Carrie Kwan, Founder of Daily Addict and Mums & Co is a serial entrepreneur. She started the insider’s digital lifestyle guide Daily Addict in 2008, and Mums & Co in 2016. Mums & Co, backed by IAG, is a membership based platform created to specifically support the needs of mothers in business. Carrie’s spent her early career in corporate Marketing and PR roles, before making the leap to life as a business owner.
Carrie’s keen business acumen, style and quest for quality resonate across the offerings of both businesses. She’s focussed on listening diligently to provide people with what they need and value. Carrie’s experienced the start up journey twice over, and has a keen sense of what women juggling fledgling businesses and families need to streamline their lives.
You have built 2 successful businesses, Daily Addict and Mums & Co. Why did you decide to start your second business?
Daily Addict launched in 2008. It was my first foray out of corporate marketing and into a digital start-up world. Fast forward eight years, I had the opportunity to form a venture to help business mothers to succeed. This was an incredible opportunity to make the biggest impact helping communities I’m passionate about – families and small business owners. When I was seven months pregnant, Mums & Co launched.
What learnings did you apply from your first entrepreneurial venture to your second?
Some learnings include:
- Start-up thinking and tools: The Lean Canvas business model, agile thinking and not being afraid to test, re-iterate and learn. Human centred design is also an approach we use.
- Collaboration: Surround yourself with people more clever than you, and attract the best talent that you can afford (or convince) to get on board. A collaborative approach; you’re a collaborator until you’re my competitor! Investing and building in mutually beneficial partnerships to help us along with our vision and grow as fast as possible.
- Hard work and purpose: Plain old hard work and putting in the hours when and wherever needed, which is easier to do when the work is purposeful. Being out of my comfort zone and working with so much unknown means I of course also apply my resiliency building behaviours, thoughts and actions.
How have you approached attracting an engaged community to each of your businesses?
I’ve been fortunate to be a part of, and to serve those very same communities, so there’s an innate capacity to relate. ‘Being in their shoes’ and having an intimate understanding of their customer journey is important – knowing their anxiety points, their celebration points and everything in between. Then making sure that my team, whether you’re in finance, IT development or a community manager, understands that journey and who we are all serving.
Creating premium content has always been a key pillar. Publishing quality information and stories that allows a trusted connection with audiences in a relevant, useful and engaging way.
What do you think has influenced the growth in the number of women who are starting their own businesses?
Women are faced with workplace inflexibility, prohibitive child care costs and waiting lists for care. As we are still taking on the brunt of unpaid child care duties and caring duties, running a business and combining these responsibilities are becoming a more viable option. Add to this gaps in pay, the rise of the gig economy and that technology is enabling businesses to launch faster than ever, the numbers of women in business are set to increase.
Mums & Co is a member network committed to helping mums in business thrive. They play a significant and vital part of our economy and community and we know there are around 345,000+ mums in business, one-sixth of all SMBs in Australia providing income for around half a million people. Mums & Co has just commissioned leading research firm EY Sweeney to help us with our thought leadership report on Australian Mums in Business, the first in-depth report into this category to better understand these brave, hard working women and better support them. We now have current, fascinating insights. They’re taking control of what’s important to them and we believe their numbers are set to rise.
What has been your greatest challenge?
Since having children it has at times been really challenging integrating and advocating that you shouldn’t have to choose between your family and career/professional ambitions. I’m not immune to it. With a one year old and three year old, the days are rather full. But like most working mums, we get through it!
What are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of my young family; my husband Michael and two sons. Coming from a large and loving one, family has always been central to my being. Now that I’m a mother, the values and principles, behaviours and beliefs that my parents, grandparents and extended family members have instilled in me come to the fore. As role models often start young and at home, being a positive example plays heavily on my mind. Michael is currently primary carer of our youngest (14 month old), a decision we have made in the best interests of our family. Our eldest, just a toddler, has already grasped that as husband and wife we’re equal and both do our share of the work both at home and in the workplace.
I’m proud of stepping into the unknown and building my first venture into a well regarded start-up, inspiring tens of thousands of people to enrich their lives with meaningful new experiences through our early adopter recommendations. This endeavour allowed me to get a taste of the entrepreneur’s path – its generous community, solving big problems, creating new solutions and harnessing the power of digital technology for the benefit of many. We’re on the right path with Mums & Co, which has already a remarkable community of more than 10,000 business owner mums. I’m rather proud of the opportunity to co-found this IAG backed venture, and launching whilst seven months pregnant (did you know about one in ten business owner women do that?). We still have a lot of good work to do.
What’s one piece of advice for future female leaders?
Well, first of all, I’m so very glad that you exist. Believe in yourself, be self-confident and self-advocate. These are indeed the attributes that you, men, women, and the younger generation need you to be. You have a voice, you can share stories and information, speak up and be a catalyst for positive change.