16 Jun #StandTall: Carrie Kwan Co-Founder and MD of Mums & Co-Founder of Daily Addict
Carrie Kwan believes you shouldn’t need to choose between your career and your family. We couldn’t agree more! In this interview we chat to her about her “mums in business” tips and tricks, what she sees is changing in the workforce for women in Australia and the life-changing skills she’s learnt and applied to her life – and how you can too.
Name: Carrie Kwan
Occupation: Co-Founder/MD Mums & Co, Founder Daily Addict
Home city: Sydney
Social media handles & website:
Hi Carrie, we love what you’re doing with Mum’s & Co, a community designed to help mothers with businesses. How did it all come about?
After having my first baby I learned that as a mother running a business (lifestyle e-guide Daily Addict), I had new hurdles to overcome. The big ones for me were the isolation, having to learn ways to be more efficient with money and time to integrate the juggle. When you’re a small business it’s tough to succeed and finding the right resources quickly and easy makes a massive difference.
When I was pregnant with my second son I was approached by IAG about forming an online business to help mothers to succeed. This was an incredible opportunity to make the biggest impact helping mums and small business owners. When I was seven months pregnant, Mums & Co launched! That you shouldn’t have to choose between your family and career is in our DNA.
What kind of services are mum’s in business mostly looking for and how does Mum’s & Co help?
We’re listening to our members closely and they tell us that their top challenges include things like finding more customers and sales, being constantly pressed for time, the isolation and the costs of running a business. So, many of our initial service offerings are addressing these. Services tend to be specific to the stage of business you’re at too – for example, when starting out you might need help with tasks such as registering your business and establishing your process and accounting systems. Whereas 12 months into the business you’re growing and looking at gaining more visibility for your brand, or (hopefully) hiring staff.
Consider Mums & Co the smarter and less risky way to start and grow your business!
We help by connecting and empowering thousands of like-minded business mums across Australia. We give access to quality resources; essential business services, rich content and perks to help them thrive.
Being backed by IAG we are able to offer our members access to incredible perks, which are usually reserved for corporates. This includes last minute police vetted childcare, free legal and tax services, as well business insurance made simple.
You have two gorgeous children as well as running a busy business. What are your “mum in business” tips and tricks to managing it all?
Thank you. I manage it all just like everyone else! Some days work better than others. I’m focused with my time, and a big fan of productivity apps like Asana and CoSchedule. These help keep me and my team on track during the day. Mums & Co supports flexible working arrangements, so I try and work from home at least once a week to be closer to my boys.
I’m very lucky to have an amazing team, supportive partner, and family who make the juggle much easier. We’ve been debating this for a while…but recently took to outsourcing some of the household chores to free up precious time and spend it on family together time instead.
What do you see is changing for women in the workforce and what is not?
How very entrepreneurially-minded Australian women are. One in three business owners are women, and of the 1.9 million Aussies currently engaged in starting a new business, 39 percent are women. A recent report found 45.7 percent actively seeking out opportunities for new business startups and 46.8 percent saying they are confident in finding them. Australia is also one of the top two countries (In US on top, followed by us and Canada equal second place) in the world for women entrepreneurship.
On the other hand, and certainly not fast enough – gender parity (just 22% of the nation’s senior leaders being female) and true family-friendly work practices have a long way to go.
What are some life changing skills that have helped you along your journey, and how can we apply them to our life?
Resiliency is a big one. Riding the high highs and low lows of running a business, and being comfortable with the fast pace of change. Especially with a start-up, you have to keep adapting, iterating and moving on, amongst a lot of uncertainty. Developing resiliency is about thoughts, behaviours and actions so I find a few things have helped me:
- Treat problems as a learning process – rather than let a problem defeat you try to develop the habit of using challenges as opportunities to get or master skills. When I’m uncomfortable, I remind myself I’m learning!
- Celebrate my successes. I try to take time at the end of the day (or week at least) to acknowledge what I’ve achieved and give myself a pat on the shoulder. It’s meant to train my mind to look for success rather than dwelling on negativity and ‘failure’.
- Taking positive action (and often before you’re ‘ready’). My first and favourite mentor insisted that I only do one thing, and that was to take some form of action about the perspectives and strategies we discussed. No brainer here – just do something, it doesn’t have to be big action but as long as it moves you along the dial towards your goal! And then, to do it before you’re completely ready, before things are ‘perfect’. You essentially don’t need to have all the answers, just start and keep going!
- Social support and interaction – having a good relationship with my family and friends and being active in the wider community. What we do at Mums & Co is very much about community, and volunteering and paying it forward has an incredibly positive effect.
What does success look like for you?
A well, and thriving circle of family and friends. Staying curious and the opportunity to enrich life through meaningful experiences. And as a sleep-deprived parent, two children sleeping soundly in bed before 8.30pm!
Who inspires you?
Oh… how can I name just one? So many people inspire me. From the remarkable business women and men I meet every day, to Elon Musk, Jamie Oliver, Ariana Huffington, Jo Burston, Sir David Attenborough… there are so many amazing people to be inspired by!