"We shouldn't aspire to doing it all"

with Danielle Wallington, founder of FLOCKHERE

Show notes:

This week I’m speaking to Danielle Wallington – founder of, count ‘em, THREE businesses and mother of two young boys. Danielle’s request for flexible working was denied when it was time to return to her work as an events manager after the birth of her first child so she decided to go all in on Milk’N’Fizz, her first business. FLOCKHERE, Danielle’s latest venture, an app connecting WFH women to places to work from and people to work with, launches in August.

I loved how honest Danielle was in our chat. She shared some great advice and experience on the practicalities of how to create a community and a business around it; the different routes to secure funding, and what she and One Direction have in common.

Danielle is also really honest about how difficult it is to run a business while also growing a family, where she feels the inevitable mum guilt, and why “doing it all” is not something we should be aspiring to.

I’ve been following Danielle from the start, pre Milk’N’Fizz even, and have loved her in person events with Kindred. As someone who works from home most of the time, I will definitely be signing up to her new platform FLOCKHERE https://flockhere.app/

Links:

Website
Instagram 
LinkedIn

About Danielle:

Dannielle Wallington is a mum of two young boys, founder of The Kindred THE NON “NETWORKY” NETWORK & CO-WORKING COMMUNITY FOR FEMALE FOUNDERS AND also FLOCKHERE an exciting new app connecting you to places to work from + people to work with that is coming later this year.

It all started when Danielle had her first baby, with her job being within the Events Industry she found the industry so inflexible for a mother who wanted to return to work.

She left and started Milk’N’Fizz. From unforgettable evenings and workshops to blogger panels and expert advice, Milk’N’Fizz offered a new kind of ‘social calendar’; a series of events inspiring mothers to help build and feel part of a community – a community set on banishing those feelings of isolation and loneliness that are often shared in motherhood.

This soon turned into The Kindred – a business she then completely pivoted and reached female founders online and supported them during a pandemic with online events, learnings, networking and workshops.

In 2022 Danielle launched a crowdfunding campaign for her business Flock Here, an app that is launching in August 2023.

Danielle’s Links:

App 
Instagram – FLOCKHERE 
Instagram – Danielle
LinkedIn

Transcript:

Intro
Hello and welcome to Bump to Business Owner, thank you so much for tuning in today. This podcast is inspired by my mission to find out why more and more mums are leaving the employment world for the entrepreneur life. I’ll be talking to some of the people I believe to be the most inspiring women in business about their journey building their businesses alongside motherhood. I’ll be also sharing some of my own experiences of juggling my award winning virtual assistant agency Upsource, while raising my two young children. Right now they are two and four, and trust me, it can be chaos.

Caroline:
Welcome to today’s episode of Bump To Business Owner I am your host, Caroline Marshall, founder of virtual assistant agency Upsource. And today I’m with Danielle Wallington, who is a mum of two young boys, founder of the Kindred, the non-networking network and coworking community for female founders. And also FLOCKHERE, an exciting new app connecting you to places to work from and people to work with, it is coming in 2023. It all started when Danielle had her first baby. With her job being within the events industry. She found the industry so inflexible for her mother who wanted to return to work. She left and started milk and fizz. From unforgettable evenings and workshops, to blogger panels and expert advice, milk and fizz offered a new kind of social calendar, a series of events inspiring mothers to help build and feel part of a community. A community set on banishing those feelings of isolation and loneliness that are often shared in motherhood. This soon turned into the Kindred. She then completely pivoted and reached female founders online and supported them during a pandemic with online events, learnings, networking and workshops. In 2022 Danielle launched a crowdfunding campaign for her business, Flock Here, an app that is launching this year. Danielle, thank you so much for joining me.

Danielle [00:02:03]:

Thank you for having me.

Caroline [00:02:04]:

And what a CV you have.

Danielle [00:02:06]:

I know, I feel like I’m on This Is Your Life…

Caroline [00:02:07]:

…and today we’re going to bring in your husband who supported you through all of these (laughs). And I was just saying as well, because you’ve had a few rebrands of some of those things, what an excellent namer of business you are. And so I’m setting up your next consultancy.

Danielle [00:02:25]:

I’ve got ideas constantly for new businesses so that can be another one. Do that one.

Caroline [00:02:29]:

Next year, I will definitely be coming to you. So, Danielle, I love hearing about how mums who have started their businesses and their career paths that have led to it. I’ve obviously given a little snippet there, but tell us a bit about your career, pre babies and pre Milk and Fizz.

Danielle [00:02:49]:

Yeah, so I had a few different careers. I didn’t go to the traditional route or university, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. But I always loved organizing events. I was always an organizer for my friends with parties and things, and I just love bringing people together. So I started in events and I was an event manager for about 15 years. And then towards the later part of my career, before I had my son, I was doing a lot of corporate events, conferences, things like that. So I loved it, it was great, but it kept me busy, that’s for sure. Quite a stressful job, actually. Looking back now, if I think back to it, I don’t think I realized how stressful it was at the time. Looking back now, I think I could not do that. I’d need to lie down, I think.

Caroline [00:03:39]:

Well, yeah, I think someone who’s briefly done events and sometimes it is part of the job as someone from a business support and EA background. But one thing I always thought about events is and what I’ve seen as well, because I think there’s a lot of pivoting from events after babies. Is it really a suitable even though it’s such a female career, I feel still in so many ways, is it really suitable once you’ve got a bedtime, you want to get home too?

