Self-Start Mums showcases mothers who have created their own self-employed business. To find out how they juggle family, work and personal life, stay tuned.
I’m delighted to share my interview with Melinda Podesta, Founder of BABYink.
This series features sponsored content.
An Interview with Founder of BABYink, Melinda Podesta
1. Tell me about yourself?
For me, life revolves around my gorgeous family, the love of my life Rob and my two amazing little one’s Ryan (8) and Brea (6). I am a passionate entrepreneur with ambitious vision. I work hard every day to make that vision a reality.
What about my spare time? Or what I do for fun? Sleep…oh and I also love junk TV – the junkier the better it’s a great switch off! ‘Married at first sight’ is a go to!
2. Tell us about your self-employed business?
BABYink® was founded in 2009 when I saw an opportunity in the market for an easy to use, affordable and safe keepsake product that captures little hand and footprints. BABYink® utilises redundant FBI fingerprinting technology from our business partner in the USA. It’s the only colour ink-less technology in the world – the product is certified non-toxic and safe to use from birth.
It’s as easy as ‘Wipe. Press. No Mess™’
The business was successfully trade sold in 2013 for personal reasons but as fate would have it, I had the unique opportunity to buy it back again in early 2017. After my reluctant sale in 2013 I had always felt there was ‘unfinished business’. Now BABYink® is quickly back on the way to reaching exciting and ambitious goals.
3. How did you transition to working for yourself?
From a very young age, I have always been a natural entrepreneurial thinker and found wherever I worked I was coming up with ideas and new opportunity for those companies.
I have a history of developing new business products/services and initiatives but ultimately found frustration in the bureaucracy of large companies and the ‘red tape’ within – it’s a very hard road. As a result, I knew that one day I would enjoy a career founded on a strong passion for innovation and entrepreneurship.
Working for myself has allowed me the freedom to best manage and harness my entrepreneurial business development with the day to day operation of the business. I am now in the fortunate position to have built something that offers my family the flexibility of working around their needs and my own.
4. What was your previous career?
Most recently I was a consultant for early stage start ups for a venture capital company. I continue to consult on projects I feel my experience can directly can add value to.
5. Describe a typical day in your working life?
I am up early, in the quiet (5am or so) before the rest of the family. I get a range of emails/paperwork done to start the day feeling ‘on top of things’. Early in the morning in Australia means catching the end of the working day in the US where I can jump on calls and check in with that side of our business.
From there it’s back into “mum mode:; breakfast, lunches and off to school.
I am back in the office until the 3:30pm pick up and finish off with a few more hours after the kids are in bed.
6. How many hours do you work per week on your business?
I work anywhere from 50-60 hours per week. I have ambitious vision for this business, so I work hard to capitalise on momentum and current opportunities. I expect the workload to reduce in the coming year or two as the time investment in expansion projects has been significant.
Once the current initiatives are up and running they will naturally become increasingly self-sufficient and micromanagement from my end will reduce. Our team will continue to grow allowing me to reduce contact hours a little.
7. Do you supplement your income in any other ways?
I take on selected consulting, coaching and investment opportunities where appropriate with particular interest in unique start-up’s/growing brands and businesses that I feel I can add value to based on my direct experience and my contacts etc.
8. How do you manage your family and working for yourself?
My kids are now at school but at any age, the pressures of business and young children are experienced with great challenges. Having a support network is a big advantage to making it work but often it’s not the physical help as much as it is the mental support and encouragement that can help you break through the barriers of starting and managing a business.
Mums in business, I feel, have built a supportive network for each other via social media and other groups and so a good source of support can be found outside of the family too!
9. What challenges did you face in setting up your business?
Patience! Patience! Patience! Plus, I thought I knew it all like all young people do (I was just 23) and I learned lessons the hard way.
Today, with maturity both in life and business and the benefit of hindsight, perspective and patience, I took those lessons. I ‘learned the hard way’ and made something of them.
I humbly ask for and listen to advice and I accept I am great at some things in the business and not so great at others. I’m not afraid to admit that’s the case as it is for most people. I put the right team in place for the areas I lack skill in or passion for, so I can focus my attention to what I do best.
10. What’s the best thing about working for yourself?
I love that I am accountable to myself and my big dreams, our customers, and our business partners rather than ‘a boss’.
I also really appreciate the flexibility for my family! I can still work as much as a full time professional but choose when and how I do that!
11. What’s your best advice to another mum who is considering setting up her own business?
‘You don’t know, what you don’t know’. Sometimes the best way is to get started and learn what you ‘didn’t know’ and embrace the challenge of change.
Collect and listen to the data, especially if you don’t like what it’s saying. Don’t ignore the facts. Agility is essential. Embrace the tough conversations – or you won’t make money and at the end of the day, that’s what all business’ need to do.
12. What’s next for you and your business?
I am working with exciting brands both in the US and here in Australia with business development opportunities and general consulting which I always really enjoy!
On a business front, we are excited to be launching BABYink® in the United States this month after spending six months setting up manufacturing, operations, and our team on the ground.
For Australia, we are working on new and improved product development and more exciting ventures and partnerships projects.
Check out BABYink in the Self-Start Mums Directory or search for other mums in business!
Are you a self-starter mum? Read more interviews with self-employed mums here.
To chat about taking part in this series and sharing your story, contact Mim here