Founder of NUZLIN
Before I had my first baby Sam, I had high aspirations for maternity leave. I envisaged long productive days. My baby sleeping calmly next to me while I sipped on a coffee and plotted entrepreneurial success on my MacBook.
Well, it didn’t quite work out like that. Reality hit with a wave of dirty nappies, snotty kisses, washing (all the washing) and previously unexperienced love. I didn’t have time to shower never mind launch a business.
Before I knew it, my first maternity leave had whizzed by and I was back in the office. I had the idea for NUZLIN starting to develop in my mind. Plus I knew that I wasn’t going to continue working non-stop for someone else.
But that was it. It was a dream but nothing substantial enough to launch or live from.
3 years later, I have managed to launch that little idea. It’s a baby business, launched in a pandemic. It’s not yet clear if it’ll survive the craziness of the world right now. But I am so intensely proud of what I’ve managed to achieve in just making something happen.
So here are my biggest learnings that have got me this far:
Change What You Can
Working full time on my business idea hasn’t been an option. I wouldn’t be able to make enough money from a start up to financially support our family.
If I couldn’t quit everything straight away, I started to think about other smaller changes I could make straight away. I ended up quitting my permanent job and going freelance, which has been one of the best decisions of my life. I have no job security, health insurance or pension. But I have much greater freedom to choose how, when and with who I work.
Going freelance might not be the change you need. But there are always choices, which can start to edge you towards your dream. If a big change isn’t an option, find a small change that edges you towards your ultimate destination.
A Small Step Is Better Than Nothing
I’ve never had a 3 year plan. I struggle to think about what I’ll be doing in 6 months. I roll with the punches rather than trying to set an ultimate direction.
So trying to write a business plan was a struggle – I became overwhelmed with everything I’d need to do and all the skills I’d need to learn. It seemed ridiculous that I could do all of this around work and children.
So instead of trying to do things in the right way, I focused on the things I needed to do right now. Everyday I wake up and write down the 1 thing I need to do that will make the greatest difference. Everything and everyone else has to wait.
These tiny steps don’t feel like much at all - but after a couple of months you can see your progress. And eventually you will get there.
Find Yourself A Network of People Who Get It
Finding a group of women to support and inspire you when you’re aiming for something new is invaluable. Friends and family who’ll talk through your ideas with you and give you the honest feedback you don’t want to hear. Friends you can make online who will support you from afar having never met you in person.
In particular, seeing the progress of other women in the Mothers Meeting group has helped me understand I’m not alone in this. It’s hard, it’s a struggle but it’s 100% possible. Practical, no bullshit advice from women who have successfully set up their own businesses is more useful than generic business advice.
So if you’re looking to make a change after having a baby or already on your way, I wish you all the luck in the world. Whatever that change might be, I hope it brings you positivity and joy. And remember, there’s a group of women who are making it happen, so you can too.