You can’t throw that out


“You can’t throw that out, it’s a collector’s item … ”

There is a stage in life that a whole generation of Canberrans is in the thick of, and that is caring for their elderly parents, and their homes full of treasures.

I use the term treasures to encompass lots of different things, some items being of actual value (if Nan’s got some flying ducks those things can be worth a fortune), then some things are not treasures as modern society would see them, like the mug that Pop always had his morning coffee in.

Treasured flying ducks

Why, oh why, did Nan keep all this stuff for so damn long, when really 80 per cent of it is actually junk? The answer is pretty simple really.

Australians who are now in their 80s and 90s lived through the wake of the Great Depression.

For those of you who wagged history or economics in high school, the Great Depression was the worst economic downturn of the industrialised world, the stock market crashed, unemployment skyrocketed, people stopped spending, we couldn’t export, and importing was too expensive. The babies of the 1930s were born into homes with almost nothing and learned to survive by working together and being conscious of the high value of what we now consider to be everyday items.

Old photographs

Just as the economy started to recover, World War II consumed the Australian way of life, and while as a nation we were able to export more goods than ever before, the 20s and 30s babies were now entering their teens or early adulthood, they were still on rations, and many had to answer the call to help their country by going to work from an early age, or going to war.

The 50s and 60s offered something entirely new to young adults and their families in Australia. Compared to their parents who survived the Great Depression, these guys were working hard, playing hard, and spending hard, buying those flying ducks, and building their project homes. The collection started, it was hard-earned, it was an impressive display of Aussie success.

Collector's items

My Grandmother actually wrapped all her trinkets and treasures individually in Glad Wrap. Things were wrapped and then placed on the pelmets above the windows. This was to protect the treasures from dust, and the possibility of being broken or touched by grandchildren with sticky fingers. Every decade or so she would set about the task of Glad Wrap renewal.

We would ask her if we could help her sort through them, to get rid of some, and she would say “no! One day they will be collector’s items!”

This is a woman who had nothing growing up, she lost her dad to ill health when she was 13, leaving her mum and her eight brothers and sisters to fend for themselves, in some of the most difficult economic times ever experienced. She grew up to have a home all of her own, where each of her three children had their own bedroom, and her modest brick home in Weston Creek was decorated by the mementos of a lifetime of hard work. Of course, she protected her treasures, in her mind, if she ever needed to, she could sell them for a small fortune, or leave them as a legacy for her children and grandchildren.

Vintage kitchen

Unfortunately for us, the legacy is actually more rich in nostalgia and sentiment than actual riches, and we are all now blessed with the privilege of flicking through every book for loose $5 notes from 1994 and having to determine if this teacup is actually valuable, or if it’s a knockoff, which it probably is. Gran moved out of her place, which is now my home, nearly 5 years ago, and yep, I still have some bloody teacups under the house because I just can’t bring myself to get rid of them because, who knows, maybe one day, they will be worth a fortune …

Thank you to the family of 27 Ernest Street for providing me with the inspiration for this piece.

Bianca Way, Real Estate Agent Home.byholly Weston Creek/Mt Taylor Specialist

27 Ernest Street Crestwood




My husband Rob is also a contributor to The Shaker, and we were chatting about this week’s topic of gaming, and how it applies to business. I was encouraging him to write a piece as he often reflects on the similarities and he also loves gaming. I don’t game, so how could I contribute?

But then I realise, I do, I have a ‘game’ that I play every day, for extended periods of time, and that game is social media.

Let’s face it, businesses of 2019, especially small and boutique businesses rely on social media. It’s a fantastic tool, and allows us to gain a network reach beyond what we were able to do even a decade ago, (ok, maybe two, where have the years gone?) It’s become so important that there is an entire industry to help us grow our reach, build interactions, market the right people, and to create beautiful feeds. Now it’s more valuable to invest in a social media manager than it is paying for advertising in a newspaper.

