I am super excited to be shining the spotlight on an area of business that is SO important yet doesn’t get quite enough focus – mindset and self-care. Kirstin Bouse of The Conscious Mother is a psychologist, author and speaker and embodies what I think it means to be a formidable female entrepreneur – warm, ambitious, multifaceted and multitalented! I met Kirstin at a Perth Girlbosses networking event and whilst we only had a few minutes to chat, I was intrigued by this warm and razor sharp woman! I often see her face smiling up at me from the cover of her book, The Conscious Mother, when I’m out & about (mums – the foreword is written by Pinky MacKay no less!) and am really excited to hear she’ll soon be gracing our television screens! Read more about the lovely Kirstin below x
Can you share the story of why you started your business?
Well I’ll try to NOT be too much of a psychologist and simply say that people have always been drawn to share their problems with me. Add to that having been raised in the Salvation Army, which is extremely committed to helping others, it really was a fait compli that I became a psychologist.
I will always be fascinated by the ‘pointy end’ stuff and because of that, began my career in prisons, child protection and then family court. Funnily enough, I don’t recall planning on starting a business but my very first mentor says I told her that’s what I wanted to do; at the ripe old age of 21. My mentor won government contracts in that area (that’s the ‘forensic’ bit of my title) and subcontracted the work to myself and some other psychologists. In the truest sense of the word I was in business for myself from then. But I physically worked in those environments.
After a few years, this beautiful mentor encouraged me to submit tenders for this work on my own and so I did. That was when I got my first bricks and mortar premises because I began also seeing ‘everyday’ people with ‘everyday’ problems. I have 4 kids and I had my first child in 2000 at 26 years of age. Before I had my son, I ended my lease. When I went back to work, I subleased a room a few days a week to see clients and did my administration and report writing at home. But by the time I had my 2nd child in 2006 (after a divorce and remarriage) I had taken on another commercial lease. This time however, I had a plan to manage the overheads while I was off work. That plan was – my first team member! That business has since grown to be a team of 7 psychologists and 2 interns (at any given time), across 2 locations (Bedford and Wembley) and is going well. I love it and I love my psychs.
However, that’s not the business that I’m talking about here! As I ventured more and more into motherhood myself and worked more and more with mothers professionally, I realized my calling was to help mothers thrive. Motherhood is such a challenge and I hated the thought (still do) that there are so many women struggling unnecessarily and on their own. I experienced post-natal anxiety but was lucky. I was a psychologist by then and had already been to therapy to address my panic disorder from my university days. So, I knew what was happening and what to do.
I also wanted to unshackle myself from the traditional private practice. My training and experience undoubtedly plays a pivotal role in what I do. But it’s nice not to have to fit within Medicare and private health fund etc… People’s expectations are different then. So, I started that business and won some business awards in late 2015, published my book (The Conscious Mother), ran several workshops and had my first mothers retreat all within a year of starting that business.
Tell us more about the services you offer.
The Conscious Mother is for ALL mothers who want to be conscious of, and not triggered by, their own baggage. Women who want to take ownership of their motherhood experience but exploring and sorting out their own stuff. Sure, there’s heaps we can’t control in life – no doubt. But there is a heck of lot we can influence. Mums who worry too much, doubt themselves more than they’d like, feel as though they bounce from parenting philosophy to parenting philosophy, The Conscious Mother is PERFECT for them! It’s also for women who want to identify and embrace their strengths rather than always be focused on their ‘not enoughs’. And here’s the doozy … guilt. I’ll be honest. I’m not sure we will NEVER feel guilty. But hand on heart I have helped countless women reduce their guilt significantly. I have to! I practice what I preach.
But while The Conscious Mother services are available to ALL mothers, I want to add something (because I know I’m speaking to business women). My avatar is the ambitious mother! There is NOTHING I love more than working with intelligent, grab-life-by-the-reigns women. And I love working with them when they are ALSO mothers because …
Research shows that we (yes, I’m one of these ambitious mothers) can have greater difficulty adjusting to, and being, mothers. Because the traits and attitudes that make us excellent in our working lives can often be counter ‘productive’ as a mother. Because we want it all, don’t we?! I do. And so I’m determined to help professional women continue to shine, not shrink, when they become (or are) mothers.
I’m aware that I’m speaking to entrepreneurs and that many of you may have left your profession because you couldn’t make it work once you became mothers. I have no doubt that work and motherhood is still a juggle – I live it! Also, while entrepreneurship is an amazing journey it’s not for everyone. I have met many women entrepreneurs who long to return to their profession. And quite simply we can’t have all our amazing doctors, lawyers, accountants, general managers etc. leaving their roles to become entrepreneurs! We still need to fill those roles and we must fill them with amazing women! And we must help them, and us entrepreneurs, do what we do best and be great mums. So, The Conscious Mother is evolving to be The Ambitious Mother. I’m still deciding whether to rebrand or simply have another stream of programs.
With that in mind, 2016 has been all about launching, testing, refining and niching and so I offered many live workshops and my retreats. I’m clear about what I’m offering for 2017 and it’s a little different to last year. I’m launching my online program in February and have a retreat booked for April in Perth and June for Victoria. Women who have attended my retreats can then attend a day-retreat every 2 months. These are awesome experiences. Think go getter who secretly craves (and has inside her) a little bit of earth mother and they’re the kind of women who come. Think tears, laughter, deep connection, quiet, space, challenge, discomfort, self-awareness, and growth and that’s what happens.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
I still get goose bumps when women have a life-changing epiphany. And when I see women take off the mask and be real and raw with other women doing the same and how the deepest connections develop from that – it’s amazing! To think I’ve facilitated that in some way … Speechless. I feel privileged to have witnessed it and just bloody excited about how much it frees them up to ‘Shine, not shrink’. I love it, love it, love it!
And that’s the retreat lovely ladies. It doesn’t get any better than that for me.
What’s your #1 tip for those just launching their business?
Don’t ever stop being creative. Let your ideas fly! But try very very hard to choose 1 or 2 things to focus on, and nail. Entrepreneurs have a million ideas and it can be overwhelming. It also doesn’t help that we’re impatient. But doing a few things brilliantly is better than doing many half-arsed.
Anything in store you’d like to share?
I being doing a fair amount of media over the past 18 months with the most significant ‘gig’ being ABC radio on Saturdays with Tracey Vo. I love this!
But my exciting news is that Channel 9 have just launched a new program from 4-5pm weekdays and I’m on it as one of their regular ‘experts’. I’m pretty pumped about that because media exposure has been a massive strategy for me and it’s really paying off. I’ve been a psychologist for 20 years now and so can offer some really useful information on so many topics that are relevant to most people. The media gives me a chance to talk about psychological issues which means I get to educate the community AND reduce the stigma around asking for help and my profession. I hope it also leads to more keynote speaking gigs because I love that too.
Any special offers you’d like to share with The Spotlight Series readers?
ONLINE program ‘Living and Loving Motherhood’
- Launching on 6th Feb at the special on-time only price $147
- Women can register via my website
The Conscious Mother’s Retreat @ Moonburra Stay Bullsbrook
- Noon Friday 28th April – 5pm Sunday 30th April
- Accepting expressions of interest now
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