Saffron Meade
Creative Director and Brand Strategist

Tell us about yourself

I'm 42, a creative person all my life, a great friend to have as I'll embrace the day! A mum of two and the wife of a Star Wars addict. Movies, coffee and wine is life.

Tell us about your small business?

When you come into my design studio, you are made to feel so welcome. I provide brand strategy, digital and print marketing, but what makes my business stand out is how I help my clients thrive.

Are there any areas you’re particularly seeking progress in for your business right now?

  • Working on my own website and social media … as business owners we are constantly focused on the task at hand. But I'm really trying to work on my big picture goals at the moment.
  • Project management and procedures made easier … we have just started to use Trello - so far so good.
  • Being a great student for my business coach! High achiever right here!

How could you or your business help others?

  • I have helped so many businesses start up and launch feeling confident. I really work out what you need and then target your ideal clients. So all you need to do is focus on what you are good at.
  • The design work we provide is from scratch, meaning you can trademark and grow your business confidently.
  • We are constantly educating ourselves on social media changes, print trends and website updates so that we can provide you with the most up-to-date information so you don’t need to worry about it.

What has been one of your best business decisions to date?

Moving from the home office to a studio space in Camden. Working from home was great with the kids when they were babies but it got hectic. I couldn’t switch off from business owner to mum and vice versa. More client meetings and my sister working with me meant it was time to get a space. Even now when I try to work from home, I just can’t focus 100%.

What are your three favorite business tools and why?

  • Trello for task flow management. Only two weeks into it but so far, so good. If you like To Do lists, this is the app for you. Similar to Asana, but Trello has a board that you move a task from left to right as you go through the week so you don’t forget about it. I might start the job, then I move it to tomorrow for my senior designer to complete, then she moves it to the next day for our bookkeeper to finalise the invoice.
  • Plann for Instagram. I don’t have time to write posts on the go.
  • Xero for accounting. They have now added in projects with a timer for those that need it.

Could you share a time when you succeeded and what you learned?

Recently having a meeting with the most amount of people I’ve ever had a meeting with before (there was six of them, plus myself and my senior designer) and I was under the impression they were going to dominate the meeting as I was in their premises. It was a wish list meeting for their new website. What I learnt was that I can get out of my comfort zone and take control which in turn makes people feel comfortable. There was an awkward silence for a bit in the beginning but I’ve learnt not to speak just to fill gaps now (married to an introvert). I calmly waited and then took the initiative to ask everyone what they wanted, what their thoughts were, how we could make it better? And this made them relax enough to feel confident to say what they wanted.

Could you share a time when you failed and what you learned?

There are many but a big one was the $20K bill I received two years ago for BAS payments that hadn’t been lodged. My bookkeeper thought my accountant was doing it and my accountant thought my bookkeeper was doing it. I was just about to go into a Catholic school reconciliation meeting for my son and my accountant rang and told me I owe $20K in BAS that I wasn’t prepared for. I just wanted to cry … I got upset … then had to take some deep breaths and focus on the Religion class we were in. What did I learn? That as a business owner, nobody cares about your business as much as you do. You need to be overseeing it all, even if you have delegated it. I still trust people, but I now have a monthly meeting with all parties involved that evaluate all parts of the business including the most important part; the finances.

What would you like to see more of when it comes to helping women in small businesses succeed?

More financial backing. I would like banks to really get behind small business loans and investment options to help businesses get off the ground. Flexible in-home childcare options. More local networking groups that cater to mums just like Mums & Co to chat about your business and ask for advice whilst having the children looked after (and them learning important social skills).

What’s your approach to dealing with the pressures of running your business?

I do a few things. I go to the gym straight after work. I schedule it in before I pick up kids so I don’t go home and then go, nah, I couldn’t be bothered now. This helps me close the business day off and become mum. I have a glass of wine while cooking dinner to chill and stop and enjoy (this only works as I love to cook). I have the mindset of, 'It will all work out, it always does'. This helps me remember that the universe has my back. It’s just a job at the end of the day. While its happening, it’s so important but when I get home to my family, that’s the stuff that’s the real investment.

Any productivity hacks you swear by?

As mentioned before, Trello and Xero. You pay for what you get so I pay my freelancers and staff well as I want the best. I have seen design studios outsource overseas and the work is not at a high standard.

Has there been a significant mentor in your career/life?

Oh yes… Boris (a friend) changed how I run my business 100%. I met Boris many years ago when he was employed to take over my job after I resigned. Boris was a shy grad student ready to learn. I have followed him on socials for years and last year I just messaged him about freelancing for me as I was overwhelmed with design work. He then sent me all these links to business coaches and business gurus and then asked to catch up for lunch. That was it. We caught up and had a connection straight away. He changed how I run my business and I have so much gratitude for him. We try and catch up every few months.

People you admire / quotes or mantras that you live by?

Frida Kahlo – her tenacity and creativity

My mum – her compassion and strong will

Lisa Messenger – her motivation and courage

“Seize the day”

“Just wing it…”

If I’m feeling like I need some more work to come my way, I will clean up my desk and declutter the studio, look out the window and breathe. The next day I have a few emails of new work requests - works every time.

What’s the last read book / visited bookmark / podcast that you’d recommend to a friend?

I’m part of the Social Method Society with Tracy Harris – Mums with Hustle … highly recommend. She runs a well-oiled machine. I feel like I’m studying without feeling like I’m studying. It’s all about social media marketing and mindset.

Finish this sentence: “Business mums …

... know how to get shit done. They don’t procrastinate. They see an opportunity and go with it.

Connect with Saffron

Via her website, Instagram, Facebook, Google and Pinterest.

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