Here’s what we’ll cover

Today I’m talking to one half of the Studsor sister act. If you’ve never heard of Tegan and Erin Studsor, chances are it’s because they operate in a rather unsexy industry. They are the founders of Traffic Force. 

Which is as it sounds, a business in a heavily male dominated industry. 

But these sisters clearly have what it takes to match it as they’ve grown their startup into a $10million dollar business with a workforce of over 160 in the past 10 years.

Today I’m talking to Tegan Studsor. A businesswoman and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across construction, education, hospitality and agriculture industries. She started her first business at the tender age of 22 with her older sister Erin. Fast forward a decade on and both the sisters now own and run multiple businesses together all while living in regional Western Australia and working remotely in a heavily dominated male industry.

We talk about; 

  • The numbers they critique. What they look at and when. 
  • The power of a finance team and what theirs looks like.  
  • Managing the family relationship while managing the businesses.
  • Managing meetings, communications & uncomfortable conversations and
  • Planning for tomorrow, even if you don’t know what tomorrow might bring.
  • And much more.

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Here’s the shownotes

Jen Waterson

Today I’m talking to one half of the Studsor sister act. If you’ve never heard of Tegan and Erin Studsor, chances are it’s because they operate in a rather unsexy industry. A heavily male dominated industry. But these sisters clearly have what it takes to match it as they’ve grown their startup into a $10million dollar business with a workforce of over 160 in the past 10 years.

Today I’m talking to Tegan Studsor. A businesswoman and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across construction, education, hospitality and agriculture industries. She started her first business at the tender age of 22 with her older sister Erin. Fast forward a decade on and both the sisters now own and run multiple businesses together all while living in regional Western Australia and working remotely in a heavily dominated male industry.

We talk about – 

The numbers they critique. What they look at and when. 

The power of a finance team and what theirs looks like.  

Managing the family relationship while managing the businesses.

Managing meetings, communications & uncomfortable conversations and

Planning for tomorrow, even if you don’t know what tomorrow might bring.

And much more.

If you aspire to big things in your business, listen in carefully, there’s some great advice for you.

Hi Tegan, welcome to the podcast, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and your businesses?

Tegan Studsor

Yep, that’s spot on Jen. Thanks for having me on, I’ll tell you a bit about myself.

I am lucky enough to be based in WA, I am based in the south-west 3-4 hours south of Perth. I am a business owner of a couple of different businesses, of which two I am in business with my sister.

I actually had to work out when it was we started, I was 22 when we first started out. It’s hard to believe, I’m now 35, so I feel a bit old. Since then we’ve started and grown other businesses.

The main business we work in is Traffic Force. We help contractors safely build and maintain roads, providing traffic management services along the lines of qualified traffic controllers, equipment, planning, auditing. We service WA with a large team of 100+ with $10 million turnover, and all that started from the back of our garage.

From there, a couple of years on we started another business called ausq training which is an RTO specialising in traffic management training. We service WA, we’re not a national business we stay to our side of the fence. We help people get qualified to then work as a traffic controller in the construction industry. So that’s a little bit about myself.

Jen Waterson

That’s great so you’re working with your sister, how is that going? How do you do that? I’m really keen to ask you about this today Tegan because I’ve spent lots of years working with family businesses of all different shapes and sizes however I was racking my brain before we jumped on this podcast and I’m trying to think, have I ever worked in a business with two sisters involved? And I actually don’t think I have.

I’ve worked with brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, parents and children and multi-generation businesses but I cannot think of anyone that I’ve worked with in my 20 years whose been two sisters operating a business, let alone such huge businesses as well. 

How do you go?

Tegan Studsor

That’s a good question and it’s the most common question we’re asked. Do we fight and do we have arguments? We get those questions all the time.

The short answer is we get along really well, we have a great relationship both as business partners and sisters. I think why we work so well together is because we have similar values so how we work is very similar but the secret is we’re different in our skill sets.

For example, Erin whose my business partner and sister, her strong point is numbers and finance, whereas I hate it. I hate numbers, I do it and I know I have to do it, it’s a key part in running a business, but it’s just not my forte.

