Mother's Day special - part 4: combining business & motherhood

In our special Mother's Day feature we talk to five women who combine motherhood with running a successful business. This week it's Karen McDermott, publisher and founder of Serenity Press.

What was the inspiration behind the launch of your business and when was it launched?

In 2010 I wrote my first book. I went on to self-publish and the experience was not pleasant. I had a book in my hand and that was it. After doing some research I realised that I knew the basics of publishing and so I made publishing a priority in my life.

At the same time the print and distribution channel my publisher used to print and distribute my book opened a base in Melbourne. I promised myself that if I was accepted as a publisher I would organically grow a publishing press and make it worth $1 million and also share my knowledge with authors so that they can be more and grow into successful authors. I live this every day.

What challenges did you face trying to get your business up and running?

There are always challenges but I suppose it is my perception of challenges that set me out from the norm. I don't see challenges as negatives, I see them as a positive as they mean I am ready to evolve in my business. A challenge comes when we need to upskill or shed something. Challenges are important to business and self-growth.

How do you balance work and family with kids at home?

My children are my priority. I will never compromise on being the person who brings them to school and picks them up. My youngest has just started school as so I have finally moved into an office location. I have always enjoyed building my empire from home so that I can be there when my children need me.

Working for myself I can work my hours on my terms and be in control of our own schedule is a true privilege, one I never take for granted. I am a mum of six aged from four years old to 23. I will keep it real and say that it is busy, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I love getting up every day to be a mum and build my publishing empires. 

What would be your top tips for other mums who are looking to start a business?

•   I can only go on my own experiences but I would say honour YOUR journey, every business journey is different and when you navigate yours your way you will reap the rewards quicker.

•  Remember YOU are the one who is most connected to the essence of your business so that makes you the best decision-maker.

•  Enjoy the journey!

Why do you think so many mums are successful in business?

Because when we are passionate about something we make amazing things happen. Women are great problem solvers and amazing multi-taskers.

What does the ideal Mother’s Day look like for you?

 My perfect mother's day is like every Sunday in my home. 

•  A slow morning where I begin writing.

•  When my kids get up we snuggle on the sofa with a morning drink and watch some Netflix.

•  Then we go out somewhere, usually the beach.

•  A nice dinner.

•  Kids playing in the backyard and I get to write or read some more.

You just got an insight into my Sunday lol. I treasure them as I know they won't be like this forever. Kids grow up so fast!

Best advice your mother gave you?

To treasure happiness.  She has always said to me 'once you are happy love, that's the main thing’.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?

As more and more amazing opportunities come my way I have learned to say yes to the ones that are aligned with my goals and say no to the ones that are not because time is our most valuable resource, and time spend on things that are not aligned is wasted precious time and energy.

What can we expect in 2020?

This year is huge for us. Serenity Press has some amazing books coming out this year by Sarah, Duchess of York, Kate Forsyth, Juliet Marillier, Sophie Masson, Monique Mulligan, Teena Raffa Mulligan and I might have a few of my own books in our production schedule too.

All of these books will be available across Australia and NZ and my rights manager is currently negotiating rights in many territories which is exciting. My other publishing house is MMH Press and I run it alongside five emerging authors and we are all doing great things for authorship. We are publishing and guiding 10 authors to success this year, we are about to launch our first writers festival and our annual book awards are very exciting also.

I am launching a series of seven non-fiction books called The Life Magic Series and also introducing Minky Monkey to the world.

And then there are also the retreats in an Irish castle that we host every year...  

Make sure you check out our digital Mother's Day magazine. Click here to read it now!