“It’s the really basic thing of persistence, doing something every day. Every single thing is a brick in the wall that you’re trying to build. And if you keep doing it, you’ll have built something quite substantial.”
Keneena Fanning

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Do you like creating fabulous new ideas, bringing them to life, and showing your new creations to the world?

Today’s guest has built her business on creativity.

But how do you keep those creative juices flowing, run the businessy side of things, and keep up with your family?
Let’s find out.

Tune in to learn:

  • Why Keneena moved away from corporate management to start her own business
  • How Keneena’s parenting style shifted and changed over time
  • What her work-from-home setup looks like
  • What challenges she faced as a mum with young children trying to get work done
  • The importance of talking about your work with your partner and kids, and not reducing it to “I just did this”
  • How Keneena deals with parent guilt around missing school events
  • Keneena’s top productivity tip

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Thanks to Vivienne Pearson for the lovely review of the book:

“Kate Toon’s book manages to hit hard with insights and ‘ah-ha’ moments that are delivered with a soft-glove touch of flowing prose and highly-relatable anecdotes. It’s 5-stars from me!”

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“It's the really basic thing of persistence, doing something every day. Every single thing is a brick in the wall that you're trying to build. And if you keep doing it, you'll have built something quite substantial.” Keneena Fanning

About Keneena Fanning

Lover of colour, larger-than-life designs, words, puns, pattern clash and donuts. Keneena Fanning is the creator, designer and owner at Kablooie Store, her sustainable Australian fashion label full of colourful, quirky HAPPY pieces. Keneena is a married Brisbane-based mum of three, who has worked previously in economics, strategic financing, and project management, and holds a business degree in economics and resources management. She has always loved colour, art and making stuff.

Fun fact: Keneena always wanted to learn the flute, but ended up learning how to play the euphonium, the french horn, the piano, the drumkit, timpani, glockenspiel, guitar and a few other bits and pieces. Still no flute.

Connect with Keneena Fanning

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Screen Shot of Kate Toon and Keneena Fanning recording Six Figures in School Hours

Transcript

Kate Toon  

Do you like creating fabulous new ideas and bringing them to life and showing your new creations to the world? Today’s guest has built her business on creativity. But how do you keep those creative juices flowing? Run the businessy side of things and keep up with your family? Let’s find out. Hello, my name is Kate Toon,founder of Stay Tooned, busy business owner and okayish parent and today I’m talking with the fabulous Keneena Fanning. Hello Keneena.

 

Keneena Fanning  

Hi Kate.

 

Kate Toon  

Lovely to have you on, Keneena has been a member of the DMC since the dawn of time. And if you don’t follow her brand online, you should, Kablooie, I’m gonna tell you a little bit about that in a minute. But she introduced me to the phrase dopamine dressing if I want to talk about today because I love a bit of dopamine. But first let me tell you who she is lover of color larger than life designs, words, puns, pattern clash and donuts. Keneena Fanning is the creator and designer and owner at Kablooie store her sustainable Australian fashion label full of color quirky happy pieces. Keneena is a married is a married Brisbane based mum of three who has worked previously in economics, strategic financing and project management. And she holds a business degree in economics and resource management. She has always loved color, art and making stuff. Fun fact can he not always wants to turn on the flute, but ended up learning how to play the ufone the French horn, the piano, the drum kit, timpani, glockenspiel, guitar and a few other bits and pieces and still no flute. What on earth is an euphonium?

 

Keneena Fanning  

It’s like a mini tuba. 

 

Kate Toon  

Oh.

 

Keneena Fanning  

Which was the opposite of what I wanted to learn. 

 

Kate Toon  

I find this I feel that this is a great analogy to music to business. They’re like the one thing you want to do you do everything but. Bizarrely, I would also like to learn to play the flute. That’s I just think it looks nice, doesn’t it? 

 

Keneena Fanning  

Well, I’ve come full circle because my daughter learns it now. 

 

Kate Toon  

That’s it, live vicariously through your children. I also wanted to become really good at piano never did and then forced my child to learn piano now. He’s really, really good. So that’s what we have kids for. Yeah, to fulfill the dreams that we couldn’t. I’m joking. No, listen to your bio. You sound like you’re boring before you started Kablooie. Project management, finance and economics, what?

 

Keneena Fanning  

I know it’s funny. It’s like, I loved it. But when I look back, I’m like, it’s a really, it seems like totally different to what I do now. 

