going back to work

How Annie and Steph make work, work

Annie Ridout, Emma Victor-Smith, Steph Douglas.jpg

DETAILED EVENT NOTES ARE HERE

This was the 16th We Got This (Sometimes!) Norwich event (there are clearly a lot of topics to cover when you have kids and are trying to navigate life, right?!)

Annie Ridout in Norwich, photo by    Emily Gray Photography

Annie Ridout in Norwich, photo by Emily Gray Photography

Annie has written a book about how to become freelance when you have kids. Steph left her job and set up a business because she knew her job wouldn’t work round kids. Seventy women came to hear them both share their experience with fizz in a beautiful setting at Bill’s in Norwich. The audience were at various stages - looking for the next step, already freelance but wondering if they made the right choice, maybe didn’t have a choice so are trying to be more effective. The general feeling was “we want to be with our kids, we want and need to earn money - how on earth do we balance it all?”

Steph Douglas in Norwich, photo by    Emily Gray Photography

Steph Douglas in Norwich, photo by Emily Gray Photography

Before we start looking at the advice, a quick side note:  we had a couple of women in the audience who are not mums, and they found the event just as useful - if you’re reading this, and you’re freelance, you’ll get some positive action from Annies’s book. Whether it’s reassurance, inspiration, knowledge - I’ve been freelance for over ten years and things have changed a lot. Put some new tools in your toolkit. Annie’s book is just £7 from Jarrolds. 

The feedback from this event has been pretty immense to be honest. I know there is a gap for women like us, which is why I started We Got This (Sometimes) but even so - the environment we’re in, and trying to navigate is tricky and Annie and Steph are pretty awesome at agreeing to share their experience. Some of the feedback:

Top tips for a mum considering going freelance

“So here goes! I have officially handed in my notice and I am leaping fearlessly into the world of freelance (well, maybe a bit of fear but going to go for it regardless). I'm freee... except that I'm very much not. Two wonderful but high maintenance little ladies will be quite literally hanging on for the ride. Thank you Emma @wegotthissometimes for the brilliant 'Making Work Work' event on Wednesday. Very wise words from @annieridout and @steph_dontbuyherflowers, not to mention the brilliant women in business (or soon to be) I had the privilege of meeting beforehand. I've been totally inspired this week and I'm ready as I'll ever be. Now time to prepare to welcome some babies! 🎉👶🎉” SarahWelcomeBaby

“Happy Friday everyone!

The Freelance Mum, 4th Estates, Annie Ridout

This week I feel like a cloud has lifted after a number of months feeling quite flat (career-wise), I suddenly have hope and a bit of clarity for the future! I took voluntary redundancy from my job in HR and assumed I’d look for another similar role but with three kids it’s not easy to find a flexible senior position (@mother_pukka ’s #flexappeal campaign couldn’t have come sooner). I know I’d never dared leave without a plan so a restructure and a pretty toxic environment was the push I needed. I attended @wegotthissometimes event with @annieridout and @steph_dontbuyherflowers @dontbuyherflowers this week and something just clicked!

Hannah and Martine at  PX Success ,  photo by    Emily Gray Photography

Hannah and Martine at PX Success, photo by Emily Gray Photography

Fast forward to today, I got home to an empty house (which never happens) so settled down with this book and noticed Annie wrote “well done for making the leap”, it just reaffirms everything and makes it feel more real! I’ve gone from worrying to being excited about the future, yay!!” @home_we_call_westie

“Thanks so much @wegotthissometimes for a great event! And huge thanks to @steph_dontbuyherflowers for the inspiring mentoring. I feel fired up and ready to go” @hello_lovely_party

“Such a great feeling to be surrounded by like minded individuals who all have the same daily struggles of raising children and trying to stay sane!” @wired_mama

“These events keep me going. Being in a room full of other women nodding their heads along to what Annie and Steph said make me feel part of something. They were both so honest and thats what makes us all come together!” @little.dottie.designs

“Great event last night thank you. First one I’ve come to and was really impressed with the content and how it was run.” @bigmindcoaching

“It was a really good evening and has given me a big boost. Thank you!” @greenandrowe

“Thank you so much for another brilliant event. I had such a good time. “ @cherished_heart_jewellery

“Little message to say thanks for a great night at Bill's Norwich last week.  I've felt really rejuvenated since!” @melissamorgandesigns

Many thanks to co-sponsors Minivino Wines who bought their recyclable, resealable wines for everyone to try, and to Liz their Marketing Director who helped women in the speed mentoring sessions. Huge thanks also to Ginger Fashion on Timber Hill, who showcased their big Scamp and Dude range and gorgeous Norfolk cushions. Please follow them, and buy their things - the event couldn’t happen without them! Little Freddie supplied gorgeous gift sets of organic food for mums to try with their weaning babies, which went down very well. 