Danielle [00:04:04]:

Yeah, exactly. And I think I was lucky in the sense that I didn’t work towards the end part of my career. I didn’t really work kind of too many late evenings or going away, but we did travel and we did go away to different venues to host the event, so I wouldn’t have been around all of the time and it definitely wouldn’t have been a kind of part time role. So, yeah, it definitely wasn’t conducive to having a small baby.

Caroline [00:04:29]:

So tell us more about Milk and Fizz. Like, what stage of your motherhood journey did you start?

Danielle [00:04:35]:

I was thinking of this the other day when you look back, it’s not that long ago, but it just feels like a blur. So I was on maternity leave, and I think my son was about six months old. And I was unsure whether I wanted to go back to my job because obviously that was the kind of plan I didn’t have a kind of grand plan to leave. But I’d always hoped to go back part time in some way until I kind of figured out what I wanted to do. So I started to, I think that’s when I kind of really found Instagram. I’d been on it for a few years but never really engaged with it that much. Just used to post random pictures of my cat and I just started to chat about motherhood. I found motherhood really hard and especially my son was really young. I found it really isolating and lonely and not having my job, I really felt like I’d lost my identity. I didn’t really know who I was anymore or what I was supposed to be doing every day. And I found that really difficult. And surprisingly, I really missed that routine of getting up, going to work in the morning, which is insane because you never think that you’re going to miss that, but I really did. So, yeah, I just kind of just started chatting about it on Instagram, I think, and just connecting with other people who were feeling the same and feeling a bit lonely. And I just thought, you know what, why don’t I just start organizing some events for these mums that aren’t focused around the baby? Because back then there was a lot of baby and toddler events, which are great, but they’re also a little bit boring. If you’ve just had a baby, you want to actually do something that’s not talking about baby poo. So, yeah, it just happened. I hate using that word organically, but it literally did just happen. I kind of just tried a few things out and people seemed to really like it. And then when it came to the decision to going back to my job, I put in a flexible request, which unfortunately was denied, so I kind of took that as my sign to go, okay, I’m going to try this kind of running my own business thing. And I think me and my partner discussed it. I was like, I’ll try it for like, six months and see how it goes. But I just ended up absolutely loving it and just being like, I could never imagine going back to working for someone else or working in office every day. So it kind of went from there, really, and I think it was something that people really needed at the time.

Caroline [00:06:49]:

I think we can all relate to that. The thing you find with identity and your job. I was just saying this to someone recently, actually, that if you’ve had the privilege of your upbringing, that they’re like, go focus on your career, you can go do any job you want, but then they miss the motherhood part and there’s still a bit of a penalty for that. And then you’ve created this whole identity. You were in events, that’s what you did. You had a really fantastic career and then you got married and decided to go to the next stage. And it’s like, oh, all of that. You’re either too scared to take maternity leave, which is what I was definitely that case with my first, or you take it and then have a bit of an identity crisis, by the sounds of it. It’s really interesting. So with Milk and Fizz, you had some fantastic guests there. What kind of topics did you do?

Danielle [00:07:44]:

Oh, I feel like a bit of everything, really. It was really focused on the women, the parents, the mums. So a lot of stuff was about body confidence, career development, mental health, fashion. It was stuff that people were kind of the conversations I was having with other mums not feeling right in your body after having kids and feeling a little bit less confident, so we’d get someone to come and talk about that. And sleep, not the baby sleeping, but us. How do we get more sleep? We did a few events for the babies, but it was mainly kind of that well being for the mums and mainly just bringing them together so they could just feel like they were meeting like minded people and being able to be honest about motherhood rather than kind of saying, oh yeah, it’s all lovely, when really everyone knows it’s not. So I think just the speakers we had were amazing, but I think it was more know, the bringing people together and the conversations that people were having and feeling like you were less alone in that, I think, was what I loved about it.

Caroline [00:08:49]:

Yeah. And that’s something like, gosh, Danielle, I’m going to come out as, like, a fangirl here. I was, like, following you way before I don’t know, how many years, I’ve followed you for such a long time and obviously I joined Milk and Biz when I did end up starting my own business, but I totally followed you pre business, probably your honesty. But also keeping that identity of wanting to run a business and just you never posted about poo and stuff. That was the sort of stuff I was not interested in. I was like, I know my kid’s going to poo, but I don’t really want to talk about it,

Danielle [00:09:24]:

Exactly.

Caroline [00:09:27]:

What’s been your advice for if you’re wanting to start a community?

Danielle [00:09:43]:

Do you know what? I think it all depends what kind of community you want to create and the kind of purpose of it. But for me, it’s always been something where I’ve been struggling with or I’ve needed help with something and then I’ve just started talking about that and then I found other people, whether that’s been online or networking events, like minded people, that gone, oh, yeah, I’m struggling with that as well. Wouldn’t it be amazing if this existed? And then I think, oh, I’ll do that. And so it’s kind of just finding people that are not necessarily similar to you, but going through similar kind of struggles at the same time and just relating to them and just kind of being authentic and talking about your experience. And then you’re likely to find other people that are wanting to connect, and then you start to kind of form this community of people that have similar interests and similar desires and needs. So, yeah, I think it’s just being honest about what it is that you want or that you’re struggling with, and then potentially just finding people who are in a similar boat that’s it I think.

