The founder and Managing Director of Pointer Remote, Jo Palmer, tells us about her business journey and how she changes lives by connecting job seekers to the careers they want without having them leave their homes, wherever that may be.
How did you get where you are today?
I avoided being an adult for as long as humanly possible and when it came to work, I realised I wasn't that great at doing it for other people. So what else do you do? Start your own company. (I've started three and sold two!) I've found my sweet spot with Pointer. I spend my days connecting people to each other and the impact those connections make is incredible.
Tell us about a day at work you'll never forget
It was the day I received my first email telling me that I had changed someone’s life. It was in the middle of the drought and we had placed a woman living on a farm in central NSW into a job that meant they didn’t have to sell their farm. Her salary would keep food on the table and the family on the land. It was seriously life changing for me.
What's the worst piece of advice you've been given and why was it so awful/useful?
After applying for a business accelerator program in Sydney (which would have required me to relocate for 3 months), the man interviewing me asked how old my kids were (1 and 3 at the time). When I told him, he responded that my kids were too young and that they needed their mother and that they preferred the 'young ones' who could jump on a plane to Singapore at short notice for a meeting. That still burns so deep for me and has been one of the driving forces behind my business' success, to prove not only that I can make it, but my two daughters are watching me do it.
Top skills / hobbies / random facts outside of work life?
I love snow skiing and have skied in countries all over the world. I love hiking and camping (my husband and I slept in our car for a month in the UK and climbed the highest mountain in each country - Scotland, England and Wales). I can eat an entire packet of biscuits in one sitting.
What's your personal quirk or point of difference that has helped you to excel in your field? Any advice for growing your personal brand?
I am fiercely loyal to my friends, almost to my detriment and I am really good at staying in touch with people. This has allowed me to excel in my field as my ever-growing network is the core foundation of Pointer. Growing your personal brand is tough, especially if you were a little wild in your youth but I think humanising your business brand with your own personal brand is a great way for people to connect with your business. It really gets buy-in, especially when you are leading a movement.
How would you describe how you have reached this point in your life and career?
By saying yes to everything. And then learning to say no. I've had some pretty dark times and have burnt myself out (twice) but everything I have said yes to has either opened doors or showed me something that I want to steer clear of.
What is your approach to personal finance? Any top tips or great advice you've had over the years?
I've always had a second bank account and have always 'paid' myself first. Even as a kid, my sister would blow her cash at the shops and I would squirrel my money away. In business, I do the same thing. There is a separate account that the GST, tax, PAYG and super goes into, every time an invoice is paid. It means that when the BAS is due or super needs paying, it's there and I'm not scrambling madly to find it.
What mistakes have you made?
Where to start? The saying yes to everything and not recognising where the line is to say no. Not prioritising exercise and time for me - challenging when you run a business, a household and kids but as soon as you prioritise that 'self care' time, all facets of life improve.
What is your approach to business banking and accounting? Are you obsessed? Do you hate it and avoid it? What automation hacks that have helped you streamline your systems?
Obsessed. Xero is my favourite business tool ever. I direct debit as much as possible. I set up future payments in my internet banking for bills as they come in. When a team’s financial livelihood depends on you, you need to be all over your numbers.
How do you prepare for negotiation conversations?
Have the conversation first thing in the morning. Get it done!
Have you ever made a mistake in the business in terms of negotiating that you now regret doing?
Many times. I think I sometimes show all my cards too early so I'm definitely working on this!
What one tip would you tell your younger self about negotiating?
The worst answer is no. So, make two sets of plans as a response to the negotiation outcome. And then stick with it once the negotiation is done.
Can you tell us about a time youʼve experienced imposter syndrome, or not feeling good enough? How did you overcome this?
I used to feel it every day! I couldn't care less now. Every time it creeps in, I remind myself that I have a seat at the table for a reason and what I have to say is important. As long as I am sticking to my values and core goals, I have the same right as everyone else to be there.
How do you keep track of your accomplishments and how do you celebrate your success?
I keep a journal with quarterly goals and quarterly check-ins. I'm still not great at celebrating the wins, but I do go and have a massage every month, which I feel covers any wins in the past 4 weeks!
Who has taught you the most about knowing your value in the workplace?
My dear friend superannuation expert Zoe Lamont is a fountain of knowledge with lived experience and is so generous with her time, advice and love. She has shown me the power in goal-setting and long-term planning as a means of being comfortable with making decisions now that will make a big impact later.
What has been your biggest or best failure and what did you take from it?
I make mistakes daily, but I honestly don’t see any of my experiences as failures. Yes, I probably could have sometimes handled things differently, but all of those experiences have led me down this path, so I don't ever worry about it!
Who do you draw inspiration from?
Cliche but my mum Margot. She is an absolute legend and still surprises me every week. She has travelled the world, worked in so many different industries and has risen above some major traumas in her life and she is just the most chilled out woman you'll come across!
Do you have a routine or habit that you practice that allows you to do what you do?
I've only just got into a genuine routine of doing yoga every morning. It has changed my life. I can touch my toes for the first time ever.
Are you reading or listening to anything at the moment?
I've just finished 'Not that kind of girl' by Lena Dunham (and have subsequently fallen down a binge watching hole of her TV series 'Girls'.
Whatʼs your favourite quote?
Bite of more than you can chew, then chew like crazy.
If you were starting your business today - what do you wish you'd known?
That a regular salary is years away!