Ausmumpreneur Awards 2020 – being a mum in business during a pandemic

Brand Skills

The AusMumpreneur Conference and AusMumpreneur Awards are all about supporting Australian mums in business. This event provides a unique opportunity for women from all over Australia to come together to promote their business, connect with fellow mums in business and celebrate the success of the best and brightest in the industry.

A nationally recognised awards that have been running for the past 10 years. Proudly presented by AusMumpreneur and The Women’s Business School, the Awards recognise and acknowledging success in business, product development & innovation and customer service at a glamorous awards event.

Sarah Crawford (our designer and lead developer), Dawn Rieniets (our lead copywriter), Jenn Donovan (client and owner of Social Media and Marketing Australia), and Janelle Larkin (client and owner of Buy From Tasmania) are finalists this year in various categories. 

We decided to get together over Zoom, have a laugh and put together some advice for women juggling careers and kids. 

What Inspired You To Start Your Business?

SARAH

After my first baby was born I started a small handmade business with a friend. That business eventually needed a website, so I decided to learn.  New baby, handmade business, self-care, post-natal depression and a puppy…. I had all the time in the world to learn a new skill! After playing around, reading forums, pulling things apart and then back together again, I was hooked.

As a trained lawyer, my love of information  and getting things in the right order to make sense and convince. It turns out a well-built website has the same foundation.

DAWN

I’ve always wanted to be a writer so I started an expat blog, which was more of a journal I never shared, about my experience moving from Upstate New York to Melbourne Australia. I needed a creative outlet while I took part time jobs and tried to get a permanent visa.

Life happened and after getting married and giving birth once again, blogging became a valve for me to let out my feelings about motherhood, postnatal depression, isolation and suddenly I was on a National television ad as the face of PND in partnership with a major healthcare company. The more I shared the braver I felt. I started working with brands and found that I loved creating content.

I wanted to do all the things, blog, content creation, social media, marketing, art, recipes and I tried doing it all, all while giving birth to another little girl. My business was growing but plunged into another bout of PND, this time I knew who I was and my business, though spread too thin, gave me a sense of identity.

Finally after launching my husband’s new business, I decided it was my turn. I chose to invest in myself even though I didn’t exactly have the captial, so I decided to raise it myself. I painted to pay for my new website. The act of creating my new site became a huge exercise in refocusing my services. I decided to do the two things I love most. Art and Writing.

After deciding to back myself, refocusing, rebranding, investing 2020 has been an explosion of growth. Now my work is so closely alined with my sense of purpose and identity that it makes me feel incredibly satisfied to share my gifts with my audience.

JANELLE

COVID and its slamming doors. Buyers wanted to buy, sellers wanted to sell but the two didn’t know how to connect with each other.  Growing the Plug a Business Tasmania Facebook group brought both groups together but I knew there was a better way to do it.  After making a connection with the right woman – hello Sarah Crawford – the Buy from Tasmania website was born. Now, no matter what nasty virus is thrown our way (nice try COVID), we won’t lose contact with each other, vendors are online in one place and buyers know where to find them! It’s a hell yes from me.

JENN

I saw the success that making marketing a priority, getting outside your comfort zone and embracing marketing and social media had on my business, in retail and in law, so I wanted to share that knowledge with as many small rural business owners as I could.  So, I learnt to public speak at age 40 (prior to that I was SO scared of public speaking) and started a marketing and social media business.  Travelling far and wide hosting workshops and doing mentoring and coaching for small rural businesses in Victoria and NSW.

Zoom 4

What Do You Wish You Knew Before You Started Your Business?

SARAH

Never let people bully you into doing things which you are not confident to provide. Say no. And don’t feel guilty about it. Sack that client who gives you nightsweats and send thank you cards to the one to inspired you. Get into support groups for each item in your tech stack so you know about the issues and how to fix them before something breaks. Don’t feel like you need to do everything on your own, because you’ll just get sick again. And for the love of coffee, eat lunch.

DAWN

I knew nothing about business before starting a business but I wish I knew that this is absolutely AOK. You learn as you go, you make mistakes, be brave and vulnerable and follow your curiosity.

JANELLE

Well.. before entering into business in general I wish I had paid more attention at school and hadn’t flunked accounting in Year 12.  I now put my accountant on a big shiny pedestal.  I started my working life as a nurse, we counted drip rates not GST credits. 

JENN

Honestly, nothing – and yes, that’s a crap answer!  But the reality is everything I have learnt exactly when I needed to or was ready too.  That’s the journey!

But if I had to pick something – it would be the power of a network.  I was against networking for so long – I really didn’t like networking, didn’t feel comfortable networking and therefore shied away from it.

The people in your network will have a direct link to your success as a business owner.  That’s what I know now.  I wish I had embraced this earlier and knew it earlier.

Some Final Advice From Me For First Time Business Owners

Ask questions of successful people. Create repeatable processes – you’ll never be able to delegate to a VA or create efficiencies in your business if you can’t explain what you do. Know your ideal customer and LIVE in their shoes. Dream about them and what keeps them up at night and solve that problem with your brand of awesomeness. Be clear on the benefits of working with you, because if you can’t sell you how can anyone else figure it out?

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Want To Read More From These Fabulous Ladies?

We talked for quite a while and we have a lot of advice to give!

Head over to Roo Spotting with Dawn and read Own a Small Business? Four Ways to Stay Inspired During the Pandemic.

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