2020 AusMumpreneur WA-SA Big Idea Silver Award winner, Bernadette Duell of Great Southern Wills is a lawyer with more than 20 years’ experience in Wills, Estate Planning and Farming and Business Succession.
She helps families and farmers achieve peace of mind by having up to date properly advised Wills and Estate Planning documents. Originally from Sydney and having acted for high profile clients, she brings her wealth of knowledge to regional Western Australia.
When did you start your business?
I launched Great Southern Wills during a COVID lockdown; April 2020. Before then I was an employee and my position was made redundant due to COVID. My partner was also diagnosed with cancer so we launched our business 2 weeks after being made redundant.
What was the inspiration behind starting this business?
Using our difference to make a difference. Lawyers can be quite expensive. On top of that the stigma associated with death and the lack of information out there about Wills gave us a niche market to specialise just in this area of law. Fixed fees. 2-week turnarounds. Free educational information on our Facebook page and website has helped us grow our business.
What are you most excited about in your business?
The potential for enormous growth. Everyone over 18 should have a Will. Most people think Wills are for the retired and the elderly; in fact the majority of our clients are young families.
What has been the most challenging thing about starting your business?
Thinking outside the square. We launched our business when everyone was locked up at home due to COVID restrictions. I couldn’t rely on being out and about talking about our business and realised, “ok, the majority of people are on Facebook to connect with others” and that’s when we launched our popular Mythbuster videos on our Facebook page which generated quite a bit of business for us.
What advice would you give to other women thinking about starting a business?
Make sure you have a business plan. Work out your ideal clients/customers and if you can niche.
Why did you enter the AusMumpreneur Awards?
A few people in the business community nominated me and urged me to put an application in.
What did you enjoy the most about being part of the awards?
Meeting other nominees and the judging panel. Many of which I still talk to today.
What surprised you most about the awards?
That we can have it all… there are so many women juggling motherhood, community commitments, family and a business. And they are doing it so well.
How did the awards help you in your business?
It was our first award and our silver trophy is proudly displayed in our office. We also connected with other award winners in the region and they are some of my strongest advocates.
What advice would you give to others mums thinking about entering the awards?
Do it! If anything it gives you time to sit back and reflect on your business instead of working in your business.
What’s happening next in your business? Any big plans for the future?
We recently published a book called “My Workbook”. It’s a practical resource for your loved ones – ie setting out your wishes on how to raise your young children, how to look after your pets, it also has a digital asset register with passwords for your online accounts, and it also has a checklist for your Executor. We have sold over 100 since launching early April. We would love to launch this nationally. This Workbook is a first of its kind in Australia.
All images featured here are from Bernadette Duell.
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