Meet Kirsty Germon, franchise owner at Ready Steady Go Kids. Kirsty is married to Mick and they are blessed with two cherubs, Abigayle (8) and Amili (6). Kirsty talks to haven about how she juggles running the Gold Coast North and Central Regions franchises while also wearing her mummy hat.
Tell us about your business/current role?
I am the franchise owner of Ready Steady Go Kids in the Gold Coast North and Central regions. Ready Steady Go Kids is Australia’s leading multi-sports program for children 2.5-6 years. Our program was designed by a paediatric physiotherapist and occupational therapist. It aims to enhance children’s gross and fine motor skills, encourage their continued participation in sports and prepare them for the early school years. We teach 10 different sports which helps children develop a broad range of skills, builds a platform of sporting knowledge and the variety ensures continued interest in the program. Our program incorporates basic counting and colour concepts, encourages teamwork and sportsmanship, builds social skills and develops listening skills and concentration, all of which improves a child’s preparation for school. Children develop greater self-confidence, enhanced self-esteem and a real sense of achievement, all of which shape their physiological wellbeing. I am also one of the instructors for our region and coach classes of children every day in our regular scheduled classes as well as classes held in childcare centres. I love my job because I get to spend every day with young children, encouraging their love of sport and physical activity. I think it is essential for children to learn the importance of regular physical activity at a young age and our program is the perfect way for them to experience this in a fun environment. Seeing the excitement and joy on children’s faces during a lesson is a real highlight of my day!
Where did the concept for this come from?
Ready Steady Go Kids started in 2004 in the quest to help all children benefit from sport and physical activity. Today, our physio-designed program is run at about 200 locations across Australia and many more internationally. Just over two years ago, I was looking for a change of direction in my career and I also wanted a position that allowed me to spend more time with my children and husband. I thought of combining two of my passions – working with children and encouraging physical activity with young children. This led me to do some research and I found Ready Steady Go Kids! I loved the concept, the program and the fact that, as a franchise owner, I receive valuable support from the owners of Ready Steady Go, as well as the wonderful network of franchisees all across Australia. I also do most of my work during school hours, so it allows me to be there for my girls before and after school and take them to their various activities during the week.
What’s your business background?
This is my first venture into small business. Prior to this, I was working in the child protection industry for over 10 years. I studied psychology and early childhood education in my younger years and this led me to child protection. Child protection is very close to my heart and I will always continue to be involved in the industry in some way. However, after many years working in challenging circumstances, I felt that I needed a break to recharge. That is when Ready Steady Go Kids came along and I am so glad it did!
Who were your mentors along the way?
I have worked with so many dedicated and amazing professionals in the child protection industry. In particular, two colleagues had an enormous impact on me and my professional career. They really helped shape me as a manager and guided me in the right direction. In the small business arena, I have received invaluable leadership and support from one of the owners of Ready Steady Go Kids, Danie. She continues to provide advice and encouragement, which assists me to grow this business, which is new to the Gold Coast. My husband also owns a small business and his parents have helped us to remain realistic about our goals for our businesses and continue to provide advice about how we can grow them into the future.
What time does a typical day start for you?
My husband is always up early, which means I am not far behind him! Usually between 5am – 6am. The girls are usually awake by 6.30am, ready to start the day.
Who does the cooking and cleaning at your house?
I do most of the cooking and cleaning but when he can, my husband does help out. He is busy with his business and works long hours most days, so many of the household chores fall to me, which I don’t mind. I like cooking!
If you have 10 minutes to yourself, what do you like to do?
I love to read – anything light and romantic. After working with young children all day, it’s nice to sit and immerse myself in light-hearted stories.
What do you do for childcare?
When the children were young, I was working full time and they were in childcare. It is one of my regrets – not being able to spend more time with them in their younger years. However, now that they are in school and I am running my own business, I am able to work my hours around their schedules. I can drop them off and pick them up from school, as well as take them to their after-school activities, which I love! We are also lucky enough to have Mick’s parents close to us, so they do look after the girls from time to time, if we need them. Our program does not run during the school holidays, so I get to spend lots of time with the girls, doing the things that we don’t get to do during the busy term times. We also look after some of our friends’ children during the holidays because they are working, so the house is always full.
Do your kids do many extracurricular activities?
Yes! The girls are both involved in gymnastics and swimming, which takes up a couple of our afternoons each week. They also play netball which involves training after school and games on the weekend. My eldest is also in the school choir. It can be a hectic week for all of us, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I love that they love being so active and being involved in sport. I love taking them to their sport and watching the progress they make every week. It makes me very proud.
What do you do for fun as a family?
We love going to the beach and doing something outdoors. The girls have tried their hand at surfing, which has been interesting! We recently had an outing to Bounce at Robina. It was so much fun! One hour of trampolining certainly works up a sweat! It was really nice to enjoy it as a family.
What is your favourite thing to do for date night with your partner?
We like to go to a movie and out to dinner or lunch. Or sometimes, we just go to a local bar or restaurant by the water and sit and have a drink. I always find the water so calming.
What is your favourite local place to visit?
Anywhere near the beach! We love Currumbin and the southern end of the coast. It has a more relaxed vibe down there.
How about your favourite place to eat out as a family?
My father’s family is from India and we grew up on curries so my girls and my husband have been treated to the same cuisine. If we are going out to dinner, we usually have a request from the girls to eat Indian. Butter chicken is a favourite for them.
Where do you head to when you get time for a girls’ night out?
I can’t remember the last time I had a girls’ night out! It’s been too long. But they usually involve good food and good wine. I also love to have a weekend away with the girls, child free, near the water, lots of talking, eating and drinking.
What is your best beauty tip for mums?
Dry shampoo! Before I had kids, I used to wash my hair every day because it tends to get quite oily. I don’t know where I found the time! Now, it’s a little harder to wash the hair everyday and so when I can’t, I use a dry shampoo, usually one from Nak or KMS. It’s a godsend!
Favourite place to shop (locally and online)?
There is this great furniture and accessories shop called The Beach at Bundall. I love their style. I am not a big online shopper, but my sister is the queen of it. She is always finding great unique gifts for everyone online, so perhaps I should ask her more!
Must-have parenting tip or tool?
Don’t let guilt consume you. I think all parents feel guilty at one time or another because they think they are not parenting the right way or not spending enough time with their children. We need to give ourselves a break. There is no such thing as the perfect parent. I think parenting is the hardest job you will ever do, but it can also be the most rewarding. If we just try to do the best we can, be a good role model for our kids and make sure the time spent with them is quality time, then surely we are on the right track.
Can you share any tips on finding the right work/life balance?
When you do a lot of your work from home, finding a work/life balance can be difficult. I do struggle with separating work and home at times, as it is very easy to keep checking emails or go back to the computer ‘for just one more thing’. However, I am getting better at setting myself ‘work hours’ at home. I try and get the majority of my work done during these hours and then the rest of the day is for my family and things we do together. I don’t check the computer or phone during the family hours and separating the two in my mind helps me to be more focussed and present when I am with my children.
How do you stay motivated in your career?
I like to be challenged. Having a challenge keeps me interested. At the time, I may feel completely overwhelmed and wonder what I am doing! In hindsight, it’s the challenges that arise or the ones I set myself, that keep me motivated to continue in whatever field of work I am in.