Category: Real-life Stories of Re-launching and Changing Career

Are You a Trailing Spouse? Why Teaching English Could be the Answer to Your Career Plans

Are You a Trailing Spouse? Why Teaching English Could be the Answer to Your Career Plans

Trailing spouses are known for making the ultimate sacrifice; they give up their careers and lives at home to follow their partners overseas. But rather than see it as a negative, we choose to see it as a wonderful opportunity. A chance to experience an unknown culture, see the kids thrive in a fresh environment and try out a new career.

TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) is a great option for women who want to make the most of their new life abroad. Here’s why:

The Job Market is Huge

Recent estimates suggest there are currently more than 1 billion people learning English around the world. The British Council predicts that number will double by 2020.

As you can imagine, with that many students there is huge demand for teachers. There are plenty of positions available, particularly in Asia, South America, the Middle East, Africa and Europe but even English-speaking countries have their share of vacancies too.

Finding vacancies is simply a matter of searching online job boards, contacting local language schools or advertising your services privately.

Hours to Suit the Kids

This is probably the most important factor for working mums. You want a career and a life outside of the home, but you also want to be there for the kids (and your spouse).

Teaching is the ideal solution, not least because you’ll get school holidays off! Whether you choose to work for yourself or work part or full-time in a school, you won’t be away from home for much longer than the kids. Working hours that complement their schedule saves massively on childcare costs too.

You Can Work for Yourself

If the thought of working in a school fills you with cold dread or you need really flexible hours there’s the option to teach privately instead.

Many experienced English Language teachers move onto private tutoring as they love the freedom it allows. It can also be very lucrative, with tutoring rates starting £15+ an hour. And don’t worry; you don’t necessarily need experience, just a willingness to work hard and promote yourself to prospective students.

You Can Work Anywhere in the World

Even back home! If you relocate to another country or move back home, you can bring your skills and experience with you.

As already mentioned, there are TEFL jobs all over the world and an abundance of vacancies for experienced teachers (and even inexperienced ones). There are very few jobs that travel as well as TEFL.

The Skills are Transferable

Teaching English abroad will boost your CV with a whole host of transferable skills. The skills and experience you’ll gain whilst teaching will be highly desirable to other employers. This is really useful if you return home or decide on a different career path.

So if you want to boost your confidence, improve your communication, IT and language skills, learn to become adaptable, creative and resourceful, teaching is for you.

You Can Train in a Matter of Weeks

Qualifications aren’t always necessary to get a job teaching English. If you’re a native (or very fluent) English speaker, most employers will consider you.

However you will increase your prospects – and your confidence – if you complete a TEFL qualification.

Fortunately, you don’t need to go back to university for 3 years. You can learn online. TEFL certification courses range from 120 – 150 hours, so if you’re in a pinch, you can gain your qualification in a matter of weeks.

It’s Really Rewarding

Teaching is one of the most rewarding things anyone can do. Whether you’re privately tutoring a young adult hoping to land that exciting overseas job or a group of young children in a school, you’re practically guaranteed job satisfaction.

Sure, it can be very hard work and frustrating at times, but teaching English as a foreign language is one of the best ways to kick-start a career abroad. Why not consider it today?

Author: Mark Johnson is an experience TEFL teacher which saw him visit Asia. Upon returning to the his home country he began working for ICAL TEFL in the hope of inspiring others to take a similar career choice. Find out more about ICAL TEFL.

Benefits of being a Working Mother: Life as a parent can help work focus

Benefits of being a Working Mother: Life as a parent can help work focus

Life before kids, wow, what a difference! Before having kids you’re repeatedly told life will be so different when you have kids! All my friends and family with children seemed happy – gloating even to remind me of this when I was pregnant with my first child Isabella – so much so, I was truly scared of life after pregnancy!

