Running your own business is no easy feat. It takes a healthy dose of passion, discipline, and commitment. Ever wonder what a day in the life of a small business owner and founder is like? We’re here to give you a glimpse!
This week, we’re featuring Sian Murray, the co-founder of Pleasant State. Pleasant State is a female-owned Australian business that wants to create a sparkling clean world free of single-use plastics. One garbage truck of plastic waste enters our oceans every minute, totaling eight million tons each year. Sian and her co-founder have created a line of all natural, concentrated, just-add-water cleaning products that let users clean their homes without plastic waste and harmful ingredients.
Read on to learn about a typical day for Sian as she runs Pleasant State’s popular crowdfunding campaign. Then scroll down for a brief Q&A to get to know her better and get inspired!
5 A.M. – The sun rises at around 4.30 in summer here in Australia so it’s pretty hard to sleep in. My alarm normally goes off at 5.15 and after a few hits of the snooze button I’ll eventually climb out of bed. The first thing I do every morning is check the Pleasant State Instagram and Facebook for any new messages. I then check in on how our ads are performing and, of course, take a look at the surf cams. Then it’s straight into my swimmers, I throw my board in the back of the ute and go for a surf. There is honestly no better way to start your day.
6 A.M. – Still surfing.
7 A.M. – I normally get home at around 7.30, have a shower, make myself a giant smoothie and have a piece of toast while sitting outside on my phone and catching up on any team comms that may have come through overnight. I’ll also look at what’s going on in the world and check in on other brands we love.
8 A.M. – If I really have my life together, I’ll make time for a 10 min stretch/ light yoga before I head to my desk just to prevent getting sore while I sit at a computer all day. But most of the time, as I work from home, I just turn on the Bluetooth speakers and head straight to my desk. (I love to work with loud music — I’m not sure my housemates love it, though).
9 A.M. – The Pleasant State team all work remotely, so we rely heavily on tools like Slack and Asana to communicate and manage our projects together. Ami Bateman (my fellow co-founder) lives just half an hour away so we catch up a couple of times a week. But most days, we work separately — though I can’t wait until we have our own space to work together. I generally spend the first hour of my day on community management, emails and reviewing our ads in more detail.
10 A.M. – I manage the majority of Marketing here at Pleasant State. We’re a very small team so this means I work on strategy with the team but then have to implement the bulk of those deliverables on my own. I like to put aside an hour each day to create social content, engage with our customers and create Instagram stories as our customers love that ‘face-to-face’ contact.
11 A.M. – As we’re in the InDemand phase of our Indiegogo campaign and our product is due to arrive in just a couple of months we’re also doing a lot of planning for our product launch. No two days are the same! Today I’m working with our Graphic Design Intern to finalise the design of our mailer boxes and A6 comp cards that will go inside each box.
12 P.M. – As Pleasant State grows, we’ve been lucky enough to receive some awesome opportunities for events, media interviews, and features so I will usually take an hour to write back to inquiries or prepare my responses. Today, for example, I am writing this interview. 🙂
1 P.M. – Lunch time! Yum! (I live for food). Today I’m having honey soy tofu in a vermicelli noodle salad. My housemates have a new puppy so I will normally take 30 minutes to go outside with him, eat my lunch and have a little run around.
2 P.M. – This is usually when I look at my list of things to do and say, “Oh dear.” Which means I often take a minute after lunch to reassess my timings and make sure I’m on track for the rest of the day. Today I’m creating a brief for our Graphic Design Intern that will cover all design elements of our upcoming Christmas campaign. This means I will need to have the strategy mapped out, the copy written and the channels selected, plus give her design guidance for the whole campaign so she can format it nicely and I can then schedule it into all our channels. This includes things like email, social posts, ad content, website updates etc.
3 P.M. – The above job is quite a big one so I’ll still be pulling all this information together for our amazing intern.
4 P.M. It’s been a few hours since I’ve checked in on community management. Our audience is pretty active so it’s important to check it regularly. Part of our current planning phase as we transition from crowdfunding to product launch is ensuring brand consistency throughout all our channels, so today I’ll be looking at our Instagram and Facebook bios to ensure they are aligned with our key messaging.
5 P.M. – I’m very big on work life balance so don’t like to go overtime too much, but today is a big day as we head into the weekend. I like to make sure I’ve ticked off everything on my list before I finish. Pleasant State has been lucky enough to have a Facebook rep providing us with support across our ads lately so after a phone call with them yesterday I’ll make some of the changes they recommended to finish off the day. Conversion ads have been a huge revenue driver for us so it’s important they’re constantly optimised.
