Cara Benau Interview - “Be brave and jump! You will be very surprised at where you can land.”

Tell us something no one would know about you (until now).

Last year I turned 40!!! And the lead up that was scary. No idea why because to be honest it’s no different to 39. Oh and I have been doing Botox for the last 5 years…. Shhh

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Growing up my parents owned a very small “hobby farm” in country Victoria. On the farm I had my own horse called Mindy.  She was a little on the crazy side but I loved her! Every waking hour which I had free I’d spend with Mindy. Feeding, riding, brushing and just being with her. My dream was to own a big ranch style home with a 100 stables and the best horses in the world.

The dream still isn’t dead but I may wind it back a little. These days I’d settle for 2 or 3 horses on a small farm.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Mansfield which is at the foot of Mount Buller. It was one of the filming spots for The Man From Snowy River. I have so many amazing memories from my childhood.

Where do you live now?

I live in south-east Melbourne in a suburb called Carnegie. I only moved here a few years ago and it’s a fantastic area. I feel very blessed to be only a short walk from a few parks, surrounded by great little eating places and still only 15 minutes by car to the city (outside peak hours of course). I feel like I have the best of both worlds suburban and city living.

What inspires you?

It’s hard to say that any one single thing inspires me. The more I grow as a person the more my inspirations change and develop. I’ve only recently married and being part of a family and seeing just how hard it is to raise kids, I was inspired to take our personal struggles and help others who may be going through similar things. There are so many families out there under so much stress and a sleep deprived parent or child really exacerbates that stress tenfold. We engage with each and every customer and take a very personal interest. The stories we’ve heard from parents who haven’t had a full night’s sleep in 6 years, parents battling diseases like cancer, parents of children with ADHD or parents simply facing other hardships, it is just heart breaking. But then they tell you what a difference you’ve made to their lives and how you’ve helped them find that little bit of peace and rest that helps them deal with the day ahead, it just gives you goose bumps and inspires you to grow and help as many people as you can.

Then I have my own little family. My husband and kids inspire me to be the best me I can be. It’s been a huge change in my life. It’s had been just me for such a long time and when you enter a ready-made family there is so much to learn and so many changes you need to make. I won’t lie some days can be really tough but I wouldn’t give it up for the world.

How did your Side Project come about?

A few years ago my step daughter lost someone that was very important to her. She struggled to deal with that loss and it really impacted her sleep. To the point where she was actually scared she’d die in her sleep. Over a period of time bags grew under her eyes, she became more and more withdrawn and that happy little girl just disappeared before our eyes.

We went to sleep schools and tried various other things but none of it seemed to help. That’s when we started doing our own research and experimenting with our own solutions. Then one day we hit the right combination and things started to change. One of our solutions had a huge impact on her sleep. The relief and happiness we felt when she finally slept through the night was life changing. My husband and I said if this helped us imagine how it could help others. That’s how Glow Dreaming was born. We started testing it on family and friends. Each and every time it worked and that’s when we decided to take things further and designed and built Glow Dreaming for a broader market.

What stage is your Side Project in?

We are still very new on the market. We only went live 10 weeks ago and the response we’ve had has been enormous. There are so many people suffering just like we did. We’ve exceeded expectations tenfold from a traffic and sales perspective. What has been best by far has been the feedback. Each week we grow and that means we are helping more people. We are already looking at expansion plans which include further development of our product, launching teen and adult versions of Glow Dreaming and tackling international markets.

What’s your day job/what was your day job?

There is now way you could do Glow Dreaming part time. When we decided to commit to this we said we were going to do it properly. It is most definitely my full-time job now. Before Glow Dreaming I worked in administration for a Nursing agency and my husband has worked in strategy and marketing for some large Australian and global companies.

How do you balance the nine-to-five with your Side Project?

To be honest balance is hard. I suppose as we are still only 10 weeks in I am still learning every day what balance actually means. When you are in that start-up phase and just learning and growing there really aren’t any set hours. There have been times where I’m chatting with clients at 1 or 2 in the morning because they need someone to talk with. It certainly tests you in every way. It’s about being organised and forward thinking.

When was the moment you thought, I might be onto something here?

To be honest I was a little hesitant about our start up. We are funding it ourselves and it’s always a big risk but once we began we started to understand just how big the problem was. Sleep issues in children is bigger than we ever thought and families are really struggling. I won’t lie and early on I thought what happens if our Glow’s don’t work for other families, but they did and they continue to work. Our success rate is at 98% which is simply amazing. We really do do it for our customers and their incredible feedback.

How do you keep yourself motivated?

This can sometimes be a little hard, but as I mentioned in the last question the feedback keeps you going. We see just what a difference we are making.

What was the biggest opposing force that you encountered and how did you overcome it?

The actual production of our Glow Dreaming’s was an interesting process. It’s something neither of us had ever done before and you here so many nightmare stories about manufacturing for the first time. We really did expect the worse. However we did our research and spoke with a few manufactures before we thought we found the right one. They’ve turned out to be excellent. They work for us as hard as we work for our customers and that’s critical to manufacturing and producing a quality product. Nothing has ever been too hard for them. WE did do the best due diligence we could but at the end of the day we also got very lucky.

What has been the best piece of advice you have ever been given and who gave it to you?

It’s pretty cliché I guess but as my friends and family and husband all said was “if you don’t give it go you will never know” And it’s so true what do you have to lose. You just need to jump!

How do you want to make your mark/what legacy will you leave behind?

I just want to make people’s lives a little easier. So many people do it so hard and parenting has no rule book or manual. The more families we help get through each and every day by giving them something as simple as a good night’s sleep then that’s more legacy than I could ever have hoped for.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your Side Project/How do you overcome it?

I find it particularly difficult to hear of the stories out there of how difficult it is for some parents. Children with ADHD, chronic depression, cancer, self-harm, struggling financially and the list goes on. It is heartbreaking and I have spent many a times in my office crying just wanting to reach out to help in any way I can. We do whatever we can under these circumstances because it’s simply about helping people and doing the right thing. I feel very strongly about that.

How did/do you fund your Side Project?

My husband and I have used our own savings to fund this project.

What is the most satisfying part of your Side Project?

Helping people. We love the feedback. By far our customer’s satisfaction is all that matters.

Do you have other Side Projects?

Oh, god no! I don’t have enough time as it is.

What advice would you give to others who are thinking of ditching the day job for their Side Project?

Be brave and jump! You will be very surprised at where you can land.

Does your Side Project make you more productive/happy in other areas of your life?

I am my own boss and finally have control of where I want to be and where I want to take this. It will be as big as you dream it to be.

How can people find you/your Side Project?


To visit the orginal article published by The Side Project please click the link below


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