"I don’t know a mum who isn’t busy"

with Catherine Ann Reid, founder of Doqit

Show notes:

Catherine Ann Reid founded her business, Doqit, because she found herself with a problem, and she wasn’t the only one. But it took Covid for Doqit to become a viable business and a full time job.

As a single mum, Catherine Ann has an amazing approach to work and fitting it around parenthood: quality over quantity. Balls were dropped, but tomorrow is always a new day. Catherine Ann’s daughter has a very rare genetic condition, and her split from her partner when her daughter was 18 months meant that Catherine Ann was navigating complex health needs along with a lengthy divorce. She has some real wisdom and reassurance if you’re navigating something similar.

We also spoke to the way others perceive our situations, through their own lens rather than as a reflection of our reality; the undue responsibility apportioned to mums when things don’t go ‘to plan’ and my least favourite phrase ‘at least’.

Catherine Ann shares her biggest business ‘failures’, her 3 tips for people looking to build a tech business and the importance of timing for founders.

Listen in for:

  • How Catherine Ann came to the idea for Doqit, getting to the Beta phase and not being for everyone
  • How Covid changed the landscape for Doqit as a business
  • Catherine Ann’s career journey as a single mum with a child with a lot of needs and appointments: “quality over quantity”
  • Dropping balls is inevitable, but tomorrow is a new day
  • Reality v’s perception when it comes to parenting and business
  • Communication and finding your support system going through divorce, single parenthood and as a founder
  • The ‘blame’ conversation and how often responsibility is directed towards mums rather than parents
  • ‘At least’ – the worst phrase in the world
  • Catherine Ann’s biggest failures/learnings
  • Finding your purpose, helping people rather than ‘getting a proper job’
  • Catherine Ann’s 3 tips for people looking to build a tech solution business
  • Timing and putting ideas ‘in the fridge’

Resources Catherine Ann mentioned:

Emily Perl Kingsley, ‘Welcome to Holland’
Cohen Syndrome
Canva

Links:

Website
Instagram
LinkedIn

Catherine Ann Reid’s Links:

Website
Instagram
LinkedIn (Catherine Ann)
LinkedIn (Doqit)

Transcript:

Intro

Hello. I’m Caroline Marshall, and welcome to Bump to Business Owner the podcast speaking to mums in business. You. I’ll be in conversation with some of the most inspiring women and mothers in enterprise about their journey, how they created their successful businesses alongside raising their children and what that looks like in work and family life.

Caroline (00:28):
Hello and welcome. Today’s episode of Bump to Business Owner. I’m your host, Caroline Marshall. Please welcome today Catherine Ann Reid, mum and founder of Doqit. Doqit is that one place you need to manage the paperwork that matters most. It’ll nudge you when action is needed. So nothing in the home and your life admin falls through the cracks. Catherine Ann’s journey is inspiring. After her divorce, while raising a daughter with complex needs, she found herself drowning in a clutter of life’s admin tasks, misplaced documents, overdue bills, and a sense of perpetual disarray were her constant companions. It was a relentless and overwhelming cycle. She was desperate to find a straightforward, all encompassing solution, but none were in sight. So she created it, extremely impressive, and I’m a huge fan of any software designed to take away admin and making life just easier. And I’m so looking forward to going into Catherine Ann’s life, mumhood, career and business journey with you all. Catherine Ann, welcome. I’m so excited.

Catherine Ann (01:27):
Well, thank you. Great introduction. You’ve got the job. You have got the job.

Caroline (01:33):
Excellent. Well, it’s my bag. Anything to make life admin easier, I’m all over it. And a mum founded it. So this is literally the dream for me. Just amazing that you’ve created this solution and kind of still at the start of your business journey with Doqit, aren’t you?

Catherine Ann (01:54):
Yeah, it’s still really early days. So we’re in beta.

Caroline (01:59):
What does that mean for anyone who doesn’t know what that is?

Catherine Ann (02:01):
So what does that mean? What does that mean? So we created a web app so that we could find out was it viable for people? Regardless of all the research that you do upfront, there’s nothing like putting something physically in someone’s hand to find out that if they do want it, if it’s right for them. And what we need to do to make it work is we move forward and as people’s life changes and you’re a mom, your life changes substantially when that red book lands.

Caroline (02:36):
Oh God, that red book, if you can find a solution for the red book, that’d be great.

Catherine Ann (02:43):
Do you know what actually, between us, that is one of my goals is to somehow, because there’s such a need for that because you’ve got enough to remember without saying, I need to get the red book off the radiator because it’s there drying because you spill your coffee on it the day before.

Caroline (03:02):
Yeah, I laugh because you keep it in the buggy underneath and that’s where you throw your coffee cup, isn’t it? So it’s so true.