6 P.M. – It is so hot here during the day, we don’t have an air conditioner so I’ll usually finish off work by grabbing a beer and quickly running down to the beach for a sunset swim to cool off. We’re very lucky to live walking distance to the beach, even though it can also be a bit distracting.
7 P.M. – Well what do you know, it’s food time again! Today’s Friday which means I’m heading out with my partner and friends. My Friday night classic is a fancy pizza accompanied by a couple of margaritas. Now that’s living.
8 P.M. – On to my second margarita.
9 P.M. – Who knows — depending on my mood, there might be a third, haha! But I have a bit of work to do this weekend so it’s home and an early night for me.
10 P.M. – Last check over socials to make sure all is well in the world of Pleasant State and then I’m off to sleep.
11 P.M. Can’t talk, sleeping. 🙂
How and why did you become an entrepreneur? Was it something you always intended for yourself?
I always said, “I want to own my own business, but I don’t know what it will be.” I suppose that’s the beauty of it: You just have to open yourself up to the possibility. One day the opportunity will present itself and it’s up to you to jump at it. For me, that opportunity was Pleasant State. To be honest, though, it definitely wasn’t a chance encounter that led Ami and Pleasant State to me. I studied Journalism and Professional Communication because I wanted to launch my own magazine, which I ended up doing straight out of university. But once I realised a magazine wasn’t going to do it for me, I put a lot of effort into upskilling in digital marketing. I knew it would be a huge asset when it came to launching my own business again, which it definitely has been. Years of working in a digital agency and building my own personal brand led Ami to me so I wouldn’t have been presented with this opportunity without the ground work.
What makes your Indiegogo project unique?
I love this question! There are so many things that make our project unique. I feel that crowdfunding in general isn’t as common in Australia as it is in places like the UK and US, so the fact that we went down this route for funding in Australia is quite unique in itself. More broadly, we’re a female-founded start-up based in a small town on Australia’s Sunshine Coast. We’ve worked really hard to not take on investors and ensure that in all aspects of our business we are putting people and the planet before profits. At the end of the day, Pleasant State is and will be more than just a cleaning brand. We’re here to demonstrate that doing good is good for business. I would also say that our general energy makes our project unique. We have put so much time and effort into building Pleasant State from the ground up — so much research, so much creativity and so much face-to-face contact to build a relatable, honest brand that brings hope to our customers. Oh, and our crowdfunding video is a beauty. 😉
What’s your biggest piece of advice for women who want to start their own business?
Always remember that you are enough and that you’ve 100% got this. Even when you don’t have it, just know that if you believe in the back of your mind you can get it done, you will. Ami and I often laugh about how out of our depth we’ve been with certain elements of launching Pleasant State. We’ve never designed products or worked with manufacturers, and I barely even knew the meaning of most business Jargon (which can feel super embarrassing sometimes). But don’t be hard on yourself and don’t hold back from asking for help. Don’t know the answer? Just ask! It’s something I have really struggled with, but I’m working on.
What tools (gadgets, apps, books, podcasts) would you recommend to anyone starting their own business, crowdfunding campaign, or project?
The most important tool is happiness! The start-up world is filled with people telling you that you need to work all hours of the day to be successful. That’s just not true, nor is it healthy! Make time for you. But as for podcasts, there are a few really interesting ones that I enjoy. I really like some of the interviews they do on Female Startup Club and Business Chicks. As a digital marketer, I spend a crazy amount of time on socials so unfortunately I don’t find the time to read enough. But I would 100% recommend finding brands and businesses that you admire and following them religiously. Stuck for an idea? Why not see how they communicated it? Taking inspiration from other amazing brands and making it your own is a huge help when you have a small team. Just make sure you’re not just copying other brands. The key is to find new ideas and then think about how you can make them your own or even better! In terms of gadgets, Loomly has been great for all our scheduling, Asana for team management and, of course, playing loud music to get me through it all!
What’s your favorite Indiegogo campaign, or a campaign you’ve recently supported?
I’m not sure I have a favourite but there were definitely a few that inspired me in a big way throughout our initial campaign. Like I said in my previous response, I’m big on taking inspiration from those around me and for us that was Hitch. I loved their video and the way they set up their story. It was genius! And, of course, back here in Australia I loved the campaign by Who Gives A Crap, their tone of voice and video just got me. It was definitely the inspiration for the comedic relief in our campaign.
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