There’s nothing quite like a good candle – Natasha Nelson knows this better than anyone. As the founder of Coco Botanicals, which specialises in handmade coconut and soy wax candles, Natasha spoke to haven about the ups and downs of starting your own business as a mum.
What was your inspiration to start your own business?
It started when I was on maternity leave with my second child – I wanted something creative to run alongside looking after the kids and household. Candle making is something I enjoy and have been doing for years anyway, so I gave it a go as a business model and so far, the response has been great.
What were you doing before?
I have been working in the building and construction industry for the past 15 years, so this is a very big change!
When did you know the timing was ‘right’?
I don’t think it can ever be the ‘right’ time – most people, considering creating a small business would procrastinate over this one. You need to take a leap of faith with calculated risk.
What was your training prior to starting your own business?
My former role in the construction industry was all about spreadsheets and calculating costs so from a business and financial point of view, I was okay. The retail/marketing side is new to me.
If you really love what you do the passion will already be there, which is the MOST important part. Endeavour to connect with people who share your vision and have the knowledge and skill to mentor your business progression.
What are the biggest challenges of being a mum and a businesswoman?
Managing my family commitments whilst growing a business is the constant challenge – trying to find that balance and ensuring there is enough ‘me’ time so I don’t burn out.
What is your top tip for maintaining a work/life balance? Have you found it easier or harder since starting your own business?
I try to have dedicated times to work on the business – this also makes me more present with my two young children. Having your own business can be wonderful in that it gives the most flexibility so in that sense it is easier, but being self-employed brings its own challenges. You put a lot more unpaid hours into the business.
What is your biggest learning curve since starting your own business?
Most of all you need to believe in yourself and your product – that will keep you going when you want to pack your bags and head for the hills!
What do you do in your spare time to keep yourself sane?
I love cooking, so a day in the kitchen is my chill-out time.
What’s one thing other mums should do who are looking to start their own business?
Go slowly as your ideas will change and develop and there will be feedback on your products and ideas, so you need to be flexible to change. Also, don’t overspend on setting up – this will cause excessive stress. Be prepared to invest a lot of time, even though it will be mostly unpaid. If possible, try to run it alongside your day job or paid work until the business is more established.