensic scientist who loves nerding out over data. It was this combination of her scientific background and love of finding solutions by testing different approaches (which I discovered while working with her on her workshop presentations), that really drew me to work with her. She's honest, will tell you when the road you're heading down is just going to waste time and money, and she's a hoot to boot. Witty, fun but also dead serious when she needs to be, Angela shares the systems she’s used over the last three years of managing Facebook ad campaigns for clients that have led to five-figure launches, seen exponential email list growth, and launched new entrepreneurs and brands with a bang. Angela is a Certified Social Media Manager from Andrea Vahl & Phyllis Khare’s Social Media Manager School and a graduate of Claire Pelletreau’s Facebook Ads Incubator Program.
Graphic Designer - Anna Dower
Anna is the brainchild behind the design of mariadoyle.com. I actually remembered bursting into tears when I first saw her concepts for my site - someone FINALLY got me. What relief! She's been a graphic designer for 15+ years and has been the CEO of her own businesses for the last decade. She's a busy lady, a designer, the founder of ROOOAR Magazine, mentor and all ’round boss-lady cheerleader. She's all about helping you be the best version of yourself possible. Whether it’s through a design that finally makes you feel amazing about your business, or through mentoring that genuinely helps you cut through the fear and confusion, she wants to help you make your big bold biz-dreams come true.
Human Design Specialist - Ros Isbel
When I hear about something three times in the space of a week, I take it as a sign I should look into it - and I'm glad I did in this case! I'm not your average woo-woo-feather-tribe-koombaya-singing-crystal-wielding-kinda-girl, but anything that will help me understand myself better intrigues me and after hearing rave reviews about the personalised Human Design sessions Roz does, I thought I'd give it a crack. Well. It was like having a complete stranger describe me down to a tee - what drives me, why I do what I do, strengths I have and rabbit holes I often find myself in. She described my personality, habits and idiosyncrasies to me as if she'd known me her whole life - partly confronting (what is this sorcery?) but mostly eye-opening and confirming (ooooooer, THAT's why I do that), this session was personal development and understanding on a whole other level. Highly recommended to understand yourself better, and if you have a partner or children, helping you understand them and what makes them tick. Life confirming kind of moment. Thanks Ros!
Media and Public Relations - Ginger Gorman and Sue White
Since Sue and Ginger asked me to help turn their popular face-to-face program into a first-class online course, I’ve been incredibly impressed: Media Bootcamp is 40 years of experience wrapped in a professional, engaging and information-packed online media training.
Sue and Ginger's experience in the media is impressive. Together, it's unbeatable. Plus, they are generous in sharing their knowledge via insider tips, real world examples, activities and demonstrations designed to ensure their students get real world results. I’d highly recommend Media Bootcamp to anyone who wants to REALLY understand how to get publicity for their business, or be awesome in their next media interview. Even though I’ve been a fly on the wall through the many months of development for this one, I’m so impressed I’m going to be doing it myself start to finish!
Naturopath - Jules Galloway
A naturopath may not seem like someone you'd think about employing for your business - but Jules has saved my business from collapsing thanks to a keen eye and dedication to helping me sort through a range of health issues that have been plaguing me for the past few years. Most people have heard about me surviving multiple organ failure, but I was clueless as to how I ended up in that state until I started working with Jules. My energy still was up and down periodically and while she was in Bali working with me on her online courses, we started chatting about some disorders that people often have when they also succumb to adrenal fatigue; a few questions later and she'd realised that I should probably have some testing done and what do you know? She was on the money. Not only did I have one of the disorders she predicted, I had both - and fairly aggressive forms of them! Thanks to Jules I've been able to slowly get my health back on track and my business has responded in the same way. I'm a firm believer that your mental, physical and emotional health are all linked - and that your business is a true reflection of how those three are operating! Thanks Jules, you truly have been a business (and personal) lifesaver!
Sales Coach - John Blake
It's not often I can sit through a day of training without going nuts (a. I've got ADHD tendencies, b. I train people who to give engaging presentations so I can be a tough critic when I feel like my time is being wasted!) John Blake is one of those presenters who completely blew me away with his knowledge, his proven track record and his ability to engage a room full of people for a full day. His sessions were informative, outcomes driven and his learning materials examples of best practice. On the back of his Sales Masterclass 1 day training I hired him to help me with my direct to corporate selling strategy and even after the first session I can already see results! John knows his stuff; which is a breath of fresh air when it comes to finding a sales professional who is experienced, has an amazing track record of success and isn't full of the online, hot air, trumped up, laptop lifestyle, coaches coaching coaches kinda nonsense!
SEO - Kate Toon
I've seen all there is to see with online courses - the good, the bad, the ugly, the practically empty, and the so bursting with goodness you don't know where to start. Kate Toon's Recipe for SEO Success course firmly sits in the latter category. It's not often I part with over a grand for some up-skilling (especially if it's online content, I've been burnt too many times!) but having done Kate's smaller SEO courses I knew her big course would be worth it and OMG. Seriously. This course should count towards a Bachelor's program - it's in depth to a level unparalleled in the online world, and the support she provides during and after the intensive rounds have finished is literally second to none. If you need your website to be loved by Google (and your ideal clients!) Kate is your woman, hands down. Her book Confessions of a Misfit Entrepreneur is also a refreshing take on the reality of running small businesses - I giggle snorted my way through it and recommend it to anyone even THINKING of starting a business (or those who are a bit business battle weary and need a laugh).
Tax Compliance and Administrative Assistant - Valentina Makarti
Valentina is working with me in my Indonesian business, Wakan Global Investments PT PMA, as my Tax Compliance and Administrative Assistant - in other words, she's my eyes and ears when it comes to keeping the business afloat and I honestly do not know what I'd do without her! She's also taking on more and more of the administrative roles in both my businesses and is a delight to work with - diligent, with an eye for detail and a penchant for getting to the bottom of confusing laws and endless bureaucratic paperwork, she's quite literally heaven sent! Valentina is also available on Upwork should you need your very own administrative angel.
Virtual Assistant - Materials Developer - Janine Marace
Janine has been working with me since the start of my business. I was looking for someone to help me on Upwork, and as I couldn't settle on a single contractor, I decided to give all the applicants the same, one hour job to see what quality would come back. The results were varied, but Janine's made me hire her on the spot. Instead of doing the task, she came back with about 25 questions to clarify exactly what it was I needed done, and in what detail. I paid her for the hour's work on that basis alone, and have been working with her ever since. She uses her initiative, always does a flawless job and can be counted on to turn jobs around literally within hours if necessary. Can't recommend her highly enough!
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Founder and Director
SELECT Consultants Pty Ltd trading as Create Real Change
ABN: 46 161 932 305