How 3 Melbourne Girls Are Juggling a Side Hustle With Full-Time Work


As you are probably aware, we have a serious attachment to podcasts. Whether it’s seeking help with finances, relationships, or are just in need of a good laugh, they are often our first port of call. And, if there's any channel that’s always got us clicking the “subscribe” button, it’s those that shine a light on successful women. Because, if there’s one way to get inspired and learn, it’s from women who have gone before us, right?

Enter: Lady-land—a new project from the trio at lady-brains. The podcast is dedicated to ambitious, millennial women who are always on the look out for new information and skills. Started by Anna MackenzieMaeva Helene and Caitlin Judd, these women fortuitously met at a networking event and clicked straight away. And so in the hopes of meeting and sharing the stories of women making serious strides in various fields, the trio combined forces to side hustle an invitation-only supper club that connects like-minded women with one another. And now, they're pressing record and opening the doors to some pretty amazing conversations. 

With a seriously impressive talent pool already, including: Cleo Wade, (our very own group publisher) Alison Rice and entrepreneur Alyce Tran, we can’t help but think that this podcast is going to be seriously binge-worthy listening. 

Having just launched, these three are a great example of how side hustling can prove to be just enough to get your dream project off the ground. If you too have a great idea you’ve always wanted to bring to life, this is for you! Read on to see how the girls did it.

How hard is it to juggle a side hustle with full time work?

Maeva: We’re in a really fortunate position as there are three of us and we all have very complementary skill-sets. I focus on all things creative—whether it be branding, social media, website front-end or developing our decks. Caitlin comes from a marketing background and drives all of our marketing efforts. She’s also very technical, managing the website back end and has quickly become our sound engineer! Anna comes from a project manager background and manages the day-to-day operations of the business, along with anything related to business development, sponsorship and partnerships. 

In reality though, having a full-time job and growing a side hustle means coming home after work and staying up late each night to work some more, as well as working on the weekend. It involves sacrifice, but it’s totally worth it.

How did you approach telling your bosses that you were launching a side hustle?

Anna: We all approached this quite differently because we’re all in different positions. I currently work full-time as the concept development manager at Mecca, whereas Maeva works for a start-up and Caitlin works as a freelance consultant. Personally, I was always very clear that I wanted to be upfront and transparent with work to ensure there was no conflict of interest and that Mecca was comfortable with what I was doing. So, when the time was right, I drafted an email to my manager telling her about lady-brains and following that we met to discuss it. She was incredibly encouraging and assured me that as long as lady-brains didn’t negatively impact my Mecca work, she was fine with it. 

Maeva: For me, telling work was really easy. I work for Hey Influencers under serial start-up founder Gretta van Riel—if anyone is going to be supportive of someone building their own business, it’s her. She’s been a big champion of ours from the beginning and is actually appearing in one of the first few episodes of lady-land, the podcast!

Caitlin: It can be both a blessing and a curse when you’re the boss! Since the inception of lady-brains I’ve had to be even more organised and efficient with how I spend my time. It can be tricky balancing client work, working on your own business and your side hustle but I regularly check-in with myself and use all the best tech tools (thank you Trello!) to help me stay organised and on top of things. 

How long after you had the idea were you able to get lady-brains off the ground?

Anna: Lady-brains happened organically after I met Maeva at a networking event that I almost didn’t attend (definitely a sliding doors moment!) We clicked immediately and soon after I introduced her to Caitlin (my friend of 15 years) and over a few margaritas the lady-brains concept was born.

The idea was sparked because we really wanted to meet like-minded and ambitious women our age that shared similar entrepreneurial interests. We couldn’t quite relate to any of the groups or communities out there, as we felt they were targeted at our mums, rather than us.

In time, more and more women wanted to join in, and it quickly became an ongoing event series. We curate groups of ladies, and over great food and wine, laughs and epiphanies, we make connections and friendships that go way beyond the dinner table. 

At the start of this year, one of our members said to us after an event "I wish you’d recorded that conversation, it was so amazing!" We then realised we should be sharing these lady-brain conversations with more people across Australia and even the world. From this, lady-land the podcast was born. Our approach is less like an interview and more like a conversation between friends. It’s taken us nearly four months and multiple trips to Sydney to get lady-land off the ground but we’re so excited to finally launch! 

What mistakes have you made, but learnt from?

Caitlin: Between the three of us, we have broad experience in business, branding, marketing and events, but even so, you’re not a start-up if you’re not making mistakes! In particular, producing the podcast has definitely been a steep learning curve, and we’ve made many mistakes along the way.


What is your ultimate goal for lady-brains?

Anna: We have big ambitions for lady-brains beyond the supper club and our podcast. We believe that lasting connections are formed over shared and unique experiences, and our ultimate goal is to cultivate as many of these connections between like-minded ladies as possible. 

While our focus for 2018 is to continue building our community through our events and lady-land podcast, in 2019 we have ambitions of opening a lady-brains clubhouse where we can continue to provide our members with the opportunity to connect IRL. Watch this space!

Who is your dream guest?

Maeva: Oprah, of course! We’re aiming high!

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