Hi, I'm Laura and welcome to my blog! I'm a book publicist that works from home and this is about sharing what works for me while working the 'school hours.' I'll be writing about how I manage the juggle between work and parenting as well as highlighting other parents and their careers.
I mentioned last week that I was looking to feature people that work mostly during the school hours. I am thrilled that Allison is my first! I met Allison quite a few years ago when I was dipping my toe into the world of networking. I was a new mum and looking at new adventures during my maternity leave. Allison was the uber cool girl who nailed her “1 minute” talk every time. I’ve always been in awe of her ever since.
The fan-girling continues as she’s booked several holidays and flights for me and my in-laws. She made each holiday a dream where the rubbish stuff is taken care of (by her). She even managed to get a birthday cake for my daughter once when we were away. Impressive.
How I Work
Name: Allison Barnard
Name of Business: Travel Counsellors
What do you do: I run my own travel business looking after Major Artists on tour, family holidays, individual business trips, and everything in between. I am self employed and a franchisee of Travel Counsellors who provide full financial protection, branding, marketing, business support, buying power, and access to booking technology to assist in making my business successful.
Where do you work: Mostly from home but I literally could be anywhere with a decent internet connection.
How did you get to this point in your career: On returning to the office in
March 2012 after maternity leave I decided I wanted to see my children grow. So I joined Travel Counsellors and have never looked back
The best part of my job is:
Helping make dreams come true.
The worst part of my job is: Having to give bad news, re prices or delays or cancellations.
Favourite time-saving trick: Know your tech, make it work for you. And pick up the phone, endless threads can be squashed in to a concise phone call, and your customers will value you more by having actual contact.
Best advice for anyone working 9 to 3: don’t forget you. Make sure you have me time, not just work time/kid time. Even if it’s just walking the dog or stopping in the park for a coffee on the way back from school drop off or a yoga class or a swim. My business always does better when I remember to do things for me. And you really can’t look after anyone else if you don’t look after you.
Favourite social media accounts/blogs – I do struggle keeping up with any. Although a friend moved to Amsterdam last year and I do try and keep up with https://amsterfam.com/ .
Where has this week gone? I’m on countdown for half-term. Amy finishes school today so I’m rapidly trying to squeeze in as much work as I can before 3.15pm. Fun times!
So these are my very quick Friday Favourites…
I’m going to start with a product that has literally made me very happy! I
discovered this serum (Silver Serum) via my Mum as she knew that I was getting large spots (sorry TMI) on my neck and chin when I was feeling quite hormonal. I ordered this stuff due to the rapturous reviews on the website and after about a week of using it twice a day, my spots were smaller and I now have less every month. How do I know it works? This summer I ran out and didn’t order more due to holidays and being disorganised. The spots returned! Argh… I ordered more and they’ve disappeared. It has really changed how I feel about my face.
Another game changer for me is the Free Prints app. You get 45 free 6×4 printed photos every month and you just pay postage.
It is brilliant getting photos printed from your phone. I use it for Amy’s school/Beaver/craft projects and also to refresh photos in my “Hall of Fame” as I call it!
Lastly I am a huge fan of The Pool – created by the ex-editor of Red magazine Sam Baker and journalist Lauren Laverne. It has numerous articles that appeal to me (37 year old mum, working from home) and they let you know
how long they think it will take to read each piece. It is perfect for just having a small break from work and catching up with the what is going on beyond the school gates. It has also tamed my addiction to the “sidebar of shame” at the dailymail.co.uk (I’m not proud).
That’s it for today! Short but hopefully sweet. Have a lovely weekend!
Hello! How are you? Week going okay? We are based in Leicestershire and the school holidays here are always slightly out of sync with the rest of the country! Which is great in terms of going to visit tourist attractions when it isn’t so busy but can be tricky when being on holiday a week before everyone else. It normally means that it can take longer for me to finish tasks as when I’m away, everyone is at work and when I’m back, well you get the picture!
As a freelancer, I am hugely lucky that I can pick and choose when I work. But it also means that I do not get any holiday pay whatsoever. Therefore during school holidays, I tend to take a hit on my income because I do not have set childcare in place. The bonus is that I’m around for my daughter and we do fun things but I also could potentially lose money too.