However, when Isabella was born, I didn’t know what they had been talking about and I was annoyed at being unnecessarily scared, I felt tricked, life with a baby was far easier than the terrors I’d imagined. New babies are quite mobile and we just took her with us when we wanted to go out for an evening. She wasn’t particularly good at sleeping in the early days, but I would have a lie-in when she would sleep in after having screamed for much of the night. I found the differences between ‘before’ and ‘after’ only truly emerged after about a year, when I found myself pregnant for a second time and also facing the prospect of going back to work.

My contract as a research scientist ended when Isabella was about ten months old. I had to start the hunt for work – this was certainly not as easy as it was in the olden days – job hunts involved staying a bit late at work or doing some work at weekends.  So, my job hunt became more focused – and was limited to Isabella’s 45-minute naps and the odd 30 minutes I could grab in the evening! It meant there was no time to dawdle and soon as she was asleep I would grab my computer and apply to jobs or prepare for interviews. I was more focused than on previous job hunts, particularly as I wanted to change career and move into Med Comms. I had well-kept lists and folders of jobs applied to, skills required, dates job applications expired and nice neat folders with cover letters and CVs tailored to each type of job. I found Isabella was a good audience during the day if I needed to practice a presentation! This job search successfully culminated in a medical writing internship whilst pregnant with my son.

When my son was born, I knew I didn’t want a big gap on my CV without work, so from when he was about five months onwards I wrote blogs for a genome engineering post and did freelance work editing a book. Life was slightly easier in one sense, because Isabella was in childcare two days a week and Marcus loved sleeping! He could sleep for three hours a day. So, twice a week for up to three hours at a time, I got on with my book editing, which involved finding authors for book chapters, sending them contracts, editing various versions of their chapters and liaising with Springer for the final print version. Again, I was highly organised (not a skill I had pre-children), as soon as Marcus’s head hit the pillow I was checking emails and the only way I could work effectively was to have well categorised email and document folders clearly labelled with who I had contacted, who I needed to contact and what drafts each of the chapters were on.

Then, again came the challenge, I wanted a ‘proper job’, one that would get me out of the house and use the skills I’d gained from my postdocs, writing and editing; Med Comms again, was definitely my focus. I signed up with some agencies and using the skills I’d gained from job applications with Isabella, I secured a medical writing position with Synergy Vision; I even had my first telephone interview with Sarah Nelson the editorial lead whilst Marcus was sleeping upstairs!

This was when I had to really focus, working five days a week with both children unsettled and waking up in the night, having to learn a relatively new ‘trade’ on little sleep was taxing to say the least. But I found the best way to cope was by keeping my ‘focus’ – reminding myself of the fantastic opportunity I’d been given and knuckling down as soon as I got into work, using the train journey to clear my mind of child-related issues! As work time is limited and I want to be there for my kids at the end of the day, the time from 9–5:30 needs to be utilised well. I make this work by planning in advance, giving myself deadlines and making sure every bit of the working day is used effectively. If there is any spare time, I start on another piece of work, or do research for an up and coming project.

In a way it helps because I always feel like I’m working on borrowed time – my biggest fear is my children catching chicken pox. They’ve been fairly well since I’ve started except for the odd gastric bug, but I could be off for a couple of weeks when this happens, so working in as far advance as possible is the only way to plan for these types of ‘crises’. Of course, to avoid burn out it’s impossible to be always working nine to the dozen, but to be honest a cup of coffee whilst reading my emails is enough of a break when children are involved. Plus, fitting all work into a standard working day means that I can truly relax when I’m at home.

And yes, life has changed beyond comprehension, all those people were right, smug so-and-sos!

Author: Ella Palmer. Emma is one of the Medical Writer/Editors of Synergy Vision. Synergy Vision is a medical communication agency based in North West London, with 27 employees (37% of staff are part time and 95% are women). 

Creating my own Flexible Work - Personal Assistant, Entrepreneur, Franchise holder

Creating my own Flexible Work – Personal Assistant, Entrepreneur, Franchise holder

When Vicky Matthews took voluntary redundancy from a high-street bank after the birth of her second child, she vowed no-one she ever employed would suffer the same inflexible and negative experience she’d endured since becoming a mum. She really needed flexible work.

