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Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?
My name’s Katharine. I married my husband in 2006 and after a couple of years I reluctantly took his surname to become Katharine Tate and to be honest it has been very handy. It’s a great ice-breaker and very memorable! I became a mum in 2008 and have a gorgeous daughter.
What’s your business called?
My business is called The Food Teacher. I have worked as a teacher and education consultant internationally in Primary and Secondary schools for over 20 years. I qualified in September 2014 as a registered nutritional therapist and founded The Food Teacher brand, which enables me to combine my unique education and nutrition expertise to offer schools, organisations, and families advice, education programmes, practical workshops, and individual/family consultations. Clients of The Food Teacher fall broadly into 4 categories: schools, parents/individuals, corporates/community and media/publishing companies.
Can you describe it in one sentence?
The Food Teacher works with individuals, families, schools, community groups and corporates to educate about food and nutrition for a healthy family life.
When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?
During my last year studying nutritional therapy I had the idea to combine my education and nutrition expertise to set up my business. Nutritional therapists tend to follow a very similar clinic focused business model and I was adamant I wanted to offer something different. It made real sense to me that I should utilise my skill set as an educator within a field that I was hugely passionate about.
How did you fund your start up?
I initially put some of my personal funds to start up the business paying for a website, laptop and some additional marketing material. Aside from that initial funding, I have reinvested and evolved the business as I have earned.
How do you manage working around your daughter?
My working day is usually 9-3 and then 8-10 if needed. I do the school run most days and as my daughter’s now older she does several after school clubs so some days I am able to work longer without needing to utilise the evening. The weekends often involve Food Festivals or events and fortunately my family are hugely supportive and tend to come along.
Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
Every day tends to be very different. Typical tasks include working in a school, preparing material for a school or an event, writing articles for various magazines/blogs, preparing for/seeing clients, recipe development, meetings involving the promotion or development of my work with organisations and sometimes business or nutrition training for my own personal development. I plan my diary carefully and I start each week with a detailed plan of things to do, which is so valuable for keeping me focused and on track.
What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?
My biggest challenge has been trying to do everything. Initially as a one-man operation being the service provider, marketer, developer, administrator and accountant has been challenging as I’ve strived to have everything in place at a professional level from the outset. This has been good in many ways but has increased my work-load considerably. Now as the business has evolved I have been able to employ a personal assistant and utilise the services of others to support my business growth.
What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?
There are lots of things that make being a Mumpreneur a fantastic career move. Being around for my daughter has to be the biggest advantage, I’m not missing out on time with her. Being able to plan my own diary, choose the work I do and do something I really love make this a great opportunity.
What are your plans for the future?
The primary objective of the business is to continue to build the brand and reputation of The Food Teacher to become the leading voice in child and family nutritional education. The challenges of childhood obesity, learning disabilities, food intolerances and mental health issues are continuing to grow, and people are starting to recognise the importance of food and education as a tool to tackle the problem.
What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?
My three top tips for someone thinking about or starting out in business would be:
1. Look at your current skill set. Skills and experiences can be transferable and aspects of your current or previous job can very often be skills/competencies that you are very good at. Think inventively about how you could utilise and incorporate those skills.
2. Consider what you really enjoy and love doing. Even if it’s merely a hobby for now or an interest, think about how it could be developed into a business. If you do something you really love, your energy levels for making it succeed are huge and you wake up with a smile most mornings!
3. Utilise the support of others. Surround yourself by a few trusted people or a mentor that will challenge you and hold you accountable along the way. In the beginning you can say yes to lots of opportunities for your business but being brought back down to earth by someone who asks you why and what is the point is invaluable. This helps you keep focused and work to achieve what you set out to do.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Look out for The Food Teacher at events including appearances at Fantastic British Food Festivals throughout the summer at Bodiam Castle, Wimbledon Park, Hyde Hall and Leeds Castle. She’ll be talking and demonstrating on the theme ‘Beating Stress with Food’ and her 2 books ‘Heat-Free & Healthy’ and ‘No Kitchen Cookery for Primary Schools’ will be available for purchase.
For more information, visit The Food Teacher’s Facebook page, follow her on Twitter @foodteacheruk or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit her website and shop to find out more and subscribe to her newsletter.
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