Meet the powerhouse mama who created the Twincredible Feeding Pillow, is the mastermind behind Flat Out Mum Retreats and her website and blog Flat Out Mum all while successfully raising her brood of 4 boys. Meet Olivia Anderson, a Millennial Mama juggling life as a successful business woman, mother to her twins plus two and wife to Shane Crawford. You can see a trend in all her roles; putting others first and finding ways of making life a little easier. Olivia believes all mums should be celebrated and empowered and is always seeking information and products that may help with the chaos of motherhood. As a mum of twins and a toddler, my life changed when I started using the Twincredible Feeding Pillow and I know that feeling all too well of always putting everyone else before ourselves which is why Olivia created Flat Out Mum Retreats and has tailored a package to what mums really need. Needless to say I am a big fan of this mama.
You got the best of both worlds with singletons and twins. How was your experience different when the twins joined your tribe compared to having one newborn?
The experience was so completely different because when the twins were born we had an energetic three year old and a five year old about to start school. While we were much more prepared for parenthood and more confident in what we were doing, nothing can compare you for twins. The pregnancy is so different, the birth and then they are often born small. Just getting two babies home from hospital is an achievement. Then the fun begins. Juggling everything is a logistical challenge and very testing physically and emotionally. There is much less of the sitting around gazing at a newborn and trying to “sleep when they sleep”. That was impossible. Looking back now, having two doting parents caring for one newborn was simple compared to what lay ahead for us haha!
In 2016 as part of your Flat Out Mum business, you launched Flat Out Mum Retreats. Can you please tell me about the motivation behind this and what you are hoping to achieve with the Retreats in the future?
Flat Out Mum is all about informing, empowering and celebrating Mums. I never wanted to give parenting advice or create social media accounts that are constantly selling things. I only endorse products that our family really uses and that I really believe in. I don’t have the answers to every Mum question, but I do know what Mums need. Occasionally they need to put themselves first and rejuvenate. Most of the time, the Mum is absolutely the hub of the wheel in her family and a happy, healthy Mum is such a positive force. A little time away does wonders for everyone and sometimes Mums just need a little prompt to make that happen.
This year we went to Bali and it was an amazing experience. The Mums all got something different out of it. So did the partners and children they left behind for 5 nights 🙂
In future I’d love to do more Retreats and events that allow Mums to just be an individual. To reconnect with themselves and their own prioritises and plans for the future.
For the fellow Milliennial Mamas, what are 3 key factors to keep in mind when starting your own business?
- Is your product meeting a currently unmet need in the market?
- How is your product different to competitors / what products are currently on the market? Is that point of difference something that is desired by the target audience? (With online shopping so mainstream these days, you have to also look at international competitors)
- Does your product have a great $ margin or is the market (size) opportunity so big that you can sell large quantities (you need to make money).
Since it is now so easy to start a business with a small budget due to cheap websites and free social media, I see many products being launched into cluttered markets that are not truly unique. It is very hard to stand out in a cluttered marketplace without a good sized marketing budget to create awareness.
Just because it is easier to launch a product, it doesn’t mean you should. It still has to answer the good old fashioned rules of being unique and having a point of difference that is desired by your target audience. You really need to take the time upfront and research to make sure that the hours of your own time you put into it, the financial investment and the opportunity cost of spending all of that energy on launching a product will be worth it in the long term.
As a former executive in advertising and marketing, how has that experience helped you with the launch and growth of your business ventures?
Looking back, working in a dynamic industry like Advertising, I realise just how much it helped me prepare for not only launching my own businesses but also for the demands of being a Mum! I learnt to multi task, to prioritise, to “not sweat the small stuff” and to stay calm in a crisis.
I worked with so many brands, big and small to launch new products and to relaunch tired, old brands so I was very familiar with the strategic process of finding a meaningful gap in the market. This has given me the confidence to do it for myself, and also the speed. I don’t have time to doubt my decisions, I just need to move forward with confidence and trust my judgement.
Lastly in my professional and personal life I have been lucky to meet some really successful and well known people who either run big businesses or have created their own products. Some have been really inspiring, but most have been every day people who have just had an idea and worked hard to make it happen. Most are “whinging it” a lot of the time too. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes and I realised that you just have to go for it. And keep going when it gets hard.
As an entrepreneur and a hardworking mother, what qualities do you think are important in juggling the two roles?
I am good at managing my time and prioritising what is most important on every different day. Not just work priorities, but also including my family and friends and if I need to completely stop everything on the work front to devote some energy elsewhere, that is fine with me. I know what makes me happy and what motivates me, and I work those things into my week. So I guess I know myself really well.
I am also willing to try new things and put myself out there a little bit. I truly believed there was a need for my Twincredible pillow on the market & was sure it would be successful, but it also wasn’t going to kill me if it wasn’t. The same went with my Flat Out Mum Retreats. I knew if was a great idea and something that all Mums really need, but there was also a chance that no one would attend and I was fine with that risk.
I am not going to die wondering or regretting. I am the opposite of “all talk, no action” I can’t stand that. Most of the time I launch new things and most people I know don’t event know about my new plans and ideas until I do it. I just get on with things.
What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt as a parent from your children?
Shane & I both learnt this with our first child and I couldn’t really articulate it well until I heard Steve Biddulph (the acclaimed author) explain it. He says “You don’t make your child, you meet your child”.
He talks about the expectations built into us from a young age about being a Mother, the type of child we will have and how we will raise them. Then very often, it is not as you expected and that can be stressful and confusing. I have learnt to try to understand each of our four boys differences and how they approach life and adapt my parenting style around that. They are all very different in their approach to trying new things, needing routine and reacting to situations and I try my best to account for each of their little quirks. It is hard in a large family but you can’t expect your children to be like you or to be like their siblings.
IG: @flatoutmum @twincredibleproducts
Flatout Mum: https://www.flatoutmum.com.au/
Flat Out Mum Retreats: http://www.flatoutmumretreats.com.au/