The Creative Life of Alli Price – Motivating Mum

Welcome to this month’s instalment of The Creative Life interview series!
Each month shines a spotlight on how business owners incorporate their creativity across all aspects of their life, and gives some ‘behind the scenes’ insight into how they started and plan for their business.

This month I’d like to introduce you to Alli Price of Motivating Mum.

Alli Price runs Motivating Mum and is passionate about helping mums in business, or those starting out, achieve their business dreams. She offers inspiration and education through monthly Biz Mums Clubs, mentoring and affordable business services. Alli also runs an annual Awards and Conference and a charity event, Mummy Mentoring Festival.

Alli Price featured in Inner Creative blog The Creative Life of Alli Price. innercreative.com.au. Image: Kyra Ann Photography

Alli Price of Motivating Mum with her girls. Image: Kyra Ann Photography

It was so inspiring to speak to Alli about how much she loves her business and how creativity is such a fundamental part of running her business. She has a such a grounded down-to-earth attitude to it all, yet still manages to bring a sense of play and fun to everything she touches.

This interview is like having your own private biz mentoring session with Alli. So keep on reading to learn about:

  • How it’s always easier to find the time to do things that you are most passionate about
  • Finding a balance between work, kids and running the house
  • Working out what your customers want to make money
  • What to do when your ideas don’t work or when you get stuck
  • The big mistake that Alli sees people making in their business and the part that fear can play in it
  • And what Alli really thinks about mistakes.

So sit back and enjoy…

What are the different hats you wear in life?

There’s probably not loads, because most of my life is taken up with work :-). So obviously there’s the business hat, mum hat, and friends hat. They’re the main ones.

How do you express your creativity?

Well, I mainly express my creativity in my work. And that’s one of the reasons why I love doing my job, running my business, because it is creative. I get to make up ideas all the time; develop ways of doing things; marketing plans. And I’m always trying to think outside the box. I never like to develop boring, standard stuff. It’s always trying to push the boundaries to see how I can make things more interesting and stand out a bit. That’s one way.

You’ve previously mentioned that when you have the time you also like colouring in and photography while travelling.

I love photography! Even if it’s business stuff that I’m taking photos for I’m always looking for a different angle that I can take of my subject – and I’m always looking for interesting things to take photos of.

When I go travelling, that’s when I’m really in my element. Because everything’s different, everything’s interesting. I love that.

Alli Price's photo featured in Inner Creative blog The Creative Life of Alli Price. innercreative.com.au. Image: Alli Price

One of Alli’s fave pics from New York. Image: Alli Price

I also like doing meditation colouring as well. I knew that I liked doing that because when I used to do colouring in with my daughters they’d go off and do something else and I’d still be there colouring in their pictures. And they’d come back and they’d go “Can I colour in yours Mum?” and I’d say “Nooo. Don’t touch this picture. It’s beautiful!” So that’s how I knew I liked that. But I don’t do a lot of colouring, unless I’m travelling. I don’t have the time. It takes quite a bit of time to set aside to do that type of colouring. I don’t have a lot of time for that.

Alli Price's colouring page featured in Inner Creative blog The Creative Life of Alli Price. innercreative.com.au. Image: Alli Price

 A finished pic from Alli’s colouring book. Image: Alli Price

I don’t know if this is expressing creativity at all, because I’m only learning, but I’m learning how to play the drums as well.

So what sparked that?

I’ve always, for my whole life, always wanted to play the drums. And I always said to myself that when I turned forty I would learn. Because it’s something that you can do any time in life. It’s not something that you need to do when you’re twenty. So when I turned forty a few years ago I kept thinking “Alright. I’ve got to do it. I’ve got to do it.” So I went “Fine,” and booked it. The good thing about it is that I absolutely do love it, like I thought I would. And I’m good at it, like I thought I would be. It’s like “Yay! Tick, tick, tick.”

If your business was a person, what three words would you use to describe them?

Friendly, selfless, and passionate.

What three emotions do you want your clients to feel about your work?

