Last year I was lucky enough to be chosen to complete a Bizness Babes Business Course, designed to help mums forge their own path in the business world. The tools they gave me were invaluable. Below is a brilliant blog from a member of their team, I hope it finds those that need inspiration!
Business … do, I really have what it takes?
Ever found yourself asking this question? For most people this is where it begins and also where it ends. What sets an entrepreneur apart from the rest is not that they have ideas but they actually DO something about them. That is it. One tiny thing can take you from stay-at-home-mum to business entrepreneur, leading a ‘choose your own adventure’ life you only ever dreamed of.
My name is Samantha Jockel and for the last five years I have been a stay at home mum and business entrepreneur. It has been the most exciting, scary, fulfilling, frustrating and ultimately awesome time of my life.
I started contemplating the idea of business seven years ago when I was thinking about having children. I knew I didn’t want to go back to work and leave my kids but I also knew I would need more stimulation than looking after a baby. I have always been an ideas person with my fingers in many pies but just hadn’t made my own pies yet.
I decided I had to come up with an idea which could work with a baby in tow. My background was social work and community development and my superpower was making things happen. From a random thought in my head one day and a few encouraging conversations came my first business called Biddy Bags.
Biddy Bags merges the skills and abilities of crafting nanas with the design ideas of young fashionistas to create stylish, nana-made ethical products. Refer to www.biddybags.com.au for more info.
From setting up and managing Biddy Bags I learnt that I LOVE business and have spent the past three years experimenting with lots of the different potential I see in the market.
I currently run a large facebook page, sell products and services at markets, co-founded two social enterprises and run a consultancy business.
What I have learnt about running a business is that it is not about having a great idea as much as it is about a willingness and love of learning.
As Richard Branson said: “Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming”.
I truly believe you can do whatever you want if you can be bothered the secret of business success is that it’s not necessarily about talent or a great idea but a desire to learn and grow and an ability to work hard.
What excites me the most is not what I have done but what I am yet to do. As a stay at home mum you are in the perfect position to experiment with small business and see if you have the ability to learn, create and work hard in business. You too can choose YOUR own adventure, live YOUR dreams and be in control of YOUR own life.
Three years ago I was lucky to be offered a job working with a social enterprise called Bizness Babes. Bizness Babes supports and empowers stay at home mums attempting to give business a go. We run free training programs in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and have had over 400 women come through our program since 2006.
Some graduate Bizness Babes businesses include Sunny Mummy, Peppermint Magazine, Home Life Simplified, Seven Cherubs, Gregarious Peach, Greensacks, Maternal Instincts, Kiss it Better Bags, Seven Canaries, and the Karma Soap Company
The great thing is that YOU could add your name to that list. We are currently taking applications for our next round of courses. In order to be eligible you need to meet a couple of criteria outlined in the application form. Our Small Business Development Course is free to women who are unemployed, underemployed or marginalised in some way (see the FAQ on our website).
You can find out more about Bizness Babes and apply for our courses online at www.biznessbabes.com.au
Like our facebook page www.facebook.com/biznessbabes for regular updates, networking and inspiration.
And remember you are always in the position to CHOOSE your own adventure!!!!
Thanks to Bizness Babes, back to normal programming for next post!
I am very hyper today LOL. Made an exciting discovery thanks to a heads up from a friend (Thank you).
Have you ever met someone with ZING? You know, a truly inspiring, energetic person. Not the sob story kind (no offense, all stories have merit), but I mean those incredibly positive people who just exude magnetism based on attitude. Who have profound things to say, and say it in a way that makes your senses tingle? Dont you just leap when you meet such people? I think some of the ZING comes from shared passions and goals, so different people have different ZING, and attract different ZINGEES.
Most of the time you don’t even need to meet ZINGERS in person, their passion explodes from their chosen form of communication. 140 characters was enough for me – I was ZINGED by tweet. Of course, I am prone to ZINGING, Sir Richard Branson ZINGS me regularly (I am sure his wife won’t mind), and there is a man who stands on a street corner on my path to work that ZINGS me every morning. He is truly amaZING (that wordplay was no a coincidence BTW – I am a wordsmith extraordinaire lol). Back to my corner man….