But how is it a game? I ask you instead, how isn’t it? Its strategic, time sensitive, calculated, targeted, and there’s a formula for success. But as your social media manager will advise, people are becoming savvier, and we need to go beyond the formula to actually turn engagements into quantifiable business opportunities.

I am in the process of getting registered as a Real Estate sales agent, and while studying I have been transitioning my personal brand away from the wedding industry and into the real estate industry. While I have the time, I have been working on growing my reach and boosting my interactions. A friend of mine suggested I try Gary Vee’s $1.80 technique , which I tried one evening on Instagram, and it worked. Have a read on the link, but essentially you go to 10 of the hashtags relevant to your industry, and comment and like the top 9 posts.

Low and behold by the morning I had a dozen new followers, for what was actually not that much effort on my part. However, these followers were mostly hot people from America that specialise in business growth, living large and buying sports cars. Good for the eye candy for a few minutes, but really, they aren’t actually quantifiable business leads. Numbers of followers only go so far, and these guys (and girls) have had success from the people that buy into the ‘game’. The game where things look amazing, you’re dripping with cash and surrounded by beautiful people. Sign up to their program, and watch the dollars roll in.

We live in a world where dogs can have more Instagram followers than a charity, where there is a new generation of people having critical discussions about the impact of social media, on those with eating disorders. Gaming addiction use to be something concerned parents blamed for violent behaviour in youths, and now standing alongside that is social media addiction, consuming the minds of our young people, and us too. There’s science now around what the effects of all this social media usage is having on us as a society, so add that to your list of critical things to stress about too.

I spoke to Hayley Peters, Co-Founder of Oh My Digital Agency and a childhood friend, and she agrees; “Social media is absolutely a game, I would compare it to a game like The Sims, where you’re playing for the long-term gain. You must identify what your goals are, set yourself up with the right foundations from the beginning, surround yourself with the right (supportive, likeminded) people and equip yourself with a plan of attack. Without goals in place you’re basically just winging it and hoping for the best

So, what’s one thing that seems to stand out amongst the scroll and the minutia of social media? People are craving authenticity. Social media managers like Hayley, are putting the emphasis on posting to stories, warts and all (please don’t put your warts on your stories, or do, is there some sort of wart awareness we need?). She says; “The biggest piece of advice we can give to anyone trying to master the art of social media is to lead with value – hit your followers with so many reasons to invest in your journey that they fall in love with you.”

Essentially, people are wanting more than pretty images on a feed, they are wanting glimpses on how normal you are, how you do normal human things. One of the stories I posted with the most engagement was actually just a day where I shared the gardening my family and I were doing. We want social media to be real life again, because we all so eagerly let it consume us that we forgot we were losing ourselves in it. When really, it can be no more real than many hours spent roaming around Skyrim.

(Caveat: I had no idea Skyrim was a name of a place, I needed Rob to clarify that. Love from the not gamer half of the Way team)

Written by Bianca Way and Published by The Shaker:



There I sat, 18 years old, UAI estimate in hand (old school ATAR), in the office of my year advisor. I had busted my arse since starting at this very prestigious Canberra private school in year 11, and the piece of paper in my hand was supposed to hold the key to my future. The payoff to my hard work, I needed this to be good so I could get into Uni and do a degree in Public Relations

The year advisor sat opposite me with a concerned and very serious look on her face. We opened up the estimate, and it was 38. She looked at me and she said “we need to discuss your options, because you will only ever be average.

My heart sank, I was numb for the rest of the meeting, and don’t remember anything beyond that grim assessment that she so indelicately delivered to me. I left the office in tears, was found by two of my closest friends, and I sat in the year 12 courtyard crying to them. How was it over already? What was I supposed to do now? How was I supposed to tell my parents? I was so embarrassed.

That woman, her words, and that little number left me broken for a while. My final score was 43, which didn’t really give me any options for Uni, but eventually I enrolled to study an Advanced Diploma of Marketing at a local RTO, which I commenced the February after I had graduated year 12.  That one sentence has been etched into my memory ever since, and writing this now fills me with anger, because what type of advice is that!? But I have also been prepared to thank my dear year advisor if our paths ever crossed again, because that one sentence, gave me the fuel I needed to prove her wrong.

