Our homeless-turned-CEO Real Mum: Kylie!

 

I met Kylie on a Blogging Facebook group, where she immediately offered me encouragement, support and advice as a novice, newbie blogger. Her motherhood and life story is interesting, intense and inspiring – so much so that I couldn’t NOT share it!
 
Kylie Travers went from homeless single mum of two daughters because of domestic violence to multiple international award winning CEO, author, speaker, marketing specialist and charity advocate in the space of a couple of years. Through all her work she focuses on sharing practical advice on ways to make and save money, turn your obstacles into opportunities, practice gratitude, travel and create opportunities to improve your life and excel in the areas you want to.
 
Her areas of expertise are marketing, social media, blogging, finance and travel. Her company specialises in digital marketing with influencer programs, marketing strategies, training and consultations. Personally, Kylie likes to focus on public speaking, freelance writing or consults around finance, travel, lifestyle or blogging, along with being actively involved in charities that help end homelessness and domestic violence.
 
As a result, she has been the recipient of many awards, including The Plutus Foundation Service Award for 2015, Finalist Young Australian Of The Year, ACT, 2015 and winning Best International Personal Finance Blog twice, among other awards.
 
You can find out more about her at www.kylietravers.com.au

Hi Kylie! Thank you for joining us for the #RealMums blog series. Could you start off by introducing yourself and your family to us?
 
I’ve gone from homeless single mum to multiple international award-winning CEO, speaker, author and charity ambassador. For a long time it was my two daughters and I, they’re aged 7 and 9. I left their father 4 years ago because of domestic violence. Now, we live in Melbourne, with my partner whom my kids love and we have the life I always dreamed of.
 
What has your motherhood journey been like so far? What have been some of the highs and the lows you’ve experienced?

My motherhood journey has been intense. I had issues in both pregnancies (contractions from 16 weeks with my first and paralysis with my second), I had severe Post Natal Depression (PND) with both, which is mainly attributed to the situation I was in. I first left their dad when my daughters were 9months old and 2 years old and we lived in a garage for a while. My eldest remembers more of that time that I thought she would.
 
I ended up getting back together with their dad, which is extremely common in abuse cases, then I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) in 2010, which I was cleared of in 2013. In 2012, my daughters were both diagnosed with extreme expressive and receptive language disorder requiring extensive speech therapy and treatment at home.
 
My youngest was also diagnosed with a few other issues requiring treatment. It was also in 2012 I left their dad for good. We moved a lot, hid from him and eventually moved to Canberra in 2013, after another period of homelessness.
 
In their short lives, we have experienced more together than many people do their whole lives.
 
Despite all the adversity at the beginning, my eldest is now above average in every area, I have been cleared of BPD, my youngest has been cleared of her other issues and because of our experiences we have been able to raise awareness and funds for causes we are passionate about and appreciate the life we have so much more.
 
On your website, you’ve been quite open about your past in an abusive relationship and being homeless. They would have obviously been quite horrifying and devastating circumstances. Do you think this had an impact on the way you parent your daughters, and if so how?
 

It’s had a significant impact on how I parent. I spent a large portion of their early years protecting them from their father, fighting for their rights and safety, as well as getting them all the help they needed to ensure they didn’t continue to suffer with their disabilities their whole lives, despite being told that they would always be behind their peers.

Because of what we have been through I learnt a lot about psychology, neuroplasticity, nutrition, health and safety. I had to do all the research on what was best for my kids as there wasn’t much help or advice available when I needed it. Also, I knew that just because we had lived through what we did, it didn’t mean we had to remain stuck in the vicious cycle of nightmares, triggers, them being behind in school, struggling etc.

Also, I am extremely honest with my daughters and will answer anything they ask honestly and age appropriately, even if it hurts me to discuss it (as is the case with some of the abuse aspects, both their memories and mine). Their friends often ask me questions now too as they know they will get a straight answer.

 
For a long time I had to be extremely careful about what I said and did, have had to hide where we live, even when we moved to Melbourne I couldn’t tell people for the first 6 months. I had to up and leave.
 