It’s along the same lines. I want them to feel welcome. I want them to feel comfortable, and feel like they’ll get the help that they need. {So, looked after?”} Yeah.

How did you get started with your business? It’s been 10 years hasn’t it?

Ten years in October. {Wow!} So basically I trained as a life coach. I graduated at the same time that I gave birth to my first daughter. I was like, “OK. So I’m now a Mum, I can see how it could be helpful for mums, so I’m going to run a coaching business helping mums.” I’m not quite sure how long I did that. A month, or two?

Didn’t take very long for me to figure out that it can be quite isolating and depressing being at home on your own all the time, trying to run a business, trying to find clients – where do I find clients? So I thought I’d organise a lunch to see if I could find other mums out there like me, who might be experiencing the same things, and then maybe that might be a good sales funnel for my business. Of course back then I didn’t know what a sales funnel was :-). It was more, “Oh maybe I might get some more clients.” Then at the first lunch I had 45 mums come. So then I thought, “Oh OK, maybe this is the idea then? So this is what’s going to work.”

So that’s how the business started. I was running those lunches. And then I noticed that the mums were coming to the lunches; they were hearing a guest speaker; they swapped cards; but they weren’t walking away with any real substantial help. So then I set up the Businessmums’ Clubs. After a few more years, I was thinking, “OK I’m at a place where I could mentor people.” So I developed the Mentoring. Everything’s come about as a result of working with the mums – seeing them every month and figuring out what they want and what they don’t want.

What do you love most about your business and work?

What I love the best about it is that every day is different. I’m working with different people every day as well. So it’s not the same people over and over again. Every challenge that they have is different. Every question that they have is different. So while it’s interesting for me, it’s also challenging for me. It keeps me thinking, so I’m always learning, which I think is really important (especially if you don’t want to turn into your typical old person that gives up on life and sits on the couch every day and does nothing).

I love using my imagination and creativity to create different ideas, and thinking of ways to promote them and implement them. That’s great.

I also love the mums – the mums saying to me, “You really really helped me” or “I wouldn’t have been able to do this without you.” All of those sorts of things, especially because I know what it’s like to be a mum in business. I know how hard it is and how challenging it can be, so it’s nice to know that you’ve helped someone else.

I’m interested in the impact that creativity in one area of our life affects another. So if you didn’t get to express your creativity in your business, what would your life be like?

I’d be bored. It’s also why it’d be really hard for me to go and get a job and work for someone else. Because if it wasn’t required of me to be creative or develop ideas, or even for a period of time if it wasn’t required of me, then I’d probably be so bored I’d want to shoot myself.

I’m glad you’re doing your business then.

Exactly.

You were saying that to find time is hard, so how do you find time for creativity? Is it because it’s for your business that you make the time? If it’s not for your business, it’s harder to make the time for creativity?

Yeah. I think it also depends about how much I love it as well. I love my business so much that I just wake up every morning and I’m already thinking about it. I’ve got mums in my club who say, “Every time I go to do work, I get distracted and I go and do that.” And that doesn’t happen to me. I just ignore everything else and do my job. I don’t do the dishes. I don’t clean up the house. I don’t do any of that. It’s mind numbingly boring. It’s like I don’t have a choice.

Whereas with the colouring, I’d have to really, really love it to set time aside for it. And I enjoy it, and I really like doing it. I especially love it when I’m travelling; and I’m in a café in New York, and I’m just sitting with a coffee, and I’m watching people go by, and I’m colouring. I’d rather do that then look at my phone. But that’s because you have time when you’re travelling.

Alli Price's photo featured in Inner Creative blog The Creative Life of Alli Price. innercreative.com.au. Image: Alli Price

Another of Alli’s fave pics from New York. Image: Alli Price

But with the drums, I’m doing that once a week and I would not miss a week. I love it so much.

Do you have a set time or are you teaching yourself?

I learn with a teacher. I don’t have a set class because of the way my business runs. But every week I’ll pop in the next session and we’ll figure out what day I can do it on.

So you are creating the time for it?

Absolutely.