Once you’re out in the real world you quickly realise that getting a shit ATAR does not condemn you to a life of being poor and lonely. It is in no way the end. There are so many other options.

Here are some examples:


I have known Bec since primary school and she didn’t finish year 12, but was cluey with computers, so got a job working full time at 17 in a repair centre at Nokia. She then went on to work at several different IT service desks, climbing up from telecommunications rolls to technical roles in both the private and public sector. On the job experience and industry specific training had her managing a team of 20 analysts, and getting a six-figure salary at the age of 24. All while everyone else was at Uni. For Bec, she has never been asked what education she has, or to what level it has been completed. She has hustled, and she has found success.


Local Canberran writer, Influencer, Queen, and Florist extraordinaire LouLou Moxom didn’t finish year 11, yet has gone on to have an amazingly successful career, and has personal character that people of all ages admire. She said “I think the pressure is ridiculous for those of us who aren’t high achievers at 17, I mean, for f**ks sake, who at 17 knows exactly who they are and where they are headed? I’d tell those kids (waiting on Uni scores) to not sweat the small stuff and that Uni isn’t a gauge for success”

The friends that helped me that day

The two friends who sat with me while I cried that fateful afternoon, went on to receive scores of 98 and 95.9. We were three young kids, about to face the world, but starting from opposite ends of the bell curve. Abigail received a score of 98, went on to study Arts, and then Law, and has practiced law ever since (while squeezing in time to have babies) and she interestingly enough has said that she wishes he had focused more on finding who she was as a person, before pursuing something based on potential income and standing. “I went to university because I got the numbers, I got the degree because I have got some brains, but was it the right pathway for me? No, now I am stuck, for at least a while” Had she waited, he would have chosen teaching.

The friend who got 95.9, studied law for a while, ditched the whole thing, travelled the world, found out who she was, went back to Uni, and now works doing stuff that’s so interesting and important that I’m not even going to name her here.

Pathways vary, and careers, like life, have peaks and troughs. We live in an age where we have to go beyond simply praising someone based on the knowledge they have accumulated and been assessed on. The thing that drives success isn’t just the knowledge we have, but the drive, persistence, and the will we have to work for something. Success isn’t only found in an ATAR score, and it’s also not found only in the amount you get paid. Some of my most personally successful moments have been felt when I have accomplished something of which there was no financial incentive.

I went to Uni eventually to study Marketing, at 29, when my UAI was irrelevant anyway. I did well, but I was still unsure of why I was doing it. I had hoped that if I got a degree while being at home with the kids that it would somehow make up for the shortfall the “time off” was creating in my resume. I asked a mentor for advice when the pressure and distain for academics started to take its toll. I told her I wanted to take everything I had learned over the past decade and throw it all into the real estate game. She told me to do what made my heart sing, and said in all caps “YOU DON’T NEED THE F**KING DEGREE! Ditch it, right now” so I did.

I wanted to write this in case there is a 18 year old kid sitting around this week shitting their pants about the future, I (and those who have contributed above) want you to know that it will be ok, if the number isn’t what you need, don’t sweat it, you have options, you are not average. Think outside the box, the bell curve, the standardised testing, and know the things that will bring you success are things like tenacity, courage, and authenticity. 

And to my year advisor, thank you, but I hope you have changed careers.

Written by Bianca Way and Published by The Shaker:

Is it possible to be more obsessed with TikTok than your kids? Asking for a friend.


A month ago my husband was obsessed with TikTok.

I know this because he was on the toilet for unusually excessive amounts of time, meaning 80 per cent of his spare time was now spent on the toilet.

He would show me random TikTok videos and I’d look at him like he was mental. Why bother me with this basic garbage? My 17-year-old cousin told me it’s the best ever. Righto kid, I’m old and am already suffering from social media overwhelm, it’s kinda dumb and it certainly ain’t for me.

Then one evening, while having a few wines on the deck with a friend, it started.