Caroline [00:10:44]:

Great advice, just being yourself and being authentic with that. Because I think that’s probably while we all follow people, engage with people and really relate to people who are doing that ourselves, I think is such a struggle. I don’t know whether it is for.

Danielle [00:10:58]:

You because you seem to do it.

Caroline [00:10:59]:

Really well, but I think for a lot of people, because that’s why people struggle with social media. It’s like how much is too much kind of thing.

Danielle [00:11:05]:

Yes. And I do feel like I am a bit of an oversharer. I actually find it really cathartic as well online. And I probably say things online that I would never say to. Like, I think my partner once watched, he’s not on Instagram and he’s like, oh my God, you never say things like that to me. I’m like I just find it just easier to but no, I would tell a complete stranger that I just met my life history and I’m a bit like that.

Caroline [00:11:35]:

That’s helpful. So there’s no such thing as oversharing.

Danielle [00:11:38]:

Just so yeah, basically.

Caroline [00:11:43]:

How did you go about going from Milk and Fizz to Milk and Biz then? Because this was pre COVID. Was that right?

Danielle [00:11:51]:

Yeah, Milk and Biz was oh my goodness. About 2018, I think so. It was the same year I started Milk and Fizz. Okay, so I started Milk and Fizz, I think in the January, and then I launched the membership in the October or the November, I think, of that year. But it was basically, again, like what we said. I was doing these events, meeting all of these women who had just had kids and the conversations and we used to do events with sponsors and exhibitors. So a lot of the kind of local business would businesses would come and exhibit at the events. So they were running their own business and a lot of the conversations were around how they struggled to go back to their old jobs or they weren’t able to go back to their jobs in similar situation to me, or they didn’t want to after having kids and they wanted to set something up on their own. But they were put off by the traditional networking groups that were around and they kind of felt like it wasn’t for them. They started really early in the morning or these breakfast meetings that start at half seven, but you can’t always make them if you’re dropping kids off at school or it just felt a bit stuffy and uncomfortable. So there wasn’t really anything at the time in the area that I was that was just really relaxed and informal and a way, again, just to connect people that were thinking of setting up a business or already running one. So it kind of just went from there. I thought, okay, there’s loads of people here that need this. I need it because I’ve just started my business, so why don’t I start create something for them. It kind of went from there and we started doing like, co working events and then it just grew from there. So, again, it’s just conversations that you have with your kind of audience about what it is that they’re struggling with and they need, and then if there’s a gap, then yeah, just start a business.

Caroline [00:13:39]:

Exactly. And I love that because honestly, there’s times people talk about the sort of networking they go to and you have to do pitches and listen. That’s so not my style of networking. I just want to go and see who I end up speaking to. And I think networking with intention is good. Like making sure you end up in the room with people. That is, whether you’re going for fundraising and want to go in a room where there’s going to be investors or you’ve got a service based business like myself, and you might potentially end up there with clients. But, yeah, going and to do a pitch and then listen to a bunch of other pitches over coffee is just definitely not my vibe. No.

Danielle [00:14:20]:

And you can see people kind of talking to you, thinking, actually, you’re not of use to me, and looking over your shoulder to see the next person they can talk to is just no.

Caroline [00:14:27]:

Yeah, I accidentally attended one of those online when someone roped me into it when my kid was like, eight weeks. It was at, like, 06:00 a.m. And I was like, Why am I here?

Danielle [00:14:38]:

Do it from the bed.

Caroline [00:14:40]:

Yeah. Oh, gosh, I can’t believe I got roped into that so soon. So you transitioned Milk and Biz during the pandemic? Yeah. Talk about that because I’m so fascinated by you had kids at home to deal with and two of them, and so it’s amazing what you managed to do. So how did you go about that?

Danielle [00:15:01]:

I think do you know? It was a distraction, I think, at the time, because I’d had my youngest in the November 2019, so he was four months old when we went into lockdown. And then my eldest was three, so I just again found it horrendous. He was obviously not and he was not like my eldest. He slept through the night really young. It was amazing.

Caroline [00:15:28]:

Oh, you had the same as me.

Danielle [00:15:29]:

The second one, my eldest, at three months old, was sleeping through the night. And so then when my youngest was three months, I was like, you’re supposed to be doing the same now, why aren’t you doing the same as him? He’s what, three and a half now and he’s still not sleeping through the night. So he was born on Halloween. I wasn’t sleeping. And I just found it really difficult, my partner had just started a new role, so he was having to kind of get stuck into that. So I was looking after them during the day and then running the business in the night, so I just kind of threw myself into it. I think we had so much loss of control, didn’t we, of what was going on. I felt like that was the thing that I could take control of and I knew that people would really needed it at the time. I ended up continuing to run the Kindred and then Milk and Fizz, which was the in person events. I then thought, oh, we’ll do some online events with them as well, every week, and I turned that into an online subscription. I was running both at the same I look back now and I honestly just think I must have just been in survival mode of just adrenaline going, because that was what was getting me through. So, yeah, I found it really tough, but strangely, the work, I was just enjoying it so much and it was just a big distraction for me. I think I just threw everything into it and really focused on that.

