Lisa Skene is the founder of Cool Kids Hub, a resource that provides parents with tips, advice and products to help them navigate the critical milestones in their child’s life.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I worked in retail all my corporate life both in South Africa and here in Australia. After completing my studies in Fashion Marketing and Management, I started my career as a sales assistant selling shoes in a department store. During my time in retail (for more years than I care to mention), I held several senior leadership and executive positions.
After leaving retail earlier this year, I finally decided to pursue my own passions. After I had my son, my biggest frustration was information, mainly information about the critical milestones in a child’s life.
I found a lot of information was not written by parents for parents, it was not simple, and I could not get all the information I needed from one source. So, this year my husband and I launched Cool Kids Hub.
Cool Kids Hub is focused on the critical milestones in a child’s life and offers tips, advice and products that help parents navigate these often-challenging times. The site is still in its early stages, but I am passionate about growing and evolving the site into a comprehensive parenting resource.
Navigating entrepreneurship can be daunting, primarily when you have worked in a corporate environment for a big chunk of your life, so my journey led me to want to help other entrepreneurs. People who are starting their entrepreneurship journey later in life or have not yet started as they think they may have left it too late.
My most important role, though, is being a mum to my gorgeous 7-year-old son.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
My days look different now to what they looked like in the corporate world, but one thing that has not changed is the time I wake up. I usually get up at 5 am. I start by meditating for 10 – 15 minutes before I check emails, Facebook page comments, and if I have time, do a bit of reading.
My son wakes up like clockwork around 6 am, so then it is breakfast, spending time playing with him and getting him dressed for school. Once this is done, I get in some exercise. Before COVID, I used to go to the gym, but now my workouts are done at home, or I go for a walk which I love.
During my workouts, I usually listen to a podcast or audiobook. We are fortunate to live close to my son’s school, so my husband usually walks him up to school for morning drop-off.
Once my husband is back from the school drop-off, we have coffee together, review our key metrics and plan our day. Our days are varied depending on what the focuses are. Usually, they consist of some content writing, Facebook posts and ads, meetings with vendors or touching base with our contracted content writers and marketing team.
Once my son is home from school, my husband and I take turns to take him to his after-school activities. After my son goes to bed around 7:30 pm I work for another couple of hours; then it’s a cup of tea and a quick read before bed around 10 pm.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
When I worked in retail, I did not have a lot of flexibility but now that I am running my own business, I do this from home. I can be flexible and schedule my working day around family commitments.
Of course, as the business is in the start-up stage, it requires a lot of love, so I still work long hours but even when I am feeling tired what keeps pushing me forward is knowing that we are helping other parents and building an asset for ourselves.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you, and how do you work to achieve that goal?
Making time for my husband and son is important to me. When I worked in the corporate world, I travelled a lot, and therefore I made sure that the time I spent with my family was quality time. I think having a work-life balance is about being present, truly present in whatever you are doing. This is not always easy to achieve and is something I remind myself of every day.
I have an A-type personality, so I am always pushing myself, thinking of all the things I need to do and all the goals I still want to achieve. However, there are certain times of the day that are non-negotiable family time for me.
We always eat dinner together; this gives us time to talk about our day and connect. I also love reading with my son in the evenings before he goes to bed, and I want to make sure I enjoy these moments before he outgrows wanting Mum to read with him.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I have started meditating regularly. I have meditated on and off for years, but in the last year, I have made this part of my daily routine, and I feel so much more focused, less stressed and happier.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I have always loved reading. There are three books that I have read multiple times because each time I read them I take away something new from them – Fish for Life by Stephen C. Lundin, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker and The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer.
I listen to lots of podcasts and subscribe to several newsletters. This year most of the podcasts I have listened to have focussed on increasing my knowledge of the business we are in for example the Niche Pursuits podcast with Spencer Haws and Online Marketing Made Easy by Amy Porterfield. Then I recently discovered Stay Grounded with Raj Jana which I love.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
I love OneNote for Windows – possibly not the most sophisticated product out there, but I find it easy to use, and it helps me to keep my thoughts and tasks organised. I have also recently started using Trello, which I am reasonably sure I am not using to its full potential, but it is an excellent tool for quickly sharing, updating and keeping track of projects.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
It would probably be someone like Barack Obama. This has nothing to do with politics, I would love to know what techniques he used during his presidency, to balance his demanding and stressful role with finding time to spend time with his family . Which I am sure would not have been easy to achieve.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Someone once said “If you want to be truly happy, do you know what you need to do? Nothing.”
It took me a long time to realise this. If you cannot be happy with what you have here and now you will never be happy. If there is always a condition for your happiness, then it will continue to be unattainable. So be happy with what you have now whilst still working towards your goals.
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