Here’s what I do:
Take on an extra project: I look at my schedule and see if I can fit in another project before or after a planned holiday. This does mean extending the 9 to 3 to working in the evenings after my daughter has gone to bed but I find that it is worth the pain. I have a friend who takes on a few extra baskets of ironing and walks a few more dogs in the run up to a holiday so that she has a little more cash in her pocket.
Tell my clients: I have a couple of clients that I work for daily and I let them know that I’ll be making up the time either the week before or after, plus I’ll be answering emails during certain hours. These tend to be 7-9am and 7-9pm. I find that you end up doing more work (which is unpaid) to make up the week you took off. Or is that just me?
Forget the admin: A lot of my time is spent organising my company’s admin – accounts and follow ups. During the holiday, I leave it to one side and then pick it up afterwards.
Schedule all Social Media in advance: I know lots of people that do this already but I really enjoy the conversation flow of posting in real time however during the holidays, I’ll use Hootsuite to schedule a few posts and then I’ll pop as well when the timing is right.
Childcare: Yes, if there is an opportunity that cannot be missed, I’ll ask my Mum or a friend to look after Amy for me. This can be for a few hours or a whole day. To be honest, this happens more in the summer holidays. With half-term I can juggle a bit more but I endeavour to let me clients know that I’m not around but will make up the time.
Breathe: The holidays are always quite stressful when trying to combine children with work but once I made the decision to not take on as much and
then step up before and after the break then it made me really determined to enjoy the break.
Heads up: I’m going to be featuring people who generally work 9 to 3 on this blog. Just so you don’t get bored of only hearing from me but also to hopefully provide inspiration and help for anyone looking to see if a) they could work 9 to 3 and b) what careers are out there.
What do you do: I’m a self-employed freelance publicist working mainly in publishing and the art world
Where do you work: Most days I am based in my house (mostly in the kitchen as its the warmest room in the house – in the winter and the coolest in the summer). I do visit London once a month to see clients or attend events.
How did you get to this point in your career: I’ve worked in the area since I graduated from University (with an Economics degree – no idea how I ended up in PR) and just loved it. Every day is different. I went freelance in 2008 when I had an opportunity to work with multiple clients.
The best part of my job is: Getting coverage for my clients. It is still a huge thrill.
The worst part of my job is: PR can be very soul destroying – you can spend days/weeks/month on a campaign and get very little but send one email to someone and get a ton of coverage. It is hard to account for my time.
Favourite time-saving trick: Plan plan plan. Read everything. You never know where inspiration will strike.
Best advice for anyone working 9 to 3: Understand your workload and your time commitments outside of work. Put in place procedures to help you focus during your working hours. Then switch off to be with your partner/children/dog.
Hello! I thought that each Friday I would highlight just a few things that I have been using that I rather like! It will be a mix of stuff – sometimes apps, gadgets or books and other times perhaps a coat or beauty product.
I’ve used this foundation for at least two years but recently had a break from it. Why? I have asked myself multiple times since buying a new bottle? It is really great – gives me a fresh look each morning and most importantly has a SPF40 in it. Perfect for the harsh Autumn winds when walking my dog!
This is on Amazon Prime. This is a fun, easy to watch series that I watch when I’m ironing or need a little downtime during the day.
@theinstagramexpert. (SueBZimmerman) I’ve just found her but I’m using her free downloadable print out and helping set up a decent account. I’ll be using this a lot as I get to grips with this blog and social media.
My Slow Cooker. I’m lucky enough to have an Aga (it came with the house!) and it doesn’t get switch on until next week after its service. With the weather getting cooler, suddenly salads and grilled meat just ain’t cutting it anymore. So I picked this beauty up from amazon for £20! Its really good and happily feeds a family of 3 with leftovers to stash in the freezer. I’ve been using The Organised Mum’s slow cooker recipes and can confirm that the Fakeaway Korma is superb. Ditto the Cowboy Beans.
A Towel Turban that I bought from a pound shop! Its perfect for after Amy’s swimming lessons.
PaddyWax Literary Travel Tin Candles – as a family of book lovers these are perfect for us! The burning time feels like forever and I love the literary quotes. They are great to taking with you to places but we currently have them popped around the house and in guest bedrooms.