I first came across Sarah Cordiner Managing Director of MainTraining in the Nifnex Review Newspaper that I picked up at the Nifnex Small Business Expo at Ascot a last year. I read the paper and came across the article on Sarah, I was very impressed. I had an idea of wanting to run this Women in Business Series and decided to go for it. I rang Sarah and she agreed to do an interview for me. Since then I have taken Sarah’s courses and they are worth every penny.
This is a not to be missed interview. If you are looking for inspiration and motivation Sarah has so much to offer us today.
Author, qualified trainer, thought leader in ‘Edupreneurship’, ‘Edumarketing’, Entrepreneurship, Efficacy & Education. Specialist in training development and curriculum design and making smart people get heard.
CEO of MainTraining; Winner of the ‘Influential 100 Awards 2015 & 2016′; Founder of ‘The Edupreneur Awards. Finalist of the 2015 Telstra Young Business Woman of The Year Award and the 2015 Telstra Start Up Business Of The Year Award (winners announced in September 2015).
– Education (Teaching & Learning Practices; The Hidden Curriculum; Curriculum/Instructional Design)
– Entrepreneurship (Hacks and hustles from my 10 years in business)
– Edupreneurship (What entrepreneurs and sales/marketing departments can learn about growing business by using the platform of education instead of sales)
– Workforce Planning & Development (How corporates can maximise their productivity and profitability by effectively utilising their workforce skills and capabilities)
– Students Transitioning From Education To Employment (What’s next and what do employers really want?)
– Overcoming Adversity (How actively creating adversity as well as effectively coping with it is the key to success in life and business)
Sarah’s work has enabled the education of thousands of Australian workers; helped welfare dependents in remote Australian communities progress to employment, initiated the movement of ‘Edu-preneurship’ and assisted other training providers to deliver excellent training.
BRW rich list member and super-edupreneur, Jack Delosa, says: http://bit.ly/1NgNkf3
International bestselling Author, and marketing expert Robert Coorey says “I had a vision to produce a training course that was cutting-edge and unique. I had lots of ideas but was going nowhere fast.
Sarah turned my random ideas into a proper, genuine, world-class course. With modules, checklists, action exercises, learning outcomes. I have no hesitation in recommending Sarah’s services”.
With a PGCE, a BA (Hons) Degree in Education and 10 years in business, Sarah knows a thing or two about combining business with education to create significant growth & authority.
I am pleased to welcome Sarah on Mumpreneurs WA and thank you so much Sarah for your amazing interview.
Tell us about your business.
I believe that everyone in the whole has a message that needs to be heard by the world. I deeply believe that throughout our lives, we attain and build upon an abundance of skills, knowledge, lessons and competencies that we are either well aware of, or take for granted.
Those who have realised that they have a message are changing the world by sharing what they’ve learned; but those who haven’t, or who are too afraid to step into the limelight, or fear they are too insignificant to make a difference, are trapped in a world where an inner niggling is constantly tugging at their sleeve to remind them that there is something they ought to be doing.
Having gone from ‘nobody’, to ‘somebody’ by using what I call, the methodology of ‘EDUpreneurship, my business MainTraining, is the platform that trains people with a message how to commercialise what they know in a way that gains them credibility and status in their industry, makes a difference to the world AND makes them a significant income.
Essentially, we help you get seen and heard so that all of that hard work, learning and skill you have acquired over time, can finally pay off both for you, and for those that you share it with.
MainTraning also provides qualifications, workforce skills planning and training/instructional design services.
Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an business owner in the first place?
For as long as I can remember, I always wanted my own business. I have always been enthralled by the idea of creating something from nothing; of the freedom to challenge oneself, to be creative, innovative and wallow in the intoxicating rewards of achievement that is utterly self-acquired.
However, after dabbling in selling guinea-pigs at 8 years old, and running my own home-help business at 16 – it wasn’t until I was faced with redundancy from an incredible (and highly paid) job as a Trainer and Training Manager in the UK Welfare-to-Work system that my entrepreneurial fire was truly set alight.
I’d had the opportunity to truly experience the difference I was capable of making to people’s lives, and the thought of not being able to do that anymore drove me to find a way of doing it on my own like the moon drives the tides.
My competition was the national Government and two multi-billion dollar global enterprises. I was 19 years old, had zero business training, $17 in my bank account, loved ones that told me I was stupid – but passion that could move planets. So I did it anyway. And I succeeded.
10 years later, I have now run my training and education business in three different countries, have affected the training of thousands of people globally and have an asset worth millions of dollars.
It hasn’t come without it’s bumpy roads and multiple self-questioning of my own sanity at times; but it has allowed me to step out of the oppressive and restrictive confines of a job description and help the world – and myself – in anyway I decide is fit. There is no feeling of freedom, reward and contributional service quite like it.
What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?
In entrepreneurship, I think it’s impossible to pick any one achievement as a unique success. Every success comes from a string of interconnected actions, strategies and efforts – they also come out of the way we handle commonplace failure and setbacks.
