Like many, I moved down from Sydney a while back with my family to escape the city for a more affordable, relaxed and enjoyable lifestyle that the gorgeous Illawarra allows - even if the 'Gong is now the third most expensive city for housing in Australia.
Like many, I had little desire to commute back and forth to Sydney (credit to all you champs who do) for work.
Like many, I'm balancing the juggle of work and kids. Trying to be a present parent whilst generating the $ to enjoy life, you know the score...
Like many, I found competition for great part time or even full time jobs in the Gong is HOT.
So, like many women down here have done, I made a big decision three years ago and leapt into the joys of small business ownership as I bought Parents Guide Illawarra - a website and social media pages that list all family friendly events and awesome stuff for kids to do across the Illawarra!
Whilst I did find myself quietly rocking in the corner every so often in the first year (as mentioned, the joys AND stresses of owning and managing your own business...), here are observations I have made about our community in the Illawarra - which I would love to share as I've found this so damn inspiring.
- I have around 280 clients who advertise through Parents Guide Illawarra - most are local small / medium sized business owners - most of whom are women.
- My clients down here are so lovely! I love hearing their stories, their obvious passion for what they do, their unique skills and experience and what makes their business work. I take all of that and help them connect to their target audience of parents / kids / mums via the many channels of Parents Guide Illawarra.
- Many of my clients are mums and have built a business based on their passions and experience but have been driven by need for flexible working conditions, the absolute need to pay the mortgage / rent / bills and the lack of easily accessible part time jobs down here so they have crafted, launched and manage their own small business.
- I work in co-share office space once a week in Wollongong called ZigZag Hub (I love it, it makes me feel human again after working in a LEGO strewn home every other day of the week) and guess what? Most of the other start ups, freelancers and business owners who also work out of ZIgZig are women, many of whom are mums. As an aside, ZigZag offer aaaaammmazing business start up and business growth programs for men and women who want to create, launch or grow their own business - call 0405 062 325 to find out more!
As an aside, ZigZag Hub is owned by one of the women who I want to be like when I grow up - Carmen Rudd. She is an incredibly successful business woman in Wollongong who has lived here all her life and is the most gorgeous, wise human, has built her own empire, bought up her four kids solo and all whilst being humble and supportive of others.
- The local award-winning businesswoman who I purchased Parents Guide Illawarra from, is another gorgeously understated, highly successful Illawarra
woman - who has built and automated her 'other business' so it ticks away and generates her a fabulous income from minimal effort - again, what
a legend! You know who you are and it's likely others do too, but no names mentioned as I know how you value your privacy.
- I'm lucky enough to work with two local mums who all help me manage and run Parents Guide Illawarra as it is now too large for me to manage solo. Their skills and abilities compliment mine, they bring to my business what I lack and despite them having to work with me(!) they have flexible working conditions and can still progress their careers whilst bringing up young kids. Bingo. This is it. This is what we need as women with young kids with this sky high cost of living.
- I attend networking events through awesome organisations like Illawarra Women in Business, Business in Heels and Women With Altitude - who do I meet? A bunch of lovely, diverse, smart ladies all doing their thing and wanting to support each other along the way.
- Under the Parents Guide Illawarra social media pages, I set up Illawarra Mums North and Illawarra Mums South - closed groups on Facebook for mums to share wisdom, connect and support each other - through what most of us find to be an isolating and crazy-making time of our lives (of course we truly madly deeply love our babies and kids, but boy oh boy, do they push us to edge and make us question everything about ourselves!). The level of wisdom and support shared through these groups makes me happy and not feel alone in my struggles - it mirrors our sense of community and connection down here.
I appreciate this is my experience, my opinion only. I can't back this up with facts or stats. But I feel like there is an uprising, a surge of inspiring women who are driving the force of innovation and small business ownership across the Illawarra.
To feel a part of this welcoming community, has been integral to the success and growth of my own business and makes me fall more deeply in love with the Illawarra.
For anyone considering the leap into business ownership, or for anyone grappling during those first few months / years of doing your own thing business wise - do it, keep striving and look for the support around you. It is here in abundance in our unique, diverse Illawarra community.
As we move together to close the gap in gender equality and the stark difference in pay between men and women, this feels like one determined step in the right direction. Share if you agree!
More about Parents Guide Illawarra:
- If you are a business with a target market of families, kids or parents - get in touch with us at Parents Guide Illawarra! Email email@example.com or call Jenny on 0405 062 325 and let us ensure you are seen and found by thousands of locals! Or click here to join our Business Newsletter!
- If you would like to discover more about business growth, marketing consultancy or social media advice that enables your business to grow,
get in touch! Parents Guide Illawarra offers marketing consultancy all geared towards driving your business growth / profitability. Marketing
is the investment that drives the growth in your business - let our team of experts help you, it is more cost effective than you think!
firstname.lastname@example.org / 0405 062 325.