Hi, I’m Marissa Towndrow, mum to 2 sparky little girls and juggling wife to a very supportive hubby. We’re both expats; me a Kiwi, him English, and after many years of travelling, Australia is now our home. We’re both super amazed to have settled in this gorgeous country and be bringing up our own 2 little Aussies.
Tell me a bit about what you were doing before you got in contact with Business Jump?
I’m an award-winning Landscape Architect & Project Manager. Before getting in touch with Nat I had just returned to work from maternity leave, was feeling dissatisfied and isolated in my career. The ground had shifted, from being a valued member of the team I was suddenly marginalised as just a ‘mum’. They knew I could do the role, had done for years, but I was expected to mentally step down as the senior. It was like they believed my brain no longer functioned now I was a mum.
My nature is not such that I can easily sit still and twiddle my thumbs so I started to look for a new challenge, one that fulfilled my desire for growth but also allowed me to balance this with family needs.
I moved to working part-time as a Sales Manager for an environmental company managing government contracts and new tenders. The owner loved having my skills on board and within 6 months I had doubled their projected turnover. This then opened my eyes to the potential what ifs, could I do this for myself?
Why did you want to start your own business, what is your why?
The little voice in my head has always whispered to me about running my own business and it just became louder and louder until I finally listened.
My life hit a turning point, I no longer felt valued in my career to the point where I felt lost constantly trying to get past that glass ceiling. I was tired, shattered from trying to have it all with a young child that barely slept. I was coming into awareness that the juggle would become harder. My husband was constantly travelling for his career. We had no family to assist and I needed to decide what was best for all of us. One of us needed to be more flexible.
I needed to think of the future. I started to listen to my internal voice and look for another answer to feed my desire to grow, be challenged, but also be there for my family.
How long had you wanted to start a business before you actually took action and took the
I didn’t! I was in denial with the little voice in my head. I had previously worked for small businesses and seen the stress eat away at the owners. I know how hard I push myself and was nervous about opening myself up to what could be hard for me to manage. I kept seeing the Business Jump FB Ads though, they intrigued me. And I began to wonder if there was another way. I touched base with Nat to explore what it was she offered and the rest is history!
If you hadn’t started your own business what do you think you’d be doing right now?
Managing someone else’s and being miserable! And frustrated with their choices. I would also still be dreaming of their business, taking it all on board and thinking of ways to improve and grow. I decided if I was going to be this invested, then it was best it be for myself and the timing just seemed to be right.
What have you done differently because of Business Jump that you wouldn’t have done if
Take that first step! BJ really gave me the confidence and support to take the leap into being a business owner. Together we explored options that would suit my strengths and I have build the business from there.
Working with Business Jump is more than just buying a ready-made business or website. For me it was about learning how you can do business online and how to overcome my fears. The supportive network that is the BJ team is there to help bounce ideas, give support and also guide you when you have those moments of self-doubt..
Renovating Mums is about empowering woman to create their dream home. It is an online hub that connects actively renovating women who are seeking support and guidance with a like-minded community and proven local businesses in this niche.
My mission is informing, educating & building connections to create a community of women achieving their renovating dreams.
How did it feel when you got the reins to your business to take out into the world?
Scared, nervous, overwhelmed. Now I think back it was a period of immense growth. I could either take it and run, or leave it and hide. I was pregnant with #2 at the time, and full of anxiety. Having a brother or sister for my first was incredibly important to me, however I had struggled with holding pregnancies to term. #2 was a surprise. An amazing surprise pregnancy and I was a bundle of emotion and fear. I did fall into pre-natal depression, and found my GP, eventual therapist and Nat from Business Jump to be an enormous support to overcome the swirl of emotions and give in to the journey I was on.
Due to timing RM’s was in some ways my saviour. It took my mind off the ‘what ifs’ of my pregnancy & gave me another focus. It also balanced the emotions, was sending a post out into the ether of FB or the interweb really that scary in the scheme of things?
How many hours a week do you work on your business?
In my first year I juggled a rollercoaster of events; business launching, my newborn falling critically ill at 11 days old (pregnancy was fine of course!) and we then decided to move 6 hrs away as a ‘tree change’. Throughout this Renovating Mum’s ticked over with on average about 10 hrs a week love from me.
It was very much a part-time side business.
As much as the last year was tough, it has proven to be of benefit. Time has allowed my audience to grow, I now know my niche very well, and have built an idea of who my ideal client really is. This has resulted in a bit of a pivot with a business plan, and given me the confidence to go ‘all in’ with some more funding and dedicated resources.
What are some of your most special ‘business wins’ you’ve had to date?
- Being approached by some big names in the business for them to run Q & A events in my closed FB group (one was Cherie Barber!). These have been fabulous for growing such a valuable engaged audience as well as giving me the confidence to approach some of the other names I look up to in the industry to collab with me.
- Having a big supplier do a shout out on their insta supporting me and then my numbers doubling over night
- Coming up with a game plan for the next year which is a pivot from my main directory platform and then having my existing clients valid the idea, and some big names in the niche being excited to receive my proposal once I get it done!
To be honest, these big wins are not really the most important or special to me. Its been the little ones along the way that have given me the ‘bounce’ in my day to keep on and the ability to feel grateful. For my normal general clients that give me a call for advice on their business and them appreciating my time. To moments in my community when I get a post saying how much they love my group, my support, and how valuable the resources are that I offer. These seem to come a pivotable points, when I’m beyond tired from patting a babies bum, or feeling that little bit jaded..
Where do you want to be in 5 years?
Still here; living & breathing Renovating Mums. I see the business expanding beyond Sydney to at least two other Australian metro areas, with a passionate team of women at the helm. Our services would have grown again, and I see live events and workshops in our future as well as some fabulous collaborations.
Personally I’m going to be enjoying the juggle, with a bit more time with both girls in school, a team to delegate to and there is definitely going to be a horse to for me to ride!
Although if hubby has his way I believe we will be knee deep in our first build on acreage and I will be videoing it for social media…watch this space!
What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone thinking about starting their business?
It does not happen overnight – it cannot. It takes hard work, sweat, tears, and you will face some confronting thoughts. Through this I have learnt a lot about myself. I’ve grown through so many of my fears and been given insight on how I can guide my daughters and educate them on resilience.
Where can we find you?