I made over 7 figures in my first two years in a new business in a new country; attained over $3million in funding for training for my clients; instigated the vocational education of thousands of Australian workers, provided welfare to work education to the long term unemployed in remote Australian communities, planned the career pathways of hundreds of careers in the mining, construction and oil and gas industry in some of Australasia’s biggest resources projects, written training that will educate endless students through Registered Training Organisations, a flying school, corporate businesses and even military personnel.
All of this and more in just 2 years, at 29 years old.
Whilst I am extremely proud of all of this, these ‘results are no longer what I consider as my successes.
The achievement I am most proud of, the thing I define as my greatest success, is not any asset or moment of glory; but the fact that I’ve never given up.
Sticking it out, instead of crumbling during the many times of frustration, stress and pain is my success.
Striving forward when I felt lost and alone is my success.
Refusing to accept that I’d exhausted every option when it seemed no choices were left; and finding the humility to laugh at myself when i was taking it all too seriously are my successes.
Starting a business with absolutely no money (as most start-ups do), but also with no phone, no laptop, no home and no friends or contacts – was made even riskier and harder as I was the only income-earner at the time. To make it tougher, having just moved to Australia, I didnt even have a visa, let alone furniture or bedding. (I slept on a towel on the floor for my first three months in business – yet in 6 months still brought in $250,000 from nothing). How? Because my greatest success is that I chose to not give up.
Maintaining resilience, hard work and strategically selected action-taking when you feel overwhelmed and ‘up against it’, is success.
Sticking it out when you’ve pulled endless thankless hours, havn’t slept in weeks, and don’t have a boss to give you a day off, a bonus or a grateful pat on the back, is the REAL success of all entrepreneurs.
The ones who face the fear, ride out the rough days, and still make great things happen that help other people are the successful ones.
Therefore, it’s not what we attain in terms of tangible goods or status that determines our success, but actually the quality of the constant and never-ending choices we make.
What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our readers?
At 17 years old, I was given the opportunity to learn a very, very powerful lesson about making choices for success. When a friend of mine was extremely sick with Chron’s disease, the dreaded day came when I was called to go to my friend to say my last goodbye to him.
As I sat beside his bed, I was surprised to find him happy and optimistic – not what I expected to see from a dying man.
“Why are you so happy?” I asked him. He looked at me very seriously, saying, “Sarah, I want you to remember one thing, and I want you to never, ever forget this.”
With his hand shaking hard, he picked up a glass of water and placed it on the hospital bed-table in front of him. “Sarah, bad things will always happen to you. There are things in life you cannot control. Whether it’s a mean, jealous person, a marriage break up, or a serious illness – stuff will happen, and this cup represents all of the unpleasant, unexpected and disappointing things in life.” With that, he slammed the glass hard onto the table with a bang, sloshing water out onto the table around it.
“Never forget that 100% of the time, you have two choices”.
He pointed to the left hand side of his glass of water, and said “Choice number 1 Sarah, is when undesired things happen, and you allow them stop you. You allow them to become the excuse and the barrier to everything you do. You choose to allow them to leave you stuck until, eventually, you die”.
He paused for a moment to catch his breath and stop his hand from shaking so furiously. Pointing now to the right hand side of his glass, he continued, “Choice number 2 Sarah, is when undesired things happen, but you choose to see them as an opportunity. It’s when you choose to ask yourself, ‘What can I learn from this?’ or ‘How can good come from this?’ With this as your mindset, you choose to allow yourself to walk victoriously to the other side of any adversity a better, wiser and stronger person than you were before it happened”.
He finished by holding the glass up and peering over it from the opposite side that was originally facing him and wore a grin on his face again.
It was a profound moment as I realised that no matter what happened to me, I was ALWAYS in control of what my experience and overall result would be. I remind myself of this every time things don’t go to plan, whether it’s forgetting something at the supermarket, or losing millions of dollars and my entire workforce (yes this happened earlier this year); for this reminder gives me a sense of control that ignites my self-efficacy and ultimately what the result will be. It reminds me that all it takes to live a life of what I call ‘an efficacious existence’, is to make one of two choices.
What has been the most effective marketing initiatives or programs you have used to promote your business?
For me, the power of social media simply cannot be beaten when it comes to being seen and heard – because it two-way. It’s not like traditional marketing where the business simply broadcasts an endless, tiresome stream of ‘BUY MY STUFF’. Social media allows business owners to become FRIENDS with their audience; to create a following of raving fans instead of customers; to get your audience to voluntarily market your business for you, for free! It allows you to be loved and understood, as well as to love and understand. It allows the average, unheard of individual with no money, become an industry celebrity in a very short period of time. I know this because it’s how I’ve done it myself.
Using social media in the right way can take you from zero to hero if used in the right way. This is actually part of what I teach in my Edupreneurship Programs which you can find out more about by scribbling your name down here: http://bit.ly/1F54nkM
If you were to write a book, what would the title be and why?