 

Kate Toon  

Yeah. 

 

Keneena Fanning  

I was always creative. But I’ve also always been very, I love the way that you think in economics and business. And I think they actually worked together really well, when I have my business. Because I don’t just think creatively, I’m always thinking about whether an idea is actually viable or profitable, or whether customers actually going to be interested in it rather than just about expressing myself.

 

Kate Toon  

Yeah, I, you know, in old school terms, which I don’t think we’re allowed to use anymore. You talk about left brain and right brain left brain being logical and organized and economics and project management, right, being creative. And I like you always feel like I’ve got both right. So my background is project management, you know, I’m boring too, so that’s why I thought I could say it right. Do you know what I mean? I’m not just being rude. So yeah, my background project management, producing budgets, timelines, scope of works, functional specs, but I do feel I’m super creative. And I feel like that is a super power combination. If you can bring, be creative, but have some solid thinking behind it, you’re onto a winner, right? Because often with creative people, the problem is they come up with these wacky ideas, and they cannot market them, they can’t work out how to price them. So it’s obviously worked well, for you so far, yeah?

 

Keneena Fanning  

I think so. I think creativity, because I don’t think my business is based on my creative drive. As such, I’ve used my creativity to create a business, but it was never about just expressing myself, or it was never about that thing that a lot of creative people have where they hate selling their work, it almost feels like a betrayal of their creativity. Whereas I’m like, that’s what I’m doing it for. 

 

Kate Toon  

Exactly the same. Because, you know, I’m a writer, and I’d spent a long time writing, you know, books and short films and stuff. And then, but really, for me, it’s always been about 50%, about writing and 50% of our business. So I feel I’m a small business owner whose product is writing and marketing, you know, and you’re a small business that whose product and it’s a different mindset. And I think it’s the mindset that works if you understand the disconnection between what you produce, and how you manage what you produce and how you sell what you produce. And I think that’s where a lot of people stumble. I love that. Before we go too much more into your into your business and that journey. Tell me about how this works with your family. I mean, when did you start your business? Were your family born, were they were they coming? What how did it all kick off?

 

Keneena Fanning  

all existed. So I all the boring stuff that I was doing before I was doing. 

 

Kate Toon  

It wasn’t boring, sorry. Yeah. All the stuff before.

 

Keneena Fanning  

All of the stuff I was doing before I did it up until I had kids. And then by the time I had my third child, I knew I didn’t want to go back. So I was doing a corporate role I was in management, I had a team and it was a full time role in the city. And like, actually, one of the reasons that I thought I want to work out how to do something from home was I worked with these amazing women who had kids and had them in childcare. And they were incredible at what they did, but they were often working four or three days, but still doing a full time role in them. And there was always just this buzzing stress level that you know, you get a call from daycare. And they’d be figuring out how to manage everything from home or looking after their sick kids. And I just thought I don’t, I want to have kids, but I don’t want to, I don’t want my life to look like that. And I thought what do I want it to look like? And it was really about figuring out what I could do. And by taking up sewing again, my mother taught me and I thought I could sew stuff, make stuff, see if someone wants to sell it. And it was a really basic idea. But that’s really where it started with three kids at home. So I think by then my kids were two, five and seven. And my husband was still working full time. I’d stayed at home to maternity leave. And I was like, okay, what can I make happen from here, so that I don’t have to enroll them all in childcare and put my stockings back on and go to city.

 

Kate Toon  

Stockings. I remember those. So the first two, you did have to have that experience, though you did have to put them in childcare and work and do that job. And I think what you’ve said there is so common that maybe they throw you the carrot of a four day week or, you know, it’s a five day week, you can work at home for one day or whatever. But you work twice as hard. Like there’s no reduction in the actual work you’re doing. It’s just yeah, it’s terrible

 

Keneena Fanning  

Not an inch. And it’s, yeah, it’s just this thing that you can’t, I think the flexibility we found in the last few years with what we call the COVID era that just didn’t exist even up to five years ago, that the idea of being able to work from home seemed ridiculous, like no one would countenance that sort of thing. 

 

Kate Toon  

And no one would trust you to do that. And also, you know, the horror of having to like, get ready for work, get your kid ready for work, and sometimes even get them on the train with you then drop them off at- Oh, man. So, so stressful, and then come home and have to do all the mum duties after work as well, you know, hopefully have a partner that helps but, you know, anyway, super challenging, totally agree with you. I mean, I jumped out of my corporate role as I was pregnant, which was terrifying. But equally I love you know that not to get too personal. But that must have been a relatively high paying job. And to give all that up to kind of do a bit of sewing, which is kind of where it started, must have been pretty terrifying.

