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working MomsMatter - Karen Brokensha

Karen and her familyMatatu Hospitality Marketing promotes a select portfolio of independently owned Venues and Hospitality Services based in Durban/KZN to the Corporate Conferencing Markets.

Karen Brokensha speaks to moms.

How did you come to be in your line of business? 

I starting waitressing when I was 14 and worked at functions/weddings and race days for pocket money but after studies and my 2 year stint in London in 1997 I worked for a fabulous Engineering Firm in their IT department but suffice to say it was far from dynamic, creative & people orientated so I drew a spider diagram of all my “dream jobs/careers” and this was one of them !
Has starting your own business lived up to expectations?

Yes and No – Yes because it has brought all the freedom and flexibility I expected and I like having various revenue streams not just one pay cheque, however after 5 years in business you realize it is still a pay cheque to pay cheque existence and taking yourself to your own Christmas lunch is highly overrated.
What do you enjoy most about your job?

Connecting & networking with people over tea/coffee and cake every day and the flexibility of entrepreneurial working hours & unlimited potential of dreams!
What is the biggest challenge for you in being a Working Mom?

Managing the balance and business expectations – I am a brand new mom as our baby princess is just 10.5 months old but I find balancing quality time with her and my husband tough to do when I feel the business needs 12 hours a day of my attention no matter how much I outsource.

I also don’t like crying babies in the background when making business calls – I think it is hugely unprofessional, so I juggle telesales when she is at day care and sneak an extra hour or two at the PC when our baby’s asleep and my husband watches TV. It’s also a case of not sweating the small stuff – in the long run time with my family means much more than a contract fee.

How do you manage the commitments of your career with family?

COT = confidence, outsource and trust

Confidence - I believe I am good at what I do and know I offer a good service and have great customers, I love what I do and that makes me a happy mom and wife.

Outsource – give the work to someone you can pay to do it better than you in half the time which frees you to earn more doing what you are good at.

Trust – I am not all things to all people so in the end a Domestic Helper employed to do the ironing and wash the floors, a day care to help look after our baby and a intelligent capable husband who can follow a shopping list – all helps !  
Do you have a favourite networking opportunity or event?
Yes when I invite all my customers to see a new client venue or service in my portfolio, failing that KZN Women in Business cos have been involved there for years and Fedhasa – our industry Hotel Association. Kim and Warren are amazing !
Do you have any advice for anyone out there who is already in, or contemplating getting back into the 'workforce'?

I am I huge fan of being an entrepreneur and believe this is a great path for success in SA so will always encourage Moms to work mornings for themselves doing something they love to be with their families in the afternoons. However security does matter and for those don’t have the desire/confidence to go solo at least get a job doing something you love. Life is too short to be unhappy 8 hours a day!

Anything else you'd like to share with MomsMatter… while you've got the floor!

Create a dream map for your life, a collage of your favourite dreams, desires and destinations. Write them on a list too – cos seeing really is believing.

Matatu HospitalityMatatu Hospitality marketing: Proudly promoting a select portfolio of KZN based Venues & Hospitality Services

Karen is also one of the 4 partners involved in creating the wonderfully needed and successful “
The food market” which takes place on the last Saturday of every month, with the next one taking place 24th April 8am – 2pm at the Hellenic Community Centre, Durban North