The Curious Life of a Mummy HQ meets the wonderfully talented Renae Carolan. Renae’s passion, drive and entrepreneurial spirit has lead her to develop a business which works for her and her family. Through her own experiencing of motherhood, she discovered a gap in the market and create a business which is set to be a household name. Be prepared to be inspired ….
I’m Renae, I’m (almost) 40 and I’m a single mama from Melbourne, Australia. I have a beautiful two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Avery, who is half Indian and was a ‘tinder surprise’. Pre-baby I worked in PR and Communications for over 10 years across a number of industries including magazines, luxury property, not-for-profit, finance and Government.
The idea for grubeze came to me when Avery was six months old and had started solids. As a single mama, I didn’t have the time to spoon feed her and baby led-weaning was as much as conscious parenting decision as it was a necessity for me. I got really frustrated at how useless bibs and smocks were at keeping her clothes clean. I was sick of the clothing changes and how much time and money I was spending in the laundry. Starting grubeze was accidental and really came down to the fact I couldn’t find a product that was #betterthanabib so I decided to create my own.
Describe your typical day?
Same, same but different. Is that an answer? Lol. It really depends what the day is. Avery is very active and I’m not naturally a ‘kiddy’ person so I find it easier to have planned activities in place to help me keep her entertained on the days she’s not in care. On Monday, we have swimming lessons and this term we’re doing Mini Maestros music classes on a Friday. I get Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays to work on grubeze while she’s in care but that really only equates to 15 office hours once I factor in other stuff like travel.
What is the best part of your job?
The best part is I’ve stumbled across an idea that has allowed me to create my own job and gives me the flexibility to parent the way I want to and need to. As a single parent, it was untenable to go back to the 9-5 corporate office environment, especially as all my family are interstate and I don’t get that support with extra care there. Grubeze provides me with an outlet to flex my creative muscles and stay relevant from an employment perspective. In fact, it has allowed me to stretch myself further and manage tasks that otherwise would have been handled by a number of different people within a work team or business which only makes me more employable down the track.
What do you think it takes to be a Mum boss?
A good idea first and foremost followed by the drive and commitment to see it through. It’s important to have a goal and a plan, even it’s just a rough one. Being organised and having the ability to prioritise time and tasks is essential.
How do you find the balance between running a successful business and raising a family?
I think it comes down to knowing your limits and not over taxing yourself and burning out as a result. Recognising you’re the boss and you run the business, the business doesn’t run you and taking time to look after yourself accordingly. I always have a million things on my to-do list but I’m learning the hard way (after experiencing a bout of back to back illnesses) that if I don’t put myself first sometimes that ultimately my body decides for me and shuts down and forces me to stop.
Who are your Mumspirations?
My biggest mumspiration is Genine Howard from Life.Extraordinary (http://geninehoward.com/). I have known Genine for over 10 years and first met her when working in magazines together. I’ve watched her go from strength to strength starting and running multiples magazines to building her coaching business specifically for women. These days she’s running a household with two children and a fabulously supportive husband and jet setting off to Paris, Miami and Hawaii with the coaching biz. Genine has been an incredible inspiration and friend over the years and she’s a huge supporter of grubeze.
After work, how do you find time to relax?
Each week I set aside some proper ‘me’ time and indulge myself with a massage or a trip to the cinema. I choose these particular activities because I’m forced to switch off from work and not use the phone. It re-energises me to be on my game as a boss mama. I’m not a wine ‘o’clock mama, so my other indulgence is settling in on the couch after Avery goes to bed and enjoying my favourite TV series like The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones etc. It’s my time to escape into a fantasy world for a while and just get lost in the stories.
What are your top five tips for starting a business/What are your tops for budding Mumprenuers?
- Just do it! Feel the fear and do it anyway. If you don’t push yourself, you’ll never know what you’re capable of.
- Get a business coach. This person will help keep you accountable and on task. They will ask you questions you haven’t thought of and they will guide you through. I can’t recommend this one enough. Put it in your budget!
- Research – your idea, your target market, your competition etc. You can never do enough research on every facet of your business.
- Develop a go-to list of people with skills outside your own you know you can trust and rely on to get a task done efficiently and to a high standard. Don’t waste your precious-little time trying to work things out yourself or with people who are cheap but aren’t giving you what you need in the timeframe.
- Start networking with other business mamas. Working from home can be extremely isolating (especially as a single parent) Get on social media and start building genuine relationships and connecting with like-minded individuals. I have met some really amazing women since I started my grubeze journey and their support has been incredible.