Produced by - Lucy Kippist
Edited by - Morgan Sebastian-Brown
Interviewers - Carrie Kwan and Lucy Kippist
Guests - Nandeeta Maharaj and Katrina McCarter
Discover Mums & Co today. Mums & Co is the network helping women in business grow. At every stage of business.
We advocate for your ambition with a digital membership supporting you to build deep networks, access strategic guidance and resources. We’re the community for business-owning mums who want to launch, grow and scale their #mumbition. The place to harmonise your ambitions, livelihood and wellbeing.
#mumbition = the unapologetic blending of motherhood and ambition.
Carrie Kwan (00:00):
No doubt about it, women are making waves across the world when it comes to business. The Dell Technologies 2023 WE Cities Index highlights the fact that women are starting nearly half of all new companies globally.
In today's episode of Mumbition, we speak with two business-owning women about what forms their business values and the foundation for their individual legacies and how they stay motivated and the role that community and technology have played in the growth of their businesses.
Nandeeta Maharaj is the Founder of Goods for Good, an online marketplace for ethical and sustainable goods, and a member of DWEN, the Dell Women's Entrepreneur Network. And Katrina McCarter is a global marketing expert, international award-winning speaker, author and coach, and also a valued member of our Mums & Co expert team.
Katrina, Nandeeta, welcome.
Katrina McCarter (00:55):
Thank you very much. It's great to be here.
Nandeeta Maharaj (00:57):
Thank you for having me.
Carrie Kwan (00:58):
Our pleasure. Now, you know that at Mums & Co, we love educating women on how to pitch with confidence. We love hearing stories as well about amazing women-led ventures. So inviting you both to share a little bit about your business and giving a bit of an elevator pitch. So perhaps, Nandeeta, could we start with you?
Nandeeta Maharaj (01:18):
Of course. So Goods for Good is about connecting socially conscious consumers with social enterprises so they can both do better for the planet and its people.
Carrie Kwan (01:31):
And I noticed something that you're wearing today.
Nandeeta Maharaj (01:33):
Carrie Kwan (01:34):
Could you tell us a little bit about that?
Nandeeta Maharaj (01:35):
Of course. So a lot of the founders and companies on the Goods for Good platform are literally making the world a better place, and each one does it in a different way. They look at different social, economic, environmental issues that they're trying to solve.
This one specifically, you're not supposed to have a favourite, but I have a favourite, and this is my favourite. And the story behind is really powerful. So this necklace is called the Committed Necklace, and it's by a company called This is Eden. They rescue women and girls from sex slavery. And so it's all about rescuing and restoring these women, and they get a chance to learn whatever vocation they want to learn to help them back into society.
This is one of their products where they take the inside of the heart of this necklace and they put it around a woman's neck who is caught in sex slavery. And they tell her, "There's another woman who's wearing the other half. She's advocating for you. When you make that phone call, we'll make sure someone answers that phone call and that you do get rescued." And they've rescued 1,800 women and girls so far. Those are real profound, powerful numbers.
Carrie Kwan (02:44):
That's incredible. I just felt a little bit-
Katrina McCarter (02:48):
Carrie Kwan (02:50):
Yeah. So if you have a gift in mind, your next gift purchase, definitely Goods for Good is... You're not just gifting. You're actually literally-
Nandeeta Maharaj (02:59):
Carrie Kwan (02:59):
... making an impact for other people that really need it.
Nandeeta Maharaj (03:02):
Exactly. Real people whose lives are being changed by your small purchase.
Carrie Kwan (03:07):
Nandeeta Maharaj (03:08):
Carrie Kwan (03:09):
Katrina McCarter (03:10):
Oh look. Hello. I'm Katrina McCarter. I'm actually a business coach, I'm a bestselling author, I'm an international speaker, and I'm also a marketing consultant. And I'm probably known as the business wing woman. And I really help my clients gain absolute clarity, outrageous confidence, and true commercial success.
Carrie Kwan (03:34):
Oh, I love it. And everyone needs a wing woman. So if you have Katrina in your corner-
Katrina McCarter (03:40):
That's the aim.
Carrie Kwan (03:41):
... that's incredible.
Lucy Kippist (03:42):
Thank you both for your beautiful pitches, and you can hear the passion for what you do in both of how you've expressed what you do.
