I am Yulia Nikonova, an entrepreneur from Melbourne, Australia and a mother of two wonderful daughters. Ten years ago I left my home country of Russia in pursuit of postgraduate business education. After many struggles as a new migrant, completion of the International Master’s of Marketing degree and starting a family in Australia, I feel that it was the best decision in my life. Today, I am a home-based business owner who is able to take care of young children without compromising professional growth.
About my business:
I started www.ViaProvincia.com.au because I was inspired by women who strive to look and be their best, regardless of age. Women who go with the life flow, embracing its ups and downs. Women who create their own path despite challenges. Women who refuse to lose their identity and embody elegance & charm.
Australian fashion is in big contrast with European fashion which I grew up with. With a Russian background and love for European culture & style, I felt Australia lacked classic, feminine and graceful clothes without being too much out there. So I have searched for niche ethical manufacturers around the world to offer exceptional quality and classic designs for women who like to invest in smart wardrobes. This means clothes and accessories that are beyond fast-moving fashion trends, so-called “slow fashion”. Wardrobes that are limited to a few, but high quality and versatile items that can be used again and again.
ViaProvincia.com.au offers charming collections of women’s dresses, suits, coats, workwear, handbags, and beauty products. They are crafted to allow you to live life your way and meet the most sophisticated tastes without breaking your budget.
How my day looks like
My morning starts with getting my two little kids ready for school and childcare, preparing lunch boxes and having breakfast followed by practicing reading with my preppy daughter. I’ve learnt to invest time in valuable activities with my children, so cleaning & screentime are off my agenda.
After dropping off my children to school and childcare, I stop in a nearby park for a half-an-our walk and meditation. It is a massive lift of my energy that creates a focus for the day ahead and helps connect with myself.
The next four hours are highly intense business time. As a sole trader, there is no lack of tasks to do. Everything from accounting to marketing and customer service gets attention in this short time frame. And since it is so limited, my efficiency is at its maximum.
Pickup time is the official break in my work which starts the time with my children. I ask them what they feel like doing and that’s what we do: walk in the park. swim in the outdoor pool, go to the library or water plants in our backyard. This is the time for us to create the bond, to answer any questions they have, tell stories and have fun. After a good hour or two of joint activities, I let my children play on their own while I cook dinner. Dinner time and teatime is the most precious time of the day when we exchange ideas, tell about the mistakes we’ve made or struggles we have. I like to raise my children by example so I am very honest with them about my feelings. I treat them as adults and often ask for advice.
The evening routine is rather quick because the children are tired after a full-on day. My mission as a mother completes with reading a few books for my daughters and a good night kiss. This is when my second work shift starts where I do follow-ups of urgent things and make a plan for the next day.
Last, it is me-time and gratitude for having such an amazing opportunity of caring for my kids and enjoying professional growth while making the living.
Like for many other small business owners, time is my most precious resource. I am very careful about where every minute of my day goes. What helps me to stay on top of the game is wise planning. I have a great habit of finishing every day with writing a plan for the day ahead on a new sheet of paper (yes, I am an old-fashioned type who likes to write things down instead of using gadgets). That helps me keep my focus on and use time productively to progress towards my goals every day.
Apart from business objectives and family needs, my plan also includes time for myself: exercises, reading and staying in touch with my Russian friends or writing a movie script. One thing I’ve noticed is that less quantity means more quality. Whether in business or family affairs, limited time makes me use it better and appreciate more.
Advice for other mums
My advice for mums who consider starting their own business is to prioritize yourself. It’s true that there will be a lot of work, stress and urgent tasks. Yet, only when you are well-rested and happy you can embrace all challenges a business may have and make a positive impact on your children. So keep your identity and be true to yourself.