Catherine Ann (03:10):
It’s so true. It’s so true. There has to be a better way. But yeah, so it’s early days and what we are working on now is transitioning onto the app store so that it’s going to be easier for people to download and access. So it’s early days, but it’s so exciting because hearing the challenges that people have and do you know what, I’m going to say this right up front. We are not for everyone and that’s okay. But for the people that we are for, it’s just amazing that we’re able to help them. And I love that. I often, when people send me, we don’t say, in fact, had one lady, I was getting my hair cut. And because we’re young, everyone’s got my phone number. It’s like any problems, just call me customer service. I love it.

Caroline (03:59):
That’s such personal customer service.

Catherine Ann (04:02):
Oh, you’ve got, and I was getting my hair cut and ding. It was a lady had sent me a text to say she’d been for an interview. She needed three forms of ID. She only had taken two. And then she said she remembered she had her water bill in Doqit, so she was able to use that. She’d only been a user for two weeks and she said, already help me and paid for itself. And do you know what? I can’t tell you. That was like a little lottery win.

Caroline (04:31):
Oh, I bet. I bet. There’s so many people listening who have had ideas for apps and I’m sure they’re great ideas, but there’s lots of apps out there and you’ve really got to know this is a great idea. So how did that journey look like when you were like, this needs to be a solution?

Catherine Ann (04:49):
So there’s loads of problems out there in the world. There’s loads of problems, and it doesn’t mean that everybody’s looking for a solution. The first thing I discovered the problem, so the problem started a long time ago. I was going through a divorce. Chloe, my daughter, who’s 22 next week, she was going through her medical diagnosis and it was literally drowning in paperwork everywhere, and it was actually, as time moved on, it became worse because it moved from just being paperwork to apps, platforms, PDFs, spreadsheets. And although I’m a really organised person, I was still missing deadlines, paid my tax three years late in the bounce, couldn’t find anything. And I thought, right there has to be something to help. And when I couldn’t find anything, I did wonder, is this a Catherine Ann problem or was it a problem for other people?

(05:48):
So the first thing I think to do is establish, is it a problem for other people? Are they looking for a solution or are they happy with the solution that they have? So I would say when I started this journey, everyone I spoke to had a story. It was, oh goodness, this was late. I was paying for a warranty and a property that I’d had 10 years ago. I was still paying the warranty for the fridge freezer. People were getting parking tickets for parking permits that were overdue and the likes. So everyone had stories, but this was before covid. And the challenge pre covid was, I don’t know if technology can help me. So we kept our powder dry and we didn’t build anything. So what we didn’t do was write a line of code as what they would say. And I sound very techy when I say that, but I’m, I’m actually a non-technical founder, but I’ve got good people around about me.

(06:54):
But what we did do leading up to that time was we built just some screens, some wire frames and set to find out would you use something like this? Would you find it helpful? What is it that would work for you? So there was a desire to have things in one place that would help, but there was still a kind of fear around the technology. And when I spoke to investors back then and said, would something like this interest you? What would you think? They all said, how are you going to change consumer behaviour? Catherine Ann and I used to look at them in the eye and kind of go waffle, waffle, waffle, waffle and thought, you’re not even convincing yourself there. And overnight covid changed consumer behaviour. People became reliant on their phones and on their devices for almost everything. And I always use this analogy, if you think even three years ago if you had walked up your high street and the first a hundred people you’d met, you’d said, do you know what a QR code is? They would’ve said, not sure. And actually definitely don’t trust it. Now it’s become ingrained in our day-to-Day life. We use QR codes for everything. So that overnight reliance on technology and the speed at which businesses got their act together and how they were communicating with their customers and consumers created that perfect storm to make the time right for Doqit.

Caroline (08:41):
I wouldn’t have even thought of that really with the business such as yours. So that is really interesting. And you say you’re a non-technical founder, so just a little bit, I’d love to know because your journey before needing this solution and coming up with this, what was your career journey leading up to this?

Catherine Ann (09:00):
So my background is marketing communications. So working in media, I’ve worked across all the disciplines. I started off in a typesetters, which loads of people will think, I have no idea what that is because everything’s digital now, but it was when brochures and newspapers, there was physically people doing beautiful type setting. And that was a thing. That was a thing. People do it themselves. So I worked in advertising, design, sales, promotion, live events, and my accountability was always in sales, so business to business sales, and it was primarily sort of FTSE150 and it was an area and industry that I loved. It was great fun, met great people, but it’s not one that is conducive to having a small child. So when I did find myself lone parent with Chloe quite young, her dad left when she was about 18 months. I had to like, right, okay, what are we going to do here?

(10:17):
Are we going to sink or swim? So I worked freelance. So what I did was I worked because Chloe had lots of appointments. So what I did was I worked three days a week, and those three days would flex depending on the appointments that she had. And when she was very young, I was lucky. I still had my mom then so she could come. So I’m not in Scotland, although I’m Scottish. I’ve lived down in Berkshire for the last 26 years, and my mom would come down and help me with Chloe. Lovely. So when I lost my mom, that again was another pivot in my life.