I love other things like working with people, building systems, working with technology and all those operational aspects. What we’re good at and what we enjoy is totally opposite and we tend to stay in those areas.

Jen Waterson

It’s amazing even in non-family businesses, if you can get a business partner that picks up on your weaknesses and vice-versa and strike up a relationship and have the same values. That is such an important step towards a successful, financial arrangement. 

Tegan Studsor

Yep, I absolutely agree.

Many people when they’re starting business or looking for a business partner, often they will look for someone whose similar to them and that’s where it can go wrong. I think it’s find someone who compliments what you need for that business and I think that’s what Erin and I do well ourselves.

Jen Waterson

That’s great.

Who’s the leader Tegan, is it you or Erin? I always find there’s one person in a partnership who is always the leader. You’ve got the stage here so you can call it, but is there one of you that is more the leader than the other, and guides the way? Or do you really work quite easily together and do it together?

Tegan Studsor

You’re bringing the tough questions today. I think I am going to call it, I think at certain times we’re both the leader when we need to be the leader.

Erin is an extrovert and is very confident in handling herself, whereas I would describe myself as an introvert but I can be an extrovert when I need to be.

So to answer your question I think we both are and I know when I need to take a backseat when it’s more suited to Erin being the leader in that circumstance, I think it just comes down to trust.

Jen Waterson

Yeah and being mature enough to understand that this is not the place for me. You do have the ability to say this is best for the business and we can have a conversation and one will step forward and take the lead or the other will take the lead, and you’re both mutually okay with that.

Tegan Studsor

Exactly, it depends on the circumstance.

If it’s something that I have experience in or I can bring more to the table and that’s my opinion, based on my experience, we have an understanding and respect that is there where it’ll be accepted and we will move on.

In business you need to make decisions quick and that’s something that I’ve seen in other businesses where they take too long trying to decide and argue when decisions need to be made. So don’t get in the other persons way, look at the situation, make a decision, move forward.

Jen Waterson

Yeah great, so let’s talk about the day to day running of your businesses. I would love to dig in a little deeper on how it is you organise the financial aspects and responsibilities of running a business, so you mentioned that Erin is the financial girl, how is it that you organise that stuff, is it just that she’s good at that so she takes over?

Tegan Studsor

Yeah, we’re lucky in the sense that because our businesses are established, we’re got a large finance team behind us so all the day to day work that needs to be done, we have a team who do that for us.

Obviously, when we first started in business, like many business owners, we did all the hard yards ourselves. We’ve done the work and we know how to, but we’re lucky we’ve got a team now.

Our cash flow management, which we handle at a daily level is updated by our finance team each day, whereas what Erin and I do is oversee and monitor all that management to make sure we’ve got the finger on the pulse as a business owner should. Whereas, our team will look at the actual operational things, whether it be managing our debtors and stuff like that.

Jen Waterson

When you say you’ve got the finger on the pulse, what does that mean practically from the financial information that you’re being fed on a regular basis?

What does it look like for you? There is a lot of financial information out there for a business that is that big, do you have very short sharp specific things that you’re looking for from your financial team on a regular basis?

Tegan Studsor

Yeah I’m glad you asked this question. Years ago in our business, again because I wasn’t the numbers person, Erin would often go off and do all these detailed excel spreadsheets and she would just be in heaven, she would present it to me and I would be staring at the computer going it’s just overwhelming because it’s so detailed and me not being a numbers person, I’m a visual person, give me a graph any day and I can relate to it. Give me some pictures, pictures tell a story.

For our accounting system we have a reporting software, from that you can drive all that data that you want to see and then formulate that into graphs and pictures that can represent that data rather than a spreadsheet full of numbers that doesn’t mean much to many people.

It also helps our team so we can run a report of what we need and give it to a team member who may not have that higher level of being able to read a financial report, they may not have that experience but it’s much easier for them to interpret a graph or something colour coded much quick and easier.

Jen Waterson

Are you looking at your profit and loss regularly? What specifics are you looking at regularly?

Tegan Studsor

Yeah so what we do, we operate a little different to your normal business, we do a lot of things on a daily basis to ensure they’re managed well because of the size of the business we are.

