We have another excellent interview for you here with the lovely Pollyanna Hale of The Fit Mum Formula. We love what Polly does and she does it really well. This is the first interview with Polly on running a business as a Mum and we’ll be back with another interview with Polly soon on improving your physical and mental health.
How do you juggle the demands of working and family life?
The Fit Mum Formula is all online so as long as I’ve got internet connection, I can work anywhere, anytime, and have tried to contain it within school hours as much as possible. But I’m also naturally an early riser and most creative first thing, so often you’ll find me writing blogs or working on books at 5am when the house is quiet before everyone wakes up!
Very occasionally I’ll go away for a meeting or event but I rope in my parents or husband if possible as I never wanted to put the kids into after school care or use nannies, which is just a personal choice.
What are the biggest benefits of running your own business as a parent?
Freedom. My life is my own and while yes things have to get done, I can rearrange my life so I can do all the school and club runs, take holidays or breaks any time I like, and not have to ask permission to do anything. When the Queen visited our town recently the girls and I bunked off school to go and meet her! And more recently we had an insanely warm February day and my husband (who’s also works for himself in property) suggested we go for a walk along the beach, so we had 2 special relaxed child free hours in the middle of a weekday, because we could.
What benefits to your mental health are there by creating a business around something you love?
Well this is interesting because I think having your own job is actually so much more stressful in some ways! Everything is your responsibility and it can be really had to switch off mentally. Websites crash at 2 am, customers want answers at 11pm, and postal orders go missing, and it’s all up to you to fix.
But when you create systems to manage these things it makes them more streamlined, and the benefits to me to be creative and have freedom of my life and time are worth it. It’s not for everyone though and I remember life being simpler, if not as satisfying, just ‘turning up to work’ each day!
Can anyone start their own business?
Of course. You don’t even need a huge financial investment depending on what the business is. And you can learn so much for free these days by reading blogs and books, listening to podcasts, and networking both on and offline with other business owners and learning from them. And there’s courses and mentorships you can pay for too, but be extremely careful with these as there are a lot of sharks preying on enthusiastic but vulnerable start-ups.
What’s your best piece of advice for mums thinking about starting their own business?
Write down what your ideal day would look like then work backwards. Want to do the school runs every day without fail? Don’t start a café that serves breakfast! How much money do you need to live your ideal life? How much time can or will you dedicate to it? How will you make sure you have enough money until the business is bringing in enough? What other business are there like yours who are doing really well you can learn from?
Be always learning, always reading and listening to advice to keep up with what’s going on in the business and social media worlds. And create systems and schedules to keep you accountable, such as spreadsheets for when and what you’ll post on social media, and how you’ll collect client testimonials.
And definitely start collecting email addresses into a CRM system (I use Aweber but there are lots out there) as even if you get a good social following, Facebook can shut down your account at any moment as you don’t own that data.
How does your business improve the lives of its customers?
I help Mums have more body confidence, feel fitter and healthier, have more energy, and lose weight and tone up, but within the context of family life.
By that I mean, Mums don’t always have childcare to go to the gym or classes, and we don’t want to be making separate meals to the rest of the family. Not having biscuits in the house when you have kids and a partner who’ll buy them anyway is unrealistic. And mentally, all our energy goes on everyone else meaning we’re bottom of the priority list.
As a Mum of two young kids I understand all this and I know what it’s like when you’re so stressed all you want to do is finish the last of the chocolate cake, watch TV in the evening instead of workout, and have a partner who sits in front of you eating ice cream out of the tub! But there are ways of getting round these things, and sugar cravings and hunger can be kept under control. A good support network is really important too, to help when you’ve run out of willpower and just want to give up.
What’s one thing not many people know about you or your business?
It’s more well known now, but the reason I’m so passionate about good health is because I was very ill with anorexia for many years when I was younger, and losing your physical and mental health makes you realise how valuable good health is.
Being strong, vibrant and happy make everything in life seem better, as you’re more resilient to anything that life throws at you. Most people muddle through and life feels like one long battle of days to get through which is really sad. When you can really live life to the full, that’s what it’s all about.
A Mum of two young girls, Polly understands how hard it is for us Mums to make ourselves a priority when all our energy and willpower gets drained before we’ve even done the school run!
Everything she teaches is designed to be compatible with crazy busy Mum-life, because you matter too, Mum.