Parenthood almost ruined my business


Decinda MacDonald was three years in to building her event planning business Event Society when she found out she was pregnant.

She’d started the business in 2012 after she and her husband sold their house to clear debts and raise capital. While she’d been making progress, the business was not prepared for a major disruption.

When her son Archer was born in 2015, the business started to suffer.

“I was living invoice to invoice,” she said. “Though I’d been getting plenty of work before Archer was born, I hadn’t put processes in place to make sure the business could survive while also juggling being a new mother.”

It’s a conundrum that faces a lot of small business owners – the demands on your time when becoming a new parent – and there’s always a risk that trying to run your business simultaneously will become too hard.

As things started to get dire, Ms MacDonald realised she risked losing her business altogether if she didn’t take immediate action. She hired a business coach to help her through the tough period and actually helped grow her operation.”

“I was in a business networking group with Jamie Cunningham from SalesUp!– and he often talked about the need for business owners to get their life back.”

“I was so passionate about what I was doing and that had been keeping my business afloat – but it was all consuming and I really had no education about how to run a business before I started my own, let alone how do so while also raising a baby.”

“So I engaged Jamie to be my business coach – and it changed everything.”

“My business is running brilliantly now – my revenue from corporate clients, for example, has increased 500% in the last twelve months.”

“In the end, having my son – and hiring a business coach – was the best thing that could have happened to me and my business.”

Ms MacDonald said the changes to process and mindset she developed in tandem with Mr Cunningham have led to unprecedented growth. They include:

  • Think bigger: Revenue from corporate clients has increased by 500% in the last twelve months.
  • Employ people who share your values: She now employs 2 full time staff, 2 part time staff and a range of casuals.
  • Develop a marketing plan: Her network of contacts has grown immensely and the business has been consistently moving to producing bigger and more expansive events.
  • Make plans and set goals: Setting a profit-first budget and planning ahead has set Event Society up so that it can continue to thrive, even in the lean times.
  • Allow yourself to follow your passion: Ms MacDonald’s new processes have allowed her the capability to do pro bono charity work and charity events.

“A common thing I see with business owners is that they sink so much heart and soul into their day to day work that they can’t see the big picture,” said Mr Cunningham.

“Sometimes it can be incredibly valuable to get an independent perspective so you can make sure you’re heading in the right direction,” he said.

“I always knew I had the passion, drive and common sense to make my business successful, but I just didn’t have the education to back it up,” says Ms MacDonald.

“That’s where a business coach was so invaluable – he just turned the lights on for me,” she said.

“Now both my son and my business are thriving and we’re ready for the next challenge.”