We chat with Connectpreneurs Plus member, Anne Ryan, who helps mums create a life they love.
Tell us about your business.
I am an experienced mumpreneur who recently completed my study as a life and business coach and I am following the International Coaching Federation path for accreditation.
I offer coaching services to mums who dread their 9-5 work but need to work for financial reasons or otherwise.
I guide them to create more freedom and balance in their lives, to feel more in control of their working week and to have more quality time with their kids.
Some of the working mums that I coach find that the 4-6 sessions that it takes to implement the above strategies is enough. Others, would like to continue to develop an exit strategy to quit their 9-5 and I then go on to start their own business. These mums tend to work with me for between 10-12 sessions.
My overarching promise is to help working mums to create the life that they love.
For coaching to be effective however, my clients have to take action. It takes commitment to get results and the first few sessions are focused very much on the mindset that is required achieve their goals.
Coaches don’t just give you solutions, they ask powerful questions to help you become more self-aware than you ever thought possible. They respectfully question your beliefs and guide you to become more resourceful and come up with your own solutions. A good coach will help you see that EVERYONE has choices and can help you unlock your full potential.
What inspired you to start your business?
My first venture into mumpreneurship was when my kids were babies and started going to child care for one day per week.
I was on a quest to find something that I could succeed at as I was struggling with the adjustment to “just” being a mum. I knew that I had been successful in my corporate career so starting my own business I thought would give me the external validation that I needed, whilst not giving up on my role as a mum.
I had no experience and I had no business knowledge of what to do but I just had an idea and started before I was ready. My dream at the time was to start an organic sustainable clothing label. I had no design or manufacturing experience, but I enjoyed being creative and thought I could just work it out as I went along.
My husband and I loaned my business $5,000 for start up capital. I started by designing 5 organic cotton t-shirts with water based ink prints and I got some samples made. I then I went door knocking and got my first order. My goal was then to get one new stockist per week, I had to do it on the one day my kids were at childcare.
That one stockist grew to 40 at the end of year one. I make it sound like it was super easy and I got a sale every week. I didn’t. There were weeks in a row when all I got was rejections and I took those knock backs very personally.
I made many mistakes, I had quality issues with the manufacturing, I had issues with printing, I had late payments, I felt like I was being faced with one challenge after the other, but nothing catastrophic happened and I learned so much!
Just when I was getting good momentum with my business, I got an offer from an old contact in the corporate world to do 3 months of consulting work for a large Airline. The money was just too good to turn down. Even though I had started earning money through my business, this offer came in at a time when we wanted to do some extensive renovations on our house and I knew that it was a short term project, so I agreed to take it on.
I thought I’d be fine to juggle the consulting work with my business for 3 months. My working hours were long and I found it really stressful but I juggled things best I could. Before I knew it, the 3 months was nearing completion and the work was getting less stressful and my boss begged me to stay and do another 3 months. It felt so amazing to be wanted and to be praised and again the additional money was so nice. So the consulting project became a 6-month project, which then became a 12-month project and then a 2-year project. At the 2.5 year mark, I finally said no to any more extensions and I quit.
Somewhere around the time of the 2nd extension, I decided to shelve the clothing business as I just couldn’t do it all. I was starting to feel quite burned out and the passion had turned into a chore. By the end of the 2.5-year contract, I was so close to a breakdown and I was so incredibly unhappy.
Just before I quit, I saw a life coach for the first time. She helped me recognise that the reason I was so unhappy was because my values were in conflict.
The 3 most important things in my life are my family, my health and my need to achieve. My needs to achieve were being met in my corporate work, but my family and health were getting neglected.
So, after quitting my corporate consulting gig, I did a lot of soul searching. I became a personal development junkie. I also spent a lot of quality time with my family and friends and got back into exercising regularly and eating well.
I soon felt the need (and wanted) to achieve something big again, so I joined my husband’s business.
I decided to create myself a role in his business until I worked out what I wanted to do. He had outsourced many aspects in the business including the HR, Marketing, IT and Finance. I had no experience in any of those areas (my background was in Project Management), but I put forward a business case to him to bring all those aspects back in-house. By doing this, not only did I learn a lot, but I also saved the business a lot of money and delivered a better result than the business was achieving before.
My husband and I became a great team, I was worried that working with him could cause our relationship issues, but it actually brought us closer together. Together we doubled the size of the business in a year and we haven’t looked back.
The only downside to this story is that, whilst I had all the flexibility of being my own boss and I had a great income, I was not passionate about the work.
My personal development journey had left me wanting to learn more, so I started studying Life and Business Coaching and Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). I initially started my study for my own knowledge but soon realised that I had found my passion.
I couldn’t think of anything more rewarding than helping other women just like me to create the life that they love.
My first experience with a life coach and the self-discovery that followed was life changing for me. The thought provoking questions my coach asked me resulted in me deciding to quit my corporate job and I haven’t looked back.
Describe a typical day for you.
My day starts at 6am with a 10 minute meditation followed by 40 minutes of exercise.
I have breakfast and shower then at 7.30am I drive my older daughter to the bus stop, so she can get to high school.
I get back home and tidy up and get my younger daughter organised for school and drive her to primary school by 8.45am.
I return home to start my working day at 9am.
(The previous night I have spent approx 10 mins planning the following day, so I have a plan to follow)
I generally schedule coaching sessions between 9am and 1.30pm with breaks in-between.
I usually have lunch around midday.
Every afternoon I schedule 1 hours for marketing including writing blog articles, scheduling social media content, responding to social media etc.
I pick up my younger daughter from primary school at 3.15pm.
We get home by 3.30pm to start the next phase of my day.
I organise afternoon snacks for my girls.
My husband usually picks up my older daughter from the bus stop at 4.15pm and is home by 4.30pm.
Most evenings my daughters have some after school activity including swimming, horse riding, acrobatics etc.
Either my husband or I take them to their activity and the other one gets dinner ready.
Between 4.30 and 6.30pm I manage to get another hour of work done, usually admin related responding to email enquiries, paying bills etc.
We have dinner between 6.30 and 7pm and spend the next 2 hours hanging out as a family.
At 9pm all technology is turned off and I read for about 40 mins, then I spend 10 mins planning my next day and end the evening with a 10min meditation.
I aim for 8 hours sleep.
Are you a Mum? How do you juggle the work/life balance?
I am a mum and getting that work life balance is a juggle and requires discipline but also flexibility.
I schedule my day into blocks of time and plan my day in advance. Once my day is planned I don’t allow myself to get distracted and I stay focused on what is in my schedule. Where I have to also be flexible is to handle the unexpected, urgent things that come up like a call from the school to pick up my sick child or a sports morning that my daughter wants me to attend without giving me any notice. With the latter, my kids realise that without prior warning, I may not be able to attend as I have clients who I also can’t let down at short notice.
What advice can you offer other women looking to start their own business?
Being your own boss is not all sunshine and roses. It’s hard work, it’s thankless work, there is no one to pat you on the back and say how great you are, but it is a hugely rewarding experience too. The freedom and flexibility that having your own business offers is worth all the hard work.
Schedule your time effectively. That means rather than having a long “To do” list, actually schedule all the important tasks into your calendar. Stay focused, it is so easy to get distracted with social media etc. Choose a strategy and stick to it for at least 6 months. You won’t always see results overnight but chopping and changing strategies in business will just lead to you not making any progress at all.
Why did you decide to join the Connectpreneurs community?
I saw the Connectpreneur community as an ideal opportunity to network with like minded women. My 10 year goal is to help 10,000 women and in order to achieve that goal, I know I need to network with as many working women as possible.
Where can we connect with you online?