Making The Leap
I’d been a teacher for almost a decade when I had my first daughter, in early 2016, and I’d gone into that profession straight from university so it was all I’d known, apart from a few part time jobs along the way it was my first career and I was passionate about it.
Teaching was my first love, my first heartbreak and the love that I shall always cling onto, somewhere in my heart. But I knew, I just knew, deep down that, when I had children, it wouldn’t work for me.
That knowing was, in some ways, a bit scary because I had known mothers who had taught part time around their families. It wasn’t like I was leaving a corporate career where flexible working simply wasn’t an option; it was just I saw the strain that this sort of ‘flexibility’ with a teaching job took on everyone involved, and I wasn’t prepared to accept that.
Working freelance and making plans
So, I started working freelance doing bits and bobs from home. I worked for my step-dad’s retail business, helping with sort his stock out on the back end of his website (which I learned as I went along), running his social media for him and that’s when I applied to be a Mama Tribe Scout for Danni.
Fast forward a couple of years and I had my second daughter in 2018 and it was then, and really only then, that a plan started to formulate. On those killer early long nights, around the 3am time, I’d get deep into planning what it was I wanted to do . . . and, even then, it took months!
I remember when we had moved our youngest into her own bedroom, sitting in the living room and telling my husband that I wanted to start my own Virtual Assistant business and actually feeling a bit nervous about his reaction. I had no reason to be nervous – he’s endlessly supportive – I think the nerves came from a feeling of putting a voice to it; a voice to all the nerves and self-doubt, I suppose.
Once I’d said it out loud, it became real. Then, I set to, I suppose! I’m the sort of person who is proactive and loves a project, so I spent hours (literally, hours!) researching the heck out of my new role. I read up on the difference between a Sole Trader and setting up a Limited Company, what did I have to do Tax-wise, website, branding, IPO, trademarking – you name it, I read it! But, looking back, I’m so glad that I did, because all of that research and planning in the early days of my business meant that I had a solid foundation when I learned. Obviously, I tweaked things – I tweak every day! But, I felt confident that I was ready to go.
6 months later!
That was on September 6th, 2018, and now – going on for six months into my business – my Client books are full. Even typing that sentence is a bit bananas! I feel beyond proud of my success; I have to pinch myself sometimes. I work for amazing clients and I love getting to know different elements of their business and finding new ways in which I can support them. I have streamlined the Services that I offer, through experience of realising what I’m best at and what I enjoy.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s a never-ending process, but it absolutely lights me up and I adore it. I work three days a week, when my girls are in childcare and that provides me with enough time for myself and my business. I feel I’ve struck a fab balance between work and family life.
Granted, it’s been a particularly hard month for my husband and I in January, because our girls have been ill a lot, so we’ve been juggling work and childcare (the hardest thing about having your own business, for me). But, in general, all is grand and I am beyond excited for my business plans for the future.
If you’re thinking of starting out on the self-employed path then my main piece of advice would be to research your area thoroughly. Analyse your competition as well as your target audience; really visualise all areas of your business before you start up, then you’ll find the transition far more exciting and, hopefully, less daunting!