Jo Hanlon – Life is a Journey, not a destination!

Meet Jo Hanlon

Jo lives in Lake Macquarie in New South Wales in Australia and is the trusted advisor for many business owners, working with them on their teams, their business, and their own mindset and leadership skill development.

Tell us a little about yourself – where are you from and who and what is important in your life?

I was born in the UK, emigrated to NZ at 18 mths old, to Fiji at 6, to Australia at 9, back to NZ at 15, then back to Australia at 41. I have been to 9 schools, lived in 45 houses by the age of 45 and currently live with my lovely hubby Paul in Bonnells Bay which is on the shores of Lake Macquarie, just south of Newcastle, NSW. I call myself a citizen of the world based on all the travel I’ve done over the years, but I still have a few places to go including Italy. My hubby, brothers and sister, various parents, nieces and nephews and wonderful friends are all important to me. I am called the family glue!

I also love the water and being outside, reading and creating things whether it be knitting, felting, business or pleasure. I need freedom and space just as much as people I love around me and I LOVE new experiences. I love deep conversations and exploring things that matter in life. I guess I just generally love life!!

My values and philosophy include; Abundance, Integrity, Authenticity, Openness and Mutual Success, plus I believe Life is a Journey, not a destination!

We all have previous chapters in our stories – Tell us about your working life/business experiences before now?

Well, I started as a New Zealand Registered nurse and specialised in Orthopaedics, Paediatrics, Infectious diseases and Coronary Care. I actually looked after the first known AIDS patient in NZ; he was an American and a long way from home, so our care and support were very important to him until he was able to travel back to his family. As no-one really had much of an idea what type of disease he had, it was very scary for him and an unknown quantity for us.

I loved nursing, but burnt out after a number of years and decided to change direction. I then went into sales for a Pharmaceutical Wholesaling firm where I peddled over the counter (OTC) products to Pharmacists for a couple of years, getting an idea about sales which I took to like a duck to water. I then worked at a fabulous company Baxter Healthcare for 18 years in a wide variety of sales, marketing, business development, strategic planning and general management roles across NZ, Australia, South America and parts of Asia.

I learnt heaps, attended stacks of training courses, got heaps of opportunities and recognition for my efforts, I got paid well, did my MBA part-time and travelled widely with the company. I had a fab time until I found myself standing in the covered markets in Istanbul, Turkey saying to myself; “Oh god, not another f**king market”, and chose to leave Paris 2 days early to get home to my new man after which I figured it was about time to do something else.

I started my own business over 12 years ago at the age of 48 initially with a business partner but then on my own, which is what I still do now and have never looked back.

My Business Snapshot

I work with small-medium businesses in the Coaching, Mentoring & Business Advisory space.

In the first iteration of my business which was focussed on being an HR Coach, I usually got called in for 1 of 2 reasons: either to help with employment-related compliance ie: getting employment contracts, policies and procedures in place to head off future issues, or 2ndly, because there are staff performance issues and business owners wanted to minimise their risk with Fair Work fining them or something similar.

Over the years because of the trust I have been able to quickly build with my clients, I am now more the business owner’s trusted advisor – working across a wide variety of areas to do with their people, their teams, their business, or, their own mindset and leadership skill development.

My marketing message talks about my passion and focus for working with business leaders, teams and individuals who are committed to building a new paradigm business that is in alignment with the things that are important in life to us all as human beings.

I feel very privileged to work with my clients and have a number whom I’ve worked with right from the start and it’s so good to see them and their businesses flourish and grow. I also am a client of some of my clients, so the relationship benefits both ways, such is the power and value of collaboration.

Assuming you are now in “Your Next Chapter”, what led you here? Tell me about your purpose, your why, the difference you want to make, who you are called to serve?

I have known Angela for a number of years, both as a client and as a service provider, and she has been one of those people with whom I have had a great partnership and a wonderful friendship over a good number of years now, and someone whom I really value and enjoy spending time with at work and at play.

I joined “Your Next Chapter” the year before last as part of the inaugural Diamond Mastermind Group. This group was a small group of four business owners who had all been in business for a number of years, have most of the business basics mastered, but were looking for our next, Next chapter and a support crew with whom to collaborate, share with, learn from and gain emotional plus expert advice and support…. it was a truly awesome year and many tears of joy, sadness, stress, and enjoyment were shared amongst the group, wonderfully lead by our fearless Mastermind, Ange.

What is my Purpose and why do I do what I do? Well in fundamental terms, it’s to have every conversation I have to make a difference so that the other person/people can see their own value and make decisions that serve them better because of it.

My clients are generally from 45 – 65 who want someone they can feel comfortable and “safe” with, sharing their confidences, getting useful advice or ideas and feeling understood rather than being judged. They have a genuine desire to make a difference themselves and are happy to engage in deep and heartfelt conversations as they are interested in what makes us human beings. I also seem to attract a number of younger people who occasionally feel the need to accept guidance and input from someone they think of as a bit “older and wiser” 🙂

What did you find most challenging about getting started/moving in a new direction?

Narrowing down my “what next” as time has gone on.

