Changing direction is something many of us think about but sometimes a change has to come when we are faced with new challenges in our lives. Tanya is kindly sharing her experience of making the  move from the 9-5 to her own copywriting business after her son has troubles at pre-school. Tanya is a Chartered Civil Engineer who is now a technical copywriter and editor for the engineering and construction industry. You can find her at www.engineeredcopy.co.uk.

Changing Direction

“On the 3rd of August, 2016, I got the call to say I had got the promotion onto the senior management team. That same afternoon, I got the first call from my son’s pre-school, asking me to pick him up as his behaviour had spiralled out of control.

At first, we thought that my son – who was nearly 4 – was just bored at pre-school and was trying to get himself sent home to be with mummy. If he’d been born a month earlier, he would have started school in 2016, so it made sense that he’d be ready for something different by now.

They tried sticker charts, afternoon naps, costumes from home as an incentive for good behaviour – but it didn’t matter what the pre-school did, he continued to get aggressive and began hurting the staff and destroying their play rooms. I arrived one afternoon, after getting a call just before an important meeting, to find the toddler room where they’d moved him completely trashed.

It was shocking, particularly as we didn’t get this kind of behaviour at home. But the worst was seeing the young women that he’d hurt, and repeatedly apologising for what he had done – but there are only so many times you can say sorry before it sounds hollow even to your own ears.

One morning I dropped my son off at 8am and then started my journey to an office an hour and a half’s drive away. Before I had even arrived, a call came through from the pre-school to pick him up – he was out of control again.

At work, my boss was very understanding, which I was grateful for. But the work – and the stress – was piling up. The other manager role that was supposed to have been put in place never came to fruition, and the assistant I was told I would have ended up being staff who already had full-time roles trying to help me as and when they could spare the time. The only way to manage it all was to work in the evenings and weekends. Add in the 3 hours of travel time daily, and I was exhausted.

After moving him to a smaller branch within the same pre-school group and experiencing the same problems, the pre-school terminated our contract in January 2017. They gave us 4 weeks’ notice, but it didn’t matter – my family all lived abroad, and only my husband’s disabled mother lived nearby. There wasn’t anyone else to turn to.

Thankfully, she was able to help us out by looking after my son for 2.5 days a week, and I ended up having to go part-time and share my role with another colleague. By this point, school was on the horizon, and I didn’t know how we would manage childcare before and after school.

I made the decision the day I got our notice of termination to start building my own home-based business. In 2015, I had read about people working from their laptops all over the world, and had wanted to do the same (minus the travelling), but at the time I didn’t know where to start and soon gave up. My son was the catalyst for finally figuring out how to make it work.

Previously, I had had some mentoring from a senior manager, trying to identify my strengths and use them to define my ideal career path. I had wanted to write, and loved editing, but couldn’t see how to make that work with my engineering background other than by writing bid documents. I knew from experience what a high-stress and demanding role that was, and often with travel, so I wasn’t keen.

Instead, I joined an online job board, positioning myself as a technical writer and editor. I spent three weeks applying for jobs for at least two hours a night, every night, until I finally landed my first contract. I was scared stiff and completely out of my comfort zone, but the client was happy and I got my first 5-star review – and some repeat work.

Once I had that review, getting contracts was a lot easier. But the downside was that between my part-time management role and my side business, I was working 50 to 60 hours a week. I couldn’t keep it up forever.

In July 2017, I made the decision to give up my management job and focus solely on my business, much to the bewilderment of my colleagues. They didn’t understand why I would give up my role, and I just couldn’t bring myself to discuss the problems we were having. I finished a week before my son started school.

I really hoped that school would be the panacea we were all desperate for, but unfortunately that’s not been the case. However, we are finally starting to get the help we need to identify exactly what is causing my son to have so much trouble controlling his emotions and his aggression. It’s still a long road ahead, but I know we are slowly crawling towards an answer. In the meantime, we are all doing our best to help my son manage his “tricky times”.

Things are still tough, as he’s on a reduced timetable which impacts the hours I have available to work. But I get more time with him than I ever had before, which you can’t put a price on. Every month that I manage to pay my bills is a win in my books. The days are long, but the years are short I find. And I don’t miss the stress of my day job and its commute.

Looking back over the last year, it’s been a heck of a journey. So, wherever you are in your own journey, I just wanted to tell you that it’s ok to say, actually, I need to do something else now, even if no one else knows or understands why. And you never know what you can do with the skills you have.”

I am sure many of us are inspired by Tanya’s story.

Sharing so openly takes a huge amount of courage so please do consider sharing this post by clicking one or more of the buttons below.

If you would like to share your story on this blog please get in touch.