The scroll, the enjoyment, the dark humour, the dances, the love hearts being double tapped through eyes filled with laughter-induced tears. That was the night TikTok ruined me.

(For those without children, and who have lives, TikTok is a video-sharing social network used to create short lip-sync, comedy, and talent videos. The app launched globally in 2017.)

Post-deck bottle of wine, I became obsessed. I’ve posted a few of my own videos here and there, trying to replicate a few of the dances that make no sense to me, then I’ve gone on to simply turning the phone on myself and ranting which has proven to be quite the top performer.

But nothing has come close to my “potato salad cooked in a minute” video recipe which in less than a week has racked up an astounding 15,000 views. I’m TikTok famous.

You need to understand my brain is broken now. I sometimes blurt out while cooking dinner “somebody come get her she’s dancing like a strippperrrrr” and my kids look at me like WTF? Fellow broken adults like me won’t even be able to read WTF the same anymore.

I’m a pretty busy person. I work huge hours full-time and have two kids, so I’m not on social media much, or reading the news, or watching television, so now downtime consists of seeing what TikTok has to tickle my fancy, and what other boring shit can I film during my day for all the views. I literally learned that Australia was going nuts for toilet paper on TikTok.

Thankfully, there is a huge demographic of working mums over 30 on there. .. then there’s all the teenagers (who were hella upset when I said I didn’t think the Frozen 2 plot was very cohesive).

There’s some hot people doing hot people things, there’s some real ass people doing some self deprecating comic genius stuff, there’s LOTS of dancing, lots of cooking, just lots of all the things you never realised you gave a shit about at 11:36pm.

I’m ruined by TikTok and I ain’t even mad. But seriously, “somebody come get herrrr … ”

Written by Bianca Way and published by C!News Canberra:

The lounge room painting bringing joy to the people of Fisher


It was during my morning Instagram scroll that I stumbled across a post by The Happy Broadcast. The Happy Broadcast launched 12 months as a channel for optimism and positivity about all the things good with the world. During the fires, I took great refuge in seeing the good, while keeping windows locked tight to avoid the toxic air outside.

After a summer of stress and isolation due to fire, here we are again holed up in our homes, trying to endure a global pandemic. There’s a lot of uncertainty, but one thing we all know is this is the new norm – for at least the next little while.

A few weeks – days? – into #stayhome, the challenge of isolation for my kids started to become really bloody obvious. I don’t know if my six-year-old consciously notices it, but I have noticed she’s “bored” more, and more sassy than usual (so very freakin’ sassy).

So when The Happy Broadcast last week featured people hanging printed rainbows with the words “everything will be ok” in their windows, to help reassure passersby and bring a little joy into the world, I thought, bugger it, today we are painting the window.

Delila and I spent an hour or so painting a giant rainbow mural on our living room window. We didn’t have a brush big enough, so opted straight for finger painting, using the water-based washable poster paint we had in our craft cache. By the end, the living room resembled a local kindergarten, but slowly people started to look as they walked past, smile, and then wave to us.

My daughter’s face lit up every time, and she became conscious our painting was “helping make people smile mum!”

I posted the time-lapse of our project onto my personal Facebook page and people loved it. A friend of mine said I should share it to “The Rainbow Trail” Facebook group, which today has 134k members. Prior to Sunday, I had no idea this was really even a thing. But it turns out its massive in the UK – so massive in fact that the Queen mentioned rainbows hung in windows during her Easter broadcast to the nation.

Yesterday, one of the neighbours called me to thank us for painting it, saying that she and her husband love looking out of their window and seeing it across the street. Already we plan to expand and paint more. I love that it is helping connect us to the community, because we all need a bit of brightness in the world in times like this.

And while adults and parents of 2020 will remember this time as a stressful, economically-challenging, unprecedented time, hopefully Delila looks back and remembers a time spent playing in the garden with her family, and painting rainbows on her windows.

Written by Bianca Way and Published by C!News Canberra:

Bianca Way, Real Estate Agent Home.byholly Weston Creek/Mt Taylor Specialist

About to undertake a reno in Canberra? Read this first


If you knew you were about to start a project that wouldn’t finish for four years, would you still start it?

