Mia Freedman: Work/Life Balance, Side Hustles and Changing the Culture

Mia Freedman: Work/Life Balance, Side Hustles and Changing the Culture

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We spoke with Mia Freedman, founder of the Mamamia media empire. In this episode, we speak about:

– Work/Life Balance: is it achievable or just an impossible fantasy?

– Some career advice for getting ahead

– The importance of having a Side Hustle: ‘you want to find a gap in the market, but you need to make sure that there’s a market in the gap’

– Some of the specific issues women face in the workplace and in business

– ‘Don’t let perfect be the enemy of done’


Check out the Lady Startup course: https://www.ladystartup.com.au/

Mamamia website: https://www.mamamia.com.au/

Mia’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/miafreedman/




Work-Life Balance: is it achievable, or just an impossible fantasy?

  • The idea of it ‘balance’ sets women up for failure.
    • “[Work/Life Balance] is like the idea of a thigh gap… maybe 1% of women can have it, but that doesn’t mean that the other 99% of us are doing something wrong”
    • “A lot of the times that you CAN’T have balance are the best, most important, most exciting times of your life”, like getting a new job, getting a promotion, having a baby, falling in love… But also the bad times, like a break up, mental health issues, looking after a sick parent. You don’t get to choose the timing of them, and these things will inevitably throw you off balance, so we need to realise that sometimes we’ll need to be ‘unbalanced’ in one or more areas


Career advice

  • How can you stand out from the crowd?
    • Humour is always really helpful!
    • Showing people the proof that you can already do what you will be required to do is a good step
    • The idea of ‘working for free’, doing work experience or interning – in some industries it’s the only way in. You’ve got to acknowledge that when you’re young and have just finished your formal education, you really know nothing. In order to learn from experienced people, who’s time is very valuable, you need to realise that they’re investing a lot and you need to offer something in return – if you can give it a real crack and keep trying and be open and willing to learn, you’re already ahead of most people who are trying to prove that they think they know everything.


Business / Side Hustles

“You want to find a gap in the market, but you’ve got to make sure that there’s a market in that gap”

  • Side Hustles
    • People often confuse a hobby, a job, a career and a vocation. For some lucky people, there will be a lot of overlap. But for most other people there won’t be, and just because you love doing something, doesn’t mean that you should put the pressure on it to make it pay you to do it. Side Hustles are a great way to try things on the side without giving up your day job.
    • Side Hustles can be a way to help you be creatively fulfilled if perhaps your job isn’t something that you love doing. Sometimes a side hustle may eventually grow to replace your job, but sometimes just having a hobby to explore other avenues and do something a little different in your free time is enjoyable without trying to make it your full time thing.
  • Growth of Mamamia
    • Core Values of Mamamia: ‘Don’t Freak Out’ and ‘Get Shit Done’ and ‘Put Your Sparkle On’
    • Core Purpose: ‘To make the world a better place for women and girls’
    • Core purpose = the WHY, Core Values = the HOW [see Start With Why by Simon Sinek]
    • At the start, the idea of ‘move fast and break things’ is great, but when you move from startup to scale up, you can’t break things anymore because the things are expensive and important!
    • New value now that they’re not a startup any more: ‘measure twice, cut once’
    • First = Get It Done, Move towards = Get It Right
  • Lady Startup
    • Start as just an instagram account. Began sharing things from her friends businesses (eg: wearing their clothes, or trying on their shoes), and they found it had a substantial impact on their business.
    • Then she started sharing more things from women’s businesses, not just people she knew, but other women trying to do their own thing
    • Built a community of other women that wanted to start business
    • Now it’s becoming a course to help women start business:
      • ‘Activation Plan’ = people who want to start their own business
      • ‘Rocket Club’ = people with existing businesses that want to grow them
    • “There’s 1.2m women that run their own businesses in Australia, I reckon there’s at least twice as many that want to, and there’s all the millions of others that just want to support them”. For many women, if they had the choice of hiring a caterer, a lawyer, a cleaner, buying new clothes, they’d like to support a woman starting a small business.
    • Issues for women starting businesses
      • Other responsibilities (eg: family) – makes it hard to start a business, but often becomes the motivator for wanting to start a business in order to have more control and flexibility
      • In many cases, women will forgo a pay increase for more flexibility and control
      • Technology has enabled more women to start businesses (in the past, if you opened a store, you had to find a store then sit in it all day every day… now you can open an online business or freelance and do it when you choose to)
    • How to get started?
      • Idea, brand, product, scaffolding, audience, launch
      • There’s a lot of steps, so you just need to break it down and make it simple
    • Passion vs Reality – how to you balance the things you love with the things that could actually make money?
      • “You want to find a gap in the market, but you’ve got to make sure that there’s a market in that gap”
      • “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of done” – it’s better to do something not quite perfectly than for it to be perfect in your brain but you don’t ever actually do it. It probably won’t ever be as good as the image in your head, but you’ve just got to do it anyway.


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