Everyone thinks their mum is the best. There’s a good chance my mum Helen really is though—a single mum in the 1970s, she was always fun and resourceful and hell bent on raising independent kids prepared for the world. 

She informed and inspired how I show up in the world and make and keep money. Here’s five things I learned about business and life from my mum.

One: Dream big

Helen encouraged me to set wildly ambitious goals. At 14, my first one was bankrolling a trip to New York. I got a job at KFC for $3.28 per hour and saved madly. At 16, I had enough saved for three weeks in that fabulous city. Making a dream come true as a teenager was a huge education. It encouraged me not to fear chasing big bold ideas. With a well-crafted plan, it can happen.

My question for you: Are you dreaming big enough? 

Two: Do something you’re passionate about

Mum was huge on her kids doing things we were obsessed with and hated when my brother struggled to find his thing. She took him to tennis, cricket, football. Nothing stuck until he discovered the local surf club. He became a passionate surfer.

Helen said passion should be your main driver. When I started my own business and as my business has evolved I’ve held onto knowing I must be doing things I’m passionate about. It’s why you might be noticing some changes in my business to incorporate some new ones (stay tuned).

My questions: are you really passionate about what you’re doing? Is there something you’re deeply passionate about that you haven’t brought to life yet?

Three: Don’t listen to the naysayers

Back to Helen. She decided her dream was to live in an Italian villa. It didn’t matter that we actually lived in suburban Perth and she didn’t have the money. Heads shook whenever Helen brought up her plan: ‘There’s no way that can happen love, get real.’ Ha. One night she invited Perth’s leading architect over for a drink and they struck a deal—mum would get her house designed because the architect was intrigued by the novelty value. She subdivided our block and built her villa.

The lesson is there will always be people who tell you everything about your idea/strategy/decision is no good. It’s super important that you have trusted people who deeply understand you and your business to seek counsel from. Don’t go to the masses—you’re likely to be swamped by naysayers.

My question: are you protecting your energy and surrounding yourself with the right kind of supportive people in business?

Four: Be different

Mum always walks to her own beat. I could tell you a million stories about how my mum was different to all the other mums. Or just show you a photo of me at my first communion in a Helen-chosen maroon slack suit with pink and white bow tie, amid a sea of little white brides.

Mum taught me that to get noticed you need to do things differently.

My question: are you avoiding the same-same and looking for ways to amplify your key differences and get visible?

Five: At the end of the day, family is everything

Balance is important. Set clear work boundaries. This one took a while to learn but this year I’ve nailed the four-day work week and won’t ever work in January again. I work with many parents who are also business owners and this is a really difficult area to master. I hear you.

I’d encourage you to map out your holidays before you start your annual planning. Subtle shifts in prioritising family holiday time is a great first step. Another idea is getting rid of social media apps from your phone on holidays. I haven’t had email accessible from my phone for more than seven years.

Hels, on Mother’s Day I’ll be out on the Larapinta Trail dreaming big and getting right out of my comfort zone so we won’t be able to speak. I want you to know how vital your lessons have been on my thinking and how I run my businesses.

Thank you. Love you, Mum.