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My guest this week is a personal inspiration and one of the amazing professionals contributing to the success of Small Is The New Big and my personal brand. Bec Derrington is a serial entrepreneur, PR Queen, and influencer marketing guru. She’s taught me so much about how to share my message about the need for more affordable housing in Australia. This episode is a must-listen for anyone who has a story to tell and wants to know how to reach the masses!

About Bec Derrington

Bec Derrington is a leading PR and marketing strategist and the founder of SourceBottle and the employee advocacy platform, Influencer HUB.

With an early career as a lawyer, Bec quickly realised she was more passionate about ‘telling and selling’ people’s brand stories. So, she started over – completing a business/marketing degree and working up to executive and senior management marketing, public relations, and corporate communication roles in the services sector. And she never looked back.

After the birth of her first child, Bec started her public relations firm, Wagging Tongues. She quickly recognised a need for a service that allowed journalists and bloggers to use new and old media to ‘call-out’ for fresh sources for stories.

It was that creative idea that became the free service, SourceBottle. Since then, SourceBottle has moved beyond just a service for Australian journalists, bloggers, and sources. The service is now available in North America, the UK, and New Zealand and distributes approximately 15M emails a year – each brimming with free media leads.

Her latest project, Influencer HUB, is a tool that helps businesses amplify their social media reach through employee and superfan advocacy in a simple, efficient, and scalable way.

Introduction: 0:02

Thanks for joining us for this Small Talk, Big Ideas podcast, a podcast to enrich yourself where we have conversations with inspiring people about all things, property, business, and life . And now the host of Small Talk, Big Ideas. Ian Ugarte.

 

Ian Ugarte (00:23):

Hey, welcome to today’s podcast on Small Talk Big Ideas. And today, when I say fair suck of the Source Bottle that will make a lot of sense with the guest that we’re bringing in. Bec has, from a start of a new business, she’s an entrepreneur, she’s got the flair about what she does, an extremely competent person and has got a new startup that is just underway right now.

 

She’s done extraordinary things in the space of media and putting all the media aspects together to be able to get the journalist the easy ride home. So today, please welcome and we’ll talk to the amazing Bec Derrington. And as always, if you need to and want to, please follow us on all the social media platforms. Simply find Ian Ugarte or search for Small is the New Big. Hey Bec, how are you going?

 

Bec Derrington (01:08):

Hello, Ian. I’m good, thank you. I’m bit cold today.

 

Ian Ugarte (01:12):

Well you are in Victoria, one of the coldest places on earth. 

 

Bec Derrington (01:18):

I am. I’m in the COVID hot space. 

Ian Ugarte (01:20):

So Bec, you are a former Dux of your college, correct? 

 

Bec Derrington (01:26):

No, I wasn’t Dux of school. I did all right at school. I worked very hard at school. I’m a bit of a-

 

Ian Ugarte (01:32):

What does all right mean? Were you a straight-A student? 

 

Bec Derrington (01:36):

No, not a straight-A student. I had certain strengths in the English, Humanities side, and maybe a few deficiencies in the other.

 

Ian Ugarte (01:47):

Now you didn’t grow up in Victoria from what I remember. Where were you born and brought up?

 

Bec Derrington (01:52):

So I was born in Cairns, I’m a Queenslander, and I spent most of the first, well, up until my late 20s in Cairns and Brisbane. I went to school in a local primary school in Cairns called Edge Hill State School. 

And then I went away to boarding school in Brisbane for my high school years. And then I went to uni in both Townsville and Brisbane. So I’ve sort of had a little bit of a tour around Queensland throughout my education. 

 

Ian Ugarte (02:26):

So how did you go from a 40 degree humidity to minus two, where you are right now? How did that happen? 

 

Bec Derrington (02:36):

I think I’d been to Melbourne once before I had another trip down here and actually fell madly in love with the place. But that wasn’t the key driver to me moving to Melbourne. I moved to Melbourne in 2001, the end of 2001 because my now husband was based down here. And we used to work together in Queensland, we were both lawyers together. 