(11:03):
I had to find really good childcare. But for me it was always about anytime I worked, it was about quality, not quantity, and finding a good support system round about me, but I’m going to be honest, it was hard and their balls were regularly dropped. And just as soon as you find somebody that you think is great, they’ve then get their life and they’re going on to maybe get married or they’re moving home. So it’s not easy, but I’ve always been someone that is, okay, let’s find a way we’ll find through this. And I think when I was working freelance, I was always really honest with the people that I was working with to say, Chloe is my priority, and if something happens, I will let you know. Because my key thing was I never wanted to feel guilty about letting my child down, and I never wanted to feel guilty about letting my client down. So I just always thought, you’ll be up front. Just say it how it is.

Caroline (12:14):
Oh, I say that all the time to the team when they haven’t kind of settled on what sort of hours they want to do. And I’m like, right, let’s decide. I want to put you forward on hours that work rather than feel like you’re going to be let down. And if the client doesn’t go with those hours, it’s not the right client for you. You need the one. And it shows how solution orientated you are. You were thrown into this scenario 18 months old, you had to work, you also had to prioritise your daughter, and you found a way. And yes, balls were dropped. Not easy, but it really shows you’ve got this brain that is right. Or do you think, have you got that brain or was it just you had to make it work, you had no choice?

Catherine Ann (12:55):
Yeah, so I think it’s funny because if someone had said to me before I had Chloe, if I sort of dial back 25, 30 years and someone said, you’ll do this, I would’ve thought, oh God, I could never do that. But I think that life, we’re all faced with different challenges through life and it’s how we address them. And I didn’t feel I had a choice. I just had to keep a roof over our head. I had to look after my child and I had to look after myself and have some fun as well along the way. And I just made the choice that I was going to do it. And if there was days that I couldn’t, then I didn’t. It was as simple as that.

Caroline (13:42):
You embraced it.

Catherine Ann (13:44):
And I wasn’t soaring myself. I would just think, right, okay, go to bed. Tomorrow’s another day.

Caroline (13:50):
Yeah, that’s a really good point. I think sometimes people are just too hard and they says, they might say, oh, Catherine Ann can do it. I can’t have a hard day. And it’s like, yes, you can.

Catherine Ann (13:59):
And I think the other thing is that people generally only see, let’s look at Instagram for an example. People only ever see the palm trees and the beach. What they don’t see is that you have maybe script and saved for three years to get the palm trees and the beach. And I guess perception is reality in many ways. And people do see the shiny glittery side. They don’t see the, actually, maybe the dishwasher hasn’t been empty for awake. The laundry’s piling up because real life’s quite dull. And we’re not always inspired by real life, but we’re inspired by people who we think are smashing their goals.

Caroline (14:48):
It’s so true. We’ve got our own laundry to deal with. I don’t need to see someone else’s laundry not being dealt with.

Catherine Ann (14:56):
It’s true.

Caroline (14:57):
It’s true. And I think we talked about this, just me and you before, but did people ever have assumptions of you because of your circumstance that didn’t want to work with you? Or did you ever come across that sort of thing? Or do people ever say the wrong thing that you’re just like, oh.

Catherine Ann (15:13):
Lots of times. And it is taken me longer to get my head around the why people are like that. And it’s because the judge, we judge situations through our own lens. So people would think, well, I couldn’t do that. So she probably can’t either. But it’s like Chloe. So when I talk about Chloe, Chloe’s been mine since the day she was born, so I’ve had to adjust and create scenarios since then to make life work. Otherwise we would never get out the front door. But what people do is they look at it through their lens and they think, oh, well, I wouldn’t be able to get out the front door. So I don’t think she can either. And I did find it in my career a couple of times where when I was working freelance, the business, one business I was working with was taken over and the chap said, this is a full-time role.

(16:16):
We need you to be full-time. And it was like, well, I can’t do. So I guess we part company. And the people that knew me we’re like, we know what you can do. And it was like, that’s okay. He’s in charge now. So that’s fine. But it was disappointing and I hope that he can look back and see actually her mantra of quality over quantity is true, but it was fine and everything I always think no matter what, everything has taken you on that journey of where you’re supposed to be. And that did make me look at my situation, my situation with Chloe, my situation with my paperwork, and think, right, okay, what are we going to do? We’re going to create a business.

Caroline (17:05):
And I think you are absolutely right with that whole thing of people like, well, I couldn’t do that. And it’s like you don’t know until you’re in it and you may never get in it. And I think that’s the thing. And people have these assumptions. I think me and you briefly bonded because I had a baby in nicu and sometimes who says a nurse say to you, you’ll never work again.

Catherine Ann (17:26):
A couple of things that were said that made me go, oh, so Chloe was two days old and this young registrar came in and he said to me, oh yes, your baby’s, and he and I didn’t know what that meant. Your baby’s got an asymmetric face, don’t worry. By the time she’s 22, 23, we’ll be able to do sort of a plastic reconstruction surgery on her and it’ll be fine. And I was looking at this perfect baby thinking, what are you talking about? And I’m going to say, she’s never had plastic surgery and I still think she looks absolutely beautiful.