Below is a photo (a bad one – taken in haste as I was stopped at a crossing) of the ZINGER in question. This gentleman has this crossroad for the last 6 months (well, that was when I noticed him anyway – in the blur of my life perhaps he was there for a lot longer). He is there with his little dog as I pass through at 7.30am, and is still there around lunch time, although sans puppy by that time. He waves and smiles the whole while, carrying his message on his shoulders. I always smile and wave back – this morning I even a blew a kiss, and he laughed. Seeing him has a positive effect on me – reminds me that there are good people in this world. Many people just drive by, but still this wonderful man waves and smiles, and sends his thoughts out into the world. Wow, that is amazing to me. THAT is true dedication. He is not asking for anything for himself, he is not using the latest fad to rake in a profit. He is simply asking us to be aware. Pretty cool dude! All those busy people ignoring you, or writing you off as a nutter, and you still stand there in the hope you will jog a mind or two in a different direction. I wish I was as singular in finding my path!
Perhaps I should strap a sign on and go stand on a street corner waving my hands in an attempt to crystallise my needs. Perhaps the zen aspect of standing for hours and being ignored will provide the clarity I need. If I am lucky, exhaust smoke inhalation could put me into a deep meditative state and allow a Eureka moment. Or perhaps the sore feet will tell me to get my rear in gear and just start one of these great ideas I keep having! Time to stop being afraid and JUST DO IT. Perhaps my board should read “Honk if you think I should do it” hehe. Then I could use all those horn blowers as cheerleaders (rather than thinking of them as bored, dirty-minded commuters stuck on horrendous Sydney traffic).
Hmmm – got a bit off track there didn’t I. Back to ZINGINESS. My corner man ZINGS me because he fascinates me, and he is aspirational for me. I wish to be following my passions, but am struggling to identify what to focus on. And it’s a funny thing you know – often when struggling the most, when clarity eludes, something happens to shift things back into focus – to my mind – it is a moment of pure ZING. Today was exactly that. I had been playing around with this blog for a week, not happy with the message, not sure where it needed to go, but wanting to talk about my corner man. Then today – thanks to afore-mentioned friend: ZING ZING ZING. She referred me to a person whose ideas where very similar to my own, but much further clarified, much more succinct, and so many light years ahead in conceptualisation. It was like being tasered (in a good way – if that is possible), reading one tweet and the ZING just kept jolting me. Oh wow, wow, wow. I imagine this is what a religious experience feels like to a believer.
I can feel clarity moving through my thoughts and opinions – not to blindly follow his, but removing the scales if you like, casting away the block I was suffering with. (Listen to me sounding all biblical haha). Passion meets talent…..find that point and you have the most successful you that you can be. Simple isn’t it! But life gets so clouded with junk, can be hard to find that node. This man though, he voices thoughts and opinions that are a crystallisation of my own, in an area I was overlooking in my attempts to become mega rich through a .com-like scheme. Thank you ZINGMASTER, Sir Ken Robinson! I cant wait to read your books and move this life forward. I am starting with The Element, but Out of Our Minds looks very tasty too!
If you are wondering what the shared passion is – then reading my previous blog may help: It’s just another brick in the wall. Basically, I don’t think education has moved forward like our lives or technology, I don’t believe we are letting our children meet their full potentials, we hamper them from developing problem solving skills and using creativity to find new solutions.
Phew – all this ZINGING is really exciting. My urge to communicate on this topic is pretty clear ( thanks readers for being the sounding board), now its time to slake my thirst for more information! I will be back, and perhaps I may be lucky enough to ZING you too!
Why is our educational system so backwards?
Hmmm – that was a controversial start wasn’t it! Jump right in, boots and all! WAIT – don’t comment yet, hear me out first, please.
Our education system is not up with the times. It teaches us algebra, teaches us to obey, to be malleable, that lunchtime is 12.40pm. But where is the encouragement of the entrepreneurial spark? Why aren’t kids truly encouraged to lead in the face of challenges where the outcome is not predictable? Our kids live sanitised lives, kept safe from failure, where even grades are banded so they don’t feel like they failed. Yeah sure, they can be house captain (I was, 4 times). Yep, they can lead a sports team (I was Softball Captain). These are great opportunities, but this isn’t business leadership.
I think of Tom Cruise in Risky Business – not the underwear scene (pause – take a moment ladies, enjoy the memory, whilst the male readers out there can choose their own cherished pictorial memory to pass the time).
