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Louise Mathieson: Award-Winning Founder of The Administration Agency, transforming business growth


In this week’s episode, Josh chats with Louise Mathieson – 2023 NSWCAA Community Achievement Awards, Winner – Konica Minolta Customer Service Award.

The Administration Agency of Dubbo is empowering businesses and fostering sustainable growth. The Administration Agency, formerly Performance PA, was founded by Louise Mathieson. Starting as a Virtual Assistant in 2019, Louise’s journey led to the creation of a one-stop shop for small business administration. Her commitment to exceptional customer service and collaboration, from initial interaction to off-boarding, sets her apart Louise and her team handle tasks efficiently, from archiving emails to raising over $80,000 for a not-for-profit. They prioritise client feedback, ensuring every interaction exceeds expectations. Beyond business success, Louise sponsors local events like the Vinnies CEO Winter Sleepout, embodying her dedication to the community.

Connect Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/louise-mathieson/  https://www.linkedin.com/company/administration-agency/

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[00:00:08] Christine

Welcome to inspirational Australians, where we share stories of Australians making  a difference in their communities and in the lives of others. We get inspirational  Australians acknowledge the will and vulnerable people of the Kulin nation as  their traditional owners and custodians of the lands and waterways on which this  podcast is produced. We pay our respect to elders, past and present,  and those who are emerging and extend our respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. At Inspirational Australians,  we are inspired by the world’s oldest living culture and pay homage to their rich  storytelling history. When we share stories on our podcast.

[00:00:59] Josh

Hello and welcome to the inspirational Australians podcast. So this is my first recording for twenty, twenty four,  still getting used to saying that. And only having written it a few times with  a whole bunch of leave I had over January Uh,  going away to various beaches and camping and whatnot. So I’m really excited to be  kicking off the podcast recording wise for twenty twenty four with today’s guest,  who is Louise Matheson founder of the administration agency. So we came across  Louise and Uh, her company, The Administration Agency,  through the community achievement awards in New South Wales. And Louise became the  winner of the Konica Minolta customer service award. So before I bring Louise on, I’ll tell you  a little bit about the administration agency which is based in dubbo and is  empowering businesses and fostering sustainable growth. The administration agency which was formerly performance P.A.,  was founded by Louise Matheson starting as a virtual assistant in twenty. Nineteen louise’s journey led to the creation of  a one stop shop for small business administration. Her commitment to exceptional  customer service and collaboration from additional interaction to off boarding sets  her apart. Louise and her team handle tasks efficiently from archiving emails to  raising over eighty grand for a not for profit. They prioritize client feedback,  ensuring every interaction exceeds expectations. Beyond business success, Louise sponsors, local events like the vinnies CEO, winter sleepout,  which embody her dedication to the community. So welcome Louise to the inspirational Australians podcast. How are you going

[00:02:31] Louise

now? Good, thank you Josh. Thank you for having me.

[00:02:33] Josh

Yeah, absolute pleasure. Um your business sounds absolutely incredible. Uh,  thank you. Just reading through that bio and from what I’ve Uh,  researched about it. Um I’d love to find out a few things off the top. You know,  first of all, how did you get into being a virtual assistant?  ? You know VA for those. I’m sure we won’t say virtual assistant Uh,  moving forward. It’s too long. How did you get started as a be a VA?  Um and I guess the second question that so I don’t forget it is Uh, you know,  have you always been in dubbo or did you move there and that’s how you became  a VA. So I kind of throw those two at you to start off.

[00:03:08] Louise

Yeah, sure. So I’ve always lived in dubbo. Um I grew up in Wellington, which is only  a short half an hour drive down the road towards Sydney.  Um,  but always lived in dubbo. Never ventured out. Um and dubbo is actually getting on  the map. Um there’s a lot of infrastructure being built out here. It’s  a really great place to raise kids it’s, it’s quite  a really nice community. So um we’ve been here and our roots are here. Um and one  of the concerns that I did have when I started our business was the remoteness and  being from dubbo. And would that be um, would that impact people engaging with us and things like that?  ? But it really hasn’t. And people are actually quite excited when they,  when they learn that we are um, in a small community or in  a small regional town. They find that fascinating. Um and I got into becoming a virtual assistant when Uh,  I used to work for government. I worked for the new South Wales government. I was  the um, I took a chair and um,  worked in the senior executive team and the culture changed after we had a bit of  a restructure and it just didn’t align with my values anymore. So um I found myself  actually just without a job it was quite interesting.  My husband had left a radio career for  a short time and he started his own dog grooming business at the same time. And  then I came home to him one day after talking to a director actually who said,  why don’t you become a virtual assistant?  ? This would be perfect for you because I worked with her. Um and we both kind of  bought the ships and started two businesses at the same time,  which in hindsight we kind of go what the hell were we thinking?  Uh, two kids mortgages. All that type of stuff  but Uh we made it work and um, yeah,  I started by myself as performance pay as you mentioned. Um and then I found it  within the six weeks of starting,  I actually was at capacity. So I needed to either make the decision to that’s it,  which um, I’m not really, that’s not my personality. I like to push the boundaries. So I was like,  how can I make this work? Um and I started going through different the day groups on Facebook actually and  finding I thought, you know,  there’s got to be other people out there that need work or looking for work. And I  just found myself in the fortunate position that, um, I did have  a plethora of work and I needed some support. So I contacted um,  some people through there. And the way that the model kind of morphed was, we became  a hub for mothers that were at home that were transitioning their kids from being  at home to school. So we, um,  we purposefully set out to find the mums um that are at home trying. You know,  that they’ve gone from a very corporate life, or they’ve gone from  a very proactive life where they’ve used to using their,  their minds. And they’re very diverse in their skill sets to being at home thinking,  you know, what am I going to do now? But they’re the type of people that are our people,  and we love supporting them because we give them some flexibility and the options  of, you know, still using those skill set,  which in turn supports our business and enables us to offer more services as well.  So that’s how I kind of got into it. That’s  how it’s kind of, um, morphed over the, the five years,  five years coming up in April that we’ve been operating for. And it’s been quite a ride.

