Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Nicola Waters, Founder of TAKe Bio Actives

Nicola Waters is the founder of TAKe Bio Actives, a premium range of bio-enhanced mushroom powders.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I have recently launched a premium range of bio-enhanced mushroom powders that are formulated to increase health and wellbeing. When I look back on my life, I feel like I was always meant to be doing what I’m doing now, but if you asked me 10 years ago, I would never have guessed that I would be marketing mushrooms. I completed a business degree and worked for corporations but what inspired me to start this business really came from my own personal health experience.

After years of dealing with symptoms of an autoimmune disease, I came across some mushrooms in my children’s treehouse that I thought I’d try and identify. All that kept coming up in the google searches were research articles on medicinal mushrooms and their benefits to the immune system.

I was at the point that I was exhausted enough to try anything to feel better, even mushrooms. Over the next six months, they made such a remarkable transformation to my health that so many friends asked what health kick I was on.

This was when I realised that I wanted to take what some people deemed as an alternative therapy and bring it into the mainstream. I’m also in my forties and I wanted to also include the benefits of the ‘glow’ powders and mushrooms all in one jar!

We did this by formulating our range with high doses of naturally sourced vitamin B and C which has shown to increase collagen and reduce oxidative stress. 

As a small, start-up business, I am doing most things myself. I am packing orders, distributing the products into retail stores, social media etc but I have just started to outsource my digital marketing. 

When you are the sole person running a business, the marketing side of the business can sometimes lead to an overthinking tale spin on what to do next and within budget. This is why I love packing orders.

I pop on a podcast and I can become automated to a point which can, strangely, help me to relax. However, being a sole business owner has allowed me to be flexible too, which as a mother I’m grateful for. 

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

Some weeks I’m up at 5.30am and off for a walk, other days I’m catching up on much needed sleep. Then I’m ironing uniforms and making lunch boxes. I have now accepted that I will never be one of those organised parents who have all the uniforms ironed at the beginning of the week. I’m less stressed accepting that rather than always striving to be that person. I do school drop offs and am home by 8am to have my breaky and start the day. 

I typically check socials and emails while eating breakfast and I have started making a ‘to-do’ list at that time as well. That is one simple thing that has really made such a difference to my day, as I’m constantly interrupted, it helps to keep me on task. 

I try to get most of my computer work done before lunch. For example, I finished writing a blog this morning, prepped for a podcast that I am about to do and finished designing the ads for the next digital campaign. I also chatted with our raw material suppliers on order time frames.

I have lunch then pack orders. I drop them to the post office before the first school pick up. I have a second school pick up, then try to get more work done amongst the chaos in the house.

I have successfully convinced my teenage daughter that she loves cooking and she is great with helping to make dinner on some nights.

3) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

I have really come to accept that nothing is ever going to be completely in balance. Balance for me is accepting that some things will require more attention than others at different times. I’ve had to let go of a tight routine and accept that we are on our kid’s school schedule for now. 

It also means I consciously have to prioritise. I was raised Catholic so I’m always feeling guilty about something, but I’m learning to let that go and that it’s ok to say no to things. For example, I am a respite foster carer which I still do weekly, but I have had to set some boundaries around days and times that children can stay.

4) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

As I mentioned before, writing a ‘to-do’ list at the beginning of each day has really helped me. It not only helps to keep me on task, but it helps me not to worry about the small things that I used to think too much about. 

I have also hopped on the meditation bandwagon. I honestly used to glaze over and give a polite smile when people used to mention the word. I truly thought I would never be able to do it. I just got to the point where I was overthinking so much that I was sick of my own thoughts.

I can only do it for about 15-20 minutes and it acts as an amazing reset for me. I wish I could say I do it everyday, but I try to aim for it a few times a week. 

5) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

I love podcasts! It’s my favourite way to consume media. I go through different stages of what I’m into. My nerves and I are taking a break from true crime. At the moment I’m into podcasts like ‘Conan O’Brian Needs a Friend’, ‘Armchair Expert’ or ‘Smartless’ which provide great comic relief. They all interview celebrities and are quite light and funny but discuss the difficulties and failures experienced in the careers of the guests they are interviewing. 

6) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

I have had Michelle Obama’s Becoming on the booklist after reading an article of hers about work-life balance. She said that they schedule personal events, holidays, date nights etc, at the beginning of each year then work events get put in after. 

I have listened to a few Mamamia podcasts too and I really enjoy how candid the guests can be relating to work life balance. How hard it can be at times. So, I make sure I catch up on those interviews when I can. 

7) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

There is no secret. You need to find what works for you. 

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.