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Nurturing MISS MAIA full-time

Nurturing MISS MAIA full-time

November 5th 2021 marks one year since I’ve been officially full-time in MISS MAIA! It feels like a big milestone taking a passion/side-hustle full-time in this current global pandemic. Our situation over a year ago was that after 8 years our family decided to move from Melbourne to NZ. I still look back on that time and don't quite know how we managed to pull off that move when Melbourne was in the grip of one of the longest and strictest lockdowns in the world.

Being New Zealanders living in Australia and during a pandemic was quite a vulnerable position to be in. We were highly aware that there was no safety net or any close family support available to us should one (or both) of us lose our job, or become ill. The risks and uncertainty were too high, and the pull to be back in NZ and closer to family and friends had grown stronger over the years. It was a global pandemic that gave us the urgency to finally set things in motion to move countries. 

Over the last year, I've had to pull on loads of mental resilience and determination while trying to keep an optimistic and inspired mindset for the growth and success of MISS MAIA. This has been the biggest test as so much anxiety and uncertainty has played out externally in our lives. As the honeymoon phase of moving home to NZ subsided we were confronted with a process of reverse cultural shock, as we navigated life in NZ as different people from the ones who left here in 2012. There's some major areas in NZ that are broken, like housing and the increasing cost of living (to name a few) which our family have been impacted by as we resettle here. 

There’s been many times in the last year as a mum, partner and provider, I’ve questioned whether I needed to go back to a 9-5pm job as MISS MAIA sales ebbed and flowed throughout the seasons. With whānau and peer encouragement, and lots of reality checks, I’ve managed to stay the course because the thought of moulding myself into a limited role or job description feels like a major step back. The thing that’s kept me going has been my belief that I have more value to add and contribute in my mahi with MISS MAIA and my service-based business Hīwai Creative.

Even when financial goals have waned I’ve continued to invest in business capability building, the expertise of others and marketing efforts. I’m a firm believer that it’s so important to understand your strengths and invest in the things that you’re not qualified in. In the early days of MISS MAIA I DIY’ed everything so that I could launch this online business. It’s just what you do when resources are limited but your passion and belief is so strong. But there always comes a point in business where in order to grow you'll need to invest, either in yourself, or the shorter route, which is investing in the expertise of others to help you get there.

In the last year, I’ve recognised the areas that I need help with and so I’ve connected with people qualified to provide advice and/or services. These connections have helped to elevate our brand and every investment so far has paid off. If that's one key takeaway and you've read this far, spend money on services and expertise if you want your brand and business to continue to grow and succeed. 

After one year running a business, I'm working towards understanding the numbers! This is a fundamental mental shift in moving from side-hustle to main-hustle - I do not have the financial buffer of a job to carry the business in a lull, so I need to build a self-sufficient sustainable business. By understanding the numbers I want to be able to set realistic goals in the business not fumble my way along - that's some side-hustle energy! Building community is also something I really want to nurture. This is where I need to dig deep and show up. Another challenge that I have is putting myself out there. Ugh, it's an old story and something I want to work hard on moving passed.

One year on it's definitely been a process and a journey understanding myself and acknowledging areas where I need support. The challenges that small business face during a pandemic is not for the faint hearted. I take my hat off to so many others, whether by choice or circumstances, who are taking their passions full-time during these pandemic times. Please find ways to support these businesses because we need to have more local businesses coming out the other side of this pandemic for our communities and country to thrive.

If you need some words of encouragement or want to connect over something you've read here, please reach out to me at: tracey.gardner@missmaia.co

Thanks for reading our first blog x

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