Inviting you now to dive a little bit deeper into that idea of ambition, which is a very important value to us here at Mums & Co. Katrina, let's start with you. How would you define what ambition means to you?
Katrina McCarter (04:03):
To me, it's about setting goals that are important to me and absolutely going out and chasing them. So it's all about being bold, and it's about stepping outside of my comfort zone and really challenging my thoughts and ways of doing things in order to make my goals a reality.
Lucy Kippist (04:22):
Wow, sounds pretty impressive and very good. And Nandeeta, what about you?
Nandeeta Maharaj (04:27):
For me, what ambition means is that social enterprises become mainstream. So at the moment, I'm special. My business is special because I sell, single-mindedly sell only social enterprise products. I don't want to be special anymore. I want all businesses to be a social enterprise. I want people to switch to good. I want it to be business as usual for social enterprises.
Lucy Kippist (04:53):
I love that.
Often it's, the how a business woman structures her day or her week that is really inspiring to other women out there in the community that are really just wanting to take that leap into having their own business, but they're a bit, "I'm not really sure how it works."
So I'm going to invite you both to share a little bit or take us a little bit of insight into what a typical day looks like for you in the life of your business. So Nandeeta, would you start?
Nandeeta Maharaj (05:18):
Of course. So I'm a micro business here in New South Wales and I'm a sole founder. I started, I moved from corporate to this role, to starting my own business. And my role as a startup in the micro business space is basically research, education, and connections. At this startup stage, I can't tell you how important that is. Especially for me, connections is really important. You have to find your tribe. You have to connect with them, because they're the ones who will support you.
Connections for me specifically with social enterprises, their stories are profound. I'm a secondary storyteller. So it's really important for me that I tell these stories authentically. So those connections are really important for me.
Education, I'm on a ferocious learning curve in the startup stage. So education's really important. And attending masterclasses, tapping into whatever your local community has to offer, where you can learn more about running a business, starting a business, that's really, really important.
So education, connections, and research is really important, because one of the things about Goods for Good is I do the research so you don't have to as a customer. When you land on my platform, you know the research has been done and every company who's on there is making the impact that they're meant to be making.
Lucy Kippist (06:49):
Thank you for sharing that. And obviously, all of that research that you're doing is helping to make the stories that you're telling so compelling, which is contrib-... Yeah.
Nandeeta Maharaj (06:57):
It is because, as I said, I'm a secondary storyteller and I have the privilege of telling these stories. So it's really important for me that I understand these stories and really understand the people who are being impacted by these stories, because these are real people and real lives are being changed.
Carrie Kwan (07:15):
Thank you so much for sharing. Katrina, how would you answer that question or can you take us into a day in the life of your business now?
Katrina McCarter (07:21):
Yeah, absolutely. Look, I'm now in my third business. I've been in small business now for over a decade. So this has been real trial and error for me. I probably structure my weeks more than my days as such. So I have a theme for each day. I'm very much a theme person and I'm highly structured, because I wear so many hats.
So on a Monday, it's working on my business, all about... I might be doing business development. I might be honing a new keynote presentation. I could be doing anything that's working on growing my business. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, I have them as client delivery days. So I'm working on projects that I might be needing to deliver to clients or I'm doing a whole lot of coaching of small business owners. And Friday for me is actually play day, and that's something that I've instituted probably about 18 months ago. I've really done a lot of work in this play area and I believe that it's the secret winning formula for business success that lots of adults don't even know about, let alone use. So that's something that I try and do to keep my creativity, my problem solving and really fuels my ambition, actually.
Lucy Kippist (08:32):
Yeah, I can imagine that. And I've seen your wonderful post exploring this idea of play. So if I could be bold enough to ask, what would be one of the wonderful ways that you go about this play on a Friday for yourself?
Katrina McCarter (08:45):
Yeah. It's such a good question. Play is deeply personal. So I have challenged all my current thinking if I said that I didn't do something. So one of my things was I don't get in the water in the ocean unless it's 35 degrees or more. So I challenged that last year, and I was up in Noosa. It was 22 degrees. It was a Friday. And my girlfriends were going down and I said, "Oh, look. I'll come down, I'll put on my bathers, but I don't go in unless it's 35 degrees." And I heard myself and I thought, "Ooh, I have to challenge that thinking." I got in the ocean, and now, for me, I love ocean swimming and I've set a challenge to swim in every ocean around the world.