Then he moved to Melbourne and all of a sudden I decided he was much more attractive in Melbourne. And so we went from great friends in Brisbane to oh my God! Maybe it’s absence makes the heart grow fonder, I don’t know. So I moved down here really just following my heart.

 

Ian Ugarte (03:27):

So you’re essentially saying that you weren’t in a loving partnership, you were good friends in Queensland. And when he was gone you realized that he was the man. 

 

Bec Derrington (03:37):

Yeah, pretty much. I just sort of feel like, I like to make things difficult for myself. So as soon as he was like thousands of kilometers away from me, I decided he was a lot more desirable. So we were friends for about six years actually before we started dating. And we’re happily been married for a long time now with three kids.

 

Ian Ugarte (04:06):

I’m a bit curious and we might be getting a little bit personal here, but what was that discussion like? Like, when you moved to Melbourne, did you just say, oh, I decided to move to Melbourne too or did you actually say, yeah I think we’ve got something going on here, girlfriend. What are we going to do? 

 

Bec Derrington (04:20):

What basically happened was, we were friends and he sort of said, come on down to Melbourne. This was earlier in the year, because I had a few other friends down here as well. And so I said, okay. So I jumped on a plane and flew down and thought, wow! I don’t really think I know, Jared, my husband’s name is, I don’t think I know Jared well enough to be staying with him at his house. But anyway, so I did.

 

And so the relationship sort of blossomed from that weekend when we kind of decided oh, actually, we quite enjoy each other’s company, maybe more than just friends and then we had a long distance relationship for about nine months. And that was just before Ansett collapsed, so I think basically all the cheap flights that we managed to get from Ansett may have brought about their demise. Was it Ansett? Yeah.

 

Ian Ugarte (04:20):

It was Ansett.

 

Bec Derrington (04:20):

2001.

 

Ian Ugarte (05:18):

Little known fact here is that if Ansett could have held out for another two days, Virgin would’ve gone under before Ansett. So it’s a really interesting aspect that the insider people now about this. Two days and Ansett would have survived and Virgin would have gone.

 

Bec Derrington (05:34):

Wow! Is that right?

 

Ian Ugarte (05:36):

So Bec, it was your fault. In the end, it was your fault. There you go. So you’re both lawyers, practicing lawyers. What area of law did you practice? 

 

Bec Derrington (05:48):

Building construction litigation.

 

Ian Ugarte (05:50):

Really? I didn’t know that. 

 

Bec Derrington (05:54):

So well suited to me. Yeah, I know. It really suits me. It’s what you would have thought I would have gone into. So I only practiced because I had made a promise to my parents that I would get admitted in practice, because I knew that I really hated practicing law but I hadn’t convinced them of that fact yet. And they thought you really need to demonstrate how miserable you are before you can give it away as a vocation. And trust me I did, was miserable and I showed them that. So yes, I felt like I had done that obligatory year of practicing post admission. And then I went back to uni and started all over and did what I wanted to do from the start.

 

Ian Ugarte (06:38):

So because that’s an interesting point, I always wanted to be a lawyer myself but my dad refused to allow me to do that and made me do plumbing instead and comedy, of course, because I’m so not funny. 

Okay, so you did that year, what was your move, like I indicated and hinted to fair suck of the sauce bottle. I don’t know what that saying actually means in Australia, but you have actually started and created as an entrepreneur a company called SourceBottle. Do you want to talk about, how did you go from law? Did you do anything in between before you got to SourceBottle?

 

Bec Derrington (07:15):

Yes. So I did, I went back to uni and I started all over. And I ended up doing a business degree majoring in marketing and PR. And then I started a job at the Queensland Law Society. And I worked with some incredible women there. And I got that practical experience. And there was an obvious fusion between marketing and PR and law. So it was a nice marriage of my skills. And I just obviously got better and better in that role and absolutely loved it.