[00:06:45] Josh

But that’s also five, five years in April. That’ll be a great milestone.

[00:06:49] Louise

Yeah, yeah, I believe so.  I believe that they say five years is a bit of a test. So. Yeah,

[00:06:54] Josh

,  yeah, yeah. Well, I got to admit before having children of my own. Uh and having my, you know,  seeing my wife go through that very similar Uh, situation what you’re talking about, you know, corporate world, um,  super intelligent, such a great leader. And then you know,  just her own journey of going. All right, what do I do now?  ? And how do I use my brain in other ways?  What a amazing, you know, area market, I don’t know, wanted to call it  a market. It seems to, Uh, corporate. But what  a great pool of talent to tap into.  Because mums are incredible. You know,  just as mums and then they’ve got all these amazing skills intelligence knowledge.  Um, I just think that is an incredible idea Louise.

[00:07:39] Louise

I think you and it. Yeah,  it just was like, Uh, I’m very much about how can I help not only businesses,  I love helping businesses, but I love helping, helping people empowering you know,  those people. And I found myself like that because I was quite um Hi, you know,  and I to a chair I to, you know, eleven different subcommittees,  things like that. And you go from a place where you actually wanted, you know,  or you’re the go to person or anything like that. And you’re still the go to person  with the baby. But you’re like, well, there’s got to be more and,  and you kind of not that you go through an identity crisis, but you know,  I could really relate to those people and, and we were so lucky like I’m,  I’m very generalist in my skill set. Um, I’ve been exposed to  a lot and I know enough about different things to get me into trouble, but not  a specialist at any of them. But it enabled us to kind of pivot dare I say that  word, but you know, I’m able to bring on graphic designers and I’m able to bring on policy writers and  I’m able to bring on copywriters and things like that. So those mums that have all  those, those ladies or even guys that have that,  that niche that I can use to support the businesses that I support. So that’s how  we can become a hub for all these businesses. Because not only can they get,  you know, generalized information and generalized support,  but we also have that that specialist um skill set available to them that they can  tap into if they need it as well. So, and that was,  that was what I wanted to build something where businesses, who,  where all the hats can come and say, I need support X, Y,  Z. And I could say that’s fine. I can put  a package together and we can certainly help you with that because there’s nothing  more frustrating as well. I find as  a business owner that you have to go to so many different people and so many  different services to try and get what you need and you might need five or six of  them. And it was my aim to be able to go, well,  I just want to tell one person what I need. And I want one person to be able to project,  manage or coordinate that for me. And that’s where I kind of wanted to come in and  be able to provide that coordination for the business owners so that they’re just  dealing with that that one person who can just take care of things for them.

[00:09:58] Josh

Mhm.   Well, I’m just thinking for myself the,  the way that so many benefits you got less emails coming in because the less people  to deal with you’ve got, you have to keep track of,  of all the different companies invoicing all that stuff. Geez, that’s Uh, so streamlined.

[00:10:13] Louise

Yeah. And we, we wanted to make it like that because, you know,  not, no one has time to do that. And  a lot of people start businesses because they have a specific, you know,  skill that, that no one else has and, and they get bogged down into the whole running of the business,  which is not their, their skill set, you know,  and it takes away from what they’re trying to achieve in their business,  so we want to support them by letting them do what they do really well and letting  us take care of the rest of them and what we do really well and support them.

[00:10:44] Josh

Yeah, yeah, um I just wrote  a quick note about just to quickly discuss ai as well because Uh, anyone who,  you know, needs to try and get information or stuff done from  a CEO or director. They know that ai is the key.

[00:11:02] Louise

Oh yeah.

[00:11:03] Josh

Yeah. And AIS, Uh, as superhumans because they have to do so many things. And I just feel like that  experience as your background. You know, um, it’s such a good base for setting up this company.  Thank you. Have you found that, you know, you’ve got  a lot of other ideas or people who are now working with you because of those  reasons that is just such a great base of Uh, experience and knowledge.