So that for me is play. But it's anything for me that's discovering something new. It's probably more a process and experience and experimentation to try things out. And that allows me to sit outside of my comfort zone a little bit more in business as well.
Lucy Kippist (09:40):
I absolutely love it. And a great challenge for us all.
Katrina McCarter (09:43):
I think so.
Lucy Kippist (09:43):
Be a bit more playful.
Carrie Kwan (09:45):
Play more for sure. And I think when you were talking, I was thinking about how that's what children do. Children are expert at playing. They will play in the morning. They'll play exactly when bedtime routine has kicked off. They will just play. But that unlocks so much creativity. So when you were talking-
Katrina McCarter (10:04):
Carrie Kwan (10:05):
Yeah. When you were talking about the... It's that more the process of the experience and what happens in that process.
Katrina McCarter (10:12):
There's no expected outcome. It's just you doing it for the fun of it.
Carrie Kwan (10:16):
Love it. Love it. Now Nandeeta, as a ferocious learner, and we love ferocious learners, I'm not surprised if you know about the DWEN Dream Tech Competition. Well, their first place is actually $40,000 in Dell Technologies gear. What type of difference would that make in your business?
Nandeeta Maharaj (10:35):
So I'm an online platform. I'm eCommerce. So the implications for me are huge to have access to technology like that. And especially someone who's bootstrapping in the whole startup space, that would change the game for me. It'll be the leapfrog that I would need to get to my next step.
I think with the way that the whole startup ecosystem is, specifically for me as a social entrepreneur, it is really challenging. So I am operating in a very loud and crowded eCommerce space. I am a social enterprise, and a lot of people actually Don't understand what a social enterprise is. And I don't blame them. You've got B Corp, you've got charities, you've got fair trade, you've got so many different business models. So the education around that, competing with such huge companies in the eCommerce space to have access to technology like that, being able to make my business slicker, for a better word, would be a huge benefit for me.
Carrie Kwan (11:49):
Yeah. And I think as a bootstrap, so that means literally the funding is anything that you're earning in the business, you're actually throwing back and investing back into the business.
Nandeeta Maharaj (12:00):
Carrie Kwan (12:01):
And technology moves at such a fast pace at the moment. And keeping across it, it's a real leg up if you can get access to that, whether it's the technology or the expertise around the technology, totally welcome it.
And I think particularly for our community, a lot of the women don't have big teams around them.
Nandeeta Maharaj (12:20):
Carrie Kwan (12:21):
That access to expertise is so helpful. It really does make the difference.
Nandeeta Maharaj (12:25):
Exactly. And that expertise specifically with the being an eCommerce company, cybersecurity is such a huge thing at the moment. And to have access to expertise where I know that my platform is safe, because that is my whole business, is so important.
Carrie Kwan (12:44):
There was actually a recent stat I heard, I like lots of different stats, and around 40% of all micro businesses owners in Australia actually conduct half of their business online. So you're a hundred percent.
Nandeeta Maharaj (12:59):
Yeah, a hundred percent online.
Carrie Kwan (13:00):
So it literally is... I think we're shifting to that way where how we do business is so different. So technology plays a crucial role, and especially with cybersecurity, which I think is something that maybe small businesses haven't thought about, but it affects us. When it does affect us, it's going to affect us in a big way.
Now, we wouldn't be sitting here today if not for community. Nandeeta, what do you see as some of the benefits of joining a community of like-minded people, like-minded women who are experiencing similar challenges to you?
Nandeeta Maharaj (13:35):
Being a sole founder can be very lonely. You're working by yourself. And having access to a community is actually one of the reasons I can keep going, because there's a lot of times the challenges can be so overwhelming that you can sit back sometimes and go, "Okay. This is too hard. I'm going to go back to my nine to five job."
But having a community around you, they would be going through similar things. So if you come across hurdles or challenges, you've got a sounding board. You've got people who are going through the same thing, who can help you, who have been in that situation and have the solutions for you, have the connections for you. And I keep going back to connections, because they play such a huge role in helping solve some of the issues you face as a startup founder.
Carrie Kwan (14:22):
I think that's so true, because there have been moments in my journey as well where it has been just so overwhelming, because you have to do so many different functions. And you want to give up because it's a real challenge. You have to have a bit of grit, a lot of grit. And I think one of the best pieces of advices that I've ever been given was to pause and not quit.
