Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.
Today is about celebrating the women in our lives and what better way than to honour the inspiring women in our community. As part of International Women’s Day we are spotlighting a few women from our local community who are paving the way for the next generation of women to feel empowered to go after their dreams.
We were so excited to have Mellanie Shaylor, founder of Mellanie Shaylor School Of Music, Sarah Evans founder of Laneway Dance, and our very own Kula Yoga founder, Kacey drop into the studio to share their thoughts on empowering women in business.
Why is connecting with other women in your business so important?
Mellanie: I think that women tend to face different challenges in business than men. Having connections with other women in business is the best toolkit you can have! It’s like having a support group and a cheering squad 24/7. I find it really useful and inspiring to to be able to bounce around ideas, talk out any challenges or unique situations that pop up and you get the added bonus of emotional support which definitely helps in those trying times we all come across in business from time to time.
Sarah: I honestly don’t know how I would survive without the support of my beautiful network of women in business! Creating and running your own business can be consuming and isolating at times so having like-minded people around you to celebrate your wins with you and support you through challenges is so important. Being a single mum with a rapidly expanding business and no family support in Melbourne has meant that my friends in business have become family to me and helped me to get to where I am today personally and professionally.
Kacey: Connection has always been a focus for me personally and that has been present at the studio right from the start. Most of our teaching team are female and yoga in general attracts more women than men so we’ve found our tribe is dominated by ladies. ‘Kula’ means ‘community’ in sanskit so creating a welcoming, friendly space to encourage connection has always been a priority. When we collaborate, rather than compete, we create a sisterhood of support and rise up together.
What has been your biggest challenge in creating your own business?
Mellanie: Creating something from scratch is always tough. You learn how to be resilient, how to work hard, how to solve problems, and you have to believe in yourself when no one else does. You have to wear all the hats, be all the things, and you are never good at everything, so the things that don’t come naturally to you can be steep learning curves. It’s quite a challenge being the sole owner of my business as I have to shoulder all of the responsibility, challenges, the big decisions… and it can be difficult to switch off. You don’t really ever switch off, so learning balance and how to ask for help when you need it certainly help with these challenges! Surrounding yourself with an amazing team of people and connecting with other businesses and owners that get what you’re going through are enormously helpful too.
Sarah: My business grew from a passion (as many small businesses do). I had a passion for teaching dance, for choreography and for working with children. I had to very quickly learn to put my business owner’s hat on and learn MANY new skills including creating seamless systems, building a strong team and stepping into a role of leadership. I have enjoyed undertaking a lot of personal and professional development and have realised the importance of finding the right people who align with my vision for the business and help to create the culture of happiness and positivity at my dance school. Another big challenge has been balancing business and motherhood. Creating a schedule that allows me to manage all areas of my business including the teaching hours I do whilst ensuring I have plenty of quality time with my son is always a work in progress.
Kacey: The biggest challenge has been overcoming all the little challenges along the way! Creating a business from scratch is never a smooth journey. You have to wear all the hats – especially at the start when you’re trying to get the business off the ground. And when you’re suddenly responsible for tasks outside of your skill set it can be overwhelming. Staying positive, taking it one step at a time, and reaching out for advice have been key. Over time you grow with experience and confidence.
What advice would you give to your younger self about to launch your biz, or young women aspiring to go into business?
Mellanie: Never outsource your core competency. If you are good at it, and you love, you should be doing it. Likewise for the things you are not good at or that you just hate doing…definitely outsource those. There is always someone else that loves to do something you don’t. If you have trouble letting go, think of the opportunity you’re taking away from someone else to do something they’re really good at. And – ask for help. You don’t have to do it all yourself. People always want to help and support you.
Sarah: My advice to young women aspiring to go into business would be to get clarity on what is important to them and about the culture they want to create. Creating a positive culture and strong sense of community is what makes people want to be a part of your creation and what initiates word of mouth. I would also advise them to constantly seek professional development, never stop learning and consider what their “zone of genius” is so they can decipher where their energies are best spent and where they can delegate tasks to others.
Kacey: I would say – stay true to your vision, and surround yourself with fantastic people that share your vision. Set clear goals and action steps to reach them. Focus on solutions to get you past the problems, stay positive. Owning your own business is hard work but it’s also incredibly rewarding. And have fun, enjoy the ride!
Detoxify & energise with Hot Yoga. Tone & sculpt with Power Flow. Strengthen & stretch with Basics and Slow Flow. Relax & mobilise with Yin Yoga at our beautiful studio in Hawthorn, Melbourne.
We also offer Prenatal & Postnatal yoga classes and Yoga With Baby. Our studio also hosts regular workshops, Victorian and overseas retreats to exotic places like Bali, Thailand & India, as well as a mobile yoga service for community, school and corporate groups. Kula Yoga is the largest studio in the Camberwell and Hawthorn area offering 38 classes, 7 days a week. Enjoy modern facilities, expert teachers and a range of complementary wellness services for optimal health.
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