                 

So I was studying and working back in Brisbane at that stage and I moved into that professional services marketing area. So I worked at a recruitment agency, working as their marketing BD manager. And then I moved down to Melbourne and I worked at CPA Australia as a marketing exec, and then moved to a law firm called Hall & Wilcox. And so I just really established real niche in that professional services, marketing and PR area.

                 

And then of course, but that very high pressure environment doesn’t really facilitate family life terribly easily. And my husband also, he stayed in the law and he was working in areas that meant he had to travel a lot, very long hours. So I thought we both can’t have that same kind of lifestyle, which was fine up until we decided to have a family. And so with the birth of our first son, we have three sons, with the birth of our first son, I decided to start a consultancy firm, a PR and marketing consultancy firm and I called Wagging Tongues and I loved it.

                 

I loved working in that space and working with a lot of small businesses and really trying to help them get their names on the map. But at the time, there was a real gap. I mean the way businesses and we’re talking back 2007, the way businesses would get publicity would be through their own media contacts or through a public works consultant who had a network of contacts. And this is really the beginnings of the social media, so the traditional media of newspapers, radio was kind of transitioning into a very dominant online, there was an online force as well that was growing.

                 

And people were starting to be empowered themselves as individuals, sort of bloggers or as their own storytellers, they became storytellers themselves. I used to brace myself every time I had to follow up with a journalist and the journalist kept changing, I moved to Melbourne, I didn’t have that network of contacts to start with when I first entered this field in this area. The industry was ripe for disruption.

                

 I could recognize that the media landscape was really changing and evolving. If you didn’t have a lot of contacts, it was really, really difficult to get through to journalists. And crowdsourcing was becoming a bit of a thing and I thought, well, listen, if I create a platform that actually harnesses that crowdsourcing concept to reach out to journalists and actually say to them, okay, why don’t we collectively, so me, acting on behalf of my clients and everybody and citizen Joe or Jane, give everyone the opportunity to respond to call outs as in when you need them. 

                 

Because up until that point it was kind of like journalists were operating as like a restaurant with no menu, where you walk in and a whole lot of perspective and a waiter comes and just put a whole heap of plates out and says, I hope you like one of them. And that’s really the way the industry was working, it was operating. They would just be bombarded with media releases, when really they just wanted this particular source to tell this particular story. I thought, why don’t I create a menu like a delivery service where everyone can pitch in and they can get access to these great stories that have been untold until then. 

                 

So that’s a long winded way of me explaining the evolution of SourceBottle. And I really wanted to make a big investment, which it was a startup, but I wanted to make a big investment because I didn’t want journalists to feel this was just like a little flash in the pan kind of thing. So I invested heavily in the tech to make sure that it was a really effective matchmaking service. And it’s just evolved over time, like any new tech platform, you’re constantly reinvesting and reiterating to try to address those sort of needs. 

                

 And really advertising was going to be the primary revenue generator for it because I just thought the list would build over time. And of course that’s changed over time as different needs have been required. And I actually thought that people would go, oh, I get it. Yeah, I can see how this can help me. And they’d immediately sign on to get access to free media opportunities. But there was this incredible lag between when the website was launched, which is a funny story in itself, funny that you say fair suck of the sauce bottle, but I’ll come to that.

                 

And when I actually got a critical mass, so it started becoming really useful to journalists, because it’s a chicken and egg business, if you have lots of journalists calling out to nobody there, getting crickets, they’re not going to use the service again. But likewise, if you’ve got a whole lot of people going, I haven’t found any relevant leads, they’re dissatisfied. But I thought the lesser of the evils was for people to be sitting quietly not hearing from me, not realizing they’re not hearing from me, as opposed to journalists using the service and not getting much of a response. 

                 

So I had to really, really push building the membership base using free methods, because it’s a really difficult service to advertise. It’s because a lot of people don’t really get it. You need to use it and then all of a sudden, you go, oh, now I see how this works. My mother and father, I think still don’t really understand what it is and we’re talking 11 years on. It’s a funny little thing, and I thought, oh, journalists, they’re going to love it, they’ll promote it to their networks, for sure. 

