Interview with Nora Dieppe
Interior Designer, Nora Dieppe - a mum and co director of small business Dieppe Design
1.What is your Why? What motivated you to get into business?
Before we began to try for children, we decided that we would want a better work / life balance for them. Both my husband and I found it hard to wind down after a work day and found it difficult to put ourselves first leaving us with a terrible work / life balance. We both thought that starting our own business together would mean we could be more in control of our working hours and work from home. We knew having children without any of our family close by would mean we would need to have flexible hours to work around day care, school and holidays.
2. What are some of the challenges/obstacles you have had to overcome?
I would have to say learning to manage my anxiety was the first obstacle for me. On a good day, I had so many plans and goals, but on bad days getting out of bed and finding the motivation to do anything was a huge challenge. It was a vicious circle as I then felt terrible guilt about not working on the business. Working with a psychologist and my doctor has saved me, using cognitive therapy and medication.
Having a newborn baby and suddenly, a full time business was also a big challenge. Of course, our baby came first and luckily our clients are all families relieving us of any pressure.
Both my husband and I had to juggle two jobs in the early days of starting out. This was a very long challenge and completed only when we worked full time for us.
Finally, I think an ongoing challenge is working on the business itself. Priority is to get work out to our clients, so this always comes before any business development.
3. What did you worry about most when you started your business?
I worried about whether we would get enough clients, and therefore work. I also had a lot of insecurities and lack of confidence in myself and my work. It took a few jobs for me to gain confidence in myself and trust that I would always make the best decision. It was extremely reassuring hearing the testimonials and reviews from clients after the completion of projects.
4. How do you find the juggle of kids and a business?
On a good day, great! On a day where any one of our three people family are sick, then not so good. Days where my little son isn’t well and can’t go to care is probably one of the most stressful times for us. Not only is it so difficult to watch your baby struggle though their day feeling unwell and unlike themselves, but the work has to get done at some point. We are not able to rely on family since they live overseas but our friends are also in the same boat so its not fair to rely on them either. We just somehow make it through, tag teaming to be there for our son and reply to emails, pumping out the work whenever we can.
5. How do you prioritise/ block out work time when working from home?
Using a diary helps and sticking to a bit of a routine. On the days I work from home we will drop our son off at daycare, walk the dogs, have a quick gym session and after a shower my work day can begin.
6. What has been a game changer for you in your business?
The two biggest game changers have been bringing on board a student architect and hiring desks in a shared/communal office space. Having an employee has gone beyond my expectations of benefits. Since hiring our student architect, we have been able to spend more time on us and as a family and be able to work on some business development. Although the employment led us down the path of working in an office, I really do enjoy my days there. I love the flexibility of being able to use the office and its facilities, as and when I need it.
We were also able to see these game changers as business developments which really lifted our spirits proving our success.
7. What do you think is the biggest barrier most ambitious mums face?
The biggest barrier would have to be confidence in yourself. After speaking with many women about this, I feel as though, especially mothers, will always find ourselves asking for permission to do things. Whether it be for ourselves or for our business, we don’t need to ask permission! Your partner should support you no matter what and by all means, check and communicate, but you should not put yourself last just because you’re a mum.
8. What tips do you have for other mums wanting to start a business?
Find your support network, build one if you need to with other business minded mums! Communicate with your partner so you are both on the same page. Do some market research about your business idea and look into business coaches or financial planners. Utilise goal orientated diaries to write your plans and goals for you to check on week by week. Lastly, go for it!