But I couldn't tell myself to do that. I needed the wing woman to come in and step in and say, "Right now, you've got...," acknowledge that I've got 463 things on my to-do list and go through and say, "Well, what would happen if you just paused for a day? No one's going to die. No one's going to do this." It's just actually giving you permission to do something. And you need someone who is there for your ambition and is able to give that advice...
Nandeeta Maharaj (15:18):
Carrie Kwan (15:19):
... in those moments where you're just feeling alone.
Lucy Kippist (15:23):
I remember Anna Ronaldo, who was one of our Be Mpowered speakers last year, referring to it as the permission slip that you either write yourself or you get someone else to write for you. And I love that idea.
Nandeeta Maharaj (15:34):
I love that idea.
Lucy Kippist (15:35):
Because even that physical writing it down, it's like, "Well, my note says that I can stop now."
Carrie Kwan (15:41):
And Katrina, what about you? What does being part of a community... And you're a champion of so many amazing women, business women. What does community... I think you had your own community in your first business as well.
Katrina McCarter (15:54):
I did. Yeah. Yeah. Look, I think it's absolutely everything. So to me, life, I'm also a micropreneur. Being a business owner is a big rollercoaster. It's not just those cheerleaders that you want around for those high points. It's also those really low points where you're really questioning, as you said, whether you keep going.
And I think it's really important to have those people that really know you and understand your business as well that can provide you with some rational advice, and they can also refer business as well. And I think that we often forget about that, where women in business can really look after each other. We're natural networkers and collaborators. And so that's a huge asset for every woman in business. And I would say look to collaborators often as you can. And with that community, yeah, you can refer business to each other.
Carrie Kwan (16:56):
I love that. And you've actually segued beautifully into my next question, which is all about business connections.
Katrina McCarter (17:02):
Carrie Kwan (17:02):
We are really passionate about creating deep networks for our community members, and so much that we have a digital membership that actually has features that encourage those connections. We have a conference Be Mpowered, and we actually introduce to people before they actually get to the conference. So they already know someone. They're already connected to someone before they even get to that big conference.
How have you helped build partnerships through connection? Because I know that you do a lot of work in creating the opportunities for those partnerships. Do you have a favourite way or approach of building those sorts of connections?
Katrina McCarter (17:44):
I do. I do. And I'd love to share it, but I'd probably just love to give a little bit of context about how powerful I've found partnerships and connections. I stumbled across them in 2011 because I didn't have a marketing budget. And it was my very first business. Again, it was an eCommerce site, and I did some print advertising and I felt like I may as well have put the window down and thrown money out the window, because absolutely nothing happened.
And I remember I reached out to another woman online and I said... We exchanged startup stories, and then on a whim I said, "How about we collaborate together and we do a joint competition?" And through that one joint competition, my business really transformed. And I went, "Wow, I'm really onto something here." And I replicated. I kept doing partnerships and collaborations, and it enabled me to grow my community of mothers to 150,000 women across the country...
Carrie Kwan (18:38):
Katrina McCarter (18:38):
... over five years. And I then had a really saleable asset, and I exited that business.
So I really want to emphasise just how important it is. I guess I've used them now in all my businesses. I now actually teach people how to do partnerships and collaborations. And I think what's really, really important when you first reach out is keep it really conversational. One of the things that I would do would be to send a message, whether that's Fire, a LinkedIn direct message, or even Facebook Messenger or however you know them and say, "Hey look. I really noticed, Jill, that we share a very similar target audience. Are you interested in having a short 15-minute phone call to explore how we might be able to help each other?"
I find keeping it really nice and light with no huge expectation makes people feel comfortable that, A, you're not going to try and sell them something. And when you say how we can help each other, it shows a degree of mutuality, which is the critical success point of a collaboration, in my opinion.
Carrie Kwan (19:40):
Amazing. And thank you for breaking down to an actual strategy that people can implement straight away. So I'll be expecting a few asks coming through.
Katrina McCarter (19:51):
Lucy Kippist (19:51):
Well, yeah. I was going to say that anyone that does have an ask for Katrina can actually approach her-
Carrie Kwan (19:55):
Lucy Kippist (19:55):
... through Mums & Co, because she's one of our fabulous experts and is actually conducting a workshop all on partnerships and collaborations. So-
Katrina McCarter (20:03):
I'd be really happy to.
