EP 131: Balancing Business and Parenthood: Bianca’s Journey

Key Highlights: [00:01:00] The Flexibility of Entrepreneurship  [00:07:30] Setting Boundaries

Jody Milward

Key Highlights:

[00:01:00] The Flexibility of Entrepreneurship 

[00:07:30] Setting Boundaries Between Work and Family Life

[00:12:30] Government Initiatives Supporting Small Businesses in Tasmania 

[00:15:30] The Role of Facebook Ads in Business Scaling

[00:17:00] Community Support for Ad Managers

[00:19:30] Exciting Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs in Tasmania

Jody: [00:00:00] Welcome to this episode of Online Confidential, where we are going behind the scenes with a Certified Elite Ad Manager, Bianca Mackenzie. Welcome to the show, Bianca. It is so good to have you here with us today.  

Bianca: Thanks so much for having me, Jody. It’s always good to chat to you. 

Jody: It is, likewise. Bianca is in Tasmania, so if you guys don’t know, that’s that little island right underneath Australia that sometimes gets left off the map. [00:00:30] 

Bianca: It does. We get forgotten a bit. 

Jody: It does, but it is such a beautiful place. So I’m excited to have you joining me from Tassie today. So, Bianca, for those that don’t have the pleasure of knowing you tell us a bit about yourself.

Bianca: Well, what do you want to know? There’s so much to know. 

Jody: So how long have you been running ads for? 

Bianca: Nine years. Every time I look at my website, I’m like, there’s another year to add there. So [00:01:00] about nine years, which is kind of crazy. I feel like I’m a little bit of a dinosaur and I still don’t know it all.

Jody: Well, it changes all the time. So it’s not like geology or something like that where it’s like, let’s just learn it and this is it. We’re always, always learning. So you’ve been doing it for nine years. What did you do before you became an ad manager? 

Bianca: I actually studied international business and marketing, so I am originally from the Netherlands. Moved to [00:01:30] Australia, and was meant to be here for five months. Still here. I went into working for businesses doing marketing. So like a lot of different businesses, but the majority of my time I actually spent working for universities in their marketing and student recruitment departments. So that’s basically what I was doing when I started my business.

I run it as a side hustle for a while. I did a lot of things [00:02:00] like open days and in my breaks, I would be like shuffling off to the library and quickly opening my laptop, did some ads management, some mentoring, and some calls with clients. So I had it all on the side until I decided I wanted to do it full time and I did.

Jody: So you were in the marketing field working at the universities, then thought, hey, I’ll just dabble with doing some Facebook ads and get some clients. And so that side hustle and then you, you made the shift. [00:02:30] 

Bianca: Sort of. I didn’t plan to be a Facebook ads manager. I already had a business with some friends that I then left and because once you’re in business, you get a lot of business friends. Just seems to be the thing.

Some business friends started asking me for help. You know, it’s like, oh, I’ve got this MailChimp thing, beause back then MailChimp was a big thing. Can you help me with [00:03:00] that? So I started doing a little bit of that. I was doing more social media, email marketing, that kind of thing. Then I was in a Facebook group with other businesses. It was a paid program and I was doing some ads for myself and they were doing really well. And then people were like, oh, can you help me with mine? Can you do some of my ads? And literally, I became known for [00:03:30] Facebook ads unintentionally. So I was like, I’ll just keep going with it and then you can’t really leave, can you? 

Jody: No, because it’s an in demand thing and then you get drawn into it. I’m very much the same as well. It was like an accidental entrepreneur and definitely an accidental ad manager just sort of stumbled into it and saw the opportunity. So I think that’s the case for a lot of us, right? Because it was never even a thing when we went to school, so we certainly didn’t grow up saying, hey, I want to be an ad manager when I grow up. It’s just [00:04:00] something that we fall into.

So who do you run ads for? Who’s your ideal kind of clients? 

Bianca: I’ve been there, done that, I’ve kind of tried all of it. I reckon i’ve done service-based e-commerce, course creators, membership owners, all of it, but mostly course creators and service-based at the moment. 

Jody: Do you have like a particular [00:04:30] favorite client that you’ve had in the past or a favorite niche or favorite experience that was like, oh, that one was really good.

