How I work: Louise Webster

Louise Webster Founder of Beyond the School Run

When I started this blog, I was keen to connect with other parents who were passionate about finding solutions to the parent/work juggle. I was thrilled when I became a follower of Beyond the School Run which is ran by Louise Webster. Working in publishing, I make it my business to be aware of books in an area that I am particularly passionate about and I’m looking forward to sharing a review of her book, A New Way for Mothers in another post. I was delighted when Louise agreed to be part of my How I Work series because she is so determined to help those who are looking to work but have children too – something you may notice I am a strong advocate of too!

  1. Name of your business?

Beyond the School Run (this is a Limited Company)

2. What do you do?

I am the Founder of the Beyondtheschoolrun.com platform, and author of the book,A New Way of Mothers.

I run the platform during school hours and in the windows available during school holidays.  My role involves, sharing content daily with our community, we have a weekly schedule ranging from Monday motivation, to wise words Wednesday and Fashion Friday.  I communicate via our FB pages, Twitter and instagram.  I also focus on preparing our fortnightly newsletter and making new connections, speaking with people in this space and potentially finding ways to work together.  The Beyondtheschoolrun website features links to various connections and opportunities and I am regularly engaging with those connections or identifying new ones.  I work on the PR of my book ‘A New Way for Mothers’ which often involves speaking events or working with the media. I am currently working on a program to support the workplace.  

3. Where do you work?

I have a small office at the top of our house. I love it.  It only has my work in there and items that inspire me. As soon as I walk in I feel like I could be anywhere.

4. How did you get to this point in your career?

Before children I worked in PR and ran a PR agency that I set up.  About a year after having my first child, I sold the company and took a year out- at which point we moved out of the London and had my daughter (my second child).  It was during this time that I started to see for myself and others the barriers for parents in working alongside caring and that’s when I started to develop Beyondtheschoolrun. 

 I have been growing it in the hours available to me – which is what Beyondtheschoolrun is all about. I have a deep passion for the collective potential of parents when utilising their skills in the hours available to them.

5. The best part of my job is…?

Louise Webster at No.10 Downing Street
Her job has taken Louise to No.10 Downing Street

I love hearing from people who have somehow benefitted or been inspired by my work in some way – whether that’s connecting with a flexible job role via the platform, an opportunity or reading my book.  Beyondtheschoolrun has also taken me to places I would never have imagined, No.10 Downing Street and has connected me with dreams I never imagined possible such as writing my book ‘A New Way for Mothers.’

A new Way for Mothers book
Louise has written a book about the parenting/work juggle

6. The worst part of my job is…?

Working out how to make the business model work.  I am working in this new way that I explore in my book ‘A New Way for Mothers’ and also growing a business in a new way. 

7. Favourite time-saving trick?

It may be contrary but taking time to exercise – the 30 minutes you put in can give you so much back.  I find so much clarity after I have exercised, whether that’s yoga, running etc.  It is not so much about the time that you have but what you achieve within that time and finding your flow is really important.  I write about this in more detail in my book.

8. Best advice for anyone working 9 to 3?

Be kind to yourself.   It’s not a race we’ll all get to where we dream of just focus on your steps, don’t compare and try to collaborate. 

9. Favourite social media accounts/blogs?

Maria Forleo from her Facebook page
Louise is a fan of Maria Forleo

Arianna Huffington, Marie Forleo, Oprah Winfrey amongst others.

You can buy Louise’s book here. Do follow her on Instagram: @beyondtheschoolrun

How I work: Laura Spurr

Online health and wellness coach

It is always good to *meet* another Laura! I came across Laura Spurr via @SocialMums on Instagram and loved her account instantly. I find it really motivational – she makes fitness seem joyful and not scary. She isn’t afraid to share her tips, advice and also what is going on in her life. I admire her courage and wish I had a bit more of it. Please do have a read about how she works.

  1. Name of Business? LSFitness

2. What do you do?

I am a self employed online health and wellness coach.

Laura’s business is called LS Fitness

3. Where do you work? 

On my phone so literally anywhere, the gym (I teach there), a coffee shop, the car, out walking. Or my laptop at a desk in my lounge.

4. How did you get to this point in your career?

A few years ago I left a city career after retraining as a Personal Trainer for many reasons but mainly because after a personal journey I realised how passionate I was about the need to take care of yourself.   I wanted to help other ladies discover how amazing it is possible to feel every day when your daily routine is working for you. You have all the energy in the world to not only get through the day, but fly through the day with a bounce in your step.

