Sarah Agboola, founder of mtime, is a change-maker with a powerful story and an infectious smile. Recently closing a funding round, she’s shifting gears to take home support to busy professionals while removing employment barriers for women.
A solution from experience
mtime solves a problem close to Sarah’s heart. When her father suddenly passed away, her mother was left as sole carer for Sarah and her two younger siblings. With no other family in Australia, she didn’t have a support network to lean on.
“Seeing my mum manage all of that plus full-time work, and dealing with grief, stuck with me for such a long time.”
At a start-up bootcamp, she began working with a peer on a bundled gift solution (childcare, cleaning and meal kits) for parents in high-stress situations, including new parents and those in situations like her mother’s. Recipient feedback led to the development of the ‘moncierge’ concept: matching families to a dedicated family assistant to provide regular home support and childcare. The demand for this service extended beyond those in high-stress situations to support busy working parents more broadly. This was the beginning of mtime.
Supporting professionals’ work/life balance
Their latest raise enables mtime to expand capacity for business partnerships. Offering moncierge services to employees will allow businesses to support work/life balance in the most practical way.
Outsourcing is impactful for managing time and mental load. mtime’s 2020 Social Impact Report presents feedback from clients, with the contribution of moncierges to family success rated at 9.6/10. Independent research backs these findings, well-establishing the link between work-life balance, job satisfaction and productivity.
mtime clients report the service improves their capacity to focus on self-care, family bonding and their own employment.
Giving time back
Sarah’s a social change-maker within and alongside her role as a founder. She has volunteered her time to a range of organisations as an advisor on careers, entrepreneurship, youth and social enterprise.
“They were the things that brought me a lot of joy… But I have to say, it’s ended up being more professional development for me. A lot of the other people on the board or advising were much older than me, so being able to tap into their expertise and hear their perspectives has also acted as really great learning for me as well.”
mtime is also a vehicle for social good, providing training and flexible employment opportunities to women entering or returning to the workforce, recent migrants and refugees. Despite the onset of the pandemic halting operations, mtime provided gainful employment to 32 women in the first half of 2020, from 548 applicants. Sarah looks forward to offering support, training and employment to more applicants in this target group.
Moncierges report working with mtime has increased their sense of self-worth and confidence in maintaining employment in the future.
Making the most of her time
Sarah’s key time management tool is her to-do list, recording and prioritising her tasks each Sunday. These are then reviewed for her daily list at the end of each workday. She tries to narrow it down to the top three must-dos, but can’t help adding a few more things to the list just in case there’s time.
“I think, at least get those three done and then at the end of the day I can kind of walk away and feel that I’ve got stuff done.”
Growing and shifting focus
With the raise now complete, Sarah’s in the eye of the storm. The meetings have slowed, leaving time to establish the foundations for the team and service expansion. But she knows it’s a short-term quiet: “There’s a lot of work to be done!”. The hiring process has begun to support mtime’s recruitment capacity, technology, and their pilots and partnerships with corporates and government.
While previously quite involved in mtime’s day-to-day operations, there will be more opportunities for her to delegate to new hands and focus on her highest-value contributions.
“[Delegating] will not come easily to me at all! Being conscious that there are people to delegate things to… I was just so used to doing things by myself, so this is a whole different world!”
Reading for creativity and focus
What helps Sarah feel like she’s owning her time? “If I’m reading fiction, I’m on point, I think.”
With her focus on analytical tasks at mtime, reading fiction has helped exercise her creative brain. And that will pay off as her role shifts to require more big-picture problem solving. But it’s also about winding down each evening, so she’s energised for the day to come.
“Reading really helps calm me down, and I find the next morning I’m better able to get through everything.”
You can find out more about the benefits moncierges offer busy professionals on the mtime website, follow mtime on Facebook, LinkedIn, connect with Sarah Agboola and check out current opportunities on Seek.