 

Keneena Fanning  

It was, like at first we thought, let’s just see how we can go on one income. So what happened originally was I first off was the highest wage earner between the two of us, my husband and I but then just as I needed to go on maternity leave, he ended up landing a job in the private sector, which increased his pay substantially and took some of the pressure off. And then so that I could just enjoy that first. I don’t know if joy is the right word, endure. Experience.

 

Kate Toon  

Struggle through, yes.

 

Keneena Fanning  

And that’s when I started just sewing because I was enjoying it and making the kids clothes. And that’s when I started coming up with a business plan. It was actually my husband, he was like, do you think, you know people would buy this stuff? Is that a business idea? And it grew from there from already being off work and thinking, brainstorming ideas and thinking the things I definitely didn’t want to do. And it was by Yeah, I started with a little tiny Etsy store and about five little girls skirts.

 

Kate Toon  

I love that though, I mean, I’m writing my next book at the moment. And one of the premises of the book is the big little idea that a lot of us are sitting here waiting for our big idea, you know, a shark tank level invention. And often we wait so long for that to come that we miss all the little ideas and often something really small, like, you know, sewing, sewing or you know, whatever it may be, can become a big thing. Just, you know, it’s the acceptance that it’s going to start small and it doesn’t need to be a reinvention of the wheel. Obviously there are a dozens, thousands, hundreds of clothes manufacturers in kids clothes manufacturers and there’s even if you niche down colorful clothes manufacturers but there’s still enough to go around. I love that. I want to talk a little bit about out the parenting style. I don’t know, I hope you’ve read my book. But in the book, we talk about the different parenting styles, you know, authoritarian and permissive and Tiger parenting. How would you describe your parenting style? Are you very organized, very free and easy?

 

Keneena Fanning  

I found this one the hardest question because I went back and read that chapter again. Because I think if I’m being honest with myself, I would like to think I’m a certain parenting style. But that’s not how I started. I kind of ended up saying, okay, when I was started being a parent, I had no idea how to be a parent. Like most of us, yeah, and I probably was a bit more on the- I’m gonna trip over my words, authoritarian style. And I was than I am now, like, trying to keep everything under control and organized. And there’s that aspect where you’re trying to keep everything running, and you just kind of need it super organized. But I realized as the kids got older, I think this is probably the most important thing about being a parent, not where you start but where you grow to.

 

Kate Toon  

Yeah, totally. I can, you know, I’m just gonna have to let the dog in one second. Okay, on the podcast, we’re leaving this in. This is real life people. Yeah, I was just gonna say, I think because we’re project managers and kind of left brainers. As I said, not the term to use anymore. There’s this need to kind of schedule I have so obsessed with schedules and keeping everything organized, because that’s how I knew. And that’s how I felt in control. And having a routine made me feel less crazy, to be honest. 

 

Keneena Fanning  

Yes.

 

Kate Toon  

But sometimes it was at the detriment of just just letting it go. You don’t need to tick that box today. You don’t always need to go out every morning at 10 o’clock, because you read in a book that that’s good. And the thing is, I only ever had one kid. So I never got to practice out being a bit more free and easy on the second and the third. But do you think so you think you’ve got more relaxed as time has gone on? 

 

Keneena Fanning  

Yes, and I think I had to because like I said, As I got my second and then third child, I had to lower my standards or go a little bit insane. Yeah. But also I what helped was I had a sick, I had a boy. And then I had a second boy. And I just for some reason expected them to be just carbon copies of each other and like all boys would be the same. And they were opposites. complete opposites. And so I had to figure out how to be a parent to both of them and realize that I wasn’t actually the same parent to either of my children. And then I had a fear that it was a girl and again, completely different. And just that realization that I had to be happy to live in mess and realize that mess wasn’t the enemy. 

 

Kate Toon  

Yeah. 

 

Keneena Fanning  

Literal mess, but even just the mess of of life and different people learning how to live with each other and immaturity of kids, because their kids.

