With this podcast we are going to get real, honest and raw about what it takes to be a work at home mum and create a successful online business that you can use to design your life cwith freedom, fulfilment and profit.
Mums of Brisbane
Nat: Hi Katie!
Katie: Hi Nat!
Nat: So for everyone at home, I’ve got Katie on this podcast episode. Katie runs Mums of Brisbane and is also a Business Jump client but I’m actually looking forward to just getting to speak to you as a mum in business, and find out all the bits and pieces about what it’s like being a mum and running a business at the same time. Ok, so let’s start off. Can you tell me a little bit about your business so everyone can get an idea?
Katie: Well, Mums of Brisbane is an online hub for Brisbane mums and mums of south east Queensland as well, to find out about things that are happening in our local area and around them. So events for kids is a really big part of what we do. We also provide localised advice on things, so we get lactation consultants in, invite some doctors that have a local focus rather than Australia wide. We really want to become a great part of the community too so we organise events offline as well as online to allow mums to connect as well because it’s a really important part of the motherhood journey, being able to share it with other mums as well.
Nat: Definitely, the connection is a big one. So when you started, I have a lot of people say to me, ‘I want to start a business but I can’t think of anything I’m really passionate about.’ On a scale of one to ten, how passionate would you say you are about your actual concept and your business?
Katie: I’d say I’m at a 10. It’s something I feel really passionate about, especially the connecting mums, that’s really important to me.
Nat: Is that where you find your fulfilment? What areas of the business do you love working on the most?
Katie: I don’t really like the technical side of things, it’s not really my thing, but the facilitating of connections is a really big part of what I love. Writing the blogs and things that provide information for mums to make life easier for them. Like the best cafes to go to with toddlers, the best playgrounds in Brisbane, those kinds of things that provide handy information that you can just look up, find and then go. That’s part of it too, just making things easier for mums.
Nat: Definitely. What would you say your ‘why’ is? Why is it that you started your online business and what do you want out of it?
Katie: Well I suppose I’ve always really enjoyed helping people and this is another way I can reach a lot of mums and provide useful information. But being able to spend more time with my family is really important as well. I’ve got three little kids who aren’t at school yet and I was looking into the future and thinking Bella will start school next year, how am I going to fit it all in with kindy drop offs and pick ups, school drop offs and pick ups, going to work in the city, coming back in time… I just thought I wasn’t going to have that flexibility in a ‘real job’. So I thought now’s the time to get started so that’s why I decided to go for it.
Nat: Did you have a bit of fear around getting started or did you just do it?
Katie: Yes I definitely had some fear but I’m a big advocate for feel the fear and do it anyway. I took some time to feel the emotions and then moved forward. And that’s what I do any time I’ve come up against a bit of fear before in business anyway. Every month or so there’s definitely a freak out moment but you’ve got to sit with the emotion, feel it and keep moving forward.
Nat: I love that. I mean I still get fear in my business and it ebbs and flows but I think a large part of it is acknowledging it and realising that there’s never going to be a magical time when that fear goes away. Fear is present in our lives in lots of different ways but it’s as exactly you said. The key to it I really believe is learning how to overcome it. Definitely sit with it and then move it to the side and know in your heart that you’re not going to let it stop you from doing what you want to do. And I think for me, the more that I go, I’m able to recalibrate that fear really quickly so it doesn’t last for long. When I first started it would last for a lot longer and now the time that I sit with it is smaller and smaller each time because I sort of just punch it in the face.
So what are you working on right now? What does your day look like?
Katie: It can be anything from sitting down and loading blogs up into my website to going out to local parks and events and doing video. So it really just depends. I’m not as well planned as I would like at the moment. I’d like to put a bit more structure in my day and I’m starting to bring that in a little bit more because my youngest has started to go to daycare. Before that I was doing a lot of it with him floating around at my feet but then of course he’s been sick since he started daycare! So it kind of really varies and I tend to split my day as working a bit through the day and then once the kids have gone to bed, working in the night as well.
Nat: That seems like the initiation to day care doesn’t it? As soon as you decide to put them in, that first day or that first week they get sick and all the plans you had go to shit..
Katie: I thought he’d be better because he had older siblings so he would have had some of the bugs already but apparently not!
Nat: So what would you say that you’re doing that is working best for you? I had a look at your Facebook page and you’ve got amazing engagement on there, it’s going really well. So what’s working well that you would say?
Katie: I think that you’re right, it’s the social media and the engagement and the community that I’m building through Facebook and Instagram that’s really working quite well for me and it’s because I’m building a bit of a following it’s now starting to get more traction and more interest from local businesses too. It’s kind of two pronged. I’m building this business that’s for mums but also I’m looking to monetise it through advertising so it’s kind of a double business. But I do think that one of my strengths has always been people. I’ve worked in retail and in hospitality and more recently in tourism, and I was a primary school teacher before as well so I think that’s my strength, being able to build connections and relationships with people whether it’s online or offline.
