Ep. 33 2018 - Zoe Vayanos Ladies Running Errands
In todays episode of the busy mum podcast, I speak with Zoe, head of franchising at Ladies Running Errands.
Tell me about yourself.
I am a mother of two girls, 6 and 1 year old. Married for almost 14 years to my soul mate. We have just bought our first house and have moved from Dulwich Hill to the Camden area where we love the ease of life, all the space, all the stars, no plane noise and no traffic!
I am the Franchise Operations Manager for Ladies Running Errands. The CEO and franchisor is Maria Xynias, who is my husband’s aunty and Godmother to my 1 year old and me. I am so fortunate to be able to work from home most days.
Ladies Running Errands was founded when I was expecting my first born and whilst I was on maternity leave, Maria had grown the company so much, I was able to leave my career as a hospital scientist and help her in the business.
Whilst I was expecting my second baby, we franchised the company and are now able to offer this lovely business to other women. So far we have 6 incredible franchisees.
Describe for us, a day in the life of you. Do you have any tips or life hacks?
My day starts by giving my baby a feed. We then begin the breakfast/ school lunch making/ bag packing / walk to school routine.
I return home and check-in with Maria over the phone to talk about what we’re working on today and progress of ongoing projects.
From there I respond to emails – mostly from franchisees, social media manager, website manager, and prospective franchisees.
I prepare the documentation for the recruitment process for new franchisees
I offer support - training, marketing and trouble-shooting to our current franchisees
All of this goes on whilst I’m looking after and caring for my baby. I get most of laptop work done whilst she is napping or both girls are asleep at night but there is a lot of business communication via phone calls, texts and emails that takes place whilst we’re on the go
I’ll break for lunch in the middle of the day and we usually head out into the sunshine for a play and to bring washing in and hang out the next load.
All too soon it’s school pick up time. I don’t usually do much work between this time and bedtime. I find that it’s a losing battle at this time of day and the girls deserve my full attention.
We read through school readers, do some spelling, I watch my 6 year old do 3000 cartwheels in under an hour whilst cooking dinner. It is so much easier when my husband is home because we divide and conquer but he works shift work for an airline so many nights he is not home.
We enjoy dinner together – my favourite, most relaxed part of the day. Then it’s bath time and bed routine.
Once the girls are in bed I can focus on the more involved tasks I need to complete such as writing procedures and finishing off anything that didn’t get done during the day. Quite often the franchisees are also free to catch up at this time and there are many nights we’re texting back and forth late into night.
I’ve just joined the local gym and have been getting a work out in after the girls go to bed when my hubby is home. Otherwise my brain is usually totally fried by this time of day and if I wasn’t staring at my FB feed, I could easily be staring at the wall!!
I spend a lot of time on the phone so my tip is to always be doing something whilst you’re on the phone such as unpacking the dishwasher, sorting the washing and switching the loads in the washing machine, tidying up and wiping down benches.
Everyone seems to want to eat every day, day in, day out so it’s important to have a menu plan for meals and snacks. I like to take out a piece of meat from the freezer the night before and have it thawing so I can whip up dinner quickly.
Use any opportunity to get a bit of work done. If baby is still asleep in the car when you park it – respond to emails or check social pages. Anytime you are waiting on your own, use that time to squeeze in a bit of work.
What was the best advice you have received?
So much good advice! Maria is a fountain of wisdom! Her advice is to talk to anyone who will listen about your business. You never know who you’re talking to and what opportunities they may share with you.
When you feel disheartened and discouraged by copycats or competitors – remember to always run your own race.
And leading by example Maria has always shown me the importance of staying positive. It is amazing to me what a difference it makes as a small business owner to have a positive outlook and to work hard to keep it that way.
What books are you currently reading or do you have a fave Netflix or Stan show?
I am loving reading the Little Book of Hygge and learning about Danish culture and tradition. I think I am loving it so much because I make sure I read it in Hygge surroundings, in a big, warm bath with candles burning and a cup of tea beside me.
I’ve got the Geurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society on my bedside to read next. And I’m also spying the Liane Moriarty new release, Nine Perfect Strangers, and Robert Galbraith’s new release, Lethal White. I wish I had more mental energy to read!!
I haven’t watched anything on Netflix since Ally Wong’s Baby Cobra and Hard Knock Wife because I have fallen down a YouTube rabbit hole. My attention span is about 7 minutes long at the moment which is the perfect length of time for catching video by one of my favourite YouTubers like Farmhouse on Boone; Pick Up Limes; Downshiftology; the list goes on.
If you cook, what recipes can you share or meal prep tips?
Meal prep tips would be to shop the fridge and pantry to avoid throwing away food. Before we went away for the weekend last time I had some left over mashed potatoes (I know, how did that happen?!) peas and corn from the night before so I made some salmon croquettes. I had a roast chicken I shredded, turned into pasta bake and froze. I had some lamb mince that needed to be cooked so I made a shepherds pie and froze it, I had some chorizo and cream that needed to be used up so I turned it into a quiche which I took with us for the car ride. As you can tell, these meals are all very “kid approved”. I usually prefer to just cook a piece of steak/salmon/ chicken breast with veggies for myself.
What one area of your life would you like to improve?
Everything! I’m constantly looking to improve my life. Mostly improving at juggling work and parenthood. That old adage of Annabel Crabb’s comes to mind, “Women have to do their job like they don’t have children and they have to raise their children like they don’t have a job”.
Do you have a daily hack to make your smooth?
This is a new one to me but intermittent fasting is really working for me. I have been able to kick my 4 coffees a day habit, curb cravings and enjoy my one meal a day with my children at about 5pm. The mental clarity that comes with IF is nothing to sneeze at and I’m saving time on prepping and eating breakfast, lunch and snacks. Sounds crazy but it’s working for me.
What website have you signed up to that you actually find value in receiving their emails
Kate Toon SEO Recipe for Success. She is so generous with sharing her knowledge and I’m totally joining her next course.
What’s one piece of advice you would give your pre baby self
Save all the money!!!! You are on two good wages. Save like you are only on one wage! I cannot believe how much disposable income we had pre baby and we did not appreciate it!!!
What’s the most useful / useless baby item you have?
My ergo baby carrier has been essential for both kids. Being able to keep baby close and still have two hands free is so useful and when they get to toddler age, a back carry through the airport is a life-saver.
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