‘The winner of the Telstra Business Women’s Awards Entrepreneur of the year goes to…’
It was 2015 and the moment was surreal. I waited with the other finalists; heart beating rapidly. There I was, surrounded by friends, family and colleagues while the glitz and glamour of the Telstra Business Women’s Awards buzzed around me. It felt surreal.
I was so excited to be a finalist in this category. I knew I deserved it. I had worked hard in my career. I was a woman and a mother who had managed to build several successful businesses on my own without financial help or aid from anyone.
I knew what winning this award would mean to me. It would be validation for all I had achieved. A cherry on the top of a hard-earned career. Yet it would also mean time away from my daughter.
It was drummed into us during the pre-award festivities: the commitment needed from finalists. The interviews, luncheons, breakfasts, opening of shopping malls… (just kidding, there were no opening of shopping malls promised. But how great would it be to cut through a ceremonial ribbon with those over-sized scissors?)
I knew it would be a challenge to juggle the extra engagements being an award winner would bring. I was up for that challenge, yet I needed to prepare my daughter, Aiva. I explained to her there would be a lot of things I would have to say yes to in the coming weeks and months if I won. Mummy would be a lot busier.
Aiva was there sitting next to me as we waited for the presenter to announce the winner for Entrepreneur of the Year.
It wasn’t me.
I felt myself heaving a sigh of relief. Aiva burst into tears. Was she sad I had lost?
Through her tears, Aiva asked if my losing meant I wouldn’t have to say yes to all those extra engagements. ‘Yes, that’s right,’ I told her.
Then I realised. Aiva wasn’t crying because I had lost. Aiva was crying with relief — because now her Mummy would still have time for her.
In the weird, serendipitous way the world often works, it turns out that losing Entrepreneur of the Year was the best thing to happen to me.
Why? Because it was never my dream to win some big award. It was my dream to have it all. It’s what they always say, isn’t it? You can never have it all? It’s either your career or your personal life — you can’t have both.
Actually; you can.
Thanks to the systems and processes I’ve implemented in my businesses, along with the tremendous support of my husband, I really do have it all.
The quality time I spend with my family is just that; quality time. No phone calls interrupting dinner, no emails interrupting movie night. When I’m with my family, I’m one hundred percent focused on my family.
Every year we vacation overseas and I can do this without taking my laptop or even my phone. This doesn’t mean my businesses are neglected. On the contrary; they flourish, even in my absence.
I have achieved this by having a committed team behind me who are able to follow the systems and processes I have put in place, ensuring each business runs smoothly and professionally. There are no questions my staff need to ask me where the answers cannot be found in our procedures. Automation, autonomy and smart technology enables me to run my business — not have my business run me.
Having your own business should not be torture. It shouldn’t take you away from your family life and the one’s you love. Having your own business should be rewarding, fulfilling, and (eventually) easy.
Yes, easy. It’s doable. You just need to know how to do it. And now that I have figured it out for me, I want you to help you achieve the goal of having it all.