tlc hannah and kary

Hannah (right) with business partner Kary

This is part of a series of interviews on our Professional Parents Network People profile page so you can learn from other’s experiences of how they balance family and work. Would you like to share your story? Please  Contact us

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Hannah Martin and I met online through a mutual friend and discovered immediately we had a lot in common!  She’s recently launched a great new website www.talentedladiesclub.com which offers inspiration, resources and connections for working mums.  Based in the UK and mother to Ollie, 10 and Mimi, 4, you can get to know Hannah a little better below….

“I own my business, Talented Ladies Club, with my friend, Kary Fisher. It’s an online magazine-style website for working mums. We offer advice and inspiration to help women work flexibly, go freelance or start a business.

We started working on the business idea in December 2012, and launched the website at the end of April 2013, a mammoth feat! Before having children I worked in advertising in Hong Kong and then London as a copywriter. I was free to travel the world at whim, and work (and party) as late as I wanted, without needing to think of the needs of anyone else. Now, I work from home as a freelance copywriter and manage my business (plus look after the children and house!) while my partner works at a digital agency (he is also a copywriter).

I work pretty much seven days a week when I can. My freelance work is busy and I’m passionate about building up my business, so am happy to spend every available waking hour on it. I love what I do, so ‘working’ never really feels like work. I appreciate the financial freedom that earning a living from home gives me, and I really need the creative and intellectual outlet of work. I run my business with a friend, and work with friends as part of it, so business meetings are as much social events as they are work.

I also work around my commitments, making best use of my time. I’m an early riser so often get a couple of hours of work in before the kids wake up, so I can relax about spending time with them. My partner is also understanding and will happily take the kids out if I need to work at the weekend.”

 What as one of the most unexpected things about becoming a parent?

I didn’t realise (naively) how much it would impact my career, and how difficult it would be to juggle my new responsibilities with work. It’s amazing how uncaring companies can suddenly become when you don’t quite fit their expectations of work any more. As a new mum returning to work with a four month old baby, it was important for me to leave at a reasonable time every evening, and I made sure my work was always completed. But I was shocked at how much appearances matter and how I was perceived suddenly as being less committed. Advertising agencies in particular aren’t very mum-friendly places to work!

What was one of the most unexpected things about starting a business? 

How much there is to learn about so many different aspects – and how much I’d love it! There’s a huge amount to do, but I feel so energised by my passion for the business, and my belief in how it can help other women.

What is one of your greatest wishes for your children?  And your business?

I hope my children grow into happy and healthy adults with fulfilling lives. And I hope my business continues to grow and becomes a respected and useful resource that helps many thousands of working mums.

One of the moments you are most proud of in the last few months?

Business-wise there have been so many! Finally mastering Twitter and reaching 1,000 followers, getting listed in The Guardian Small Business Network, getting coverage in two local newspapers, and best of all, getting emails and messages from mums saying how much they enjoy and benefit from our site.

One of your biggest challenges in the last few months?

Building the website! Learning about SEO, how to use WordPress, meeting our launch deadline… it was such a huge amount of work, and so daunting but we did it.

What advice can you give to others just starting out in business? 

To keep at it! If you feel daunted by something, just break into smaller, more achievable chunks and work slowly on each one. Celebrate your successes and don’t worry about the ‘impossible’ end goal. You’ll get there if you work slowly and steadily.

Please share one of your own favourite resources:

Apart from our own www.talentedladiesclub.com?!! There’s lots of inspiring advice for would-be small business owners in the book ‘Build a business from your kitchen table’ by the founders of notonthehighstreet.com.

What kind of work does your partner do?  And are they supportive of your business?

He’s a copywriter, like me.  Yes he is, though he does sometimes remark that he’s always talking to a laptop these days!

Describe your office: 

It’s the fourth ‘bedroom’ in our Edwardian house. It’s tiny, but newly painted white with a vintage green desk, a printer and some very pretty white filing cabinets (who says practical can’t be attractive?!).  I sit and work at a west-facing window looking at a lovely white Victorian villa across the road. It’s my little haven. Oh and the cat’s… our very large black and white cat likes to share my office chair with me, which usually leaves me, like now, perched uncomfortably on the edge while he sprawls luxuriously out!

What do you love about being in business? 

Being in control of my own day and destiny. I choose when and how I work, what I wear, when I have time off, and what I do. And I am helping to shape my own future myself. What’s not to love?!!

Talented Ladies Club

Connect with Hannah and the Talented Ladies Club online:

Interviewed by Renée Veldman-Tentori, founder of the Professional Parents Network, owner of Zestee Social Media School and a dual national Dutch Australian.

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