Caroline [00:16:57]:

Yeah, I think it’s so true what you said about survival mode. I think I went into that when I realized I didn’t have a job during lockdown and I was like, right, yeah, how am I going to get through this and have something for me as well? And so, yeah, on behalf of that, thank you. Because I came to your events and was part of your community in the early days of Upsource and it was very much needed being pregnant and only online during that time, it was definitely needed. So how did your idea from Milk and Biz to the Kindred, how did your idea for Flock Here come about again?

Danielle [00:17:34]:

I feel like everything’s just been like a listening to people around me and then deciding what comes next, I think. So we’ve been running co working meetups as part of the Kindred since we’ve started, for like four and a half years, five years nearly. And we would have them, and women would come together, and we’d work together and different venues. But then when we weren’t running them, one of the questions I always got asked the most was, oh, do you know anywhere good places where I could work for the afternoon? Or I’ve got a couple of hours in between meetings, could you recommend anywhere? And obviously, I’ve been using these venues for years and what a lot of women that working from home struggle with is you’ve got not a lot of choice, really. You’re either at home or you sign up to co working venues, which are not the cheapest of places to work from, and they can be a little bit inflexible as well. If you’re not going to pay all that money every month and then use them every single day. A lot of the members are mums, so they’re picking children up from school hours and things. So I just thought, there’s got to be something where if I’m not running them all the time. There should be some kind of like venue directory where people can access recommended spaces where women can work from, but then also bringing in the community part of that where they can meet other people to work with. Because working on your own, as you know, is really isolating and lonely and just having people around you to be able, even if you’re not working with them. I don’t know if you’ve heard of body doubling where you’re actually more productive if you’ve got other people with you, you get more done. So I just thought that there’s got to be something, there’s got to be a way that we can create some kind of platform for this. So that it kind of again was just the conversations I was having with people. And I just thought, oh, there’s no one else doing this exactly this way. So let’s get in there quickly.

Caroline [00:19:27]:

It’s such a good point as well, because I signed up to one last year. And it wasn’t too expensive, but it was a cost each month. And then I got there and there was, like, no vibe and I just would rather be in a cafe and spend my money there and yeah, it’s so true. Just because there is something there doesn’t mean it’s the right way for you or the right place for you. And you have lots of options. It’s a clever idea.

Danielle [00:19:55]:

I think that’s what I wanted. I wanted to give women the choice of where they wanted to work from, rather than not having or having very limited options. So it’s about having a choice of do I want to go work in that cafe or do I want to work in the co working space for a day? So giving women the choice back, I think, rather than not having any.

Caroline [00:20:13]:

That’s fantastic. So you came up with the idea. So how did you go about because I think this will be a question lots of listeners would have if they’re in the stage of thinking of a tech, software or app they want to develop. We’ll talk about your fundraising choice in a minute, but how did you go about finding out what you needed to bring your idea into the app world?

Danielle [00:20:36]:

To be honest, right at the beginning, I didn’t really have those conversations, probably with the techie people that I should have. I just thought, let me just see if people would be interested in this first and this is something that they would want to be part of. And luckily for me, I knew somebody already who is a developer, who I had a conversation with, I think at some point before I started crowdfunding about, would this be possible? This is what I’m thinking. And he was like, yeah, all great, no problem. And kind of gave me the choices of what kind of app it would be and how much it would cost. Luckily, because I know it’s quite a tricky thing for a lot of people when they are developing an app. I had someone that I already knew and trusted to have that conversation with, but right at the beginning, I kind of didn’t think that. I just thought, oh yeah, that’ll work. We’ll just make it up as we go along and then we’ll get the technical stuff in.

Caroline [00:21:33]:

No, it’s a very interesting answer because I think sometimes some women will probably hold themselves back, won’t they? Because they feel they’re not confident and they need to have all the answers. And I think that can be like it’s a well known difference between men and women. Like, women feel they’re underqualified, whereas a man might just be like, I’ve had this idea, it’s great, I’m going to push ahead. And I think that’s really valuable to share from someone who’s like, wow, I just went along with it.

Danielle [00:21:58]:

Just make it up as you go along.

Caroline [00:22:01]:

We all are.

Danielle [00:22:03]:

No one really knows what they’re doing. Everyone’s making it up.

Caroline [00:22:06]:

Yeah, exactly. And I’m also fascinated about female founders and fundraising. I think that’s something I really want to highlight on this podcast because it’s dire right now. How many female led founders, female founders get fundraising? So why did you choose Crowdfunding for your source of funding?

Danielle [00:22:27]:

Yeah, I mean, because of what you said. So I kind of looked at my options once I’d spoken to the app developer about how much this would cost. I didn’t have that spare cash in my bank account, unfortunately. And so the options were obviously going for investment, applying for grants. And I’d been aware of Crowdfunding before, but I not really thought about it for this option. And when I looked into funding and I’ve been aware of how awful it is for female founders to get investment for a while. So I think it was always one of those options. I was a little bit put off by thinking, well, that I’m never going to get funding for this, no one’s going to give me money. I think 1% of VC funding goes to female founders. So it wasn’t really an option for me in a way. And I’d had a conversation with someone about Crowdfunding and everything that they were talking about. I just thought, this is what I’ve been doing for the past five years, but I’ve just not been asking people for money. It is everything about what I’ve been doing. I could really do this. And the whole premise of the app is about building community and bringing people together. So I just thought it’s a really great way as well. Crowdfunding kind of testing the market and finding out if your product is viable because you’re kind of putting it out there to say, would you be interested in this? And if you get enough people to say yes, then you know it’s a goer. Whereas if you’ve kind of just launched a new business out of nowhere. You don’t know, actually, does the market really want this? So it’s a really great way of testing that out. So, yeah, I went down the crowdfunding route.