 

Kate Toon  

yeah, and it’s something we talked about in the book that you know, you can have two children or up in the same household, but they will be parented hugely differently by the same parent, because you’re not the same person, you know, economic pressures different or you’ve got a different job or, you know, you evolve with your children and your parenting style evolves. But would you say that, what I’ve noticed with this, this podcast is that often the parenting style is similar to the business style. So if you are quite an organized checklisty parent, you will end up being quite an organized businessy parent, and probably with you started off being super organized. And maybe now you go a bit more with the flow? I don’t know, how does your business style reflect?

 

Keneena Fanning  

I think, I’ve got so I like being very organized. But I’m also not a perfectionist. So I’m not a details like I’m not a journaling, super sheduled person, I’m like, I like to know what I’m doing. And I’ll settle my appointments up. But then, as long as I feel in control, I also tend to go with my gut with a little bit of stuff too. So say for example, data, I’ll make sure I know it, like make sure my know my financial stuff. But then, once I feel familiar with it, I’ll tend to make decisions going yeah, that feels right. And it it’s not. It’s not just being random. It is based on the information in my brain. But I don’t feel like I need to go right down to the lowest level of detail every time. So I think yes, I had really strong goals at the start. And I would spend ages doing things like perfecting my photography style and learning how to build my website and writing copy over and over again, and posting on social media probably way too much. But it was all learning like I just wanted to get really good really quickly. And I wasn’t going to faff around with it. 

 

Kate Toon  

Yeah, again, we’re like sisters from another mister because I’m the same like I like to absorb all the information, you know, yes kind of schedule. I’m very scheduled when it comes to like my calendar. But then the rest of it is very gut-orientated. It’s not really gut, it’s gut and brain cuz I have all the information there, and I have the experience, and then I kind of weigh that all up and make a decision. But it’s not like, you know, oh, this is 52%, I must get it to 53%. You know, so I’m very, very similar, a little bit of a combination of that process person and the creative person, I also schedule or allow time in my routine for creativity. So I will schedule the days when I try and leave Monday and Friday open to be a bit more creative and just go with the flow. So I’m not on this military regime, which I know other entrepreneurs are and every minute of the day is organized, I think that can be quite creatively stifling. after all.

 

Keneena Fanning  

It’s like learning to trust yourself after a while. And also learning that you can take leaps, and they’re not all going to be successful, you get used to knowing that you’ll have occasional failures, I used to be very fearful of failure. It’s not like I love it. But after a while, you know, after what, nine years now, you know that you learn a lot from the things that you fail in as well. 

 

Kate Toon  

Yeah, and I mean, you know, at the time of recording is January 2024. And in the DMC, we’ve been talking about how we’re all feeling about our business, and it’s not a great time for a lot of small businesses. You know, economically, people aren’t spending money. And sitting in the discomfort of, you know, having bad months, when you’ve had really good months is really hard and stealing yourself to cling on. Knowing that it inevitably will get better because that’s that’s just the economy ups and downs, right? And the people who are hanging around are those who can cling on in these dark times. And that comes from trusting yourself and experience. Tell us a little bit about your business. Do you work from home? Do you have a factory? Do you have employees? What’s the what’s the makeup of your business?

 

Keneena Fanning  

Yes, so I work from home. And I have since the start. Thankfully, we have a five bedroom house. So I gradually took over the fifth bedroom, used to be my kids play room, and I kicked them out. 

 

Kate Toon  

Now it’s your playroom. 

 

Keneena Fanning  

Now it’s my playroom. So the setup, it’s not as big as it was a couple of years ago. Because yeah, my business has definitely had a difficult couple of years by and on average about five staff. And now I have three. So I work with a permanent part time assistant who actually works here with me in my workroom a couple of days a week. And then I have two ladies who work from home. And they just come pick up and drop off. They actually do a lot of the day to day cutting and sewing and I’ll then work in school hours. 

 

Kate Toon  

Aha. 

 

Keneena Fanning  

Managing all of those workflows, but then also I tend to try to focus on I’ve taken off those two or three hats, and I wear the other 300. 

 

Kate Toon  

Yeah, 

 

Keneena Fanning  

Managing the business is in the design, and the marketing and business planning and all of that sort of stuff.

 

Kate Toon  

Yeah, like CEOs, creative directors, CFO. But I guess you know, the thing that you know, like both of us most people is that you did start from the bottom up. And if the worst came to the worst, you could go back to doing it yourself, which I think is another trust factor. I mean, I’m doing a little post today about Minimal Viable income. And you know, what you can survive on. And sometimes, you know, you have to cut the fat and the fat, it’s hard to cut because often it’s people and tools that make your life easier. But you have to know that if you took away all the people and all the tools that you could keep going like you did when you’re a startup and survive these lean times, because my business is the same. You know, I think a year or so, two years ago, I had like a Downton Abbey staff of people doing various different things. And now I have cut it right back to the most essentials. Because that’s just how things are at the moment. 

