This International Women's Day we're celebrating the women who inspire us every day. While navigating pregnancy, babies and children - these women have also set about growing empires of their own from scratch.
How do they do it? We interviewed them to hear their stories (and get some insider tips!)
Chloe and her husband started their online baby keepsake business, CMC Gold, whilst pregnant with their first child. Now pregnant with her second baby, we asked Chloe how she makes it work.
You were a year and half into running your business when your daughter was born. What were your challenges during that time and how did you overcome them?
There was never going to be a great time to have a baby. We were in the growing phase of our business but bit the bullet & decided to start our family.
We were still working from home so I would get up in my PJs at 7am and start work...working for yourself is good in the fact that I could have a 20 minute power nap when she slept if I needed too.
Another challenge I faced was learning how to juggle breastfeeding and work. She wouldn't take a bottle so she was my little shadow. There was never any time to relax as I had her attached to me every day.
'I would feed her while packing orders at the same time.'
My last challenge was worrying about financial stability but (my husband) is an entrepreneur and is always one to take risks, so we just put our all into the business and worked our butts off to get it off the ground.
You're now pregnant with your second baby. How is it different this time around?
Oh my gosh! It is so different the second time around and nobody tells you this! Everything is just ten times harder. I had morning sickness for longer this time while working 80+ hours a week. If I felt sick or tired, I couldn't relax because I had a toddler to look after plus orders to make and pack.
On the positive side, having one baby prepared me for what's to come with the second. Now we have staff so the pressure isn't as intense.
What would you say to other new and expecting mums with a business dream?
Just start. A lot of people (not just Mums) procrastinate and come up with excuses why it's not a good idea. With hard work and patience, it will fall into place.
A good place to start is writing a business plan. Running a business with a baby is hard work so make sure you give yourself a break and have a good support network behind you.
Finally, running a business may look glamorous on Instagram but it's long hours and you have to sacrifice spare time for work and miss out on seeing friends and family. However if it's want you want to do, the sacrifices are worth it!
Check out Chloe's business at www.cmcgold.com.au
Emma is the brains and energy behind the Instagram account @Play_at_home_mummy - a lifesaver for parents seeking ways to educate their children at home.
Your activities are wonderful for parents looking to play with their children in a meaningful way. Which activities do you like doing the most?
Sensory activities are so much fun (even if they're the messiest!), and I love seeing what the girls do with them because they're always surprising me with their ideas!
I love DIY because it's a creative outlet for me - developing an idea that meets the needs of my kids and then figuring out a way to bring it to life, and then finally seeing them engage with it - it's so satisfying to engage in that whole process of meeting their needs with an original activity/toy.
You're at home with your three girls; do you plan your days or are you more free-wheeling?
A bit of both - we have a pretty set routine to our days, but within that routine we are very flexible with the sorts of activities we will do. Our days are planned around sleeps and mealtimes, and we go for a walk every morning, but all the in-between times are for play. I loosely plan activities for the week, based on what I've noticed the girls are interested in, but I roll with the flow of each day so I'm not rigid about following what I've 'planned'.
What is you favourite 'just for me' thing to do?
I love having date-nights in with my husband (we do it every weekend), Netflix and chocolate (I'm Emma and I'm a choc-a-holic), and walking on the beach. I'm very much into slow living and family time, so things like family bike rides, beach trips and lazy weekend barbecues are all right up my alley.
What's something you'd like every mum to know?
'You're doing a great job. There is no better mother for YOUR children than YOU!'
I get messages constantly from Mum's worrying that they're not giving their children XYZ opportunities and that they feel they need to be doing more, buying more, setting up more things. And i just want to say to them all that they are enough - even on our worst day, we are enough for our children if we are loving them and doing our best. A child who is loved is a child who feels safe, and a child who feels safe is a child who has the confidence to explore, to play, to learn and to live freely. If at the end of each day, we have loved them well, our job is done.
Find Emma on Instagram at @play_at_home_mummy
Stevie started her social media marketing business, Stevie Says Social, two years ago and was joined by her first child, little Jimmy late last year.
What has surprised you the most about becoming a Mum?
Mum guilt! The most challenging thing as someone who loves what they do for work is the constant pull between work and hanging out with my little one. I went back to work at six weeks (my partner is a stay at home Dad) so it has been an interesting challenge to navigate my time because I feel like I can't win either way! When I am working, I want to be with Jimmy. When I am with Jimmy, I feel the guilt of not working.
"A friend recently told me that guilt is a useless emotion and I have tried to take that on board and simply do my best.'
Has your approach to your business changed since Jimmy was born?
I have needed outsource and prioritize! Pre-baby, I was able to spend nights and weekends grinding out all of the work that needed to be done in the business myself, and that simply isn't possible anyone - which in many ways is a good thing!
I now have an assistant working with me, and am looking to bring on another. It's been really hard to pass things over to another person, but when I started to see that things were being done without me being the bottleneck - and often, being done BETTER than I could have done it - my attitude changed!
What has been the most important thing you have done/are doing to look after yourself?
Realising the season that I am in, and allowing myself to slow my usual very fast pace. Jimmy is only little once, and I have already seen how fast he has grown - he will be one in the blink of an eye. Realising the importance of stopping and simply hanging out with him - without feeling like it's unproductive - is the biggest thing for me. I also think it's important to feel like you look good; new mums - treat yourself to nice skin products and clothes! You deserve it!
Is there any advice you'd like to share to other new or expecting mums running a business?
YES! I could write a book on this. Nothing can prepare you for the first 3 months - it's wild. Go EASY on yourself, love your baby and the beautiful stage they are in but realise there are times you'll want to cry too (newborns are hard; at least mine was!). Accept all of the help you can get. It's amazing, but it's HARD. Work can wait (oh, and set yourself up in advance to make sure it can!)
Find Stevie at www.steviesayssocial.com