I absolutely love Sarah's story as it's so inspirational! She describes the whole process from concept to becoming self employed with so much detail. Grab yourself a cuppa and read on! Her story will definitely get you thinking!
Can you tell me what inspired you to become self employed and how long did it take from the concept to realisation?
I decided to become self-employed when I was on maternity leave with my daughter. I had qualified as a Midwife not long before falling pregnant and the thought of returning to long shifts whilst also trying to be a Mum didn't appeal. I loved being a Midwife and knew that I wanted to keep doing something that allowed me to work with new parents but I desperately wanted the freedom to choose my own working hours. I attended a Mini First Aid class when I was due to start introducing solids to my daughter in order to refresh my first aid skills, and I loved it; luckily, my local franchise was up for sale so I was able to purchase it and begin my self-employed career very quickly. I found the support from the franchise to be amazing and definitely helped me transition into working for myself (plus I absolutely love teaching first aid to parents & children!).
As much as I enjoyed being a franchisee, I'd had a business idea bubbling away since I was pregnant. My friend had given me a gift box containing lots of goodies to help me breastfeed in the early weeks; it was so thoughtful and it meant so much that she was invested in my breastfeeding journey. When my daughter was born and we really struggled to get started with breastfeeding, I knew that other Mums would benefit from having similar gifts given to them when pregnant. So, The Breastfeeding Box was born! It's been a much longer and harder process setting up a business from scratch, but it's so rewarding watching things grow and seeing people using your products. Every time someone comments on my social media posts, or sends me a review of my products, I fills me with so much pride and gratitude.
How do you fit your business with family life, what are the pros and cons and do you have any advice for balancing the both?
Running one business was tricky with a toddler, running two has been incredibly tough! I generally work every night once my little one is in bed, sometimes until really late, but it balances itself out by being able to spend every day at home with her. I'm lucky to have a supportive family who can help with childcare when I go out to run classes or attend promotional events, but these only last a couple of hours, so I never have to be away for long. I like that my daughter gets to see her Mum running a business and finding a way to maximise family time while still earning an income. I think the only advice I would give would be to make sure you find some time, no matter how small, to do something just for you. I have a bath almost every night; it's just half an hour, but it's half an hour where I can relax and not worry about emails/work/running after a toddler. I've also found meditation to be really useful just before going to sleep in order to help me 'switch off' (I'm really bad at switching off!).
What are your goals for your business?
I'd love to see The Breastfeeding Box support as many breastfeeding Mums as possible. I genuinely feel that to change society's views of breastfeeding and to make breastfeeding more visible in everyday life, we are stronger together and I hope that we can build a community of Mums who can support each other. I'm committed to being honest about breastfeeding, allowing Mums (and dads!) to share their experiences and stories and to dispel some of the common misconceptions that surround breastfeeding. As much as I love the products that we make and sell, the end goal has always been to make a difference to the breastfeeding community. With Mini First Aid Newcastle, my plan is to teach as many parents as possible how to save a life, and to just keep enjoying every class I teach!
What words of encouragement would you offer to a mum thinking about opening her own business?
Just go for it! It's honestly the best decision I ever made. There's a huge community of other Mums in business who can support you and you'll learn so much about yourself and what you're capable of. Don't get me wrong, it's hard work. Some days you'll want to give up and just go back to a normal job with a regular pay packet, but those days fade into insignificance every time you manage to make a difference to someone. It's great.