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. If you have a tale about changing direction, I would be pleased to hear your story and feature it on the blog.

 

 

 

 

Lucy At Home

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.

If you would like to share your story on my blog, please get in touch via the contact form.

Winnettes

Today I talk to inspirational woman Eli Zheleva who moved from Bulgaria to Great Britain and now runs a successful business.
Inspirational Woman
What does it feel like to move to the UK from another country?
I’ve always wanted to see what the Great in Great Britain was, so coming here was a dream come true. I’ve loved it since the first day I arrived. Of course, I’ve had ups and downs, but on the whole it’s been amazing. I think part of the reason I’ve managed to stay positive in tougher times is because I wanted to be here, and I knew I had to make it work. Many people come here with the main reason of making money, so when things don’t go to plan, they are more likely to think of giving in and going back home.
 
Have you ever had issues with self-esteem and how have you overcome them?
When I was a teenager I had big problems with that. I didn’t show it to many, but deep down I knew I wasn’t confident in who I was. Nowadays I have moments when for less than a minute I doubt myself, but then I look back on what I’ve achieved and those doubts are gone. If I had to pin point one thing that has made a massive difference, that should be reading personal development books. Those books showed me a different world of possibilities and gave me the mindset to reach for that world. The rest is time. Over time we meet different people and I was lucky enough to have fantastic people in my life who were my friends and mentors. People with more self-esteem and positivity than I had. It is true that the people you surround yourself with, you become.
What health issues have you confronted and how?
When I was 19 I was diagnosed with a rare Hepatitis B and some doctors even thought I wouldn’t be around for long. I decided to ignore everything they said though and lived my life the way I wanted it. Well, I must admit I wasn’t completely reckless and I stopped drinking, had tons of supplements, live bacteria and all sorts of natural remedies. However, I was supposed to reduce the fried food intake – I was carrying on with the chips. I was not supposed to stress my body physically – I was playing badminton 5 times a week. Basically, I decided to get in control of the situation and to enjoy myself whilst looking after my health.
 
How did you choose your career and why do you enjoy it?
My career chose me. I have always had a passion for computers, and friends were coming to me to help them out. Because people knew I was computer savvy, one day my English teacher asked me to go and work with her in a marketing agency, as a data admin person. I agreed and because I was getting things done quicker than anticipated, my boss asked me if I could do the SEO. I said “of course I could do it”, and straight after went to Google to ask what that really was. It turned out to be Search Engine Optimisation, a branch of digital marketing. I loved how it worked, the challenge and seeing the results of what I was doing, and gradually that became my career.
 
Are you happiest single or in a relationship?
Although I love my freedom, I’m happiest in a relationship. It’s important to have someone to share your time, emotions and passion with.
 
Apart from your own, if you could recommend one website to a woman what would it be and why?
I would wholeheartedly recommend Tony Robbins’ website. I’ve followed Tony’s work for years and last year I had the privilege to see him live twice. On his website there are articles about relationships, relationships with money, mindset and other personal development topics. Tony’s teachings have helped me reach a new level of understanding about myself and those around me. I believe in what he stands for, and have found tremendous value in that, so every woman should spend at least a little bit of time on that site.
 
Who  supports you as you move forwards positively in life?
The usual suspects – family and friends. I have been blessed with having great people in my life and they have been the support, and often the drive of what I do. Sometimes I push myself just so I can become a stronger person emotionally and financially and can help them more. 
 
If you had to choose between love and money, what would you go with?
Love. Money comes and goes. You can win money playing the lottery tomorrow, you can’t win love like that. Love is a destination, whereas money is a means to an end. I’m a hopeless flirt and a romantic, so love wins for me every time.
 
What is your favourite quotation?
“Life is like an automatic door. It wouldn’t close in front of you unless you take too long to make a move.” – my own quote.
 
If you could recommend one book for a woman to read, what would it be and why?
That’s always a tricky question for me, as there’s no one size fits all. I’d recommend different books to different people depending on what they want to achieve and what their current outlook on life is. If I had to choose one, I’d go for the classic “Think and grow rich” by Napoleon Hill.
 
What would you like a reader to do after reading your interview?
I would encourage every reader to find their “why”. To think about what they want, and more importantly why they want it. Is it possible that the ultimate outcome they want is not what they thought they wanted? As I mentioned above, people sometimes say they want money. It is rarely one wants money for the sake of money. It’s more so the perceived outcome the money will give the person.
Are you an inspirational woman with an interesting story that might help others? If you are I would love to hear from you.
The Pramshed

Today I meet mum blogger Katrina who shares the highs and lows of her blogging to date.