 

Keneena Fanning  

Yeah.

 

Kate Toon  

And I think it’s important to have that freedom to do because if that can feel like a failure, like because we’re pushed this, you know, you know, mantra of grow big, you know, up level, you should be growing every year, more revenue more people. And it’s not true. It’s not true for most businesses, there’s ups and downs. You know, obviously, you’re running this from home in school hours, what has been the biggest challenge for you running this business and being a parent?

 

Keneena Fanning  

I think initially, when the kids were much younger, it was the fact that there was always you’ve had this list of things that you needed to do that just was never ending. And it was all about trying to figure out how you were going to do it in the two hours that I might have had when my youngest was at kindy. And then trying to figure out what I can do when the kids were still here. And when it became impossible. It was it was working out what was actually important at the start I know I just pushed way too hard. And that leads to you feeling like you’re always being pulled in a million different directions. And then as my business kind of piqued and became a certain size, it became more about being able to take a step back. I made myself put in place boundaries like I actually, one of my aims with my business was to be able to work in school hours, because I was working all hours off time I’d working late at night because the kids would go to bed. So that was actually one of my aims to get to the point where I was earning enough to outsource enough so that I could just work between nine and two. You know, that’s never completely the case. But that’s largely what I can do. And to do that, or what I had to do was actually say, what are my priorities? And how am I going to make my time work between them like that I actually want to prioritize things with my kids while they’re at school. But I’ve got these business priorities as well. So I’m going to switch between them. Whereas before, it just felt like I was always being pulled.

 

Kate Toon  

And I think it’s really important to be honest about that, because we’re going to have financial goals like you say, I want $200 grand this year. And it’s like, well, great, you can do that. But what’s gonna, what’s the consequence? And are you happy to have that consequence? And if you’re not, blow it up, lower that expectation, stop shifting the goalposts, you know, if you can only work between nine and two, what can you achieve a balloon? Can that be enough? Because there’s only for now, like, as I say, on this podcast, my son’s nearly 15 now and I have all the time in the world to work. And it’s this period where it’s hellish, is quite, it’s relatively short, you know, 10 to 15 years, which in a lifetime, it seems, when you’re going through, it seems interminable. But when you’re towards the end of it, it’s like, oh, now I’ve got all this time. And maybe I could have been a bit less ambitious and driven during that time and spent a bit more time with my family. Because now you know, if you finish it to do this, all you’ll do is write another than to do this. So I love that you’ve done that. But again, I think you have to go through the horror, the long hours, the burnout, the whatever to go, Hey, hang on. I love my business, but it’s eating me alive. What am I put some boundaries in? Because at the end of the day, you know, I talk about this a lot as well. We want to eulogy life, not a CV life, we don’t want to have an amazing LinkedIn profile, but kids that hate us. It’s a challenge. And with that comes parent guilt, right? So how have you managed your guilt about shutting the fifth bedroom door and saying, Hey, I’m doing stuff now? 

 

Keneena Fanning  

I think now, it’s a lot easier. I think earlier, a lot of my guilt was around things that were happening at school. I think a lot of my parent guilt maybe came from comparison with other parents.

 

Kate Toon  

Absolutely, yeah.

 

Keneena Fanning  

But also things were sorry, not to my computer, where I wanted to be able to do something, but I just had too many things I had to do that day. So to be able to say to my kids, I’m not going to be there in assembly, I know you’re going to see all these other parents there. But I’ve got a deadline to meet. That was the sort of thing I felt really guilty about. And I started, once I realized that there were things I actually wanted to be at, that’s when I started to think okay, so how can I? What really needs to happen with work? How can I make it work so that just on Thursdays for this hour, I can be available to get to school? 

