How these mumpreneurs became bosses of their own time
Last updated on 8 August 2023
Starting a business at any stage of life can be daunting, so when you throw in the additional challenges of parenthood, it becomes a real juggling act as two full-time responsibilities collide. But instead of dropping the ball, there are those who thrive with newfound confidence and determination.
Rie Bredow, Director of Rie Care and a mum-of-two, has overcome major obstacles that would deter any businessperson to see her home care and support services business grow into a thriving operation.
Ms Bredow’s healthcare journey has been long and winding over the last 17 years with stints in medical administration, office management and nursing in just about every healthcare setting. After working overseas as an Assistant in Nursing (AIN), she returned to Australia to raise a family. Although there was an abundance of work in the nursing sector, and aspirations to complete training as a Registered Nurse, parenthood and a desire for independence led to the formation of Rie Care in early 2020.
“By pure coincidence, I started my Bachelor of Nursing at the same time we started Rie Care. Soon after I had a self-development moment where I realised I don’t need to become a Registered Nurse to continue doing what I’m doing,” Ms Bredow explained.
“I really wanted it because I wanted that extra knowledge but I was disappointed in the degree because everything we did during our first year of uni, we actually covered more than 17 years ago in our Cert III.”
In the business world, shifting goalposts might seem like a bad thing. Why start something when you won’t follow through? Well, if there’s one thing parents know, it’s that even the best-laid plans may go off track. And that’s why so many parents reach a point where they recognise the traditional 9-5 or shift work just isn’t for them. There’s something more out there.
Becoming a boss of your own time
The great thing about leadership is you can look anywhere for inspiration. Danielle Robinson is the Founder and Owner of SCOUT Lifestyle Concierge – a business supporting time-poor professionals, small businesses and families with planning and organisation.
In many ways, the passion for SCOUT has been there from the very beginning. Ms Robinson, a mum of two young girls, has hated the feeling of disorganisation since she was a kid. There was always an internal voice pushing her to be prepared for anything.
“Either you control your day or your day controls you. I’m also a huge advocate for actioning things in the moment that will take two minutes or less because if I put them off till ‘later’ those two-minute jobs can quickly compound into hours of your time,” Ms Robinson said.
Leaders from across the board can take inspiration from those words given hectic days are a dime a dozen in aged care.
For the vast majority of us, there’s a sense of contentment in working as part of a larger organisation. But for others, there is a desire for more, to spread your own wings and establish something that is truly your own. Ms Robinson always had that in mind for herself after years in the events and hospitality industry. It just so happened that she launched her own freelance business shortly before falling pregnant for the first time.
“I was working with my father in our family wine business when I decided I wanted to be my own boss and start my own business. It was during this time I started narrowing down all the projects I genuinely loved working on… and channelling a vision of how I could offer those services on a short-term basis. When I started freelancing, I didn’t want to abandon my passion for events, so I ensured my service offerings still ticked all my creative boxes,” she said.
When it comes to starting a business, Ms Robinson said it’s essential to research thoroughly. While that might seem like a time-consuming process to any busy professional already juggling parenthood, getting all your ducks in a row before beginning will lead to a smoother takeoff.
“If you have a fire burning in your belly to start your own side hustle, go for it. Network with like-minded people and ask lots of questions. Attend events. Start writing a business plan – will your idea be viable? Do you need to borrow money? Will you need staff? Brain dump everything that comes to mind,” Ms Robinson said.
“If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life!”
But amongst the positives, there are some serious lessons learned. For Ms Robinson it was discovering just how much work goes into launching a business; the unpaid labour, the hours spent building connections, finding clients and securing resources.
“There are so many behind the scenes things that need constant actioning that you don’t get paid for, especially when you’re still working full time or have a family.”
Over at Rie Care, it was almost a business-ending experience for Ms Bredow and her growing team. After two months of employment, one of her newest staff members handed in a surprise resignation late one Sunday night. Half of the client base followed the worker.
“I pretty much had nothing left. It was really hard because you put everything into trying to build something only for somebody to do the wrong thing. I then had to make some sacrifices. I gave my shifts to my remaining staff so they had work and we went without income for a while. We were borrowing money for groceries, utilising any support we could. But I rebuilt, I’m still here,” she explained.
“I’m not trying to scare anyone off from running your own business; if you have a dream or an idea, go and do it. Just put everything on paper and make sure your Ts and Is are crossed and dotted. If you haven’t made a note of it or it is not in a contract, you’re leaving yourself wide open for a lot of hurt.”
As someone who brings a natural air of positivity wherever she goes, Ms Bredow discovered the business world’s cruel side. But it hasn’t changed how grateful she is to be operating today, and with increased resilience, her company has grown. That’s had a major impact on her kids and on her staff.
It’s safe to say there will be plenty of lessons for mumpreneurs on their journey, and we’ll explore that more in part two of our feature.