The plan for sleep after acquiring a media business with a newborn at home Featured
Asked by a journalist yesterday what she's learnt in 2016, Senator Penny Wong said it was the value of sleep.
She then went on to wish for more sleep for all parents of young children.
Sleep is a New Year's resolution for me. I didn't get a huge amount of it this year and so when it comes to big 1 January plans I no longer care about quitting sugar, running every day or 'meditating'. Sleep is the priority and key to the success of everything else.
In January my family of three became four when we welcomed a new baby into our lives.
A few weeks later the opportunity to acquire Women's Agenda came up. The baby was sleeping well (it didn't last), his brother was in daycare and my husband had a little flexibility available given he runs our family business. I'd been with this publication since the beginning. I wanted to be the person to see it continue and so decided to take the leap and figure out the details of what I was jumping into later on.
It helped that I'm lucky to have interviewed hundreds of women about their careers and businesses, and have taken on numerous lessons in the process. I've seen that good things come especially to those who take huge risks, no matter how bad the timing, or what other priorities they have going on. Such risks don't always work out or end well, but taking the leap is better than wondering what if.**
From March 1 I started edited and publishing the site by working the hours that I had available in between taking care of a newborn and getting some sleep, before officially finalising the acquisition on 1 July. The new financial year brought along new opportunities to build the team, and bring in new revenue for building the business and investing back into the platform.
My immediate goal on acquiring the business was to simply keep it running while I moved to find the time, the team and the resources to take it to the next level. The first few months were exhausting, but were made possible with one very supportive partner and father by my side, and after calling in plenty of favours from my network and accepting more hours of help from family than I'd ever be able to repay.
We ran our 4th Annual Women's Agenda Leadership Awards in October and celebrated the work and achievements of our 25 finalists in front of a 350 strong crowd in Sydney, after receiving hundreds of applications during the nominations process.
A little later we brought on Georgie Dent as a contributing editor (who's had her own very big year), Tarla Lambert as our commercial director and a number of regular contributors to the site including our wonderful founding publisher Marina Go and the talented journo and Financy founder Bianca Hartge-Hazelman. We've continued to work with a wide range of authors and organisations every day to share the stories and people relevant to our audience of career-minded women.
And in November, we connected with an incredible local-based design and development team to relaunch the publication. That's a work in progress that we'll bring to you in February 2017. It will provide a significantly improved experience for our readers, especially as we step up our efforts in video and podcasting. From there we'll be doing some marketing (really for the first time) to further grow our audience and reach a wider range of 'professional women and female entrepreneurs' across the country -- and later still, the world. We'll also be releasing the results of Australia's biggest ever survey on women's ambition just before International Women's Day.
Our partners enable us to keep publishing a platform that gives a voice to women on the issues that affect how we work and live, and we're so grateful for their support. Increasingly we're working with partners in different ways, not just in producing content that sits on our platform but looking at identifying how our experienced editors and journalists can help organisations with all their communications and content marketing efforts in reaching a smart and savvy female audience. Having published more than 1000 newsletters and almost 8000 stories, we know what works.
It's an honour and a privilege to run this business, and some of the events that have transpired in 2016 make our team more determined than ever to continue growing a strong media brand for women. The fact remains that women are too often missing as experts and opinion-makers across politics, business and technology -- indeed WLIA's recent study of 6000 articles across our major newspapers found just one in five sources sources were female and just 5% of external opinion pieces were written by women.
We're proud to help provide a platform to not only share news and views affecting women, but to also help accelerate careers and promote a wider range of sources who can get in front of our audience, and then potentially get the attention of the broader business press.
Increasingly, we're also aiming to provide a more diverse range of female voices. While we can't be all things to all women, our key task is to share news that's relevant to professional women and female entrepreneurs and we need to work harder to ensure who and what we cover is as inclusive as possible.
Personally, I'm seeing the newborn baby fog lift a little, a number of welcome routines enter our lives and a few more hours available for sleep in the morning as the littlest approaches his first birthday. In November, I held my breath -- as many new parents do --- waiting to hear if our youngest would get a childcare position in 2017. He did and I'm now ready to end the 'maternity leave' I never really had and continue building a business that will give all its employees the flexibility that it's this year given me.
Happy 2017 everyone. We're taking a break from everyday publishing until the 16th January, but we'll keep you updated with anything we think you must know about on social media, while also sharing some of our favourite pieces (particularly the inspiring profile stories we've told). Follow us on Facebook to keep up.
And get some sleep!
** (At the back of my mind there was also the thought that while raising a young family I was entering a time when I wanted to work my own way and according to my personal priorities. Like so many young mothers I saw entrepreneurship as the best way forward. I would work hard and I would work every day (there are no weekends off running a business) but I would work when and from where I needed to. This year I've spent a little time in the office, but have also worked from beaches, from cafes, from hotels, from airports, from a golf course (I didn't play), from parks, from friend's houses, from my bedroom, from warehouses and from possibly every cafe and WIFI enabled building in Sydney's CBD. While I'll be spending more time in the office from January, especially as we build our team, I'm looking forward to further testing the limits of the 'flexible' working life and documenting how it goes. Particularly as we look to travel and meet more of our readers in the future, to try and get a better understanding of the issues affecting career-minded women outside of our metropolitan areas.)
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