Tuesday, 27 February 2024 11:14

International Women's Day: Kōrero with Jackie Messam from Rippled Ed

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This year for International Women’s Day we are sitting down with some wāhine founders at  Basestation to kōrero about their journey and learnings in setting up and running their own organisation.

For this blog we’ve captured a conversation with Jackie Messam, founder and trainer at Rippled Ed, a business that works with a range of organisations to upskill kaiako in the workplace and on campus.

With a background in teaching, Jackie decided to start her business back in 2017. She and husband Ramon had returned to Aotearoa from Malaysia having spent the last few years overseas advising on school transformation projects.

Being that this year's theme is invest in women: Accelerate Progress, we thought we’d jump straight in there and ask:


What, if any financial support did you get when you set up your business?

Jackie smiles and without missing a beat says “$5,000 from my mum!“

Jackie went on to share that the initial set up she needed was pretty basic -  a laptop, phone, somewhere to work, and some insurance.

She also remembers about six months in, when she was getting cold feet about her fledgling business and finding everything a little overwhelming, her mum was one of the first people to say  - you got this, you can do this, I believe in you.

As well as her mum, Jackie said that they (Ramon and her) had also invested in the business by taking some money out of the mortgage. Jackie mentioned that they wanted to do things properly from the get go so they set up a business bank account straight away and got GST registered.

In circling back, we asked Jackie what were the initial challenges and hard things that occurred in the first six months when she was getting cold feet. Her response was “being alone and the responsibility of contributing financially to the family she shares”.

Jackie is a self confessed people person, so finding a coworking space for her in those early days was paramount. Jackie initially joined Basestation as a Hot Desker and then upgraded a few years later to a double office.

In those initial months of setting up Rippled Ed, there was the worry that there wouldn’t be enough customers or clients to stay afloat. Having just come back from overseas and not having an established network, prior relationships and connections to rely on was a struggle.

Something else Jackie touched on that was initially tough when she started out - not being in (what she refers to as) her ‘Genius Zone’. She goes on to share that this is terminology she learned from a coach she employed early on to help her navigate her new business. Her coach, Jo Shortland,  shared  the Zone of Genius - a matrix that helps people to learn where they’re distinctly talented. It looks like this:



( below definitions taken from Sana Labs article)
The definitions are:

  • Zone of Incompetence: Activities that other people probably do better than you (e.g. proofreading). These activities also reduce your energy.
  • Zone of Competence: Activities that you do just fine, but others are as good as you at them (e.g. writing training resources). But! These activities also bring you joy (because it’s purposeful to think about someone using and learning from the resources)
  • Zone of Excellence: Activities that you are excellent at—better than most, in fact (e.g. health and safety training)—but you don’t love doing all the time. They may not necessarily align with your passions or natural abilities.
  • Zone of Genius: Activities that you are uniquely good at in the world, and that you love to do, so much so, that time and space likely disappear when you do them. These activities (e.g. facilitating, problem solving) charge up your metaphorical batteries!

One of Jackie's biggest learnings through mapping out her own Genius Zone matrix was the need to pivot to other zones to learn more about an industry and gain credibility. However, finding ways to move to working more in her Genius Zone is her current priority.
The next question we asked was:

Investment doesn’t need to be just financial - what other investment do you feel would accelerate the progress of your business?

Jackie replied “For me now, I would love to have a coach. Someone who knew me and the business who I could check in with “. She went on to share that she’s quite an intuitive person with lots of different ideas going on at the same time and would be keen for someone to help focus and navigate where to go over the next few months or so.
Knowing that she’s a people person and that’s also one of her biggest strengths (her Genius Zone - if you were!) She spends a lot of time connecting with potential customers, building and maintaining relationships - although she loves this part of the job, she says it can be a bit lonely sometimes. So having someone to connect with when she’s on her own - would be really good.
Jackie also mentioned that she’s shared the questions that I’d sent her in advance with Ramon, who now works alongside her at Ripple Ed. She smiled when she told me that Ramon’s answer to that question was - he’d like another employee!
Our final question is:

What advice would you give to other wāhine who are thinking about setting up their own business?

To which Jackie responded by saying there would probably be two or three pieces of advice she would give.
Firstly, don’t be afraid to share your ambitions with others. Kōrero with people who know you well and who will give you honest and constructive feedback. Tell them that you’re looking to set up a business and ask them what they think and for feedback and potential opportunities.
Don’t be afraid to start from a place that is not your Genius Zone - you’ve got to start somewhere! You might also find you need to pivot slightly to find what brings in the money and where the demand is.
One good example Jackie gave of this was early on one of her good friends told her that she didn’t see her as a traditional sales person. Although at the time Jackie was a little discouraged by this feedback she decided to give it ago anyway relying on her people skills and need to be authentic. Turns out - Jackie’s not bad at selling! She goes on to tell me that once you build a rapport with someone and understand their needs you can then design and offer them what they need - it’s all about relationships.
One of the other things that Jackie has learnt early on and would highly recommend is don’t take things personally. Sometimes things don’t work out, you don’t get the contract you worked on  - it might not be the right opportunity or the right time. Just move on - there will be another opportunity that will work out.
Finally - Jackie says - believe in yourself and the way you do things. You can always learn new things for sure - but remain authentically you. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Jackie confessed that she constantly puts herself out on Linkedin in the early days. She also has an active instagram and facebook account which she keeps up to date.

Big thank you to Jackie for sitting down with Ruth and sharing her learnings and wisdom.

Read 1077 times Last modified on Tuesday, 05 March 2024 08:56

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