 

 

 

 

Lucy At Home

When it comes to chartering private jets, it goes without saying that you need a little money in the bank to be able to do so. That said, recent modernisation of the private jet charter sector means that now the service is more accessible than ever before. So, what type of millionaire charters a private jet?

 

3 Types of Millionaire

 

According to research published by the Business Insider website, there are 3 types of millionaire with varying degrees of wealth and differing approaches to how it is accrued. The research was conducted by Thomas Corley and suggests that “savers” make their millions by living below their means in order to save and invest as much surplus cash as possible.

 

Top executives, meanwhile, become millionaires by receiving stock compensation, on top of their basic pay and it is this that catapults them into the realms of the super rich.

 

Those who mange to make the most money, however are the entrepreneurs – those who start their own businesses and make huge sacrifices in order to become successful millionaires.

 

Which of these 3 types of millionaire then is most likely to charter a private jet?

 

The Top 1%

 

The very richest individuals in the world transcend being millionaires and are billionaires. These folk are far more likely to own a private jet than to charter one, along with a super yacht, a couple of helicopters and a massive property portfolio.

 

The savers from Corley’s study are also unlikely to charter a private jet as it does not match their profile as people who live below their means. That leaves successful entrepreneurs and top executives as the most likely type of millionaires to charter private jets.

 

The Benefits of Chartering a Private Jet

 

Not only has chartering private jets become more accessible, due to apps that work in a similar way to that used by Uber taxis, there are many other benefits. Besides the more obvious benefits of comfort and privacy, private jets offer convenience.

 

When you charter a private jet, for example, you don’t have to wait in line at check in and customs and so the airport experience is much quicker. Also, private jets can fly out of smaller airports and so getting to one close by can be easier. Plus, private jets fly direct and so there are no lengthy connecting flight issues.

 

So, even for “poorer” millionaires chartering a private jet is an option with hidden rewards.

 

 

 

I am delighted to share my interview with Rachel Bustin where she shares her blogging journey including the sad reason she started blogging and how her blog has developed from a hobby into a job.

Blogging Journey

Why did you start to blog?

I started to blog in March 2015 after my 3rd miscarriage. It was my husband who suggested it to me to take my mind off things.

How did you feel when you started blogging?

I was feeling down after my unlucky time of trying to get pregnant, so blogging was my release. In fact I fell in love with blogging very quickly. Back then I blogged about books, gardening and competitions. Slightly different to the family lifestyle I blog about today.

How do you feel about blogging today?

It’s amazing! I have finally found my thing in life, my career!

What is your proudest achievement related to blogging?

That I’m able to help support my family and have that little extra money for things.

What is the most exciting event you have attended as a blogger?

Living down in Cornwall, events are few and far between!

Do you monetize your blog and, if so, how?

My main source of income is sponsored posts. I do have some adverts but have made like £32 from Google Adsense in 3 years! I have made a few pounds from affiliate income sources but it’s not a lot. I think you need huge amounts to make real money from these. 

What do you find most challenging about blogging?

The promoting of blog posts. I never seem to have enough time to promote once I have written the post I’m on to the next one.

What surprised you most about blogging?

The online world of bloggers I never knew existed. Always there to help and advise. It’s an awesome community.

How do you balance blogging and family life?

I’m not sure to be honest. I work full time in my day job, so do lots at lunch times at work. Oh I don’t have much time to sleep either my brain is always coming up with blogging ideas. I have a never ending list of things I need to get done with the blog. I think the balance need to be better for me and I’m aiming to take an evening off a week…..maybe!

What would lead to you giving up blogging?

I can’t see anything that would ever lead me to give up blogging, but you never know!

What is your top tip for a new or inexperienced blogger?

Go straight to self hosted. I started off on blogger for about 14 months but was limited in what I could do. 

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Blogging for me started as a hobby, now it’s a job, but one I love. Hopefully after I have had my second baby this year I can afford to drop hours when I go back to work in 2019. 

Huge thanks to Rachel  for sharing her story so generously.

Every blogging journey is different and if you would like to take part in my interview with a blogger series, do get in touch.

Reflections from Me

Run Jump Scrap

Our online shopping habits have gotten out of hand, with our basket piling up with products that we would love to have — but the checkout looks pricier than we expected. Starting from scratch, it’d be nice to be ‘out with the old and in with the new’! But really, all you need is some stylish, staple pieces that can revamp any outfit and suit all occasions.

Making it work

The great thing about stylish jackets is that they can go with absolutely anything — making it that must-have wardrobe piece. There are many types out there and it’s up to you which one you wear to complete your look.

The famous blazer

Traditionally made for formal occasions, the blazar can be worn no matter the occasion. It could be an interview, after-work drinks or a night out with the girls.