However, despite having set up a very successful PT business, I felt like a part of what I wanted people to feel was missing.   Clients would come and smash their PT session but then it would be in most cases another week until I saw them again.  They may or may not train in-between, many of them didn’t pay me for nutritional advice, because let’s be honest it’s not cheap to pay for both PT and nutrition, and if they had to cancel sessions because well life happens, they would miss out on their training.

5. The best part of my job is?

Laura is an advance meal planner and loves her jobs ability to change lives

I knew to feel as amazing as I wanted them to that my clients needed the whole package, quick and effective workouts they could do at a time to suit them, health focused family friendly nutrition, but more than that I wanted to offer them support and accountability to help them achieve their goals.  Oh, and for a reasonable price point!   So I took the plunge to sign up with an MLM (Beachbody) and go into the online fitness market and have never looked back

What I do has the potential to change people lives.  I see people bloom in front of my eyes, finding confidence, self belief, learning to love themselves a little more each day and I get to witness this every single day.

6. The worst part of my job is?

 Ummmm having no excuse to not get my workout in 😉

Laura’s Instagram account is always colourful and inspiring
@laura_spurr_pt

7. Favourite time-saving trick?

Setting myself up the night before with a list of “must do’s” to get started the next morning. That way I have a focus! Oh and having my food organised (I love a leftover!) so I don’t waste time trying to cook lunch in the middle of the 9-3.

8. Best advice for anyone working 9 to 3?

Learn to ignore the chaos and focus on your business.  The chaos will still be there after your working hours but if you get distracted during your core hours it takes key time away from your business. Oh and stock up on tea bags if you intend to work at home a lot

9. Favourite social media accounts/blogs?

@SocialMums is an account Laura follows

Social mums, Thrive in Business, mini_motto_clothing, deliciously ella, okay_doodle and jessicamaryrobson 

You can reach Laura via her website. Please click here.

Are you thinking of becoming a personal trainer? There are plenty of courses available that you can take. Did you know that the YMCA run training courses? I didn’t! Take a look here.

Other blog posts you may enjoy:

How I Work: Lizzie Woodman

How I Work: That Mum Moment

How I plan my long term goals

How I work: Lizzie Woodman

Lizzie Woodman – blogger and freelance writer

I first came across Lizzie Woodman from another Instagram account and was immediately taken by her effortless style, wit and calm nature. Based in the Cambridge area with two boys, she works from home and juggles life/work like the rest of us. I was delighted when she agreed to feature on my little blog! She takes gorgeous images and shares her thoughts on matters of the day with articulated thought. She works with numerous brands on her blog and never fails to inspire me. Please do have a read and go visit her blog and Instagram. You won’t be disappointed.

  1. Name : Lizzie Woodman

2. Name of Business: Lizziewoodman.co.uk

3. What do you do?

I’m a blogger and freelance writer. I also help businesses with their marketing and social media – taking photographs, writing captions and press releases. 

Lizzie works from home and her gorgeous cats are featured on her account

4. Where do you work?

I work from home. I have a big desk in our open plan kitchen space, but usually prefer to perch in an armchair with my laptop. My two tabby cats are usually close by!

5. How did you get to this point in your career?

I fell into freelance writing after starting a blog in 2014. I’d been a stay at home mother since 2009 and craved some creativity that didn’t involve glitter and PVA glue. Blogging taught me to be a better writer and photographer – plus it helped me believe in myself. My first paid work was for sponsored posts commissioned by brands for my blog. Over the last couple of years this has blossomed into writing for other people too – from ghost-written blog posts for big brands to writing product descriptions and helping at influencer events.

6. The best part of my job is?

The flexibility. I do all the school runs and can take time off to be with my children during the holidays. I also love meeting new people. I’ve met and interviewed so many people over the last couple of years and it’s been fascinating.

Her clients include brands such as Fat Face and Joy where she creates content for her blog and Instagram account.

7. The worst part of my job is? 

Getting lonely. I miss chatting to colleagues – which is probably why I spend too much time on social media. I also find it tough to motivate myself. When you’re a freelancer you have to be your own best cheerleader all the time. Picking yourself up after a disappointment can be tough and it’s not for everyone.

8. Favourite time-saving trick?

Ignoring the housework until the children get home. I don’t like wasting my work day putting on loads of washing and cleaning the shower. I tend to get my chores done when the boys are busy with their Lego after school. 

