AJF Counselling

What’s your business called?

AJF Counselling

Can you describe it in one sentence?

I offer psychodynamic counselling therapy, for children, adolescents and adults.

When did you start it and what inspired you?

I started in February 2015. Since qualifying as a counsellor, I have worked for the NHS and Essex schools, and I loved being able to work hours around my daughter, and being able to take and pick her up from school. After having my son, with the prospect of maternity coming to an end, I knew I wasn’t ready to give up my day’s with him. I knew I had to find a way to continue working, in a job that I love, and spend my day with my children. I spend many evenings, feeding in the small hours, to do my research.

How did you find your start up?

Start up was slow, I had to find an office, and way a of advertising my services. Over a few months, and lots of time spent on getting my name out there with local schools and families, my work began.

How do you manage working around your children?

Some days can be a juggle, especially with after school activities but we manage. My eldest is a great deal of help at home, and will play with her brother while I get things done in the house. If I need to phone a client during the day, I try and manage this during my son’s nap time. I find email the easiest way to communicate with clients. As this can be done, whilst even getting involved in messy play with my toddler

Can you describe a typical day?

My eldest now in secondary school, is out during the day, so my days are filled with toddler activities. I plan and prepare dinner in the mornings. Nap times, is housework and catching up with paperwork. After school I help with homework and get dinner started. My husband starts work early (5am) and will usually be home by 4pm. I then get myself ready for work, and leaving around 5.30/6pm. Dependent on the day, I could be out working until 8-10pm.

What have you found hardest?

The hardest is definitely not spending enough time with my husband. Some days we are like passing ships.
We manage this by deciding that I never work of a Friday evening.

Also not always being able to put my son to bed.

What’s the best thing about being self employed?

I do feel like I have the best of both worlds. I can be a stay at home mummy and a working mummy.

What are your plans for the future?

To continue as I am, and when my son starts school, I would look to working again in schools, volunteering for a charity in mental health, and bringing up my children.

What advice would you give for someone just starting out?

You can only try your best, and be patient, because if you have passion and support, it will work.


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