The abuse and homelessness impacted how I react to things, how I think, what I do and it has shaped how my daughters think in many ways. Safety and stability were an issue for a long time, to the point I put off a lot of things because of concern for how they would handle it.
 
You are now a successful CEO, owning several blogs, doing speaking and freelance writing, and wining accolades including Finalist for Young Australian of the Year in 2015. How did you turn everything around?
My daughters were my motivation. I didn’t want to stay in the situation we were in, I wanted a better life for them so I set goals and visualised the life I wanted for us.
 
My first step was to move from Sydney back to Canberra where my family lived and get my daughters and I a home. I already had a blog when all of this was happening so I continued to blog, write and work on my various streams of income. I started to volunteer and opened up about my personal experiences, which resulted in a lot of speaking, writing, interviews and charity work.
 

I focused on where I wanted to be and took action every day to get there. I have a 10 steps to success with goals article on my site that outlines what I do.

I practiced gratitude daily and looked for the opportunity or lesson in every experience, even the horrendous ones such as when I was robbed of everything including my underwear a week after leaving the family home because of the abuse. I wrote down 3 things every night to be grateful for and practice gratitude in all I do.

I meditated daily and had affirmations as well as some favourite quotes I would repeat and focus on. One is “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” by Carl Jung. I repeated it over and over because I needed something to believe in.

I looked for opportunities everywhere, focused on volunteering and helping others at the same time as looking for other income streams.

In 2014, I founded a company, bought more sites and everything sky rocketed. This past year I have scaled back and will be taking a significant change of direction next year.

 
With all your business and work, how do you find the time between getting work done and spending time with your children?
 
At times it was quite a juggle, especially trying to get them to all their treatments, my psychology, work, sports etc. I failed massively for a while and as a result my body gave up. I spent most of 2015 paralysed and had a cancer scare where they thought I had the cancer my mother died from.
 

While I had always made time for my kids, I knew I was pushing myself past my limits and my body decided it had to stop me. It took over 7 months for me to get better.

Because of that, I am a huge advocate for managing my time better and blending my life instead of trying to balance and cram everything in.

I set specific work hours and outsource a lot. We have had a housekeeper or au pair at times, a regular cleaner, VA’s and other contract workers for my business etc. I have also taught my kids to do everything including cleaning the toilet so they are capable of pitching in and are expected to.
10pm at night my phone goes onto do not disturb and isn’t switched back on until the next morning.
Every week we have a day off where we do things as a family, usually Saturday.
I make sure my partner and I get to go on regular dates.

We look up festivals and events in our area and plan to go to them as a family. Our daughters are involved in picking and planning these events.
I make sure we have one on one time too. When I was single, each daughter had their own night with me where they got to stay up later than their sister and do things like paint our nails etc while they talked. We do this differently now, but they each still get one on one time.
Time is more important to me than money and I am extremely protective of my family life, how my time is spent and what I will or won’t do. If whatever I have been asked to do or be involved in isn’t a “Hell YES!” then it’s a “Hell NO!”, now.
 
What is one piece of advice you would offer any new mums out there based on your experiences?
 

Listen to your intuition. Too often we dismiss it and end up regretting it later. While others may pass you off as overreacting, push for whatever it is you feel.

So many times in my life I didn’t speak up. I got married young despite it not feeling right. I stayed in that marriage too long. I ended up homeless and had issues because I didn’t listen to my instincts. My daughters could have had help and treatment for their learning disorders much earlier if I went on my gut instinct.

Now, I always speak up and trust myself, even when others disagree. Every time I have done this, especially when it has involved my daughters, I have been right.

 
Believe in yourself and back yourself!
 
Thank you for your time Kylie!
 
Kylie has two sites that are a must-see – her main website is HERE but she also has a website that shares ways to make and save money that’s especially for mums, called The Thrifty Issue HERE. Their respective Facebook pages are HERE (Kylie Travers) and HERE (The Thrifty Issue). Instagram is HERE (Kylie Travers) or HERE (The Thrifty Issue).

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