For example, cash flow, we look at that at a daily level to make sure things are handled as they need to be, whereas other aspects such as debt management, I will get a weekly report sent to me from my debtors and that will tell me a status of where it’s at. Then, on a monthly level we will review end of month and that’s with Erin and myself review the higher numbers, sales, profit, expenses, those bigger numbers of where we will do the analysis of how did we perform the month prior, how are we performing in our current month, what’s ahead, what’s the forecast for 3 months, 6 months, 12 months.

Back to cashflow, we do everything on a minimum 12 month cashflow forecast and same with budgeting which is obviously much further as well. Overtime, we’ve tried to critique things that are essential and what our financial team will do for us but we have then put that into a system to make sure those reports are getting sent to us. Whether that be a weekly, fortnightly, monthly report, I still have access to what has been done to make sure it has been done and there’s no issues with cashflow, or a debtor.

Jen Waterson

Yeah and I think one of the key things you mentioned then was overtime. You’ve developed this overtime. You’ve been in business for 14 years and overtime you will start to build on all the things you’re talking about. You’ll start to become more aware of what it is you need to be looking at with your profit and loss, overtime you’ll become more aware of what it is you need to be looking for and your cashflow, and how to prepare those things and how to interpret the information you’ve been given. 

It’s not something that happens overnight and I think that’s where sometimes perhaps, for anyone out there listening, you can go oh well I wish I was that organised or could have somebody to do that for me, or I wish my business was able to give me that information really quickly and easily.

It doesn’t happen overnight and it is a case of using the people around you over a period of time and slowly building on each piece of financial information until you end up with what you’ve got, which is a solid reporting system.

Tegan Studsor

Yeah absolutely, I look at the way we manage our debtors now versus what we did when we first started business, I had two completely different things, I look at the level of our systems and the last week of every month we will actually ring every single debtor who owes us more than $10,000, and we will make that phone call to confirm the payment amount, there’s no problems it’s all been approved at their end, and the payment date of when we’re expecting that payment in.

We will generally know a week out of when that payment is expected if there is an issue.

Jen Waterson

So you will contact the team to take care of that for you, and you need to put systems in place so the team will know what’s expected and eventually it just happens like clockwork?

Tegan Studsor

Exactly, but it does take time and I think this is where others need to be aware that you don’t need to be an expert in everything, when you need help in an area go and find that expert.

For example, our accountant, we pay and engage them to be our trusted advisor so we bring them into our business and that’s also something that Erin and I work with our accountant on a monthly basis to discuss our financial situation in a much more detailed situation of where we’re at, where we’re doing next and we rely on their advice and knowledge because that’s what they do, that’s why we bring them into our business to give us that next level of support.

Jen Waterson

Absolutely, yeah and there’s a lot of business owners out there that don’t necessarily have good relationships with their accountants, my husband and I own an accounting firm as well which is a side to this business, there are a lot of people out there in the world that don’t have a good relationship with their accountant or go to a big fancy accounting firm expecting that’s what they’re going to get, those monthly meetings, we’re going to give you more than the tax and more than what you were getting previously, and sometimes it just doesn’t happen which is really disappointing from the accounting industry as a whole it can be disappointing for some business owners.

But when you do find somebody you have a good relationship with, it’s really important not only for them as the accountant to make sure that relationship is nurtured and continues long term but also from your perspective as a business owner, you need to take care of that business relationship as well. What’s your opinion on that?

Tegan Studsor

Relationships are so vital. We actually changed accountants at the end of last year and moved through the business program we’re involved in, through that we got onto a new accountant, I’m going to give them a plug because they’re fantastic, it’s Kelly Partners based on the east coast and they service all different clients across Australia but we’ve been working with them at the end of last year and we have now shifted to, the way I would describe the relationship is, they’re now part of our business and are on the same journey with us.

Whereas I found with our past accountant, you would talk to them at certain intervals of the year and that was it. With our accountant now, I can ring him, SMS him, whatever I need, and it could be a silly question or a very detailed question, and he is there to respond and help us make decisions for the business.

Jen Waterson

It’s also important to find an accountant that’s going to not make you feel silly for asking the silly questions, but also not leave it up to you to ask all those questions.