[00:11:27] Louise

Yeah, a lot of and I mean a lot of the office administrative um because you know,  a lot of personalities similar to mine actually that they just I get very not Bored.  Bored is the wrong word. I like um the diversity of what office administration does, you know what

[00:11:47] Josh

you said before, you like to push the boundaries as well. So it sounds like you’re someone who needs  that challenge and

[00:11:52] Louise

oh yeah. Yeah. And what can I do better?  ? So, you know, you kind of think about an office person sitting in an office,  you know, they do everything from order stationery to make some coffees,  to organize catering to organizing events or, you know,  high level board support or stuff like that. So that’s kind of um, what I used to do,  I used to be the go to person and I think for previous to the government, I was at  a registered training organization and I was there for eight years and I think I  held seven different positions in that time, and it was just,  it was so funny because my, my CEO would come to me and say, Uh look,  I need this as well. Can we add that to your stuff?  So um, but I loved that challenge. So any and then it became  a challenge for me to go. Okay, well I’ve got such  a high workload. How can I streamline this to enable me to be able to not only  perform well for the CEO but to, to make it work for myself and the organization as well.  So, um,  and pushing the boundaries is, is something that I love to do. And um, I’m not, I’m not  a specialist in any word like and what I use is probably very basic like I love  a good spreadsheet with color coordination and all that type of stuff. And I’m very  probably archaic in that type of stuff compared to today’s standards.  But um,  you know, the foundations are always there and you can draw on that experience. Um,  like you said, so and a lot of a lot of the go, a lot of that goes  a lot of the ladies that we have um have probably been exposed to the AI world at  some point. And I find that they’re high level to detail and their high level thinking strategic thinking is,  is so beneficial for us and beneficial for our clients. And um, yeah, it just works really, really well.

[00:13:46] Josh

Well, yeah, I also love a good spreadsheet. Um, you know, and

[00:13:51] Louise

there’s a couple that my team bought me and it’s like, oh, this calls for a spreadsheet.

[00:13:56] Josh

I like that.

[00:13:58] Louise

Yeah, no,

[00:13:59] Josh

that’s awesome. Cool.

[00:14:00] Louise

Yeah. So, Uh,

[00:14:02] Josh

,  going back a few conversations. Uh because I just don’t want it to get skipped over too much  such an interesting time. You’re talking about you and your husband when you  founded, you know, started two businesses and. Um I just yeah, love to know  a bit more about that time and you know, how you were able to get through such  a stressful period. Uh

[00:14:20] Louise

I’ve, I have no idea like we often reflect back on that and go, oh my goodness,  what were we thinking? Everyone thought we were crazy. I’m sure that our parents thought what,  what are you doing like, my, my little one. He was probably,  well he would have been four at the time,  so he wasn’t even at school. So we had childcare phase. Um. But yeah,  the whole aim was, my husband loves animals. Um,  loves business development. He’s very much the creative as well. So he’s the big  picture person and he’s really instrumental in our business as well. So um I’m the  duo, but he, he was the, the glue and the sounding board and,  and um had a lot of experience with team management, whereas I wasn’t in that space. Um,  something that I’m moving into more now as we grow the team, but I was just the,  I’ll just get it done and I was, I’d just  make it happen. But he was very um,  good with the formative foundations for the business. And he wanted to try the  business development and just thought, you know,  and I was just appointed to my role as a grade six in, in government,  which was quite substantial. Um and then he was so supportive, I just came home and said,  I can’t do this anymore. I need to change. And he was like, Yep,  no problem. Have no idea what we were going to do. And then two days later I the  phone call from my director or an old director and she said,  you know about the virtual assistants and it just,  it was something in me just clicked and I thought that sounds amazing. I want to do  that. And she became my first client, she said I have an ulterior motive. I want you to,  to support my business. So. So

[00:16:09] Josh

she would,

[00:16:10] Louise

yeah, yeah. So she wanted to,  to help um, support me anyway and, and it was just lovely. So she was, she was my first client,  I actually had three clients which she believed before. I left Uh my position at  the government and I was so blown away by that.  So the support that I received was  just amazing. Um and you know, I still have those moments even now where I go,  why would someone want me to work with them? You know,  we’re nothing special or I’m nothing special. We just do what we do and but um,  but winning things like the award Uh for the,  the community awards and the customer service that was just so lovely and humbling  to receive that because I really love helping people. And um,  making sure that people see us is providing good customer service is really  important to me Personally as well as for our organization. So that was lovely.

[00:17:11] Josh

Um, well excellent segue because I had that to ask you about, you know, winning the award.  And, you know,  imposter syndrome is one of those things that can creepy, not totally,  but the best of us for anyone. It doesn’t matter how confident in our abilities we  are. We have moments of doubt. Um,

[00:17:25] Louise

and it’s a rollercoaster. I,  I go through it daily. It’s something I go through daily. And it’s something that I  spoke of actually in our community. Um, I was asked to speak at  a women in business thing and I’m just very um, open. So I’m very,  you know, I don’t pretend to have everything together because I certainly don’t um,  and I find, you know, talking about things that are tough,  like the imposter syndrome and how it can infect you and things like that. Being  open about that enables you to open up a conversation for other people. Um and we really, there was  a couple of people that reached out after that and said,  I’m so glad that you mentioned that because I struggle with that as well. And to  hear someone else struggle or challenge um just opened up  a door for them to be able to speak about it. So that was,  that was really good. Yeah. But I kind of go through that rollercoaster every day.

