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

5 things that have helped me through work stress

Or how I manage a very busy work time

So the plan with this post is to really get myself back on track with blogging and such like. Since I returned from holiday I have been really busy with work, which has been brilliant and I’ve been working on exciting projects but this blog has slightly fallen by the way side. Not on purpose at all but I wasn’t very organised and didn’t have any saved posts that I could share whilst I was in my ‘busy’ time.

Here are the things that have helped me through the stressful times:

  1. A shot of wheatgrass every morning – look out for a blog post about the wonders of this. I’ve written it (that is half the battle) and I just need to take a few photos now.
  2. A daily dose of Yoga. I think I’ve mentioned that I follow Yoga with Adriene on Youtube? What I didn’t realise is that she curates a schedule of videos for the month. I’m currently following June’s schedule – and really noticing the benefits.
  3. Meal-planning. I haven’t the time or energy to think about meals everyday, so planning the meal schedule at the weekend has really helped.
  4. Muting my Whats App and Messenger apps. I’m part of many groups on both platforms and the messages can get slightly insane. Switching off from these during the day stopped me from getting distracted.
  5. Reading at the end of the day. Even if it was a magazine or a newspaper supplement and not a book, just by reading it really helped me switch off from the day. I have just finished Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney and I’d love to know your thoughts.

What are your go to for stress relief?

ps I’m also planning a spa day at some point and even the mere thought of that kept me going through relentless deadlines and demanding clients!

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

My desktop (non)essential

Why flowers help boost my productivity

I’m lucky that in my job all I really need is a laptop, decent wifi and a phone. Access to a printer is always beneficial but I do not really require any specialised equipment.

My office is our kitchen – I work from the kitchen table most days. It’s also the table that my daughter completes her homework, we eat all our meals on and where my husband reads the newspaper from. It is the hub of our home. This means that my working space has to be transient – it is my ‘workspace’ only during the 9 to 3 hours. Everything that I use must be removed from the table before and after those hours for our normal family life to exist.

My usual set up – flowers and mug my (non) essentials

My set up isn’t pretty – it is functional (please see my blog post – my new tech set up for further details) but I work in a creative area and actually need a bit of ‘pretty’ at my workplace to help inspire me.

Ten years ago I would have laughed at what I’m writing now – when I worked in a pretty ordinary office but now I find that if I have a small bunch of flowers above my eye-line when I work, really lifts my mood. Flowers seem like such a luxury to me and when finances are a little tight, it seems an extravagance too far but a 99p bunch of daffodils is just the ticket. I’m so happy when Spring rolls into town – daffs, tulips, blossom etc… I’m not fussy!

Blooms never fail to inspire.

I am waiting with bated breath on the influx of peonies and hydrangeas. They are very expensive but I grow peonies in my garden and I’m desperate to succeed with hydrangeas. Is there anything better then cut flowers from your garden?

What’s your (non) essential item that helps life you when working? I’m also rather fond of a cup of tea from my Emma Bridgewater mug.

Other recommended reads that may be of interest to you:

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