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Women in business and having a baby - what to look out for

20 August 2018

Emma Bannister

Emma Bannister (above) is founder and CEO of Presentation Studio. From designing PowerPoints for banks, Emma identified a market for creating presentations incorporating visual, text and spoken word elements to create effective communications. She launched her design business from her “kitchen table” in 2006, four years after she arrived in Australia from the UK.

“A couple of things happened that made me think I’d grow the business rather than just use it to make money to travel, which was why I began it in the first place,” Emma explains.

Firstly, as demand for her service grew, Emma was forced to stop and think what that meant to her and her business. She also realised that to concentrate on what she did best she needed to employ others to do the jobs she wasn’t good at, or to do the things that took her the longest to complete. Like many in the start-up phase, Emma was doing everything herself. She was also using freelancers. When the costs of using freelancers grew too large, she realised it was time to employ staff. Her first full-time employee was an account manager. Presentation Studio now has 30 staff.

Emma also has two children and is well aware of the juggle working and caring for a family.

“When our second child came,” explains Emma, “we had to think seriously about child care costs. It made more sense for us to get a nanny than use day care, because if one of the children was sick and couldn’t go to day care or school I would have to pay an emergency nanny about $200 a day. We had to work. It just made sense to get a nanny, at least until the second child went to school.”

Having just let her nanny go, Emma admits, jokingly, it’s been one of the worst things that has ever happened to her, but with both children at school she couldn’t justify the nanny any more.

Back when Emma and her partner first found out they were having a baby, they began putting all her earnings into a savings account “to save for the baby and also see if we could live off one income,” she explains.

Luckily, she says, they were able to achieve that.

“One of the things I realise now,” she continues, “is that new parents plan cots and clothes and prams, the very immediate stuff, but school fees, child care fees, they seem so far in the future you don’t really give them a second thought. The problem is those costs are on you in a nano-second. It’s crazy. There’s the number of birthday parties and presents; the after-school activities to pay for. It’s endless.

“The earlier you plan for this phase, the better,” finishes Emma.

Westpac recently launched an online information and Help point focussed on planning and having a family, and looking after your finances. See here for more.

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