Nat: I love that you’ve acknowledged what your strength is in that and you’re working within that. It’s like, I don’t know if you’ve read a book called The Big Leap or the Giant Leap by Gay Hendrix and he is all about learning how to work in your zone of genius, so it sounds as though you’ve either consciously or subconsciously worked out where your strengths are and you’re leveraging and capitalising off that.
Katie: Well, I try! It’s hard isn’t it. It’s like this is my strength but I’m really bad at all these other things!
Nat: So, how do you feel about competitors? What’s your thoughts on them?
Katie: Well I do get a bit too involved I think, looking at my competitors and seeing what they’re doing and one thing I’m starting to learn is that I need to run my own race and while it’s good to keep an eye on what others around you are doing, you can’t become disheartened or overwhelmed when it seems they’re surging ahead of you, or elated if they’re falling behind. I really honestly believe there is enough room in the market for everyone and I think it’s really important to keep an eye on them to see how they’re adapting and changing, but don’t spend too much time focusing on what they’re doing. Find the balance.
Nat: Definitely. It can be a bit of a mindset game to overcome that one can’t it, because it’s something that pops up all the time. Sometimes when you feel like you’ve just gotten over one little hurdle of managing your fears and expectations around that, someone else pops up and they’re doing amazing …. But I think it’s really normal and you can use it to your advantage as well. I know without my competitors I wouldn’t be where I am as I use it as motivation to turn into energy and sometimes I can be a little bit competitive as well so I like to use that to my advantage too.
Katie: I think the thing is as well if you’re following them on social media or even looking at their website and things, you’re never going to see their struggles just like they don’t see our struggles. We’re always looking at their highlight reel as businesses as opposed to their everyday grind and their highs and lows. And they’re probably watching us as well!
Nat: And speaking of that, do you ever have those days where you feel like you haven’t gotten any work done? And if you do, how do you pick yourself back up again?
Katie: Well I think it’s really important to feel the feeling. I definitely have those days. But I find that I’ll have the days where I’m not getting as much done as I want or someone in a similar field to me does something really amazing and I think, why didn’t I think of that? Or someone gives me feedback and I think my idea is terrible, or I could be doing all these other things. But I often find from those days, when I come back the next day, as long as I felt the feeling and worked through it, when I come back the next day, I’ve got a better idea or I’m really charging and I realise that it’s all going to be ok and to just keep going. It’s just one foot in front of the other.
Nat: Your following is growing and I did notice that you’ve got a really beautiful picture of yourself and your little ones on your website and your Facebook page. How does it feel to be putting yourself out there and having eyes on your face?
Katie: I haven’t thought too much about it, I’ve just gone for it. No one’s recognised me in public or anything yet because usually I’m carting around three little kids. Public is not a good place to always be with 3 kids under 5 but I definitely made a sort of deliberate decision to go that way because it’s different to whatever everyone else in my field is doing. And I think that people want to know the person that they’re being given information to or from, whose making recommendations or whose telling them this is a great place to go or that’s a great café to go to, so I think it’s important for me to be visible and accountable.
Nat: I agree. And what would you say your proudest achievements are to date?
Katie: I think organising the mum meet ups between local mums and seeing mums start to organise their own through our group. That’s been really satisfying for me personally. I think just getting started has been one of my proudest achievements. Growing it to the point where I’ve got it now but the hardest part, everyone always says and I think it’s true is actually taking an idea from just an idea to fruition so I’m proud that I just got it going.
Nat: I think that’s an amazing achievement and I think sometimes we undersell ourselves on that front as well and maybe that’s got to do with again, seeing how far ahead everyone else is in front of us. And actually just taking that step of action and going from something that was an idea in our head to something that is tangible and can continue to be something you can grow and nurture… we should all give ourselves more pats on the back for that because that is the gateway to a whole new journey and a whole new life and that’s just massive in my mind so…
Is there anything that you’ve done that didn’t work out the way that you thought it would or you had different expectations for?
Katie: There are a couple of styles of blog posts or topcis of blog posts that I thought would go really well that haven’t as much. So I’ve dropped them off and am trying different things now. Originally I wasn’t going to do playground and park reviews, but I’ve found they have a really good uptake so I do more of them and I do less of other types. Also I’ve been using video a bit and video has got great reach on social media but I’ve been finding the type of video that I’ve been doing doesn’t necessarily link to click throughs for the topics that I’m doing. So it’s really beneficial in one way but doesn’t give me the website clicks, in the way that I’ve been doing it so I need to rejig that a little bit.
Nat: But it seems like you’re very aware of that and it seems like you’re testing and measuring and that’s really important too.
Katie: Yeah well I try to reflect on things that have gone well and things that maybe haven’t and I think that’s really important because you see so much disruption in business today, so many businesses, large businesses that have become complacent because they’ve dominated the market for so long, but I think the way of business now is just constant change.
