November 1, 2016
Working around the family
When the 2011 Brisbane floods swept Nicky Leonti’s life away, she turned the sod on a new career which took her on a trajectory she never imagined possible. Now, the mumpreneur is empowering other mothers to forge their own successful paths and find their perfect balance.
“I get to raise my kids and work, but sometimes it’s really hard,” Nicky Leonti says honestly, her six-week-old daughter Sophia sleeping soundly, nuzzled into her chest, while her three-year-old son Alex plays in the living room.
It’s the perfect life Nicky has created, one where she can foster her children’s growth, while providing a lucrative income for her young family.
But let’s backtrack to where this journey began – in the depths of the 2011 Brisbane floods.
Having grown up on the Sunshine Coast, Nicky and her husband relocated to the Queensland capital for a business opportunity, managing sports facilities.
“During the floods everything washed away and we’d only been there for six months,” Nicky says, “summer is the peak season to get you through the next winter because it’s slow, and we had put all of our money to get through to the summer and it washed away. “We had to get lawyers and it was so stressful.”
Nicky’s eldest son was only four months old and in order to keep the family afloat, she had to go back to work and her husband took any job he could get.
“We vowed we’d never start a business ever again, we’re just going to get a job, do the safe thing.”
That mindset lasted a few years, before they moved back to the Coast to be closer to family when their second son was born.
“I started doing family daycare from home when he was about seven months old. It worked really well, but there wasn’t a lot of information out there, so I started a blog.”
Nicky’s blog exploded, with information-thirsty mums hanging on her every word.
“Many mums want to work from home, but don’t want to do the Tupperware scene and they don’t want to try and start their own online business, they want something they can start seeing money in straight away.
“A lot of mums love looking after kids, so it works really well.”
What set Nicky’s blog apart from others, was her transparency and honesty.
Many mums want to work from home, but don’t want to do the Tupperware scene … they want something they can start seeing money in straight away.”
“I wanted people to see the good and the bad side of it, I think that’s why it took off because I wrote about the crappy side of being at home all the time as well,” she says.
“I didn’t want people to get into the industry thinking it’s always going to be fantastic.”
From there, Nicky began writing online courses and helping other mums open their own family daycare – a venture fostered from the desire to empower other mums, which wound up putting her on a five-figure income.
“I have a marketing degree, that’s what I used to do before kids and I worked in the UK, so that came in handy in promoting the blog,” she says honestly.
“When that went so well, people started asking me how I did it, so I started consulting for small businesses, helping them with their marketing.”
When Nicky fell pregnant with her daughter, she scaled back her workload to only run online marketing sessions and the blog.
The key to work/life balance is truly being in the moment.”
She has also recently held an online summit for family daycare, featuring guest presenters and pre-recorded interviews, which Nicky says was the first one in the sector.
“A lot of mums are trying to raise kids while working from home and it’s really isolating. So to have an online summit, which they could join in from home and not have to get babysitters and organise travel, worked really well – professional development is always outside the home.”
Given her experience as a working mum, Nicky says the key to work/life balance is truly being in the moment.
“I felt like when I was working I was always thinking about needing to do stuff with my kids, and when I was with my kids I was thinking, ‘I need to be working’,” she says.
“But you need to be in that moment, so when I’m working I’m really focused, I get way more done and in a shorter amount of time, and when I’m with my kids I’m just thinking about them, and that makes it a lot more enjoyable and a lot less stressful.
“Some days it’s not perfect, but I find when I’m organised I tend to have better balance.”