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

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

My rules for attending networking groups

How I use networking groups to build my business.

Networking can be a great way to boost your business and your confidence

It is a horrible word, isn’t it? Networking. Sounds a bit cringey and slightly outdated in this world of social media where connections can be made instantly. But maybe I am old fashioned because I think there is a lot to gain from attending networking meetings. I’ve been attending groups for around five years and find it not only helpful to my business but also for my clients. I’ve been able to recommend people to my clients that I’ve met through networking and introduced my clients to certain groups that I thought would help them. What I have found most helpful is talking to people who are in a similar position as me – working short hours in the day whilst being the principal carer for my daughter. 

So here are my rules: 

  1. Always research the group before you attend. Speak to the person in charge – just sending an email won’t really give you much about the person. They should know their group well and will be able to tell you more about the members, how it works and also the dress code. 
  2. Decide if you want to go to a women only group. These have advantages as well as disadvantages. If you are new to networking, then I would suggest a women only group to start off with because to me, it feels more approachable. Mixed groups can be more intense and if you are new to networking then this might put you off.
  3. Practice a 1 minute presentation. Most groups do this where you introduce yourself, what you do and also what you are looking for. Hone your minute so that you sound natural and can look at the group when you speak. 
  4. Bring your business card or something that has your business details on it. Yes they are considered a little old hat now but they do still work.
  5. Remember that networking is a two way street – how can you help them? I find that by seeing how I can help someone first, they are always happy to reciprocate.
  6. Follow up – send thank you emails to everyone that you met, follow them on social media. This can be the next step in the conversation. 

You don’t need to keep attending the same group immediately. There are lots of different networking organisations out there – some that require a fee and others that require you to buy a coffee. I have found that the membership groups tend to be more organised and better focused. However groups like Ladies Who Latte are perfect to dipping your toe into the world of networking. I also think WiRE (Women in Rural Enterprises) has a lot to offer. Lastly, don’t forget that every social encounter could be networking – the Christmas parties you attend and Toddler mornings. Just be brave and be happy to discuss your business. You’ll be surprised at what comes your way. 

The weirdest work opportunity that came my way was when I went for my smear test…!

Hope this helps!