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The Habits of a Highly Successful Woman


With Amber Werchon

Setting goals is relatively easy. The hard work is in the doing; in making those goals become a reality.

Amber Werchon is a testament to what can happen when you put in the hard yards and are deeply committed to achieving your goals. Ms Werchon purchased her first property at the age of 16, and became one of the youngest Principals in Australia at the age of 25 when she opened her first office on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. She won the REIQ Salesperson of the Year award an unprecedented three years in a row.

Amber Werchon Property now has two offices at Mooloolaba and Caloundra. In addition to another property related business, Amber and her husband Paul McHugh, a partner in a law firm, recently added another element to the mix – a little boy. Even when juggling all these balls of business owner, wife and mother in the air, Ms Werchon continues to rack up success after success. The question is therefore - how does she make her goals come to fruition? How does she run a successful business and achieve an enviable work/life balance? What are the strategies that Ms Werchon put in place that created her success?

Manage your time effectively

One of the key lessons Amber Werchon learned at a very young age was the value of effective time management and that it isn’t possible to do everything yourself. Ms Werchon said, “After a few very intense years in the industry when I was very young, and nearly burnt myself out, I had to reassess or get out altogether. I took the time to learn about effective time management.” She realised that in order to sustain a long career, she had to be very thoughtful about where she focused her energy. Therefore, a number of years ago, she did what a lot of principals talk about but rarely do: she stepped away from selling to focus on running a thriving business. This was a key decision that created her long-term success.

Ms Werchon said, “I always believed that if you want a good business, then you shouldn’t be selling because you can’t be a good manager if you’re focusing on selling.” She said, “Once I made the decision I just stopped from that point onwards. So I was prepared to lose a bit of business if I had to along the way but I just felt it was the best thing for the business overall.”

Moving away from selling freed up her weekends, gave her time with her family and gave her the additional time to achieve an optimal work/life balance. “I haven’t been selling for years now and the best thing about that is that I’ve got my weekends back, which is fantastic.” She learnt the hard way what happens when you focus too much on work.

Focus on the things you do well

Another key reason of Amber Werchon’s success has been her focus on completing tasks that utilise her unique sets of skills. She delegates work that can be completed by other highly skilled staff. She said, “I learnt a long time ago I am not wonder woman and I can’t do everything well and I can’t fit everything into a day. So I assessed my strengths and weaknesses and delegated what I’m either not good at or don’t enjoy, and channelled my time into what I was or what I do enjoy.” For example, Ms Werchon’s Personal Assistant reads all of her incoming emails and handles what she can before it’s passed on which saves an enormous amount of time in Ms Werchon’s day.

She said, “Outsourcing costs you money and there is an element of trust involved, but I strongly believe people burn out in this industry because they don’t outsource enough. Either through ego, frugality, wanting to maintain control or sheer lack of time, they take on too much consistently and then they fall into a heap.”

Ms Werchon’s main priority is her son, Max. She said, “Although he gets looked after by family members, he spends the majority of his time with Paul or myself, forming that ever-important bond between parent and child. As a result, I am more time efficient than ever and more organised too. I have had to get better at prioritisation and remove micro managing.”

She added, “I employ highly trained and skilled professionals in my business whom I can trust to reflect and embrace the standards of ‘expect excellence’. I need to be confident the Amber Werchon brand continues to shine so the hard work that has gone in over the years is not undone. Basically, this means I can never step away completely and will always keep a strong hand in the business, even if in the background, to ensure our standards are kept.”

Ms Werchon sees many benefits to outsourcing. It creates employment opportunities for others and is good for your physical and emotional health because it allows closer relationships to develop with family and friends. She explained, “Working all the time causes relationship problems with the people we care most about; I am not willing to sacrifice my relationship with my family and friends for the sake of a successful career. I’m ambitious but I have a heart and a brain – and I know what’s important in the bigger picture.”

Further, outsourcing allows standards to remain high in your business. Ms Werchon said, “By not burning out and focusing on your core strengths, you can keep your business at the top of its game, as you stay strong and are not running around like a headless chook putting fires out everywhere and trying to cope.”

Sustain yourself and the business

Another key element in Amber Werchon’s success has been making sure that she looks after herself – something many busy people find very hard to do. Despite being more time poor than ever, Ms Werchon always makes time for physical activity. Weekly, she does a combination of walking, yoga and going to the gym. She said, “Tiredness is always a challenge. I don’t take good health for granted and always make sure that I eat very well – regularly and healthy food to give me energy and keep my immune system as strong as possible. The mental challenge of running a business can be quite draining and the physical challenges of managing a household, motherhood, being a wife and running a business all take their toll. I like to have a good night’s sleep and believe that poor decisions can be made when people are tired and rundown.”

It takes a village...

Amber Werchon knows that while we may like to think that we are islands and can do everything ourselves, realising our goals means seeing ourselves as part of a group. She lives close to work and her extended family live close in and around the Sunshine Coast. She said, “I have been very blessed to have a supportive, extended family unit that assist me with the challenges of motherhood and running a business... not every mother has this help, so I do value and appreciate it very much. My mother, mother-in-law and grandparents take an active role in caring for Max, and my husband Paul is also very hands on.” She worked hard to get Max into a routine from day one and this assisted in making her home life as stress-free as possible. Working from home and living close to the office enabled her to travel back and forwards with ease, when required. Ms Werchon said, “Initially, I also took Max to work with me and had a portacot at work and a dedicated feeding office. I am very passionate about health and breastfeeding has been very important to me, and therefore I have continued to breastfeed Max even on my return to work.”

Be comfortable with change and multi-task

Finally, an essential component of transitioning goals from an idea to reality is working consciously. Ms Werchon works smarter rather than just making noise. This means that she constantly reminds herself what her priorities are and how she defines success. She explained, “Priorities are organic and change constantly. I continually reassess my goals/priorities and adjust my timetable to reflect the difference. One day I’d like to have another child; this will mean even more of an adjustment to my work/life balance as I’ll have two young children, not just one, so I’ll have to revise appropriately.”

For Ms Werchon, the key to achieving her goals has been to multi-task. She said, “There is a lot of debate about multi-tasking rather than being present on the one activity. However multi-tasking works for me.” So she makes calls whilst walking and putting her son to sleep for his morning nap, expresses hands free whilst working on her emails, reads or emails on the iPhone whilst breast feeding, and showers whilst Max has a bath (shower/bath).

According to Amber Werchon, achieving your goals is not rocket science. It’s all about believing in yourself, knowing explicitly what it is that you want and what you have to do to get there. It’s about creating a roadmap to success and following the torchlight, one highly organised step at a time.

Amber's top tips

Review the day

Every night or early in the morning of the following day, without fail, Amber Werchon reviews what she did during the day, what she achieved, what she didn’t achieve and what then needs to be focused on the next day.

Track your priorities daily

At all times she carries with her a To Do List.

The To Do List includes:

  • Calls to make
  • Emails to send
  • Top 5 projects she is working on and what needs to be done
  • Core tasks that need to be achieved.

“By doing this, you can sort the wheat from the chaff. Your day becomes structured and you are reminded of what are the most important tasks you need to achieve that day,” she said.


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