I get up at 6am and meditate and exercise. I find that if I don’t exercise first thing in the morning I don’t fit it into my day. It’s something I learned about habit formation - if there’s something you want to be sure to get done, do it first! My children, who are 6 and 4 get up around 7 and we all get dressed and have breakfast. I drop them off at school then come home and work. Throughout September and October I’ll be working on my book which is going to be published in February 2017, so much of my time will be consumed by writing that. I also write my weekly blog post, attend to social media and write emails to the people who subscribe to my blog. Sometimes I do a speaking engagement in a school.
I pick my children up from school and spend time with them, cooking tea etc until their bedtime. Once the children are in bed I get back to work! I work 2-3 evenings per week coaching and tutoring the students who I work with. The other evenings I usually collapse in front of the television with my husband. We go to bed pretty early so we can be up early the next day!
What made you start the business and how did you get started?
I started my business, lifemoreextraordinary.com, after my second child was born. I didn’t want to go back to classroom teaching because I didn’t find it very family friendly. I knew I couldn’t do that properly and bring up my own children well at the same time. However, I was still passionate about the power of education. What I knew that I was exceptionally good at, compared to other people, was getting amazing grades in my exams. So, I thought I’d build a business around teaching study skills, which are highly transferable and everyone needs if they’re going to succeed in their education.
I started by launching my blog, which was immediately popular with GCSE and A-level students. I also launched my e-book very shortly afterwards. I’ve grown into offering coaching and speaking in schools over time. I also offer help with UCAS personal statements.
What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?
My proudest moment was being asked to publish a book with John Catt, the educational publishers. I’ve always wanted to have a properly published book and it was a massive boost when they approached me rather than me having to go round to lots of different publishers asking them to work with me! It’s lovely to have their faith in my work and the cache of having a publisher wanting to work with me.
What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?
My biggest challenge is knowing who I should be marketing my work to. There are three groups of people interested in what I do: students, parents and teachers. Students are the end users of anything that I create, however they rarely have the funds to pay for it. The marketing is a great deal more complicated than it is for many other businesses because of this.
What are your future plans for the business?
Once my book is published next year I’d love to work with more ambitious students one-to-one over skype or the phone. It’s wonderful to go on a journey over a number of months or years helping a young person to realise their dreams in terms of their grades and getting into their chosen university. I’d also love to speak regularly in schools and write more books!
If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
I think I’d test out more thoroughly from early on whether the students or the parents were going to be the most viable audience for my ideas. I wish I had resolved this question much earlier on.
Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?
I think I want to inspire young women so much because I was one once! I think life for women these days abounds with choice, but that choice almost restricts us. We can choose from any career we like, to have a family or not, to get married or not, where to live etc. This can be very confusing. Young women also have a nasty habit of talking themselves down and not believing in themselves. I want them to know that they can choose the life that best suits them and go after it whole-heartedly, so long as they believe in their own talents and abilities. Compromise is no longer necessary.
What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
Be a very good listener. Listen to your clients, listen to your audience and respond to them accordingly.
What or who inspires you in business and why?
It inspires me to see so many mothers starting internet businesses that they can run from home whilst being very hands-on with their family. Having a mother who worked from home was very important to my own educational success and it’s important to me that I provide the same to my children. The other women doing this and making it a success, the world over, inspire me every day to keep going.
What is your favourite inspirational quote?
I loved the book ‘The Help’ by Kathleen Stockett. This quote really speaks to how I want to boost the confidence and self-worth of the young people that I work with, as well as my own children.
“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”