Growing in community, confidence AND clarity with Jacinta Dark
Today I am joined by special guest Jacinta Dark, business owner of Elsk Botanical. Elsk Botanical is an outdoor design studio that helps you create spaces you want to be in. Jacinta delights in connecting her clients to nature through thoughtful curation and finding those special items that make outdoor spaces a joy to be in.
Jacinta joined us in Cohort One of the Run Your Business Like Boss Academy and she also helped me with my own outdoor space renovation! In this episode, I chat with Jacinta about the messy middle stage of business and how she has built a business model that allows her business to grow while retaining freedom and flexibility.
Elsk Botanical has grown and evolved since it was first started. Javinta explains how she has shifted her offering to focus on functional outdoor living design (a big, emerging industry!) and how she grew her referrals in the early days.
When Jacinta first joined the Run Your Business Like A Boss Academy, she was in a big transition period for her business. She reveals what this looked like and how her journey as a business owner has required her to understand her strengths and what brings her joy. Jacinta shares how transitioned into working full-time in Elsk Botanical and apply her skills from work as an occupational therapist to her business.
Since graduating from the Academy, Jacinta's business has grown in leaps and bounds. She explains her biggest learnings and how group coaching has helped her gain clarity around her offering and connect with a like-minded group of business owners. Jacinta also explains that finding her niche has been one of her most valuable lessons from the Academy. This has allowed her not only to enjoy her work but also to serve her clients better.
Finally, Jacinta shares what’s next for Elsk Botanical in 2023 and her top tip for getting the most out of the Run Your Business Like A Boss Academy.
If you’re in that messy middle stage of business, doing all the things and wondering how you get to that next stage, you’re going to love this conversation.
Topics We Covered:
[00:00:00] Kristy: Hello boss and welcome back to the Run Your Business Like A Boss podcast. Today I'm joined by special guest Jacinta Dark, who is the business owner of Elsk Botanical. Elsk botanical is an outdoor design studio to help you create spaces that you want to be in a space that is relaxing, a space you can entertain and enjoy your life.
I am talking with Jacinta about the messy middle stage of business. Jacinta joined me inside of cohort one of the Run Your Business Like A Boss Academy, and ahead of joining us inside of the Academy, she was doing all the things and feeling very overwhelmed by her business. And in today's conversation we're gonna talk about how she was able to build a business model that allows her business to grow, but also retain that freedom and flexibility for her to enjoy not only her family, but also her life.
So if you've been feeling overwhelmed by all the things in your business, I think you're gonna get a lot of value and insight from Jacinta's experience. Are you ready? Let's go.
[00:01:04] Kristy: Hello, Jacinta. I am so excited for you to be joining me today on the podcast, a very warm welcome.
[00:01:50] Jacinta: Thanks Kristy, it's awesome to be here. Thanks for having me.
[00:01:52] Kristy: Oh, I'm so thrilled to, for us to be having this conversation. You and I worked together in cohort number [00:02:00] one of the run Your Business Like a Boss Academy, and you and I have also worked together as you have helped me with part of my renovation, which we will talk about throughout today's conversation and prior to us actually working together, we had been long time followers each other's work, and I'd love to begin the conversation with you, sharing a little bit more about who you serve, what you do, and a little bit about your services through your lens.
[00:02:30] Jacinta: So Elsk Botanical is essentially a design studio where we create beautiful, functional, inspiring outdoor spaces. So we go from the concept and design through to project management and installation. So we love bringing it all together for our clients so they can relax and enjoy their space.
So we're all about thoughtful design that's inviting and allows you to relax and use your space, whether it's with the family or to entertain. Our philosophy is that your environment impacts your mood and your general wellbeing. So having a space that's connected to nature, having a space that's really thoughtfully curated really impacts how you live your life. And I know I personally get so much positive energy going into a beautifully styled space and whether it's, you know, a store, whether it's a restaurant, or whether it's a hotel, the look and the feeling that a space gives you really impacts my enjoyment of being there, I guess.
So to the point where you can ask my husband, we've sort walked out of different restaurants at different times cuz it just didn't feel right. So the vibe wasn't quite right. So, a And that doesn't necessarily mean it needs to be a really high end space or with a lot of designer furniture, but it's just how, the space is brought together.
