Elise Easdown is the owner and director of What’s On 4 Australia. She lives in Brisbane with her two little ones and her very understanding husband. Elise won the 2012 Emerging Ausmumpreneur Awards as well as the 2012 Practical Parenting Mumpreneur Awards.
These are such great achievements so we wanted to hear the story behind Elise and her business What's On 4 Australia.
"I always had an entrepreneurial brain. As a child I seemed to see business opportunities all around me but never had the confidence to pursue any of them. But some where in the back of my mind I always felt that it would be when I had children my new direction in life would be clear. Sure enough while on maternity leave with my first child Julius I fell in love with going to children’s activities. Having previously worked as a paediatric occupational therapist and baby massage instructor it wasn’t a foreign world but it was one I was involved in as a participant. I loved going to playgroup and music classes, visiting new parks and playcentres. Socially it opened up a whole new world of mothers for me to connect and share newborn experiences with.
I also really enjoyed being at home with my son and wanted a job that I loved but also a new life with my family that worked for us. Yes I wanted it all! I decided when pregnant with my second child that a job from home that was flexible would be the answer. Continuing from my interest in children’s activities I thought of creating an online place where parents from all over Australia could search for local events, things to do, activities, clubs and help with planning birthday parties. I wanted it to be quick and easy to search with accurate information and no need to register.
Through research I came across What’s’ On 4 in the UK and approached the owner Sam Willoughby if she would coach me in doing something similar in Australia. As fate would have it she was just about to release her international franchises and I happily agreed that this would be my best way forward with a proven method and ongoing support.
Little did I know that babies don’t always do what the books say. I often heard from other mums that they got their work done while their babies had daytime naps. In my case I was flat out boiling the kettle for a cup of tea let alone having any time to think about work! My children aren’t big sleepers. I also didn’t realize how often children get sick! So I became a night owl and often worked late into the early hours of the morning. It has certainly being a juggle and has its challenges but the benefits of a have a flexible career from home have outweighed these.
My aim of creating What’s On 4 Australia was to encourage families to involve their children in activities. I feel it is so important that children experience the beauty of music, the skill of sport and the friendship of playgroups. What I hadn’t thought so much about was how much I would be supporting small businesses. I’ve loved getting to know many businesses in regional areas and the capital cities of Australia and being able to showcase to the public what they have to offer children.
I have a small team of mums who also work from home that I outsource some work to and have found the use of social media, especially Facebook has been very important in building awareness of the business. We have a national Facebook page www.facebook.com/whatson4littleonesAustralia and then separate state/territory pages with over 35,000 followers. Building this community has been very important for our brand development. We’ve also reached10,000 listings this month and are currently running our second national What’s On 4 Junior Awards where we recognize excellence in children’s activities and party services. We are proud to be the only ones in Australia offering awards such as these. It has also been a very rewarding past 12 months with acknowledgment from Practical Parenting magazine and the Ausmumprebeur network awarding me Entrepreneurial awards. The greatest reward however comes from seeing my children grow and develop, as they were my inspiration in the first place."
The SavvySME team would like to extend a big thank you to all the mums that spoke to us this week. It's been such a great week being able to peek into the lives of mums doing business around Australia.