So here comes the sickening Gwyneth Paltrow “I wouldn’t be here without my Mum, my Dad blah blah blah” well obviously, none of us would be here without those quite crucial reproductive organs of our parents…anyway I won’t blather. So a few years ago, I had a crazy idea. Why not give up a secure job in the media industry and start up a business in the fitness industry instead? Great idea, I thought. First step – retrain self in completely different industry and learn completely different skill set. Second step – get people to come and pay self. Job’s a goodun. Easy, right? Well we ALL know nothing in life is that easy, and as with anything that will change your world for the better, it has most definitely come with its ups and downs and curve balls from the left, right, centre…and well let’s just imagine a tennis ball machine of curve balls shall we…?
When I fell pregnant with Theo I was half way through my fitness instructor training and unfortunately couldn’t complete the personal training course as some of the elements were too intense. So, with the help of my lovely friend, who we shall call Norbarella, who came to my assessment with me, I passed Level 2 Gym Instructor and I trained in a few things that I could do whilst being the size of a small cow – one being an instructor of ante and post natal exercise (pretty funny when other learners noted how “real” my bump looked during demonstrations…wow it moves and everything, yeah no sh*t I didn’t get this chub from shoving a cushion up there love). This of course led me to teaching my fantastic group of shiny new Mummy friends Postnatal Buggy classes when Theo was but a little cherub in a chair. This was amazing as we all had little ones together and could all share in our baby-projectile-vomited-on-me-last-night stories and coo over how cute our babies were whilst doing deep squats in the glorious sunshine, all despite our general sleep-deprived brain fogs. We loved it. But maternity leave over, reality kicking in, and living off the dregs of our statutory pay, we all saunter back to work, including me.
Why you say, when you could have continued doing Buggy classes? Because of the fear people, because of the fear. When you have worked solidly for most of your adult life and have a regular sum that pops up nicely in your bank account every month that, you know, allows you to buy stuff and, you know, not lose your house and all that, the fear creeps in. Why would you ever step outside of this comfort zone? So I went back to work. Commuting misery, work deadlines, office politics, and the mad rush-hour dash back hoping beyond hope you don’t end up having the last-parent-to-pick-up shame heaped upon you as you arrive at the nursery panting and generally a dishevelled and crazy-eyed mess.
Only problem was for me, I had the fear but I also had the vision. I knew what I wanted to do and this niggled at me like that itch on the sole of your foot that you’ve spent all day trying to avoid taking your shoes off to just fervently give it a bloody good scratch. I just needed to complete the vision. So I did a mad thing. I quit my job. I went into the unknown. I grabbed hold of the fear and I shook it by its raggedy ass (not quite sure what “fear” is in this analogy, a donkey?)…anyway here’s where I get all Gwyneth-in-a-pink-satin-ballerina-dress-holding-a-gold-adonis on you, I couldn’t have done it without my friends and family. My amazing support network. The people who have helped me and backed me, in ways I honestly don’t know how to repay. My friends and family who never fail to offer words of encouragement and wisdom, who really gave me the momentum to take this insane leap, and who lift me up when I’m having one of my “oh dear god why in the hell have I done this” moments, my cousin-in-law who took the most amazing pictures of me for my website, my Uncle and step Aunt who let me use their house as a beautiful setting, my NCT friend’s husband who has created the most amazing website for me, my family who have let me practise Pound and Aerobics on them relentlessly, taking time out of their hectic lives to make sure I become a success, my parents and husband’s parents who have dropped everything to look after Theo without a second thought, my husband who shifts his work around to look after Theo when I have classes, training, assessments etc, oh and also for being the one who is bringing home the bacon and you know, paying for stuff and ensuring that our mouths are fed on semi regular basis, and lastly my wonderful Mummy friends who came to my buggy classes, are now coming to my Pound classes, my Active Tots classes, my HIIT classes…and BREATHE…
Here’s an example – today I passed my Exercise to Music assessment (Woo HOO) and I had my sister in law by my side. She had re-arranged her day, got up at the crack of dawn, got on her workout gear (as she has done the THREE times so far when I have practised teaching at my mother in law’s house), got on the train to meet me and shared in my joy as I finally received my slip saying PASS. What a woman and what a friend, prosecco bottle hurtling its way to you as we speak.
One thing I have learnt throughout this whole experience of starting up your own business is that you CANNOT do it without your support network. I have been amazed and blown away by people’s positivity, generosity, willingness to help, and just generally being my cheerleaders. I am only just starting in this crazy rollercoaster ride of self-employment so I have a long way to go but I thank my lucky stars every day. Because every little success I have had so far has been down to those lucky stars, and I am so grateful to have them in my life.