Making a mark in the inner city

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While redundancy can be traumatic for many, for some it’s a release. One such person is Ingrid Thompson. While she may not have known quite where she was headed, she had no doubt it was going to be good. Her approach to finding her path was unusual and it worked.

As we hear in this interview, Ingrid's first step after exiting from a senior role at Qantas, was to train as a barista and that in turn led to a course in sales and customer service. I find these 'early steps' really fascinating. Ingrid didn't begin by looking at business opportunities, but instead considered her personal interests and set about filling in gaps in her skillset. 

She took action and got into the marketplace even though she had nothing to sell and nothing to promote...at that stage.

From her base in inner city Sydney, surrounded by way too many cats, what happened next is classic 'accidental business' serendipity. A friend, noticing she wasn't run off her feet, invited her to do some freelance work tidying up her accounts.

Word spread, as it does, and work chugged along at a nice, relaxed pace. That is until Mum stepped in, as they do, and challenged her to nudge things up a notch. And nudge it up she did. A couple of besties laid into her at around the same time, chipping in with the kind of 'helpful' commentary only close friends can deliver.

Ingrid, we have no idea what you do!
— Wise words from dear friends

These comments prompted Ingrid to seriously re-consider her positioning and her language and ultimately totally reframe what she did and who for. 

The steps she took next are a great lesson in seizing your 'space', securing your place in the market and using language that compels.

Now a few years into her business, Ingrid sees more and more opportunities for her expertise and has recently started developing very distinct niches and very tailored offerings. She's really made an impression within the sectors and groups she most enjoys and as you'll hear, is really onto something good.

The business Ingrid has created is serving her life well, allowing balance, freedom and masses of variety. So does she ever look longingly at corporate life? Well actually she does, but she does so from a place of great contentment with her lot.  

I expect that if push came to shove, she'd stay firmly where she is. After all who'd look after the cats?

You can see Ingrid's work at Healthy Numbers where you can access her book, listen to her podcast and follow her blog. She does great work as I'm sure you'll agree. 

Let me know what you think of this episode of Mellow Brick Road, I always welcome feedback and commentary.

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Robert Gerrish