So, at Elsk I think there's probably three main elements to our design and what we really try and think about with our [00:04:00] clients, and that's one, having a space that functions as you live so it functions the way you wanna use your space. Two is having things that you love. I really delight in helping people find and filter through all of the options out there, I guess, to find things that they really love.
So, and I guess the third thing, which is really important to us at Elsk Botanical is a connection to nature. Whether that's a in a plant or connection to the garden, you can see that in many different forms.
[00:04:36] Kristy: Yeah, I mean, as I said at the beginning, I have had the pleasure of working with you through our renovation and what you said about your environment can influence or affect your life and also your wellbeing, it's so true, and since we have redone our outdoor space, it just feels like there is somewhere to go.
It's like a sanctuary. Like my husband and I talk about the fact that we feel like we live in a resort. So I feel like you really helped to bring that together. We obviously had structural landscapers who did all of the hard work, but then there was that piece afterwards, or I knew that it was approaching, is how are we going to live in this?
What's it going to look like? And it's so daunting to think about what pieces are gonna work where and as I said to you at the beginning of us working together is I really need to tie it all together. There's quote unquote, rooms within our outdoor space, and you were able to help to curate that so that there was synergy between all of the spaces.
And so no matter where you are in our garden, it feels like the same place, but it feels different at the same time which is super special. So I can definitely relate to that wellbeing and happiness piece cause I feel so much happiness and joy out there.
[00:05:56] Jacinta: that's so good. I'm so pleased you're enjoying the space [00:06:00] and it, feels and is working, you know, for you guys as a family, as you envisaged. Yeah.
[00:06:05] Kristy: You've come from a different place. Like originally it was plant curation and now you've gone more into this functional outdoor living design and I think this is a real emerging industry Jacinta, I think that this is something that's going to have a huge breakthrough this year, and you are at the forefront of it, and I think that more and more people are going to start to invest in their outdoor space.
I can tell you having done it myself. There are so many people that stop outside our house. And a neighbor actually said to me just this morning, they said, Kristy, your house is looking awesome, but there's like a traffic jam out the front because cause people are stopping to look. So I think that people are starting to realize that you can create some amazing things and having just come back from the U.S. , one of the things that I noticed is that all the gardens looked really amazing. But you've come from a different space. Like you started off with plant curation and now you've gone into the interior design. How did that come
[00:06:57] Jacinta: Yeah. So I guess, Elsk has really evolved over the last four years that I've been doing it. But it came about by listening to my clients, I guess, and seeing what they were actually needing help with. So I did start my journey mainly with, plants, and that was around plant styling.
So thinking about what kind of vibe you're trying to create and working with plants that will create that vibe. But I guess it really came together when I styled my own home as well and I was really interested in pulling all of those elements together. So how the furniture that you chose, how the paving that you used, how the plants and pots that you used really brought it all together and those extra styling elements like your cushions and towels and things that you put on the table that really tie it together and make it feel really personal and really, a beautiful space to be. So I had a lot of cheerleaders at the beginning. I would say so friends and family, and I did a lot of work with people that I knew and, my referrals just grew [00:08:00] from that in terms of, people sharing their experiences like you have with others.
So I've grown and matured in my, role as a designer within Elsk and wanting to bring all of that together. So, it can be really tricky when you, you know, you love a couch or you love a table or a pot, but how do all of those elements work together? How do you get this scale right so that, you know, it fits into the space well. So it was a lot of feedback, a lot of learning from me, but wanting to really provide that full service to the customer. So from a concept through to installing, and I mean, the installation is my favourite part. I project manage it down to everything arriving in a couple of days and potting all the plants and having like a big reveal. And that's, I guess my favourite part of any project is that big reveal to the client and having them delight in what they see.
[00:08:58] Kristy: I love that. It certainly has been a beautiful natural evolution and unfolding of your business. And one thing that I think that we can all really take away from what you said at the beginning of that was that it came from your clients. Your clients really needed that. And I can totally understand what you were saying about scale.
