A few years ago, I found myself in no-man’s land, middle-aged and unable to find a path back into the workforce. I was in my 50s and, because I was caring for my children, I hadn’t worked for 12 years and my knowledge and skills were outdated.

My confidence was shattered, I had postnatal depression after the birth of my youngest child and my whole personality and self-belief had changed.

My business idea came after my daughters were given some bath bombs. They stained my daughter’s skin and caused some skin irritation. The lightbulb went off in my head and I did some research and was horrified to find out that they were basically bathing in poisons. I couldn’t find any alternatives on the shelves in the supermarket and so I sourced a local manufacturer and she developed some bath bombs based on a formula that I gave her. From there, it grew. I now manufacture wellness products for arthritis and muscle pain.

I found Global Sisters through Business Connect in Parramatta and Liverpool Neighbourhood Connection and joined the My Big Idea workshop in 2018. I realised, hey, my idea’s not a bad idea! It just opened my eyes to a whole new world, I hadn’t realised how business had changed, it’s all online. One of the scary bits is social media – I’m a little private so it’s very hard to learn to put yourself out there.

From there, I completed Sister School. It’s non-prejudiced and they take you for who you are, they love you for who you are and their whole intention is to help you grow legs, stand tall and become a success. They opened doors for me that I wouldn’t be able to open alone. They’re not just talk, they’re action – they haven’t just taken me to a level and then forgotten about me, they are there with me the whole way.

Starting a business has had its ups and downs. It’s been a challenging journey, lonely at times and that’s where I’ve leant on my mentors. Global Sisters helped me to believe in myself. You can have these great ideas, and the energy and the motivation to move forward, but if you don’t have that self-belief then your mind stops you – there are a lot of demons in there and they will come up with all the reasons why you can’t do it. The Sister School also gave me the confidence to go back and do some education. I did a Certificate 3 in micro business and I was accepted into Western Sydney University’s innovation and tech launch program.

To me, ‘Making Business Possible’ means there are no limitations – don’t lose your self-belief, just back yourself and keep backing yourself. Being part of the Sistertribe means I’ve forged some really good friendships and I’m also utilising some of the services of the other sisters within the tribe. I think connections and relationships are so important, particularly as a start-up. These women never knew me from a bar of soap and here they are, backing me up.

I look forward to not being stressed out and worried about where my next dollar is going to come from. Financial wellbeing is also about being able to get into the habit of putting some savings away for my children. I’ve been able to do that in the last 12 months – $5, $10 here and there, but it all adds up.

I’m on my way to achieving the goal that I set out to achieve, and that is to have a successful business, a business that gives me financial independence and a business that will give me financial capacity to give back.

I grew up in poverty, I know what it’s like to have had very little. I want to give back and pour what I can into others.

Lila BatebVitra