lady startup

Jen was facing a working mum's day from hell when she decided to leave her corporate job.

“I felt stressed out of my mind, deflated, guilty, perpetually tired and strung out trying to commute and manage it all,” remembers Jen Hutchings, describing the day that finally inspired her to leave her full time corporate job in lieu of something else.

And it’s a sentiment most working mums will be able to relate to.

Instead, Jen wanted to use her 15 plus years working as a brand and creative services specialist with some of Australia’s best known not-for-profits in a role that would give her the flexibility to be more available to her young children and husband.

Now, with her boutique agency, Intrepid Creative, she’s doing just that and helping other Lady Startups breakthrough with their branding, marketing and PR needs.

Here, Jen shares with Mamamia her business story so far, including the stressed-out and smoothie-drenched day from hell that finally put her off corporate life.

Tell us about Intrepid Creative…What is it?

Intrepid Creative is a boutique agency offering strategic brand, marketing and PR advice, specialist training and streamlined creative services to small business.

Our services include:

· Graphic design services.
· Content creation and production across all platforms including copy writing.
· Tailored, specialist training in branding, marketing and public relations.
· Brand and marketing strategy development and planning.
· Creative project management support and direction.

What were you doing before you went into business for yourself?

I’ve spent the last 15 years in the not-for-profit sector working for large businesses as a brand and creative services specialist. I managed creative teams and large brand portfolios for some of Australia’s best known not-for-profits.

 

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What made you want to start your own business?

I actually remember the day when I decided to create my own business. I got up before 5am to start my stressful corporate job in the city. I wanted to leave early so I could get to school in time to watch my daughters play basketball. You see, because of my job I was the absent mother. I was never at drop-off and pick-up and nobody knew me at school. Literally. I really wanted to change this and be more present, so I snuck out of the house in the dark and got on the train with my premixed smoothie. After all, it wouldn’t be a regular day if I didn’t feel down about the weight I had put on too, right? I got on the train and as I sat down I accidentally tipped the smoothie all over me and the seat. Berry, yoghurt mess everywhere! Drip, drip, dripping. OMFG I thought to myself! The mess was spreading rapidly, it was everywhere. “What should I do?” I yelled in a quiet, kind of crazy, whisper. Well, I did what any self-respecting woman would…I grabbed two pads out of my handbag and stuck them to my hands and started dabbing. I was dabbing my dress, the seat and the train floor. I pushed the absorbency of those pads to the brink! I got two more and two more and on it went resulting in a stellar clean up. I mean, this train had never been cleaner!

I got to work and took my dress off, rinsed it and thrust it under the hand dryer. My jam-packed diary didn’t allow any time to dash to the shops to get a new one. I smashed out another epic day. Meeting to meeting, I organised a cake for someone’s birthday, consoled a stressed-out colleague over lunch, ignored another passive aggressive comment from my boss and madly finished some work. I ran to the train, raced to school and got there as basketball finished. The kicker? My two daughters were playing basketball in their bloody black, heavy school shoes because I, mother of the year, forgot their sports shoes. I sat there at the basketball court, head in my hands and thought, this cannot be it. This is not living.

I felt stressed out of my mind, deflated, guilty, perpetually tired and strung out trying to commute and manage it all. So, I manifested some serious courage and quit my ‘big job in the city’ because I literally could not work another uninspired day in a desolate cubical. I needed to create an opportunity that gave me the flexibility to be more available to my children and husband. Something inspiring I could be happy about and proud of…so I built the opportunity for myself with the help of the Lady StartUp course and community.

How did you come up with the name?

Intrepid means daring, audacious, spunky, dynamic and brave. I was looking for something aspirational and creative to reflect what the business means to me and where I want to go. It is the perfect fit.

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What’s the single best piece of advice you got?

The best advice I got was to ‘just start’. I am someone who overthinks everything and has always planned my future and achieved my goals. Starting something new, feeling uncertain and with no guarantees was overwhelming for me but I was honestly desperate, I had to make a change in my life. I had to ‘just start’.

What’s the one bit of advice you would give yourself if you were starting again?

I would tell myself to be more adaptable and open to change. I have changed my business idea a few times. I started the Lady StartUp course with a business called, MyTwoChooks, an inspiring range of stationery and wall art for children, but realised I needed to invest more to get this idea set up and so I had to start another business to raise the capital. I found it hard to shift and change. I was reluctant and wasted precious time.

 

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At Mamamia we have an expression “flearning” – failing and learning. What have been your biggest flearnings since you have started your business?

I have been plagued by ‘imposter syndrome’ and self-doubt at every turn. I have learnt to push through and do it anyway because whether you succeed or fail you learn something and you move forward.

What do you do when you’re feeling like you’re in a hole emotionally (or financially)?

There certainly are ups and downs, that’s for sure. I listen to inspiring podcasts and interesting thought leaders to get me motivated and stay on track. The Lady StartUp podcast is a life saver and of course chocolate is another ‘go to’ in times of need.

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What’s the biggest misconception you had about starting your business?

The biggest misconception I had was that you need to ‘know it all’ to start. I have discovered that the truth, in fact, is that we are all just making it up! Nobody knows it all and there is support out there in the shape of mentors, software, suppliers and so much more to help you along the way.

Tell us about your proudest moment.

Delivering my first brand workshop gave me such a buzz! I delivered something I created from scratch. I wrote, designed and created this workshop and supporting collateral and shared it with a small business that gave wonderful feedback. This workshop then resulted in a series of jobs for this small business and has now flourished into a rewarding referral partnership. It really was thrilling to play a role in the growth of another business.

What can you recommend to women who might want to get their own hustle going?

For others thinking about starting their own side hustle I say to you, give it a go! I know you feel unsure and possibly scared of taking the plunge but please do it. Start something – it is so rewarding.

For more information on all the services Intrepid Creative offers you can find out more on her website or follow her Instagram @intrepidcreativeagency.

Been thinking about taking control of your life and becoming your own boss? Interested in becoming a Lady Startup yourself or know someone ready to chase their own bus? You’re invited to join Mia Freedman for this online course where she will personally take you through every step and give you every resource to go from idea to launch. Enrolments are open for a very limited time starting now. Find out all about the Lady Startup Activation Plan here.

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