Tanya is a mother of three children under six, and blogs about career change and finding flexible jobs and study for mums at Employment Avenues, and supports mums starting their own business at Your Business Wife. She loves to help women reshape their career and business dreams after having children and helping them create meaningful work that works with their family. We spoke to Tanya to find out more.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
I come from a long line of business owners, with my grandparents running pubs, milkbars, butcher shops and service stations for most of their lives. My parents ran their own farm, as well as a milkbar in the 90s.
Coming from a self-employed background, I knew just how hard running your own business is, with juggling the demands of customers, banks, and family, and that put me off for a long time. Instead, I was determined to go to university, and get into the working world. I spent five years teaching in primary schools and then moved into various roles in project management, training and development and auditing and compliance. As I moved up the corporate ladder, I also started my family.
After having my three children in quick succession, I found myself at a crossroads. I was spending three hours a day commuting. Dropping my kids at childcare at 7am, to race to the city and be at my desk by 9am. Praying that there wouldn’t be any delays, or train cancellations.
I began to see that things would only continue to get worse as my eldest started school the following year, and there would be a month of prep-transition, then years of missing out on school events and after school activities if something didn’t change.
The Launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
I had always been fascinated by people who made a career change, like I had in my 20s, and how they were able to use their skills and education from one sector to move into another. From this, Employment Avenues was born.
I initially set up Employment Avenues as a directory based business, but quickly realized that in order to grow, it would need a personal touch and I moved into blogging and helping people 1-1 with their career change decisions. As it’s grown, it has become a much more personal mission to help mothers to find fulfillment, financial rewards and satisfaction in knowing herself, her skills, talents and strengths and working within her zone of genius.
And help other mothers to reach out and support each other by using their individual talents to collaborate and work collectively for success.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
As Employment Avenues grew, I realized there were two categories of career changing mums out there – those who wanted to take their skills and training and find a new, family friendly job, and those who wanted to take their skills and training and start their own business. As I worked more and more with the second group, I found I had plenty of ideas to help them out too.
Drawing from my own experiences with getting ripped off in the early stages, feeling lost and alone and having no idea where to start, I have a goal of helping mums who want to start their own business, or who are in the early years to get their businesses up and running and making money. As I networked with many mums in the first year of their business, I started to see familiar patterns emerging. Firstly, very few of them were making money. Those that were, were making very little for the hours and time they put in. And overall, there was this huge sense of hopelessness and defeat, that they had been so successful in their career, but were a failure in business. And they just couldn’t get out of the cycle of insecurity, chasing their tails on social media, and throwing money away trying to catch a break.
As I networked with many mums in the first year of their business, I started to see familiar patterns emerging. Firstly, very few of them were making money. Those that were, were making very little for the hours and time they put in.
After many months of soul searching, planning, testing and scrapping and re-trying – Your Business Wife was launched.
I started out offering content ideas and strategic content planning, and have slowly built up other areas of the business, including advising on Pinterest, blogging and how to build business systems to find ways to make their businesses work without driving them into the ground.
Once I realized that there was a whole group of mums out there who needed the support and advice I provide, everything fell into place and business has taken off.
Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?
Three days a week, all three kids are in childcare/school, so those are my work days. I’m lucky my husband usually does bedtime when he’s home, so most nights I can get on the computer by 7pm and get a few more hours work done before bed. I try to attend at least one networking or training event each month, and that helps me stay social and connected with the real world!
The bonus is that I get to do school drop-offs and pickups, and if I need to take time to go do my grocery shopping I can.
It certainly beats 5.30am starts and dealing with public transport!
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