I would. Because that’s how long it’s just taken me to completely renovate the house we bought in Fisher in 2016. It was my gran’s house, so I kept a lot of the original features that literally still make my heart sing but complemented them with a more modern layout, materials and fittings.

After a four year labour of love, I wanted to share with you what I learnt.

1. Don’t overcapitalise.

Before you start, research the homes in your area that have been renovated, look for those that have sold recently and learn how much they sold for. Compare this to the value of your home and the type of investment you want to make. Overcapitalising is one of the first big mistakes you can make, and while you want to renovate to enjoy the space, some homes will never make back the investment of the $197per sqm feature tile you chose to put in your three-bed entry-level townhouse. Be clear on why you’re renovating: are you renovating to sell? Or is this your forever home? If your purpose is to sell or rent, be extra cautious of overcapitalising.

(Bonus tip: While we’re on budget, if you’re dealing with an older house, you definitely need a contingency. I can confidently assure you that when that gyprock comes down, or that kitchen comes out, you’re going to find a hidden surprise you will likely have to throw some money at. We removed our 50-year-old kitchen to find that NO FLOOR HAD BEEN LAID under the cabinetry. WTF?

2. Learn the lingo.

Learn to speak Tradie. If you want to be savvy and save yourself time and money, know how to measure to the millimetre, calculate square meterage, and know some of the basic sizes things come in. For example, kitchen cooktops usually come in 600mm, 900mm, or 1200mm sizes, so kitchen joinery is usually built to a similar specification.

This also comes down to things like knowing the difference between a roof and a ceiling (ceiling is inside, roof is outside) or the difference between a sink and a basin (sink in the kitchen, basin in the bathroom). This may seem insignificant but when you’re chatting to your plumber about where to position the basin on your 1200mm wide bathroom vanity, you will have a much clearer discussion, with said plumber knowing you’ve got your shit together.

3. Let your tradie do their thing.

When you manage to find a tradesperson you trust, treat them right. My advice is:

  • Leave them alone: When they’re working, leave them the heck alone. If they need your input they’ll ask. Trades are complicated, and often if you’re watching a process from start to finish there’ll be parts of that process that don’t make sense to you. Be patient, chances are when the job’s done, your question will be answered on its own.
  • Pay them on time: Nothing motivates anyone to work hard more than reliable cash money. If you take forever to pay your tradie, I can guarantee they ain’t coming back in a hurry.
  • Be reliable: Sure, there are tradies out there giving the good guys bad names, but if you agree to be at home at a certain time, be there.

4. Do some stuff yourself.

We just finished our deck, and I painted what felt like 2039kms of black posts for the balustrades. Doing this myself saved my builder a tonne of time, and probably saved me a tonne of money. Don’t be scared to let your tradesperson know you’ll help with prepping the space for a job, and then get in there and do it. Side note:

(Bonus tip: DO NOT demolish things yourself unless you have spoken directly to your trades. If you’re not a qualified carpenter or electrician and you decide to smash down a wall on Saturday, you’re gonna mess it up. Leave it the heck alone! Tradies can actually meticulously and cleanly demolish a space in half the time and effort of you getting hammer-happy on your own.)

5. Clear your evenings.

Renovating takes time and flexibility, and things very rarely run to schedule. If you’re managing the project, make sure you have time each day or week to sit down and assess the progress. Make sure you line up trades in the right order, with enough time to get their work done before the next trade rocks up. This process of resource juggling is time-consuming, so don’t undertake a reno project if you’re not able to devote time to it.

Written by Bianca Way and published by C!News Canberra:



Social consciousness is an interesting thing, especially in a time where it’s so easy to share our voice with the world thanks to social media. It’s easy to share, but there’s a lot of voices out there, and it’s hard to get our opinions heard amongst the chatter. Is it just me, or is there something in the air in 2019, something that’s waking us up more than ever before?