Bianca: I’ve worked with quite a few female entrepreneurs, partly business development, partly personal development space and I really do like that. Those are kind of like my favorite clients. So I’ve worked with people that have yoga programs [00:05:00] or more the personal kind of development and that was really interesting and fun to do. And it seems I attract those kind of people as well, but I love doing it. 

Jody: That can certainly happen, right? It’s like you just said, you attract those sort of people or those kinds of niches. I’ve found that as well. With the clients that I had, it was [00:05:30] just sort of course creators just came to me and it was like, well, that was my niche, right? My niche found me. I didn’t go out purposefully trying to look for it. Then it was just like the strategy and all the elements of it just kept my mind very active and busy.

So it takes a lot to be able to run ads across such a variety of niches, like E-com is very different to like a course creator or a service [00:06:00] provider. So big kudos to you for doing this and also you’ve got two little kids in tow as well.

Bianca: Yes, I do now. Not when I started, but I do now. 

Jody: No, that’s right and it’s all that juggle of motherhood. So let’s just dive into that for a moment if you’re happy to go there. So I’ve gone through that process, the kids were little when I started working from home back 2004 or 2006 and now [00:06:30] the youngest is about to turn 22.

So whereas you’re in the thick of it. How old are your kids? 

Bianca: Five and 17 months. 

Jody: I know for you there has been a bit of a struggle because you are such a go-getter. You are such a get it done woman and it’s amazing. But since you’ve been around and in Elite and everything, you’ve had a baby and it is been that pause.

So tell us a bit about that.[00:07:00] Working from home, having little kids, having this home-based business. How do you find the balance of the priorities or giving yourself permission? 

Bianca: Giving myself permission, that’s taken a long time. It actually has taken two children to actually give myself permission when the kids are home. There is no work. I sometimes do a little bit in nap times beause my five-year-old is reasonably [00:07:30] self-sufficient. She’ll happily watch some TV for a while, but when my little boy is awake, we do not go near the computer, because he will be all over my keyboard and trying to eat my mouse and whatever else.

So I have found it really challenging. I still sometimes compare myself to pre babies and all the stuff I could get done, whereas now I just can’t. [00:08:00] So like I said, it’s taken me two babies or two kids to actually go, hang on things just are different. I cannot do as much and the other thing it took me a while to realize as well is that things will change again. I will at some point have more time because at some point I think I felt like my life was over a little bit. Sounds horrible because a lot of people start their business because they have children and they [00:08:30] want that flexibility.

I started my business pre-kids, so my business is kind of like my first baby. So I’ve really struggled with that part and I love my kids so much, but I don’t like every minute of parenting. Sometimes my business is a little bit of an out, it’s like my me time.

It sounds really weird but it is [00:09:00] my me time. I do like my work, so I don’t think I’ve found a good balance yet. I think we are getting to that point now that my son, he’s walking, he’s not talking as much, but he can verbalize himself well. He does talk, but he just parrots. He can say a little bit more of what he wants and what he doesn’t want, whereas beforehand I was like, can’t really do anything [00:09:30] with him. We feel like I’m house bound or I have to carry him so I’m morphing into like a different space. But the flexibility of being able to do this, I cannot imagine leaving the house to go to a job. I dunno how people do it. 

Jody: Likewise, hats off to people who work in the nine to five and have to go out to work. Then also single parents that have to do it. [00:10:00] Oh my gosh. There was a time where I was just working part-time marketing somewhere and it was like the kids were at school and it was the drop off and it was Intense. So hats off anyone that is doing that.

But yes, when you’ve experienced this flexibility of being able to be home, just putting them to bed and I think that’s an important thing, for women who may be in a similar situation to you who are working at home, to [00:10:30] also maybe have that permission to say it’s okay that your kids go to daycare for a day so that you can get stuff done. I remember back all those years thinking, oh my gosh, I’m at home, the kids should be able to be here at home but by being able to if you can, and again, daycare can be expensive, but if they can go off just for a day, then you’ve got a day to just do this complete unfocused work.

Maybe even have a nap in the middle of the day if you need [00:11:00] to but just be able to do that focus and give yourself permission to be there and be present for the kids. Because it’s such a fleeting moment, even though it feels like it’s never going end some days.