Have a look at @wired_mama - she made this wire art for We Got This which I love!

Wired Mama    wire art - she can make any word, in a range of fonts, most sizes

Wired Mama wire art - she can make any word, in a range of fonts, most sizes

We Got This Sometimes.jpg

What did I find most useful?

As a freelancer and a small business owner, I feel the pain and benefits of both. What I found most useful:

  • Try to break the cycle of the guilt I feel when I am working about the kids and then about the work, when I am with the kids

  • Remember to be kind to your partner above all else 

  • Concentrate on stories, less on sales (like the “why” that Simon Sinek promotes)

  • Encourage Mike to and all my friends husbands to listen to the Dear Sugars podcast as recommended by Steph (link is in the event notes)

  • Know what to delegate and when - you can only grow if you delegate.

What’s next?

Steph speed mentoring

Steph speed mentoring

I mentioned a We Got This (Sometimes) business club, which seemed to have a lot of support - that’s what I’ll be working on next. I’ll be in touch - if you’d like to know more, there is a mailing list on this link called #PowerHour Business Events - that’s where I will send details, or please email me here.

DETAILED EVENT NOTES ARE HERE

There were surveys on your chairs for Liza, a student who is planning a Wellness event for mums - a digital version is here if you missed it, please feel free to complete if you didn’t attend, the survey is here.

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Bill’s Norwich - it’s pretty up there - photo by    Emily Gray Photography

Bill’s Norwich - it’s pretty up there - photo by Emily Gray Photography

Annie’s book signing with    Jarrolds

Annie’s book signing with Jarrolds

Thank you to our co-sponsors    Minivino Wines

Thank you to our co-sponsors Minivino Wines

Thanks to co-sponsor  Ginger Fashion  on Timber Hill

Thanks to co-sponsor Ginger Fashion on Timber Hill

IMAGE GALLERY

All photos by Emily Gray Photography

Do you have an Idea to Do Now You are a Mama?

We Got This Norwich.png

3 things that made We Got This happen

We Got This started from thoughts of what do I do now I have two kids…as a brand manager working from home I was lucky that I didn’t have to be at an office everyday, however buyers need meetings when they need them and it was when I was crying at Stowmarket train station as I’d got off a stop too early, pregnant and clock watching to pick up my daughter from nursery that I thought I can't do this with two babies! I was on the phone to my boss and I thought the station looked different but maybe it was a different side?!!?! Cue a very pregnant weeping women snotting to the train man about how long would a taxi take etc etc. Anyway. 

So. Will was born. I searched for something to help his dry skin and came across a coconut brand Kokoso (which I now use myself!), and saw a pic of Mother of Daughter's lovely twins and of course found Mother Pukka and her extremely relevant and epic Flexible Working campaign then scrolled and clicked and scrolled and clicked and found a whole world of mothers parenting, earning, having fun, learning, sharing mishaps AND actually connecting in real life at events. 

But not to Norwich…and that’s why I said to Mike one night, maybe I could host the events here as maybe other women would like to get inspiration from each other like me.

If you have an Idea-to-Do-Now-You-Have-Little-People, here are my top 3 things that made We Got This happen...

1> Little Black Book: A Toolkit For Working Women This is a brilliant tiny book, really easy to read and its quite pragmatic, looks pretty, and I felt like I’d been given a little guide of how to own a little space and it was perfect for shifting my brain from full on baby mode to start-to-think-about-earning-again mode.

2> Podcasts. It's like going to college or listening to your mates chatting but actually you are sterilising/washing/driving (I wish I could say running). One Girl Band - I LOVE Lola’s podcast. Bit like a pep talk if you are thinking about starting up a business. Cherry Healey's are really good, I especially love the one with Steph from Don't buy her Flowers, and of course Scummy Mummies make me HOOT with laughter (do NOT listen with kids though!). I have also partaken in some Side Hustle School listening, and for stuff completely unconnected with parenting, Ctrl Alt Delete makes me feel like an intelligent adult, which is nice. Please tell me what podcasts you find!

3> Running the idea past a life coach, my long suffering friends and husband and anyone who would listen! And then asking actual Norwich women if they would come. That could have been a school girl error. 

My intention is run workshops / talks / supper clubs that focus on different bits of all of this...it's coming!