In our special Mother's Day feature we talk to five women who combine motherhood with running a successful business. This week it's Candice Meisels, founder of Candice Meisels PR.
What was the inspiration behind the launch of your business and when was it launched?
I launched Candice Meisels PR in 2013 so that I could have a flexible business around my kids. Prior to that, I worked for Disney in the UK and Europe and for video game publishers. The hours were long and there would have been a lot of travel which is why I decided to set up Candice Meisels PR.
I also wanted to help small to medium sized businesses who have limited resources to have a voice and get media coverage and brand awareness for their businesses and brands.
What challenges did you face trying to get your business up and running?
It took time to prove myself and I started off small and grew from mainly referrals and word of mouth. I was in a new country and the media landscape was new so I needed to build up my contacts and gain trust from my clients. Being patient and following the slow and steady approach worked and seven years later the business is very busy.
How do you balance work and family with kids at home?
The kids go to day-care and primary school and I work school hours. When the younger two were little we had an au pair to help out at home. We became foster carers and are in the process of adopting our fifth daughter. The age gap between our fourth and fifth daughters is only 16 months so we definitely relied on an au pair when they were both very small.
I used to outsource the washing and ironing when I felt it was all too much and we have a cleaner each week. We also teach the girls to contribute and our household relies on teamwork. My husband and I are a team and he does as much of the housework as I do.
What would be your top tips for other mums who are looking to start a business?
Do market research before setting the business up―is the business viable, is there a definite market? Try look for a niche area and niche idea client to target. It takes time. Be patient with yourself. Use your skills and outsource areas of the business to experts where needed. Don’t ever feel guilty as we are prone to doing so as mums and women. It is great for your children to see you as a role model and that it is possible to be a working mum.
Why do you think so many mums are successful in business?
Mums know how to multitask and can compartmentalise. They have to be efficient and productive because their time is limited. Mums also often set up businesses around their families and they have the passion and motivation to succeed. It is also a gift to be able to have something of your own to focus on away from being a mother, a daughter, a partner, etc.
What does the ideal Mother’s Day look like for you?
For me Mother’s Day is all about the cute crafts that the kids make at school, home or day-care. Their childhoods go by so quickly, that I really treasure all the home-made gifts. It’s also cute to see them try to arrange breakfast in bed and talk to their dad when they think I am not listening about Mother’s Day plans.
Best advice your mother gave you?
To be kind, compassionate and generous. My own mum lives in South Africa so Mother’s Day is also a day to thank her and show gratitude towards her for showing me how to work hard and raise kids as well as be a philanthropist.
My Mum runs an animal charity in South Africa rescuing animals and she also helps children living in poverty at the school she teaches at… she definitely inspired me to be compassionate, sensitive and generous. We have two rescue dogs and a rescue cat and are foster parents to a beautiful 17-month-old baby girl.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?
I had my first daughter at 26 years old and I thought that kids would fit into my life but I now realise that we as mothers have to try and work our lives around our families. Children will always need us regardless of their age. This is the reason that I set up Candice Meisels PR so that I can be there for my five daughters after school as often as I can, go to school events and watch them grow up each day. It isn’t easy to juggle a business and children but we take one day at a time.
I have also learned that it is okay to say no and okay to take time out when needed. You know the old saying that you need to refill your cup before you refill others and that you need to put on your oxygen mask before you help others―it’s very true.
What can we expect in 2020?
I am focusing more on up and coming lifestyle brands from a PR perspective. I would also love to see the adoption of our fifth daughter finalised by the end of 2020.
Make sure you check out our digital Mother's Day magazine. Click here to read it now!