Bianca: Yes. 

Jody: Then permission to go like, it’s after dinner this is when my work time is or whatever that may be. So good on you for getting through and it’s not just getting through, it’s [00:11:30] life changes and evolving and then they’ll both be at school and there will be different, demands and challenges that we all need to face.

But that’s what we do as women, and especially in this digital field. I was talking to some other ad managers and it was the responsibilities that are on women sometimes versus the men, right? We might have to do Zoom calls or whatever, fitting it around kids, whereas the men typically are just always available. [00:12:00]

Bianca: I’m sometimes a little bit jealous that my husband just gets to go to work, but I’m sure he is jealous that I’m staying home.

Jody: Exactly. With the Italian Greyhound, the whippet, and the horses you’ve got all down there. It’s fantastic. 

So Bianca, do you run Facebook ads and all that you do? Some opportunities opened up for you to work with the Tasmanian government and businesses. So what are you doing there? [00:12:30] 

Bianca: There’s quite a few initiatives around. I found the Tassie government really supports small businesses. I have partnered with an organization here in Tassie that offers mentoring for small businesses. It’s actually funded by the federal government. I’m just really lucky that Tassie is quite small because [00:13:00] I looked at it in Victoria where we used to live and there’s so many mentors that it’s actually quite tricky to get in as a mentor. Whereas here I went to a local event for businesses. It was like a launch event and they spoke about this program and I was like how can I get in? And I talked to the person who is the general manager in that business and I said, how can I become a mentor and it was a pretty straightforward process.

I’m now a small business mentor. [00:13:30] So anytime businesses sign up for mentoring, they get assigned a mentor depending on what they need support with. So I’m the person for marketing, social media and all of that. I did some ads mentoring recently, for a heating place in town, so that was really cool. The Tasmanian government also has a small business grant available, that they’ve made available [00:14:00] throughout Covid and they’ve kept it going. So we’re in the third round now and there’s going to be another round next year. So businesses can apply for that as well, and I offer my services through that. So it’s really nice to be able to help even more businesses that sometimes can’t afford certain help.

Jody: That’s ad management. And again, it’s another example as an ad manager, [00:14:30] how you can support other businesses. It’s not all a matter of here’s my done for you clients and done for you work. You can get on board with some consulting and things like that. So people’s in government areas, etc. there can be opportunities like this where they can be able to support these local businesses.

So Bianca you’ve done so many things! Your a high achiever is a word that comes to mind, but what words of [00:15:00] advice do you have typically for a business owner who would say, “Hey, I’m looking at running some Facebook ads.” What would you start with saying to them?

Bianca: I have to make sure I’m not going off on a rant here because I tend to do that. I’ve been in the game for so long that sometimes I feel like I’m a little bit jaded. So anyone who wants to do Facebook ads, they need to know that Facebook ads amplify. They are something that will help [00:15:30] you amplify what’s already happening in your business.

This is what I get really frustrated about, it can’t fix a conversion problem. So if you are not selling already and you want to run Facebook ads because you think it might help you sell more, that’s not going to work. You need to have everything in place, the foundations and your offer needs to be proven aka needs to already be selling and then you can look at amplifying it. [00:16:00] 

Jody: That’s a big part of it, is setting expectations from the start, and sometimes it’s telling people what they don’t want to hear, but they’re going to be very grateful to hear it because they’ve talked to so many others and they’ve said, oh yes, we can help you do this. Whereas you’re actually the voice of truth for them and they go, wow, thank you so much. So they really appreciate that.

What’s advice you’d have for a business? What advice do you have for people who aren’t getting started out as ad [00:16:30] managers?

Bianca: So I think what I would’ve liked to have known when I started, is that it is a long game. It is an up and down rollercoaster in a way, but I would’ve liked to know that persistence is one thing. The other thing is [00:17:00] to surround yourself with support.

I didn’t find you until I was already quite a few years into my ads manager journey and I did keep thinking, I wish I could just ask some other ads managers because if you’re doing it alone, you’re very much alone and can’t bounce ideas of other people.