[00:18:25] Josh

Yeah. Yeah. You know, in previous I don’t want to put a date on it,  but years people may have said vulnerability was weak. But yeah,  to me not so strong though, as you said,  you open the door to that person. And in,  you know, another interaction. You might have said, how are you doing? Yeah, good. How are you going?  Good. Yeah. It’s done. That’s by being vulnerable, as you said, so eloquently,  you open the door to them. You gave them permission. Uh to share. And Uh, everyone’s better for that. So.

[00:18:54] Louise

Yeah, yeah, and I think so,  and I think it just takes that one one conversation or that one phrase to make  people go, oh, well, okay, well maybe I can talk about it or if,  if Lou goes through that, then maybe it’s okay for,  for me to talk about that too and and yeah, and as I said I,  I’m very open about um, my daily walk, you know,  because by lunchtime I could be like, yeah, I’m nailing this,  this is awesome. And then by three o’clock I’d be like, what am I doing?

[00:19:27] Josh

The roller coaster ride?

[00:19:28] Louise

Yeah. The roller coaster,  the daily roller coaster that you go on. So yeah  Um yeah, but each day you know,  you just strive to be better than the next Uh or better than the last rather. And  um yeah, yeah, it’s good.

[00:19:41] Josh

So with things like, you know, imposter syndrome and self-doubt,  you did touch on it that winning the award is validation. How important is it to or  I guess how um, long lasting is that validation from winning an award because I know that not just  the community even what you have been up for for other awards as well.

[00:20:01] Louise

Yeah, yeah we have and um it, it always, it never gets old like when you get  a nomination, you just like, oh my goodness and that people actually take the time to say, you know what,  I think that what you’re doing is really,  really great and needs to be celebrated and recognized, and to be honest, like,  and I don’t, Uh, I didn’t want to kind  of focus on this. But even on the night,  there was imposter syndrome because we were surrounded by so many amazing  businesses like I can remember. You know, the, the lady that won,  I can’t remember what it was now, but she started the um,  the homemade meals from her garage and, you know,  served homeless people and all these people during covid like that is something  that was just so worth being celebrated. And,  and they were there and I was sharing the stage with people like that. And I was  like, I do admin um, but you’re out there serving people, you know,  meals and really making a difference to families in a, in  a struggling time. And I was standing there like kind of going, yeah,  I do spreadsheets and I do marketing and I do and be like, I’m not,  not really changing the world here but, but even, you know, it’s really,  the mindset is something that you struggle with constantly because even at  a time when I should have been celebrating the achievements and everything like that, you know,  the mind still plays with you and knows what are you doing here. You know,  look at these people and stuff like that, but it was really lovely to be able to go. We made  a big deal out of it for our team. We  took our team members with us. Um and we got some special gifts for them. I thought  race was race was trying to kick me out  because I said, do you mind if I put these on my table and he was like,  you’ve got to get out now.

[00:22:00] Josh

So I was taking was that one? Did you come in before before the event?

[00:22:03] Louise

Uh yeah, yeah. So he was like, you not supposed to be in here,  but I’ll let you in. And I said thank you, race. So um yeah,  so we play some little or place some little presents on the,  on the table for everyone. And one of the team members I had never met in person,  so I’d worked with her for three years and I’d never met her in person. So that was  really special to be able to share that with her.  Um, yeah, so you know, I, I guess the moral to my story is it’s not about me it’s,  it’s about the team that we create and I do find it hard when I’m um,  and I mean that comes with the territory. You know, I created the business,  I have to be the face of it,  but I find it really humbling when I am the face and I’m not there celebrating it.  But I’m celebrating it from a team perspective not from my own. Um,  because I couldn’t do what I do without them. And um, yeah,  and they make it possible. You know, we share the spreadsheets,  we share the laughs, we share the stresses, we share all of that. We,  we’re very much a family culture. Um, you know, my, my team member, her, her little boy started her Uh,  his candy orientation yesterday. So we celebrate those things with them and make sure that they feel supported and,  and have the flexibility that they need to support their family. So which is why we  took the team with us and you know, wanted to celebrate their achievements in the business,  not just from an individual perspective.

[00:23:31] Josh

Yeah. Yeah, that’s fantastic. Yeah.

[00:23:33] Louise


[00:23:34] Josh

So for those who don’t know, sorry, Louise. Uh for those who don’t know,  race is Uh part of our team at wards Australia and Uh, he’s Uh,  my brother as well. And Uh, he always gets  a good reaction when people meet him because he’s on the phone  a lot with our nominees is Uh helping people with their nominations. It’s his  specialty and their senior person. And he has a very impressive mustache. So

[00:23:57] Louise

he certainly does he, he, he, he should be offering mustache rides. It’s what he should be doing. You know,  it was so funny. I was like, man, that is an impressive mustache.  You look about eighteen,  but your mustache looks forty five. So

[00:24:12] Josh

just average it out to the middle.