It's so hard to kind of go, okay, how would that work? And then how does that tie back to that one? And then, and it's the little things like the cushions, the pot plants. I mean, we spent a long time figuring out the pots for our place because it was like, you wanna stay on genre, but you also want it to be unique and special and we were very clear about what we did and didn't want, but you just totally nailed that. So I love how it's naturally evolved through the years and experience that you've had, and you're really meeting your clients where you're at, as well as honoring you and what you enjoy. The fact that you love
[00:09:54] Jacinta: That's been, that's been super important and a journey for me as well as a business owner to understand [00:10:00] my strengths and understand what brings me joy, which is why I started my own business in the first place. So, cuz you can get caught up in all the things and yeah. So I'm bringing it back to my expertise, I guess.
[00:10:13] Kristy: So when we started to work together inside of the Run Your Business Like A Boss Academy you were at quite that transitional space between what you were doing previously and then moving into more of this outdoor design piece, can you tell us a little bit about what was going on for you at that time inside of the business?
[00:10:30] Jacinta: Absolutely. It's very fair to say I was in a big transitional period in that Elsk was still a small business on the side of my career as an occupational therapist. So I've been managing it, I guess you would call it, as a side hustle for four years prior to that. And getting to that point where I was getting enough work to make me super busy that, you know, I couldn't hold onto both careers.
So I did make the leap to jump out of clinical role and into the business full-time. So, big leap of faith, but I had a, you know, a lot of supporters through my family and friends and so on and so forth. So, when I took on Elsk full-time, I guess I was saying yes to everything because you worry financially about getting enough work. You worry about being busy enough, when you're first starting out. So I was saying yes to all jobs, anyone who asked, you know, and I was doing workshops and I was doing maintenance and I was doing lots and lots of different things, hiring plants out, styling for real estate.
So there were so many things, and I guess I had no specific plan and direction. So I really needed that business coaching and that business help. So when I came to the Academy, I can't even remember that person really, cuz it was 12 months ago. I think I've come so far in that time, but yeah, obviously I've come from such a clinical [00:12:00] background. I studied, you know, at uni for four years to be an O.T. and I sort of just jumped into business, with a lot of passion and creativity with no business acumen, I guess. So I was really seeking, support in those areas. Yeah.
[00:12:16] Kristy: Yeah. I think that what you're describing is something that's very common for small business owners at this stage of business where you're trying to do all of the things and you're trying to figure out what , you know, what you are offering and you don't wanna say no to anybody. And to your point earlier that you know, you're starting to get your business going and getting that momentum.
And there's also a little bit of fear around, oh, well, if I say no to that, or if I really get into this, then what's going to happen? And when you don't have that business strategy in place, that makes it even more confusing for you as to what to do next. So you're at this transitional stage and you were saying yes to all the things and you knew that you'd gained this great traction with your business.
When you decided to join us inside of the Run Your Business Like A Boss Academy, what is it that you were hoping to achieve throughout our time together?
[00:13:05] Jacinta: First and foremost, I was really keen to connect with others in business. So yourself, but also the other Academy alumni, I guess. So I really, was really seeking that group, I guess, where we shared common challenges, ambitions and so on. So I think that was really lacking when you're working on your own, you're really relying on support from people who potentially don't have the advice to give you. So I was really keen to connect and that's why the Academy format really appealed to me. I guess secondly was to have more confidence in my business, my story and the brand itself. So when you're on your own, it's easy to feel quite lost or feel like you're... you know, I just wanted to hear other people's stories and really connect and just have [00:14:00] more confidence in my business.
[00:14:02] Kristy: Yeah, it's so true. When you are working on your own, it can feel like you are a bit of a lone soldier along the way. And it can also feel like in some ways that this is exclusively happening to you, but actually when you're in a room with other business owners who are at an equally similar stage of business, regardless of industry, it's interesting how much there's synergy between what you are going through and what you're experiencing.
And there's so much comfort in that. And I think that when you're in a room and you're talking about what you've experienced with the content and whatnot, and to hear other people's experience with it makes you go, oh, I didn't think of it like that, or, I'm so glad you said that because I thought I was the only one that thought or felt like that.
And then that confidence and clarity peace, like I think it's so easy. ..when you have confidence and when you have clarity, anything is possible, and I really believe that. And it's so awesome to hear that you got to have that through the process of working with the other business owners inside of the Academy and the experience as a whole. So throughout the process of the Academy over the 16 weeks, what did you love about the experience? That's my first question, and then I'll back that up with how have you applied what you've learned inside the academy to take your business to that next level?
