I was working in the advertising industry for about 15 years before I had children. I loved working and really enjoyed the creative side of advertising, but I found that after having children my priorities changed. What I was doing didn’t have family-friendly hours so when my first son was born (Liam is now 5 and Fraser is nearly 2), I went on a bit of a mission to find out what I could do. I wanted something that would be flexible and that I’d be really passionate about and love. I wanted to do something for myself because I enjoy working and having little projects on the go. Sure the financial side was a consideration but essentially it was so I could keep using my brain.
The path I went on lead me to doing an event course, doing some study and getting some experience volunteering and working on different festivals. I was looking for some suggestions and solutions for a new career and I found there wasn’t anything out there that offered everything under one roof– so decided to create my own Expo. I wanted the Expo to offer a range of ideas for mums and to showcase family-friendly jobs – from running your own business to working with employers that offer flexible school hours.
Doing research was the first step – putting feelers out about my idea. I spoke to so many women who were in a variety of different situations. Some were on maternity leave and didn’t want to go back to their old job; others loved their jobs but had been made redundant and needed to reassess what they wanted to do. I did a posting on social media to see if people would be interested in having a stall based around careers for women and within two weeks I had expressions of interest from more than 80 people. I used this research as my benchmark to get things rolling. Initially the Expo was based more on a market stall idea, but I decided to take it up a level when I realised there was so much interest.
My husband is a very important part of what I am doing. He is my biggest champion and encourages me every step of the way. Building the business has actually been really fantastic for our marriage because our skills are very well matched. He’s excellent at the fine details, loves Excel spreadsheets and the real nitty gritty business side of things – I like to be creative and think outside the box and come up with different ideas whilst being really organised as well. So it has worked really well for the two of us.
My vision for the Career Ideas for Mums Expo is that people will spend the day meeting with the exhibitors and listening to the speakers. I want them to feel inspired and empowered - that they’ve got really good value out of the day and have more direction about their future. My aim is for the Expo to become an annual event, and then to expand the Expo in to other states around Australia. I do see it growing because I honestly believe there isn’t anything else out there like it, but I know I won’t be able to manage running an Expo in every state all by myself. In the future I would love to have other people on board who share the same vision and passion as me. That would be a dream come true.
It definitely hasn’t been easy building my business whilst raising two boys. It is a juggle. I think you do need to rely on people when you can – friends from mother’s group help with my younger son and Liam is at school so I work school hours a few days a week. In saying that because I am doing something I love so much I never truly switch off. I am always thinking of things but it’s not like work. For me, running my own business is a much better option than working nine to five with a 7am drop off at child care. My life is flexible – if the kids are sick I can be home with them, I can do reading in the classroom twice a week and I can go on excursions. I can work when I want to.
If you want to start your own business, my best advice is to go with your gut instinct. And importantly do what you love so it doesn’t feel like a job. Find something that you’re really passionate about. The most satisfying and motivating part of what I’m doing is that I am doing what I love, and that it is setting a good example for my children to show them that you can enjoy what you do. Success to me is being happy and healthy – earning an income doing something I love, helping other people and being able to provide those little extra things for my family.
I feel that with my business idea I have taken an enormous risk but in my gut I honestly feel that there’s a need for it and people will benefit from it all. Helping other people is such an important part of what I am doing as well – giving women some answers and some guidance. There are so many women looking for something new once they have had children, and if I can provide them with a base of information that I couldn’t readily find, that will be very satisfying.
The Career Ideas for Mums Expo will feature a fabulous range of exhibitors showcasing a variety of career options – including education providers, franchises, direct sellers/party plan demonstrators, recruiters, career & life coaching and small business support. Enjoy inspiring talks and workshops every 30 minutes throughout the day.
Saturday October 10 @ Moonee Valley Racecourse. 9am – 5pm
Tel: 0417 015 040
Loving what you do is one of the key's to running a successful business. As Danielle points out, you need to trust your gut instinct, and be passionate. Delving into who you really are and what you really want is the first step! Let Business Mamas help you find out what 'having it all' means to you.