Obviously, the conversation about gender equality is a topic that has been at the forefront of social consciousness for over a century. Women have been protesting and trying to drag ourselves from the primordial ooze that is millennia of being considered the weaker sex, and lately I have discovered that more and more women are struggling to determine what we want to do with the “roles” that have been placed upon us.

Society has a long way to go before there is real equality, and while the Gen Xers and younger are mostly onboard with the whole idea, I have found that more and more women are discovering that there’s no time left for men to get on board, because we are going to take it regardless.

I have two kids, whom I adore, and ten years ago I could imagine nothing more rewarding than being a mother, and a support to my family. I wanted to have babies from as young as I can remember, and I still want to be a mother, but I am very tired of having to fight my way back into a place of respect in the workforce, because I have chosen to procreate.

Prior to starting our family, my husband and I both worked in the same job, quite literally we did the exact same thing, for the same company, for an hourly rate, of which I was paid $4 less. This was due to my negotiating power, obviously.

Then we had our daughter, and I stayed home with her while running my own business, I worked my arse off, and built something that I am still immensely proud of. After nearly 5 years away from “employment” and 4 months after the birth of our son I returned to work part time. Although I had gained so much business experience being self-employed, my main focus during those years was being a mother, and consequentially, I was awarded salary 40% lower than my husband, and a position not equal to my skill set, almost as if my professional experience prior to motherhood had expired.

EVERY single mother is asked the same question when they go to work; “Who’s watching the kids?” I bet my bottom dollar that most working mothers have been asked “Oh don’t you miss them?” Well guess what, for me to be at work, means they are in someone else’s safe hands, and also, of course I miss them! But the fact is that some employers expect you to work like you have no kids, society expects you to parent like you have no job.

I am at a point in my life where I have had my kids, my baby making years are behind me, and I am ready for the next stage of my career to start. My body is finally my own, I am gaining more time, and my kids are getting more independent. I am ready to disrupt, I am ready to surpass any success I have had in my life so far, and I am fairly certain I am not alone in this. I would assume this is why the number of women owned, run and led businesses has been growing steadily over the years. Rather than waiting for a workplace to appreciate and respect us, we are making our own. The Financial review reported last year that; entries in the business and entrepreneur category tripled in number, reflecting the advance in female entrepreneurs. Women today own almost 40 per cent of Australia’s small businesses.

Women have been sharing stories with me about how they are at a point where they are seriously evaluating everything they want in their lives. Feminism has empowered us (to a degree) in the workplace however we are really shaking up every role. Redefining what it means to be a mother, wife, girlfriend, lover, friend, human. Many women are finding they don’t necessarily want or need kids, or they don’t want or need a spouse, women are discovering that they can do it on their own, and that its ok to be alone, if that’s what you need.

I write this in the hope that it inspires you to have the conversation, as a way to invite people to share more about what this awakening means for them. Have you been having these thoughts, these discussions? Have you been feeling entirely energized whilst also entirely vulnerable?

This is not a hobby, this won’t go away. Women are stepping out, we are writing books, we are podcasting, we are shaking up industries, we are being scarily authentic and letting our lioness voices roar out over the chatter. We are suiting up, we are leaving the house (the kids are fine, trust me) and we are taking what we are more than capable of having.


Written by Bianca Way and Published by The Shaker:



Now I have Vanilla Ice playing in your head, let’s talk Collaboration.

I’ve just spent 7 years working in the wedding industry as a celebrant, and hand to heart, I would not have had the success I had without some very significant collaborations. Small business can be quite isolating, especially when you’re the sole proprietor of that business. There are no Christmas parties, there are no corporate events, there’s no backup, and without collaborations with other businesses, you very quickly can feel as though you are on an island.

There have been collaborations that have been amazing for my business, however, there have been some that have ended in stress and the breakdown of friendships. Here’s what I learned, why I found some valuable and some hard.

While some small business owners can’t quite stomach collaborating with people they are in direct competition with, I personally love it.  Firstly, you can’t have all the business, there’s the practicality of it actually being impossible for one person to have ALL the business, and to be fair, you probably don’t want it. There is some business that’s better suited with other people, and there is some business you are simply unable to service due to availability etc.

