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  • Vanessa Cullen

Who Approaches Me and What Questions Do They Bring?

Updated: Nov 21, 2020

Think of this article as a "Who is this for?" meets Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). In the interests of keeping it brief, I've listed my most common types of clients and the top questions/issues/needs that they approach me with. Some are easily addressed in one chat, others take multiple mentoring sessions to work through together. I always tell people up front if I think they've brought an 'easy' or a 'biggie'. If it's a 'biggie' I lead them through co-designing our plan of attack - "this one might warrant a few walks and homework from both of us, don't you think?". Whatever the question or issue, their mentoring experience is tailored to meet their constraints and needs. If there's someone else I know who might be better placed to provide specific expertise, then I make the appropriate warm introduction.


I am most often approached by those with whom I share some experience and interests, but not necessarily shared age, gender or cultural background. I am based in suburban Sydney, Australia; but am not location bound. I have clients who call or video-link in from all over Australia and other countries. Until COVID-19 I traveled constantly and in my heart I'm a child of the mountains and the sea. Maybe that's why many of my clients are from regional and rural areas? It is often a certain sense of practicality and resilience, along with love of the natural environment, sustainability, community and hospitality, that sees us bond, even from a distance.


My clientele are diverse but most often they fit into one or more of the following categories:

  • Small and Medium-sized Business Founders and Management

  • Hospitality, Food Based and Regional/Rural Destination Founders and Management

  • Not-For-Profit, Community and Social Enterprise Founders and Management

  • Students Looking to the Future and Professionals at Career Cross-Roads

  • Humble Leaders, Weekend Warriors, Chronic Disease/Disability Survivors and those interested in making lifestyle/work choices towards greater balance and sustainability

Some of the most frequent issues and questions they bring are listed below...

Small and Medium-sized Business Founders and Management

Questions/issues include:

  • How can I grow my startup or established business without over-spending?

  • How can I pivot, reinvigorate or reposition my business in the market?

  • My business and/or I am struggling - please help me figure out what I need to do?

  • It's lonely at the top, I have no-one to talk to and I can't compare notes with my competitors...

  • How do I find the right location/premises and then set it up cost effectively?

  • How can we become more ethical but profitable?

  • How can my business become a B Corporation or social enterprise?

  • How can I expand and make my business less dependent upon me personally?

  • I'm burning out - how can I rediscover my joy, passion and direction?

  • Do you know a good (accountant, lawyer, plumber, chef etc...)?

  • I'm scared and not sure I am up to this...

  • One of my team members walked out...

  • I have a tough decision to make...

Hospitality, Food Based and Regional/Rural Destination Founders and Management

Questions/issues include all of the above plus:

  • What options can we explore to become a more unique and attractive destination?

  • How does the public perceive our offer? How could we improve customer/patron experience and make more money?

  • Have you got a crystal ball? What does the future hold? What are the trends?

  • How can I save money but also wisely invest into backing my business and myself?

  • How can we engage our community in design thinking and co-design?

  • What can we do with this place/space?

Not-For-Profit, Community and Social Enterprise Founders and Management

Questions/issues include all of the above plus:

  • How can we truly measure our impact and tell our story?

  • How can we obtain or improve (insert issue) on a shoestring?

  • How do we set up a governance or advisory board?

  • How do we know what's working and what's not and correct dysfunctions, inefficiencies and conflict?

  • I have no idea what I am doing. I don't know where to start. I'm drowning. Send help!

Students Looking to the Future and Professionals at Career Cross-Roads

Questions/issues include:

  • How can I find study and work in alignment with my ethics and values?

  • What has all you've been through taught you about resilience (relevant to business/career)?

  • What's really important? What have you learned?

  • I don't know if I'll be able to find another job...

Humble Leaders, Weekend Warriors, Chronic Disease/Disability Survivors and those interested in making lifestyle/work choices towards greater balance and sustainability

Questions/issues include:

  • I'd like to explore 'less is more...'

  • How can I better advocate for myself?

  • I don't know how to come to terms with...

  • I feel a bit disconnected. Am I not up to scratch if I don't...?

  • How can I insert ('creativity', 'play','exploration', 'adventure', 'nature', 'freedom', 'connection' etc) back into everyday life?

  • How can I balance and integrate the parts of my life to feel motivated and satisfied?

  • 'Conscious Living' sounds pretentious and expensive. I'd like to save money and live a healthier, more balanced, kind and eco-friendly life, but I also live in the real world. I'm so busy and I have to work/parent. Is there a middle way that doesn't involve Instagram, yoga, meditation, kale, supplements, expensive water filters and becoming a a dick?

Are you wrestling with any of these questions or issues? Got a question or challenge that's not listed here? Why not reach out? Fill in the contact form, drop me a line or request a booking and we can chat about the topic you'd like to explore and design a custom mentoring experience to suit. A brief initial phone or video call is always obligation free.


Chat soon :-)

Vanessa.


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