I like, no I LOVE change, and welcome it as well as look for it as time passes.I have received so much training and have so much material I have accumulated or created over the years and am so passionate about so many areas of life and business, I can easily and often end up in overwhelming my clients (and indeed lose myself) with too many choices, offering them a real mish-mash of tools in my toolkit I can use to help. Therefore narrowing down my service offering so it is simple and clear which make it far easier for my ideal clients to find me is my (ongoing) challenge.

I did it really well in the beginning, but need to continue to cut out some of my current offerings as I add new ones. I also tend to keep re-creating things that are perfectly fine which wastes my time – which is my saleable resource!! At least my new toys still involve people and increasing their own self-awareness, skill sets and mindset management which is a good thing!!

What have you found most fulfilling?

The people I have met, the wonderful conversations I’ve had and that moment when the light goes in in someone’s eyes when they have an “AH HA ” moment or 3, which then means they go on and make different, (better) choices that give them access to more joy or success.

Have you experienced self-doubt? What causes it to flare and how do you work through it when it hits?

Of course, more now than when I was young and bolder. Why? The more I learn, the more I realise I have to left to learn, so my current lesson is working on the fact that “I am enough” already, and all I need is there inside me.I am however quite competitive in certain situations, so when I see someone doing something with a client, for example, I often find myself thinking; “I can do that too, but even better”. So additionally, another current learning for me is about giving others the space to shine and for me to be comfortable just being there. I am now thinking of myself as a sheltering tree that provides stability, comfort, protection support and confidence for others if they need it, which may assist them to step forth and shine in their own right due to that tree.

How do you feel you have grown since you started?

OMG, immeasurably…. I grow each year. Each year I look back and marvel at how much I’ve grown as a person in self-awareness, skill and mastery that year, knowing that the next year I’ll look back and see how much I’ve grown yet again.

So these days I am finding I am becoming more humble and feel very grateful as I reflect on the trust others have in me which means I am continuing to add value to them, their people, their business and most importantly, to their lives.

What has been most effective for you when it comes to sharing your message and attracting clients?

Be simple, be clear, make it about them, not about me.Using the right platform that works for me: referrals have been my main source of business right from day 1 and continue to be, however, Linkedin is my other platform where I am building credibility and my profile.

I also have a number of voluntary Board and committee roles which help build my profile and reputation and allow people to see what I am capable of which builds their trust in me too.

Have you developed any particular habits/strategies that facilitate getting things done in your business?

  • Keep it simple! Complexity may make me feel smart, but doesn’t really add value to my clients. their needs are usually quite simple.
  • Make lists and tick them off to track my progress – I love progressing projects or jobs and lists help keep me focused on what needs to be done now!
  • Use technology to make it easy to access key info ; (some key ones I use are: Xero for my $, 2Do for my to-do lists, Otter for my voice/transcribing notes and MS365 for my platform) Cloud-based apps are key for accessibility whenever and wherever.
  • Put follow up items in my diary and do them when they turn up.
  • Colour code my diary so I can see how I am spending my time. For example client work is coloured PINK in my diary, if there is not enough pink in my diary, I know I better get out and hustle for more work., I am very visual.
  • I continue to be curious and get to know myself and others more every day. When I know myself and others, we can all work more effectively and happily.
  • Be reliable and professional, keep my own standards up, don’t fall to others habits.
  • Be myself. I never wear a suit but do wear strong colours. I am true to myself and my personality, and so people don’t build false expectations or get an unrealistic view of how I am.
  • I proactively manage my clients and don’t let them manage me. This means I consciously set boundaries and realistic timeframes so they know what to expect and when.
  • I collaborate with complementary businesses whom I trust. I can’t do everything and be everything to everyone. Having an exclusive/competitive approach is dead, thank goodness and there is power in numbers.
  • Be selective and use your energy wisely.
  • Lastly, keep fit, eat well and make choices that serve you, not destroy you or set you up to burnout or fail.
  • Communicate, connect and share!!!!

Why do you feel women in the 40’s and beyond make fabulous entrepreneurs?

Because they are smart, more confident, have a good number of life skills, enjoy and value the sisterhood, have experienced a good amount of life – happiness/sorrow, loss/abundance and are genuinely into sharing and caring for each other. They are also very creative and capable.Our worst trait is a lack of self-belief.


What would you say to other women who are standing on the edge of their own Next Chapter, not sure if they can take the leap?

Get to the bottom of what your fears are, then ASK FOR HELP to deal with them. Many of us have been there and done that and can help.

What’s next for you? Share your vision!

Move more into the MINDSET mastery coaching space with my clients, keep helping others discover or uncover their pathway to JOY and have an ABUNDANT year.

When I’m facing a something new and challenging I…
Say yes, let’s do it.

I know my greatest strengths are…
My innate wisdom, my confidence and my self-knowledge

The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is…
Keep it simple!!

My favourite books are…
Too numerous to list ……

My favourite Podcast is…
Yours Angela!! Your Next Chapter.

My favourite business tool or resource is…
The DiSC Management profile tool

My favourite quote is…
The whole of Desiderata – but specifically – “Life is unfolding as it should!!”

Not many people know that I…
Love diving with sharks.


You can connect with Jo here.


Angela Raspass

Business Mentor, Author and Founder of the Centre for Self Worth, Angela blends strategy & self-worth to support business owners & leaders develop sustainable, impactful & fulfilling visions. What will unfold in Your Next Chapter?

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