Another benefit to being close to your direct competition is you have backup and support if needed. I know within the wedding industry, lots of service providers have trusted businesses they call on if they are unwell and therefore unable to get to a wedding, or if they have an emergency or need assistance on the day. After a few years in the Celebrant industry, I can easily say that what started out as competitive businesses, have actually ended up being my closest friends. And that there, is what I have found to be the key.

In terms of profitable collaborations, the best and most lucrative ones are ones I have with other vendors, especially photographers. The ones I have the best relationships with I directed my clients too and vice versa. On a few occasions we collaborated directly to deliver services as a team, sharing the profits and the follow-on effects of the publicity that the collaboration generated.

There have been other collaborations that haven’t worked as well but taught me some really valuable things about my business, and the way I work with people.

Trust is key. Seek to collaborate with people that you genuinely know, if you see their business and see the collaboration opportunity, take the time to getting to know them before committing to the collaboration. Observe how they work with other business’ and keep an eye on their integrity and their personal ethics. If there is a value alignment, and if you feel there is trust, then give it a try. I’ve found the best collaborations have been with businesses where we were both so eager to work together, we would have done it for free.

Thanks to social media there are some really aesthetically appealing businesses, and we all work hard to build followings and make connections, and I feel that in 2019, with all this ‘connection’ we owe it to the success of our businesses to actually connect. It has to go beyond aesthetics. Seek to ensure you have that mutual understanding and respect prior to engaging in a collaboration.

Small business can be cutthroat, and some people are malicious, and sometimes your feelings can get hurt. When money and people’s livelihoods are involved that’s making them vulnerable, and things can go south really quickly, so another key to a success in collaboration is communication.

Be clear from the outset about the financial aspects of the collaboration. You owe it to your business to have details in writing regarding how you plan to divide profits and share associated costs. Money disputes, the value one places on time, and financial expectations place a lot of pressure on a project, so set this up in the beginning when things are good, to help avoid disputes later.

For me, the times where things have ended badly, the issue has always been communication. Very often people can be put offside with business “partners” and don’t come straight out and discuss the issue for fear of the repercussion, or the desire to avoid conflict. I know personally that had discussions been had prior to the collaboration coming to an end, at the very least both parties could have avoided heartache and the eventual breakdown of the relationship entirely.

Try making a commitment to your co-collaborator/s that if an issue arises, you will all address it directly, professionally, and as rationally as possible. All players may not live up to this, but if this is the way you conduct your business, at least you will know that you have operated with integrity.

Think seriously before diving in to a collaboration, and make sure you actually do have the time and capacity to commit to the desired outcomes of all parties. When you are entrepreneurial in nature it is easy to get swept away over a glass of wine with a friend and come up with the world’s best business idea, when realistically these types of decisions need to be made pragmatically and with a clear head. Ask yourself, do I really have time to commit to this project, do I have the ability to be direct and authentic with my co-collaborator, and if this all falls apart, what effect would that have on the relationship, and myself as a person?

Written by Bianca Way and Published by The Shaker:



Let me say straight up, I am not a doctor, dietician or nutritionist, those guys are the real deal, I am a mum and entrepreneur, and this is my experience with Anxiety (capital A because in my mind it has one), and how I’ve helped to manage it.

When my daughter was 2, I experienced anxiety for the first time. It was Mother’s Day, we were in the middle of trying to sell our house, and it was the tail end of the biggest wedding season I had ever worked in my small business as a celebrant. That evening I had a panic attack, which would be the catalyst of the cloud of anxiety that would continue to follow me around for the next two years.

My diet wasn’t great, so I made the decision to start going to the gym, signed up to a program for “busy mums” and followed it to the calorie, while going to the gym 4 times a week. The exercise helped quieten the simmering of anxiety slightly, but if triggered I would panic.  I followed this regimen for months, but neither my weight nor my mental health shifted.

