Carrie Kwan

Co-Founder & Managing Director, Mums & Co

Roles in life and work: 

I am mum to two pre-schooler boys, wife, sister, daughter and friend. I am also Co-Founder and Managing Director of Mums & Co, a collective of incredible, ambitious, like-minded women.

What are you juggling right now in your life? 

I am juggling the growing team at Mums & Co and my young family’s needs. With a three-year-old and five-year-old, the days are rather full, and relentless. This will change as the business and my children mature.

I am also juggling my own personal ambitions. Like most working mums, it’s the tapestry of being able to juggle the equally demanding tasks of motherhood and business ownership. It has been challenging but like most working ambitious mums (I’ve recently coined the #mumbition), we get through it!

How do you value your time?

I find curiosity in most things. I love connecting with people, learning and experiencing as I believe that these are pillars of living a rich life. As such I’ve had a heavy dose of FOMO in my earlier years and just tried to cram in as much quality time as possible.

How do you manage your time effectively?

I am a big fan of automation and effective communication. My team and external agencies; as well as my husband and extended family carers (thank you grandparents) communicate daily using tools like WhatsApp, Slack and shared calendars. Everyone has a respect for each other’s time and knows that my time is valuable. I’m a scheduler, if it doesn’t go into the diary or Trello board it often doesn’t happen.

By incorporating more mindfulness into my life and making space for quality thinking time, I am able to be more efficient, manage stress better, unlock more creativity and energy, and make better decisions.

How do you separate work and personal time?

Just recently I’ve embraced a values-driven schedule. A values-driven schedule compels you to first determine what’s most important to you and your family, and then craft your calendar around those priorities, rather than squeezing your family and yourself in around whatever might land on your schedule.

It calls for ensuring that you can feel overall satisfaction with your time focus and parenting choices, instead of feeling guilty or frustrated that you’re not investing your time in the people and activities that matter most to you.

I also integrate work and family life where I can. They are both such important parts of my identity. I believe that you shouldn’t have to choose between your family and your career or ambitions.

What does your support network look like?

Personally, it includes my very supportive husband. He is my rock – I chose my life partner well! A small circle of super close friends who can always make life better, and ‘my Village’ of extended family members like grandparents and siblings that I can always count on, help and be my life companions.

Professionally, my support network includes mentors as well as a group of mainly female founders that meet informally to ‘chew the fat’, share stories and experiences on a bi-monthly basis. I also find so much support from the Mums & Co community. There are hundreds of thousands of small businesses run by mums, but when you’re doing it alone, it’s not easy to succeed. We need to support each other to grow and provide help wherever we can. That’s where Mums & Co come in. We equip working mums with the tools to achieve their business ambitions and personal goals.

What kind of conversations do you have with your inner voice?

We are old acquaintances! When I’m running or doing fitness workouts it can be quite motivating, edging me to do another repetition or running that extra kilometer.

Every now and then, during particularly hectic periods when I’m working longer days, we tend to confabulate on mummy guilt. But it has definitely been a friendlier conversation since I’ve come to accept that the work I do is important and allows me to make the impact I am hoping to, and I’m setting a positive example for my kids whilst contributing to our family’s financial and lifestyle goals.

Do you have any time saving tips for the One P community?

Create your black book of ‘go-to’ lists. I have one for gift giving for example – presents I can always rely on for different people such as team members, clients, party/dinner/BBQ hosts, then bulk buy so you have them on hand when you need – particularly useful when attending pre-school parties every other weekend!. You can also include people who you go to for their ‘go-to’ lists! For example, my foodie travel writer friend who knows the latest restaurant experiences worth going and can save time filtering out the fail experiences for me.

For keeping people focused and on track tools like Trello, Slack and Sprout Social can save me time and keep my team agile. Automate your business’ core processes wherever you can. Recently I’ve discovered the BestSelf journal great for introducing new habits and results within 13 weeks – a manageable amount of time to affect a new behaviour or change.

I’ve also noticed an uplift when I schedule work based on my attention levels throughout the day. When you have higher attention levels, tackle the key decisions, critical thinking and creative stuff.

Mums & Co prides itself on being the co-founder its members never had, a think-tank to help business growth and a network to support entrepreneurial growth and wellbeing.
 
Co-founded by CEO Carrie Kwan, and backed by IAG, Australia’s fastest growing community of female founder mothers has grown since 2016 and provides essential support online, through meetups around the country, hosts the annual Be MPowered conference and pitch competition and provides tailored business services. Find out more at www.mumsandco.com.au and www.be-mpowered.com
 
Connect with Carrie on LinkedIn 
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