Another brilliant story from a previous attendee of Game Changers, this time from Caitlin, who shares how to change career to do web design. Not only has she made a successful career change but she has also managed a major relocation for her entire family. A brilliant read about the importance of mindset and reconnecting to what matters…
Tell us your story, what was going on for you at the time you started Game Changers?
We sold our home in South Africa, packed up our lives into 4 boxes, left family and friends behind and moved abroad to a city neither of us had been to before – all with toddler in tow.
Needless to say, it was pretty life changing stuff! The first few months were an adventure, but after a while the novelty wore off and reality began to sink in. I thought it would be easy to find the perfect job that fitted around our family, that we’d find the right childcare and that we’d enjoy this new chapter in our lives.
But the reality was that our son didn’t settle into nursery school, he was always getting sick, we had no family around for support and my husband often traveled for work. So I really needed to be home with him.
My brain was constantly buzzing with all kinds of ideas, I just didn’t have time to do anything. I began to feel stuck in a situation that wouldn’t change until he started nursery school 1.5 years later. Eventually the change of lifestyle and lack of support began to wear me down and I began to feel really isolated and depressed.
So I came to Game Changers with a lot of hope. Hope that I’d figure out what to do with my life, and how. Hope that I’d work out whether to start my own business or change career completely. Hope that I’d find a way to work things around my family. And hope that I’d connect with like-minded mothers facing similar challenges.
What I didn’t expect was that my personal game change journey was going to be so LIFE changing.
What happened during the programme?
In week one of the course, I had a big realization: what I’d envisioned our life to be like and the reality of our situation were worlds apart. I needed to make some big changes to realign the important stuff if I wanted to be happier.
Rediscovering what mattered most to me and connecting to my vision really helped kick-start my Game Change. From there, everything else started to fall into place. My mindset changed, and decision-making became easier.
Game Changers gave me the opportunity to take a long hard look at all areas of my life and identify what was and wasn’t working. I moved from just thinking about things to taking action, and the course gave me the tools and support I needed to create my own game plan.
It was empowering to connect with like-minded women, all on their own personal journeys. To share our wins and challenges, to work on business ideas and get feedback and support on all things family, career and personal.
What has happened since, what is it that you are doing now?
By focusing on the things that are most important in our lives, I was able to make some big changes. It’s been a long process but we’re finally in a much better place right now.
We ended up moving from Manchester to London to be close to family for the support and a better social life. Our son started nursery school, and that finally gave me the time to focus on previously neglected areas of my life.
At this stage it had become really clear that I wanted to start my own business so that I had the freedom and flexibility to live life on my own terms and be present for my family. I needed to channel my creativity in a way that contributed something meaningful and help women who were in a similar situation as myself to build a business around their family.
I now help small business owners with their branding and web design, and love it because I get to use my qualifications, skill-set and experience to empower other mums and teach them how to update their website going forward.
What is the best thing about your new work?
Oh that’s easy! The inspiring women I meet who are at various stages of building their own business.
I love hearing about their experiences, their business and industry as well as what their vision and goals are for their brand, and what their ideal work situation might look like.
It gives me great joy to work with these amazing women, to really understand the passion and purpose behind their brand, what their business goals are and to help them connect with their ideal client. I enjoy problem solving with them, brainstorming and coming up new ideas for their business.
I also love helping them streamline processes and set up their website to be their best unpaid employee, doing some of their admin and at the end of the day giving them time back that they can spend doing the more important things in life.
What have you learnt along the way?
There are times when I feel frustrated that things are taking much longer than I’d have liked. Life happens, kids get sick, school holidays hit you out of nowhere. But I wouldn’t have it any other way because I’m constantly learning and growing so it’s all been a necessary part of the process.
As small business owners, we need to be open to learning, growing and evolving. We need to support one another. We need to push ourselves out of our comfort zone a little. We need to surround ourselves with the right people. We need to be open to change, and willing to test our ideas and get feedback. Most of all, we need to appreciate that it’s a process and not a destination. It can be tough, and it takes time.
How does it now work for you combining work and family and everything else? Any tips?
Once our son started nursery school things got a lot easier. There’s still never enough time in the day, and I often have to sneak hours in during the evenings or on weekends.
I’m trying to figure out a system that allows me to focus and work in time blocks, dividing up my week into sections where I spend time both working ON my business (ideas, goals, development) and IN my business (client work, content creation etc.).
Of course things come up all the time in business and in our personal life that disrupt everything, but then I remind myself that this is why I wanted flexibility!
If you could change one thing for your fellow mothers what would it be?
If I could change one thing, it would be to create a more supportive culture around women entrepreneurs, especially those with young children. It’s extremely hard to wear all the hats and juggle motherhood.
I’ve found that women do come together to collaborate, skill-swap, bounce ideas off and support one another which is amazing. But there’s simply not enough.
I’d love to see more accessible business advice, guidance and mentoring to help move from business idea to a sustainable income.
What advice would you give for anyone currently feeling like they need to make a change?
Just do it! You won’t know if something is right for you unless you try it out.
Trust your gut. It takes a lot of introspection and hard work figuring out what you want and need, and how to do it. It can take time and effort, but it’s possible to change your life completely.
How can people get in touch or find out more?
Caitlin is a qualified Graphic Designer (specialising in Multimedia Design) and also a Wix Certified Webmaster and Trainer. She’s the founder of Blubird Web Design and helps small businesses with branding and web design. For more information you can visit www.blubird.uk or email email@example.com
Game Changers is our online development programme supporting mothers to make career and life changes, find out more about the incredible results it has already had for over 100 women and tons of testimonials here.