Caroline [00:24:06]:

What was your target? So how did you go about making sure because you smashed it, but how did you manage that to the world?

Danielle [00:24:17]:

Yeah, so I think originally, I think once we did all the costs, I got all the costs through from the kind of tech side and things. It was about I think it was just over 18,000, I think was the total. And I opted for the all or nothing option where if I didn’t raise that money, in I think it was 30 days. If I didn’t raise the money in 30 days, I wouldn’t have got anything, wouldn’t have received anything. Because you can take what you make as well. That is an option. But again, I think somebody said to me in a conversation that actually, if you don’t make the money that you want, is the product really worth building? So I kind of thought, actually, you’re probably right. I like taking risks. Let’s go for this. And I think remember halfway through thinking this was a really bad idea, why didn’t I go take the money option? Yeah, it was possibly one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I think it took up so much of my time. And I’ve spoken to people that crowdfund regularly, and they’ve got big teams where they have a whole project working on it, and it’s this big thing where it was just me and then obviously trying to run my membership and having the kids as well. It was full on, but it was really good because I just had that one focus. Like, I was so determined, I was like, I’m going to do this, and if this doesn’t work out, I’ll find another way of raising the money. But I think just having that focus for the 30 days or whatever it was in the end, I think it was 35 days in the end, it seemed to work. I just talked about it all the time.

Caroline [00:25:49]:

No, you did a fantastic job. I remember you saying to me as well, there’s several routes you can go down the crowdfunding, because there was quite a few incentives.

Danielle [00:25:58]:

Yeah, the rewards based one. Yeah, I think you can do the donation if you’re a charity, you can do equity based, which I did consider a lot of people do equity based crowdfunding, or you can do rewards based. So when people pledge an amount towards your campaign, they get something back in return. So it’s not like they’re just kind of giving you money, you’re actually giving them something back in return. So that was the option that kind of felt right for me. So that’s the one I chose.

Caroline [00:26:26]:

And for people who don’t know, what kind of rewards did you offer them in return for investment.

Danielle [00:26:32]:

We did a few things like I partnered with a few businesses. Circle Planner an amazing female founded business. She did some planners that people could pledge for. We had beauty, face masks and skincare and things like that. And then we also had access to the app so people could kind of preorder a month’s worth or six months worth. We had sponsorship opportunities as well and we had, I think, tickets to a big concert in our area. So I kind of tried to partner with as many businesses as possible with a kind of similar marketplace to see if they wanted to kind of collaborate and then we put things on offer for people to pledge for.

Caroline [00:27:13]:

So something I briefly wanted to touch on as well was that actually FLOCKHERE was named was it WRKHERE previously?

Danielle [00:27:19]:

Yes.

Caroline [00:27:19]:

And you have recently renamed due to a trademark issue. I’m actually speaking to a lawyer on this podcast who specializes in trademark, so it will be really interesting because I think it’s a really interesting thing to chat about. So what happened in that process that made you change the name?

Danielle [00:27:37]:

Yeah, again, it’s one of those things, it’s such a complex law that you think the amount of people that I speak to that probably don’t get it checked out enough, or they think they’ve had a little search, but actually it’s not as in depth as they should be. I did what I thought was my searches. I’m very good with kind of if you go on holiday, I’m like oh what holiday is the best. I did my proper search and didn’t find anything. And then when you actually submit the application, you get a letter through to say there’s similar companies here that might kind of object to your mark. And I did get somebody come back and say it wasn’t the same name, it wasn’t exactly the same, but they don’t base it on that. If it’s phonetically similar or if it sounds similar, if it’s in a similar category, then they can contest it. And if they’ve had the mark longer than you have, then they’ve got obviously the rights on it. So, yes, I did try and negotiate, but whilst I was waiting for them to come back, I had an idea of obviously I was thinking of backup names and when I came across FLOCKHERE, I just thought, actually, this is so much better. So if they come back and say, yeah, have it, I’ll be like, no, I don’t want it any more.

Danielle [00:28:54]:

And again, it’s one of those things where I do think it was meant to happen and I’m kind of glad it happened in a way, because I’m now more aware of that and advise so many people who are setting up new businesses to make sure their IP is protected. So, yeah, I think the name is, it was meant to happen. I think it was definitely meant to happen.

Caroline [00:29:15]:

But it was part of your story.

Danielle [00:29:17]:

Now, and someone else told me that One Direction or something had a different name and then they changed. I was like, oh, that’s okay. Then I’ll be like.

Caroline [00:29:26]:

I was trying to think of any more examples, and then thought of a really bad one, so I won’t come up with but that’s great. Yeah, exactly, One Direction, we’ll keep with that. I also love something I’m really interested in because I took maternity leave six months after I had my second child. Six months after I launched my business, I took maternity with my second child. You had your second child while running milk and biz. What did your maternity leave look like? Did you plan at all for it or have an idea of what it would look like?