Now, seven years on, Vicky employs three very happy part-time staff in the head office of her personal assistant business, Pink Spaghetti, all of whom work around their busy family commitments.

Inflexible Employer

“I’d worked in project management for the same high street bank since starting as a graduate trainee,” explains Vicky. “When I became pregnant, I requested a three day working week after maternity leave. This was declined and I was told four days was my only part time option. A job-share was never considered.

“An even bigger blow came when I was told my current senior management position was not feasible on a part time basis and that I would need to take on a new, lower, middle management role.

“I had been their golden girl but when I returned from maternity leave, I felt my position within the company was tainted. My opportunities for promotion and recognition were gone, so after the birth of my second child three years later, I took voluntary redundancy.”

A New Start – Flexible Working

After taking time out to spend with her young family for a couple of years, a chance meeting at a baby swimming class saw the beginning of a partnership that would see Vicky’s dream of creating flexible employment come true. A poolside chat with her now business partner, Caroline Gowing, revealed the pair had all-too-similar experiences and after discussions about their respective talents and experience, the foundations were laid for an award-winning business venture.

In 2009, three years after their first meeting and with Vicky’s youngest child still at home, the friends launched Pink Spaghetti, a home-based, pay-as–you-go personal assistant service. Clients aren’t tied by a monthly retainer and only pay for the hours they need, which is a major selling point for the predominantly female, home-based clients who are often juggling work and childcare.

Pink Spaghetti, whose strapline is ‘Let us be your 25th hour,’ will take on any task from its clients and to-do lists frequently include the bizarre alongside the mundane. Sourcing reindeer for a Christmas event and attending a client’s wedding as a paid witness have featured alongside travel booking, running social media accounts, holiday cover, managing email newsletters and book keeping.

Growing the Business – Franchise Holder

The formula proved a resounding success, so much so that after three years of steady growth Vicky and Caroline decided to grow their business through franchising and now operate in 10 UK territories, from Chester to Portsmouth.The flexibility the pair needed in their own lives has proved a major pull for franchisees, almost all of whom have children and tales of inflexible employers forcing them out of the workplace.

“Our franchisees come to us with years of valuable business experience and yet find themselves unable to find a job that fits around their families,” says Caroline. “We have franchisees from all backgrounds, but they all share the same desire to not have to choose between work and family.

“From our own experience, we knew that our business model works as both a part time opportunity, to fit around the school day or nursery hours, and that it can also be scaled up as the children get older.

“One of our franchisees has proved just how scalable the business is, by buying a second neighbouring territory and taking on employees of her own. We also have franchisees with very young children who work just a few hours each day. They know that the opportunity for expansion is there once it suits their family.”

Flexible Work from Home

Ever since that first meeting in the swimming baths, flexibility has been the driving force behind Pink Spaghetti. As owners, Vicky and Caroline have the flexibility to manage their business in a way that suits them. For clients, the Pink Spaghetti service frees up much-needed time, and for franchisees, Vicky and Caroline’s model allows them to grow their franchise at their own rate and fit in work around their own commitments.

But, more importantly, the pair have been able to provide flexible employment to busy working parents. Pink Spaghetti’s head office, in Northwich, employs three part-time members of staff. Lucy works school hours four days a week. Katherine does three days, two to fit around school times and a third shorter one to allow for a nursery pick up. Leigh-Anne is currently on maternity leave, but before the birth of her second child she was able to work two long days at the office in order to make the most of her son’s hours at nursery. When she returns from maternity leave, Leigh-Anne has opted to switch to two short days.

This flexible and family friendly approach was cited as a best practice case study in a report handed out at a recent Working Families conference. The charity was greatly encouraged that employees can pick their own working hours, and are able to change them at short notice, where feasible.

“By accommodating our employees’ needs for flexible working we are offering them the kind of benefit that money can’t buy,” says Vicky. “In return, employees work harder and have more work satisfaction as their needs are being met and their voices heard, which is key for retention.