Lucy Kippist (20:04):
Carrie Kwan (20:04):
And now, Nandeeta, how would you answer that? Is there a favourite way you would approach making a new business connection?
Nandeeta Maharaj (20:13):
A lot of my business connections are mainly with the founders who are on my platform, and I collaborate with them at whatever opportunity I can get. They all operate in their own silos. So the pet food company would have their own silo, the soap company, their own silo.
So what I'm trying to do is aggregate all of them and put them on one platform. So I collaborate a lot with the founders, and I also reach out to all the social enterprise communities throughout Australia. That is where all the social enterprises are. And half the work's done for me, because I know that the partnerships that are made in those spaces, they're already doing the work. They're already there making a difference.
So I am a member of most of the social enterprise bodies across Australia. And that is my community. That is my tribe. Those are the people who help me focus on that whole social enterprise execution that I do with Goods for Good.
Carrie Kwan (21:20):
Yeah. I love how you've actually broken it, that you've got a one-to-one strategy, which is founder to founder.
Nandeeta Maharaj (21:24):
Carrie Kwan (21:25):
But you've also got a one to many. So tapping into the community, that's already got a bigger community.
Nandeeta Maharaj (21:30):
Carrie Kwan (21:31):
Yeah. Yeah. Thank you.
Lucy Kippist (21:33):
Now, speaking of cultivating connections, it's time to celebrate the women in your respective professional networks who you both celebrate, but also help to support you and your businesses. We refer to those women in Mums & Co as the Mumbitious, so the women unapologetically blending their motherhood with their ambition.
So starting with you, Katrina, could you please share with us some women in your network who you'd like to shout out to today?
Katrina McCarter (22:02):
Oh, absolutely. I have an accountability group that I have been working with for six years. We are four women that come together every four to six weeks and hold each other accountable for achieving our business goals and objectives.
We started as a business group, and we have become very, very firm, firm friends. So to Kate, to Anushka, and to Sam, a big hello and a big thank you for supporting me in my business.
Lucy Kippist (22:33):
Thank you so much for sharing. And Nandeeta, what would you say to that question?
Nandeeta Maharaj (22:37):
One person I definitely want to shout out to, her name's Kylie Flament. She's the CEO of the Social Enterprise Committee for New South Wales ACT, and she's working tirelessly into educating people into what social enterprises are, bringing the whole community together, organising events, and doing that part-time while having a family and while being a entrepreneur and resident at University of Wollongong. So she's doing it all. But she's doing a lot of the work that is really important to me, and she does it with a smile. And she has the best hugs in the world. So she's-
Lucy Kippist (23:22):
Nandeeta Maharaj (23:22):
Yeah. She's a real champion.
Lucy Kippist (23:25):
Thank you so much. That's beautiful. So before we wrap things up today, at the end of every episode of Mumbition, we have one of our children ask you guys a question. We refer to them as our Little Co. And so We're going to throw now to Micah who has a question for you both.
Does technology make a business go faster?
Katrina McCarter (23:45):
Without question, technology makes my business go faster. And I like to theme my months, just like I theme my weeks. In September, I have got spring cleaning and organisation month. And in my personal life, what that means is that I am going to be rearranging my pantry and my wardrobe and my garage.
But business-wise, I am overhauling all my technology. So I am going through and I am setting up a new CRM. I've got a new filing system for my computer. I'm making some rapid changes, because I'm trying to simplify and I'm needing technology to support my ambitious plans for 2024. And without having the right technology in place, I won't be able to achieve my goals.
Nandeeta Maharaj (24:36):
Katrina McCarter (24:37):
Great answer. And Nandeeta, what would you say to Micah?
Nandeeta Maharaj (24:41):
With my online business, I need technology. Yes, I definitely need technology. One of the big things about Goods for Good is we started with a MVP website, and I am using technology and AI and everything that technology has to offer me to launch a new website. I call it the grownup website, and it's coming in a month's time. So I'm really excited for launching the new platform. It's going to look good.
Carrie Kwan (25:11):
So Nandeeta and Katrina, thank you so much for joining us on Mumbition the podcast today.
Katrina McCarter (25:16):
It's been an absolute pleasure. I love having a round table with a bunch of inspiring women.
Nandeeta Maharaj (25:21):
I love learning everything from all of you, so thank you so much for having me.
Lucy Kippist (25:25):
If you'd like to find out more about Nandeeta or Katrina, you can find them on our Mums & Co membership directory.