Mum Blogger

 

Why did you start to blog?

I started to blog when I had my son as a way to vent and moan and also boast and brag without bothering my friends daily who probably didn’t care.

How did you feel when you started blogging?

I felt proud of my son and my achievements of being a mother and wanted to shout about it.

How do you feel about blogging today?
I love blogging but I sometimes feel I need a rocket up my bum to get motivated.
What is your proudest achievement related to blogging?
Working with amazing brands that I could never of dreamed of working with.
What is the most exciting event you have attended as a blogger?
I haven’t attended any yet it’s a goal for 2018 though!
Do you monetize your blog and, if so, how?
I do have it linked to Adsense but have never made any money for the placements of the ads,
What do you find most challenging about blogging?
Being consistent with uploads is hard to do.
What surprised you most about blogging?
The amazing people you meet along the way. If someone would of told me this whole new network of friends and people I would have done it sooner.
How do you balance blogging and family life?
I only blog when my son is asleep to keep the family time sacred.
What would lead to you giving up blogging?
If people stopped reading my content. That would be heartbreaking and make me think what’s the point.
What is your top tip for a new or inexperienced blogger?
Go with your gut. If you want to post something do it. Everyone has opinions and blogging allows us to share ours.
Is there anything else you would like to share?

That I’m grateful for Kate and the work she does for the blogging world and Facebook groups she really opens up doors and opportunities.

You can find my blog at

 
You can chat to me onTwitter @trinimamablogs
and see my images on Insta @trinimamabebe1
Are you a mum blogger? Would you like to share your story with me?
Tammymum
The Pramshed

I love to find out about individual lifestyle blogger journeys. In this blogger interview, I meet Eva from the Captain Bobcat blog.

Why did you start to blog?

I worked all my life and finding myself as a SAHM at the age of 37 scared me. I am really a person who’s probably not perfectly cut out for that. I started the blog to keep my brain active between preparing meals and soft play visits. I wanted a creative outlet, something new and challenging to learn. I also hoped to inspire others.hopefully inspire others. So a little over two years ago I started my blog.

How did you feel when you started blogging?

I just set up a site and started to blog about our travels as a little family and posted some vegetarian recipes initially. I didn’t even think about what direction it was going to take or setting goals or checking the number of likes or anything like that. I just enjoyed sharing things. I was also thinking if I can learn more about blogging, I might be able to find a related job later when returning to the professional world.

How do you feel about blogging today?

My blog over the last 6 months has become my job. As well as being my hobby,  it has become a part time job. It’s a well paid, flexible job I really like. When I started to blog, never in my wildest dreams had I thought that one day I would be able to generate income with my blog. Apart from that I found my own voice and niche. I am really passionate about: green and ethical lifestyle for our family.

What is your proudest achievement related to blogging?

I recently ran a Christmas giveaway series and I pitched some eco friendly, ethical small shops and independent businesses to offer a prize. So many of them believed in my idea, that I had to run 5 separate giveaway bundles with all the fabulous prizes. I’ve had so many lovely comments, emails, and compliments that I was totally (I still am!) overwhelmed with all the love and help I was offered and received.

 

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

I do in a few different ways such assponsored articles, reviewing products or services and selling advertising space.

What do you find most challenging about blogging?

That it’s a 24/7 job. Since I already have one being a SAHM parent of two children it’s very hard to find the space and time for everything . Another aspect of this is that you start to look at everything and everyone with the eye of the blogger. Constantly snapping photos (camera eye syndrome), thinking about new ideas and posts, all the social media and trying to solve technical stuff.

What surprised you most about blogging?

How it really shapes modern advertising and marketing. I used to read a few blogs before starting mine and now I read hundreds. I had no idea how powerful micro influencing has became. The other (completely different) surprise is I realised that I can never actually run out of ideas! My worry when I started my blog was about not having enough ideas but my ideas just keep coming and coming and I’m having a hard time to keep up with them.

How do you balance blogging and family life?

Tough one. I have at least one of my children with me all the time so I can’t really dedicate time for writing and composing posts during the day. I normally try to do that after they’ve gone to bed, but recently my husband started to complain about that. From the new year I will try to arrange some childcare out so I can have some more time to work.

What would lead to you giving up blogging?

I might take a break, but would probably return to blogging anyway.

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

Find your passion and write about it.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Please stop buying plastic bottled drinks!

I would like to thank Eva for sharing her experiences and I am sure other bloggers can learn from her. If you are a lifestyle blogger and would like to share you story, please do get in touch.

The Pramshed
JakiJellz