They’re the accounts, the experts, the ones who need to be guiding you because you as a business owner don’t always know what to ask, do you?

Tegan Studsor

Exactly, and we have a number of reason of why we switched accountants, and this is probably something for others to think about too, we wanted to work with somebody that held us accountable and challenged us, we wanted that regular communication, we wanted to be told ‘hey these reports haven’t been done, where are they at, we need to look at x,y,z’.

We wanted someone there to push us, not somebody that’s just going to send out an email every so often and say ‘you never responded to that so I just let it go’ and that does happen a lot.

Jen Waterson

When you’re talking about having regular monthly meetings, that sort of Segway’s nicely into my question around all these regular meetings. What regular meetings do you hold? How formal are they, do you hold board meetings and do you have a strict agenda as to how they might look?

Tegan Studsor

The short answer to your question is at the moment we don’t have a very formal agenda around it, I would say we have a loose agenda around it because since switching accountants we’ve had to go through that transition period of tidying some things up, putting some new things in place and it’s been several months of achieving that work.

So it’s only been the last couple of months of settling into our new rhythm. Moving forward, we will go to more formalised meeting arrangements of everything from the meeting agendas and all that sort of stuff, so that if I’m ever unable to be at a meeting I can rely on those notes from the accountant and Erin.

I do think having an agenda which we actually have, we’re working with our accountant now to formalise what we believe we need to be discussing, we’re working with him to formalise that we want his knowledge to come to the table, he works with how ever many other clients from different industries, he’ll be able to tell us ‘we aren’t talking about this number or this financial aspect of your business, I think we need to be talking about it a bit more, let’s put it on the table’.

Jen Waterson

Yeah, it’s interesting you say that. I’ve also got a note here, I was wondering something else that came to my mind around that topic. Wether or not you would’ve ever considered bringing in an external board member, somebody who isn’t directly financially involved in the business, and sometimes that is your accountant.

I know my husband’s done that before, I’ve done that before, and I found they work really well for some businesses when you’ve got the external opinion that comes in whether its paid or sometimes unpaid, I guess that’s what you’re getting happening now with your accountant, getting an external board member essentially.

Tegan Studsor

Yeah, exactly right.

We’re effectively using them in that capacity. We have explored the board option and we didn’t opt for that at the moment but that’s not saying we won’t look to it in the future because we’ve seen the value in that, and the value of having other eyes on our business other than ourselves, of them to finding things we didn’t see because we see these things day in and day out so they’re fresh eyes.

Jen Waterson

And it’s about looking for that person that has those sets of skills that you don’t have.

It’s somebody who comes in regularly when you’re having these, I say board meetings but that’s a bit of an old-fashioned term, but you know what I mean, these regular meetings where you can get together, there’s some level of agenda and you’ve got someone else there that hasn’t been stuck in the day to day every day for the last month since you met last, who can say ‘hang on what about this, is there a better way?’, just to challenge your thinking a little bit, it works well in that regard too.

Tegan Studsor

Absolutely, and also what we’ve found in the last couple of months is we aren’t thinking far ahead enough, so we are business planning but like I said before, I’m 35 so we should be thinking and talking about retirement, and that sounds funny that I’m 35 and talking about retirement, but we need to actually have that conversation so we have a plan in place where I’m working hard now, I’m earning x amounts of dollars, what money do I need to retire? When do I want to retire? And having a plan in place to achieve it.

Jen Waterson

Yeah that all moves really neatly into my next conversation I wanted to have with you around succession planning.

For any listeners who haven’t spent time in this area, succession planning is about the plans we might make to have in place when we want to hand the reigns of the business over to someone else, or it could be that you’re looking at selling the business in x amounts of years, that type of thing. Do you and Erin have common goals there? So working together as a family business, is her family or your family more involved in the business and have a stronger presence in the business? Does that become an issue or do you have common expectations and goals for your business?

Tegan Studsor

Years ago, the way we worked is we would cross over because we’ve got multiple businesses, I might be doing the marketing for some of the businesses, whereas now we actually have a line in the sand of I will manage the training business and Erin will manage the traffic management business. We try and stay on that side of the fence, which is easy, so if there’s an issue or a phone call occurring, it’s very straight forward, it relates to that business it relates to that person.