                 

But instead you had different media hacks saying, oh, god, this is the tool for lazy journalists and making disparaging comments about it because they kind of resented the fact that well, they’d done it the traditional way. You had new journalists kind of go, yeah I’ll just click a call out on SourceBottle and people will throw themselves at me and my job’s done. So I do a whole lot of resistance. 

 

Ian Ugarte (14:48):

There’s a similarity there between, so you have created for journalists what realestate.com did for agents. So here we’ve got this platform where a real estate agent had to go out and they had to tread the paths and knock on doors and do what they had to do to get to the consumer to firstly list a property, get the property and then the consumer that wanted to buy it. And so you look at a real estate agent nowadays and you’d be lucky if you get anyone actually being very proactive, very few of them do it. They all sit back in their office behind realestate.com.au or Domain.

                 

So you’ve created a pad. And of course those agents that did all the work and pounded the footpaths and all of that, they were resentful of the fact that this thing had come into the industry, where now they’re all going oh damn! I can see the things… So I know SourceBottle really well. So source as in, S-O-U-R-C-E not the sauce like tomato sauce. I use that platform and there it is up on the screen now.

                 

I don’t hide behind the fact that because of SourceBottle and because of yourself assisting our business, it actually does what it does. So for me to be able to get publicity out there and answer call outs and whatever. So effectively, just to explain in its nutshell, you’ve got journalists that say, I’ve got a story that I want to write about a pygmy father that’s got experience in Africa with three year old kids.

                 

And then someone who is a pig farmer in Africa with a three year old kid will then hook up with the journalists and put in and say, I’m interested in doing that. And effectively, you’ve actually cut out that look area in front and center. Awesome. Me on the front page. We set this up for the podcast, of course. So I mean, is there anything else? Actually can you get back to that page? Because not that I not, like I said pygmy father, Tony Park is also set in Africa. Who would have thought? What else would you add to my explanation of what I just said about SourceBottle?

 

Bec Derrington (16:46):

No, you’re spot on. That’s exactly what it is. It’s a service that pretty much allows journalists and bloggers and just storytellers to find people who they can help channel their stories through. So it’s a tool for storytellers and for people with great stories that really want a vehicle to tell that story. So it’s evolved so much because the media landscape has changed so much. So now, even I, I write stories. 

                 

I’m a storyteller in my area of expertise and because I have a blog on the SourceBottle site, it’s obviously about all things to do with media and PR and social media and news jacking and those sorts of key elements. So I’ve become my own storyteller. And so I give people an opportunity to tell their stories through my site. 

                

 So I remember once I spoke to a journalist years ago, and she was saying, as a journalism lecturer back then and this is about eight years ago, if she had students that didn’t have their own blog, which meant that obviously they had the capability of showcasing their ability to tell stories, then they weren’t a serious journalist and she wouldn’t take them as serious. And it’s exactly right. 

                 

If you are a good storyteller, you will captivate the attention of so many people. So it’s a very powerful vehicle, being a good storyteller, and I guess this just gives them a chance, for people a chance to get to raise their profile through getting somebody to tell their story.

 

Ian Ugarte (18:24):

I have a few questions. First question would be for any startup that’s gone tech that requires and I don’t know whether you had that skill set, but no doubt you probably had to outsource the majority of your tech to build your platform. Were there any interesting stories around that? Was it really difficult to find the right person? Because I know people that would never started with the same person and finish with the same person.

 

Bec Derrington (18:49):

Yeah, look, you’re spot on. It’s a true challenge but for me the biggest challenge was finding someone who had a really good tech brain, but also that would marry very well with sort of what they now call user experience. Back then it was kind of like, interface and design. I have wasted thousands of dollars on different sort of tech ideas of shit platforms, with people who have either had a really clunky kind of mindset, maybe made it look visually attractive at the front, but it didn’t work well at the end, or being overly technical, meaning that the user experience was so complex that people just gave up. 

