Life before my little boy was spent working in a marketing agency, making excuses for nights out – ‘Launch The Month Club’ and ‘Friday Fit Club’ being some of my favourites, planning my next holiday and I always had a project on the go.
There were things that I had loved about working in an agency when I first started, the creative process, the energy and the socialising, but at times it was long hours and stressful. Plus I’d originally studied Animal Care and then Marketing with the intention of working with charity clients and that never really happened…
In my 30s, I met a lovely man and told him on our second date that my aim was to get married and have children. Thankfully he stuck around and later than we hoped, as life sometimes throws you a curveball, we got married and a few months later we were pregnant and I felt like life was on track
When the day came to launch maternity leave, I was so excited. Our beautiful baby boy arrived and I was totally in love. At 37, I wished that we’d been able to do this sooner but that’s not how life had gone so now it was all about me and my little family. I didn’t want to go back to work, I wanted to be with my little boy, plus I knew I wanted more children and needed to crack on!
However, we had spent all of our money on a house and building project while I was pregnant so I needed to earn again sometime soon. Plus I wanted to do something myself and share financial responsibility with my husband to give us options to do the things we wanted to do now and in the future with our family.
So I enjoyed my days with Leo, thinking of ideas to start a business and work for myself. Before he’d arrived, I imagined that this would be quite easy. I’d have lots of time to be creative and invest in starting something up. Pictured myself with my new Mac laptop, nice stationery and baby happily cooing in a bassinet next to me – dreamy! I soon realised that actually, you have barely any time and when you do, you can spend hours just watching your baby sleeping, sniffing them (just because you just like smelling them) or power napping with baby asleep on you. Thankfully I rarely had to think about what to eat as my husband loves cooking – phew!
I had ideas and some of them are genuinely good. It’s just that they’d involve investing money, overheads, product development or purchasing. If I wanted to grow the business or take time off because Leo was ill or I wanted to go on holiday or maternity leave when I have more children, I’d need staff and to pay them. It could be a long time before I’m really making any money and a lot of time and stress to make it work and be a success plus I’d be doing it on my own. I wasn’t scared by that, it just wasn’t my aim, I wanted something that wasn’t stressful and allowed me to be with my little boy – that was the priority. I had a sinking feeling that there wasn’t an easy solution…
Thankfully, when Leo was 9 months old and I was up in the night breastfeeding him back to sleep, I spotted a post on Facebook about working with Neal’s Yard Remedies. I already liked the company, knowing how ethical they were, so didn’t hesitate to send an enquiry that night. I was contacted the next day and after reassurance that I could work it around a breastfeeding, non-sleeping baby, there would be no pressure and didn’t have to do parties, I registered. I was now an Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic, Independent Consultant. I had no idea what I was really going to do, but I was excited and knew this could be what I’ve been looking for.
I love an excuse to gather a bunch of friends so I was soon organising a get together with my baby group, then an open house for friends, some already loved the products and some wanted parties, so I thought I’d give them a go. I hosted at my place so that I could run up and downstairs if Leo woke up – they’d still be happy chatting and playing with products. I started doing stalls at events so it was easy for my husband to pop along with Leo.
That was at the end of January last year and one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It was great fun from the start. People were ordering products, booking parties or inviting me to events and some were joining NYR too, so before I knew it, I had my own little NYR team and we were planning events to do together. 4 months after joining, I was a Team Leader with 20 or so people in my team.
It didn’t feel like work at all, I was just getting stuck in and enjoying myself and it was all happening with and around Leo. I did what I could when I could (and it was nice to have something to think about while I spent 4 hours of my day helping a little one get to sleep!) I just told myself to ‘touch my business every day’, no matter how small, do something. Sometimes I’d label catalogues in the evening, make up business packs, try a new product or read a training session on our Facebook group.
I genuinely loved the products and I was learning so much about the company, the ethics, why it’s good to go organic. Even as a little girl, I’d been passionate about animal welfare, cruelty free shopping and I’ve always loved a good product, so I finally felt like I was doing something that I truly enjoyed. I’m certainly no salesperson and I’ve yet to meet another NYRO consultant who is, we just love the products, the company and the opportunity to work for ourselves – everyone has their own reason for joining.
It still amazes me that for £95, or less, we get a business in a bag, products to sample and business tools to get started, no pressure but lots of support, amazing products and all with a much loved brand.
As a Mum you meet lots of other Mums and I’ve found everyone to be really supportive of one another. Whether that’s helping you get through a day after a night of no sleep or if you’re starting your own business, people want you to do well. Like CheltenhamMaman wrote recently, Maternity Leave is such a wonderful window of opportunity to give something a go, really you’ve got nothing to lose and potentially everything to gain.
In March this year, I qualified as Group Leader when my team had grown to almost 200 people. I went to the NYRO conference this year and I was awarded as one of the Top New Business Builders in 2015, I’d never achieved anything like this before!
I’ve been working with Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic for 20 months now, I’ve a team of 350 consultants from all over the UK and now France. They’ve all joined for different reasons. Other Mum’s, my Mum, beauty and massage therapists (who can use the products in treatments, retail products and grow their own teams so have additional and long term income), yoga guides, nutritionists, teachers, midwives, social workers, students and people about to retire, others who just love the products and want to share with friends. If I’d been told that at the beginning of last year that I could do all of this around my little boy, I wouldn’t have believed it but I’m on track to promote to Regional Leader over the next few months.
Now I host team and training evenings at my house, I’ll have Skype sessions with those who live further away, sharing ideas and giving support and guidance on how to start and grow their business. I like to think I’m a helpful and supportive leader, always cheering my team on. I genuinely want them to do well and many have become good friends. The whole culture at NYRO is ‘People helping people’ and that’s why people can flourish and grow in their own way, in their own time. If you want to keep it small and simple, just sharing catalogues etc with friends and family, that’s fine, if you want to earn now and then, that’s OK too and if you want to make the most of the business opportunity then you’ll have plenty of support to help you make it happen.
I’ve had my own personal struggles this year with a miscarriage over Christmas and another early one in March and my team have been kind and supportive. This year would have been tougher if I’d had to go to work but I could take the time to look after myself and my family while my business continued, I didn’t have to worry about anything else. I feel very lucky that I have a balance of work and quality family time that can sometimes seem impossible but is perfect for me. I’m really excited to be expecting another baby in March and love knowing that my business will grow and adapt as my family does.
If you or anyone you know would like to find out more about working with Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic. please get in touch. I’m happy to pop some info in the post, arrange a call or meet up. If you’re super keen, you can register here, your kit will be on it’s way and I’ll help you get to know NYRO and how it could work for you…
And of course, if you’d like to try products yourself or with friends, lets make a date – before March as I’ll probably be taking a little bit of time out to snooze with and sniff my baby.
A Guest Blog Post from Katie Chapman
Katie Chapman is married to Ben, Mum to Leo, 2 1/2 and expecting a baby next March. She fills most days with fun and adventures for her little boy (he’s got a lot of energy!) and around him, she works for herself with Neal’s Yard Remedies.