Caroline (17:59):
She is beautiful. I’ve seen photos of her.

Catherine Ann (18:02):
But I also had specialists telling me she wouldn’t walk, she wouldn’t talk, she wouldn’t toilet. And it was all about sort of this setup for failure. And maybe they do that to try and help parents manage expectations, but I was just like, no, not my girl. She will walk, she will talk, she will be able to toilet herself. And although she has got really complex needs, she’s got severely laming difficulties. You know what, a year ago we were sitting in the Ritz, she had a glass of champagne in her hand and we were celebrating her 21st because that’s what she wanted to do. And she fitted in perfectly. I’m a great believer in it’s not what someone can’t do, it’s what they can. And we can all do something and we all have a place in society.

Caroline (19:00):
And can all prove people wrong.

Catherine Ann (19:04):
And there’s something quite delightful about sort of going there really.

Caroline (19:08):
It really is. Yeah, I’m preaching to the choir. But definitely I imagine that, and it is just such an inspiring story and I can’t even imagine. I remember bringing my little child home from NICU and all the medicine for a while we had, because I’d had a healthy baby the first time and didn’t have any of that. I just brought my baby home and fed it, and that’s what you do and that’s hard enough. And then it gave me this real appreciation of like, oh, so this is all the stuff you have to remember when things haven’t gone to plan and straight or when things are just a bit different for you.

Catherine Ann (19:46):
Yeah, I think a poem, I dunno whether it’s a poem or a story because it’s not really a poem, it’s a piece that was written by a lady called, I think it’s Emily Kingsley called Welcome to Holland. I don’t know if you’ve ever come across it.

Caroline (20:03):
No.

Catherine Ann (20:04):
Someone had said to her, what’s it like when you’ve got a child who has special needs? And she had written this piece and she said, when you have a baby, it’s like going in holiday. You buy books, you maybe learn some new words, you pack your case and off you go. And then when the plane lands, the pilot says, welcome to Holland. And you say, Holland, I’m supposed to be in Italy. Why am I not in Italy? Italy’s fast. It’s flashy, everything’s go, go, go. And I’m in Holland and it’s slow and it’s a bit clunky. But actually once been in Holland for a few times, you realise that actually it’s beautiful. It’s got Rembrandt, it’s got beautiful bright flowers. You learn a whole different language. But actually the people you meet are really lovely. Meanwhile, a lot of your friends and family, they’re still going to Italy and they’re telling you how flashy, how amazing, how fast. And you say, yeah, I know I was supposed to go there, but I’m okay in Holland.

Caroline (21:16):
Oh my gosh, you’re making me emotional. That’s so nice.

Catherine Ann (21:19):
And it’s lovely because it is such a good analogy or we all think we’re going to Italy, but sometimes we’ll land in Holland and Holland actually has got so much to offer

Caroline (21:36):
And it’s a new life that you didn’t know was there.

Catherine Ann (21:40):
No. Do you know, again, honestly, if someone had said you are going to be presented with
Chloe, I would’ve thought I wouldn’t cope. And actually having Chloe is the best thing that has ever happened in my life. She’s made me a better person. She’s taught me, she’s taught me about life and she’ll never appreciate how much she’s taught me and the amazing people that she’s brought into my life that have enhanced it so much.

Caroline (22:12):
And she’s so lucky to have you and exactly, you are exactly what she needs as well. So oh God, I’m going to have to get myself together to talk a bit.

(22:24):
And it’s just, I think on the other spectrum side, I’m sure there’ll be a lot of women listening to this, not in the same parenting situation as you, but from a divorce perspective, I was talking to another podcast release this week with Lauralee Whyte who went through divorce and how she had to manage that career wise and just for a while everything was because financially she just had to get back to work and everything was just wraparound childcare, all of that. And now she’s moved away from that. Did that just bring, you are still new in your motherhood journey as well. I mean 18 months in and what extra life curve balls did that throw you?

Catherine Ann (23:02):
So Chloe’s dad left and went to a different country, which meant that he wasn’t there to offer support and the divorce was really retracted and it was really traumatic. And if I was to give anyone any advice around divorce, it would be put yourself 10 years down the road. Don’t think about how you feel, the anger, the heart, the frustration that you feel right now. Think about where you and your family situation, where you want to be in 10 years time because what you don’t want to be is battling in 10 years time. So try and try and remember why you marry and it’s not always easy. It’s not always easy. I think was my situation unique? Probably not. I think everyone probably thinks their situation is quite unique, but do try and communicate. There’s some great, there’s a new tech company out there that’s offering support for people going through a divorce to help coach them so you can get a divorce coach. But for me, there was one winner in the divorce and it was the lawyers because they got fact checks at the end of the day.