 

Kate Toon  

And this is it. You can’t make all the things like, you know, it’s like, okay, I would love to be the kind of parent that could go to every single thing at school. But that is not my reality. But I want to be able to go to 20% of the things and how can I make that happen? You know, parents with full time jobs working in the city couldn’t go to any of those things. So it’s always a sliding scale. And, you know, we do compare,  I compared a lot, there’s a couple of mums at school who did everything. And they’ve volunteered and did library day and cake day, but they didn’t have a business. And I’m sure they were sitting there comparing themselves to me, and you know, we’re all just kind of going Oh, so it’s really important. And also to appreciate that you can’t do everything. And you also are modeling for your kids a different lifestyle of having a business at home showing them that you can be your own boss, that is pretty cool. You know? So there’s pros and cons. And you sound like you’re quite a productive person, if you’re squeezing this all in, what are what are some methods that you use to stay productive? What are your productivity tips?

 

Keneena Fanning  

I think one of I think one of mine is just like, it’s the really basic thing of just persistence, like doing something every day. I don’t think like I can have amazing ideas, and I can have these incredible breakthroughs. But it’s, it’s, I like to think of it as that every single thing is a brick in the wall that you’re trying to build. And if you keep doing it, and just keep doing it, you’ll suddenly you’ll have built something quite substantial. But just that thing like scheduling work every day, things that I don’t want to do and just doing them.

 

Kate Toon  

It’s the plod. It’s to keep on swimming. And it really is understanding that, you know, sometimes a large part of our business is not delightful or enjoying or creative or inspiring. It’s just the plod. And it’s the plod that usually ends up in the great results, not the cool idea. You know, again, the problem I think, with being a creative person is we can have ideas coming out the gazoo, but the key is to actually implement those ideas all the way through to the final detail and get them out there before you then come up with your next idea. That’s really, really hard. You sound I mean, obviously, with a background in economics, I’m assuming your spreadsheets are beautiful, and you’re great with money. Do you have a money tip for those who maybe aren’t so good with money? How do you stay on top of your numbers?

 

Keneena Fanning  

Again, I think I don’t love it. But you have to know your numbers. That was that was a bit of a breakthrough for me a few years in when I started to become successful I sell to actually make a profit and the realization that I couldn’t just let it slide and hope that everything was okay, as long as you had more money at the end of the day than debt. And so it’s just about knowing it about actually knowing what what your actual income is, but what on average, you’re spending and making. And I don’t have the full Profit First thing set up. But I do have something quite similar, where I’m very rigid about putting money aside, for all of my obligations, but also business saving and my own income and the things that I want to make sure I’ve got funds available for which has been really helpful in the last two years, when business has been quite challenging to have those buffers in place so that you’re not just hoping that you’ll have enough money at the end of the month, or-

 

Kate Toon  

I mean, again, it’s like that plod on persistence, I look at my numbers as the first thing I do every morning, as I log into Xero. Sometimes I just blankly stare at the screen. But even that, just doing that every day, you get more familiar get more realistic, I love profit first, have I implemented it to the lesser known something basic envelope system like anyone does, you know, I’m gonna put this much away for this this much. And even that is a theme because I do think there’s kind of this attitude of, well, money’s coming in, everything feels pretty good. But then when you really look at it, you’re barely covering costs, you’re not paying yourself anything your business isn’t really working. It’s it’s a masquerade. You know, you make a sound like whoop, but it costs you twice as much to make that sale as you actually got. And that’s the hard thing. And, you know, we’ve had a few members of the DMC go through the kind of budgeting process, we have a little micro course. And there’s some hard realizations, some of the things they’re doing are not working at all financially, they feel good, they’re enjoyable, but they’re not making money. And if it’s not making money, it’s a hobby. A lot of people who are in the creative side of things will justify lack of money, because they’re creative. There’s a starving artists mentality. But there’s no reason why you can’t be an artist and not be starving. And I think you’re proof of that you can be creative and still make money. Yeah, you have to start to put the effort in and do uncomfortable things. Do you your kids, obviously a bit older now. Do you get them involved in the business? I mean, I’d assume they’d be great little cutter outers, and are they not into it?

 

Keneena Fanning  

Well, there, it probably took them about three or four years to click on to the fact that I was actually doing something other than just, I don’t know. 

 

Kate Toon  

Being on the computer. 

 

Keneena Fanning  

Yeah, having a hobby at home. But they they have been involved over the years like I would sit there and have them put on all of my address labels, stickers on my satchels and help me when I was doing it all manually, helping me write out addresses and put on wrap things out. I’ve had my oldest do a couple of things. I don’t think, he’s probably the least likely to be want to be involved in my business. But um, yeah, even just a little bit of stuff on the computer helping me set up some text from blog posts and things. I think, I love that they understand what I’m doing now. And they respect like you were saying before, if I say I’m going down to my work room, and I’m shutting the door, they’ll respect that. And I’ll say, I’ll be back up in two hours because they know that I’m working. And they’ve seen they’ve seen the evidence.