In regards to the long term point of view, we actually have a lot of people say this to us, you will never sell because we’ve been in business for a while now, whereas our philosophy is if someone knocked on my door today and said hey I’m going to give you lots of dollars for your business.

Jen Waterson

Everything is for sale at the right price Tegan.

Tegan Studsor

Yeah that’s exactly right, our plans are not to sell in the immediate future, we have a plan in place but that may change, like I said if I had someone knock on my door, I’m not going to say no to that.

Everything is for sale at the right price.

We have a plan in place for a period of time to remain in the businesses that we have, but who knows what will happen, we’ve all seen what happened at the start of 2020, who would’ve thought we would be in the position we are, with a global pandemic.

I think the key of any business owner is to remain adaptable. All good and well, we’ve got a plan for 10 years ahead and we know the direction we’re heading in, but if we have to make a decision to pivot, be okay with that, be okay to change things, be fluent and adaptable.

If in maybe 3-5 years’ time we decide we’ve had enough and want to look at selling, we’ll reassess then. We’ve made a decision and we’ve spoke about each other’s desire of do we want to stay, how long do we want to work in this particular business for etc. and we’re probably lucky in the sense that by default, we’re very similar because we’re sisters, and we do respect that I’ve got a young child, my sisters got two kids as well so over the last couple of years we’ve had to juggle that amongst business ownership with one stepping out to have a child and raise a family, and I work remote so I’m not near our offices, I’ve been remote for six years, so it’s little things like that but yeah.

Jen Waterson

Maybe it isn’t an issue for you guys because you sound like you’re quite aligned, but how would you manage different appetites for debt or growth?

Often I see one person whose more naturally conservative in business partnerships whether they’re family or not, whether you’re a naturally conservative person or not, or the person is more naturally aggressive in wanting to grow and with debt and that sort of stuff.

Has that ever come up with you guys as being a sticky point?

Tegan Studsor

It has come up and you probably have just described what Erin and I are like as business partners.

Jen Waterson

So whose who?

Tegan Studsor

Erin is the go getter, she would take on the world tomorrow if you let her. She would double or triple the business and go national if I let her.

I’m more reserved and I tend to look at things a little bit longer, I take risks but I am a bit more conservative.

Jen Waterson

She’s the more out there one and you’re the ‘how’ person, she’s the ideas girl you’re the how girl.

Tegan Studsor

Yeah, as I say it, she’s the party girl and I’m the responsible one maybe.

But it works, the reason it works is that Erin will come up with a crazy idea of taking on the world and then I will balance that out and say I like that idea but let’s not take on the whole world, we’ll just take on half the world and do this…

In saying that, we both do switch at times, and this is what I’m saying, my personality type and what I contribute to the business if I have to and if I need to, is taking some risks and coming up with crazy ideas, it’s just natural tendencies that she’s the one that comes up with the crazy ideas.

Jen Waterson

Yeah, so we’ve had a conversation around the end of the business and what that might look like, and you’ve managed those different personalities along the way, let’s flip that right back to the very start, and the thing that I’ve always noticed with businesses over the years is that there seems to be a distinct difference between business partnerships between family members and business partnerships between non-family members.

The distinct differences is the formality of structures and agreements.

When it comes to formal structures and agreements, things like do you have agreements between working hours, salaries you’re working, flexibility and things you’ve built on over time.

Tegan Studsor

We have built on them overtime and don’t have a lot of formal black and white agreements that say Tegan must work x amount of hours and Erin must work y amount of hours.

We do have some other things in place of whose responsible for what, such as Tegan you’re responsible for these businesses and these aspects and so on.

With regards to work hours, I keep coming back to values, possibly because we’re sisters and family and very alike. My work ethic is very similar to Erin’s work ethic. We have an understanding in our main business where we’re working on roads with high traffic risk environment, we’re well aware of our duty of care as a business owner and what we need to do to protect our workers.

If we have to work an extra hour or two, or more, it has to be done. Not once has there ever been a situation where I’ve had to say to Erin, pull your socks up because you haven’t done your tasks, never has that ever entered our business relationship.