Caroline (24:26):
Yeah, I’ve heard of divorce coaches and so pleased they’re there now. And that might be helpful for someone.

Catherine Ann (24:30):
Me too, me too. I think it would’ve been really helpful for me because I was going through the difficulty of a divorce and also Chloe was, her condition was unfolding. I mean she never got a diagnosis till she was nine.

Caroline (24:48):
Oh, really?

Catherine Ann (24:49):
Interesting. So it was like all of that was that she’s got a really rare condition. She’s one of less than a thousand globally.

Caroline (24:57):
Oh wow. And what’s it called?

Catherine Ann (24:59):
Cohen syndrome. So C-O-H-E-N as in surname Cohen, Cohen syndrome. And yeah, so really rare. And so she didn’t walk till she was five. She didn’t start speaking making really any words properly until probably she was about seven. She’s got a speech impediment. So we had to learn macit on. So while all of that was just like, yeah, but we came through her

Caroline (25:32):
And I think not getting a diagnosis until nine kind of hits your point earlier. I bet externally people would be, oh, well how can you sit there and wait for this? But that’s what you had to learn was that that was going to take time if ever happened, I guess at one at times.

Catherine Ann (25:52):
And it didn’t matter to me. There was the thing, I think that having a label, so any syndrome has got such a wide spectrum, such a wide spectrum, and Google’s not your friend. So

(26:12):
I remember going on and having a look at Google and there were some really awful things on there. Life limiting conditions, terrible conditions that children do have and parents are living with. And so you can’t help but if it’s that this would happen. And then it was just like I barred myself, I just barred myself. I was like, do not go there. It’s not helpful because if you read the small print of paracetamol, it can kill you. So it’s like get things into perspective. So she was nine and the thing was, so things were, she was really, really ill all the time when she was little. And it wasn’t until she got a diagnosis that we found out that she’s chronically neutropenic, which means that her white cells don’t work properly. So she was always having, kids would get a cold, Chloe would get pneumonia, they’d have a runny nose, she’d been hospital with bad years. And it was just like, why is this happening? And it was because she’s chronically neutropenic. So what we did was we looked at each thing as it arose. So when she had had surgery, she was in and out of hospital, then we discovered she’s got a degenerative eye condition. But it was, you looked at these things individually as opposed to wondering what label it was that tied it together because it didn’t really matter.

Caroline (27:48):
I think that’s really interesting point is often people just want to label and then it’s like, well then this happens and this happens. And it’s always from other people rather than yourself. When you’re in this and you start to realise actually that’s not how life works, basically.

Catherine Ann (28:03):
It’s not actually. So if you think about cerebral palsy, for an example, cerebral palsy has got such a wide, wide spectrum. I know some young friends of Chloe’s who have cerebral palsy, some of them are quadriplegic and wheelchairs and use eye gaze to communicate. Others you would never know.

Caroline (28:30):
No, no,

Catherine Ann (28:31):
You would never know. Yeah,

Caroline (28:32):
No. Well, my mom always taught this was my mom’s risk. We talked about cerebral palsy before because my second child was at risk of this, and my mom would always tell me this. She was like, she did her nurse training in Oxford and she was like, my colleague was training to be a doctor and he had cerebral palsy and it’s just such a spectrum. So thank you for raising awareness on that as well. I think that was the thing when I was looking, still wondering if my second child would have that, people would look at you and be like, well no, of course he doesn’t. And I’m like, well, that’s up to the doctors to decide that anyone else.

Catherine Ann (29:13):
And ASD. So autism has such a wide spectrum as well, and people are very quick to say, I think they’re on the spectrum and it’s like, oh, forget, stop. Just everyone’s an individual and we’re all different. Thank goodness.

Caroline (29:32):
Thank goodness for that. Yeah, and I think something I just wanted to touch on you briefly touched on earlier, which I think is always really important to bring up, was divorce being traumatic. You talked about communication. I think that’s one always clear takeaway that I’ve had from my experiences and other people who talk about trauma say is talk about it, isn’t it even not with everyone necessarily, but find people you can talk about it with.

Catherine Ann (29:58):
I’ve found a really good counsellor and she was amazing. She was absolutely amazing. And I found her through my gp. So I had gone to the GP and I said I was a bit all over the place. I said, I think I need wee tonic because that’s something my mom would’ve said. And he said, what do you think a wee tonic is? And I said, I don’t know. I said, I just feel I need something. And he said, well, I can give you antidepressants. And I said, I don’t want antidepressants. I said, I don’t think I need them. And he said, I said, I just need to get things straight in my head. And he said, okay. He said, do you think counselling would help? And I said, you know what mate? Let’s give it a go. And it was great because I can only say it was laying everything out like a pack of cards and helping me see that actually what happened was always going to happen. And it was good. And it helped me understand why not blame myself and not look to apportion blame. It was just something that was always going to happen. And I would encourage anyone if they’re having difficulty is to seek help. Now that was through the gp, it didn’t cost me anything. I think waiting times back then were much less. I think waiting times are shocking, but if you can afford and I think there’s places you can go, counselling it doesn’t mean it would help everyone, but it really, really helped me.