[00:24:14] Louise

Yeah, that’s right, but he, he’s so lovely and  a special shout out to race because um he like we actually nominated one of our  employees just yesterday for um, the young achiever, in the um, awards. So,  and I’m so excited about that. We have um McKenna, who I’ve nominated, she is Uh,  she started with us when she was just eighteen. And the confidence that she has  built in the last eighteen months that she’s been with us has been nothing short of  amazing. Like just seeing her go from strength to strength and being able to be  a part of that and contribute to that. Like you’ve got no words for that,  you can’t like that’s just priceless. But he is so remarkable because you know,  there’s no question too hard. Um, he’s so supportive,  he’s so good at what he does and he was so lovely. It was really lovely to,  to meet him and he, you know,  he didn’t let me down. He greeted with the big smile and he was just lovely. So it  was really lovely to meet him, so big shout out to him. He does a great job.

[00:25:21] Josh

Well, I’ll pass it on to him. That’s so lovely.  B to say because he’s very Uh,  passionate about helping. Yeah. People put in their best application because he  doesn’t want to say then kind of getting, you know,  the application in and it’s maybe doesn’t have the best chance of progressing. So  he go, he does go the extra step and we had  a nominee in the community awards last year who just has  a bit of trouble through some Uh, disability of yeah,  typing well Yep. Um and so Ray spent, you know, quite  a few hours with him on multiple occasions over the phone. Um and nice to to  capture the audio. And then he started thinking,  I’ve got to be smart about this. So he did it other teams instead and was able to  get the um and be able to code, you know,  the audio captions and stuff so they help him talk it out

[00:26:12] Louise

in US.

[00:26:14] Josh

And so it’s, um, it’s wonderful feedback. Thank you.

[00:26:17] Louise

Yeah.  And the other thing that he did too was  Uh, which I was really surprised at, which I thought was amazing and, and just  a testament to, to how well the organization and awards are run. They said,  you know, um, not only was I eligible or did they think I would have  a good chance at the customer service award, but they said,  we think you should into this one as well. So I was actually a semifinalist in the category now,  but I was in two and you know,  the fact that they’d actually taken the time to read the application that I put in and say, oh,  we can identify that you should go into this category as well. That I thought that  was really lovely and really proactive um for awards, Australia. Yeah.

[00:27:03] Josh

Well thank you very much. Well, you know, you touched on something there because Uh, you know, kind of combining  a few of that last couple of topics and going back to Uh,  quickly to look at that while we were chatting. It was um, Theresa,  you were talking about. That’s it. I don’t want to get this one agape,  I think it’s her organization now. So yes, I think that’s and

[00:27:23] Louise


[00:27:23] Josh

think that’s right. Yeah. So that was that. That’s pretty cool. But you’re right,  there’s this community people who are out there and it seems like, well, how are they doing that?  It’s incredible. But the reason we have categories like the customer service award and small business types awards,  they’re not industry awards. So they’re not about the person who interacts with the  most customers. It’s how are you making it impact? How is your business actually, you know, Yeah,  providing some kind of benefit to the community. So it’s a social benefit,  not just economic. And that’s why we love celebrating businesses like the  administration agency because it is so personal for you. You bring on people, you’re not just bringing on  a worker in that. See it. You’re bringing on someone into  a family environment helping, you know, keep them confidence and um,  real meaning. So that’s for us why we get such  a kick out of it because we get to showcase businesses like yours that are truly, truly special. So yeah,  keep up the good work Lewis because it’s amazing what things are doing.

[00:28:18] Louise

Thank you. I appreciate that. Yeah, it is,  and you’re very right because you got that sense of the of the awards,  not as well that that was just a pure celebration of amazing people and amazing achievements and what  contributions are they making um to, to communities and society? So yeah.

[00:28:39] Josh

So that awards night was late. Twenty, twenty three. You know,  we’re in twenty twenty four. As I said at the top of our chat,  it feels like I can’t believe February’s here already. I know are you, Uh, is everything you know,  kicking along well for the administration and so busy you got, you know, exciting plans for the year ahead.

[00:28:55] Louise

Yeah, so um we had  a break for the first time. It was amazing.  Um I had three weeks off and Uh we did  the same kind of thing that you mentioned going beach going to beaches. Uh did a bit camping. Did  a bit of go Karting with my eight year old which was exciting. Um. Yeah,

[00:29:13] Josh

that was the next was winning. Who was winning the race?

