The summer holidays finished with mixed feelings as I reflect on the pre-schooling years and give it my utmost to keep work life in balance.
My little girl started kindergarten last thursday and I knew it was the end of a very precious stage of life. One that I was fortune enough to enjoy full time. A stage of life on the other hand I couldn't wait to finish so I could get stuck into luk - my beautiful online natural beauty products business (Ok - so it's only lipstick so far!) that takes baby steps as the world takes giant steps towards living a more healthy life. Who, 3 years ago would believe the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House over summer would have turned into #sydneysbackyard complete with veggie garden, cold pressed juice and sandpit!
In case you don't know the story I started luk beautifood (well the navel gazing & product development - you can read my Biz Plan here) at least 5 years ago as a way of keeping my mind busy, stay in touch and be ready to have a little business to rock and roll when I reached this momentous stage.
When you have been in business before and know a startup takes at least 15 out of 24 hours a day, 5 days a week (minimum) and you can only allocate 3 - 6 without the wheels falling off your family and your health then you embrace what is your priority and work out ways that you can 'have it all'. I choose to be at home, to be that rock for my young family and hard working husband. It's been 7 years of taking what most can call a 'backseat' but with the rapid growth of technology the online world enables you to work in your own time and space, to control your life, your income. It just takes a lot of thinking as you push a pram to create a business model with an ideal profit structure and systems to support profitable growth. And patience!
But still, society tries to frames us. What you wear on your face and back, what you do, how many connections you have, how quickly your business is growing, who 'likes' you. It takes an awesome amount of confidence and persistence to choose a path less taken, the slow route, one that your common sense controls and one that you love. There is no doubt that I am chomping at the bit, to get 'back-out-there' and have strategic meetings, to flick the house keeping and child duties and return to the buzz of the entrepreneurial world BUT I want to do it the smart way so we can continue to live this nourished life - to eat clean food
prepared by me so my kids can learn what's real and what's not, to be outside doing activities whether it be bike riding, swimming or gardening, to be there when needed and to go places where there are NO kids clubs with activities dished up so that my kids loose any ability to play creativity. When they are older I don't want to hear "I am board" because they don't have initiative or the skills, I know I will only blame myself.
These holidays we stayed around Sydney, at our place - a 5 min walk from the peaceful bush / 10 minutes from Sydney's centre and my mother in laws cottage by the beach an hour north. We had a simple small Christmas lunch - local oysters and Champagne, a main of turkey stuffed with pistachios and stones fruit (mum organised it after seeing Maggie or Stephanie recipe on TV), potatoes roasted in goose fat and a big bowl full of minted greens. Much later after a swim and when it was cooler we ate traditional steamed pudding made by our neighbour with creme anglais. It was delicious, we were together, we were relaxed.
And the weeks following developed a pattern, a healthy breaky on the deck (fruit, green smoothies, cornflakes or pancakes with muesli & yoghurt or 'dippy' egg) bike riding (my 5 year old got a BIG bike for Xmas and just had to fang it round the beachside neighbourhood with me embracing....just let her go full speed down the road ) followed by a swim before the sun got too fierce. Afternoons were lego, book reading, jigsaw puzzles, cricket or tennis on TV, iPad and a swim later in the afternoon. My husband normally does the Sydney to Hobart (27 times so far) but Lahana the boat he sails on was sold the month prior so he was ride-less and we were not complaining - we were in for a rare treat - being out of Sydney and together for Boxing Day. In the evenings when everyone was exhausted I turned on my computer determined to plan the year ahead and to write some posts....the latter I passed over.....but the tennis was good!
Back home, we packed a lot in the rest of the time including rest - from dates with hubby (he was back at work) enjoying the Sydney Festival music program whilst the kids were at mum's to boating, movies, the Power House museum, grown up parties (took the kids - yeh!), kids sailing camp, tree tops climbing and family yoga!
Back to business. When I add up all the hours I snuck in at my computer I must have spent days working out what my priorities were for the year, what tasks I must do to keep home, family & my sanity together, how to structure my days, my weeks and the school terms AND how to integrate this into my next 3 years of 'serious' business development.
Before Christmas I organised a business planning day with Aimee & Lucy (my 2 interns), Melanie (my designer) & Suellen (my online consultant) - a session in which we reviewed WHAT's gone by, WHERE we are going and HOW we are going to get there. We aligned personal dreams and lifestyle / work desires to business forecasts and jobs that take advantage of skill set (Aimee & Lucy love writing - I don't, I have great stories, meet amazing people, love developing new products and selling my beautiful products but get caught up writing content that takes me forever and does not directly benefit bottom line).
Thus during the holidays I enjoyed creating ways to get the 'beauty kitchen' in order by designing:
to help me achieve my goals. See here to make your own.
One Page Business Plan & Annual Calendar
with key dates and activities across marketing, sales, operations & admin/finance. (& school terms!)
Weekly Plan by Day and Time
slot so I don't have to think what I need to do on what day - for home & work. see pics below
Business Task Planner
- so I can resource daily, weekly, monthly & quarterly business activities. see pic below
+ restructured the website to simplify your navigation and make it more enjoyable - not to mention SEO. (Of course this needed to be researched, planned and implemented - still WIP - but getting there!)
On the website , did you notice that the LHS chalkboard menu is now the BLOG supporting the main PRODUCT & EVENT menu at the top? BEAUTY is now Natural BEAUTY, Food is now Clean FOOD and LIFE is now Nourished LIFE. I've collated the resources that were popular and popped them under GUIDES so you can embrace being a natural beauty.
And Aimee took control of our Conversation Calendar
- an inspiring 12 month visual and strategic plan so we know what we are going to talk about (i know sounds so obvious), what our LOOK is, and for our affiliates to know what is coming up to enable you to plan your next quarter! Snippet below.
January was about NEW YEAR | NEW YOU.
Aimee wrote her posts, Lucy was 'living the life she loves' at festivals and um I failed! See what I mean? BUT I did set up the shared information system on Evernote to capture each others fabulous online finds so by the time we are half way through February we should be getting in the swing of things. BTW, February is about LIPS, LOVE & LOW TOX BEAUTY
- but more on that later.
So that's a snapshot of my holidays & the year ahead - it's been no mean feat getting organised to achieve work life balance - perhaps that is why so many of us jump then put our our wings and HOPE we can fly! I am liking the route where we take the time to develop a style that WILL fly, with less effort and just a little more time.
One day I know I will look back and truly treasure the last 7 years.
Have a delicious year and start the easy way by nourishing your lips....that little pause moment is a beauty ritual to be fully appreciated!
Lips & love,
#sydneysbackyard Who would have thought living a nourished life would be so popular!
Christmas was spent together an hour nth of Sydney
An afternoon swing with my little one
There is nothing simpler & more delicious oysters and champagne
Loved my early morning walk on the beach
Followed by wholesome pancakes
The Vitamix & Pavoni espresso machine traveled with us!
Holiday yoga for the kids in the local community hall
Yes ....I have to allocate days to key activities or I'll never get the balance right
Mapping out the key business tasks
An exciting year ahead...... inspirational images only