Jen Waterson

Yeah, and it’s about that trust and having an ability to think more from an employee perspective. We have had lots of employees and our motto is generally most of the time if it suits the position, you can work whatever hours you want to work, we don’t care, just get the work done and do it really well.

So work your day around your own lifestyle, if you need to start early and finish early because that’s what works best for your lifestyle then just do that and yes as an accounting business we track time but we don’t use that time to wrap people over the knuckles and say you weren’t here for x amount of hours, it’s more about the result that they’re getting at the end of the day .

I guess that’s what you and Erin are doing, looking at the result and the contribution that you’re both making to the business and assessing it in that way.

Tegan Studsor

Yeah, it’s about outcomes, are you getting the outcome we need from whatever we’re working on at the time. I don’t care if it takes Erin two hours to do it or two days to do it, I care that we achieve that outcome in that deadline.

For us, we have very different work hours and work days. In my case my typically days Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday at school hours. In Erin’s situation, she works different as well because her partner does shift work and her children are a little bit older. With her hours, some days she might start at 7am whereas the next day she might start at 10am. Her hours are a little wishy washy because of her partners roster and her lifestyle, she might be at the gym that morning and start later, or pick up the kids for gymnastics or whatever it may be.

We’re very lucky to have built our business to where it is today to be having the lifestyle that we have today, we have flexibility and that’s one of the reasons we’re business owners because we wanted to have the flexibility as working parents to choose if we go to work or choose to go to our child’s assembly, because I’ve got a wonderful team who run my business.

Jen Waterson

So you mentioned that you don’t care what hours Erin works as long as she achieves the outcomes and I’m sure Erin would say the same about you, what happens if those outcomes are not achieved?

Have you ever had to have those difficult conversations whether they’re financial conversations or around why haven’t you done this yet or why haven’t we achieved x yet?

Tegan Studsor

Nothing really comes to mind. There has been occasions where we’re working on something and maybe I haven’t done something and it’s not because I haven’t intended to do it, it’s because I have other priorities come up and it’s had to be pushed to the side. There’s never been an occasion where there’s been confrontation about it, just a situation of where are you at with it and what help do you need.

It’s always been a positive situation, we’re a team there’s no point saying why haven’t you done it, please explain. It’s always been this hasn’t been done, we’re behind, it’s due tomorrow, it has to be submitted, what’s our plan to achieve that? Can I take something off your plate? Can that other priority be moved?

Now that you say it, I think that’s possibly why we work well together because we work as a team, it sounds so cliché, but that’s what we ultimately do, I’ve got her back and she’s got my back.

Jen Waterson

It’s a tough gig running a business with a partner but throw in the whole family thing and it changes the dynamics of everything, including your life outside of business.

How do you go with that? If you’re at a family do, do you draw a line in the sand and say don’t talk business when we’re outside of the office? Or are you quite open with your business and your families? How do you handle that?

Tegan Studsor

That is a tricky one, we have another family member in the business whose actually our mum, so our mum works in the business as well as an employee.

So it’s me and Erin who are business partners and own the businesses, but she’s worked in the business for several years now. That’s an element that people often ask oh my god how do you make that work? But we generally have a very loose rule, no work talk if we’re at functions and stuff but it’s not a concrete rule.

Many people try and use the word balance, ‘you should have a balance of work x amount of hours and have x amount of time off’, I don’t believe in the word balance because to me that represents equal, I think it should be a line of if your life needs something more from you and you can’t allocate as many hours to the business, so be it, your life needs more hours at home with the family, and if your business has something significant going on and needs more hours as well.

Jen Waterson

I love that, I couldn’t agree more.

Tegan Studsor 

Yeah it’s like a see saw, when we’re at home or go to events we don’t talk shop constantly but we do still talk. If we see something or get an idea we will share it on the spot, I’m not going to say sit there and shut up, it’s just something we’re mindful of, if we go on holidays together we will go holidays and have needed down time.

That’s learning, we never were like that years ago so again we invested in ourselves to become better people and better business owners and we’ve gained that skill of understanding that you need to have holidays to switch off because you become a better person to the work. You have better ideas, more energy for your team, many people just put their head down bum up and keep working.