[00:15:16] Jacinta: I think I have really loved the group, so I still connect with the other people, yourself included, who were involved. And I've actually worked with um, one of the other Academy people. So that has been fabulous and just supporting each other, you know, whether it's a message on Instagram or liking each other's updates on socials.
So that has given me a real sense of connection. So I think that was one of the main things I've been seeking. But what I've learned, it's a big long list, but I guess a lot of reflecting on my past experiences and that was something that was quite surprising to me, I guess, too, really going back and thinking about my story and what has brought me to this point.
[00:16:00] Previously I probably thought there was two defined careers. I was an OT and now I'm this and spending that time reflecting on t he skills and knowledge that I've required in that career and what I can bring to this career really validated that for me, that it is more of a transition rather than a start and finish.
And so that really helped me think a lot about why I'm doing what I'm doing and all of the focus on environment really became apparent for me where I was able to really think about ...as an O.T. you're thinking about environment and how that impacts on a person's function. And in a similar way, I'm thinking about how an environment when I'm designing a space will impact on that client and their family.
So that was really, really fantastic just to think about that link rather supporting what I'm doing now. The other thing is, I guess, how to be an expert in my own business and what I stand for, and then being able to speak to that. So I think whilst I still find it hard to articulate at times, and I think that's just me personally now learning, but it's giving me a lot more confidence to be an expert in that space.
So the other thing was how to create a business with intentions. So thinking about, know, why I started and what I really wanna get out of the business. So I've still got a little way to go, but I've started structuring things a lot better to match and suit my busy family life with how I'm structuring my business life.
So, it, it probably sounds obvious, but sometimes it takes time to sort of explore and think about so that you can make a plan moving forward. So one of the biggest things I suppose was finding my niche. So what am I really gonna focus on in my business? So, as I said before, I was [00:18:00] doing everything, which was great and I felt really busy and I felt like I was achieving a lot, but it's not sustainable over time. So I'm moving into my niche now as looking at outdoor spaces, looking at completing complete projects.
And I feel that it will be an easier process moving forward and I'm gonna enjoy that a lot more. I'm gonna be serving my clients, you know, in a better way. And, um, yeah...
[00:18:30] Kristy: Wow, that's a lot. You're not alone in that experience of feeling like there was the before and then there was the after. And those ...how do you create that linkage between the career that you had before you started your business and then the business that you have? There's a lot of content inside of one of the modules that really helps to guide you through that process and help you to understand where to look to create those links.
And I really believe that when you have that absolute solidarity of where you've come from and what you stand for and what you don't stand for, and why you're doing what you're doing and what makes you unique and all of the things that have contributed. Transferable skills, life skills, all of those things, they don't just start when you start your business, that starts way back. Right. And to have I guess that clear understanding of your chronological timeline and how all of those things fit into why you do what you do, and how you can uniquely create the transformational outcomes and impacts for your clients, that then gives you that, okay , right, this isn't just from four or five, six years ago when I started my business. This is lifelong stuff. And I know with all of that behind me, I can go out there and I can do this and I can do that, and it's just that, it just really helps to contribute or give some notches on your belt to go yep, I can offer that thing, which, you know, when you don't feel like you have all of that history behind you, you might be a little more hesitant to go away and offer that or increase your [00:20:00] prices or whatever that might be for your business.
And then I love what you said about building a business with intention. Doing all the things, I actually think it's really important for early stages of business to do all of the things because it gives you experience and it also gives you a better understanding of what you want and what you don't want, so that when you're at this stage of business, you can, declutter all the weeds and then build a business that actually works for you, but you know that you've tried all the things and you know what you actually want this to look like moving forward, and to have that niche and to be really clear on who it is that you wanna serve, and what it is, what problem you are solving and what outcome you're giving those people is, that's massive. Like I think that there's so much talk about niche and so much talk about who your ideal client is, but it's so much more than just the basics. That informs so much of what your business is and how you're gonna deliver your services and what services you're gonna have.
So to have that very clear in your mind is a great launchpad into this next season of your business.
So what should we expect from Elsk Botanical? in 2023?
