Rewinding back to when my daughter turned one, it makes sense to me now why I was looking forward to returning to work, it is a secret I think a lot of us mums carry with us.
I love my time with my children don’t mistake me, but I also love my time. I craved to use my brain again, to have adult conversations and to feel a sense of achievement outside being a mother.
There was something massive I learned too in my healing journey which was I am not a bad mum just because I want time alone, away from them.
However, trying to enter the workforce and liaise with recruitment agencies after becoming a mother was a whole new experience more painful than child birth for me. Sending my CV off, getting an interview and then nothing.
When one day it dawned on me why…
When I rang one agency back to follow up I overheard the 20-something receptionist put her hand over the phone and say to someone standing next to her ‘Natasha Stewart, you know, the one with the baby’
The one with the baby? Is that how I am being defined?
After months of looking for a job and starting to get a little worried, coincidence or no, I finally got one when I took my wedding ring off and side stepped the gap in my resume which was my maternity leave. I learned that not everyone was excited about my new baby as I was and it was better to shut my mouth about it. It didn’t pay off, because about six months into the job, I was asked to see the boss without warning, who suggested I leave, quietly.
I was dumbfounded because I thought I was doing pretty well at my job. I had never received any communication or written warnings about my performance and only felt an uncomfortable vibe when I had to take sick days for my daughter when she couldn’t go to daycare because she was a germ hotel. A few minutes into this ‘meeting’ (aka firing) I realised something wasn’t right and I recorded the rest of it on my phone, it went something like this:
Boss: ‘It is better for everyone if you wrap up things today.’
Me: ‘But, I don’t understand, did I do something wrong?’
Boss: ‘My suggestion is you leave quietly’
Me: ‘Please can you explain to me why you want me to leave, can’t we talk about it?’
Boss: Let’s just say you don’t fit into the office culture’
Me: ‘Maybe if we can just talk about why, we can fix it?’
Boss: ‘I wouldn’t push me on this if I were you’
Me: ‘Why not?’
Boss: ‘I’m not someone you want to mess with’
Boss: ‘I will give you 4 weeks pay to go away quietly’
Me: ‘Double it.’
I remember driving home that day and ugly crying the whole way. What just happened? I felt so worthless, so bullied, so helpless.
At the complete mercy of some 50-year-old year old man that had complete control over me providing for my family. Loads of people stay in a job for the security, but here is something to ponder; you are putting your security into someone else’s hands. Real security comes from being the one in control.
It was this realisation in the days after that made me angry, I never wanted to put my fate into someone else’s hands again, that could just take it away in a flash when I had done nothing wrong or sit in peak hour traffic everyday wasting my precious time or have to put my daughter in daycare or be trapped by a salary that could never scale.
It was time to be brave, take control and start my own business so I could do whatever I wanted, when I wanted. Like for example, if I wanted to book a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia with my daughter leaving the next day, I could.
Those first few weeks of getting my web and graphic design business and another business I had rolling were scary and I was terrified I would never make any money, that I would look like an idiot, that I would fail and that I didn’t know enough to make it work. But the most amazing things happen when you get uncomfortable, when there are no other options, when you are going to drown unless you sort this out now and that is – you find a new version of yourself.
I worked harder than I ever had before. I made loads of sacrifices, I got loads of stuff wrong but I worked from anywhere with my laptop and too control of my life and how I was going to live it. And, for a few years I went on an incredible journey of learning about myself, and life, being a mum and a business owner and I eventually matched my old full-time income.
I was my own boss completely in control of when I worked and how much money I earned. This experience positioned me to exactly where I was meant to be so that when the idea of Business Jump finally came to me, I stepped it in and took it to a million dollar business within 18 months all because I decided to believe in myself.