Caroline (31:45):
Yeah, thank you for sharing that. And I hard agree on that from having it as well. And I think a key point is also blame. That’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot. I think when we’re pregnant and things, there’s so much we’re told about, I think. Do you think women are sometimes anything that goes wrong in this period or doesn’t go how we expected, I should say. I think because I was watching something with Kourtney Kardashian the other day, she had foetal surgery on her unborn baby recently. And apparently her sharing it made loads of women say, oh, this happened to me. I didn’t share it. I thought people would blame me for it. And do you think there’s so much ingrained on early motherhood and the blame that if it didn’t go to plan it’s our fault?

Catherine Ann (32:30):
Yes, I do. I think sadly we make the babies so therefore anything that goes wrong is their fault. Now I don’t know anyone that’s had an immaculate conception, do you?

Caroline (32:48):
No.

Catherine Ann (32:50):
But yet when things go wrong, it is, or I don’t know if it’s even so much the blame, but the news is generally delivered to the conversations happen with the mother as opposed to it being shared. And unless the father is someone who’s going to go along to consultations and meetings, then that burden is placed on the mother. And I think it’s getting better. I view dads that are amazing and they’re every step of the way and want to know and want to be much more involved. But I think definitely historically it’s seen as that’s something that falls under the matriarch. That’s her stuff. And you’re right. Why did her baby not live? Why did her baby? It’s not their baby. Her baby and it, it’s all heard those stories and it’s a terrible burden for a woman, for a mother to carry.

Caroline (34:03):
I hugely believe in this. And also I just need to give from the period that I had my second child is during Covid, we got it taken away from us. The option of having our partners with us in appointments and things and how quickly scarily in a modern society, something happens and they take away our partners in the hospitals. It was brief. It wasn’t the whole of Covid, but it was long enough to make an impact on some of us. But it is her baby. And I also pointed out, actually this was brought up to me years ago when I worked in a hospital before I had children or anything, a guy I knew worked in Antenatal and he said, I always call them, I can’t remember what he called them ladies or something like that. I don’t call them patients, they’re not sick. Their appointments are in a hospital, but you are made to believe then you might suddenly be really, really healthy. Never really had to deal with the doctor. That was my experience anyway, never really had anything wrong with me other than the odd flu tonsillitis occasionally. And then suddenly I’m put in this scenario and I was quite straightforward. But you are put in this scenario where you’re in appointments, they’re looking at things that can go wrong rather than things that can go right.

Catherine Ann (35:17):
Well the other thing is, so when I was pregnant with Chloe, I was 39, so I was a geriatric mother.

Caroline (35:26):
So you got that label,

(35:29):
That lovely label that they should not be using, the patriarchy medical system label.

Catherine Ann (35:38):
But even in the hospital, they gave me a side room because I was old, which is just ridiculous.

Caroline (35:48):
Oh my goodness. How did that feel? I remember my grandma had her second child at 35 and she was like, oh I said for back then that was older. And she was like, oh, I was the grandma on the ward and all of this. I think it really had an impact on her feeling like this.

Catherine Ann (36:05):
I’m going say I thought it was great.

Caroline (36:07):
Oh, did you love that?

Catherine Ann (36:10):
Because I just shut the door. And Chloe was born 1st of June, so went in the day before and then we were in for a week because she wouldn’t feed. But I was in this greatly room and the sun was shining. I had the windows open. So it was actually, I was fine. I was absolutely fine. But it was the reason why I was there I thought wasn’t fine.

(36:38):
I was hardly going with my Zimmer and I never felt older. I just thought, well this is my time to have my baby.

Caroline (36:50):
And it was the perfect time to have your baby.

Catherine Ann (36:53):
Yeah, it was, and Chloe’s condition is nothing to do with my age. It’s genetic is because her dad and one of us has a spelling change and the other one has a deletion in the same chromosome.

Caroline (37:11):
Oh, you actually know the reason, which is good. But just to touch on that point, the assumption, I’m sorry if you’ve ever had to have the assumption that people have thought it is your age, because I think that’s another powerful point is I had a home birth and there was a lot of assumption that my child collapsed because of a home birth. And then the blame comes in, doesn’t it?

Catherine Ann (37:39):
No. People have said it’s because of your age. It’s like no, it’s genetic. If I had had Chloe with her dad 10 years earlier, the chances are it is a one in four. Chances are that it would’ve been the same. And you know what if it had been still wouldn’t change a thing.

Caroline (38:02):
No, exactly. And that’s it. But you don’t know that until, yeah, you,

Catherine Ann (38:07):
You’re in it.

Caroline (38:09):
But other people could learn, I think a great one. We had a lady called Mimi Nicklin who’s an empathy advocate. And that’s where the listening piece comes in, isn’t it? Sometimes listening rather than talking or assuming.

