Head down to our Sydney pop-up store in Circular Quay, from November 29th – December 5th, to meet Lisette in person and try her vegan chocolate for yourself.
After struggling to find some vegan chocolate that she actually wanted to devour, Lisette Armstrong decided to make her own. Her chocolate epiphany soon became a hit with her friends and family, so Lisette developed her own side hustle business, Treat Dreams. We chatted to Lisette to find out how she juggles full-time work while running a business.
What motivated you to take the risk to start Treat Dreams?
It’s the idea of making an amazing product that motivates me. I’ve been really fortunate to see the delight first-hand on a lot of people’s faces when they eat the chocolate. Often their allergies have limited their choice of chocolate over previous years or even decades. In some instances, people have had to give up on chocolate all together. So it’s really cute when they bite into it and their eyes light up. I’m definitely driven by that.
How do you split your time between working full-time and managing a business?
There was a time there when I worked every day for three months, but that wasn’t sustainable. I would finish my day job, then come home and work all night on the business. I’d walk in the door, get changed, tie my hair back, put the apron on, and off we’d go into another eight hour shift.
These days, I get up in the morning and make sure the staff over at the kitchen have got everything they need. Then I head into the office and do a full day there, checking in with the kitchen over my lunch break. When I finish at the office, I head home, check in on how the kitchen’s gone, respond to questions, and catch up with my production manager. But there’s more balance now – it may just be a quick email I send after hours, or business is done over a few drinks at the bar.
What helps you stay organised?
Cloud tools are really important for me because I simply don’t have an office network or files to work off. Everything has to be cloud-based, so that no matter where I am, I can still run the business. We are definitely a virtual team, so it really is critical for us to be using Xero. Without it, things would be a mess.
Why do you enjoy running your own business?
I love being able to align my brand with things that I really believe in. Say I wanted to align to a particular charity through my day job – it would have to go through all these approval processes. However, in my business, I can say, for example, that I’m really passionate about marriage equality or sea conservation. I can actually use my brand presence and the labour that we’ve got available to us to get behind causes and help drive and support them beyond just giving them cash.
How has your life changed since opening Treat Dreams?
I’m more in control of it now. My day job is so different to the business and the change in Treat Dreams is refreshing. Truly one of the things I really love about having my own business is that if I want to do something, then I just go and do it. There’s nothing stopping me.