[00:29:16] Louise

Well, of course my brother won but um,  but he smashed me Absolutely smashed me and he still talks about it today. Um remember when I smashed you?  Yes, I’ve still got the bruise. Um yeah, so it was,  it was fun but I think I picked him at the post  so yeah. Go me. Um. But yeah,  we’ve started the the year pretty good. Um school went back for us today. So that’s it’s  a bit weird. It’s very quiet in my house at the moment after the last six weeks of  you know, all the fortnights and all that type of stuff that my son was playing,  but we’ve got all the time back now which was really nice this week. And um, yeah,  we’re just working really hard at trying to to let businesses know how we can help.  Um, and you know, this is a crucial time for people. They tend to do  a lot of recruiting at this stage.  And um,  we just really wanted to let people know that we’re here to support them and  whether that looks like a you know,  a stopgap until they find the right candidate or if it’s becomes where an integral  part of their business and can help them. So that’s kind of um,  where we really want to focus and what we really want to communicate to business  owners that we’re just here to support. However, that looks Uh, we’re not about  a conflict in win. Certainly not about just putting people into packages. Um,  we always make sure that we tailor things specific to business because every business is different. Every business is unique,  every business does things differently. So we’re not about coming in and taking over more of that,  working alongside them and knowing what works for them and giving them solutions and um, different,  different ideas on how to do things and do them. You know the best that we can and,  and yeah, so that’s,  that’s kind of where we’re at at the moment just focusing on that just um I find  a lot of opportunity on sake. Um, so just introducing our services to businesses on sake that are looking actively  looking to recruit and yeah, just trying to, um,  keep on keeping on and just obviously making sure that we’re also looking after our  existing clients and and as we go.

[00:31:32] Josh

Yeah, it’s an interesting Uh you know,  comment you had about um stop gap for example. So  I know that, Ah, like when I,  when was it, it was probably middle of last year. We needed to fill  a position.  And Uh, you know, went through the process is taking  a couple of weeks to put out the ad, start doing some interviews,  and then you know, as you’re going through that process,  a couple of people you lined up said I’ll actually look in an interview. I’ve just  accepted another role. We finally had someone we offered to them. They accepted.  Unfortunately, a better offer must have come through and they let us know. Uh,  you days later, actually, Uh, I’m not going  to accept the offer. So at this point, you know, you had a month,  you closed the job and you’ve got and you think now she’s got to start again.

[00:32:20] Louise

Yeah, exactly,

[00:32:21] Josh

exactly, very frustrating and so that’s something you can help with. Is it? Yeah,

[00:32:25] Louise

exactly. And not only can we hope with the stopgap, we’ve actually helped  a few companies um profile candidates and, and handle that. We’re not a specialist by any means. But you know,  what we do is bring our coordination skills and our resources to be able to,  um, transfer the skills that we have into those type of things. So for example,  you know, putting the job ad out, we can write the ad,  we can post it on to the various platforms that you need.  Um, while the resumes come in,  we can coordinate those. And if there’s specific selection criteria, for example, or the specific skills that you’re after,  we can do the culling um so we can take care of those type of things. You know,  the things that take your energy and the things that distract you from your daily  tasks and the things that become frustrating and you know,  now you’ve got to go to start again. So we’ve done that for  a couple of organizations. Both he and into state um,  where we’ve taken care of facilitating that process for people that are recruiting  as well as being able to kind of take care or take carriage of some of the tasks  that they’re looking for while they get that candidate. And then there’s been some  instances where people have gone, oh well, can you do that?  Let’s just get you guys to do it because it also becomes an affordable solution for  businesses like yes, we’re dearer than the people of sure. Yes,  we’re probably dearer when you think you know it might be, I don’t know,  ballpark figure eighty five dollars an hour and you think, oh,  I can’t afford that. But then when you break that down, you can say, okay,  well if you have social media for example, and you want someone to do social media,  you get a graphic designer to Design your templates. You get  a copywriter that writes your posts. You get an admin person that schedules them for you,  so you’re actually getting about four people that work on that project for you. So  when you break that down by four, it works out to be about twenty bucks an hour. So, you know,  Yes you are paying that, but you’re also not paying tax, you’re not paying holidays,  you’re not paying leave. You’re not paying. So we work on a contractual basis. Um and you know,  you get all that plethora of specialist skills as well. Yeah. At the same time,

[00:34:45] Josh

I’ve got to admit, we have dabbled in, in trying to use some offshore bits in the past,  but it hasn’t worked out. Especially for certain tasks for us. Um yeah. To have  offshore purely because our rewards are so community focus. It’s very,  you need to know about the state you work in, you know,  Australia you need to know that first Nations people, um, what’s appropriate, what’s Uh, you know,  correct protocol and processes. How to be respectful. Um and so you do need people who understand, you know,  sometimes Australian way of life and definitely and that kind of thing in a,  from my perspective I say that is a huge strength as well.

