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#TheLearningCurve with Aimee Barrett of The Mother Hut
If there’s one thing we know at Girl Tribe Gang it’s that running a business teaches us new things on a daily basis. In #TheLearningCurve series, we ask female founders to share their story of transitioning from the 9-5 to running their own business and what they’ve learned since working for themselves.
In this feature we’re talking to Aimee Barrett of The Mother Hut.
I worked as a secondary school teacher for ten years before starting my own business. I loved so many parts of the job; results day, having great colleagues, and the biggest part was making a difference to children’s future.
When I trained in 2007 I never thought I’d do anything else. You go to uni, do your training and very quickly the role becomes embedded in you. But what was I having to put in to get my students to a point of success?
When I think back to my bouncy, go-get-them attitude, working 14 hour days most weeks I feel sad. It is too easy for me to throw my hands up and declare I’ve got a family now so that’s why my priorities shifted. In fact, that treadmill of work and stress was there long before babies.
After having my first child I continued to juggle the roles of parent and professional. At no point was I asked about my well-being or work-life balance and I carried on because I thought that was the norm.
What’s non–negotiable for you?
It wasn’t until I had suffered two miscarriages that I got the wake up call I needed to reflect on my happiness and emotional stability. I always had tunnel vision for what I needed to do next to succeed, but his hit me harder than I can ever describe.
First I decided to cut my hours. Then, even as a head of department, I found the strength to say no to more work requests. I realised that my mindset had to shift, for the sake of my health both physically and less talked about, mentally. Getting pregnant for a third time in a year shakes you up to a new reality.
After the birth of my second child in 2016, March 2017 I returned to work after maternity leave. Time off had allowed me to heal from memories of postnatal anxiety with my first birth, the miscarriages and huge lack of confidence I had surrounding me.
I gained security in myself to make decisions and felt like I was finally in a place where I wasn’t worried about what others thought and expected of me.
On top of all of this I realised I hadn’t missed my job at all. I realised I enjoyed the freedom around my own decisions, so how could I be in a job of such importance without the fire in my belly?
And that’s what hooked me; the thought of that lack of spark.
What was making my fire? Where was my spark?
It scared me but enthralled me. It took 4 weeks to pluck up the courage to finally hand in my notice.
How did you get your idea or concept for your business?
I sat with my husband the night before handing my notice in listing ways I’d earn money. This was the only thing that was a logistical hurdle. Things that came up were random and desperate to start with:
working in a museum
becoming a wedding planner
being a hotel receptionist
an airport lounge host…
And finally, I was struck by the sense to train in pregnancy care… Someone get the matches, I was ready to be fired up again!
I won’t go into the ins and outs of my experiences of childbirth, but it’s fair to say what I had experienced set me off like a dog with a bone to want to make a difference to women who had suffered birth trauma and lack of support in pregnancy.
That was it; the passion hook.
After training as a Hypnobirthing instructor, my business has grown into a support network for pregnant ladies and new mums in those early weeks.
Working to make a difference
Deciding to work for myself wasn’t about how I would make money, but more how I’d make the difference. That’s how I knew the 9 to 5, or 7.45 to 6 plus evenings and weekends, was over for me.
When you have that passion for something over what the expected is in the ‘day job’, priorities of income, status and expectations of you become secondary.
A lot of people ask me questions about how I’ve afforded the drop in wage, whether I miss my old career, will I go back to it. To them it’s almost like my business is just a hobby I dabble in.
Ironically, it certainly feels like a hobby as I bloody love it. But actually, my business is my new norm, my new ‘real’ job and I’m damn serious about it!
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a total lifestyle change for all my family (one we spent a LOT of time freaking out about) but it’s all come from a place of passion and a need for doing something that drives me in the right way for my well-being.
I’m now pleased to say I’m claiming back my happy!
Best advice for women starting out on the entrepreneurial roller coaster
To anyone looking to make the leap into their passion, I’m not going to say just throw together a resignation and off you go! There’s obviously many logistical decisions to make that may affect your family and lifestyle.
1. Make a plan
Make yourself short term goals that match your long term objective. When you start to piece these together you will build the confidence to apply things practically and get things moving.
2. Start off with a side hustle
I started developing my business whilst still teaching. It was tough and took a lot of late evenings to build a website, a social media presence and write a course to teach my clients!
3. Get ready to work hard
Be prepared to put in the work, but like I said, when this change come from a place of passion, your job becomes a life hobby!
Aimee is the founder of The Mother Hut, providing Hypnobirthing, post natal support and is a cheerleader for all new parents.