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Inspiring mum's in business

Interview with Marcela Lopez from Sticker Planet

Marcela Lopez: mum, wife and founder of Sticker Planet. My education background: Degree in Marketing and Masters in International Relations and Protocol.

1. What is your Why? What motivated you to get into business?

My new born baby, when I saw him and start thinking about child care and all the time he wouldn’t be with me… I just cried, I was in pain just thinking about it, so for the first 10 months after he was born, I started thinking about starting my own business. During breastfeeding time I had different ideas about what that business could be. Breastfeeding time became brainstorming time. But I have this idea in my mind… my business has to be fun and family related, something that can create more happy memories in the childhood of our kids.

2. What are some of the challenges/obstacles you have had to overcome?

Time, just to have the time to sit, learn and put in order all the things that you need to do to start a business, (Read and learn about ATO, business registration, all the legal stuff you need to operate a business) With no family in Adelaide who can help me with my baby, it was a really stressful and lonely process. I stared working form 9pm to 3am in the morning. That was the only time available for me, but was really hard to be functional the next day.

3. What did you worry about most when you started your business?

My website. Oh my website has tears of frustration and joy. And time, time to dedicate to my business, with a baby was very difficult to have space and a minute alone to focus and concentrate in the different activities of a business.

My website… it took me long, long nights were I just slept for 4 or 3 hours. Nights were the only time I could possible work and concentrate. And to be honest I was worried about the pressure I was putting into my self and how I would be able to manage my personal life, my family and the business in a balanced way.

4. How do you find the juggle of kids and a business?

Kids, business, and don’t forget the house (it doesn’t clean itself)

A whole new experience, difficult, confronting, stressful and guilty. It’s amazing how many fellings you can have in just one moment.

In the beginning I was sure I will have more time when everything was “normal again”, the problem was I didn’t realize at that point that “This is Normal”, having a baby, a business and organize a home is my “new normal”, and wow that was a bomb straight to my sanity.

It took me a while to mentally adjust to my new reality, and event more time to organize myself and accept that the way I plan my day now will change every time my son grows up and enters a new stage in life. Then I need to adjust again and figure it out a new daily plan.

5. How do you prioritise/ block out work time when working from home?

I had to level up my game, be more organized and accept that some days I can’t complete all my tasks.

I stop working from 9pm to 3am, that wasn’t functional, I was moody and with no energy, a terrible combination when you have a toddler. So, I created a simple schedule/routine which is divided in four (My son, my business, my house and myself). Normally mornings are for my son’s activities (playgroups, classes, etc) afternoons for the house and my business and nights are for me (exercise, reading a book, talk with my husband).

That is my simple routine the days my husband is working. But in his days off that is when I work all the time I can in my business, the key here is to leave the house and work in the library, because if I stay home, I’m constantly being interrupted and I get distracted.

But this is only momentary, when my kid starts kindy my schedule/routine is going to change again.

6. What has been a game changer for you in your business?

Snooze all my friends on facebook and instagram (sorry friends).

Thanks to the new “time manage” feature in my mobile, the one that every week tells you how many hours you spend on your mobile and doing what, I could see the time I was wasting on social media doing nothing. So, I snooze all my friends and now I can go straight to post on social media (business related) and work with no distractions. Honestly this has been liberating, sorry if you were expecting a sophisticate and advance sales strategy; but it is amazing all the things I can do (call suppliers, answer emails, organise presentations, etc.) with 30 or 40 more minutes a day. We are talking about productivity here and that is great!

7. What do you think is the biggest barrier most ambitious mums face?

For me is to take the decision of working long hours and sacrifice family time. It sounds hard, but

if you want to build a business or have a career as a mum, you need time to do that, and that time needs to come from somewhere and unfortunately, we need to sleep.

The time I spend on my business is time away from my family and that is difficult for me, I have guilt feelings when I am away from my son, and at the same time I feel so proud every time is a new subscriber to my business. It’s a complicated situation, totally mix feelings.

You hear all about “balance life” and I congratulate all the mums who can do that, but in my case, well I’m going to say that a balance life is overrated, ha ha ha. Just kidding.

In my opinion mums have a difficult decision to make, and that can be a huge barrier because it affects mentally and emotionally all the family.

8. What tips do you have for other mums wanting to start a business?

Take it one step at the time, one day at the time, but keep moving forward.

I personally listen to podcasts (Growth everywhere with Eric Siu, Flyingsolo, Garyvee) and audiobooks about businesses while I’m cooking, cleaning the house or doing laundry. I’m learning and being productive

at the same time! And when I can finally relax and watch Netflix for a minute, well… now I watch youtube video, I subscribed to different business channels (SheStarts, Carrie Green) and also Lynda, you can learn so much with these courses (business skills, productivity, etc) and they are completely free with your library card! So, go and join your library!

It’s not easy to be a mum and an entrepreneur at the same time, you need support and a community where you can talk to and realize you are not alone in this unique and fascinate journey. And if you don’t have time to go to a meeting with other business owners, podcasts are great!

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Terri Watson