Or if something goes wrong with your campaign, you’re like pulling your hair out, [00:17:30] feeling like a failure, even though it’s not you. but you do sometimes feel like that and just getting that support helps. I’ve always been in business groups and little masterminds and things like that, but you can’t ask them about ads because they don’t know. So having other ads managers it’s so invaluable. It took me a little while to get to that point because I think at the start I was like, oh, like that’s my turf and I don’t like [00:18:00] competition. I realize now there’s so many businesses and everyone’s got their own niche.So persistence and surround yourself with support. 

Jody: Great advice. I remember the first day I started, I got an account that was spending a thousand dollars a day of ad spend, and it was like, I’m just here at this little desk all by myself, who can I talk to [00:18:30] about things are going on with this significant ad spend now. So that support and community is just so essential because you’re not in an office. You can’t just do a shoulder tap on someone and ask someone else in the house because chances are, they don’t have a clue what you’re talking about when you say the click through rate’s really low, the conversion rate on the page isn’t working, the CPMs are sky high, and they go, what?

So yes, having that community that understands you and that you can, [00:19:00] celebrate wins with, and then also have a bit of a safe space where you can express yourself with things that go on as they do all the time. 

You’ve got another exciting thing coming up because like I said before a high achiever, you do sort of all the things. So especially for women in Tasmania, tell us about that. 

Bianca: So we moved [00:19:30] from the mainland to Tasmania. We moved from Victoria. Everything seems to happen on the mainland. Conferences, like exciting things to go to and I am in a more regional area of Tasmania, so I’m not near a big city. It’s a good three and a bit hours drive to Hobart. It’s an hour and a bit to Launceston, which is not that far, really. I really want to go to a conference, but because I have little kids, I don’t want to [00:20:00] travel, because the whole family would’ve had to come with me. I’m still breastfeeding at the moment, so I was like, I want to go to a conference.

There’s nothing in Launceston and Hobart that I know of, I’m just going to make my own conference. So yes silly me, I am organizing a conference. Tasmanian in business conference next year in May, and it’s going to be amazing. There’s not a whole lot of information that I can [00:20:30] share yet. Tickets will be on sale next month. Still working behind the scenes, so we’re having a two day conference with 10 amazing guest speakers, so pretty cool. 

Jody: Crazy. But it’s what we do, isn’t it? You know, when we’re an entrepreneur, a go-getter, we do things. We just sort of thrive on it. So, congratulations for that and I’m sure that will be amazing. I look forward to hearing all about it. So if you’re a Tasmanian lady there’s an event for you right there, you don’t have to get on the boat and head over to the mainland.

So Bianca, I have one more question for you. Maybe the most important question of all. Are you a cat or a dog person? 

Bianca: I’ve got a dog but I call him a cat dog. We have an Italian greyhound, which is literally the equivalent of [00:21:30] a cat dog. He’ll sit on the back of the couch or the arm rest and stuff like that and he fits in a cat bed.

Jody: It’s the perfect cat dog and of course horses. You’ve got some horses.

Bianca: Yes, I do really love horses. 

Jody: Having a day of running ad campaigns and going out and having a horse to take care of. Do you find that a bit of a de-stress or a grounding kind of [00:22:00] exercise? 

Bianca: I don’t actually have a horse at the moment. We used to have a pony but we had to rehome him because my daughter got scared because she had a bit of a freak accident with him, but I do go horse riding. There’s a place nearby where I go horse riding. So it’s definitely a de-stressor and horses are like therapy. So it’s good to get outside [00:22:30] and I don’t know if you can hear it, the plovers are going crazy. 

Jody: No, can’t hear the plovers.

Bianca:We can’t go outside without being swooped by a plover because they got pom-poms on sticks in the paddock, which we call baby plovers. They’re so cute. 

Jody: Oh my gosh life in Australia, all these swooping birds that come out to get us and yes, it’s a terrifying time

Bianca: I saw your magpie video recently.

Jody: Yes. Oh my gosh. [00:23:00] It’s fun days here, springtime Australia. 

Well, Bianca, it’s been awesome chatting with you. So where can people go to learn more about you? 


Jody: Well thank you for your time today and enjoy the rest of the afternoon down there in Tassie with the dog and guys, thank you for being here with us today. That’s it for this episode, we’ll see you next time. Bye for now.

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