But you have to really love it and be passionate about it to put time aside for it?

Yes. I know what I’d do with colouring. I’d sit down, and I’d be colouring, colouring, and then, “Ooh I wonder what’s on the TV?”

And that tells you where it sits on your list of priorities.

Exactly.

I’m really interested at the moment in how we use time. So do you have boundaries for your business? Do you find your business blurs into your home life?

It does. But because I’ve been doing it for so long now, I’ve got a pretty good idea of when I can finish work for the day, because I know that I can pick it up tomorrow. It doesn’t matter if I haven’t done that and that and that. I don’t seem to work a lot when the girls are around. But they both go to school. So once I get them home from school I probably wouldn’t go back and do an hour’s worth of work before dinner. I’d rather organise their stuff, get their snacks, and do some dishes. That’s when I do the cleaning. Sometimes I’ll sit with the computer in front of the TV and work again at night after the girls have gone to bed.

I’ve got a good enough balance now that I don’t need to work all the time and I don’t need to work on the weekend. I rarely work on weekends. I do try to make sure that I switch off and have time off as well. Otherwise you can end up sitting there all night doing stuff, and then you’ve got to wake up in the morning, and do it again. And there’s not a lot of stuff that can’t wait until the next day.

How do you balance being creative or innovative in your work in relation to delivering what the market or your clients want? Do you ever see a tension between what the market wants and what you want to do with your business?

Yeah, all the time {laughs}.

So how do you manage that?

I just have to not do what I want and do what they want. {Laughs} Because that’s what running a business is all about.

I work with mums, so I have all these grand lofty plans (like everyone does) about helping mums. I could do this for them. I could do that for them. But at the end of the day, mums don’t often value themselves and want to do stuff for themselves anyway. So it doesn’t matter what you want to do for them. If they’re not going to pay for it, you’ve got no business.

And that’s why I’ve given up the one-off events I used to run. As much as I wanted to bring the guest speakers to mums; as much as I know that they want help with Facebook, Instagram… and I put together these sessions for them on time management. I did one at the start of the year – it was about time management, outsourcing, mindfulness and organisation. Things that mums are telling me all the time that they need: “I can’t organise myself.” But then I couldn’t get any bookings. So then you just have to go, “Much as I want to do this, it’s not working. So I need to can it and do something else.”

So it’s a balance between making sure you get paid and creating a product that somebody else will buy. But how do you create a business and work on it so it’s not soul destroying at the same time? Do you always make sure that you have a pet project, something that you really love?

I’m pretty lucky that I’ve still have mums that will come and pay for the Businessmum’s Club. So I’ve got that part right. And I love that.

So if you love these bits, then you can let the other bits go and it doesn’t affect you as much?

No. It can be soul destroying.

The number of times I’ve tried to do these one-off events. I kept repackaging them and trying to do them in a different way. Maybe this will work? Maybe this will work? And it never worked. It is soul destroying. And the number of people I’d have saying to me, “Oh, if only it was this day. Or if only it was this day.” But what about all the people that can come on this day? So it’s quite disapointing.

But at the end of the day, as great as it is to run a business that you love, you also have to run a business that achieves your aims. And one of my aims is to make ‘x’ amount of money. You have to review these things.

At the end of the day you have to remember that it is a business. It isn’t personal. So if it’s not working you have to change it or cut it. And luckily for me a lot of my other stuff works. I feel so sorry for those people whose businesses are based solely on one idea and no one’s buying it. And then what do you do? You have to fold the business. At least I have other arms.

What inspires your creativity? How do you fill up your well? Where do your ideas come from?

I just naturally am. I have no idea. It is like a never-ending bottomless well. I just come up with ideas all the time. That’s how my brain works. I’ve always got my eyes open. I’ll always see what’s going on around me, see what other businesses are doing. Doesn’t matter what kind of business it is. It doesn’t need to be in the same industry as me. I can go, “Wow! I love what they’re doing with that. How can I use that for my business?” I’m not one of those people that closes myself off to the world. Whenever I’m out and about, I’m always looking around. I’m always taking things in. I’m always trying to notice the little things in life. I just do that naturally.

