Single mums thrive in business

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Multitasking for single mums, who also run their own business, is the lifeblood. Whether aiming to create a better life for their children, or being inspired by kids themselves, or even finding solace in work after losing a husband or partner, these four Tauranga entrepreneurs have built successful companies, while raising beautiful babies all on their own.

Marcela Hannouche (The Sugaring Room), Kelli Burnett (Personal Trainer), Rosalind Potter (Cake Away) and Caroline Martelli (MCollections MSkin)
share their tips on being real-life superheroes. Juggling motherhood and entrepreneurship has taught them some interesting lessons.

What was the starting point for your business?

Marcela: I was breastfeeding until my son turned two, and couldn’t figure out how to do that when working full-time. I always had a vision of my own beauty salon, and the timing was just perfect!

Kelli: My first business was launched before having children – I bought a spray tanning franchise 12 years ago. Becoming a self-employed personal trainer seemed a natural step after giving birth. It allows me to be more flexible.

Rosalind: I started making cakes for my kids’ birthdays about 30 years ago. It naturally grew into other mums wanting cakes for their children, so I set up a small business at home. When my husband passed away, I was thankful for having something I could throw myself into; it gave me a distraction and surrounded me with a supportive network of friends and customers.

Caroline: When my marriage ended, with a nine-month-old baby and my makeup kit, and with help from my mum, girlfriends and clients, I launched in-home makeup workshops. By that time, I already had my own limited range of mineral makeup products. The world got out and, due to high demand, I had to quickly expand the variety of MCollections (read more about Caroline’s beauty brand on our website).

Does being a boss both at work and at home, at the same time, limit your involvement in any of these spheres?

Marcela: To be honest, I used to feel ‘in debit’ as a mum for quite a while. Talking to friends and clients helped me realise I’m not the only one, and that’s a common thought for many mums. After all, I’m a woman living in a foreign country without any financial support, who does everything for her kid and runs a business – at the end, I think, I’m doing a bloody good job!

Kelli: Taking a holiday break is probably the most difficult for me, especially with having clients working towards life changing goals. You really want to be there for them all the way! Otherwise I’m happy with the balance I’ve managed to achieve (find out, how to achieve balance in your life). I work with clients whenever I can, but I also have days that are solely for me and my children.

Rosalind: You never switch off being a mother. Sometimes business has to be put to the side, if there’s a family issue. But it never was a distraction, rather a supportive environment that helped me to escape the tough realities I was facing.

Caroline: I have always tried to make my daughter number 1, doing special treats for her, watching movies together. But she has grown up around business – from when it was at home to the studio now, packaging the products and helping me to deliver them. She has seen me working hard and she learned that you do have to work hard to get what you desire. I am sure if you asked my daughter, there isalways room for mummy to be more fun,but I do try my best!

What lessons, learnt as a mother, also helped you in business?

Marcela: Even when you have no idea what you’re doing, believe in it, go for it and make it work!

Kelli: Just like your children, your business needs love and attention. It’s going to be hard work, but never give up, because you want to see it flourish and grow.

Rosalind: My favourite mantra is ‘Keep calm and carry on’.

Caroline: Time management! Oh, and remember to breathe and eat. Many times my daughter had to remind me I didn’t eat today!

Any time management tips for our readers?

Marcela: Create a goal list! You might feel tired and exhausted, but no results come without effort, so keep working towards your dreams.

Kelli: I have lots of reminders and alarms on my phone. The mind of a solo mum entrepreneur can be so busy, it’s easy to forget Tuesday is a rubbish day, no matter how many years you’ve known that.

Rosalind: When owning a business and having children, time management often goes out the window and you have to be okay with that. Keep calm and carry on,remember?

Caroline: Start your day with a coffee and write a to-do list, and then work through it by ticking things off.

Here’re 7 more time-tested ways to be more effective at work and spend time wisely.

How do you switch off and relax in your ‘me’ time?

Marcela: I go to the gym, go out with my friends and pamper myself in any way.

Kelli: In between my morning, mid- morning and afternoon clients I have a gap in my schedule. The kids are in school, soIusethistimeforthegymorgraba coffee with a girlfriend. I’m also notorious for my day naps–if I can squeeze one in, I definitely will.

Rosalind: My ‘me’ time is escaping for a facial every eight weeks and spending time with my family.

Caroline: I will get my nails done, read abook or go for a walk.

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