Lizzie’s Instagram is well worth a look!
@lizzie_woodman

9. Best advice for anyone working 9 to 3?

Don’t try and do it all. It’s easy to think you can move mountains while your kids are at school, but in reality, it’s a very short day. Prioritise the things you really need to get done and try not to feel guilty about everything else!

10. Favourite social media accounts/blogs?

I’m addicted to Instagram and it also forms a big part of my work. Creating a beautifully curated feed is like my shop window and helps put me in touch with people. I try and write about three posts a week for my own blog, Lizzie Woodman. I find Hannah Gale’s blog very inspiring. 

Other posts you may like to read:

How I work: Jenna Bissell from That Mum Moment

My Freelance Story: Lizzie Woodman

The joy of freelance: How to be Freelance

How I Work: Jenna Bissell from That Mum Moment

That Mum Moment
Jenna designs amazing cards for parents

I am so pleased to be featuring Jenna from That Mum Moment on the blog today! The more time I spend on Instagram, the more I love it. I came across Jenna’s brilliant account during a scrolling session and was instantly hit by the colour, wit and okay, the leopard print of her designs.

She also must be super-human, launching That Mum Moment when her daughter was barely a year old and she has a regular job as well. I struggle to blog more than once a week whilst working on my business so kudos to Jenna. She also has great taste in podcasts. See below for Jenna’s How I Work!

  1. Name of Business?

I decided to name my brand after those times I really felt like a proper mum and “had That Mum Moment”. You know the times, you’re kicking off about someone else parking in a mother and baby space or you’re eating leftover fish fingers from a plastic plate. From those moments came my collection of brightly coloured cards, all inspired by the reality of parenting along with fashion and Instagram. Like me, they like to tell it how it is with a little humour and a *some* bad language thrown in, but please don’t tell my dad!

2. What do you do?

Mother Pukka’s Flex Appeal is an inspiration

Nowadays I’m striving to become a ‘Multi-Hyphen Mum’. I’m obsessed with Emma Gannon’s book,  ‘The Multi-Hyphen Method’ and I’m just about to read it for the second time around. Similarly to Mother Pukka’s Flex Appeal it taps into the idea that we can design a career that works for us rather than a standard 9-5 at a desk Monday to Friday.

I now work at home 4 days a week as a marketing manager, with some travel. Working at home is super flexible and I have the stability of a monthly income. I have one day with my daughter in the week and fit That Mum Moment and Etsy shop around her afternoon nap and some evenings.

3. Where do you work?

Jenna works from home in her spare room

The day I actually started the brand I was sat in a coffee shop overlooking the beach, listening to one of my favourite podcasts by Not Another Mummy’s Alison Perry. From there I went on to take over our dining room/playroom, until earlier this year when I discovered Marie Kondo and organised the hell out of our spare room. I now have a really inspiring space that ‘sparks joy’ and my cards are super organised and easy to pick and pack.

4. How did you get to this point in your career?

I studied journalism way, way back, before Facebook or Instagram existed. I vaguely remember the course helping me with my writing but more than anything I loved the design modules. Playing around with Macs was so alien to someone who had been brought up with PCs and floppy disks (man, I sound old). While my shorthand was fairly sh*t, I adored the combination of writing and design. From there I worked in marketing and freelance writing for nearly 15 years which has given me all the skills I needed to set up That Mum Moment.

I created That Mum Moment in 2018 after having my daughter a year earlier. Motherhood hit me like a tonne of bricks (hands up if you’re a control freak?!) and I was trying to navigate the ‘new’ me. The cards are inspired by those moments when you need someone to tell you you’re smashing it. While it’s a bit old school, nothing is better than receiving a card in the post, knowing how much effort your mate has gone to, to choose a card, buy a stamp and remember your address. I want the brand to empower parents (mainly frazzled mums), champion self-care and encourage others to pass on those good vibes.

5. The best part of my job is…?

A design from Jenn'a range of greetings cards
One of That Mum Moment cards

Imagining the smile on people’s faces when they receive one of my cards gives me all the feels. I’m a bit of a softie at heart and adore the thought that something as simple as a card will bring two friends closer together and make such a difference to someone’s day.

