Today is the last day at secondary school for my daughter. She sat her last GCSE yesterday and got up at 6.45am one final time for their leavers assembly.
We added last day of school to the collection of ; first day at school, last day of primary school, first day of secondary school, first day in Saturday job photos.
I dropped her to the school bus once more and as I took my morning walk with the dog the sun was shining (pretty good for the North West) and the birds were singing, so I stopped for a while to bask in the warmth of the sun and reflect on our lives and below is the result…
I made a decision to go self employed when my girl was 11 and in her first term of secondary school. We had both been diagnosed with dyspraxia and I decided it was time to regroup.
I’ve been on my own with my daughter since she was 6 months old. I was a public sector employee with good terms and conditions and a decent salary that went into my bank account every month, but it was increasingly stressful and that impacted on us. So I gave up the security to do it differently.
I set up a home office so I could be there when she got home from school, went on a business training course and launched my business March 10th 2011.
It’s not been easy.
I deliver training in what, for some odd reason, is seen as a male domain. I know that I’ve been overlooked by people who think it’s about tech and therefore men are better at this kind of thing.
I have had some pretty naff coaching by people that have no idea what I’m about because they have someone that looks after their kids (a wife).
I’ve wanted to quit on more than 1 occassion, I’ve been shafted, had my work stolen and had my time wasted.
But I love being self employed! I love that I’ve been around every day to raise a wonderful daughter whilst still being a good role model.
We talk, we are close, she understands what I do and I understand what she does. I was clear from the outset that I could only make a success of this if she was on my side – and she has been throughout. She understands my business highs and lows and now she’s employed as part of the team.
I never liked the term mumpreneur, somehow it allows people to not take us seriously, but today I claim that title. It is of course what I have been for the last 4 years. I have merged running a brand new business with raising my daughter. Both are hugely important to me and both have a positive impact on the other. Me, my girl and my business have all grown together.
I’m delighted by what I have achieved so far. I have a well established and well respected business which has grown organically. Like many women business owners I have been risk averse when it comes to finances as I can’t put our home at risk. Mentors and coaches have not understood the mental blocks to growing, but that’s ok, because having lived through it I now have a firm grasp of those issues and design courses like Spinning Plates and initiate events like Listening Out Loud. However that means we have lived on a low income while I grow the business, but I would never ever swap this life to go back to my regular salary and paid leave.
I have become more of me, my creativity has emerged and I have even written 2 books!
Lots of people have given us amazing support over this time, but I really must thank Gordon Brown as I couldn’t have made the change without tax credits.
So what next?
Well firstly we have a big adventure planned for this summer to celebrate our achievements.
She starts 6th form in September and that will be different again. Over the last 18 months I’ve been able to go further afield beyond the north west and I see that continuing.
As for my daughter, she has seen that there are options. She has seen that 9 to 5 isn’t the only way and that it really is possible for her to earn money from her creativity. During the last 4 years she has taught her self guitar and has a beautiful voice – watch out for her.
Did you set up your business around family needs? What lessons have you learnt? Please leave a comment because I’d love to hear your story 🙂
Jane Binnion is a social media and ethical sales trainer and coach. If you would like to talk to her about working with you just email firstname.lastname@example.org