Kate Christie worked as a corporate lawyer and had three children before starting her business, Time Stylers. This trajectory is a common for women starting small businesses in New South Wales, where ¼ of all businesses are now run by women.
With this in mind we sat down with Kate to get some insight into the challenges women face in starting their business and why it’s 100% worth tackling them head on.
“I was the generation of women who were told they could have it all,” Kate Christie told Flying Solo. “There was school and uni, and then I was a lawyer in the corporate world and this all seemed like a natural course. And then I had three babies in 3.5 years and it became harder to juggle!”
Ultimately it was this ‘juggle and struggle’ that was the primary driver for Kate to begin her business, Time Stylers.
“My priorities changed after I became a mum. I still loved working and the drive of managing a team and creating and getting great results, but I was also really torn because I wanted to be with the kids and not working all the time… I began to think that there has to be a better way.”
That ‘better way’ ended up being the start of Kate’s first business. Yet, as she told Flying Solo despite making the leap, she doesn’t recall feeling afraid.
The evolution of Time Stylers
“There was a sense of huge excitement and a real feeling of relief that I finally had control over my direction. I was around 40 when all this happened and I think there is confidence that comes at that age, from having had a career and knowing how to back yourself. I really had the sense that I was finally in control of my destiny.”
Kate says the Time Stylers business idea evolved quite naturally.
“When it comes to small business, people are often solving their own problems – they often need the product or service personally. And then talk to other people and realise that they need it to, and then you start thinking maybe you can monetise your idea,” says Kate.
Time was one thing that Kate knew her customers needed.
“I started Time Stylers because I don’t want anyone to ever think they don’t have time to do what they love. I want to help people realise that they can have a great corporate job and still be a great mum or still travel and fulfil your own interests. You don’t have to choose, we do have enough time we just have to be smarter about how we use it,” says Kate.
Inspiring other women to jump without a parachute
Kate spends a big portion of her time speaking at events and says women often ask her how they can follow in her footsteps.
“They will say, ‘Listening to you I feel you were talking about my life!’. And I think one of the key things holding women back is the sense that everything that has to be completely right and prepared and that now is not the right time to take the leap,” says Kate.
“But the bottom line is there is never going to be the ‘right time’ or the ‘perfect time’ for you to start your own small business. It’s a leap of faith. Often times you do need to build the parachute after you jumped.”
Batch planning work and rest time
Kate applies her planning approach to her health and wellbeing with the same methodical planning she applies to her business.
“I have a lifestyle business, I am not looking to run the world. So I am very particular about when I am working and when I am not working,” she says.
“I work out annually how much work I need to do in order to sustain my lifestyle and then batch in blocks of time for when I am working. And this leaves big chunks of time for spending time with my kids, running around being Uber mum. I also write, read and make time for the stuff that is important to me – the soul nourishing stuff!”
Now nine years into her small business life, Kate says she wouldn’t change a thing.
“Colleagues from corporate world would say I was a lot happier and a lot calmer. I am just more satisfied with life. I am doing what I love and kind of living my own dream and why not!”