Forget about the conventional workwear blazer, you can add a playful spin to your outfit by adding a more glamorous blazer for your night out. Think about the types of necklines that are out there. A rounded neckline on a blazer can be paired perfectly with a ‘peter-pan collar’ (flat collar with curved edges) or a scoop-neck cotton top. There are also plunging blazers that nip you in at the waist and accentuate your curves. The options are endless, but whichever style you choose, make sure it complements the rest of your wardrobe.

Tailored blazers can be expensive, so don’t worry about making personal adjustments to look good. Soft tailoring is on-trend this season so unlined and floaty jackets are ‘in’. This type of tailoring is less about straight cut and structured styles and more about drapes and fashionable ease. It also makes blazers more wearable — for example, you wouldn’t feel out of place wearing a waterfall jacket to the office or a restaurant.

Although picking the perfect piece to add to your blazer collection can be difficult. Consider three-quarter sleeves instead of traditional full-length — a stylish alternative to the traditional cuff-linked jacket. For some extra detail, why not look for frilled or frayed sleeves?

Whether you match your blazer with a nice pair of jeans, or some sophisticated suit pants, your office attire will exceed expectations. Or, add some heels into the mix for a dressier look that is appropriate for all fancy occasions!

Dressing in denim

If you want to make a statement with your wardrobe, add a bit of denim! It’s not as dressy as the classic blazer but a dark denim jacket can be matched with a jumpsuit or going-out outfit to complete the look (and add warmth!).

If you want to look good but don’t want to put in too much effort, denim is the perfect alternative. You may feel too formal in tailored trousers and a crew-neck top for a garden party, but add your denim jacket and you’ll fit right in. Even though they usually sit above the waist, this style of jacket pairs nicely with a maxi dress or floaty summer frock.

It’s important to remember that denim is mostly worn throughout summer. But, even if it sits in the back of your wardrobe for half the year, you’re guaranteed to get your wear out of it when the sun comes out — the denim trend is never ending.

A leather jacket

Another trend that comes around year after year is the leather jacket. It’s a classic that can be worn with distressed jeans and a graphic t-shirt or with a patterned dress in autumn. The leather jacket offers an edgy twist to whatever you’re wearing — giving off that biker chick vibe. Team it with distressed black jeans, an over-sized shirt and heeled ankle boots to complete the look.

Make yourself stand out from the crowd by adding a bright leather jacket. Invest in a red or blue jacket to add a pop of colour to a plainer outfit. Because of its thicker material, a leather jacket is most suitable in the colder months — team with a chunky knit scarf and knee-high boots to keep you super cosy.

 

Styling a jacket this season: how do you do it? Premium fashion retailers and stockists of designers such as Helene Berman, Trilogy Stores, says that soft tailoring is definitely in! Adding a lightweight, comfortable jacket to your wardrobe this season will keep you stylish and up to date with the latest trends.

 

Winnettes

I love to feature women who have shown guts and changed their lives ideally helping other women along the way. Today, I am pleased to share my interview with Jane who changed her life by setting up the Natural Birthing Company which supports women through pregnancy, birth and life as a new mum.

Natural Birthing

1. Can you tell me a little about your childhood and teenage years?

I grew up with a younger brother who I constantly bickered with! (We do get on now though) I was quite a creative child, and I enjoyed playing music in the school bands. I think I must have always had a strong work ethic as my first job was around the age of 13 as a Saturday girl in a hairdressers. I progressed to working on an egg stall on an outdoor market in all weathers and then left school at 16 to take up a Retail Management Apprenticeship with the local Electricity Board. My Dad was self-employed and my Mum initially stayed at home full time but then as we got older she also had her own business. So I came from an entrepreneurial family.

2. What made you want to become a midwife?

I came into Midwifery later in life after having my children. I’d always been interested in biology at school and my previous jobs had all involved working with the public. Then when it came to being pregnant I was fascinated with it all and I saw the role my midwife played and it really interested me. I looked into it just after my youngest was born but the time wasn’t right with a young baby, so I shelved the idea and did a couple of other jobs before revisiting it again 5 years later. I got in the first time I applied and as the time came to leave work to start the Midwifery training I had a wobble and started doubting my decision – in fact I remember breaking down in tears to my old manager! It was a life changing decision at the time – deep down I knew it was right but to leave a job where I felt comfortable to go into the challenging unknown made me doubt myself.

