Can you tell me when did you start your business, please? What inspired you to become self employed and how long did it take from the concept to realisation?

I started my Baby Sensory business in May 2011. Well the actual running of the classes started in May but the process began in January/February 2011. I had been taking my daughter Sofia to Baby Sensory classes in Monkseaton since she was 4 weeks old and I fell in love with them. It was the highlight of our week! Seeing the babies having so much fun each week (and the Mam’s too!) was amazing. 

I was due to go back to work as a Family & Crime Solicitor in February when my maternity leave ended. I remember feeling so sad around Christmas knowing I only had 6 more weeks of maternity leave and having to leave Sofia 3 days a week plus the occasional weekend too. 

I had been working as a solicitor for 7 years before I went on maternity and it was a job I had always wanted to do since being at school. I didn’t love or hate the job, it was quite enjoyable most days but also very high pressured and stressful. Had I not went on maternity leave I’d probably still be there now as I wouldn’t know what else was out there. Having a child made me re-evaluate my life. Taking time away from work allowed me to really think about whether being a solicitor and the hours it involved was the right thing for me and my daughter. I had always wanted to run my own business but I didn’t know what kind of business.  I started making enquiries into a Baby Sensory franchise shortly after Christmas 2010. By February I had signed my franchise agreement so it was all very quick! The following 3 months were a whirlwind of training, business planning, marketing, organising - all while still looking after my 8 month old baby! 

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?

Being your own boss enables you to choose your own working days/hours. I really wanted to do the school pick ups/drop offs, attend the school plays and assemblies so having my own business has enabled me to do this. Initially I ran classes 3 mornings a week which increased to 4 days. I then had my second daughter Beatrice in 2014 and I scaled the classes back to 3 days so I could enjoy 2 days midweek with her. Having a business afforded me this flexibility and this is definitely one of the perks - it adapts to your life, making it fit around your family and it’s needs.