Julie Goodwin’s recipe to a happy small business


Julie Goodwin is the original Masterchef, runs her own small business and her sixth book is Julie Goodwin’s Essential Cookbook. In this exclusive interview she shares her thoughts on running a small business, the lessons she has learnt the hard way and why her favourite saying is “proceed as if success is inevitable”.

Q. What’s your secret to success?
It is 100% the people around me and the support they give me. There’s no way on earth I could keep all the juggling balls in the air without the assistance and patience of my managers, my team at Julie’s Place kitchen, my colleagues at Star 104.5, the food team at the Australian Womens’ Weekly and most importantly, my family and my closest friends who keep my feet on the ground and hold me together.

Q. What do you wish you knew when you were starting out?
That’s a tough one…every new thing I learn is part of the adventure. If I knew more when I was starting out I may never have taken the first step. So I guess I am happy to be learning as I go!

Q. What is it like creating cook books?
It’s a joy and a heartache, fun and frustrating, time consuming and all-consuming. It takes many  hours of thinking, testing, learning, tasting, crafting food and crafting words. And then it’s handed over to talented people to critique and massage before being “born” into print.  It’s quite a bit like pregnancy and childbirth to be honest! And once those books are out there in the world, just like children they go on adventures of their own in many households. It’s humbling and wonderful.

Q. What is the most important ingredient for a happy life?

Q. What are your thoughts on supporting the other small businesses?
United we stand, divided we fall. It’s an abundant world with enough business for all of us. Rather than looking to knock down my competitors I look to build the industry in my community for everyone’s benefit. A lot of businesses in the food industry in my area feel the same way, which is why we have created the Central Coast Food Collective to lobby for our industry and our area. Business networking groups and the local Chamber of Commerce are other great ways to share ideas and brainstorm problems with fellow business people.  Regardless of the industry we’re in as small business owners we face many of the same dilemmas as one another.

Q. What aspects of running a small business do you enjoy?
I enjoy the brainstorming, the big-picture planning, the marketing and networking. I also enjoy the hands-on aspect of presenting classes. I’m not so good at the details so I have a competent and fabulous team who take care of the books, the phones, the emails, organising the kitchen and that kind of thing. I’d be lost without them.

Q. What’s your favourite go-to recipe?
Laksa, stir-fry or a quick pasta.

“I was a control freak until I learnt to delegate.” – Julie Goodwin

Q. What did you think you would be when you were very young? 
I never met my grandfather because he died of cancer.  As a young kid I was determined to grow up and cure cancer. That wasn’t to be but I am certainly grateful for the bigger brains than mine that are doing everything in their power to achieve that goal.

Q. Are you living your dream life?
I am living the best life I can and yes, it feels like a dream.  There’s a lot going on but I’d rather be busy than bored! I feel like I have taken hold of the opportunities that have come our way and it has led to a full, and fulfilling life. So has my family. I am grateful every day.

Q. What advice would you have for others starting out in small business?
It’s one of my favourite sayings; “Proceed as if success is inevitable.”  Follow that dream, do what you need to do to achieve it, and only have the happy ending in sight. If you are proceeding as if success is inevitable, then every obstacle, every disappointment, every setback is just a bump in the path to success. It’s part of the journey. It’s a lesson to be learned. It’s not the end of the journey. Write it down, stick it to your bathroom mirror your steering wheel, your fridge door and proceed as if success is inevitable.

Q. What’s the best lesson you’ve discovered the hard way in small business?
The lesson is allow other people to do things, to put forward their own ideas, to be involved, to use their talents. I was a control freak, and tried to do everything myself. I learned the hard way (by just about burning myself out) that I’m not the only person who can do things.  I learned to delegate, to let go, to trust the people who are around me to have invaluable things to contribute.

Julie Goodwin’s Essential Cookbook ($39.99) is published by Hachette Australia

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Cook a meal with Julie Goodwin

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