I mean the Risky Business Future Leaders program. It feels truly inspirational to me now. I wish I had done something like that at school. Ok – not the hooker bit (but hey, there are many legitimate biz models at there at the moment which aren’t so far from what Tom did, and politician’s business requirements, well, they leave Tom for dead). Oops – I digress…… to learn about innovation, thinking outside the square (rather than being confined to a little box where a squared +b squared = c squared), to be encouraged to let go of the familiar and grasp hold of the new, different, unexpected, what a fabulous treat that would have been.
To learn from trial and error, where the error didn’t mean a low mark, but a high mark for taking the opportunity and shaping it into success. How absolutely cool it would have been to be at a school where such programs were as important as writing the perfect essay on social culture in the 21st century. I am not saying in place of, but alongside. I haven’t in my life had many requirements to write a 5000 word essay since leaving school (the closest is my humble blog), but the trial and error, that has been a daily occurrence!
How great it would have been to emerge from school understanding how to write a business plan, and being able to identify cash flow problems. Instead I went to Bizness Babes to learn that, as a mum with an idea (well, it was just over 100 viable ideas at the time). Bizness Babes was instrumental in stoking the fire of my burgeoning awareness of the opportunities around me. In fact I blame them absolutely for the nagging bug that now sits on my shoulder, making me look at every action in my life to find the way to build a business out of it. Thanks to the WISE Foundation and Bizness Babes, I now see cash flows and risk analysis everywhere. I love it. The possibilities really are endless! I just wish I had been thinking this way 20 years ago, instead of now, as a mum with a family and a mortgage. But that is life, and I WILL make lemonade out of those lemons!
The lemonade of today (well – yesterday in fact, it came to me whilst dear Bethie Boo and I were out having a little girly fun), is a new entertainment concept I don’t believe has a place in the world as yet. I am very excited about researching it, it could be lots of fun and a great business for me to develop. There is already a business model to utilise, and it is a franchisable operation. Win, win, win. AND I already have a very cool name picked out that no-one has registered a dot.com for. Woo hoo – that in itself is like winning the lottery these days! Anyway – I will reveal more as investigations move along – stay tuned!
Back to my soapbox – education these days. I am not the only one disappointed in the educational systems of this world. I was reading Voyeur Magazine on a recent Virgin Australia flight, and was staggered at the number of mega successful entrepreneurs that had not completed a university degree. Some dropped out after developing their ideas and wanting to get moving whilst the iron was hot (aka Steve Jobs and Bill Gates), whilst others just could not deal with school regimentation (no surprise for entrepreneurs like John D Rockefeller, Richard Branson.) In fact, Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, paid 24 young entrepreneurs $100,000 USD each to drop out of school and develop their ideas instead of waiting a few more years. He strongly feels schooling is not necessarily the way forward. That is a big statement – formal learning channels are so very important, and sometimes life experience just can not replicate the resources of an educational body. I would rather have an education system that meets the needs of kids and gives them the skills to be successful business people if that is what they choose to do. In an effort to alleviate this gap, some enlightened individuals have started utilising shared learning online as an open structure to nurturing these skills, I do hope it catches on. In the mean time perhaps I should also be looking into developing a private school with an entrepreneurship stream – hmmmmmmmm – quick – add that to my list of ideas!
I am off to do some research and chat to some entrepreneurs online, catch up again soon!
Geeeeeeeeees – this is the hardest thing I have ever done. Trying to get ppl to notice my website and sign up – and I am offering stuff for free!
How would a mega-entrepeneur do this? Branson would fly an A380 over with the website on a banner behind. Trump would do a video pageant. Gates – would buy up another business already doing it – hmmmmmm – I am for sale Microsoft – oooh – and GOOGLE too, if you are interested. Hehehe, and Facebook megadudes – you too, skype or vid chat, my concept fits in beautifully and could be yours for the right price.
I know this is a great idea – so how do I get ppl to notice, ‘cos asking and begging aint working. Threats…….hmmmm – I’ll kneecap yah unless yah sigh up isnt really a good business model…….did work for The Sopranos though…. but since I am not in “waste collection” think I need another route….
GRAB A MEGAPHONE AND SHOUT: HELLO EVERYONE – CHECK TOLDYAH OUT
Not effective on a regional or national sale is it. Alrighty – coming up empty – if you have an idea please comment – in the mean time I am back to begging.
