Being a Mother & CEO
Insights & Inspiration from our founder Laura
Running a successful business while being a mum can be extremely challenging, yet incredibly rewarding. We sat down with our founder and CEO Laura to find out how she is managing the maize of family life and business with her three young children.
What is the best thing about being a mum and running your own business?
It is really important to me to be fully present in our children's upbringing and to give all three of them the time they need and deserve. Running my own business gives me the flexibility to make them an absolute priority. Being able to make this choice is definitely the best thing about it.
At what stage was Lyttelton Lights when you had your children?
I was building Lyttelton Lights for around two years before I had Sophia (5), so the basic foundations were established. We sold at farmers markets, I had two casual staff and a very small workshop. Being a new mum is life changing and building a business is an ever evolving process that never slows down, so to learn this new juggle was challenging. August (2) arrived unexpectedly early at a time when the business was going through major changes. Managing the business while also going through NICU was a very new and exhausting experience. At the time I only had one casual staff member and Lyttelton Lights had its biggest month in growth. I interviewed people over the phone and managed day to day business from NICU, all while riding out what was a difficult and emotional time. Later on we had the sleepless nights with a refluxy baby and August’s new home became the front pack while I poured candles and did office work. Eleni (6months) is our newest addition and the business is at a very different stage again. I am very fortunate to have a wonderful team of 9 staff that I can rely on. I can now delegate tasks and share responsibilities. We have a larger premises and of course I have a lot more experience as a parent. So it feels a bit more balanced even though we have had new challenges like Covid to master. You can’t slow down though; the business constantly evolves and of course so do the children. It requires constant adjustment as to how I manage both, sometimes only at a moment’s notice.
What is it like being a mum of three young children while managing your own business?
It’s very busy for sure, the business has a huge creative aspect and daily managerial tasks which has me thinking almost constantly. Making a conscious choice to be completely present with whatever I do at a certain time is crucial. The children are at three very different ages all requiring specific things from me, Eleni is breastfeeding and needing close contact almost constantly, August is a toddler full of energy and Sophia is now school age which is a whole new phase again. I absolutely love being a mum and I’m so passionate about Lyttelton Lights, so as busy as it is I feel extremely lucky for this life I am balancing. It creates a huge amount of drive and resilience.
What are the biggest challenges?
The biggest challenge for me is managing time and tiredness. Whether you have young children, are pregnant or both, its full on. I’m a mum first and it is important to me to breastfeed our children. Wanting to parent this way often requires needing to be in two places at once.
How do you manage these challenges?
It comes down to a good plan, discipline and the ability to sometimes say no. I plan my week on a Sunday night and make Sophia, August and Eleni my top priority. Everything else is planned around them, it usually works out well, but even solid plans can fail and I have to be open to making changes at short notice.
I realise the importance of sleep and try my hardest to keep on top of this along with a healthy diet and exercise, even a quick walk around the block can be all my body needs in the middle of a busy day.
I have a diary and carry it with me almost everywhere. That way I can stay on top of everything and write down new ideas no matter where I am.
It’s crucial to use your resources wisely and that means delegating tasks and passing on responsibilities. Having trust in the individual talents of our staff is both empowering and frees up time.
We have set up a play area at work to accommodate for when Sophia, August or Eleni join me in the office. There is always someone willing to hold Eleni or play with the kids, it really does take a village.
Which aspects of being a mum can you also apply to your business?
When Sophia, August and Eleni were born I was getting to know three complete new characters, their interests and little cues. In a sense it relates to dealing with our customers and business partners. Understanding peoples individual characteristics and needs is very important. The ability to actively listen to everyone I deal with is the basis of it all.
How do you maintain a good work life balance?
When I’m at work that’s what I’m focusing on. Being ready and present enables me to get a lot of work done in a short amount of time and It frees up more time for family activities. Creating memories with friends and family is hugely important to me.
What advice would you give other entrepreneur mums that might be in a similar situation or new to business?
Running a business and being a mum is hard. Make sure you don’t give up on the days that seem never ending. There will be moments that you question everything, but if you love what you do it’s all worth it.
What are your 10 essential tips for entrepreneur mums
- Get up and show up every day
- Manage your time well and plan your week ahead.
- Make use of the flexibility that self-employment gives you
- It’s okay to say no
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
- Challenge yourself to step outside of your comfort zone
- Make non-negotiable time and during this be fully present
- Set priorities and commit to it
- Make use of technology to streamline your business
- Surround yourself with supportive people