“After what I went through in my previous job, I feel very strongly that I want to set an example to other employers.”

But what about Vicky? Her business is providing a positive work life balance for her employees and franchisees, but has she achieved the flexibility she was striving for?

“I work from home, I can do the school drop off and pick up and I don’t have to miss important milestones like special assemblies and sports days.

“I love my work, both servicing our own Pink Spaghetti clients here in mid-Cheshire and supporting our franchisees to grow their own businesses. When I took voluntary redundancy seven years ago, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next. It’s been a fascinating journey and I wouldn’t change any of it.”


Author: PR Agent on behalf of Vicki

April 2015 (2)Attached picture (left to right) Aylesbury & High Wycombe franchisee Rachel Martin, Pink Spaghetti co-owner Vicky Matthews, Luton & Bedford franchisee Anne Little, Pink Spaghetti co-owner Caroline Gowing

Changing Career through volunteering with the Army Cadet Force

Changing Career through volunteering with the Army Cadet Force

Kim Green is a single mother of two teenage sons, an incident management coordinator, and a Sergeant Instructor with the Army Cadet Force. For many, changing career, holding down a full time job, finding the time to volunteer and bringing up two children all at the same time might seem like an impossible task, but as Kim’s story shows, a little self-belief can go a long way.

As a single Mum I have the honour of being both Mum and Dad in our house – hard work but the rewards far outweigh the tiredness. I don’t like to see myself as anyone special; I’m the sort of person that just gets the job done. I first properly learned about the Army Cadet Force when my eldest son joined. He would tell me about all the fun he had on weekends away, what they taught, and all the things he was learning in his unit. I did know the ACF existed before this, as I had tried to join back in 1979 when I was just 11, but at that time girls weren’t allowed to join.

Joining the ACF wasn’t really my decision

When I’d go to pick up my eldest son the other adult instructors would always ask me whether I was interested in helping out and volunteering. After politely declining for two years, one day I went into the ACF stores for a pair of boots and ended up coming out as an adult instructor – I’ve never looked back!

Since joining the ACF, I’ve completely changed career

Before joining, I was working in finance, in a steady office environment. However, through volunteering and teaching young adults in one way or another over the years, I gained the confidence and skills needed to try out a career in the classroom. I then moved onto a career as a curriculum cover assistant within the classrooms at my local secondary school; I loved the moment of realisation when a young person finally sees what I have seen in them all along, and truly believes they can achieve something great. I recently changed careers again, and now work as an incident management coordinator, allowing me to put even more of my ACF experience to use.

Although I love my job now, I know that with the ACF I’ll have earned the skills and experience for a number of other careers. For example, I’d love to work as an outreach worker in the future, helping

those who need it the most. I could even move into the outdoors and adventurous training side of things!

The same skills I have used to raise my sons on my own are the same skills I use within cadets, and it seems to work

As both my sons are cadets, the Army Cadet Force really is a family affair for all of us. I feel we’ve all gained so much out of being in the ACF. My sons have seen me work hard and never give up at my commitments, and I like to think that the combined influence of myself and being a cadet has had a great impact on them both. Watching throughout cadets, I’ve seen them both grow into confident, active young men. For my youngest, I feel that the ACF has given him perspective, and helped him work through difficult situations to see the bigger picture.

This is something I absolutely love doing

I love to help and be of help, and I love being a female adult instructor, as I can roll my experience as a mother and as a mentor into one. I only have one regret, which is coming to the cadet force at an older age. I wish I’d have been involved in this years ago; I know I could have achieved so much more than I already have done.

Author: Kim Green is a Sergeant Instructor at the Royal County of Berkshire Army Cadet Force. Find out more about volunteering with the ACF as an adult

Interview with A Returner from Credit Suisse Returners Programme

Interview with A Returner from Credit Suisse Returners Programme

Julianne Miles interviews Julia Dawson, a 2014 Real Returns participant to find out more about her experiences in last years Credit Suisse Returners Programme and to get her advice on applying for and making the most of a returnship.

