We’re delighted that North Shore Mums is a finalist in the Local Business Awards for Specialised Business, but we’re not alone! We decided to take this opportunity to introduce you to some amazing local mums running their own businesses, who are also in the running for a prize.
Jennifer Jones, TravelManagers Australia (Wahroonga)
Why did you start the business? When I had my first baby, I realised that I needed something with a bit more flexibility. I wanted to be there for my daughter while still being able to make a living doing what I love. I now have two kids (Caitlyn is 7 and Ryan is 4), and taking the plunge from employee to self-employed and becoming a Personal Travel Manager has enabled me to do exactly that. It was the best decision I have ever made (apart from deciding to have kids!)
What’s been your biggest challenge? Achieving a work/life balance is definitely one of my bigger challenges, but so was starting this business without a client base! I had to start from scratch, and without a shopfront it was ten times harder. I mainly work from home and while it’s amazing to not have a boss to answer to, or ask for leave if I want to see my kids at a sports carnival, I still have an obligation to my clients.
What do you love about running your business? I love the flexibility. While the work/life balance is definitely a challenge, it’s also what I appreciate the most. I love the fact that I can ‘make up’ my own hours and be able to be there for my kids. I love the relationships I have build and continue to build with my client because of the personal service I can provide.
How do you balance work and family? Some days are harder than others and I am the first to admit that I don’t always get it right. Having good time management skills is the key but so is a good support network. Because I have no family in Australia, it comes mainly down to my husband who is a great helper but I also have some fabulous school mum friends who are always willing to help out.
What advice do you have for any mums thinking about starting their own business? I would say, ‘Go for it and believe in yourself!’ Starting your own business is no piece of cake, and it’s so much harder for us mums, who have a million other things going on in our heads. But it is so empowering at the same time. It might be slow to start with, and you might hit some speed bumps – but with the right planning, a good support network and passion, anything is possible.
Why does your company deserve to win at the Local Business Awards? I don’t just ‘book holidays’ – I plan and create unforgettable experiences. I take the time to get to know my clients and find out exactly what kind of holiday they are after. It’s the little touches that count! Also, being personally available 24/7 in case of an emergency gives my clients piece of mind whilst overseas. The relationships I build with them are just as important as the trips I send them on.
Website: TravelManagers Australia
Emma Spencer, Wattleseed Healing Centre (Hornsby)
What’s your business? Wattleseed Healing Centre, a health and wellbeing centre with 12 employees.
Why did you start the business? I am a Clinical Psychologist by training, and have worked in a variety of mental health and corporate settings. The drive behind Wattleseeed Healing Centre was to bring together an eclectic mix of practitioners who could meet the health and mental health needs of the members of the community. Our vision is to “reduce the burden of illness in the communities we serve”.
What’s been your biggest challenge? I have three children ( 17 year-old Jade, 5 year-old Darcy and Skylar, 3), so it’s been definitely finding the balance between meeting the needs of my family and meeting the needs of the business.
What do you love about running your business? I absolutely love the connection I make with my clients. I feel so humbled and privileged to be invited into their lives and to walk with them on their journey to wellbeing. Seeing lasting changes in the children, adults and families I work with is the most amazing reward. I love that I can work with populations I am passionate about including mums and children in need.
How do you balance work and family? I am fortunate that I am able to structure my consulting hours around my children’s school attendance. My husband is a wonderful support and he takes charge on Thursday evenings, which is my one evening at work.
What advice do you have for any mums thinking about starting their own business? Late nights are definitely not the answer! Rest and sleep are so important to success as a mum- and in business! I really encourage mums to time-manage business-related activities so they’re during the day and early evening whenever possible. That way your kids will be getting the “best” of you each day.
Why does your company deserve to win at the Local Business Awards? I am genuine and passionate about delivering to my business values of hospitality, compassion, respect, empowerment and community. My team and I have a determined focus to make lasting and meaningful changes to the lives of our clients and the community at large.
Website: Wattleseed Healing Centre
Natasha Lee, The Sanctuary Skin Care & Beauty (Neutral Bay)
Who are you? Natasha, mum to 9 year-old Lily 9 and 6 year-old Audrey
What’s your business? The Sanctuary Skin Care & Beauty, Neutral Bay, with five employees
Why did you start the business? I previously worked in the corporate world, but the type of work I was doing bored me to tears! I wanted to work in a customer-facing role because I genuinely enjoy looking after people. I also enjoyed giving people massage. So I changed careers from business analyst to beauty therapist, always with the intention of owning a business one day. It was the best decision ever! I love my work!
What’s been your biggest challenge? My biggest challenge is finding the right people for my team. I have a solid long-term team, but currently have enough demand to take on another therapist! I have been looking for months. It’s a real challenge finding people who have the right mix of skills and personality to give that ‘next level’ service that our clients have come to expect.
What do you love about running your business? I love my clients. After 3.5 years in business, our team has really gotten to know many of them well and it really doesn’t feel like work much of the time, it’s just like a catch up with a girlfriend! I love my industry. It is constantly evolving and changing. The technology and products that we now have at our fingertips can completely transform people’s skin, and how they feel about themselves.
How do you balance work and family? It’s definitely tricky. I work ‘in the business’ about 30 hours each week and work ‘on the business’ work from home – between dropping kids to/from school, their activities and home stuff. Luckily my job is my hobby and I really enjoy all aspects of it! I have a morning routine that keeps me in check, this includes meditation which really helps to keep me balanced. Every Mum should meditate!
What advice do you have for any mums thinking about starting their own business? If you have a passion, just get started! You don’t want to look back at the end of your life and wish ‘if only!’ It’s daunting at first and having a business definitely presents challenges, especially with a young family, but it’s also really rewarding because your business is a little extension of you.
Why does your company deserve to win at the Local Business Awards? I have an amazing, dedicated team to thank for being nominated as a finalist for a third consecutive year. Our team is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about skincare/beauty. We always strive to give exceptional service to every single person that sets foot into our beautiful space. We have a huge number of loyal, long term clients and this is testimony to the quality of care we deliver.
Website: The Sanctuary Skin Care and Beauty
The winners will be announced at the prestigious Local Business Awards Gala Presentation Evening attended by local business people, sponsors and dignitaries on Wednesday 9 November. We’ll be sure to keep you updated!