Catherine Ann (38:22):
Yes. And it’s the same for women who don’t have children is we need to stop asking, do you have kids? Because you never what’s going on? And that it could be absolute choice or that I’ve got a friend and she had 13 miscarriages. 13 she has two children. Oh wow. She had the miscarriages after her first and the other thing that was said to her, which again, it just, oh, it makes you go cold. At least you’ve got one.

Caroline (39:03):
At least someone said it to me the other day, at least you didn’t have to do homeschooling during covid. And I was like, I am too tired to go down a NICU hole with you, but maybe one day we’ll do that together. If you want to get to be my friend,

Catherine Ann (39:20):
At least in any part of life is like, please don’t say they at least

Caroline (39:26):
No. And you can recognise other people’s stories and journeys without saying at least

Catherine Ann (39:33):
Sometimes you’ve got to just go, okay, I’ve got nothing to say. So that’s what I’m going to say. Nothing. I think

Caroline (39:38):
That’s it. And that was it. When this person said, at least you didn’t have to homeschool, I just said nothing. I was like, I either go down this hole or I cater for it. And I was like, now I’m saying nothing and maybe we’ll go down this hole at some stage. But now it’s not the time for this.

Catherine Ann (39:55):
No. Communication is communication

Caroline (40:01):
And I’m not always good at that. So I was quite proud of myself at that point when I said nothing, I was, I’m just going to enjoy my wine and not respond.
Catherine Ann (40:11):
Top me up. Top me up. Yes.

Caroline (40:13):
Where’s the bar? So just to come back on Doqit, I’d love to know as an early tech startup founder, you’ve talked about your biggest win. Has there been any failures or mistakes that have really happened so far in your journey?

Catherine Ann (40:30):
Oh yeah, a tonne.

(40:33):
What I would say is I never think about anything as being a failure or a mistake. Everything is a learning and oh my, I learned mean. I’ve learned so much since starting Doqit. There’s lots of learnings. Huge learning is that you can never assume anything about. So you need to speak to people, you need to speak to people about the problem. And just because the problem shows up in a way for you, doesn’t mean it shows up for other people that way. Another thing, big thing that I learned, but really in relation to is that it’s not really for people who have their life out of control because actually some people like to live that way. Yeah,

Caroline (41:33):
That’s so true. I’ve definitely got friends who just, that’s their life.

Catherine Ann (41:38):
That’s their life. There are people that live in what would be chaos for me and I couldn’t live that way, but actually is how they rock. And that’s okay. So trying to push something onto them because I mean, I have had people say, oh, Doqit would be great for, and now I can say it’s not. That’s how they are. But what’s the biggest layer? Probably one of the biggest. Everything takes much longer and costs much. Cause I said this to someone earlier this week, they said, oh, what’s the big thing that you’ve learned? And I said, I remember. So I’m now remarried to my lovely husband, a hugely supportive and a fantastic father figure to Chloe we’re very lucky. And he said, when I said I’m going to do this, and he was like, great. And he said, so how long do you think you would give it?

(42:41):
And I went, oh, probably about six months times. But he’s so supportive of the journey and he has seen it going. And although, so Gary’s a carpenter, he’s not technical, but he’s seen it going from the smoke and mirrors of a PDF to some wire frames to now where we have people that pay for Doqit and use it and are contributing towards the development of where it’s going to go and what it’s going to be. And he loves that. But he said, what happened to that six months? And it’s like, yeah, I know. But things take, things cost much more. You see people on LinkedIn all the time saying, oh, we could whiz up an MVP for a thousand pounds. And it’s like you can whiz up some wire frames and things and that does work as an MVP for some things. It really does disputing that. But actually when you start to get into the journey of having to build something and build something that’s technical, then it can cost much more than you think.

Caroline (43:56):
Thank you for the reality on that. And I think my question is, would you have continued down it if you knew how long it would take?

Catherine Ann (44:04):
I don’t know. So I put my stake in the ground six years ago and I was still doing some freelance at the time, but I’ve been absolutely 100% full time in this since covid the change in consumer behaviour. You don’t think about the time because the learning and the journey and the people I’ve met has been so fantastic. So I think if it was looking at the length of time in isolation, I dunno, I dunno. But someone said, because friends and family always say, when are you going to get a proper job? Or you could earn tonnes if you went. And it’s like, yeah, but I love what I’m doing. And it’s not about the money, it’s about I think about the amount of people who are like me that I can help. And I think that’s going to be amazing in five years, 10 years time, people are going to say, yeah, you know what? I was in this situation and I had it in Doqit and saved me time, saved me money, reduced my stress. Happy days.

Caroline (45:22):
You found your purpose. I love that. Thank you. And thank you for bringing Doqit to us because I really believe in what you’re doing and I think it’s going to be a game changer for so many parents out there and non-parents as well. Anyone who needs to keep themselves organised, but particularly moms and business owners.

