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Interview with Dave Plunkett

Tracey - I am joined today by the absolutely gorgeous Dave Plunkett. He is a collaboration and partnership expert. He owns two companies, the Collaboration Junkie and LuMilona. And he's been with BBB Success Groups for just over 12 months.  

I'm very happy to have you on here today, Dave.  

I'm going to give Dave a chance to introduce who he is and what he does. I'm going to ask him what his biggest success was over the last 12 months. Then I'm going to ask him what his biggest challenge was. And then I'm going to ask him for the one piece of advice that he is going to give you guys as business owners.  

Dave, over to you. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do. 

Dave  - First and foremost, I am someone who believes life is here to be enjoyed. I'm a loving partner to Kelly. We should be married by now, but that's been pushed back a year with everything that's going on. Two wonderful kids, Luna and Milo, hence LuMilona as that business name.  

In terms of what I do to keep me out of trouble, LuMilona helps membership organizations, trade associations, and people with a B2B customer base, with their member or customer engagement. We help them on their communications with both the strategy and software piece, and we help them with their value proposition, with a kind of a tailored benefit package.  

We help them enhance their customer and member retention piece so they can focus on growing their business. And that's all borne off the back of our own membership experience.  

And then Collaboration Junkie, that's my why. That's the passion project - I’m so excited to just be launching that. And that's the one where I've really connected what I'm about.  

All the businesses I've had have been around those foundations of partnerships and collaborations. And so we're here to inspire, educate and assist businesses in setting their own partnership programs up so that they avoid the mistakes that I've made along the way, or witnessed along the way: fast track that to really get exponential growth, avoid wasting time, and avoid the risk of wasted opportunity, alongside all the other wonderful benefits of working in a collaborative way. So that's the two congruent, but interlinked hats. 

Tracey - And it couldn't be more appropriate, given where we are today. This is such a hot topic. It's one of the topics that George is talking about all the time, but with everything that's gone on and the uncertainty, collaboration and partnerships - working together, leaning on each other, support, community - that is where it's at. Good timing for you, for sure. 

 

Dave  - Absolutely. I made the decision at the turn of the year - I'm doing this and going for it. And then it hit, it skewed the order of some of the things that I was doing because it is so topical, but it's great to see that it's out there and people are talking about it more openly and looking at it more strategically now. Brilliant to see. 

 

Tracey - So, tell us, what was your biggest success of 2020? 

 

- Well, I would say it's not one defined thing, I don't think. It's been quite a journey for me over the last 12 months. A massive one. And that's underpinned by personal development stuff that I hadn't really ever done properly before.  

But it can't not be completely refocusing and rebranding a business that I'd fallen out of love with and reigniting my spark for that. At the same time as launching a brand-new brand, the Collaboration Junkie side. That's two quite big things to have gone through and done.  

On a personal level, the success that I feel most is in terms of positioning myself and where I've gone. I started just putting stuff out there, because I had to, and it's just gone better than I could have expected. People that I didn't know before, dropping me in referrals around different opportunities, to give advice and pitch myself in. I didn't expect to get that so quickly, in terms of being the partnership guide, and it's been really touching, actually. A load of positive validation, which is always kind of nice to have - I don't care what anyone says, it's always nice to feel appreciated. That's gone better than I expected. But the relaunching and the launching of two brands, I think, during what's been going on - I'm pretty happy with that. 

 

Tracey - I think it's kind of cute that you're surprised by the reaction in the marketplace and the amount of people that are stepping up to support you given the amount of energy and effort you put into the marketplace. I think I'm high energy until I meet you, and then I look like I'm in a coma.  

So, when you think about the energy and enthusiasm that you put out into the marketplace about partnerships, the fact that it's now coming back to you is no accident. And it's kind of cute that you're surprised by it.  

But from someone watching from the side, it's no accident that that stuff is coming back to you because you've just been banging this drum for such a long time. When you and I worked together in that networking community, it was your energy and enthusiasm that really appealed. It's no surprise to me that you've done this work and you're getting your just rewards now. So well done on that. It's amazing. 

 

Dave  - That has been a journey in itself, the realisation of the stuff that you just do inherently actually being a skill that other people don't have. And then you marry that with the practical expertise that you've got that others haven't. And even after that, as you know through the masterminds, pricing that value has been a whole other one.  

It's been really fun and interesting, and it's an empowering one, absolutely. And going through that journey with people who've got it and have either done it themselves or understand it, or just have seen the value in what I do, has been a really positive one. Game changer. 

 

Tracey - You deserve it, well done, Dave.  

Right, so let's move on. What was your biggest challenge in 2020?  

 

Dave  - Me! Yay!  

