There are millions of fabulously hardworking talented and driven mothers out there, and Lucy Mills is one of them! Lucy is the director of The Lighthaus, a boutique talent management company providing strategic representation to some of Australia’s top media, fashion and sporting talent including Bec Judd, Adam Goodes and Nadia and Jimmy Bartel.
Lucy Mills established The Lighthaus in 2013 after 11 years experience in the talent management industry with Connors Sports Management. In 2005 she was the first female to receive an Agents Accreditation by the AFL Players Association and in 2012 Lucy was a member of the Australian Olympic Committee Media Team for the London Olympics. She has genuinely established herself as one of the top talent managers in Australia.
A few months after launching The Lighthaus Lucy fell pregnant with her son Bailey and was faced with the demands of juggling parenthood and her own business. Lets hear how she does it….
You are the director of a fabulously successful talent management agency – did you always plan to have your own company?
Not at all! Having my own business was never on my radar or in my dreams. It really came about because an opportunity presented itself at a time that was able to act on it and I decided to take the leap of faith and see where I ended up and so The Lighthaus was born.
You set up your business not long before you fell pregnant with your son Bailey, did you plan motherhood around your career, or vice-versa?
Again this was not planned but really just the way things happened. The Lighthaus had just turned 1 prior to Bailey arriving.
There are positives and negatives to having your own business and having a baby at the same time. It has been great that I have been able to work from home and have Bailey here with me, as well as trying to have some control over the workload I commit to and flexibility to work the hours in the day/night that suits our lifestyle. However the downside to working from home and juggling it with a baby mean that it is hard to differentiate between work and family time. But at the moment I wouldn’t have it any other way.
You never really stopped working when you had your son, how did you manage this?
I won’t lie- this was not easy at all. I think I was delusional to think that I could continue working in the first few weeks/months of Bailey’s life. There is a reason why women go on maternity leave if only for a few months! But when you have your own business sometimes that isn’t an option.
I was very lucky to have a lot of support at home. I employed a nanny/housekeeper and she took care of the household duties (cooking/cleaning/washing/ironing/supermarket shopping etc etc) so I could just focus on Bailey and then work when he was sleeping. Lucky for me Bailey was a pretty good sleeper both in the day and night. It would have been much harder had I not had a home office set up, so I didn’t waste any time travelling to and from work. My clients were also very understanding that my work hours were not the standard 9-5pm (but who’s are these days?!?) and I still do a lot of emails in the evening when he is in bed.
I had an assistant that would help with business admin and my mum was also an amazing support at that time. And I couldn’t have done it without such a supportive husband!
For anyone out there that finds themselves in a similar position my advice is to get as much help as possible especially in that first few months.
What surprised you most about becoming a working parent?
How hard the juggle is, however I think all working parents would attest to that. And how quickly the days go by, I thought time went quickly before I had a baby and now it goes by in a flash! And also the guilt that you are not doing either properly. However I tell myself that I am setting a good example for Bailey as to what is possible if you work hard. I do find now that he is older (18 months) that it is much easier to juggle with good support at home, and due to that I have lots of quality time with him from the flexibility of having my own business.
What does a typical day look like for you?
No two days are the same in this industry. I have a home office so you will often find me there working on my laptop, however I spend lots of time out and about meeting with people in a range of industries that my clients are working with. I travel interstate quite regularly. I also attend a number of shoots each year that range from TVC’s to campaign shoots. I really enjoy the diversity that my work entails.
What has been your greatest achievement or your biggest challenge as a working parent?
Biggest challenge is definitely finding the work/life balance and it is something I am still working on!
Greatest achievement is managing to grow my business at the same time.
What was the best piece of advice you received about managing motherhood and career?
Don’t sweat the small things. You really don’t have time to worry about any of that anyway, so don’t beat yourself up if things don’t go to plan. Tomorrow is another day to try again.
Is there any advice you could share with other mums about balancing career and motherhood?
Get help. I chose to get mine at home with household duties so any free time I have I can spend having quality time with Bailey. Don’t try and by superwoman and do everything yourself. It is ok to ask for some help either from family or another source. Outsourcing is a great idea whether it is cleaning, ironing, cooking meals or whatever you can outsource as much as possible.
If possible try not to work on weekends so that you have time as a family unit. You don’t realise how precious your weekends are until you have kids. Other than that just to enjoy it and cherish every moment with your little one as they really do grow up very quickly!