                 

So it’s a really strong marriage and once you find someone who has both skill sets, they’re just worth their weight in gold. And funnily enough, I work with one core developer now, well, him and his team, and he originally was my primary account manager and/or developer at the first organization I went to, to build SourceBottle, an organization called Bliss Media who are fantastic. And then when he went out on his own I went, amen, I’m following you. Because he had the creativity of being able to understand why it needed to be simple and simplistic from a user perspective as well as the technical expertise to understand how something works.

                

And so I needed to be able to communicate what I needed it to be able to do. He needed to be able to understand it and then deliver it in a way that would meet both our objectives. There are times when we will argue where he’ll say, no, or I’ll say I want it to do this and he’ll say, well, it’s either not possible, or that’s probably not the best way to do it. We should do it this way. 

                 

And as soon as he does that, I’m like, I’m so thrilled that, obviously he’s someone who’s so much smarter than me at this. So you need really good people but you need people you can trust, because it’s like going to mechanic, it’s another skill set that it’s easy to block people who don’t know what they’re talking about.

 

Ian Ugarte (21:16):

For sure. So that’s good you found the tech guy that you’ve sort of followed around. That’s pretty awesome. Now you said that you put, I’m not going to ask you how much money you put into it, but you had, I presume, allowed a runway where you said, did you actually say, if it doesn’t start to build itself or enjoy its own revenue by a certain time, how much runway had you allowed before you said, it’s back to the law fraternity?

 

 

Bec Derrington (21:42):

Now you’ve given me way too much credit Ian. I didn’t ever anticipate having a runway. What I did, though, because of course there was no revenue income coming in from SourceBottle for probably the first two years really, not reasonable enough for me to live off. I just thought okay, well, I’ll continue with my PR consultancy business.

                 

And actually, it was sort of funny because I was trying to get that balance with the PR consultancy business. And that was one of the reasons SourceBottle came about because I had this client, very demanding client who I absolutely loved, but on the week that I was due to give birth to my second child, she was saying, listen, I want you to do a survey with some of my, it was a franchise business, my franchisees. And I was going, I’m actually giving birth this week, is it okay if I can take some time off? And so again it was that whole challenge of working for yourself…

 

Ian Ugarte (22:43):

Just between pelvic floor breathing exercises and contractions could you put something out for me?

 

Bec Derrington (22:49):

It’s just so nuts.

 

Ian Ugarte (22:52):

So SourceBottle is obviously doing very well for itself now. No doubt. As you said before, you got lots of management to do and you’ve gone on to your next startup, what’s the next startup that you’re looking at?

 

Bec Derrington (23:03):

Yes, so I have another platform that I’ve been working on. And again, these kinds of things evolve out of a problem that I might see or I might identify with the current business. So influencer marketing was becoming a bit of a thing. And again, really, there’s nothing really new about influencer marketing in the way that we’re talking about influencer marketing because the majority of Australians view influencer marketing as somebody who with influence being paid to say something about a product. 

                 

So really it’s just like sponsorships or endorsements, used to be by celebrities, now celebrities are both online, offline. So that’s not how I perceive influencer marketing because a lot more people have more influence than they give themselves credit for. And often the more intimate the connection is between the person whether it’s someone on social media with a network, they don’t even have to be, in fact the smaller network often the more influence they have, the more intimate the connections they have with the people in their network, the more likely they are to shape and inform their decisions. 

                 

So I kind of view it, again, it’s kind of like earned influence. There’s more influence that carries more weight if you’re not being paid to say what you’re saying. So influencer marketing for me I sort of really look at, I’ve developed a platform that really helps shape organizations particularly when it comes to their employees, harness the influence of their employees or of their influencers. They might be that micro influencers, so influencers with only a small following of up to a couple of thousand. 

                 

They have incredible ability to shape the decisions, like consumer behavior, but it’s hard to manage them on mass. So you need to use a platform like would Influencer HUB, which is the platform I’ve developed to try to harness on mass, a group of micro influencers who genuinely care about your business and want to help spread the message.

