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An early arrival, and a change of direction

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I’d been working as a Business Relationship Manager at my local university for about six years when my daughter arrived, seven weeks early and a 3lb 5oz tiddler.

Before they started to bring her into the world, the surgeons prepared us that she most likely wouldn’t cry when she was born, and that she would need some help to breathe, but out came this tiny little thing, yelling and screaming at the top of her lungs, announcing her arrival, and cementing her position as the feisty little fighter that we know and love.

It was quite obvious that a minor thing like prematurity wasn’t going to stop her making her mark on the world, a mantra that she lives by to this day.

Which brings me to my story.

I’ve always wanted to run my own business, but I’ve never been quite brave enough to make the leap, nor had quite the right idea to take forward.

But getting to know my daughter in our ten months of maternity leave made me realise what it really means to be brave, and to fight to make things happen, whether it be pulling out your feeding tube; getting onto the weight chart for the first time (she was way off the bottom for the first six months) or starting a business.

I returned to work on a part time basis, knowing that whatever my professional future held, being with my daughter came first, and I needed to find work that worked for me. Shortly after, I came across an advert on Facebook for Digital Mums, a relatively new company (at the time), training Mums to become social media managers.

With the full support of my husband, who is also a digital bod, I completed the course in autumn 2015, and secured my first client shortly after, remaining with them until very recently.

But while becoming a Digital Mum gave me the tools and the direction to start a freelance life; and my daughter gave me the inspiration; I also knew that social media was not the only thing I wanted to do, and it wasn’t the only skill I could offer to clients. So I decided to bring together my business growth and development experience from my university role with my new skillset in social media and Isanda Consulting was born in early 2017.

I realised that my true professional passion lies in helping small businesses to grow, and so Isanda offers just that – business growth support through planning and strategy; funding applications; and social media.

Since leaving the university in April 2017, Isanda has gone from strength to strength and I have some wonderful clients from a wide range of sectors, and the name and reputation of my business is growing. More importantly though, I get to do work that I truly love, as well as spending more time with my family. What more could a working Mum want?

My three tips for changing direction and finding work that works for you:

Find your inspiration

Once you’ve found it, use it to remind yourself daily, or even hourly, why you’re making changes, and the confidence to succeed will come.

Understand where your passion truly lies

Spend some time thinking about what you would really love to do, and if it’s something that you haven’t got much experience in or knowledge of, don’t let that stop you! If clients and customers can see your passion, they will believe in you.

Take a chance

If I hadn’t taken the chance to become a Digital Mum, retraining in an area I knew virtually nothing about, I would never be where I am today.

About the author

Anna Verghese is the founder of Isanda Consulting – a business growth consultant based in Maidenhead, Berkshire.

She specialises in business strategy and planning; applications for innovation funding and social media.

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