I love meeting meeting women who see a need in the world and then just go out and do something about it, instead of just talking about it.
Belinda Small is exactly that kind of woman. She is Mum of 2 (including a new born baby) who has created ‘Small Ideas’. Small Ideas is like an Entertainment book especially for families & is currently published for Melbourne only. With 138 family friendly businesses included in the 2016 edition I think this is an awesome idea.
I set out to learn a little more about Belinda and how she came to create Small Ideas.
1. Can you tell me a little about you and your family?
My name is Belinda Small and my sister says I married my husband for a ‘smaller’ surname lol. I have a business background and yet never put my ‘business’ hat on until after we had my son 4 years ago. My husband and I went down the emotional and taxing ivf path and were delighted to have Noah and start our family life in 2011. He was the piece of the puzzle that was missing from our lives and I never thought I could love another being as much as Noah, until Jack came along last December. I can’t remember what kept me so busy before children but I do know that I’m a lot more patient and loving these days and less of a perfectionist.
Our ‘small’ family live in the northern suburbs of Melbourne and I spend much of my time picking up after the not so small mess they create. So fortunately my current job gets me out of the house almost every other day exploring Melbourne with my boys. The question I get asked ALL the time after having my second son is “will I try for a girl?” and the answer is no. Although I am out numbered by boys, I certainly make up for it with a voice that echoes through the small household.
2. How did you come to create ‘Small Ideas’
My husband suffered a heart attack when Noah was just 10 months old. Following were months of recovery at home and as a result our budget was tight and we were no longer able to afford all the activities and adventures we were so used to doing. However I didn’t want Noah or our family to miss out so I purchased the Entertainment book. I soon discovered that few of the businesses listed were appropriate for us to use with a young child so that is how Small Ideas was born.
I wanted to create a book dedicated to families with young children from 0 up to 13 years of age. A handy reference guide for parents to be able to use as a source for ideas on what places, activities and kids stuff are available to them in Melbourne and surrounding suburbs and these ideas come in the form of coupons so we can save money all year round. It’s great for businesses too as they’re able to showcase what they offer for families without the exuberant advertising fees but rather providing a freebie or discount to attract new visitors who wouldn’t have otherwise known about them.
So I found hundreds of businesses who offered something for families and asked them to put in a discounted offer, or freebie in my book. The response was overwhelming and we now have the best places for ‘dining’, ‘sports/arts’, ‘parties’, ‘weekend play’ ‘ Melbourne attractions’ and even something for grown ups in there too. I had parents complement me on how fantastic the idea is and how they too find kids are expensive and their tastes are desires aren’t cheap so for the cost of the book (under $30) they are able to have hours of fun and adventure at a fraction of the cost.
3. How do you juggle running your business and being a Mum?
I’m certainly no clown, well not a clown that can juggle well. My first born was such an easy child that I thought perhaps I was just good at this ‘mum’ thing. I used to bring him along to all my meetings and he would sit nicely having a baby chino while I negotiated…perhaps he secretly helped me score the very best deals. When I see the image of Will Smith and his son in the movie Pursuit of Happiness where he is lugging around those machines to sell with his son in tow, I smile seeing the similarity of my bringing Noah with me everywhere in our pursuit to create the Small Ideas book and sell to as many parents as we could.
The first edition of Small Ideas was challenging but the feedback enabled me to create a bigger and better second edition this year. All the big brands and businesses that were not included in our first edition have since come on board and the success has me motivated to continue to plan for future editions.
Christmas 2015 new member to our small family joined – Jack. As Noah puts it “Jack does nothing” so I take advantage of the newborn phase and work every time he sleeps, which is why so many receive emails from me in the wee hours of the morning.
Many people ask how did I approach all the businesses in the book and juggle my boys and the answer is ‘you just do it’. Same when my hubbie was sick, we all just have to get on with it as there’s no other choice. Thankfully, I find mums stick together and help each other out in times of need and I find real strength in this spirit and am passionate about what I do.
4. What is your favourite thing to do for “me time”?
Travel, eat and dance.
5. Do you actually manage to do this very often??
- Travel once a year, next planned holiday is for a wedding in Fiji.
- Eat at a new place once a fortnight.
- Dance every time I’m in the car, especially r n’ b Fridays.
If you are Melbourne based you can snap up a copy of Small Ideas 2016 for just $29.95.