So, I was by far the biggest barrier to success. I joined BBB - obviously, this coincides, it fits the year that I've been with you guys. I knew that I needed to make some changes. I knew I’d started on some personal development stuff. I knew I needed to take that on the level. I didn't think I'd get to the point I am now, though. Didn't think I'd take on that much with what I do, and stuff like that. I'm a very different person now than I was a year ago. Same energy and everything… 

 

Tracey - It's like night and day, from who you were when you joined and who you are now, for me it's like a maturity. It's like a real levelling up maturity that's happened over this last 12 months. 

 

Dave  - Oh and I feel that. And it's great, it's brilliant to do. And it was needed. But I think at the start, it was just uncertainty around what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to change the main business, the engagement business. I'd fallen out of love with that, and I needed to reignite that, and I've done that, but at the same time it still wasn't fulfilling me. And I couldn't get my head around what that was.  

I think it was probably much clearer to other people around the edge that I needed to deliver personal value, and something that's really about me and what I believe in, and get that out to the world. I was just getting in my own way.  

I knew could do more, but there was a pull to this feeling that it's got to be a success because there's other people involved with it as well. But more than that, it was that personal pride thing of it being a great opportunity and a great business and I should be doing more with that. But, if I'm not happy, then nothing's going to be a success.  

And then, once I'd got over that, although I have to do my thing, because if I don't do my thing, everything else is going to fall apart. The massive challenge that's an ongoing one still is the two-hat thing. Managing that on a day-to-day basis has been a huge challenge, with just the huge physical amount of stuff to do. But that means getting over the mindset and getting clarity. It's been fun, but tough. 

 

Tracey - It is tough, facing yourself and looking at all the things that you're great at. You're looking at where your gaps are and what needs improving. It takes some real courage to do that. And it is a tough journey to change what's inherently there that isn't necessarily serving where you want to be. It's actually fun when you start to see results and things are moving forward and you get the feedback. It is a really fun journey. So, yeah, that's a good one. I like that one a lot. 

 

Dave  - So there's a book on Audible, and I quote from it quite a lot. It's one of my favourites. It's almost anti self-help. It's The Subtle Art of Not Giving Up. And there's a bit in there where he says, well, actually, life's just a series of problems. And that's what we get the most satisfaction from. That's what we get satisfaction from - solving problems but picking the problems you want to solve. They're the ones to care about, and that journey has kind of been that. They're the ones we want to solve and coming out the other end of it has been enriching. I kind of rode the crest of the wave of it, a few months ago, but I was at least aware that it was the crest of a wave, and now it's kind of levelled out a bit, but it's great. It feels good. 

 

Tracey - Yeah, I'm looking forward to seeing what this next wave looks like, Dave. Very exciting. Who knows what's coming? 

 

Dave - A tsunami. 

 

Tracey - A Dave Plunkett tsunami, sounds great. So, let's get down to it then. What is the one piece of advice, based on all of your knowledge, that you would give business owners right now? 

 

Dave - Be opportunity ready. And by that, I mean an opportunistic mindset, and it's not as simple as it sounds.  

We all need focus. I know, without some of the focus and the goal setting and stuff that I do with you guys, I hate to think where I'd be. I certainly wouldn't be as far forward as I am now. But just be opportunity ready, and not just for yourself, have that collaborative mindset. It's part of what being a collaborator is about, have an opportunistic mindset.  

We live in a relationship economy. The strength of your relationships, particularly your key relationships, I don't think will impact the success of your future business as much as it does now. And so, not at the detriment of yourself, but just be aware of what's going on for you and those in your closest network, where you can benefit and assist and take advantage. Because if you do, the opportunity is everywhere.  

And when you make that mindset switch, the biggest problem is saying ‘no’, or saying ‘not now’. And that's a constant battle that I have, and I'm sure you do as well, and there are plenty of others do.  

There is a thing about being too giving, which I've definitely been guilty of in the past, you have to serve yourself as well. Otherwise you're not going to be here to do the good work for others, but even when times are hard and you're busy and you're in that slog of doing stuff, just be aware. Just make sure you don't shut yourself off to that stuff that's out there where just a slight tweak to what you're doing can get you to that end goal so much quicker. And I think it's available now more than ever. 

 

Tracey - I love that. That is a proper little pearl of wisdom. I love that opportunistic mindset because you just never know what's around the corner. It's one of the reasons why I like goals, actually, because it tunes your brain. It really focuses your brain to look for the information that you need and for the opportunities that are in alignment with where you want to go.  

Love it. Dave, you are a legend. It's been a pleasure. Thank you very much for giving up your time today. I really appreciate it. 

 

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