 

Ian Ugarte (25:14):

So effectively, is it like a review platform? Effectively people going on there and going, hey, kitkat.com, it’s probably a bad example, just take our company. I’ve dealt with smallisthenewbig.com and I reckon it’s awesome. And that then gets distributed to their group of friends around them. And they go, well, if they’re saying it’s a good thing, then maybe I need to look at it as well. Is that effectively what it is? 

 

Bec Derrington (25:38):

Yeah, that’s right. The content is really broad. So there’s lots of different types of content they talk about now whether it’s user generated content. So that would be an example of that, where the actual user creates their own content, and shares it, and then encourages everyone in that network to share it. But there’s also content that an organization or a brand can create, that people want to share, because it’s great content. 

                 

So it’s a bit of a marriage, or you could be, you as an organization have other organizations that you’re aligned with that you would love to help them promote their own business as well. So if they share a piece of great content, you want to engage with it on social and get your followers to engage with it on social as well. 

                 

So it’s a really powerful tool, particularly even in the PR space. If you’re looking at an organization that’s going through some really negative press, one of the most effective things to do is to harness your fans to help defend you and basically drown out the negative stories about you. And that’s the sort of thing that this kind of tool can do and leverage.

 

Ian Ugarte (26:49):

Does it link into other social media platforms or is it a standalone platform? 

 

Bec Derrington (26:57):

All the social media platforms link into it. So basically what it does is, you create content, you share it, I call that content gigs. You create a piece of content, it goes out to people who are on the platform, it’s invite only. And then they decide, yeah I want to share that or no, I don’t. If I do, then I share it. I’ve given permission to share it to all my social media platforms that I choose. And then it shares natively to those platforms.

 

Ian Ugarte (27:21):

Now, we didn’t get to talk about it because you did say that it was an interesting story about the launch of the SourceBottle website, if we could hear that story.

 

Bec Derrington (27:30):

Yes. It’s one of those stories about how delaying is never good. I’m a perfectionist, I like things to be perfect before I go out. So of course, I probably would have labored on SourceBottle instead of just getting it and tweaking it just right. Until one night, I was probably about a month or two weeks off launching, I was watching Rove, I don’t know if you remember Rove.

 

Ian Ugarte (27:54):

I do.

 

Bec Derrington (27:55):

Rove McManus, and it was when Kevin Rudd was Prime Minister for the first time, I think. And he said on Rove, he started saying rather than fair suck of the sauce bottle, which probably wouldn’t have been as PG, he said, fair shake of the sauce bottle. And he was having a go at someone who was criticizing him about something. 

                 

And my ears pricked up and thought, oh my God! I have to news check this. So I pretty much launched the business off a media release that was saying, you can give this sauce bottle a fair shake, sort of that kind of thing. And I did T-shirts, and the whole thing, Kevin Rudd, whatever. So I really tried to leverage that moment even though everything wasn’t perfect. 

                 

But I think we over anticipate the impact we’re going to have when we put something out there thinking everyone’s going to go, oh my God! All over it like a rash. And the reality is often it’s crickets for ages until you build up that momentum. So don’t delay, get it out there. 

 

Ian Ugarte (28:59):

It is a slow burn. And actually my former life coach, amazing friend, Michelle Duval, I’m not sure if you know Michelle, but one of the things she says, she’s launched a business platform on a particular process that she’s got. 

                 

But she said to me very clearly, if you’re not embarrassed by what you launch to the marketplace, then you’ve launched too late. And I’ve always gone by that.

                 

So if you’re not embarrassed by what you put to the marketplace, you’ve gone too late. And that’s a perfect story to say, yeah you grabbed it and you weren’t quite ready yet, but you thought we’ll just deal with it when we get there. So that’s an awesome little thing.

                 

Now, we did talk about property, I’m a property person. You have property in Victoria. First question is, will you ever move back to the Sunshine State? 

 

Bec Derrington (29:48):

I don’t think you can ever say never and all of my family is in Queensland, both in Cairns and Brisbane. So I have a certain affinity with it, and my husband’s is as well, of course, he’s a Brizzy boy. And in fact, I think he probably would move back. I can’t help but feel a real affinity with Victoria, with Melbourne. I love it here. 

