Purely Polished Founder and CEO, Iman Davamoni
February 16, 2022

Mum-to-be turns maternity leave into thriving business

Author: Kathy Skantzos
Category: Financial Freedom

Starting a business while having your first child may not seem like ideal timing, but Iman Davamoni had a plan to use the time wisely.

After working in corporate HR full time for 15 years with a dream to bring a side hustle to life, it took one pivotal moment in Iman Davamoni’s life to finally take a plunge into the unknown.

Purely Polished Founder and CEO, Iman Davamoni

The timing might not sound ideal when she suddenly fell pregnant, but Iman knew it was now or never to create the self-employed lifestyle she wanted as she prepared to become a stay-at-home mum.

The founder and CEO of Australia’s leading at-home mobile beauty and wellness service Purely Polished knew she was on a time limit to make her business a reality.

Iman was also aware she would need a solid financial plan to have enough money for herself, the new baby, and to set up and maintain a new business – and three months of paid maternity leave wasn’t going to cut it.

“A year off work is a long time so I wanted to make sure I didn’t just have money to support my daily expenses but also to enjoy my time with my little one,” Iman said.

“When I was intending to go on maternity leave, I had savings and needed to make sure I had enough money so I could be comfortable.”

“My strategy was to stick to a budget. I worked it out based on what I would require as a minimum, ensuring I was feeding a bit more into that.”

Sticking to a budget

Iman began planning and putting money away for herself and her business as soon as she and her partner started talking about starting a family.

After working out what she would require as a minimum, Iman automatically deducted money into her savings account each month and tried to feed in a bit more into the kitty than the base line.

“Being really on top of your budget and understanding what’s coming in and knowing what’s coming out so you’re always careful is so important,” she said.

“There is a huge cost in setting up for having a baby, and when you have your first child you end up spending more than you need,” she explained.

Using what you have

Iman’s idea to start a mobile beauty and wellness service came to her when she wondered how she was going to get beauty treatments as a new mum with a baby.

“My mind started ticking because I didn’t want to go back into corporate 9-to-5 with a baby. I started reading books and within six weeks I built the website,” she explained.

“I didn’t invest a lot, I think I spent 250 bucks, I got a nail technician on board and all of a sudden we started getting bookings.”

Iman’s business expanded as she gradually onboarded more staff, striking a balance between not throwing everything into the business while investing what she needed to.

“I kept going and with the maternity leave funds I had I was able to support myself,” she said.

Being careful where you spend 

“I had to be very careful with how I spent my money,” Iman explained. “I had to think with every decision I made whether it was going to be a useful spend for the business and if it was going to have a return on investment.”

Purely Polished Founder and CEO, Iman Davamoni

Iman set up processes right from the beginning to help her stay on track, including setting up a Xero account.

She was strategic about how and when she spent her money and made sure she paid her bills first before adding extras to her business.

“When you are on a very tight budget, it’s working out whether or not you need that service or whether you need to build the technology yet or hire that person yet,” she explained.

“With paying suppliers, I was always careful I had enough money to pay everyone,” she added. “The stats show women pay bills on time while men take more risks, generally.”

Iman said it was important to not invest in “big ticket items” initially and used available resources that didn’t necessarily cost much.

“I had to be very careful with how I spent my money.”

“Sometimes you have to take risks and spend money when you don’t feel comfortable,” she admitted, including getting staff to help her.

“Getting a bookkeeper was a blessing, keeping on top of it when you’re busy and ensuring all the accounts are paid for. It took me a couple of years to get a bookkeeper, but it was a lifesaver,” Iman added.

Shifting during the pandemic

Five years on from launching in 2016, Iman was in serious talks with investors to get her business and team of 11 staff to the next level.

But then COVID-19 hit, which shut down not only the growth prospect of the business, but Iman was forced to close down her entire operation for six solid weeks because of COVID restrictions.

“It was really scary because I didn’t want to lose the business. No income or revenue was coming in.”

On top of that, her second child was born in February 2020 just before the pandemic hit, adding extra expenses and pressure to the mix.

“It was really scary because I didn’t want to lose the business. No income or revenue was coming in. A lot of corporate clients, which is 50% of our business, just disappeared,” she explained.

Even though it was stressful, Iman didn’t let this stop her, using the downtime from the pandemic to change tact.

“Everyone was looking for mobile services and it brought more awareness to at-home beauty services. As soon as we were able to operate, everyone was able to come back on track and then we had a 50% increase in services,” she said.

“JobKeeper was a blessing because I was able to continue with my permanent employees. Without that we would have been in a difficult situation,” Iman added.

Sacrifice and freedom

Purely Polished Founder and CEO, Iman Davamoni

Iman said that while starting her own business has not been easy, it has given the mum-of-two the freedom she was looking for when she took the plunge into self-employment.

“In the early stage of the start-up, we had to make a number of sacrifices to ensure we could keep the business going, and not pay myself a huge amount as a founder,” she said.

“I might not splurge on going out for dinners, but it’s not been that hard.”

“You have to reduce your salary and you’re not going on as many holidays. You need to cut down on spending on clothes and be careful where you spend your money. I might not splurge on going out for dinners, but it’s not been that hard,” she said.

Iman prioritises her family and her business above all else and ensures she’s spending her time and money on the things that are most important to her.

“It’s given me a lot of freedom to manage motherhood and work around-the-clock,” Iman added.

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