6. The worst part of my job is…?

I love working on That Mum Moment but it can be tough finding the motivation to carry on in the evenings or when my daughter has a nap. Sometimes I’d much rather sit on the sofa with a biscuit and cuppa or glass of wine. I combat that by committing to projects that put me in my discomfort zone but also excite me. Last year I designed, printed and sold a christmas card collection within two weeks. This never would have happened if I hadn’t said yes to a collaboration with Jane from The Mama Social.

7. Favourite time-saving trick?

The myth is true. Having a child makes you more productive. There’s less time for procrastination when you need to get sh*t done. I like to set myself time slots to complete work rather than wasting hours jumping in and out of tasks or getting distracted by an Instagram rabbit hole.

8. Best advice for anyone working 9 to 3?

Create boundaries and don’t be afraid to say no. If someone requests a meeting, unless you really need to go, set up a call. Something that can be discussed on the phone for 15 minutes could eat up half of your day if you organise a meeting. More recently I’ve started ‘no phone Friday’ with my husband. We put our phones in a different room from 7pm and it’s the ultimate in boundary setting for those who treat their phone like their third hand. While I realise it makes me sound like a massive w*nker who’s possibly addicted to social media, it works for me. It’s so good for my mental health and I love the feeling of detaching from the outside world once our little one goes to bed on a Friday.

9. Favourite social media accounts/blogs:

I hate watching Instagram stories with the sound on. I much prefer accounts like Hannah Gale who shares her witty account of motherhood, fashion, tasty food and TV recommendations via text. I also have a thing for podcasts, they’re an amazing way to get in some self-care when I’m driving alone. My current faves are Ctrl Alt Delete by Emma Gannon, The Emma Guns Show and How to Curate your Life.

Please go and see Jenna’s account here: www.instagram.com/thatmummoment

Her shop can be found here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThatMumMoment

How I Work: Jo O’Sullivan from Ta doodle dah

 

I love these blog posts! Finding out about the different ways we all cope with our 9 to 3 fascinates me. Like the lady I’m about to feature, I have a job that I love but needed a creative outlet to complete my happiness – hence this blog. Jo is an amazing, talented self-taught designer who runs her own company as well as being a teacher. I certainly feel exceedingly humble when looking at her achievements.

I came across Jo through my favourite social media platform, Instagram. Her designs are like a breath of fresh air that ping out from my phone.

Name of Business: Ta doodle dah (I create eye-catching eye-catching paper goods for children.)

Photo of Jo Sullivan of Tadoodledah
Jo O’Sullivan is a teacher and runs her own design paper product business.

What do you do?

I’m a part-time teacher in an Independent School and work on Ta doodle dah around my job and three children.

Where do you work?

I usually work with the laptop on my lap sitting on the sofa (great for my posture!) or at the kitchen table. I keep all my stock in boxes in a room in the dining room and pack orders on the table in there; not very glamorous at all!

How did you get to this point in your career?

I’ve been teaching for over 10 years and have only just launched Ta doodle dah this year. I’ve always been quite creative, but never really discovered my creative outlet until I started graphic designing at home for fun; I downloaded Adobe Creative as a trial and was instantly hooked! I’m completely self-taught, I love the freedom it gives me and I’m excited to see where this little business takes me.

The best part of my job is…

…Creating designs that people like and receiving lovely messages from them.

Just a hint of some of the designs from Ta doodle dah

The worst part is…

…Trying to find the time to do everything! I try not to be sitting with a laptop out when the kids are around, but it is really really hard.

Favourite time-saving trick?

I wish I had one! I think living near my parents helps me a lot as they do the odd school run for me and cook them dinner once a week; this is a lifesaver!

Best advice for anyone working the 9 to 3?

Working 9-3 feels like the shortest day sometimes but I always try and do the jobs that I really can’t do when the kids are around. For example, if the dishwasher needs emptying, I know I can do that when the kids are home, so I’ll leave it until later on. I try and prioritise the most urgent jobs that I really can’t do when the children are around. I can always think of a reason not to do the cleaning! Oh and I try not to fall down an Instagram rabbit hole and give myself a time limit on scrolling!

Favourite social media accounts/blogs?

Just a peek from the Instagram account of Ta doodle Dah!
Just a peek from the Instagram account of Ta doodle dah!

I love so many accounts and small businesses on Instagram but my favourites are probably @meandorla, @velveteenbabies, @wonderandrah, @little_jagger_, @emilybrooksuk and @susiejverrill.

Follow Jo on Instagram @tadoodledah

Please do visit her website: https://tadoodledah.com