Jen Waterson

I’m with you, we work to holiday.

That’s our thing, we love our businesses and we love what we do but the holiday is what really drives it for us, my husband actually has an office with photographs of all the places we’ve been around the world and it’s just when things get a little bit tough and you get a little overworked, because it does happen, you get those weeks or months where you’re just so busy you look around and go okay this is why I’m doing this, so we can take the family on a holiday or do the things we want to do.

It’s such an important thing to get what you need out of your business and not have your business take over for you.

Tegan Studsor

Yeah absolutely, I’ve been in business for about 15 years now and it would’ve been three weeks ago I did a vision board, never done one previously, I attempted to many years ago but I tried one and its sitting behind me in my office, and on that vision board is about 30-40 images of things that are important to me.

In the middle I’ve got a picture of my partner and my daughter, and around that are things that I want to strive towards to complete in my life, whether that be going a holiday, going on a yoga retreat, a horse trek, all those experiences I want to have in the next few years I’ve got on my board.

I had a tricky situation happen last week and because it’s in front of me, I got off that call and quickly reset because I’m staring at this picture in front of me of all these wonderful things and it reminds me that I am doing these hard yards because these are things I want in my life for my family.

Jen Waterson

Yeah it’s really important to keep that in the front of your mind. It does slip away from time to time but if you can bring it back when you need to it’s so helpful.

One last question to ask you, how on earth do two girls and their mum get involved in such a male dominated business, where did this start? I’m really intrigued.

Tegan Studsor

I wish I had a dollar for every time I got asked that question because I’d be rich. The honest answer and I’ll keep this as short as possible, it actually started at a drunken Christmas party that Erin attended.

Erin was working for a business, she was young and went to a Christmas party and her boss actually suggested at the time, ‘hey if you want to get ahead in life, you need to start your business, you need to be a business owner, that’s the way to go’. Erin had never thought about it. Long story short, he said I’m actually going to give you some money, go and start your business and pick something that suits and at the time Erin was working for a drainage company and handling the traffic so she had experience in the area and she chose that, she got more training qualifications behind her, started her business by herself, went into the consulting for about 12 months.

Meanwhile, my background is hospitality events, and I was up north at the time working on a cattle station which was a construction site at the time, and she rang me and said I’m that busy I need you to come home and work for me in the business, and I said no I’m having a grand old time where I am, long story short I flew back and started working. I joined as a business partner and that was nearly 15 years ago. We were working from the garage and we did fall into it but it came into it at a time when our industry was lacking in a couple of areas.

It was lacking in professionalism, and I think that’s what we brought to the industry, and being female we’re very particular in attention to detail of how we do things, customer service is obviously a priority for us and I think that’s why our business grew so quickly in that five years but in saying all that, being in a male dominated industry is probably a podcast for another day in terms of the challenges we’ve had to overcome to get where we are, it has been difficult, it’s easier nowadays but at the start it was very challenging.

Jen Waterson

That’s such a great story, I really love it. I think it’s something that you’re going to look back on for a long time and every time something goes wrong you’ll be able to say Erin you got me into this mess now get me out of it.

Tegan Studsor

Exactly and early days in the business Erin and I worked on the roads ourselves, this was years ago, if we can shut down a freeway and switch traffic, we can do anything.

Jen Waterson

Congratulations, I love it. I’ve had a really good conversation with you, I think I could keep talking with you for another hour, you’ve got so much wisdom to share. Maybe I’ll have to get you back on another podcast on a different topic. But this has been great.

Thank you so much for coming on the podcast, where can people find you if they’re interested in what you’re doing? I know you’re on LinkedIn is there another place that people can look out for you?

Tegan Studsor

Yeah, I’d love to connect with others who have resonated with us today, maybe in a similar industry, or maybe a similar circumstance, the best way is on LinkedIn, Tegan Studsor. I’d be happy to connect or talk further with others.

Jen Waterson

Well, Tegan Studsor thank you so much, it’s been a great conversation, and I look forward to keeping in touch with you and your sister and seeing how things pan out with you guys. Thanks so much for coming on the show.

Wherever you might be listening in the world, thank you so much for joining us and we’ll talk again soon.