What prompted you to apply for Real Returns?

I had read about returnships in the United States and so knew about the concept. I had been on a career break to raise a family for over three years and was interested in going back into banking but not into equity sales where I had spent the previous 11 years. The Real Returns programme at Credit Suisse seemed to open up new opportunities, allowing me to apply my skills and experience to a different area.

What were the benefits to you of the Real Returns programme?

The programme offered an open door back to banking with no downside and great potential upside. The 10-week framework structured around the school terms allowed me to trial a return to the workplace without too much disruption to my family routines. It was an easier transition than going straight back into a permanent role and gave me the opportunity to really show what I could do.

Real Returns gave me a lot of confidence – it was fantastic to see so many capable women finding their feet. The peer group was a really positive aspect, as we were all in it together. There was more involvement from very senior management than you might think – you get amazing access as everyone was interested in finding out more about the inaugural Real Returns cohort.

What type of work did you do?

I led a research project on diversity, The Credit Suisse Gender 3000, a subject that remains very relevant and incredibly interesting. [Julia’s research report was published in September 2014]. All the participants were involved with business critical projects and made a significant contribution.

What support did you receive?

We had support from the programme managers throughout the 10 weeks. In addition, each returner was assigned a mentor – a great point-person for introductions, particularly for people looking more broadly within the bank for opportunities. We also received training and career coaching, which I was initially sceptical about but found extremely rewarding and eye-opening on a personal and professional level.

What happened at the end of the programme?

I was offered a full-time job in equity research within the Thematics team. I was appointed as a Managing Director, the same level as I was prior to my career break, so I have not had to take a step down in my career progression at all.

What advice would you give to potential applicants to Real Returns or other returnships?

Be honest about who you are in your application and get your application in as soon as possible – you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain. It is a wonderful way to get back to work and maybe to try something new in a related field.

What advice would you give to future returnship participants?

Several things made this a valuable experience for me. I would advise other participants to network as much as possible – take the opportunities given to you. Keep an open mind about the areas that might interest you – coming back to work brings a great freshness and invigoration and many departments want to take advantage of this. Make the most of the coaching sessions as they can be very revealing and rewarding. And finally, really showcase your contribution on the program – you are part of a valuable talent pool so show what you can still do and have to offer.

Any final comments?

I was surprised how little pressure I felt once I got through the door. It was thoroughly enjoyable and invigorating. I am extremely happy to be back at work.
julianne&katerinaJulianne Miles, from the blog Women Returners: Back to Your Future aka Julianne Miles and Katerina Gould, an occupational psychologist and an executive coach who support professional women to return to work after a long career break.

From Registered Nurse to Plug-In Developer

From Registered Nurse to Plug-In Developer

Now here’s a great story of a mother changing career. To inspire you all to try something new. Of course there is lots of work in nursing, but there is also lots of work in IT, and it’s probably better paid. Is it for you?

Read Steph Wells’ honest and inspiring story

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Motherhood, Starting a Business and Simon Cowell

Motherhood, Starting a Business and Simon Cowell

Starting a business is a daily uphill struggle, or at least it can feel like that at times. Working mother and entrepreneur Michaela knows exactly how that feels and gets inspiration from an unlikely source: Simon Cowell. Can he help you too?

I’m taking my first, clumsy steps into the world of starting a ‘business’ – a world that for the longest time has (in my mind) been the domain of Other People. A world inhabited by those who know things I don’t, who know exactly what it is they’re offering, and how they’re going to go about asking people to pay money for that.

And as I stumble out of the cosy, yet constrictive, world of the employed into the harsh, exposing light that shines on those who want to get paid for doing something they love, the feelings are totally reminiscent of when I had my first baby.

It’s all so painfully familiar. I may be less sleep deprived, and truth be told, the physiological stuff is a heck of a lot less brutal. But the struggle, the self doubt, and the desire to do it my way (when everyone everywhere seems to be telling me how I ‘should’ be doing it) echoes a reality I thought I’d left behind nearly a decade ago.

