This post is brought to you by Urban Lighting
Balancing motherhood and a successful career is not a piece of cake, but Judi Ruja, founder of Urban Lighting, has managed to do this gracefully. Armed with passion, a strong vision and love for her kids, this single mum to twins was able to successfully run her business and make a name for herself in the lighting industry.
Here are four lessons Judi learned in business and motherhood:
1. Find the right balance between motherhood and running a business
Being a mum and an entrepreneur require flexibility and adaptability. You will be faced with a new set of challenges every day, so it is important to know your priorities.
Making those two things work is a challenge, so do not think twice to ask for help. In Judi’s case, her twins were only 2 when she started working full time at the store. Sending her kids to childcare while she’s at work is what helped her carry through those times. “I was a single mum so I really had no option,” Judi shares. She added that this whole experience made them disciplined and organised as a family.
Eventually her kids showed interest in joining the family business, and just last year, Judi decided to hand over the company to them. Her daughter Britt has taken the role of Urban Lighting’s main buyer and according to Judi, the business has thrived with her creative flair at the helm. She was also instrumental in efforts to diversify the product offering of their stores. Her son Robert, on the other hand, manages the administration side of things.
2. Empower your staff
Training your staff and giving them a chance to develop their skills will not just boost their morale but also benefit your business. To achieve this, be an effective leader and make your employees feel that they are a part of your success.
Judi was a good mentor to her employees—she spent decades to hone her craft and she shared her knowledge with her team. In return, she was able to earn their loyalty and they helped her business succeed.
3. Nurture relationships
As the famous adage goes, “no man’s an island”, so it is important to take care and maintain relationships not just with your kids but also with your whole team.
“Running a successful business with my children but still maintaining a healthy relationship with both of them as their mother is my biggest achievement,” Judi says. “We have our issues like any family-owned business, but we still get along very well and love to spend time together outside of work.”
“Try to be there for whoever needs you. As long as everyone feels they can approach you and talk to you about their concerns including your children, you will earn their loyalty, and loyalty from your team breeds success.”
4. Develop a “never give up” attitude
As your business grows, you will inevitably experience failures. These mistakes should not dishearten you; instead you should look at them as temporary obstacles and experiences that will help you improve your skills and abilities.
Judi wants budding mum entrepreneurs to never give up no matter what obstacles they face. Her advice: “Stay focused. Don’t be afraid to work very hard for something you’re passionate about. Don’t make any decisions unless you’ve thought about them overnight.”
Judi’s journey proves that passion for what you do and the desire to give your children a good life will light your path to success.
Judi Ruja is the founder of Urban Lighting, which offers interior and exterior lights for every taste and budget. They have two stores located in Willoughby and Annandale in Sydney.