Since u r reading this – pls – help a starving mumpreneur out:
TELL UR FRIENDS AND FAMILY – GET THEM TO SIGN UP
UPLOAD VIDS AND BE HEARD!
TELL IT LIKE IT IS.
YES, yes – for my one reader, today marks a turning point – a day of pure, unadulterated excitement. Why, you ask…….. ah Mr X I can always count on you for the right response!
Today, it THE day. Unveiling the plans. With a wave of my magic wand, taaaaaah daaaaaaaaaah………its the official non-launch! Cue the fanfare, streamers and doves.
Hehe, non-launch………’cos yes, there is a live site, and yes the business model is now public (NO COPYING MSSRs BRANSON, GATES, etc etc). But it isnt actually the real site – it is a test site, so no official launch, just a little private lap dance *wink wink*
I can hear the anticipation in your sucked in breath, the inaudible muttering of get on with it…. such excitement to get to the big unveil…..patience dear reader. Modern convention means you have to get thru the ad break before you can sample the nirvana-like qualities for Toldyah in the flesh. Well, in the ether really, isn’t it.
What you are about to sample isn’t finished or even fully functioning – I talked previously about my lack of technical knowledge, and I did this myself! BTW – if you are technically challenged and want a cool website give wix.com a go – they are Aussies and it is pretty simple to do!
Well – that’s the advertising done, so on with the show – are you ready? Hold on to your undies and get ready for the ride!
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN – introducing, for your viewing pleasure: TOLDYAH……… We’ll Make Yah Famous. An entertainment hub to share your consumer experiences by video. Upload a video and we’ll do the rest. Check out the reviews, make shopping fun with mobile scanning technology. Earn rewards for tell us what you’ve bought and what you thought about it!
Check it Out – and please – send me vid’s to upload – I need them ASAP to pitch to investors next Wednesday 28 July. Keep them under a minute or so, and send as many as you like. I am setting up a YouTube channel tonight and will put the link in here as soon as I can.
Woo hoo – now the ride has really started!
Social Media is big business these days. It is a platform that reaches people whilst they work, play, even sleep! No other medium has ever had such exposure! We tweet the brekkie menu, upload pics of the slammin’ night out as we eat the 3am manky kebab (and then try desperately to remove them the next morning before the wrong person sees them). We status update the latest family argument, and we send birthday messages rather than phone. And it seems we tweet our impending doom prior to it arriving – truly a sign of our times isn’t it:
Sounds like I am complaining huh? But I am not. I use FB, Twitter and Google + everyday. Many times a day. I have avoided getting a Smart Phone cos I KNOW what will happen then! But that day is coming very soon, I need one for the business. Can you hear the slow drum beat rolling me towards my doom…
On the upside, I now speak with my UK and Dutch cousins on a frequent basis, and have shared a lot of family history that would otherwise have been lost. And I see pics and updates about friends interstate in real-time, as do they of my family. Whether they want to or not hehehe.
And then there are the other uses – commercial gain from entertaining the masses. Which is where Toldyah is about to strike! But more on that later. I have been trolling the ethers for funny commentaries on Social Media and thought I would share them to lighten the day.
Richard Branson uses Twitter to update his good deeds – and make some political statements – I love him for putting himself out there – stay true Sir Richard!
And then there are those funny status updates…….. there is always a friend like Mr Red isn’t there…….you just pray it aint YOU!
And some other tweets and FB status offerings: The Bosha one is my fave – please turn up this Saturday at my place with paintbrushes!
____ People who claim to “play music by ear” always use their hands. (donni)
____ is organizing a flash mob at my place, Thursday 3pm. Bring lawnmowers. (TheBosha)
____ Some days I ask, “What would Chewbacca do?” And the answer is always, “Make that gargly roaring sound.” So that’s what I do. (RexHuppke)
____ I’d like to learn one of those clicking languages from Africa because I get the feeling my knees are trying to tell me something. (plemur)
____ Sometimes I like to go to the hardware store and run around with a screwdriver shouting, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is not a drill!” (girlweena)
____ The Internet makes things so convenient. Before it existed, if you wanted to order a DVD online, you had to invent the Internet. (StephenAtHome)
____ After intensive research I have determined that there is no type of juice that a double shot of vodka doesn’t improve. (navanax)
____ That’s me in the corner. That’s me with my i-Phone, losing my reception. (depreciated)
Well, enough mucking around – time to do some work – catch yah