Tell us a bit about your family?
I am Eileen, a married mum with 3 teenagers, who are growing up very quickly. At one point I had 3 under 2 (thanks to having twins second time round!), so their childhood has been fairly hectic and at times very stressful!
What’s your business called?
Change Financial Coaching
Can you describe it in one sentence?
I run online “Your Money, Sorted” courses, helping people to improve their lives, through managing their finances more effectively.
When did you start it and what inspired you?
I am a PE teacher and have taught in a local secondary school for 23 years, but I have always had business ideas rolling round my head and have dreamt up many, many business that I could start. In 2007 I cut down my teaching to 2 days and started my own bookkeeping business, which I have run successfully since then.
However, I have always felt that there was a need to help people manage their money more effectively, but I could never quite work out how! I then stumbled upon Financial Coaching, which is very popular in the USA, and just felt that all the pieces had fallen into place. It is my dream job! I just LOVE what I do and really enjoy seeing the benefits that it can bring to my clients lives.
How did you fund your start up?
I am still teaching part time, which has meant that I am able to use the income from that to invest in my new business. I have also been working hard to keep the costs down, by taking advantage of the many free services that are available for businesses, both off and online. I do everything myself, which helps to keep the costs down, but that may need to change as I get busier and busier.
How do you manage working around your children?
I find that the difficult bit, even though my children are old enough now to look after themselves. I have been working many evenings and weekends, as well as through the week, as I have been building the business. This year one of my priorities is to finish by 8pm and to take the weekends off to spend more time with the kids. (Mind you, being teenagers, they probably don’t want to spend too much time with me!)
Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
Once I have got the kids up, organised and off to school I spend a lot of time sitting at the PC. I love starting the day by responding to my client’s posts and encouraging them as they work through the course. I also spend a lot of time on Facebook (most of it productive time!) scheduling posts and engaging with my followers in there. There are lots of admin tasks which need to be done, such as answering emails, scheduling networking events, doing my own bookkeeping (which is never up to date!) and the odd load of washing to put on!
What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?
I used to have a huge list of tasks that I needed to complete and I would always finish the day feeling dissatisfied that I STILL had a huge list of tasks. I now only plan a few tasks for each day and then I have a great feeling of satisfaction when I tick them off. The next day is a new day, with new tasks.
What’s the best thing about being self employed?
I love the fact that I am mostly at home when the kids come home from school and that I can take time off to attend events that they are taking part in.
What are your plans for the future?
I want to spread the word about my Your Money, Sorted courses – the feedback from previous clients is amazing and I want more people to benefit from the course. I would eventually like to give up teaching and work on my business fulltime – because I love it so much, that it doesn’t even feel like work.
What advice would you give for someone just starting out?
Get as much free business advice as you can – here, in Scotland, we have amazing help from Business Gateway. I cannot vouch for the equivalent organisations in the rest of the UK, but I would hope that they are a wealth of information too.
Also, keep an eye on the finances and think carefully about every financial decision you make before committing to anything in business. There are so many free business solutions out there, that if you take the time to search, you could save yourself a lot of money in the early days.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
For me this pic from Raymond James and Associates INC sums up being in business. The end result will be worth the journey