Danielle [00:30:01]:

Do you know what? Again, I think it was all just a bit of a blur at the time because we’d gone. I think in my head, I said I was going to take six months, and I was worried at the time, I’ll be completely honest, because I had been running the membership for about six or seven months when I became pregnant. And I remember thinking, oh, no, this isn’t going to work and everyone’s going to leave. And I remember someone saying, Danielle, you’ve set up this community specifically to support what are you talking about? But you just have, I think, just from previous, if you become pregnant when you work for an employer, your immediate response is, oh, no, what are they going to think? But I planned to take longer off. But again, because I think of what was happening in the world and situation, I ended up going back or doing more things a lot sooner. But I think because I was a little bit more relaxed second time round. I remember taking him to co working sessions with me and I plonked him in the corner in the car seat when we were doing workshops. And it wasn’t that case of like, I feel like I have to work, and kind of how some people can kind of struggle with that. I think it was helping me at the time. I think just sitting, laying in bed wasn’t an option with, like, a three year old running about. Yeah. I just thought, while he’s still able to sleep, when I can take him out with me, let’s just make the most of this. So I definitely didn’t take as long as I did with my first, but I think that was more of a choice rather than, I have to do this.

Caroline [00:31:32]:

Do you think you ever struggle? I proactively make myself switch off and things, but I think what I’ve realized over the past two maternity leaves and things, it’s just not in me to stop working fully or my brain to stop working. I definitely took a good break with my second, but I don’t know…

Danielle [00:31:53]:

You can’t stop your brain and the thoughts can you? With good intention, I can say, okay, I’m not going to do anything. But then I’ll be thinking, oh, this would be really good, and oh my God, I can create this. So I couldn’t stop that in my head, I don’t think, but I just think it was such a strange who knows what would have happened if we weren’t in lockdown. I maybe probably would have taken some more time out, but I think again, it was a survival thing. I was like, I have to do this because they’re all stuck in the house.

Caroline [00:32:19]:

Yeah, exactly. I think that’s it as well, that’s what I’ve been learning is sometimes you really can’t relate sometimes, like when people talk about their second children and having to get out and about, I had nowhere to go with my second child in lockdown.

Danielle [00:32:36]:

Weird you resent that a bit, don’t you? At that time of thinking, I didn’t get a chance to do that and do all the things or go to the baby clubs. So I feel like that was taken away from us. We just had to get on with what we were…

Caroline [00:32:49]:

And I don’t know whether you feel like this as a second mum, I think it was like, oh, but you had your first, so it’s fine, you had your time. Like first time mums might have felt a little bit like that, but this is my first, 2nd child.

Danielle [00:33:06]:

Possibly last, so you want to make the most of that time.

Caroline [00:33:10]:

It really is because even if I don’t know how many people plan or if you switch it off, but some people do switch it off with their second or are like that, so it’s like, oh, it’s that little bit of sadness, isn’t it? But at the same time, I don’t know if Upsource would exist without COVID.

Danielle [00:33:27]:

Yeah, exactly. A lot of amazing things happened during that awful time, didn’t they? I think with a lot of businesses we’ve just had to kind of make the most of the situation, I think.

Caroline [00:33:37]:

Yeah, that’s so true. And also something I’ve spoken a bit about some of people I’ve asked it’s about the term, like how do you do it? Because I think sometimes we can. Especially how you did it with a four month old during lockdown. And I know some people, I think for a good few years people hated this term because it was like, well, no one’s asking your husband how he does it. But at the same time, you’ve said it so many times yourself in this chat alone, often mums are doing the school run as well. So it’s a worthy conversation to have, because if more of the care is falling on the women, then we need to ask them how are they doing it? And when I’ve been asked this question, I feel I’m being asked it either by desperate mums who want to know what my secret is? If I have secret, or people who respect it and they’re thinking about their own kids at some point and how they’ll manage their own business, whether it’s a man or a woman. So how do you feel about that term personally, because you’re so ingrained in the female and mum founder community?

Danielle [00:34:38]:

I think a couple of things I do remember, actually, I think it may have been during lockdown. I remember somebody messaging me that I knew, but not very well. Just I’d posted about something, just saying how hard I was finding it. And I was knackered and I was struggling with work or whatever I was talking about. And I remember she messaged me and just said, I’m really glad you said that, because it always looks like I can’t remember what she said, but you’re always doing these things. And it’s kind of not that she was saying, it’s good to know that you also feel rubbish. But it was and I was a bit like, oh, I feel like I’ve always been quite honest with how I feel and how difficult it is running a business and how difficult that is around children. I’m definitely not someone that kind of glosses over the, I can do all these things, we’re all superwomen because it’s really hard. But I do think, yes, a lot of the load comes on to mums, especially the mental load. We’ve got the stuff that people actually see us doing, but the stuff that’s in our heads constantly going around, like appointments we’ve got to book and presents, birthday presents we’ve got to get. And all of that stuff weighs heavy as well. But I think that I’d like to talk about, and I think more people do talk about this now, is that we’re not doing it all. Like the amount of things that I am doing, I’ve got more that I’m dropping, like I’ve got more balls that are dropping and I’m not doing very well, I’m not seeing my friends enough, I’m not spending enough time with my partner, I’m not exercising, so there’s so many other things that I’m not doing so well. And I think people just tend to see the things that you are doing and think that you can manage it all, but no one is managing it all at all. There’s always stuff that’s failing you’re, not always like winning at life. There’s always something that you’ve had to compromise. Yeah. There is no balance. Like, one day you could be with the kids all day and not be answering emails and the next day you could be like speaking at an event and then not seeing the kids at bedtime. So I just think we are doing a lot of stuff, but we are definitely not doing it all and I don’t think it’s possible to do it all and it’s not something that we should aspire to do because we’d all just be dead on the floor.