[00:21:07] Jacinta: A lot of work on my business this first quarter, so I 'm doing a new website, which should be out by the time this podcast launches, which will really showcase some of the previous installations I've done. So I've fantastic photography. And it will also outline my services going forward from 2023. So, it's exciting, uh, to get that out there and it's been a lot of work to pull together, but I'm really excited to get that out into the world. I've got some new projects starting this month. So I'm really looking forward to working with those clients and bringing those projects together.
I am hoping that my new services will create sort of some space a good balance I guess, if that's a possibility between work life balance. So, that's Elsk in 2023 moving forward into[00:22:00] outdoor spaces.
[00:22:02] Kristy: Yeah, I love that and I love that your intention is to have that balance and you know there's always going to be fine tuning of your business and you are almost having this relaunch of your business somewhat with your new services and your website and what you're going to be looking to achieve this year. So that's very, very exciting.
So as we wrap up our conversation today, what would you say to anybody who was sitting on the fence and thinking about joining the Academy? What would you say to them?
[00:22:28] Jacinta: I would say, invest in yourself. I know there's a financial, you know, investment, but it's really investing in yourself, investing in your business. But I would say make sure you have the time to invest as well. You really need to spend the time on the Academy to get the most out of it.
You know, the old what you put in, you get out. But it's a really good time and space to really hone what you wanna be doing in your business and how you wanna move forward. So I would say, you may even make some fantastic connections that you'll have throughout your business journey which is wonderful.
[00:23:04] Kristy: Good advice. Definitely. If you are thinking about joining the Academy, making sure you set aside that time and that you invest in not only the learning, but also the implementation and execution of what you are learning. Now Jacinta, where can we find you? How can we learn about your your work?
[00:23:19] Jacinta: So obviously the website. A website. I'm also on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. So all the socials.
[00:23:27] Kristy: And if you are looking to make your Instagram feed really beautiful, you absolutely must follow Jacinta because she has lots of incredible images of the work that she does. And yeah, if you're wanting more green inside of your feed, then definitely go and check out Jacinta. As someone who has personally invested in Jacinta's services, I definitely recommend if you are thinking about doing your outdoor space and you are based in Brisbane and surrounds, you should definitely go and check out her website, learn more about her services, because having dealt with that [00:24:00] overwhelm of what to do in terms of bringing the outdoor spaces together and making as well as beautiful. Having someone who is an expert at this is absolutely essential and well worth the investment.
[00:24:13] Jacinta: Thanks Kristy.
[00:24:14] Kristy: Thanks, Jactina. I appreciate you coming and sharing your experience with us, and I'm so thrilled that you got so much value from the Academy and that this has provided you with the support that you needed to go away and really transform your business so that not only are you doing the work that you love, but you are working with the people that you enjoy working with, but also have that ability to have a life that you also love, which is always i mportant to me and I know is important Thank you so much. And to you boss. Thank you so much for joining us for today's conversation. If Jacinta's story resonated and inspired you, I encourage you to join us for the next round of the run Your Business Like A Boss Academy.
If you're listening to this episode as it goes live, the doors will be opened through to Friday, the 17th of February at 5:00 PM. So I invite you to click the link and join us for this cohort. This is the place to be if you want to build a strategy so that you can, A grow your business, but allows you to do so in a sustainable way.
You need to create space in your business in order for you to be able to have the freedom and flexibility that you crave. So head down into the link, join us today, build that business strategy and make the changes that you need to make in order to free up your time and create more impact whilst doing so.
Thanks again for joining us for today's conversation. As always, I look forward to chatting with you next week.
Links and Resources
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About your host, Kristy
Hi, I'm Kristy, thank you for tuning in to the Run Your Business Like a Boss Podcast. My purpose for the podcast is to help Business Owner’s in the growth stage of business (messy middle) have a sustainable business, they love.
I’m an online business coach, based in Brisbane, Australia. I provide 1:1 business coaching, to Service Based Online Business Owner's and a group coaching program commencing in 2022. I believe whole heartedly that having a Business Coach is what gives you the competitive edge. As your coach I support you to overcome challenges quickly, uncover blindspots and make business decisions with confidence and clarity. All of which keeps you moving forward and maintaining momentum.
As your Business Coach, my role is to help you organise and formulate your ideas, turn them into a goal and then into an actionable plan! All while meeting you where you're at and providing you relevant tools and support along the way.
Thank you for tuning in to the Run Your Business Like A Boss podcast!