Alli Price's photo featured in Inner Creative blog The Creative Life of Alli Price. innercreative.com.au. Image: Alli Price

ANOTHER of Alli’s fave pics from New York. Image: Alli Price

Before you start your work, is there anything you do to get into the zone?

No. I just open up my computer and go brrrr {typing motion}, and off I go. But I’m always thinking about stuff. So before I’ve even sat down I’m already planning what I’m going to be doing that day. Or if I’m going to write something, I’ll already be planning it before I sit down to write it. I have a never-ending loop that’s going on in my head.

What do you do to overcome a creative rut or when you’re feeling stuck?

I don’t think I do. To be honest, maybe if I’m working on something, and I’m trying to develop some ideas, and nothing’s coming to me then I’ll probably just shelve that and do some other stuff. And then usually if I wait long enough, stuff will pop into my head later. That’s how I manage stuff. There’s no point sitting there, “Come on just think of something. Come on think of something!” That’s not going to work. So I just let it go and just go back to it. More often than not if I let things go, something will pop into my head later on, an idea.

Has there been a big challenge or mistake that you’ve made in your business? What’s been your biggest learning?

That’s a tough question, because I don’t go around saying, “That was a big mistake.” Whatever I do I just think that it adds to the experience. I don’t take much notice. To be honest, I don’t think that I’ve made that big a mistake. I’ve never done anything so bad that it stands out and makes me think, “Oh that was so bad.”

What was a big learning in running your business? So what would you say if you had one of your Biz Mums here, what is the one thing that you’ve got to keep in mind because I’ve learnt this?

One of the things I’ve learnt from observing what other mums do is, if things aren’t working as quickly as they want them to, they’ll get quite desperate and a bit fearful and run off and do something completely different, as well as doing that business.

So for instance, there’s a mortgage broker, things aren’t happening. And the next thing you know they’ve gone off and signed up for Arbonne because they need to get some money. But running off and starting whole new businesses in fields that have got nothing to do with what they’re doing is actually splitting resources. So it’s going to make it even harder for them to be successful in either business.

And so I find that that fear and that desperation really pushes mums to be doing things that they shouldn’t be doing. And you can never run a business from that point of view. Ever. Because as soon as you do you start making decisions that will affect your business because you’re not looking at things in the right state of mind.

What do you do when you’re in that place of fear to kick yourself out of it? Or what do you do to make sure that you never get into that place?

I just naturally trust in my gut that I’m on the right path and that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m lucky because, in my business, I’ve never had periods of time where I really struggled… the first year I broke even. Since then it’s been a slow gradual rise upwards. So I’ve always been right in that respect. Mums have to remind themselves of how long it takes to get a business profitable. So many women I see go out and start a business, and let’s say they’ve been running it for six months and they’re wondering, “Why am I not making money?” You have to go in with realistic expectations. You can’t go into business needing to make money. If you need to make money you shouldn’t be in business. You should be in a job.

And you just have to trust in your gut. If you don’t have that space and time to be able to work on things and make things work, then that’s hard.

You trust a lot in your gut. Has there ever been a point where you weren’t sure before you’ve taken a leap of faith?

No, never, because I’ve always felt like this is the right thing to do. I’m absolutely one of those people that trust my gut 100%.

I don’t really spend any time making decisions at all. I just go, “Gut, what do you reckon?” My gut says, “Let’s do this.” Then I say “So let’s go do it.”

But I’m also quite lucky that I’ve never had big dreams in terms of my income. I don’t want to be one of those people sitting on a beach in Fiji making money while I sleep. That’s not appealing to me. So as far as I go, the fact that I can make money and put a roof over the kids’ heads and feed them- that’s good enough for me. So I don’t really have those pressures either, of having to take some big leap of faith. Not like some women who have quit a big job in the corporate and then they’re saying, “I need to replace my income in 6 months”. I ask them, “So what was your income?” And it’s like $100,000. “What?” Do you know what I mean? I don’t have those desires, so it’s not really a problem for me. Less risk.