Catherine Ann (45:43):
I do. So and I’m going to say I think, and this is through the user group I’m working with just now, I think it’s for moms whose children are toddlers. Plus, I think when you’ve got a new baby and particularly a first time mom, you life is so different that you don’t have time for paperwork. But once your baby’s a toddler, I think Doqit’s much more for you. That’s what I’m getting from users. So if you’re a new mom and you’re listening, don’t feel you have to get your paperwork.

Caroline (46:21):
Think of other things

Catherine Ann (46:24):
Yourself and your baby, have

Caroline (46:26):
Nothing

Catherine Ann (46:28):
More. Have a glass of water. Have a glass of water because that’s a journey when you’ve got that new baby and your routine is completely upside down and you’re just fighting your way.

Caroline (46:43):
Yeah, and I think other mums at my stage because my second toddler, but school age when they get to school and you’ve got all this other paperwork that comes, yeah, I can imagine that’s a great time as well. And you might be back at work fully or trying to juggle that kind of thing.

Catherine Ann (47:01):
I don’t know a mom, whether they work or don’t work that isn’t busy because every mom I know regardless of their age, regardless of their employment situation, is busy and has got a lot on their plate.

Caroline (47:17):
I love that. And let’s end. For anyone who wants to start has a tech or an app solution that they really think is needed and believe there’s others like that. What are your three tips for someone looking to start a business like you have?

Catherine Ann (47:32):
Great question. So top three tips. One, find out is what you think is needed. Find out if it is needed. Speak to people. Set up a WhatsApp group. Speak to, don’t always speak to the people closest to you. Don’t tell them what you’re doing. Ask them if they’ve got the problem. Is life admin a problem for you? Tell me what you’re using just now. Tell me what you think would help. So first of all, find out is it just a problem for you or is it a problem for other people? The second thing is if you can get enough people that say, oh wow, yeah, this is overwhelming. Don’t think about the tech. Don’t think about how will this be built, what will it be? Think about it in boxes and pictures. Get people, get built some wire frames. You can do that in Canva.

(48:27):
Use Canva to create some screens and get people to what do they think? And speak to other founders, find a community, speak to founders, ask what the journey’s like. Because I know people that have had great ideas that have gone quite a bit down the road and then that the founder journey isn’t for them because you need to have a good support system around you. And if you are in a position where you need to pay bills and you can afford to do it right now, then you’ve got to think about your financial security as well. So speak to other founders. Get involved in communities like Female Founders Rise.

Caroline (49:17):
I was going to say, it’s how we found each other. Shout out to Emmie.

Catherine Ann (49:20):
And speak to people. So find out if it’s a problem, draw some things up to make sure that your thinkings where it might be. But in fact that would be the sub thing. Speak to other founders. Ask them about their journey, what did it look like and can you see yourself in that place? And if it’s not for you, that is okay.

Caroline (49:48):
Not everyone’s meant to be a founder.

Catherine Ann (49:50):
Not everyone’s meant to be a founder. And if your idea is not ready, that’s okay too. Put it in the fridge for a wee while because timing is everything. If it hadn’t been for Covid, Doqit would possibly still be in the fridge.

Caroline (50:06):
Love that in the fridge. I’m going to start using that when I try and run away with ideas.

Catherine Ann (50:12):
Keep it fresh so we’re putting in the fridge not the oven.

Caroline (50:16):
Fresh for when it’s ready. I love that. Oh, Catherine Ann, this has been a wonderful episode. Thank you so much. Where can people find you and where can people find out more about Doqit? You

Catherine Ann (50:27):
Can find about Doqit, you go to the site Doqit. So it’s doqit.io. The website has got links to our socials, so we’re, we’re on TikTok, which is me doing the TikTok. So that’s for a whole other episode, but mainly you can find me on LinkedIn, Catherine Ann Reid, and really happy to connect and if anyone wants to talk about their potential founder journey, something they’re thinking about, honestly drop me a note. I’m always really happy to help. There’s the other thing, ask for help. That’s the big thing. Ask for help. I did and I have been honestly overwhelmed by the generosity of people giving help. So ask for help.

Caroline (51:16):
I love that. I think that rings true in all areas of motherhood and business, doesn’t it? Indeed. Well thank you Catherine Ann, and thank you for being so open with your journey with us and I look forward to seeing the rise of Doqit’s success.

Catherine Ann (51:30):
Thank you. Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.

Caroline (51:38):
Thank you so much for listening to Bump to Business owner. I hope you enjoyed the conversation. Please do rate, review, follow or subscribe wherever you are listening. It really helps us to connect with more moms and business owners. You can DM me on at Bump to Business owner on Instagram and I’ll be back next week.

Outro

Thank you so much for listening to Bump to Business Owner. I hope you enjoyed the conversation. Please do rate, review, follow or subscribe wherever you’re listening. It really helps us to connect with more mums and business owners. You can DM me at Bump to Business Owner on Instagram and I’ll be back next week.