When I’m all at sea and unsure of myself, I start searching for a guru or a book with Answers. And I’m finding them left right and centre right now. There’s some amazing stuff out there for people in my position, with awesome advice and resources. There are people writing books, e-books and articles that are inspiring and exciting me, and having me try things differently, and see things a different way. And my head is full of them, just as my head was once full of ‘new baby’ advice about feeding schedules, and approaches to sleep.

But right now, these ideas belong to other people. They’re great, but they’re not mine. They live in my head rather than my heart. And living out other people’s ideas about what I ‘should’ be doing is as exhausting and distracting as it was when I was lugging around a screaming infant in my arms for the first time.

It’s precarious when you’re living out someone else’s ideas of what you should be doing, or being. You’re on flimsy ground when your head is filled to the brim with the ideas of others. You’re utterly disconnected from your own intuition, your own resourcefulness and your own useful life experience. It’s like you hand yourself over to whoever you pick as your guru, and let them push you around, wagging their finger at you, telling what you ‘should’ be doing, how you ‘should’ be going about it and the mistakes you ‘need’ to avoid.

And if you’re anything like me, when you’re in this way of being, your source of support and inspiration can quickly become a gremlin, a saboteur – a pain in the butt inner critic. Inspiration quickly morphs into self recrimination. A potential leader becomes a punishing teacher. Not because of anything they’ve done, but because it’s still early days. Because you don’t yet know where you stand, or indeed what you think.

And as I did when I was a new mother, I feel enormous resistance to this process. As I did when parenthood was new and bewildering, I feel resentful and frustrated by how little I know, by how far I have to travel, and by the reality that no bugger out there is going to hand me a tidy answer on a plate – however hard I wish they would.

And at times like this, I am prone to handing my power over to others on a plate. I am prone to turning away from myself and toward those I think will help me get where I want to go. Which leaves me all destabilised and out of sorts. None of which is conducive to building something awesome, which is ultimately what I’m trying to do.

My favourite, and most unlikely guru in moments such as these is Simon Cowell. Really. Despite his monumental successes, he is clear that “the fun bit” was “getting there” not the successes themselves.

I like that. So much. It grounds me in the here and now. It soothes my agitated mind. It reminds me that what happens today, however inept I may feel, and regardless of where it is I’m aiming to get to, matters too. Better than that, it’s the “fun bit”. And I’d be crazy to squander the fun bit in a puddle of angst and self doubt.

I need that Simon Cowell wisdom now, and I sure as heck needed it in the early days of motherhood.

So if, like me, you’re starting something new (whatever it may be), and like me, you’re weaving and wobbling all over the shop, and living in the future rather than the present – turn away from the ‘experts’ in your field for a bit. Then suspend your disbelief. And turn toward Simon Cowell’s unexpected, but bang on insight. Even if its just for a moment.

Sit with it for a minute.

He’s onto something.

Sometimes help lurks in the most unlikely places.

Go figure.


Author: Michaela Horan, Founder of Parenting in Public. Michaela writes a blog about her experiences as a business owner and mother of 3. She shares insights on life and has a refreshingly honest style, guaranteed to make you feel better.

An Unemployed Mother Becomes an Independent Financial Adviser

An Unemployed Mother Becomes an Independent Financial Adviser

How do some women seem so focused and clear in their decisions? How do they turn their lives around and turn the worse situation into a positive outcome? Here’s my story and how I turned everything around, and started my business in financial advice.

Experience in Finance

My business, Evolution for Women, was a dream on scrap bits of paper, years of ideas that have become something. It started at 19, and working as a temp cashier for Alliance & Leicester. The love of clients and helping people fast tracked my career and at the age of 27 I was a Regional Sales Manager, managing a large, all male, self-employed Independent Mortgage and Financial Adviser team. My responsibility was to manage sales and train the advisors to an exceptional level, I was my job and my job was me. If I went out to a party and people asked what do you do, I would say ‘I am a regional sales manager’ and I would feel proud!