Caroline [00:36:53]:

Or take away our humanness. And that’s for sure, because I think, for example, if you’re sat here recording in a horrendously, messy house, not naming any names about myself, but.

Danielle [00:37:05]:

That’s something that’s had to drop recently and it’s driving me and my husband mad. But we’re just kind of getting through some busy work times and family life and it’s more important we sit and play Lego with our kids.

Danielle [00:37:19]:

Yeah, it’s just life. And I think potentially it’s because there’s so many people that portray that they can do it or they can be amazing wife and amazing mum and business owner, but actually, it’s not real. It’s not real because they’re covering up stuff that they’re not doing well.

Caroline [00:37:36]:

They’ve got help, they’re in a position or they’ve got really important to talk about, because, actually, a fellow mum business owner just messaged me about the podcast, actually, and said, have you got someone helping you? And I was like, that’s a really good point. I need to be transparent. I’m not just running a business and then try to start another. I’ve got help with it and that’s why it’s been the right time, because financially, I’m in a position to do so with the idea. So I think whether it’s little help like that’s big help, or it’s like a full time nanny at home, I think it’s really important to start having that honesty about what you’ve got and not shaming people that have that help.

Danielle [00:38:14]:

Exactly.

Caroline [00:38:15]:

Because I think someone, I’ve had another founder on here who spoke about they got shamed, because they’ve got a cleaner each week.

Danielle [00:38:22]:

Yeah, it’s always something that people find a little bit like, oh, I don’t want to, like it’s embarrassing. It’s crazy, isn’t it? Yeah.

Caroline [00:38:30]:

And when she was trying to be open and I was like, you’re not there saying you’ve got a housekeeper five days a week.


Caroline [00:38:37]:

Which good for you if you did. I’d be like, what stage do you have to get at to get one of those? But you’ve just got to a stage where you can have a cleaner each week. What’s the shame in that? And I think that’s really good. So it’s the two points it’s a great point to talk about is being open about your help, but then if someone else has helped you, don’t shame them on it, just be thankful that they’re being open about it, I think.

Danielle [00:38:56]:

Exactly. Just be honest. Be more honest.

Caroline [00:38:59]:

Let’s be honest. That’s what this whole conversation has come round to. And in respect of honesty, because you’ve still got two little ones, what does your normal week like work week look like?

Danielle [00:39:11]:

Yeah, it’s never completely the same, but my eldest is at school, so he’s kind of that routine wise is good. My little one’s still at preschool, so we kind of, again, help wise, we’re lucky that we’ve got grandparents nearby to help out. And we’ve also got like a part time nanny that helps out a couple of hours a week so they’re looked after about four days. And do you know what? It’s mainly actually me not being at home. I very rarely for things like this or on some days I have to be back early to pick my little one up. But it’s mostly me working either at co working events with members or searching new venues or just getting out and going to events. I’m very rarely at home, so it’s a real nice mix actually, of me not being at home.

Caroline [00:40:06]:

I started to discover this recently. I need to get out more. I’m so ready to not and so you’re the best person to talk to.

Danielle [00:40:16]:

When I’m at home, I’m like, this is quite nice. And then I’m oh no, I see the mess everywhere. I need to get out.

Caroline [00:40:21]:

Yeah, that’s probably why I don’t want to be at home at the minute. Yeah, an interesting question because I do think sometimes there’s that balance of starting your business to work around the kids and have that flexibility and then finding something you’re really ambitious about. And if you’re going down the point of fundraising, it’s not just about balance, but did you start your business to work around the kids, essentially, kind of thing?

Danielle [00:40:49]:

Yeah, I think so. And I think I kind of I don’t know whether I was lying to myself at the beginning or whether I just didn’t realize it, but I always used to think, oh, I’m doing this for the kid. I’m doing this so I can pick my son up from school and be there on the holidays. But then when it got to it, I was like, actually, I actually really enjoy working and this is what I’m doing for me, obviously, being able to be there for the kids and go to assemblies or pick them up. Whatever it is that I need to do, I can do, which I’m really grateful for, but I am doing this for me. I am doing this for me. And I do have lots of plans about how I want to grow the business.

