Featured biz mama: Nadine Noble of Idea Nest

Featured Biz mama: Nadine Noble of Idea Nest Nadine Noble of Idea Nest is a graphic designer who specializes in helping businesses and non-profits transform their information into pieces that are organized and engaging. She considers herself a left-brained designer; one that craves order and functionality in addition to aesthetics. Her passion lies in reports, ebooks and infographics. She lives in Walkerton, Ontario, Canada, enjoying small town life with her husband, son, Bug and Jug dogs (Boston Terrier + Pug, Jack Russell + Pug). Nadine and I met at the recent HOW Design Conference in Chicago when she stopped by my Moms in Business breakfast roundtable discussion. She was also a contributor to my post HOW Conference recap: Tips from Biz Mamas.

Nadine Noble of Idea Nest

Tell us a little about your business/job responsibilities.

My primary role is as a graphic designer but being a solopreneur I am also client services, marketing, IT support and the bookkeeper.

What are the ages/genders of your children?

I have a busy 1 and a half year old son.

Did you start your business before or after having children?

I started my business before becoming a mom. In my long term plan I had envisioned starting my own business after I had kids but my husband made a career change that relocated us into a rural area, far from the land of design shop/agencies. I had no desire spend hours a day commuting so it made sense to start my own business.

How did your business life change after having children?

Before my son arrived I rarely turned down projects, working evenings and weekends to fit everything in. Along came baby and suddenly time and energy were no longer in abundance. I couldn’t (sanely) operate the way I had before. It’s been an evolving process but I’ve gotten better at not overbooking myself and learning to say ‘no’ or ‘not right now’, especially to projects that aren’t a great fit. I also try to squeeze as much out of my work day as possible by keeping super focused. If I find myself with a few minutes to spare, I go right to my to-do list and see what I can tackle quickly.

Describe a typical workday.

I usually get up at least 30 minutes ahead of my son in the mornings just to have a little time to myself. Brock gets dropped off at the sitter’s and I’m usually at my desk by 8:30. I aim to spend the first 30 min (at least a few times a week) working on my own business and marketing. I’m at my mental peak in the morning so I schedule the tasks that require more thought or that I tend to procrastinate on. I always stop for lunch and take my dogs for a walk. It’s so important to take that mental break (plus my dogs will drive me crazy in the afternoon if they miss their walk). I continue working until 4 and then go to pick up my son. It’s not uncommon for me to do some administrative work after he goes to bed at 7:30, but I’m trying to keep that to just a few nights a week.

What is one tip you can share with other Biz Mamas?

Make an effort to take a little time for yourself that isn’t work, errands or chores. While “alone time” is nice, it’s not synonymous with “me time” and it took awhile for me to catch on to that. Earlier this year I saw myself turning into a pessimistic person and knew I had to make a change. I realized that I wasn’t taking time to do things for myself. Now I aim for at least an hour a day that’s just for me – even if it means that I have to get up a little earlier to enjoy it. It’s paying off for everyone.

Idea Nest

Walkerton, Ontario @theideanest