[00:35:27] Louise

Yeah, for sure. And we only employ Australian. Um, there are other companies that are also Uh,  Australian based but we’ll still use offshore people and that’s not to begrudge  them if that if that works for them,  that’s fine. But I have found in my own experience, I tried that as  a cost saving exercise. Obviously initially um,  but the quality wasn’t there for me and that’s something that’s very important to  us as well as the quality and the service. You  know, you want to make sure and I,  for me, I need to not control that but have oversight of that. Um yeah,  so we only employ the Australian ones and to give them an example as well. Um we  had, we worked for a customer, the fundraising people that we actually raised the eighty thousand dollars for.  They used offshore bookkeepers for example, and they vary with your language. There’s the initiative isn’t there. And I think  that’s the difference um with using someone that is Australian because we would,  they would say to these people, you know, you need to raise an invoice and they were like,  Yep. So our interpreter interpretation of raising an invoice, for example,  is creating the invoice, sending it to the customer, they would create it,  but they didn’t send it. So they had all these outstanding invoices that that just  weren’t sent. And technically they did what was asked, but they didn’t go the next step. And you know,  that’s the example of the communication and the language barriers that sometimes  you can face. And even though it might be more attractive because they’re eight dollars Australian an hour,  the amount of times that you have to work through that and the amount of  communication and the amount of training that you actually have to put into that person. It’s not,  it does not work out to be eight dollars an hour. You’re looking at more.  You know,  what’s your time worth? What? What’s the, the rework?  How many emails did you have to send to get it raw? Is it still raw? Are there still issues?  So you’ve just got to be really careful about the resources and well, you know,  I would encourage people just to, to do their homework and really do that cost effectiveness exercise because what is  it actually going to cost you in the long run?

[00:37:38] Josh

Yes, very true. Well yes, if people are, you know,  we’re coming into that kind of time where January is. Uh, it’s almost a bit sleepy,  sometimes in the professional world and of February. And some people might be Uh

[00:37:52] Louise

you know, wake up in February

[00:37:54] Josh

and realizing, oh Geez, we’ve got some shortfalls. Yeah,  exactly. Yeah. Reach out to Louise and the administration agency, one stop shop Uh,  award winning customer service as well. Let’s not forget that. Yeah. So it’s just  been amazing um, chatting with you and hearing  a bit more about your story. Um thanks, Josh. And Uh, you know,  one thing we said earlier it must be so cool when companies been working with you  and thinking Jesus is great and then they realize, you know,  you’re in dubbo probably picturing you in some corporate office in Sydney or Yeah. Yeah,

[00:38:26] Louise

,  I mean, yeah, and it’s so funny because um I’m in my son’s bedroom. We actually transformed my  son’s bedroom and it was something that we always kind of thought, you know, well,  we’re virtual. Do we need an office? Um, but you know,  we can go anywhere I love what I do. I love the flexibility that we have. I love  that I can pack up my work in my office in one laptop bag and work from anywhere.  And I really can, you know,  and we afford that luxury to our staff as well. So my um McKenna that I mentioned um,  just recently she went and looked after her mum’s house for two weeks.  And she’s,  you know, work didn’t stop. So we were still able to do that,  but I took my son away for fourteen days down to  a beach in the school holidays and was still able to work as well as enjoy time  with him at a different location. So it’s just an amazing, amazing way to work and it really beats Uh,  the nine to five model that everyone thought that, you know,  that’s how everyone should work. Um and yeah, there’s so much more to,  to working virtually than I think people realize or they kind of now know because  of covid and, and things but, but yeah.

[00:39:48] Josh

Yeah. Was that um, you know,  before we wrap up, it’s actually something that I wanted to ask you, you know,  you started um as a VA in twenty nineteen and then obviously  a business going from there. covid is coming along, you know, in the first year of your, um business really?  Yeah.

[00:40:06] Louise


[00:40:07] Josh

Was Uh was that something that was, you know, you were ahead of the curve I suppose.

[00:40:11] Louise

.  Yeah. We were, it was a, it was  a blessing and a curse at the same time. So we were really prepared. Um,  nothing changed for us. So we were already in the virtual space. We’d already had  all our systems in place, things like that. We actually were engaged by  a couple of businesses locally to help them um,  become virtual and how did they do it, which was great. It was a we were able to give that,  that learning that we had previously learned um covid itself. I lost ninety percent  of the business overnight. Um yeah. So that was really tough. My husband who also  had the dog grooming business at the time though he wasn’t restricted,  so it was great for him so he could still work which got us through that,  that crazy period. But then as I, um, what I said to myself,  well what are you going to do now? How are we going to get business?  And that’s when we went on to seek,  and I just absolutely hammered everything that was on sake. All these people that  were looking for work um and it was only because of covid that we actually got in front of  a couple of really large organizations that we would never have had that opportunity  before. So it was really good in that sense. And I think it enabled me to go,  okay, well this is actually really possible.  Let’s keep using this marketing um,  opportunity to put us in front of other people that might not know we exist that  might not know that this model exists. So yeah, so it,  it really educated me on kind of looking at different ways to get in front of those  type of organizations and, and kind of saying, you know,  how can we help them rather than just, you know  here we are blah, blah, blah, blah. So it was,  it was good in that respect and then when everyone kind of caught up with the  virtual world, everyone’s a lot more educated now. I remember my CEO um,  talking to me about, Uh, when I used to work for him. He was like,  no one ever works from home. Loo, no one works from home. You know,  he had this really big concept that people were putting on the washing or people were watching television and,  and you could not possibly work from home. And I regularly thought of having covid  and thought, I wonder how he’s going now. So you know,  and it really enlightened the whole world um, you know,  and just completely throughout the nine to five work model, which is great, great for us. And great. Yes.

[00:42:51] Josh

Yeah, I always like looking at the silver lining and there was lots of, Uh, you know,  Yes, tough things from covid, but that’s definitely one time that,  that we can take from it. It showed us that it was.

