The Quest for the Perfect Work/Life Balance

entrepreneur, Lifestyle, Parenting

What do you do when you know you have it in you to do great things, affect people’s lives in a positive way through your work and build a successful company that can grow as you do, but you can’t work out how to find the hours in the day to do it?

If you know the answer to this, please help!

I chose to start a business from scratch in my early twenties, in order for it to be sustainable when I went on to have my family. I know I am capable of growing it to a fantastic place as I have done that before. I had a set back when I fell pregnant as I also fell ill. At that time things changed and I had to dramatically scale back.

Since having my daughter just over a year ago I have worked slowly but surely on the business and focused on making sure that what is on offer is exceptional quality for my clients.

So why this post? I know I can do more. I am capable of it and I am ready for it. I want to do what I used to do; I want to grow the business, I want to inspire more children to realise their passion for the arts and I want to be respected in my field for the work I do.

I am not alone, I’m sure (I imagine many other working mums feel this way too). I just can’t seem to work out how to balance everything to the best effect!

I have taken the choice not to put my 14 month old in a nursery 5 days a week as that’s not what I want for her (or me) at the moment. If you follow my Instagram account you’ll know that we have an absolute ball together and I cherish being able to be there with her so much of the time. I do have childcare 2 (sometimes 3) days a week from her lovely grandparents, but I seem to find I have to use that time for a million and one jobs on top of working and the teaching I do on those days.

So I guess what I’m wondering is; how do I do it? How do I achieve the perfect work/life balance? How do I give everything I want to to my young family while putting everything I can into my established business? How do I make the most of my natural maternal instinct while also using my intellectual capacity to achieve in the workplace? How do I juggle being the best mum, wife and company director I can be, while still having time to be a good friend and be good to myself?

The answer is I don’t yet know.

But I plan to embark on a bit of a journey of discovery as these things all mean a lot to me and as we only live once I am determined to give it my best shot.

I imagine some of this reflection has come about thanks to my imminent thirtieth birthday! Maybe soon I’ll be older and wiser! I’ll keep you posted 😉

Victoria x

Conquering the Nerves

entrepreneur, Lifestyle

One tiny step at a time.

It’s a funny juxtaposition, but even though I’m a dance teacher by training and have been running my own company for the last 8 years, I have always suffered from anxiety, mostly brought on by new social situations.

I realised when I had my little girl last year that I was going to have to do some serious work on this so that I didn’t let her know I felt this way and to make her as confident as possible (although never too forward or precocious!).

So I have been consciously ‘putting myself out there’. I have made an effort to go to mummy and baby groups, and actually talk to the mummies not just hide behind V as I would have been more comfortable doing. I have got out there for the first time in two years and pitched for new business and today I am off to a seminar in Islington!

That’s a pretty big deal for me; no daughter to give attention to if I feel uncomfortable, no hiding behind needing to leave for nap time and none of my friends will be there to buddy up with. Just me and a room full of people I’ve never met.

Must admit I’m pretty proud of myself, albeit utterly terrified at the same time!

So off I go! Wish me luck and I’ll let you know how it goes later.

Victoria x

Why I will be a working Mum… from Day One.

baby, entrepreneur

Firstly, I should explain that I’ve always known I would be a working Mum.

From as young as I can remember I have wanted to be a Mummy. I was lucky enough to grow up with a stay at home mum, and the experiences wScreen Shot 2016-11-23 at 17.41.56.pnge had, attention that was available to us and the home-cooked dinners and daily crafts were enough to make me want to be able to give that to my own children.

However, in today’s world I feel it is a lot harder to be a stay at home Mum, and I certainly would never have assumed that the man I fell in love with and married would be able to support me not working. In addition to that, I love working! I love being challenged and coming up with new ideas and plans, I love being around my colleagues and being out there in the world. (Now that isn’t to say that you can’t get all those things from being a full time Mummy!)

So right away when I embarked on my career, I thought long and hard about a job that could support my desire to do the school run, nurse poorly bubbas ,set up Pinterest-worthy craft activities, cook dinners and be prepared for World Book Day!

To me, the sensible way to achieve this was to run my own company. One that could accomodate me having a family, be built up to support me financially and also be something that I absolutley loved doing – no point creating a job I would hate!

So at the age of 20 I launched my dance and performing arts school. The logic behind this being that:

  1. I have always wanted to be a teacher – they say those who can, teach. I guess it’s just always been something I can do, and do well.
  2. I love working with children.
  3. I’ve always been a passionate dancer and performer and qualified as a dance teacher aged 18.
  4. I could largely create the hours I was able to work – and could put as much as possible into the business while it grew to tailor it to my future requirements.
  5. I was able to study a full time business and management degree whilst working on the business for the first three years.
  6. Once I was ready to settle down and have a family, I would have spent a lot of time growing the reputation of the company and developing a trustworthy and reliable team, who would then be able to take on the teaching work while I continued to run the administrative and managerial side of the business.

img_3388All these factors have worked in my favour over the last 8 years, and I now have a fantastic team of five teachers, a teaching assistant and over 200 students who attend our classes on a weekly basis.

The business is always growing and evolving, so it won’t be a case of having the baby, having a few months off while the classes continue in my absence and then coming back on the scene after a nice leisurely maternity leave!

To give you an idea of what will be going on from my due date (30th January 2017):

  1. The company’s tax return is due (on my due date!)
  2. We have a new series of classes trialling at 3 local children’s centres for a six week period.
  3. Invoices are due out to all pupils and have to be monitored and chased.
  4. We are taking part in two competitions in March.
  5. We are entering the children for their exams in April.
  6. Our Insurance and Licencing is up for renewal in April.
  7. Our annual show is in June (this involves a huge amount of preparation and planning – but that’s a post for another day!).
  8. We have staff training days and first aid certificates that need renewing.
  9. We are taking part in a national dance show in July.
  10. More invoices are due out in February, April and May!
  11. I’m in the middle of creating a qualification (collaboratively) which will need endorsing and launching.

299C0157-6268-47E7-86A3-B33C09DEC69F 2.JPGThose are the things I can think of off the top of my head. On top of this the emails will have to be monitored and replied to (I am hoping to delegate most of this to one of my fabulous team members!), the phone will have to be answered and voicemails responded to, our social media accounts will have to be kept up to date and uniform orders upheld (another job I plan on delegating!).
Another thing to factor in is that I have spent years building a reputable and successful brand, so it is vitally important that I keep my hand in and keep an eye on the classes to ensure the same level of quality and personal touch is being delivered throughout the school. Not that I’m a control freak, much!

img_3251That’s the business side of things – on the other hand I will be a brand new mummy, with a tiny newborn baby who will require my attention 100% of the time. I hope to exclusively breast feed so will be up through the night doing that, and I also hope to be able to attend a couple of classes with the little one (currently I’m thinking swimming and baby massage!). I’m trying now to create a ‘maternity plan’ to manage my responsibilities and ensure that no-one, anywhere along the line, misses out on anything!

It’s a lot of responsibility, it’s a lot to think about, and I missed out on two months of planning and preparation by being poorly, then in hospital, then recovering, but I’m pretty single minded and am going to see how I can do!

Any advice from working Mummies will be very gratefully received!

Wish me luck…. you’ll be joining me on the ride!