The story of HomeHustle...
HomeHustle is a story of bravery, romance and feminism. A strange combination for a tech startup! Of course I could tell you how I am a problem solver and that's what I do all day long in my day job as a teacher and executive in a local public primary school, or how I teach coding and graphic design to eight year olds, using inspirational startups like Scratch and Canva, but I think you will prefer the deeper story of HomeHustle.
The story of bravery...
HomeHustle is a story about backing yourself. I have always been clever, my teachers said so and my friends think so, my boss even rates me quite highly in the creative thinking stakes, but I chose to work in the service industry. I have a bleeding heart and wanted to help people, so I tried a psychology degree at university, but I was pretty terrible at mathematics. I switched to a teaching degree, which I loved. I graduated top of my cohort and received the Dean's Medal for Academic Excellence. I have a successful career in the public service, rising quickly to leadership roles. I still really enjoy what I do. Eight year olds are amazing teachers and through my students I began to hear my inner voice saying (to the kids, at first) ...'back yourself, your ideas are really clever'.
I had come up with a simple way to use technology to make searching for the 'perfect piece of furniture', easier. It would service busy, executive types, who juggle careers, families and renovating and save them time running around from store to store to source their products. Sounds simple, but nothing like it exists in the interior design space. I was pretty confident it was a good idea and over the summer holiday break, the idea just would not quit. It was like a scratch I couldn't stop itching. You know what it's like, we've all had that feeling? I'd had a similar feeling before - 15 years ago, I thought about a computer application to recuit day-to-day casual teachers, but I Ignored it! Someone else created it and now I use it every morning!
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Big Magic, explains that ideas are out there flying around and if you don't 'itch' them, when they come scratching, someone else will. So for the first time in my life I decided to back myself and HomeHustle became a reality. Creatives are brave. For years, I poured my creativity into my student's lessons and my school life, but I had never really created anything. I was envious of the creatives who could 'make'. I now know that having total control over a project is an intoxicating feeling, but it comes with a ship load of doubt! Nearly every step of the way I wanted to quit, I still have wobbly moments, when I want it all to go away. Backing yourself is a hard thing to do. My personal mantra became 'Why not me?' Doubt is crippling, but being brave is about being terrified and doing it anyway. The statistics around startups are terrifying, but I'm doing it anyway. That's brave.
I really must tell you that backing myself and being brave has been made easier, with romance by my side. Corny? Yes, and cliche, but true. Some women covet romance with all the trimmings. Flowers, wine, candles...you know the scene. However, I can tell you that there is nothing sexier for a middle aged woman than a man who believes in her! My husband has been a terrific sounding board for the past 18 months, but he never interfered or took over or became jealous. He was a steady hand, sensible and consistenly calm. He would simply listen and say...'You'll figure it out', I believe in you'!
Sexy as hell!
HomeHustle is also a story about feminism. I come from a long line of smart, strong and determined women...disadvantaged women, damaged women and women from more simple times. Each and every one of them has worked their fingers to the bone to feed and cloth their families. My great-grandmother, worked to care for her children and keep them safe from their raging war vetran father. My grand mother was a seamstress and she would work day and night to squirrell away money for her family. My single mother worked a variety of jobs to keep us 'out of public housing' . She is clever and soon became a CEO of a well regarded community organisation, helping other women to work. Life was relatively easy for me. I have been blessed. I was and still am the first person in my family to attend univeristy. I have worked hard and been able to 'back myself' financially, something my fore-mothers have never been able to do. I hope to build HomeHustle into an amazing entity that my own daughter and granddaughter will be proud of. Girl bosses and lady startups are not new, but being able to back yourself financially makes the F-word so much more meaningful!