[00:43:01] Louise

Yeah. And, you know, changed the face of families like families have completely embraced that now. And  I think families, um, especially, you know, people that worked, that did have  a family didn’t feel that they were able to ask for that. You know,  for that possibility of working from home, but I think now it’s really empowered people to say, well,  I can do that from home. You know,  because we had to and that’s how businesses survived. We had to work out how to  work from home and employers now know that it can be done and it can be done  successfully. Um and then now the hybrid models been introduced. Um I find it  actually really hard and I don’t know, it’d be interesting to hear the studies on this,  but people were so used to working from home. It actually has  a lot of anxiety with people going to an office and going in that situation now  where people are around each other because they were used to, you know,  working from home and working in their own space. It became very comfortable for people. Yeah.

[00:44:12] Josh

I know some people have experienced that for sure. Um yeah,  for me I only experience anxiety in the office when I’ve got something really  exciting like a holiday coming up and I’m like,  I don’t want to go into the office and catch any germs.

[00:44:25] Louise


[00:44:26] Josh

yes,  I’m going to work from home. Yes. These last  few days. So I guess it’s my go and enjoy my holiday.

[00:44:33] Louise

Yes, exactly.

[00:44:35] Josh

Uh no. Um. Well thanks for your time,  Lois. I’m going to ask you one more question before  I let you go. I know you got to  get back to to work what you do best. Um, but you know you’re,  you’re appearing on the inspirational australian’s podcast. So you know, in our books, you’re  a very inspirational person. Personally. I’ve been inspired by the vulnerability  that you show and just the thought process that you put into looking after your team. Um, you know,  and that kind of Community spirit that you brought to your business. But I’m  interested to know Louise, what is it that inspires you whether it’s  a person you know a thing or a quote um yeah, what inspires you Louise?

[00:45:12] Louise

What inspires me? My family inspire me, which probably people get Uh, but no they do. And um,  my husband probably inspires me the most he, he’s very, very capable person. He struggles with mental um,  mental problems and anxiety himself. Um, but you know,  he shows up every day for his family, so he  inspires me. And I think, you know,  he does it really hard some days, but he gets up  He tries. So if he can do that,  then I can do that. And um, we also  are very, Uh, faith based. So we, we are always, you know, trying to, to help people. Um,  just be better versions of themselves and, and opening up those conversations,  you know, for people that feel like that they’re struggling. And, um, just to make them feel  a part of something. And that’s why it’s so important for our team as well to,  to make sure that they feel supported. And at the  end of the day, you know, it, it is admin. But what we’re trying to create is  a family culture like you mentioned before. And you know, um that really inspires me,  that inspires me to do keep doing what I do and just support the people that are  the most important to us.

[00:46:29] Josh

Amazing what a wonderful answer and that sounds like you have a Uh,  an incredible partnership with your husband, from what you were saying earlier,  complimenting your skills and work styles and um, yeah, and things like that.

[00:46:40] Louise

So it, it’s very happy when he went back to work, I do have to say that Uh,

[00:46:46] Josh

but I think that’s why you know, it’s, we, we love our partners, but Uh,  it’s good to have space and time away. Yeah. It helps me to appreciate them and Miss them.

[00:46:54] Louise

Yep. We had um,  we had time off over Christmas at the same time and I woke up one morning and I  said I have to go, I have to go to my brother’s, Uh,  this is not good for anyone. So we went on  a little trip for four days and it was much better. Everyone else Uh, enjoyed it.

[00:47:10] Josh

Nice one. No.

[00:47:11] Louise


[00:47:11] Josh

Well, Uh, if people are wanting to connect with you, you know,  um or the business. Where can they do that?

[00:47:18] Louise

Uh, please head to administration agency dot com today you, you can book  a call in with us and we would love to talk to you even if you think you know,  or they probably don’t do that or is that something that they do, please give us  a call five minutes of your time just to find out if we can help. Um might be the  five minutes that you need to to spend and it might change your world.

[00:47:40] Josh

So. Yeah, yeah. And I would suggest people to connect with Uh, Louise Matheson on LinkedIn as well.

[00:47:46] Louise

Thank you. Yes, you can do that as well.

[00:47:49] Josh

Yes. I think you’ve got excellent LinkedIn presence and Uh  you’re quite active on there.  So I think, yeah  people should do that. Yeah. Well, thanks for your time, Louise. Uh,  look forward to staying in touch following along with the successes of the  administration agency as you approach that five year Uh milestone, which is very cool. And Uh yeah,  appreciate your time today.

[00:48:06] Christine

Thank you so much. Thanks for having me.  The inspirational australian’s podcast is brought to you by awards, Australia. We recognise,  celebrate and share the stories of inspirational Australians throughout awards programs across the country. To find out more,  to nominate an inspirational Australian in your life, or to partner with our awards, visit awards,  Australia dot com. If you enjoyed today’s story,  we’d love it if you could subscribe rate and review to make sure you don’t miss an  episode. And to help our guests Reach more people with their inspirational stories stories.  stories stories.