So you don’t have any big ambitions about a big money goal, so what are your big dreams then?

My only big dream is that at some stage I’ll be travelling again; most likely when my daughters are old enough and they don’t need me anymore. I’ll be travelling again a lot in some way, shape or form. That’s my only big dream.

And nothing for your business?

I’ll sell it eventually. I want to build it up to a point that I can sell it so I can fund the travelling. Then I’m already thinking about what I could do for my next business that will enable me to travel and be paid for it. That’s what I want to do. Running Motiving Mum will not be an effective thing for me to do if I’m travelling, living in places all over the world.

On the business side of things, are you a planner or do you go with the flow?

I’m both. I did one of those tests online. Don’t know if they’re effective or not. It was “Are you a right brain or a left brain?” I’m literally 50/50.

Ideally we should all be using both, because we have a whole brain and we should be using all of it.

So I do plan. Every year I’ll do my planning and reviewing, at the start of the new year. And work it out as much as possible, and plan it all out.

I have my written diary that I write in – this is what I’ve got to do tomorrow, and this is what I have to do today. And if I didn’t get it done I’ll reschedule it.

So I’m a naturally systemised person. Everything I start doing I’ve automatically got rules for it. For instance, with the Businessmums’ Club I know that whenever I send the “Check your details” email out I know to put the accountability into the Facebook group. When I do this thing, then I know that I do that one. Everything I do I have a system for it. I don’t actually sit down and say this is what my system is going to be, but it naturally imprints itself.

By the same token, I’m spontaneous. I’ll do stuff. We’ll go out and do crazy things; jump out of airplanes and whatever else. So both.

Do you have a favourite quote or saying?

“Do not fear mistakes, there are none.” Miles Davis.

Miles Davis quote "Do not fear mistakes, there are none." featured in Inner Creative blog The Creative Life of Alli Price. innercreative.com.au.

It fits so perfectly with what you’ve been saying.

It does, because there is no such thing. If you go around saying, “Oh I’m going to make a mistake,” then you’ll never do anything. There’s no such thing – just different options, different paths.

What would you most like to be remembered for?

Helping people and living an authentic, kick-ass, fun life. I’d like my kids to remember me as a crazy mum who sang at the top of her voice in the car 24/7.

Alli Price's desk featured in Inner Creative blog The Creative Life of Alli Price. innercreative.com.au. Image: Alli Price

Ali’s desk with PHotos of her gals and the words she uses to remind herself of
who and what she wants to be. Image: Alli Price

What are you working on right now?

I’m doing my charity event again. It’s in its 8th year right now. It’s where I get people to donate a mentoring session and then people can bid to win a session with that person. I’m getting that together at the moment. That’s coming up in September. And then I’ve got the 10th birthday celebrations in October.

Is there anything else you’d like to share or give advice to someone about living a creative life?

Yeah. I think that as people get older, they get a lot more hesitant. They’re a lot less likely to go and do something crazy. They’re a lot less likely to confront situations where they might feel they’ll be uncomfortable. So they’d rather ignore conflict situations, even if it ends up working out badly for them. Potentially you’re only half way through your life, so why are you giving up on living? I think that everyone when they’re forty should be learning a new skill or something like that. Or more people should still go out dancing at least once a month when they’re forty or fifty, because you’ve got so much of your life left to go. That’s what I think. I think that people should do more living.

Thanks. Awesome stuff!


For more information about Alli Price, Motivating Mum, her Mentoring Charity event and 10 year celebrations head over to her website motivatingmum.com
or follow her on Facebook (MotivatingMumOz), Instagram (@MotivatingMum),   LinkedIn (MotivatingMum), and Twitter (@MotivatingMum).

And if you want to read more inspiring interviews with other amazingly creative businesswomen then check out the Related Posts below.

So how do you bring creativity into your life?
Have any of Alli’s ideas inspired your creativity?
Please post your comments below.
Pin It
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Pin on Pinterest