3. What led to you changing your career?

It started with wanting to offer women an alternative to the antenatal classes available locally. Either the NCT were run people who weren’t Midwives so women were coming into hospital with misinformation. Alternatively the NHS ones were a bit fierce with forceps blades being waved about! So Natural Birthing Company was formed to offer HypnoBirthing, Antenatal and “Preparation for parenting” classes with a natural feel, run by Midwives. Very quickly we decided to book a stand at the Baby Show at Birmingham NEC – the stand was very expensive and we worried about how we would make our money back. We had a love of natural remedies and we used aromatherapy in the hospital with women so we knew the benefits, but we also knew there was nothing available for women to buy that was ready made & safe for pregnancy. So we decided to explore the idea of making some products. To cut a long story short we went to the Baby Show with a pilot range of products and they were really well received by the women. This led us to present the range to high street retailers and it just snowballed from there! Initially there was a lot of juggling of nightshifts, studying for a degree and running the business – never mind having time for my husband & children. I reduced my hours at work, but when we took investment on board and moved to the next level I wanted to reduce my hours again but I wasn’t allowed so I had to make the decision to leave. It’s a shame particularly when they are so short of Midwives and I’d been there 8 years but it ended up being the best result for me because it has given me the freedom to grow the business and I feel so much better in myself by not working shifts.

4. What do you do now?

I’m now the Managing Director of Natural Birthing Company. We are a brand for pregnant women and new mums, providing them with natural products to support them during their journey from bump to baby and beyond. It has been a steep learning curve but I now consider myself as a business woman. We launched the products in 2014 and I’ve worn many different hats within the business over the years, having to juggle finance, marketing, sales, purchasing to name but a few. However I now have a fantastic team around me which enables me to focus on wearing less hats and having the time and energy to be the voice/face of the brand and drive the business forward. I still work as a Midwife as I like to keep current in my practice. I enjoy caring for women and getting to deliver the odd baby! So I have a varied work life with no two days ever the same and I love it!

5. What is special about your brand?

We’re quite unique in that as a midwife I know from experience what women go through during the pregnancy journey. So using this knowledge we’ve developed products that support with issues such as mood swings, hot flushes, swollen ankles, perineal tearing, stitches, haemorrhoids, engorged breasts, low milk supply and sore nipples and anxiety.

The products are all made from naturally derived ingredients so there’s no nasties such as parabens, SLS’s or mineral oils. We are also registered with the Vegan Society giving assurance that the whole range is cruelty free and vegan friendly and everything in Made in Great Britain.

6. Who has supported you as you built your business?

My biggest support has been my husband – he was amazing whilst I was training to be a midwife – he literally did everything at home and for the children for the three years that I was studying and working shifts in placements. Now with the business – he’s still by my side, supporting me every step of the way. Both of my children have got involved as well with some graphic design or helping out at Baby Shows. The District Council and other local initiatives have helped from the beginning with grants and free training and mentorship. After a local Dragons Den we secured two local investors which allowed us to fulfil our Boots contract. A further Director came on board a couple of years ago who has brought so much knowledge and experience it’s really taken the business to the next level– it’s good to have that mix of skills within the business.

7. What are your top tips for someone scared of changing direction?

It’s perfectly natural to be scared of changing direction –it’s the panic of leaving your comfort zone and the fear of the unknown. So try to take the emotions out of your decision making and write down a mind map including things like:- what your plan is, why you want to do it, how you going to achieve it, what you need to be able to achieve it, the pros & cons etc. I think if everything is down on paper it helps you to see more clearly & encourages all the thoughts out of your mind. If the change of direction is fully researched and looks the right thing to do on paper then take that as your answer. A good support network will help you with the understandable wobbles along the way.

8. What is your advice for someone who wants to set up their own business?

Get in touch with your local Council. They tend to run free courses for start-up businesses and they often have grants available too which would help fund things like getting a website built. If they can’t help you they’ll be aware of other initiatives running in your area. Get yourself to everything free that you can, you can learn so much and it’s a great way to network and pick up tips from other business owners. Write a business plan – it really encourages you to think about all the elements of a business.

9. How do you envisage the future of the NHS?

It’s pretty grim! A growing population, a rise in the number of the older generation and obesity are all putting our services under an enormous strain. Staff shortages and cuts in services are just compounding the issue. My parents told me recently that they were frightened to grow old as the thought of waiting on a trolley in A&E for 7 hours or being sent home when they weren’t fit and ready filled them with dread; I find that really sad. I don’t know what the future will bring but I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel yet.

10. What are you hopes for the future?

We have a lot of exciting new developments in the pipeline and we plan to expand the team this year. I’m looking forward to growing the brand and spreading the word to women so they can learn about the benefits of our products. Top of my “to-do list” is to get vlogging – I went on a course recently but I need to find time to put it into action as I’d really like to connect with women through short video clips of tips & advice – so watch this space!!!

I wish Jane all the best with those exciting video plans and I wish I had known about the company when I had my children as I was so keen to use aromatherapy but scared to do so. I am sure her products would make lovely gifts for mums and I am always very keen on reminding people to treat mum as well as the new baby.

Sharing so openly takes a huge amount of courage so please do consider sharing this post by clicking one or more of the buttons below.

If you would like to share your story on this blog please get in touch.

Winnettes