After becoming increasingly frustrated by the lack of services available for expecting mothers in regional towns, Tamworth midwife Edwina Sharrock took matters into her own hands and started her own business.
With two young children of her own and having lived in regional NSW for 30 years, Edwina’s desire to help other women led to the creation of ‘Birth Beat’ – an online hub providing childbirth education, antenatal classes and child first aid.
“I’m very passionate about equitable healthcare in regional areas and I was so frustrated that we didn’t have the resources in our local towns. More than 40 per cent of maternity units across the country have closed in the past 15 years, mostly in regional Australia,” Edwina said. “I sat there for a few years whinging about it to my husband and he eventually turned around and said I should do something about it.”
So she did – developing her own antenatal education platform for expecting mothers and the support people in their lives, whether that be family or friends.
Her story is told in the first episode of CommBank’s new podcast series ‘Leave Nothing To Chance’ where some of Australia’s most inspiring small business owners discuss the highs and lows of setting up a business, engaging with customers, generating growth, and managing finances.
In the first episode titled ‘Customer Attraction’, she provides her honest insights about starting a company when you have the drive but lack the business knowledge.
“The problem was I had no idea how to run a business – I didn’t even know what a profit and loss statement was," Edwina said.
Initially starting as classes in people’s homes, word soon spread about Edwina’s business and she knew she had to get serious about growing Birth Beat.
“I had some steep learnings along the way, like when I decided to take the business from the classes in Tamworth, where everyone knew about me through the bush telegraph, to naively launching an online national business.”
Edwina was a winner in the 2017 Commonwealth Bank Innovation Awards, and came to CommBank’s Sydney Innovation Lab to test the user experience of her website and gain business advice.
“I didn’t have the money for a website so I decided to build it myself which was a terrible idea. Coming into the Innovation Lab was an incredibly confronting experience and the customer focus groups gave me a lot of insight into how I could improve it. I ended up rebuilding the whole thing.”
Edwina has grown from strength to strength since her Sydney visit, running a successful online business and helping thousands of people across the country.
“You have to start somewhere – that’s what I have learnt. It doesn’t have to be something that is big and grandiose when you get started. You just need to be ambitious and bold and truly believe in what you’re selling or what you’re doing or what you’re creating,” Edwina said.
“For me that was about educating and empowering women to have their best birth and I’m so happy I own a business that does just that.”
Learn more about Edwina and other insights from small business owners across Australia through the ‘Leave Nothing To Chance’ podcast series. Hosted by stand-up comedian, Yianni Agisilaou, the free podcasts are now available through the web version, Apple Podcast, Spotify, or search 'Leave Nothing To Chance' on your preferred podcast platform.