 

Kate Toon  

They’ve seen the innards. It’s important you know, I talk in the book about insourcing and you know, working with my son was the goal to kind of give him work and help him earn money and and also reduce workload for me No, it wasn’t really it was just to make my business a friend rather than an enemy to for him to understand that when I’m doing this on the computer, this is the end result and this is what it means to kind of get it because they see people out and about all this as a police woman. You know, she’s a doctor, you know, he’s a this and that’s much more obvious. That’s what they’re taught in school but being at home in a room where you’re kind of on computer and on your phone. It doesn’t look like a real job, you’re in your pajamas, you’ve not got a bra on. So showing that getting them involved in whatever capacity, even if it takes a huge amount of patience, and you’re sitting there thinking, just let me do it because it’s invaluable for making your business not be an enemy. Because I hear a lot of parents saying things like, I can’t come to this day because I have to run my business. And that business is what pays for your iPad. So don’t you feel? And it’s like, no, no, no, no. Now the business is an enemy. So help helps make people a friend. And you need your family to like your business and treat it like a friend and you need to like your business and treat it as a friend. Obviously over the years, you’ve had periods where you’ve worked way too hard. And you pull back in it sounds like there’s boundaries there. What does self care as a business owner look like to you? How do you? How do you look after yourself, because there’s no one here patting you on the bottom, we try and pat each other on the bottom and DMC and support each other. But there’s no one coming on and saying Good job Keneena. 

 

Keneena Fanning  

That’s right.

 

Kate Toon  

How do you? I know well, I just say it now, good job. But how do you love yourself and make yourself feel good?

 

Keneena Fanning  

There’s a couple of things like I learned to talk more about my business and what I was doing day to day with my husband. Like he’d come home and I’d sometimes think, you know, he’d talk about this highly technical stuff that he was doing in his work. And I’d be like ‘I sewed some stuff.’ And it didn’t feel like we can have the same conversation for a while as we used to do when we were both working in the city jobs, I just got used to saying this is what I did. And I did this and going into some detail about the actual strategy behind what I was doing or what I was trying to achieve. So that it was clear, like just learning to appreciate myself that way, conversation, and it helped him to appreciate what I was doing. But for me, it’s like really simple things like I’ve got a, I’ve got a bit of a blanket rule of I don’t start work until I’ve sat down and had breakfast, which for me is solo time, I don’t have it until I’ve dropped all the kids at school or shoved them out the door because some of them walk. And my husband’s gone, and I’ll have exercised. And I’ll sit down. And even if it’s as simple as just having a coffee, and some avocado on toast and 15 minutes, and I don’t work, I just sit and enjoy stuff, I might read a book, I might sit on my deck and look at the mountain. And that’s, that’s helpful for me. And I’ve learned over the years that if I just jump straight into work, I can be productive and not look up until 11.30. But I feel for the rest of the day a bit harassed and a bit.  Yep, god I hear you. Brain’s a bit fuzzy. So if I just if I just have that time at the start of the day, it doesn’t have to be an hour, it’s just sometimes sometimes it’s only 15 minutes.

 

Kate Toon  

It’s also the third I talking about the third space between parenting and business, there needs to be a transition. And we used to have that when we commuted you know you sit on a train, we don’t have that. It’s easy to just literally the kids are out the door and you’re on your computer and there’s no transition. And that’s something it took me years to learn to have that gap. And to have that bit of time. And I call it allies a little terminology. I call it like the Berocca of business. So some people have Berocca , after they’ve had a big night and they want to recover. I think it’s good to have a Berocca before you know you’re pressing for the day, you’re giving yourself energy and that little half an hour feels like oh, well I’m squandering half an hour, but you will double your productivity or efficiency your enjoyment and massively reduce your stress. Just want to go back to one thing you said earlier, though about talking with your partner problem for you know, people who are working at home when they have a problem who a partner who’s working outside the home is they really belittle their own business. They’re reductive about I just did this and I just did that. And I did a bit of sewing. And if you do that, well then that’s the story that your partner is going to believe. 

 

Keneena Fanning  

Yeah. 