I often think back to that conversation with my boss. Him firing me was the best thing that could have ever happened to me as it pushed me to fend for myself, to stop playing small, it showed me that nothing comes from playing it safe and what I know now is that with grit and determination we can achieve anything. I teach this to my clients everyday when I am helping them start an online business, and I share the ups, downs and the behind the scenes work that goes into a business in my Facebook Group – Remarkable Business Mums. A like-minded community of over 15,400 mums all starting or growing their online business.
You may have already realised that I now coach mums to start their online businesses and it has grown to a beautiful community which I call the Business Jump Family who all start off exactly where I also started off. When helping mums get started I use everything I’ve learned plus my business expertise, mindset expertise and holistic experience to help them bypass my mistakes and get off on the right foot from day 1 because the fact is, I’ve been in business full-time for 10 years and I also have four kids now, so I know that getting off to the right start, understand and creating the path of the least resistance is key for a profitable business.
This is the stage where we set up our clients with a major advantage by pulling a few instrumental pieces of the puzzle into alignment, everything then flows seamlessly into the next section of the creation and development process. It gives you the best chance of creating an income, so you never have to go back and work for a boss, or maybe like me you become the breadwinner and hubby becomes the Stay at Home Dad (SAHD).
Members of my Business Jump Family have told me they were so surprised at the ideas I suggested and ways to monetise them with some even saying it was like looking for the Vegemite in the fridge, right in front of them but they just couldn’t see it. Some have said they’ve found their purpose and others, I have simply shared my business model to scale and grow their existing business in a new format, because they were previously working in a state of burnout.
So, if you’re reading along nodding your head wondering if an online business could be for you here are some of my best tips to get started:
1. Are you even cut out to be a business owner?
Because some people aren’t. And, by that I mean they aren’t prepared to get uncomfortable and if that is you, that is totally cool. But, a business might not be the best option for you then because all the time we will come up against challenges, problems and fears we need to work through, so let’s go through some of them and see:
Are you willing to find solutions to problems?
Business is never a straight line to success, it is a up and down journey of constantly finding solutions to problems, working out what works, what doesn’t and then refining and scaling. I always say, success is for the last person standing and if we can go in with the mindset that there are going to be problems to overcome, you won’t be shocked and know it is just a normal part of the process.
Are you willing to work out how to move past your fears?
Running a business will trigger a whole lot of fear you never even knew you had and it will trigger all your limiting beliefs. Fear and ego will use any excuse to keep you safe, but you have to remember you are amazing, you are capable and that if you can grow and birth a tiny human, you can sure as hell run a business. When you find yourself thinking ‘I can’t do that’ challenge yourself, and ask ‘why not?’ and if you feel you can’t move past your fears yourself, find someone (like us) to help you move through it so you can stay true to what you want in life.
Are you willing to learn new skills?
Business is just like going to TAFE and learning accounting but in a different format, but most people don’t realise this, they think they can just get started and sales will come. Not true. In the early days you want to be allocating more time learning, then doing. Shortcut this process by learning from someone who has been there done that instead of working it all out by yourself.
Are you willing to put time and hard work into growing a business?
You might read some of my stuff and see all the awesome perks to having your own business but I always try to be super clear, the amazing stuff comes after the hard work is put in. We pay for the amazing stuff with hard work, sacrifice, sweat and overcoming our fears. You can business anyway you like, while still working full-time, or part-time or while you are a SAHM but you need to put in time to grow it.
Are you willing to move past your mistakes and failures?
Anyone that thinks they will never make a mistake is deluded, and there are also good chances you’ll fail a few times. And, you know what? That is amazing, fail fast because then you can use that experience and work on getting it better and better each time. I can easily point out quite a few of my failures, which if they never happened, I wouldn’t have Business Jump. Business Jump is a collection of my failures that all came together to finally make the ultimate success and within my failures in Business Jump, they have made our systems and processes stronger and stronger each time.