                 

And it took me a long time, but I established some really strong firm friendships here and the boys are all at school here. So I’ve really built a life here. I mean, it’s been 20 years. There’s some real charm and appeal about moving back to the Sunshine State.

                 

Mind you, I’m not match fit no matter where I am, like I feel the heat, I feel the cold, I’m not good at anything. So really, I’m going to be uncomfortable no matter where I go. Never say never, but not in the immediate future, no. 

 

Ian Ugarte (30:51):

Right. I get sort of caught in that too. Christine hates the cold and I don’t like the heat. I can handle cold but I don’t love it, but I hate the heat but here we are. So for me it’s just bottle myself into an air con or build an Earthship, like we did, so that the temperature is about the right temperature. So you do own property in Victoria, but you’re currently not in that property right now.

 

Bec Derrington (31:14):

No, we had a terrible house storm in the beginning of the year that absolutely smashed our home. It was a renovator’s delight anyway, it still is. But we couldn’t live in it. So the whole back roof pretty much was just smashed and destroyed. I had this image that I put on Facebook, I couldn’t believe it. Thankfully we weren’t at home at the time of the house storm, or else our cars, everything would have been smashed. It was just the house. I have this picture that I put up on Facebook of my bin lid. 

                 

So it’s a green plastic, hard plastic bin lid and it has almost like the size of a baseball, a perfect circle, right through it, not a split, a perfect circle. And the momentum and the force of that hailstone must have been so significant, if you’d been out there it would have killed you. So that was sort of the freaky storm that hit. And we’ve been out of home ever since. And we’re just obviously dealing with lockdown. We’re lucky enough to have another place down at the beach. So that’s where we’ve been basically living most of the time.

 

Ian Ugarte (32:33):

The insurance company stepped in obviously and is dealing with that part of it that you’re essentially living in Airbnbs. And so there is a good side to COVID the fact that there is a few Airbnbs available that are fully furnished that you can get into. And you’re talking about the force of that. 

                 

And so my parents got caught, they had two properties in Sydney that got hit by that hailstorm in 2000 I think it was, where the hail storm came through, turned around and came back at them, so it actually got them twice. 

                 

And my dad had old terracotta tiles probably similar to yours, where, like you said, it didn’t break tiles and smash into pieces, it knocked perfect holes through there and then dropped into the ceiling where then the ice then melted and of course sagged the ceilings and collapsed all the ceilings. So I know exactly what you’re talking about. But then they get in there, they start doing all the repairs and they find some other problems in there. 

 

Bec Derrington (33:30):

Absolutely, renovators delight, that’s what happens. And that’s what’s happened to us. We’re in this situation now where they found other, we were sitting for a long time with water sitting in our ceilings on the floor, it just destroyed everything. The whole half of the house anyway, in particular. 

                 

But they found more water damage coming from the ceiling and then also from the ground. So we’re in the stage where we’re just waiting to see well what happens now. We have to fix this, whose responsibility is it? The delay though, the stress of it has been so much harder because we’re in lockdown again in metropolitan Melbourne and that means that the kids are now back home schooling. But before then we were kind of having to move from Airbnb to Airbnb.

                 

It’s just been a real challenge this year but, cry me a river. It’s been a challenge for everybody. So whenever I start to feel a bit like, oh god! This is all just too hard, I don’t have to look far before I can see someone whose hardships are much worse than mine. So that’s it. I just have to just keep going.

 

Ian Ugarte (34:54):

So you’re talking about six months where you haven’t been home yet or haven’t been in your home. It’s an inner city home, I would call it inner city because it’s pretty close to the city central. How long is the estimate before you can get back into that and has this lockdown now meant that it’s going to blow out even further in time? 

 

Bec Derrington (35:09):

Well, hopefully, the first lockdown didn’t actually impact on the delay, the timing, they still are able to work which is fantastic. I don’t know, it’s been a rotating or a revolving five weeks, five weeks, five weeks. Again, time will tell. I really want to use the end of this lot of six week lockdown to be the end point of when the house is finished.