I’ve always loved to write. As a kid I used to actually copy out other books; I’ve kept a diary since I was 8 years old, and I’ve started many books that I never finished or published. Like most people who know they have a message to share, the feeling of ‘fraud’, insignificance, overwhelm or fear of ridicule and failure is too much to face, and so the book remains scribbled in a notepad, on the to-do list, or backed up on an ancient hard drive in the ‘random stuff’ drawer in the home office.
However, if you don’t get brave and put that message out to the world, the simple fact is that they will never receive it, and you will never benefit from it.
With 7.2 billion people in the world, the chances of you finding a few that love your work are pretty high. So just do it.
Having taken my own advice, I have recently released an eBook about building effective adult learning programs that is soon to be released as an extended hard copy. I also have my book on efficacy, ‘The EFF Word’ which is nearly in it’s final draft which can be pre-ordered here: https://gumroad.com/l/TSbK
I believe that we all have something unique to share, to contribute and that can leave a significant impact on the world. For me, writing books is one of the many ways of doing this.
Are there any resources or tools you’d like to share with other small business owners that have helped you run your business?
There are so many tools and resources out there, many of which I share in my edupreneurship training courses, as well as on my facebook page.
However, one that I’m loving right now is ‘TargetGrow’, which is a great way to get your target audience to start following YOU on Instagram and Twitter. In the short time I’ve been using it I have had nearly 2,000 of my target audience start following me. It’s great!
Another great tip for start ups who can’t yet afford local staff wages, is to outsource some of your mundane and time consuming tasks to a virtual assistant. I have been using an Indian Virtual Assistant Business for more than two years now for tasks such as data entry, contact list building, research etc. I talk with my assistants every day on skype and their full time wages are extremely affordable.
What can we look forward to in the next year?
The greatest joy coming my way in the next 12 months is my first baby which is due in March 2016. As a dedicated workaholic, this has put a very new focus on the way I run my business. Systemisation and automation has become top of my list. Finding ways to get my business to run without me will be vital in allowing me the motherhood I desire whilst still maintaining a growing business.
On top of a lot of setting up of policies, procedures and automated technology; part of this has also been turning my knowledge, courses, training programs and information into online versions. This means that people all over the world will now be able to access my programs, and at a much lower cost since travel and venue hire expenses are now removed. I am super excited for the upcoming launches over he next 12months and continuing to see my business not only thrive, but leap forward whilst being evermore in autopilot!
What do you do for fun/relaxation?
Painting by Sarah Cordiner
I love to lose myself in art when I can. I love that art has no right or wrong methodology, no good or bad result. Art is just an expression of yourself. The picture above is one of my paintings in acrylic from my ‘movement and colour’ series. I filmed myself dancing around in ‘slow shutter; mode (which makes everything very blurry). I took stills from the film and simply painted the results! It was all very fun!
But my main love is travel. With Gypsy blood in me, roaming and exploring is not just something I like to do, but something I HAVE to do regularly to feel alive, free and connected to the world outside of my immediate environment.
Tramping barefoot along a beautiful beach on a sunny day is also my idea of heaven.
If you weren’t in the business you are in, what would you be be doing?
I ask myself this all of the time. I think it’s important to, especially when times are hard and we’re feeling flat and miserable. Most successful people are not only doing what they love, but they also have multiple streams of income.
I’ve worked 10 hard years on getting MainTraining to where it is. It has changed every single one of those years and will continue to change every year to reflect my own evolution, likes, dislikes and my customers needs. Anything that remains the same will eventually die out, and so change is not only a part of life in business, but an essential part of it.
For a long time I have dreamed of creating a childrens educational book and TV series. Now that I have my own little one coming along, I feel it is time to finally start up this stream of ‘me’ too. I always loved anything David Attenborough did when I was a child and wanted to be an ‘animal explorer’. I plan to fulfill this dream through the characters and adventures I have created for my childrens books.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
If there is one gift that you can ever give yourself, it is efficacy – the belief in your abilities to create desired results.
You have unique talents, knowledge, skills and messages that the world needs to hear; and you are worth being heard. You are powerful beyond your wildest imaginations, and the sooner you give yourself the chance to prove it, the sooner you’ll wish you started today.
There is no such thing as the epiphany to the perfect idea, there is no perfect recipe for success. So don’t wait around with your life on hold until ‘you have the perfect idea’, or ‘the right amount of money’, or ‘the perfect situation’. There is no such thing. You have to continuously take tiny tiny steps towards the direction that feels right now. Then re-evaluate where you are, what that little step taught you and then move forward a little more again.
You do not need to know exactly where you are going, or how you are going to get there. Just dream big, believe in yourself and do what you can, with what you have right now. I’ll bet it’s a lot more than you realise.
You can connect with Sarah on
Company Website – www.maintraining.com.au
Personal Website – www.sarahcordiner.com
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
I lover Sarah’s finishing comments “You do not need to know exactly where you are going, or how you are going to get there. Just dream big, believe in yourself and do what you can, with what you have right now”.
Sarah Cordiners courses are available through the Mumpreneurs WA website courses. If you use our unique code Mumpreneurs you can get 10% discount. Seriously check them out and their are even a few freebies you can test out.
What did did you like best about Sarah’s interview?