2. Are any common myths holding you back?
I see and hear loads of people saying loads of things in business circles that I have experienced not to be true, and the worst part is, they use these myths to hold them back from getting started so let’s break a few of them down:
If other people are doing the same idea, you can’t do it:
Almost every day I hear ‘I want to start a business but the market is so saturated’ or ‘I want to start a business but then I saw someone else doing the same thing’.
98% of the time, there are always going to be people doing the same thing as you, and everyone has the right to start whatever business they like, including you! And, here is something to consider: How do you even know they will still be in business six months down the line? You just don’t so you can make decisions based on anyone else.
If you’ve spotted similar businesses who are already successful, then that is amazing because they have already validated there is a market for you and that your idea can be successful.
Now you just need to get smart in a few areas to overcome the noise in the online world and stand out, and this is what I teach to my Business Jump clients. Clue: there will always be many similar businesses, but there is only one of you.
You have to know what you’re doing, and/or have qualifications:
Question for you, when you became a mum for the first time, did you know what you were doing? Sure, you may have read some books, lurked in some forums or Facebook groups, but when it is your first baby, you have no on the ground experience, right? But yet, we are expected to keep a human alive. We all worked it out as we went, and business is just like that as well.
You have to have a full business plan:
I secretly hate business plans. I am not a planner, I can’t even plan what we are having for dinner until the same day so I can personally a test to that saying ‘to not plan is to plan to fail’ or however that goes, I’m not great with sayings. I know there is a certain type of person out there that needs to plan and research and that’s cool if it is you and makes you feel better, but take into consideration this, it is usually all redundant when you actually start your business. Nothing compares to on the ground intelligence, feeling out what your audience is asking for and engaging with and building around that.
You have to start at the right time:
Not really. When is there ever really a right time for anything? It is better to start and work on it when you can, then not start at all. You’ll always find a reason as to why it isn’t a good time. Life is busy, but boy, does it go fast. If you take this approach I promise you, you’ll end up a few years down the track wishing you had of started earlier.
You have to have a lot of money to start:
Not true either. If you have money to spend my best advice is to spend it on learning from someone who has been there done that, that can guide you and create everything for you properly from the start and help you move through your limiting beliefs and support you along the way because you will absolutely get to where you want to go, faster.
Or, if you literally have no money, but you are proactive and can make decisions, know what type of business you want to start, what your business name is going to be and what your domain is going to be, you can start right now for about $100 by purchasing the domain name and hosting. Then purchase your theme from here. For most, this latter option will take you loads longer and may be a bit frustrating because you are trying to DIY by yourself and you do run the caution of your website looking unprofessional BUT give it a try, maybe it will turn out amazing!
3. What is your business concept going to be?
This one is going to come down to a few various factors that we help our clients consider and it holds the majority of people back. Maybe you have NFI, or maybe you have too many ideas, maybe you’re stuck in analysis paralysis or maybe you’ve tried something and it didn’t work. Start with a few core instrumental questions….
Do you know what your passion / purpose is?
So the word ‘passion’ gets thrown around a lot, but the truth is, can we can combine a business that feels fulfilling and has authentic meaning with also creating an income. They are not exclusive. When we are doing something that we love, we are also less likely to burn out or throw the towel in, like I explained when Business Jump was featured on Kochie’s Business Builders on Channel 7.
Here is the catch though… loads of people have no idea what their passion is, and they think that if they wait it will just rock up one day and say ‘I am here! I am your passion, let’s do this!’
We find our passion from doing, not waiting. Even if we are unsure, even if we start with a general interest. It then creates a breadcrumb trail that eventually filters out everything that we don’t like and shines a light on what we do like. If you want some guidance on finding your passion and wrapping an online business around it, check out this.
How soon do you need to make money?
There is a wide variance on this one, sure, we all want to make money, but some people are able to hold off on this part longer than others. Your answer on this one will determine which type of income stream is going to fit best for you because all the income streams you can apply to your business have pro’s and cons to them. You can read more about income streams here.
What should your concept and niche be?
