We are delighted to introduce you to one of our Women’s Business School graduates Georgie Donaghey, founder of Creative Kids Tales
When did you start your business?
At eight years old, Georgie was bitten by a redback spider. That same year, she won her first writing competition.
As a grown-up, (do children’s authors ever grow up?) Georgie is an internationally published award-winning author, wife and mother of three.
Never knowing where inspiration will strike next, Georgie carries a notepad wherever she goes. She even has a waterproof notepad and pencil stuck to her shower wall.
Georgie is terrible at keeping secrets. Just ask the thousands of school children around the country she’s shared writing secrets with.
Georgie believes all emerging authors and illustrators should have a voice. In 2011, she founded Creative Kids Tales. Through this unique industry recognised resource Georgie has helped over a hundred authors and illustrators realise their publication dream.
In 2019, Georgie launched the CKT Speakers Agency and 2021 CKT Publishing.
What was the inspiration behind starting this business?
In a past life, I was President of a branch of the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA). While the role was rewarding, it was limiting. I wanted to do more. I needed to cut through the red tape and assist those within the writing community. There was a huge gap in the market, so I developed Creative Kids Tales to fill that void. CKT is a platform where authors can promote themselves while learning and building their skills. Fast forward 10 years, and we’ve published over 100 authors and illustrators, while assisting hundreds more on their creative journey. Our resources include manuscript assessments, mentoring, workshops with top industry professionals, tips, interviews, critique groups, publishing opportunities and a nurturing community for emerging and established authors and illustrators. We’re honoured to be endorsed by the cream of the children’s writing industry. There’s more we want to do. We’ve only just begun.
What are you most excited about in your business?
I love my family and I love being a Mum, but I’m also a successful businesswoman with a lot to offer. Just as I love sharing and helping my kids grow, I love sharing my experiences and advice with the writing community and assisting in authors growth. I’ve worked hard to be a leader in my field. I want to give back and share my knowledge with others. The idea for Creative Kids Tales came to me while I was balancing my then 6-month-old on my hip and chatting with a colleague. By the end of the call and bouncing bub, I had mapped out how it would all come together. Most of our members are mums, teachers and grandmothers. The platform we have designed, allows members to learn, connect, and grow at their own pace. All with the support of like-minded creatives and while balancing their own families. I think what I am most excited about is what we have achieved in 10 years. We’ve gone from a small hobby business, to adding a variety of services and branches to our business. Creative Kids Tales now branched out to the CKT Speakers Agency, CKT Publishing and CKT Writing Academy. All services support emerging and accomplished children’s authors in different ways.
What has been the most challenging thing about starting your business?
We were the first service of this kind in the children’s writing industry. Developing a website to support authors the way we did, was ground-breaking within the kidlit industry. Getting our name out there would have to be our greatest challenge. We had to form relationships with industry professionals, but also with those who needed our help. We had to prove that we were here for the long term and we have worked tirelessly to become an industry recognised site. We are proud to be pioneers in the Australian Children’s writing industry.
What advice would you give to other women thinking about starting a business?
Go for it! Make sure you do your research first. Refine your unique selling point (USP). Don’t be put off by competitors. You are different and what you have to offer will be different from your competitors. If you are passionate, driven and believe what you have to offer is unique, and you are not afraid to work hard, jump in with both feet. There will be hurdles along the way, wear them like a badge of honour and use them to make you stronger. Celebrate each and every win, no matter how small. You are a Mumpreneur! You can achieve ANYTHING!
Why did you choose to do the Women’s Business School Programs?
I have a well-established writing tribe. I have valued colleagues from the writing industry. After being made redundant in July 2020 from my full-time job, I took my redundancy and turned my hobby, Creative Kids Tales, into a full-time business. In order to take my business to the next level, I needed to enlist the help of women in business. A dear friend introduced me to Peace and the rest they say is history. The WIBS are market leaders. Who better to connect with than women who have started with nothing more than an idea and turned it into an industry leading organisation?
What did you enjoy the most about being part of the program?
I loved the variety of subjects, the industry professionals who were only too happy to share their knowledge. Peace and Katy have created a wonderful community of AusMumpreneurs. The only part I was unhappy with was finishing the program. The Accelerate program really is the complete package and although I was excited to complete the course, I was sad to see it end.
What surprised you most about the program?
I wasn’t sure how I would go with the course coming from a niche market. There’s really not a lot out there for children’s authors unless you want to learn the craft of writing.
My brand provides a service that helps authors to think more of themselves as a business, but I also had much to learn. There is so much more to having a successful career as an author than just writing books. I developed a course for authors, INVEST the Write Way. There is no other course like it for children’s authors. Everything I learned through the WIBS could be shaped and applied directly to my business. That was impressive! Also, the friendships I’ve made. You can’t put a price on that.
Which module was the most helpful and why?
This is like asking which is your favourite child. Too hard!
I took something away from each module that I could apply directly to my business. Hearing from the different professionals allowed me to separate my history and emotions from what I had built and look at it from a whole other perspective. I had to shift from hobby mode to thinking like a businesswoman. What I learned was that I had always run Creative Kids Tales like a business, but with training wheels, the WIBS professionals gave me confidence to remove the training wheels.
How did the program help you in your business?
The education and overall experience has been fantastic! I’ve made lots of valuable connections and although the course has finished, I’ve looked for ways to continue with my learning.
I’ve reached out to many of those contacts and engaged them for my business. The WIBS caused a ripple effect, and I plan to turn it into a wave and continue building up my business.
What has been the best thing about starting your own business?
This is a hard question. I’ve loved everything I’ve learned on my journey. I really feel as if I have earned my stripes and can totally own my success. I don’t believe I would be where I am if I had skipped steps. I guess one thing that I wished I had known, was how rewarding it would be. I would have taken the leap from hobby to full-time business sooner.
Would you recommend the Women’s Business School to other women starting a business? Why?
Absolutely! If I can apply what I have learned to my niche market business, then anyone can. Learning through the WIBS can only help you achieve what you have always dreamed of. What are you waiting for?
What’s happening next in your business?
“Your future hasn’t been written yet. No one’s has! Your future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one!” – Doc Brown #backtothefuture
We’re taking a leaf out of Doc Brown’s book. The sky’s the limit for Creative Kids Tales. We’re looking forward to continuing the journey. Who knows where it will take us?
What are your big plans for the future?
After my redundancy in July 2020 and turning Creative Kids Tales into my new full-time job, I’ve learned that anything is possible. I’m looking forward to what the future holds. Creative Kids Tales is working with more members than ever before and is committed to assisting them on their journey to publication.
The CKT Writing Academy has grown and now offers at least three different workshops with industry professionals per month.
CKT Publishing is also one of our major focusses. We’d like to grow our micro publishing house and see it become a major contender in the industry. It is our goal to get affordable books into the hands of all children across Australia.
Another way we can help students is by getting speakers into schools. The CKT Speakers Agency will help us do that. We do have something exciting on the planning board for this branch of our business, so keep watching.
PS Scholarship applications for The Women’s Business School 2022 programs are now open for a limited time. Apply today!