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Jane-McKay-Founder-Smart-Women-in-BusinessSoar Collective is celebrating the achievements of regional women with their inaugural Regional Women’s Day. They are inviting women across regional Australia to share their stories and so, here is mine…

We moved to a small town in East Gippsland on little more than a whim. Having both grown up in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, a tree change had never been discussed. Although my dad and the five generations preceding him were born and raised in far East Gippsland, in my self-obsessed youth, I never realised how deep our Gippsland roots were. We were going to do the north-of-the-river Melbourne thang, buy a house and continue being our coffee-drinking, yoga-doing, groovy selves.

One Saturday my parents, who had moved to Metung a couple of years earlier, were taking us on a tour of local real estate *hint hint* when we came across a beautiful piece of land with a stunning view for an incredible price. We bought it on the Monday and our fate in beautiful Bruthen was sealed.

Friends thought us a bit mad, “what will you do?” was a common question but Melbourne real estate prices would have demanded long hours and an uncomfortably large mortgage. We didn’t have any illusions about how different life would be.

My husband works in the same industry as my father so we knew that one income was guaranteed. Armed with a masters in media and communications with a specialisation in copywriting I decided I would freelance. Simple, right?

Having never been self-employed I had no idea how I would go. I announced at a party one Friday that I was going to start looking for work on the Monday, a woman nearby enquired as to my occupation and it turned out a copywriter was exactly what she needed and Jane McKay Communications was born!

I’ve been self-employed now for almost eight years. While I felt I should confine my services to copywriting, as I didn’t have the confidence, at first, to offer graphic design and website development they too were quickly added to my service offerings and are where the real fun is in my work. *Geek alert!*

Self-employment, especially as a woman in regional Australia, can be a lonely gig. As a mum to a two and a 6 year old (who were born in the same hospital as my nana!) my time is precious and rigidly scheduled. I consistently work about 15 hours a week in my core business, as well as a few hours managing my heart/hobby business (Indigo+Felix).

Last year I noticed that in my work with clients, mostly women in start-ups and small businesses, I was being asked the same questions again and again. As time went on I realised there were quite a few universal truths that women in new business or contemplating a new business seek. As an eight year “veteran” I have the experience and knowledge to guide them through those bumpy early days.

I had a conversation with a friend during which we marvelled that, if we could help the women who start businesses in Australia every year succeed, we could mobilise an untapped, overlooked and under-utilised army of ideas, intelligence and motivation.

We wondered how many amazing ideas were out there, waiting to be brought to life?

And so I founded Smart Women in Business, a group of women who help each be the best they can be in business.

In the model I developed, mindset comes first. If you don’t truly know what you want, you won’t be able to put in the hard yards (and there are many!) of being a start up business owner. Passion, motivation and a love for what you do get you through the hard days and the long nights!

Now we’ve addressed mindset, we’re transitioning into the business-focused content of Smart Women, our vision is to help women launch business on a strong foundation with calm confidence. I’m looking forward to helping women work out what their dream life is and then building a business that around that. It’s an exciting time to be a woman in rural Australia. Where there used to be isolation we have this wonderful thing called the internet! It has the power to bring people together not only across Australia but across the world.

#soarcollective #riseforregional #womeninbusiness #gippsland