Rhian Allen started her own health and fitness website The Healthy Mummy in 2010 after realising there was a gap in the market for a business that could help new mums lose weight.
In just six years, The Healthy Mummy has blossomed into a business that turns over $7 million annually, employs 12 staff and has an email database of more than 150,000 loyal customers. But the journey has been far from easy, with the company running at a loss during its first few years of life.
SmartCompany sat down with Allen to find out where her inspiration comes from, as well as her advice for budding entrepreneurs.
I worked in a media career for 12 years in a senior role.
I knew I wasn’t passionate about that and it wasn’t what I wanted to do. In my last year of corporate life, I studied nutrition part-time.
I got pregnant and I knew my corporate life wasn’t going to fit with the pregnancy – I was around long enough to realise the two don’t go hand-in-hand.
I researched what was out there for mums, and I realised there was nothing that catered to mums losing weight after they have children. There was nothing on a holistic and national level for mums post-baby.
Nobody wants to go for a niche. But I thought, mums are the biggest niche in the whole world.
We have our Healthy Mummy smoothies, which are meal replacement smoothies. We manufacture and make them ourselves because most meal replacements are quite fatty, with 50% sugar and stuff like that.
I wanted to create something that was healthy and safe for breastfeeding.
We also have a 28-day weight-loss challenge. Then we have about 22 books, DVDs; everything is self-published and we do that ourselves.
We’re also about to launch a media side of the business in July.
We have enormous traffic, nearly 2 million mums on the website a month but we don’t monetise it in any way shape or form.
There’s many different arms of the business and as it grows, it’s about having many different revenue streams so we’re not reliant on the one stream.
It’s coming up to six years now, but my number one thing from day one has been the customer. That’s my number one thought, my number one concern.
The customer is a shareholder, really. It’s their business as much as my business.
I’m just a steerer of the ship.
Most corporations always think of shareholders and the bottom line. Obviously we have to pay our bills, but I always think of the customer first.
Money is money – it comes and goes. What’s more important is the people.
I’ve never read a business book in my life; I just focus on what the customer wants.
If you have an idea, you’ve always have to validate that idea.
A lot of people have an idea and it’s a brilliant idea in your head – we all get like that. But you have to remember it’s not necessarily the best idea to everyone else.
You have to have that perspective and step back and say, ‘I’m not the best, I make mistakes’. You have to be able to do that and ask other people for advice and opinions.
You make mistakes and learn, but that’s just part of the whole process.
The customer will always forgive you if they’re part of the process and they’re part of the journey.
I never want to have a business that is happy with being mediocre.
Whenever I reach my goals, I set them higher. It drives some people crazy, but it allows me to keep going.