Parenting is challenging at the best of times. Throw in growing a business on top of that and you’ve got a pretty insane juggling act. Today, PakMag are exploring the wonderful world of Parentpreneurs – the brave balancing a family and business at the same time. We spoke to a few local Parentpreneurs about their journey and how they cope wearing both hats.
Alan & Connie Ren
Alan’s passion for the automotive industry led him to buying Cairns Cars, the home of Audi, Haval and many other family car brands in Cairns. With his wife Connie managing the parts & service center, and him running the dealership – they make a pretty great team.
“Cairns Cars provide sales, finance and aftersales services for new and used cars. We look after the needs of families and help them get moving,” Alan told PakMag. “My first job was working as an analyst for clients across various industries. I was fascinated by my work in particular with automotive clients. I was recruited by one of my clients early on in my career and never looked back. I have been a Parentpreneur for two years now, and I’m loving every minute of it.”
When asked about the ups and downs of being a Parentpreneur, Alan said “Being able to build a team that share my values on delivering exceptional customer service. My daughter Alanna is usually with me at work and various events. She is still young but as she grows up, I believe her inquisitive nature in the business environment will assist with her learning and development.”
However, it can be a lonely place at times. “Finding the time to discuss the challenges of running a business with like-minded people is difficult but critical,” Alan shared.
Alan’s advice for other Parentpreneurs is to “never feel that you are alone, every Parentpreneur encounters similar challenges. Find a like-minded friend, acquaintance, or others on the same path that may be able to guide you through your challenges.”
Dr Bobby Griffin
Local Orthodontist Dr Bobby has spent many years straightening teeth and making children and adults alike gain confidence about their smile. Besides his clear passion in this field, Bobby is a family man and enjoys spending time with his son Sachin.
“I have been a Parentpreneur for five years,” Dr Bobby told PakMag. “I was a family dentist for 10 years and I always had a passion for child dental development. I then went back to full-time university study to gain a Clinical Doctorate in the specialised field of Orthodontics. This led me to start my own business, Sunbird Orthodontics – a specialist practice focused on child dental development, and disorders of the teeth and jaws”.
When asked what the best thing is about being his own boss, he said “Having full autonomy over clinical decisions means I can go home at night knowing I have done my absolute best for every family that comes to see me.” Bobby also loves the freedom of being a Parentpreneur. “I can take the business into new and exciting areas, and I enjoy the ability to offer secure employment to our new and existing staff, in a happy and safe environment.”
As everything in life, being your own boss comes with some downsides. “An Orthodontist’s busiest time of year is school holidays; therefore, I don’t get to spend so much time with my son Sachin during school holidays. However, he thinks I’m famous because so many of his school friends come to see me for advice and treatment!”
Bobby’s advice for other Parentpreneurs is to “Weigh up the risks and benefits, but don’t be afraid to give it a crack!”
A passion for theatre and the arts led Leigh Boswell down a path of teaching, eventually leading her to start her very own theatre school for youth in Cairns.
“I lead The Young Company Theatre (TYC) which is for children and young people aged 5 to 25 years. It is our mission at TYC to provide the stepping stones for creative opportunities so that children and young people in our region rise to their true potential,” Leigh told PakMag. “I have been a Parentpreneur for eight years. It is a lot of juggling and no day is ever the same. But without the support of my extremely supportive husband Tim, my parents and my awesome team – none of it would be possible.”
Leigh shared the ups and downs of being a Parentpreneur. “The best thing is that I can be as creative as I want to be, that I can dream big and that I get to work and surround myself with the best people in the world. The worst thing I guess I would have to say is about setting boundaries for when it is clock off time, having to ask people for help, and time away from my kids when it is super busy.”
Leigh’s advice for other Parentpreneurs is to “keep an open mind to everything that comes your way and when you have negative encounters, think of ten positives to replace it. Find time for weekly exercise, always be open to new learning experiences, try reading leadership books and listen to podcasts and don’t be afraid to ask for a helping hand.”