Pregnant and unemployed

After a few years, I found out I was pregnant. I paced the room for hours…at 14 weeks pregnant I was being made redundant. My life was over. How could I go to job interviews with a huge bump? How would I explain maternity leave? How could I work full time with a baby? By June 2008 the recession hit and my daughter was 2 months old. Signing on was my lowest point! I was over qualified for the majority of the jobs I was going for or they were in completely different industries. When going out to meet people and they asked what do you do, I would say ‘just a mum’ with a smile on my face however felt so low and that my identity was gone. I was lost.

Returning to work

Being head hunted by my old boss, I found myself back in financial services again and back to what I was good at! I was very nervous, not as confident as I was before. I had to learn the products and processes all over again. I just pushed myself as hard as I could, telling myself ‘you can do it – you did it before – you can do it again’.

The job was a love/hate relationship, loving the relationship with clients and helping people to overcome their issues and plan for their future. However it also reminded me of everything I didn’t like about financial services. I seemed to have changed, softened, the hard sales lines, high fees and even tougher targets didn’t sit well with me anymore. The client never came first and the sale always did! On top of that, I was now a mum, juggling working in a tough sales environment and the needs of my own family.

The birth of my own business

After many sleepless nights and much soul searching Evolution for Women was born in February 2011.

I am writing this article with my daughter giggling in her bedroom whilst I work in my home office in half term. I have my pa on the phone from main office discussing the goals for the week. My daughter and I are off to a play date in ..oops now.

This is how my life is. It works for me. I am organised and manage every body’s expectations. Everybody wins; I have weekends with the family. I take my daughter to school every day and pick her up. I attend as many school plays and assemblies as I can. I sometimes have to work in an evening for a client appointment, this is when the support of my husband is fantastic and he completely takes over putting her to bed and making sure she is happy. I take my hat off to single mums who manage to juggle life and family alone.

So what tips can I give new mums or mums wanting to start their own business?

1) There is always a compromise. It might be you don’t make the gym one week, or the hovering doesn’t get done. You can’t do it all perfectly.

2) Do one thing at a time. Otherwise you don’t do anything right. Plan out your actions and make them time bound.

3) If you aren’t working, you aren’t working. Turn the phone off and social media off. We aren’t able to operate at our best 24 hours a day. Find a way to switch your brain off and let it go, let your mind drift and just relax. Taking a day out of your business for yourself can have a massive positive impact on your business. Some of my best ideas have come from standing in the shower or lying in bed on a Sunday morning.

4) Find a business buddy, someone you trust and can share ideas with and together you can set targets and deadlines so you have some accountability.

5) Get help on the areas that don’t come natural to you. So if you’re not already social media experts get the help from someone who can train you or provide that support. You can’t be all things to all people.

Hard work and persistence

Of course there can be down sides to running a business. The tips above have been learnt from experience. It has taken much determination and not just hard work, that is a given. It has taken a strong level of will power to not give up at the first or second or third or even forth hurdle.

Making it work with childcare

I have help from after school clubs, a baby sitter and a friend who does the school pick up when needed. I have a dog sitter to look after my other two babies in my life. In the school holidays I have a day swap with another mum who works full time, this is a great way to save money and get to spend time with my daughter.

Is it worth it?

But why have I done this? Why have I put myself through such a mental challenge when my life could be so much easier? The alternative to me is working part time doing a job that brings me no satisfaction, no challenge or gives me motivation to push myself in life. Or it is a job which I would find rewarding however I wouldn’t get to spend time with my daughter and the job would dictate my life. Instead I wanted to create my own path and my own opportunity to create a life that works for me.

I love helping my clients and giving them impartial advice on their finances. The client comes first in my business, but my family comes first in my life. “A mum on a mission”.

profile pic 2Author: Rebecca Robertson runs Evolution for Women. She is a  financial planner and works completely independent. She lives in Kent. She advises on mortgages, personal and business protection (insurance) and  helps you plan your estate.