My million dollar advice on this one is to start with something that is in your everyday life already that comes easily and naturally to you. Here is the kicker though, you may not recognise that it comes easily to you, but if you’ve ever had someone says to you ‘wow, you are so good at that’ or ‘I find that so hard to do’ well, there is your massive arrow pointing to an idea that needs to be investigated. Sometimes, it also takes someone else to point it out to you, like I did for my beautiful client Andrea, click here to read more about that.
Like as I spoke about when Fetch TV asked me to consult on their marketing strategy, you need to understand your audiences pain points, their fears, their objections and how you can provide a solution to them by repeating it back to them in your messaging over time and different platforms in various storytelling formats. If you are your target customer, that had the same thoughts, pain points, fears and objections then you can tap into that intel and you know exactly what your target audience is thinking because you’ve thought it also.
So, how do we do this? It starts with looking for clues. We want an idea that is:
- Aligned with your natural strengths and avoids your weaknesses.
- Follows the path of least resistance.
- Simple, scalable and one that will grow with you.
- Can be niched to your unique angle or story.
- Something that is in your everyday life already.
- Something that is a pain point, that you can provide a solution to.
- Something that is growing in demand and starting to trend.
- Something you have an interest, knowledge or expertise in.
Scanning you brain right now for ideas that could possibly align with all that?
A lot of the time when we are running through this with our clients, the perfect idea was standing out waving to them all along but they dismissed it because of common myths, like…
- There are too many other people already doing it.
- You aren’t sure whether you are ‘passionate enough’.
- You’re worried you don’t have enough knowledge or skills.
- It feels like it is too simple.
- You don’t have any formal qualifications.
- You are worried you don’t have enough time.
- You’re waiting for something ‘perfect’.
The honest truth is, there are ways to move through all of the above common myths. You just need to know some behind the scenes intel that no one out there is telling you, except for me because I share everything. Also, the hard truth is, other people are out there are chasing their dreams, starting a business, creating the life they want to live, despite the above. Do you want to know how they are doing it?
Like I shared on Sky News and anytime I am interviewed in the media or on a podcast it simply comes down to asking yourself a few really important questions:
- How important is this to me? Rate it 1-10.
- What is my ‘why’ for wanting to start a business?
- Where do I want to be in 2 years, 5 years, 20 years?
- How will I feel if nothing changes and I am in this position forever?
- What is my first ONE step to get started?
- Am I happy right now and if not, am I prepared to change it?
- Do I need someone to help and coach me through this?
What I know for sure, having worked with hundreds of businesses and seeing it all the time in my Facebook Group with over 14,000+ like-minded business mums is, if you want to quit your job, be more present with your little ones and build something meaningful badly enough, sometimes we just need someone to help us breakthrough and get the ball rolling.
Think of it like going to the gym. We all know that if we hire a personal trainer we have to go, because we are now accountable. We will also get results faster than if trying to DIY, because they have the expertise to help us straight up. That’s us. We are personal trainers for your online business.
So, here is how to tell if you need someone to help you get started:
- You’ve been trying to get started for a few months now but haven’t made any progress.
- You know that fear of failure keeps on stopping you.
- You keep going around and around in circles and changing your mind.
- You feel utterly confused, overwhelmed and it is leading to despair.
- You feel alone and have no support.
However, beware! The internet can be like the wild, wild west and it can be scary deciding on who to engage for help. Here are some of my tips to help you make the right decision. The person you choose should at the very least tick one of the following and the more ticks the better and safer the hands you are in.
- They have legit reviews and case studies.
- They just don’t say they have experience, they also demonstrate it.
- They have social proof/a community/a following.
- They have been around for over a few years.
- They have been featured in the media/podcasts/articles.
- They have professional photos done.
- They are where you want to be.
I could tell you I easily tick all those boxes and more, because I’ve worked really hard to build a business on solid morals, expertise, strong relationships and by leading from example. But I won’t, I’ll let you discover it for yourself.