                 

And I really don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that we’d be in their house by the end or middle of August. So let’s just fingers crossed. I think the thing is that I’m learning very quickly, I need to be a bit of a squeaky wheel. I’ve just got to keep on it and on it because nothing happens unless I do. 

 

Ian Ugarte (35:57):

Insurance companies are renowned for firstly not wanting to pay out, from having chats with you, it sounds like so far, so good, they’re not actually asking you for too much out of your own pocket. But insurance companies have been absolutely hammered in this last year. You’ve got fires, floods, ridiculous things, like we’ve got a massive sports center, where the roof has held on that sports center since 1968. 

                 

And earlier this year, of course, lo and behold! A third of the roof blows off. It’s been there forever and all of a sudden we’ve got… So now, not only do we have a roof that leaks because it’s open to atmosphere, we then had to shut the whole center down while the insurance companies came in. And I can tell you what Bec, you would hate to see the amount of money that they’re spending on your property that’s so inefficient. 

                 

They spent $100,000 on repairing my roof, not putting a new roof on, I could have put a new roof on for about 40 grand, I reckon, on the center part that blew off. So it’s just an unfortunate thing that I think that the insurance industry actually needs a disruption. You and I should disrupt the insurance industry because the inefficiency of how they run things and the way they do things I think is full on.

 

Bec Derrington (37:10):

You are so right, god!

 

Ian Ugarte (37:19):

We should make it sound like a COVID type relationship. You’ve gone from an employee on a PAYG on a highly stressful job to, a reasonably from what I can see externally and that’s easy for me to judge, a comfortable life with kids and being a serial entrepreneur from what I can see. What would be advice to someone who doesn’t actually fit into the mold, like your parents wanted you to fit into the mold? 

 

Bec Derrington (37:48):

Well, I think that the fact is you’ve just got to listen to your gut. It’s all well and good. And I could have gone down the path that was expected of me and being really miserable for years and years. But I remember sitting there thinking, I just can’t, I cannot physically do this for the next 40 to 50 years. I’m so miserable. I was prepared to do anything. 

                

 And when I went back to uni, I went back full time initially, before I got the great gig at the Queensland Law Society. And I was waiting tables and working at my brother’s business, just doing whatever, a dogsbody, I didn’t care, I was so much happier. I just don’t think you can ignore yourself, I don’t think you can ignore your true calling. I think you’ve got to pursue it and you just don’t want to die wondering. 

                 

And I kind of feel like, I’m so grateful. I’m in a situation where if I had just fallen apart, like if it had all just fallen on my face, nothing worked out, it was an absolute flop, my husband was still going to help support me, we’re going to have food on the table, our kids are going to be fed. So I appreciate the challenges around doing this, pursuing this sort of passion project and pursuing your calling and putting it all on the line. I appreciate I didn’t have to go to that extent but you can’t ignore it or else you’ll forever be wondering. You’ll always start at some stage. 

 

Ian Ugarte (39:23):

Yep. Well that’s the thing, a few studies have gone out there and what’s the biggest regret on someone’s deathbed is that they didn’t try or they didn’t attempt. And it’s not the things that they they did do it’s the things that they didn’t do that they regret the most. So thank you for telling your story and being part of the Small Talk Big Ideas podcast Bec.

 

Bec Derrington (39:42):

Thank you so much for having me Ian. It’s been really fun to chat to you.

 

Ian Ugarte (39:46):

No worries. So there you have it Bec Derrington, amazing serial entrepreneur and a female serial entrepreneur, and they need more of them around the country right now because we need a better balance going from a life where her parents had an expectation where she wasn’t really happy. If you enjoyed that podcast, please subscribe and follow us on all our social media platforms. That’s this week’s on Small Talk Big Ideas and we’ll see you next time.

 

Voice Over (40:14):

 

Thanks for tuning in to the Small Talk Big Ideas podcast. We hope we’ve succeeded in our goal to inspire and challenge you. And we look forward to catching you on the next episode of Small Talk Big Ideas with Ian Ugar

 

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