Interview with Raels Robertson: Entrepreneur, Mother and World Traveler
Hello Raels Robertson, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I have been an experience designer, a digital marketing specialist and user interface and graphic designer for 26 years. And I’ve run my own digital agency near the CBD of Brisbane, Mettro for 16 years! I’m a mum of twin boys who keep me very busy!
What are your focus areas and why?
As a mum, I’m focused on being present and being there for my two gorgeous boys and trying to stay sane! The occasional wine and good laugh out loud help me keep that sanity!
As a business owner, I am focused on being the best leader I can be and setting a good example for my staff. I tend to stretch myself too thin at times, but I’m a big believer in working to my very own 55% rule – that is, putting in 55% effort on tasks where perfection is a wasted effort – and saving perfection for where it truly matters. For me what matters the most is that I deliver the best outcomes for my clients.
On a personal level, I strive every day to improve my skills and my understanding of the world around me.
How would you describe “Mettro” in a few words?
We are a digital solutions and experience design company that fuses vision, design and technology to enhance and grow business.
We’ve worked for 16+ years on over 5000 projects, which have included digital strategies, user experience design for Apps and cloud software, creation of cloud eLearning platforms and design of user interfaces for many Apps, websites and portals. We’ve built apps, custom software, websites, online applications and intelligent content delivery solutions.
Where do you think “Mettro” is making an impact?
We’re experience design experts. And I mean experience design in the sense that it takes a whole gamut of skills to create a product that is easy to use, functional and performs as it’s required all the time.
We’re collaborators and work with our clients and other partners to deliver a broad range of solutions. It’s our combination of experience design, troubleshooting, technical ingenuity and customer service that makes us stand out.
We’re excited to have been accepted as an OutSystems Partner, creating solutions for Australia and the Asia Pacific region with particular emphasis on user experience design and interface design. OutSystems is a low-code platform that allows us to rapidly design, prototype and develop applications.
What were some of the biggest challenges you encountered while building “Mettro”?
There are daily challenges being in business! Especially in the fast moving tech sector. Probably the biggest challenge was navigating the global financial crisis and keeping my team intact. What I’ve discovered is that:
- Life isn’t always easy.
- I can do anything I put my mind to.
- I am equal to anyone else; no ifs, buts or qualifiers. I’ve always worked hard for everything I’ve achieved, and I’m proud of the career, the business and the life I’ve created for myself and my family.
On top of being an entrepreneur, you are also a blogger and a mother of two, what are your rules for maintaining a balanced life?
Finding that sweet spot between a busy successful business and raising two beautiful boys is a continuous lesson in balance. But here are my thoughts:
- Be present – if you’re at work, be at work. If you’re at home, be at home.
- 55% is fine – As a perfectionist at heart I can tell you that learning to loosen up is liberating *laugh* – life is too short to take things too seriously.
You are also a scuba diver, hiker and mountain climber, what has been your greatest adventure?
Hiking kokoda was a life-changing experience. It was physically and emotionally challenging, but made me realise how much I’m capable of. The friends I made on that trek will be with me for life.
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs, travelers and adventurers who want to live off the beaten path?
Striking a balance is something worth striving for! Keep at it. And make sure you take time to do the things that bring you joy, whether that is hiking, traveling, skiing whatever. Find a way to make it fit in your busy life.
I read an article recently about business that asked the question: “Am I totally committed to making this business great?” It went on to say that without that 100% commitment there is no way to succeed as an entrepreneur.
I think that you should not only apply that principle to business, but to your ‘out of work’ life. Take a chance, back yourself, be the most authentic you you can be!
Any tips for visitors to Brisbane?
Brisbane is a great city and there is so much to do. I love to go to the beach at Southbank and visit the Gallery of Modern Art. There is a beautiful walkway around the river through Kangaroo Point where I love to take my boys, and White’s Hill reserve has an awesome kids playground. And I enjoy going out to eat in Wooloongabba where our office is located, it’s pretty cool!
Anything else you would like to share with our readers?
One of my favourite moments came when I was giving a speech at my 10 year celebration. As I thanked everyone for their hard work, dedication and commitment to making Mettro what it has become, I looked out into the crowd, straight into the eyes of my very first client. Can you imagine – the very first person to put their faith in my business was still a loyal client 10 years later – AND he turned up to celebrate with me.
It was at that moment that I thought, “Nice one, Raels, you must be doing it right.” We don’t often take the time to congratulate ourselves on being good at what we do, but that moment has served as a reminder for me to do just that. Because I am good, and I’m proud of that. I want you to celebrate what you’re good at too.