 

Kate Toon  

And they’ll they will dismiss your business and they will not understand it. And because if you’ve never worked at home and run your own business, it is really hard to understand it does look like you’re just sitting around all day watching Real Housewives and eating cake. Yeah, that’s what the presumption I think the COVID era helped change that perspective, a lot. But I think we have to be careful about what comes out of our mouths when we’re talking about our business. And we must remove the word just. I just did this. And I just did that. Yeah. And talk about our successes. And I mean, obviously you’ve been a huge success. Even just the fact that you’re still here is a huge success. What do you think has been the biggest driver for that? How do you keep keeping on?

 

Keneena Fanning  

Well, I do set, some of it is just internal. Like once I do something I really, really really want it to work and I will push pretty hard. I can be pretty stubborn that way. But I think it’s just it’s not being it’s being able to not just cling to one particular idea or thing that says this is what it has to be like by I had a really slow start for a couple of years. And it took me probably at least 18 months to figure out what would get people to buy what I was making apart from just that first flutter of friends and relatives who would buy something. And it was a series of that of keeping on changing things and letting go of things that sometimes hurt to let go of. I let go of my core product three or four years in and stopped making kids stuff completely. And that was really hard, even just letting go of actually making everything myself. Because you figure out what it is that people are looking for and what I have to do to get there. I think it’s that it’s being really persistent, but also very flexible about where how I’m going to find success. Does that make sense?

 

Kate Toon  

No, it does, I think you’ve hit on the two things that I think are the most important criteria for a business owner, which is persistence, and flexibility. And, you know, not clinging on to mistakes, just because you took a long time making those mistakes, you know, and evolving and let your identity be fluid. You know, I was a copywriter for years. And when I transitioned out of doing that, and I no longer had clients, it felt like a massive loss of identity like Am I still a writer? Who am I? If I’m not this, who am I if I give up my core product, and start doing this and what the consequences is going to be. But you don’t know until you do it. You know, and that is that willingness to have a risk. I mean, entrepreneur simply means a business owner who’s willing to take risk. So in reality, you could take the risk off and just say a business owner, because everything is a risk. But that’s willing to keep on keeping on and to evolve is everything. And that’s why you’re still here. And your business is so successful. I have to ask the question, the question I asked at the end of every podcast now is are you making six figures in school hours? 

 

Keneena Fanning  

I am actually, still.

 

Kate Toon  

Hurray, goodo. Yay, well, good for you. Keneena, thank you so much for coming on the show. Where can we find out more about you and your beautiful products?

 

Keneena Fanning  

Well, I have my website, of course. www dot kablooiestore.com.au. But I’m always on Instagram Kablooie store and Facebook I spend a lot more time these days hanging out on Facebook coshave a beautiful community of 5000 plus people in my fabulous kablooie store shopping group, it’s called 

 

Kate Toon  

Amazing. 

 

Keneena Fanning  

Those places. And if you’d like Pinterest, I’m on there too. Y

 

Kate Toon  

I mean, obviously, you’ve got a very visual brand and I just wanted to cover up adults at the beginning about dopamine dressing. Just quickly tell us what dopamine dressing is. 

 

Keneena Fanning  

It’s knowing that wearing a color instead of something all beige or all black can really lift your mood. It can just putting on like my banana top. if it makes you smile. I think that’s dopamine dressing because immediately something switched on in your brain and you’ve got a few happy chemicals there that weren’t there before.

 

Kate Toon  

Yeah, and I think as well like color is important to me. I’m wearing black today, but generally I’m quite colorful. But equally it’s it’s a silly thing that one of the joys of becoming a freelancer as you can literally work in your pants, like a scruffy beast. But there is something to be said for making a bit of an effort and putting a nice, not necessarily make up our stockings, God forbid stockings, never do those again. But just putting on something that makes you feel great. And there’s nothing wrong with that. You know, we’re in a world where we’re not supposed to value appearance and blah, blah, blah. But putting on something fun and bright and colorful or whatever makes you feel great. makes a massive difference to your mood and it does make you happy. I’ve got a few pairs of silly shoes that every time I look at my feet sparkly shoes, that I’m just happy that couldn’t be seen. And that you know, it’s small pleasures, right? It can be yes. Yeah, with earrings. That could be the only positivity bloody days. Sometimes it’s your sparkly shoes. Keneena I love everything you do. Thank you so much for coming on the show, and I’ll see you soon.

 

Keneena Fanning  

Thanks, Kate.