MELISSA HUGHES OF AUSTRALIAN NATURAL NANNY NETWORK
What led you to set up your nanny business?
Over the many years I’ve worked as a nanny, I’ve developed and honed my personal philosophy to nannying which is holistic in nature. I quickly became aware that there were many families seeking a nanny that had a similar approach to me – what’s often called gentle, natural or holistic parenting. I decided it was time to find these amazing nannies and connect them to like-minded families. Australian Natural Nanny Network seemed the perfect venture for me as I had also become skilled in how to best navigate the nanny/family dynamic and could share this with others.
What drew you to self-employment?
A desire to challenge myself to go beyond what seems 'safe' and 'comfortable', the opportunity to create something from scratch that I’m passionate about and to take an active role in creating the type of world I want to live in.
Who are your mentors?
Children. Whenever I am in their presence, I learn so much. When I was a teacher in the classroom, I honestly could not understand why I was the 'teacher' and they were 'students' since I was learning so much from them! Among many things, they’ve taught me how to be present, honest, have fun, not to hold back from self-expression, and much more.
What strengths and skills have served you well?
Compassion and my intuitive nature have allowed me to connect deeply with people who cross my path. Committment to my journey unfolding, even when I don't know what is coming next, has got me to this point - ANNN wouldn't exist without it. Being organised allows me to make things happen and stay on top of what needs to get done.
What challenges have you faced in running your own business?
Time management in this early phase has been challenging as I’ve been growing ANNN while continuing my regular nanny work. It’s a fine balance and I’m discovering that self-care is more essential now than ever before.
You’ve decided to put most of your resources into setting up an online business. Why?
I feel that an online business affords me the flexibility and freedom to live my life on my own terms as opposed to being tied to one place. I can visit family interstate and stay for an extended time in other places while taking my business with me. It allows me to spend more time with my family, in particular my niece and nephew. They're still young and I want to have the time and energy to really enjoy them.
What do you think will draw clients to your Network?
There is nothing else like it in Australia or anywhere else for that matter. At the moment, ANNN is the only space where families and nanny professionals can find one another to work together to empower children and access a like-minded community for support and networking. We can also love, support and nurture one another because we’re all learning and growing. It's not easy making life choices that are outside the mainstream and therefore it’s essential we surround ourselves with people who get it.
Finally, ANNN places nannies and families seeking nannies as equals. It is expected that both respect one another in their roles. It’s vital that nannies respect the space, the home and the choices of the family they are working with and that families respect the nanny as a professional in their field, with ideas to lovingly share and offer.
What does your logo say about your business, about you?
Growth, imagination, fun, nurturance, expansion, community, simplicity. That ANNN is committed to growth. It's a space for growing community, nurturing relationships and empowering children. My logo is a reminder of the simplicity of life. Solutions are often simpler than we think. My approach to life and business is to keep it simple, to listen to my intuition and make choices from that space. I feel my logo reflects that symbolically.
What advice would you offer someone with their own business?
Be patient, don’t rush anything and trust that it will happen. Allow some time for self-care and nurture, no matter how busy or demanding your business may be at times.
What would be the perfect day for you?
I’d sleep in with my man, Alex, and our two cats, followed by a walk on the beach or a swim on warmer days then brunch of fresh smoothies. I’d play in the backyard with my niece and nephew or take them to the beach or park. I’d do Yin Yoga in the evening and finish off reconnecting with my family – Alex and the two cats – for a cuddle on the couch.