Last week was both a whirlwind and a real high for me.

I left my family in our small Outback town on Thursday to make the 2600km round trip to Melbourne for the St George Banking Group AusMumpreneur conference and annual Awards Gala Dinner.

Now, if you’ve ever left your young family for a few days you know that precision-like planning that’s involved in just pulling off a feat like that! After school play dates were arranged, extra child care was booked and meals were already made and labelled in the fridge. Not to mention making sure I was all packed and ready too (with a new haircut to boot!).

But the effort was more than justified; I was shortlisted as a finalist in the Sustainability category and needed to present to a panel of judges on Friday morning about my business journey. Friday afternoon was to be spent listening to the open judging session of the finalists in the Ausmumpreneur of the Year award and was to be followed with a cocktail party. Saturday was the full-day conference and Saturday evening the Awards Gala. Phew! It was going to be huge.

Sure I was nervous about presenting to the panel, but excitement more sums up what I was feeling! I was looking forward to catching up with so many of my mum business friends and also looking forward to meeting some new ones.

Running a business from home around a young family can be a tough, lonely gig. Even more so if you’re running it from a small town in Outback South Australia. But it doesn’t need to be and I’m far from lonely. Instead I’m connected to many amazing and slightly crazy mums running successful business all around Australia, thanks to networks like Ausmumpreneurs. And I mention crazy because to start building a biz when you’re 7 months pregnant with your first child as I was, you’d have to be crazy, right?? But these mums are just as crazy as I am…. some more so and I love them for it!!

Ausmumpreneur Awards 2015 WINNERS

A few years ago when I was first shortlisted as a finalist in the Ausmumpreneur Awards for my first online eco biz, Sustainababy, I thought it was all about the award. The accolade. The recognition for a job well done.

How naïve I was.

Winning has so little to do with it! While I’m so honoured to have placed second in the Sustainability category, it’s the friendships I’ve made along the way that have been the real prize.

These friendships include those I’ve formed with many of my customers and suppliers, but they also include those I’ve developed with my peers in business, some people may even call them ‘competitors’.

A few weeks ago I read the book ‘Paper Planes’ by Steve Worland and there was a passage in there that perfectly sums up how I’m feeling right now. When Dylan asks the world-famous golfing dad of one of his paper-plan flying competitors what the best thing about winning all the golf tournaments over the years, he replies with something along the lines of ‘his teammates’ who are actually his competitors. It’s the friendships with the other golfers which has by far been the best prize.

I feel totally the same.

Last weekend I was a round peg in a round hole and I was humbled and inspired during every conversation I had with another mum in business. The passion and drive these mums have for creating their businesses while supporting their families is amazing and I’m so humbled to be welcomed into the fold.

So yes, I’m so proud of winning silver in the Sustainability category (alongside Vinita Baravkar of Bhumi Organic Cotton who placed first, and Annette Francis from Gaia Organic Cotton who placed third) but my prize has been so much bigger than this award.

I’ve managed to create a job that has enabled me to work around my gorgeous family, that’s driving real change in my true area of passion (eco), and is starting to finally bring in some income (yes it’s true… It can take years of building a business before you become sustainably profitable!). And I’ve met so many amazing mums in business doing really special things too along the way who I’m now lucky to count as some of my best friends.

Life is good. xx

Laura Trotta Ausmumpreneur Awards