Emma Stewart, founder of Think BOLD, is from a passionately entrepreneurial background and could be best described as a true hustler. No doubt you have heard of Wonderful Mama Magazine, which Emma started and sold to the team at Thankyou. After this, Emma decided to move on and get back into what she was most passionate about; helping to develop young and aspiring entrepreneurs. Emma recently launched Think BOLD while she was 8 months pregnant with her third. She is one incredible entrepreneurial mama.
Can you tell us about your career journey?
My career journey has been a very varied one! My passion is business and seeing new ideas come to life, so from a young age I was starting new businesses. You name it, I’ve pretty much done it, from fashion brands to events, floristry and more recently property companies and a magazine. The property business and parenting magazine were definitely my most successful ones, both of which I built either while pregnant or with young kids funnily enough. I ended up selling both businesses and have now moved onto what I am most passionate about, seeing people’s ideas and dreams become a reality. We launched Think BOLD two months ago while I was 8 months pregnant with my third.
We are loving your new business ‘Think BOLD’ but how are you managing things with a 2 week-old?
Do you know what, I found it really easy during my pregnancy and pushed very hard to launch the business before my son was born. I actually unknowingly went into labour while we were launching Think BOLD at a Business Chick’s event! Since having our beautiful little boy, Zac, I’ve found it mentally quite hard to slow down. In business momentum is key so it’s been a little hard for me to say, okay that can wait. I have bigger priorities now and that is looking after my son. Having said that, each day is getting easier and I’m finding more of a rhythm.
How has motherhood changed you?
Gosh, it has changed me so much. I fell pregnant with my first when I was just 21 so having him really matured me. You kind of have to grow up when you have children to look after. And now I have three and they are my life. Family is everything to me and although I love business, they will always come first. My husband and I are both in business but we are so passionate about being around for them, especially in the early years, which is why we do what we do. We want the freedom to be able to pick them up from school, be around for sports days and ballet recitals etc. I am really passionate about my husband being as present for them as much as I am. So many dads miss out on a huge chunk of their kids lives so if I have to work a little harder for him to be able to be around more, I will, every time.
How do you deal with mama guilt?
Although we have the freedom and flexibility to be there for our kids, there are obviously times where I am working long days and nights – which breaks my heart just a little. But I’ll never forget what one working mum said to me, she said that you are showing them the importance of hard work and working for what you want in life. I want to be an example for my kids as my mum was for me. She is hugely successful in business and I think seeing her has birthed that same drive in me.
How do you juggle motherhood and what are your tips?
I’m still very much working it out, especially in this newborn bubble, but I think my top tip would be to prioritise! Kids will always come first so if it’s a choice between folding the washing or taking the kids to the park, I will always choose the park. Life’s too short to be spending it folding washing, right? That’s my excuse anyway. I squeeze a LOT of my work in at night or while the kids are doing craft or something. If they are happily playing I might sneak in a quick email or two. Our families live on the other side of the world but if they were around I’d definitely make the most of them and let them spend time with the kids. You know what they say, it takes a village…
What do you most love about being a working mum?
Raising kids is the hardest, yet most rewarding job you’ll ever do but I’m sure every working mum will tell you that going to work is a nice welcome break. Ha! It’s a chance to do something for you, to exercise those brain cells and make conversation with someone over the age of 4.
I handle tough days in the office by….
I am always chatting to my husband and if I’m not with him, I will quickly dash off between meetings to call him. He’s my best friend and always makes me laugh so I know that when I call him and chat with the kids if they’re around, it will pick me up for the rest of the day. That and chocolate.. Chocolate is the best pick me up!
My top tips for managing your career through parental leave are:
While you may not be able to do the same amount of work pre baby, listening to podcasts, reading books and articles in your area of expertise really helps to stay on top of things so that your head is still in the game and you’re learning at the same time. Catch-ups with friends or colleagues from work to get the low-down can also help and trying to maintain some kind of social life is hugely beneficial.
What are your favourite work clothing staples?
Well I’m working from home with Zac at the moment so it’s very much trackies and a comfy top but when I have meetings, it’s black pants, a range of nice tops and a jacket if needed.
What is the best career advice you have ever been given?
Always be learning. You are never too old to learn. That’s why I love what I do. Our platform allows people to learn from business men and women who have ‘been there’ and ‘done that’. They are a wealth of knowledge and wisdom and we have so much to gain from them.
What do you still dream of doing?
They say that entrepreneurs are the only people to work so hard so that they don’t have to work at all. So for me, the dream is to be able to retire, spend all of my time with my family and friends in some beautiful house in the middle of nowhere.
When do you find time to read?
I don’t at the moment so podcasts are a dream! I believe that you learn so much from reading though so, as soon as Zac gets into a bit more of a routine with his sleep I will definitely be making time for it.
Lastly, at the end of a busy week, how do you positively re-energise?
I love to walk! We live in Melbourne so now that daylight savings are in effect I pop Zac in the pram and take him for a bit of a sunset walk with my music playing. He loves it and it really refreshes me! And secretly, I also love a bit of trashy TV to zone out and relax to.
Favourite time of the day is… Bed time!!!
Instagram sites that inspire you… Oh so many, @courtneyadamo is a definite fave at the moment. She is a business owner and a mum of 5 living the dream in beautiful Byron. And @emmaisaacs, also a mum of 5 and CEO of Business Chicks who seems to be nailing the motherhood/work life juggle.
I’m happiest when… I’m sleeping.. Ha! Jokes, well not quite but I’m also happiest when I’m out with my husband and kids and the sun is shining.
I’m addicted to… Trashy TV – I love The Bachelor/Bachelorette at the moment.
Favourite wardrobe staple for work… A nice, yet comfy, musky pink jumper.
Favourite wardrobe staple for weekend… Trackies or pj’s – I could live in pjs!
My role model is… My mum.
Heels or flats? Flats, I’m all about comfort!