I went and saw a physiologist and established a mental health care plan, she explained to me that this was something that would likely be with me for life, and that I needed to work on lessening my mental load, while learning coping mechanisms. I struggled with the permanency of this diagnosis. Anxiety was just going to be this other looming character in my life, forever?

In May 2017 I hit breaking point. We had just welcomed our son, our daughter was in preschool, my business was steady, and I was returning to work part time at a consultancy firm. However, my mental health was at its breaking point and I felt like I wasn’t succeeding at any facet of my life. I comforted myself at nights with chocolate and cups of tea in front of Netflix, for you know, self-care.

I scheduled in to see my GP to get back on the mental health care plan bandwagon, willing to try medication and whatever else was needed to be able to think clearly and not be constantly on the verge of panic. The night before my appointment I googled “natural ways to relieve anxiety” and one option popped up a few times. Sure, there were recommendations of essential oils and yoga and herbal tea, all of which I was actively trying, but the big one was quitting sugar.

I needed something drastic, so I dug deeper, sure, cutting refined sugar is pretty well known as being a smart thing to do for general health, but also, I wanted to cut everything my body metabolises as sugar. When I saw my GP, I mentioned I wanted to try it seeing as I was breastfeeding, and I wanted to see if it worked before adding pharmaceuticals into my diet. She gave me the (sceptical) go ahead and off I went.

If you weren’t aware, there are 37 different things that are just other words for sugar (listed below), and when I did some research, I found that lots of the fibs I had been telling myself about the food I ate were in fact that. As trends go, we are let to believe that the “healthy” raw slice at the vegan café is going to be good for us, while its sweetened with rice malt syrup, dates, agave etc.

Different Names for Sugar

These are some of the possible words for “sugar” which may appear on a label. I’m not going to go through all 37 of them, but here are a couple for reference: agave nectar, barley malt sugar, brown rice syrup, cane crystals or corn sweetner.

As Dietitian Paula Norris (@movingdietitian) mentions here“Even raw treats sweetened with dried fruit such as dates end up being calorie-dense, and have up to 60 per cent sugar content, as the amount of dates used in these recipes can be quite high. Raw treats can be as calorie dense as normal sweets, so treat these like you would any other treat!”

Now it’s important to note that whole fruits, while containing Fructose, are also made up of balanced nutrients (fibre etc) which means our body slowly metabolises them and (for me) they don’t affect my mental health, I still eat fruit every day.

As a busy mum and small business owner, I remember the days where I would chuck a muesli/nut bar, and maybe an Up and Go, into my handbag as I was racing out the door heading to the office via school drop off. I know I am not alone in the 3pm sugar binge, or better yet, the “thank god the kids are asleep now give me all the dessert” bedtime ritual. Sure, I knew the treats would be bad for my weight, but it wasn’t until I started reading that all important sugar content section of the nutritional information, when I realised how wrong I was getting it. (Tip: Divide your grams of sugar by 4 and that gives you a rough idea of how many teaspoons there are. I often visualise what it would be like if I were to sit down to 5 teaspoons of white sugar… blergh!)

After a month of no sugar, I was anxiety free. Things that would ordinarily have triggered me didn’t. I had no buzzing anymore, and for the first time in a long time I had mental clarity. Now 18 months later, along with that clarity I have lost 26kgs and have for the first time in my adult life I have managed to maintain it. When I have been less strict (like when holidaying for example) I can feel the cloud try and loom in, so for me, it’s easier to stay off the sugars. Life is so much better without it.

We expect a lot of ourselves, to be able to carry the mental load of our homes, families and professional lives, and this is only made even harder when you have the anxiety cloud following you around. Anxiety is such a common battle that so many of us face, and we all manage it as best we can, so I share this story in case even one of you tries it, and it makes a difference. I personally found that prior to giving up sugars, even the bare minimum was too much for me to cope with, and I had no idea how I was ever going to be able to juggle everything and have success again. With the cloud lifted, I know it sounds a little cliché, but I do feel as if I am capable of anything.

Written by Bianca Way and Published by The Shaker: