Money interview with Meg Solly from She Skills
1) What is She Skills all about?
She Skills runs workshops for women in non-traditional skills like woodworking, using power tools and car maintenance. I started the business as a driver of change to increase the number of women working in male-dominated industries, while providing women with practical life skills. Research suggests that one of the reasons women participate in these industries in such low levels is a lack of family role models. So I decided to simply create more role models. If I could put drills into the hands of mums, grandmas and aunties, then our children would see that gender is not related the the ability to learn these skills. I love physical work and building things with my hands and I am fortunate to have a husband who is willing (and patient enough) to teach me skills to create. She Skills is building a community of confident and capable women. Our clients are aged 17-70 and come from a variety of backgrounds. They all come together to share a creative experience, make mistakes, and learn from each other, just as much as they learn from us.
2) What are your backgrounds before starting this unique business
Both my husband and I have very diverse backgrounds. I grew up on a farm, and studied dance for a long time. Early on, I taught dancing and gymnastics and spent time working as a professional singer and dancer in a Taiwanese theme park, where I met my husband Clint, who was an accomplished gymnast and acrobatic performer (who happened to get a trade as a cabinet maker). We also spent a few years working on cruise ships entertaining kids. About 8 years ago I started working in the construction and mining industries, where I performed a number of different roles in HR, Safety and Training. It was actually a stint working in vocational education that set me on the path to launching She Skills.
3) What is your relationship like with money?
I go back and forth between feeling confident about money and feeling like I’m clueless. I have earned good money in the past, and right now things are tight between working part time and starting out in business. I’m optimistic and a risk taker by nature. I figure I can always earn more money, but in saying that, I sleep much better at night knowing that I’ve got the right insurances in place should anything go too wrong.
4) What does wealth mean to you?
Wealth means having the freedom to do things that enrich my life and that of my family, friends and community. I love travelling, eating out at restaurants, supporting new crowdfunding ventures and charities, treating my friends and family, and putting on events that bring people together.
Wealth is about having the resources to do all these things, whether that is money, time and the right connections to make things happen.
5) What is your personal, number one money tip and/or what is your money philosophy?
When I’m conscious about money, I’m good at managing it. Structure is an effort for me, but I know it’s necessary. Having a budget that’s realistic is essential. Budget for your “luxuries” like going to the hairdresser or out for dinner once a week, then you don’t wind up feeling guilty about spending money on them.
6) What does a perfect weekend look like to you?
Most of our weekends are spent running workshops or building in the shed, which makes me pretty happy!! However, if I was to get a weekend free I would spend it with my husband, Clint and our dog Max. I’d start at the Davies Park Market just near my home at West End. We would order breakfast and good coffee from one of the market stalls then sit under the old fig tree and listen to the musicians. We’d then head up the Sunshine Coast stopping in to spend a couple of hours walking up and around the Glasshouse Mountains. Then I’d spend the night and next day wandering around Noosa. Perfection!!
7) What are you working on at the moment.
My life revolves around She Skills. Every dollar we earn goes straight back into building our resources and capabilities. I am working on building collaborative partnerships, to find ways to reach more women around Australia (and eventually the world). While we are hopeful that this opportunity will enable us to build a strong financial future, we are also very motivated by the potential impact we can make on society. In my limited spare time, I am trying very hard to finish my degree in Gender Studies. Just 3 subjects to go….