Nat: I love that so much. I remember years and years ago when I had this really shitty job and I hated it every single day and on my last day I walked past the Managing Director’s office and I’d never really spoken to him before and didn’t really know who he was. I have no idea why I did this but I just popped my head in the door and said, ‘Hey, what’s your best piece of business advice for someone whose starting a business?’ And he said, ‘Never be complacent’, and I’ve always carried that with me and whenever I’ve come up against hurdles or stuff and I’ve wondered how I’m going to work through it, I’ll acknowledge that actually change is a good thing and we need to be able to adapt quickly and let go of things that we thought might have worked. I know Business Jump has taken a few different directions than what I would have anticipated but in hindsight I can actually see that it was the best thing. Never be complacent has always been a big thing and I love that you say that.
Katie: And I think one of the great things about being a small business is that you are able to adapt and change very quickly, compared to large businesses, so you’ve got to use it to your advantage as much as possible.
Nat: 100% and that actually made me think of the next question that I wanted to ask you. Would you say that you’re someone who does big plans or are you more just day to day but still have your vision? Because I find that there are people who want to do a 3 month or 6 month or 12 month plan and that’s awesome. Some people need to have plans but my only question with that is as long as you can still change within that plan to adapt then that’s totally fine. So do you plan things out or do you go with it?
Katie: I go with it. I’m a big picture person and I find little details hard. I need someone to ground me sometimes because if my intuition takes me there I can have a tendency to barge ahead with things without really thinking them through. So that’s something I need to work on too.
Nat: I think it’s good though and it’s so funny because I was actually going to write a post about this because when we read stuff on line, everyone is like how to do this, or make a plan and you have to have the plan and also I know I work off my intuition a lot and I can’t even work out what I’m having for dinner in two days let alone a 30 page business plan! So I think there’s a lot to be said for working off your intuition and for me I just keep everything super simple so it doesn’t veer me off track too much. And that seems to work. I remember watching a Facebook live between some big entrepreneurs and one was just winging it and the other one was freaking out saying she didn’t let me write a plan, I’ve got no idea what we’re talking about! So I think you find what works and if it’s different to someone else or different to what the majority of people are saying that’s absolutely fine.
So what’s next for you? What are you working on next?
Katie: Well we’re working on setting up some big events for Mums of Brisbane. I was doing fortnightly smaller events, mum meet ups within the Mums of Brisbane brand but I think we’re moving more towards larger meet ups once a month on the weekends, so that mums who work can come and mums themselves can book their smaller meet ups together. I’m working on a booklet – a guide to Brisbane for mums for next year. It will be a 12 month guide to Brisbane and a lot of work. And just continuing to build our community, letting mums know about us and getting to know all the mums in the local area. And then whatever else I think of!!
Nat: It sort of almost answers the next question which was going to be the last one, which is what are your goals. Would you say that they’re your goals or do you have any extra or other…. Have you ever written down I want to have X amount of followers or I want to have X amount of anything?
Katie: I actually write it down every day! I’ve just started doing it because I’ve been reading a lot of things around mindset and I think a big one for me is my money mindset and visualising that it’s ok in business to be paid for what we’re doing. And that’s always been a big challenge for me because I’m always like, oh I’ll just wait to ask to get paid, I’ll do these interviews and wait to ask to get paid until I’ve got more followers, or I’ve built up more credibility. So what I’ve been doing every day is I take 10 minutes to write down what my goals are, whether they’re personal or professional and my goal is to have 20,000 Facebook followers by December, 10,000 Instagram followers, to have a certain number of businesses on my directory, have a certain number of blog posts up, and then I’ve got longer term goals that won’t be for a while – buy a penthouse by the beach!
Nat: So I’m going to put you on the spot right now. I posted a podcast in our private Facebook group from the Mind your Business podcast. It was between James Webmore and Stu McLaren. Did you happen to see it at all or listen to it?
Katie: No I didn’t see it. I didn’t see it come up…..
Nat: The reason I thought I’d bring it up is that there’s a really really good piece in there about money and mindset and Stu Mclaren is a massive entrepreneur, like millions and millions of dollars . He made like $5m in eight months, but off the back of a lot of work, not just all of a sudden! And he was talking about the money mindset and he was saying that he couldn’t get his head around the fact that he was earning all of this money. He knew he was working hard but when he compared himself to his parents who worked so hard and they still didn’t have the same type of wealth that he had created, it became a really hard hurdle and an imbalance in his mind. So it’s a really great podcast to listen to to help get our minds around the fact that it’s ok to earn money in business and sometimes we’ve got limiting beliefs or preconceived ideas about how we should earn that money, maybe because of how we’ve seen our parents earn money, so yeah, there’s a good one for you in there! There’s your homework!
Katie: The other thing is that when you write it down every day, you’re reaffirming it and then you remember that’s what you’re working for, so you take the steps actively to get there.
Nat: I love that, I love that so much. I’ve so loved chatting to you and I’m so thrilled for everything that you have created and everything that you’re going to continue to create because it all looks so awesome. Thank you so much for your time.
Katie: Thanks Nat!