Women's Business: Kristal Kinsela
10th May 2021
In the last six years I have been through significant changes in all areas of my life. I went into business, got married, had a baby, bought a house, separated from my husband last year and recently left a business I helped grow. Life to me has never been straight and narrow. It has been about constant change. Every day I have learnt more about who I am, my purpose, and I continue to focus and then refocus on the things I want to do, achieve and more importantly the impact I want to have on the world and others.
I turned forty last year and it was definitely a year of great reflection. COVID19 stopped me from having the biggest party/celebration with my friends and family. I had to scale back and decide on twenty people only to share in the life I have lived to date. In the lead up to my birthday I went through various emotions and reflections about the journey I have been on.
I first started in business as a sole trader consultant back in January 2015. I had left a job I loved working at Supply Nation to set up a business that would give a job, and allow me to live in a place with my kids, where I had struggled to find one. I didn’t know much about business, or what it was like to run one. I struggled that first year. I didn’t know how to look for business, or how to market. I spent a lot of time subcontracting to other businesses. In my first financial year in business I made $18k. I had to go on centrelink and get a family payment to support my children and I.
It wasn’t until late 2015 that I met two people who would later become my business partners and we would form and build the great business of what you all know as IPS Management Consultants. We knew that the commonwealth had introduced the Commonwealth IPP, but like most businesses were not sure how to get a foot in the door. We wrote various types of capability statements, updated our websites several times, and I went to the opening of an envelope basically to meet people and network. Whenever anyone asked what we could do, I said everything. Any job we got offered we accepted, even if we didn’t know how to do it. I would find out.
When I reflect back on the years that followed, the learning and growth that I experienced was incredible. I learnt how to build relationships, navigate Government procurement, write RFQ’s and tenders, manage projects, write reports and facilitate for days. I had to quickly develop a broad range of skills, because when there are only a few people in a business, you have to do everything yourself.
To watch IPS grow to a team of 31 with 41% Indigenous staff and deliver work nationally. Winning the Certified Supplier of the year award two years running still makes me pinch myself. It definitely didn't happen overnight, it was 5 years of solid hard work, determination and learning.
Growth is a critical part of your ongoing development. As I enter a new chapter in my life, working independently as a consultant on my own trading as Kristal Kinsela Consulting, I reflect on how that growth, and all that learning has helped shape the person I am today.
Business takes lots of growth. It takes lots of self-awareness and reflection. It also takes an incredible amount of resilience and determination. It isn't all roses, popping up on social media, attending events, and making money. It requires passion, vision, and a lot of hard work.
I feel completely blessed to say I have been self employed as a business owner for six years now.
My advice is it all starts with self-belief, if you don't believe in you, then you won’t be able to convince others to believe in you either.
If no one is buying what you're selling, then you're not in business. Research is imperative to understand markets and identify your ideal customer.
Your personal brand is everything - customers buy more than just a product or service - they buy a relationship.
Lastly my 3 R's to winning business - Research - understand the market, analyse your ideal customers and identify their needs, Relationships - business is all about relationships, become the trusted advisor to your clients, someone they know and can trust, Respond - meet the market and your ideal customers with a quality