But I also am aware that I don’t want to be completely absent. I left the full time job so I could spend more time with the kids. But then you end up really enjoying what you’re doing and thinking, oh, actually. I had this real battle in my head of sending my little one to preschool on a Friday and just thinking it was only like 2 hours. And I was like, I should be spending time with him because I can. And beating myself about the fact that on a Friday I should spend all day Friday with him. Why am I sending him? I was like I’m so busy, I’ve got so much to do, I just need those couple of hours. And it’s helped me so much and I’m better than with him when I’ve got that bit of work done and I can spend from half twelve instead of seven in the morning with him and I just think why do we beat ourselves up so much about what we should be doing and shouldn’t be doing? Whether we’re sending them to full day childcare, whether we’re looking after them all the time, there’s always something we’re not doing well enough and we’re like our own worst enemy. But I just think you’ve got to do what for me, I’ve got to do what makes me the best parent and the most happiest and the calmest, because then that filters down to them. Whereas if I’m, like, stressed all the time…

Caroline [00:42:37]:

It’s so true, I did that going from three to four days a week last year, and I kind of clung on for ages. And then I realized I had to work Fridays because I’d be a better mum on the weekends, because I could tie everything up. And that’s why I have a random Wednesday off instead, because it’s not a Monday or Friday, because that’s really hard as a business owner to do those days.

Danielle [00:42:58]:

But working is so much easier than kids.

Caroline [00:43:04]:

My friend went up to four days a week in her employed role and I was like, how is it? She’s like, it’s great.

Danielle [00:43:11]:

It really is so much easier. Yeah, so true.

Caroline [00:43:17]:

I can’t remember what I was going to say to you now, but no, it’s so true. And I think we guilt ourselves no matter what. But it’s really important. And just a quick one from me. So how do you manage the school holidays?

Danielle [00:43:35]:

Well depending on what it is we do try and do a mix of like a camp of some sort for a week, then we’ve got some friends, like his friends parents will do, like swap play date type things for a few days and then grandparents and then we do try and go away. But it doesn’t always happen, I have to be honest, because both of us work for ourselves. So kind of timing. We’re not very good at saying, right, we’re going to book this holiday and go away for two weeks. It never happens. So each week we’re just juggling and trying to manage or trying to do some work when they’re there. But it’s so difficult. Summer holidays are so long. They should not be that long. It should be illegal, really, and come around so quickly.

Caroline [00:44:27]:

Well, especially half term. Always comes around so quick.

Danielle [00:44:31]:

Just feel like it’s a lot of pressure because you’re having to fit the work in before the holidays and then find stuff, fun stuff for them to do that’s not really expensive. And then think, oh, am I doing enough? Should I be taking them on all these cool trips that you’re seeing everyone doing and then actually, they’re just quite happy, like playing with some twigs or something?

Caroline [00:44:53]:

I do think there’s something on that as well. Fellow boy mums as well. Often you hear the importance of the example to your daughters, but if our sons are going to be partners to women at one point and maybe have daughters themselves, I do think there’s so much to be said of being a mum who’s working for them and to kind of normalize. Yeah, definitely.

Well, Danielle, thank you so much for joining me today. Can you share what’s next for you and the Kindred? What we can expect next from FLOCKHERE?

Danielle [00:45:26]:

Yeah, so we are I think I announced today we’re launching the app on the 1 August, which is very exciting, but then it also means I’m now like, oh, my God. So that’s launching first in Hertfordshire.

Caroline [00:45:44]:

Well done.

Danielle [00:45:45]:

Obviously, that’s when I’ve got the most time. We’re kind of soft launching. We’re soft launching in the summer and then we’re going to go for the big launch from September. That’s when I’m going to do the big launch event.

Caroline [00:45:55]:

Fantastic.

Danielle [00:45:58]:

And then, yeah, I’m looking, obviously, at where we’re going to go next. I’d love it to be all across the world, really. So it’s just about managing my time and obviously, hopefully getting a team on board so that we can be in more places across the UK. But, yeah, all of my focus now is on that and bringing a lot of the community aspect that we’ve got from the Kindred over to the app and, yeah, just getting excited about it now.

Caroline [00:46:30]:

So everyone go and download FLOCKHERE this summer. And where can we find you, Danielle?

Danielle [00:46:36]:

So I’m on Instagram and LinkedIn, which I’m really loving at the moment, I have to say.

Caroline [00:46:44]:

No one loves LinkedIn.

Danielle [00:46:45]:

No, I really do.

Caroline [00:46:48]:

I’ll introduce you to my one friend who does.

Danielle [00:46:52]:

LinkedIn was so good for my crowdfunder, just connecting with people on there. It’s still a little judgy, but I quite like it.

Caroline [00:47:03]:

I think I just need to get past the ego judging.

Danielle [00:47:07]:

Once you’ve found people that you can kind of connect with and a nice circle of people, then it is really impactful, actually. But, yeah, mainly Instagram, I would say, is where I talk about stuff and absolute rubbish.

Caroline [00:47:22]:

Well, excellent. And the honest truth about parenthood and running a business. So thank you for always being honest, Danielle, and it’s certainly helped me on my journey. And thank you so much for joining me today.

Danielle [00:47:35]:

Thank you for having me.

Caroline [00:47:36]:

Thank you.

Danielle [00:47:37]:

Thanks.


Outro:
You have been listening to Bump to Business Owner, the podcast for mums running businesses, aspiring to run businesses, or simply supporters of mums who go on this crazy business journey. I’m your host Caroline Marshall and I run a virtual assistant agency called Upsource. I started it in lockdown 2020, I’ve seen it through maternity leave and it is growing alongside my two growing boys. Thank you so much, please connect me at Bump to Business Owner, my name is Caroline Marshall.

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