Renee Irving Lee was our 2020 AusMumpreneur QLD-NT Author gold award winner. Renee is an award-winning teacher and children’s author based on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. She is passionate about creating profound social change by providing children, teachers and parents with the positive language needed for healthy social and emotional development. She is the author of picture books, The Strongest Boy, and Rosie Leads the Way. These books were written to redefine what it means for boys to be strong and what it means for girls to be beautiful.
When did you start your business?
I started picking up small writing projects in the education sector while on maternity leave from my job as a teacher in 2014. My work slowly started expanding into course outlines, blogs, articles and eventually my first children’s book was published in 2019. I loved the flexibility of writing so much that I haven’t returned to teaching.
What was the inspiration behind starting this business?
I was inspired to start writing because of my combined love of words, positive psychology, and child development. As a teacher and mother, I realised that there were many negative experiences and emotions that children were going through, but parents were really struggling to find the right words to be supportive. I wanted to provide parents with these words so they could be the voice of positivity and reassurance in their child’s life.
What are you most excited about in your business?
I am most excited that I get to share my voice with children, parents, and teachers from all over the world.
What has been the most challenging thing about starting your business?
With a background in teaching, my biggest challenge has been starting from scratch in business operation. I had absolutely no idea about finance, marketing, website design, admin, or accounting.
To overcome this, I have completely immersed myself in the world of business. I went to networking meetings, joined webinars, online courses, seminars, and Facebook groups. I learnt everything I could learn from everyone that I could! This is still an ongoing process and I’m constantly looking for ways in which I can learn and gain more business skills.
What advice would you give to other women thinking about starting a business?
The best advice I could give would be to have the confidence to always back yourself. Business owners need to have unwavering belief in themselves to make the right decision. There will always be many experts offering you their opinion. You just have to trust your own instincts when it comes to taking advice from others over your own.
As an author my work has been assessed and scrutinised by many different people, all of whom have given me vastly differing opinions and feedback, often conflicting with my own. I am really grateful that on these occasions I had enough faith in my own instincts to listen to those I needed to and to dismiss the ones that didn’t align with my core beliefs. If I didn’t have the courage to back my choices in the first place, then I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Why did you enter the AusMumpreneur Awards?
I was nominated by a parent who bought one of my books, and at first, I was a bit uneasy about putting myself out there. I didn’t think that I would actually go through with entering into the awards. A good friend (who also has a marketing background) told me that I would be crazy and doing myself a disservice if I did not enter. I knew she was right, and I also knew that the AusMumpreneur platform would be an excellent opportunity to help raise awareness of the importance of positive language and emotional wellbeing in children.
What did you enjoy the most about being part of the awards?
As a new business owner, it was very inspiring and uplifting to be surrounded by such strong, determined, and ambitious women in business. I really loved hearing about where these women started, the challenges they faced, and how much they have achieved.
What surprised you most about the awards?
I guess, I was most surprised that I won my category. As a total newbie to business and to the AusMumpreneur awards, I just wasn’t expecting it. This really gave me that confidence boost that I needed at the time to know I was on the right track.
How did the awards help you in your business?
After the awards were over, there seemed to be an avalanche of opportunities that just fell at my feet. Between the prizes and the exposure, each opportunity just kept leading to the next.
What advice would you give to others mums thinking about entering the awards?
Go for it! The process itself is a great opportunity to step out of your comfort zone while at the same time reflecting on your business, your goals and plans for the future.
What has been the best thing about starting your own business?
I have really enjoyed the freedom and flexibility it has provided. I love choosing my own hours and being my own boss.
What’s happening next in your business?
Currently I am in the process of creating E-Courses for those budding writers who wish to pursue a career in freelance writing or picture book writing. I also have a few more picture book manuscripts that I am in the process of trying to get published.
What are your big plans for the future?
I would like to expand my business by creating a wide range of E-Courses for parents and teachers, but my big plan is to start my own publishing company.
SAVE THE DATE – 2021 AUSMUMPRENEUR AWARDS!
Nominations open Monday 3 May 2021.
AusMumpreneur Awards Nights 8-10 September 2021
Conference and Awards Presentation 14-16 September 2021.
>> Join the Waitlist here <<