Business, bumps, babies and boobs
Prior to starting Hertility Health, my co-founders and I realised that even though our careers and personal lives were very different, we all had one thing in common: we wanted reassurance about our fertility health. We found ourselves asking the same questions you might also ask yourself: "Should our career come before a family?" or "Why do we have to make a choice between the two?" And when we searched for help with these big questions, we came up empty handed.
As women, we’re expected to make huge decisions about our future based on hope, with potentially life-changing impact. We’re expected to be the breadwinner and the baby maker. When it comes to starting a family, we decide how long to wait and when to start with no real understanding about our fertility health. We might decide to take that big promotion and move overseas, pushing our ‘baby timeline’ back by a couple of years without knowing anything about our ovarian reserve.
It was this scenario that drove me, my twin sister Dr Helen and fellow scientist Dr Natalie to put our heads together and create Hertility Health. We want to make knowledge about reproductive health the norm so that women can make informed decisions and take proactive action.
Before launching Hertility Health, none of us had started a business before - we were first-time founders, doing it all during a global pandemic while also learning to be mothers for the very first time - talk about timing! We were going to investor meetings while pregnant and weeks after giving birth and even breastfeeding while on Zoom calls. This incredibly tough yet rewarding journey has taught me that women are formidable forces - we can do anything we put our minds to and should never let societal expectations curb our energy.
Being a parent and being a founder are very similar - Hertility is definitely my other baby! - and there are certainly immense highs and stressful lows on both journeys. I truly love seeing other female entrepreneurs creating the new trailblazing products of tomorrow and believe women deserve more. From one founder to another, here’s my five top tips for building a successful business:
1. Use your personal experiences to fuel your ideas
Don’t let a negative or oppressive work environment change you for the worse or make you doubt your ability. If you’re seeking a solution that doesn’t exist, then there are probably other people out there looking for the same thing. Be that solution.
2. Look after yourself
You cannot give the best version of yourself to your family or your business if you aren’t nourishing yourself. I’m definitely not the best for doing this myself, but have your lunch break, go on walks and switch off at the weekend to ensure you’re present. Your business won’t thrive if you aren’t. It’s very easy to get the typical ‘mum guilt’ because you can never give enough time to your child, but your business needs 100% of your focus, but take each day in your stride and try not to be so hard on yourself.
3. Take time finding your perfect investor ‘match’
It’s easy to get swept up in the process of raising and meeting with lots of investors, which can often lead to entrepreneurs jumping at the first offer. But it’s so important to wait and suss out whether the investor carries the same values as you and your company, as ultimately they’ll be the one’s to help shape the future of your business. Make sure they are actually aligned on your needs and aspirations for the business before making your decision.
4. Create your own community
You have to have the right team around you - those who are behind the cause 100 percent, who believe in everything you are doing and who will challenge you to always do better - working with an identical twin helps because there’s definitely no grey area when it comes to feedback!
5. The 5-minute rule we should all live by
There are 5 minute, 5 hour and 5 day fixes. If a task takes you under five minutes, do it immediately. Anything over 5 minutes, add it to your physical to-do list. This will help you prioritise effectively, ensuring not to sweat the small tasks or overthink them, which can often lead to more time wasted. Any new mother knows that time is not on our hands, so anything to help juggle a baby and a business is invaluable!