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Saturday 4 June 2016

Children Changing Careers p5: Vicki Psarias from Honest Mum

vicki Psarias, honest mum, honest mummy, children changing careers

Welcome to part 5 of the blog series 'Children Changing Careers' - A series for parents who have pulled off a career change after having children!

This week's post features award winning film maker, Blogger and mum of two, Vicki Psarias from Honest Mum.

Vicki Psarias, Honest mum, honest mummy, children changing careers

Tell me about your life, background and career before children? 

I was a busy screenwriter and TV director/ filmmaker pre-kids after gaining a distinction in MA Screen Drama at Goldsmiths, University of London aged 21. In those years, life flitted between directing short films, commercials, fashion films, TV drama and documentary while writing a feature film- and I did the odd bit of visiting lecturing at universities too.

My short films took me all over the world as they screened and won awards at film festivals internationally and I truly loved what I did. It was varied, fulfilling, I had the opportunity to work with the most gifted of cast and grew, constantly honing my skills and gaining experience.

I also edited a quarterly film magazine 'Film & Festivals' which was sold in all the Borders in the UK before they closed.

Life was incredibly full-and all those days on set (sometimes up to 15 hours a day) definitely prepared me for parenthood and the resilience needed to survive on little sleep and cope with incessant juggling!     

Vicki Psarias, Honest mum, honest mummy, children changing careers

Did you return to your job/position after your maternity? 

My first maternity leave was a turbulent time. I suffered a traumatic birth with my first son, Oliver, and I wrote about that tough time and how I overcame it here: 'Being Honest: A Traumatic Birth'. It was starting my blog which actually gave me the confidence to return to directing after maternity leave. 4 weeks after setting up Honest Mum, I discovered I was a finalist in the Fresh Voice category in the BritMums' Brilliance in Blogging Awards (when they were still virtual!) which prompted me to get back on set again.

I had rediscovered my voice, my confidence was boosted by the fact people enjoyed my work- and I finally had the strength to get back on the directing saddle, initially making fashion commercials.

My blog grew quite rapidly and organically with brands approaching me to collaborate with them and I soon realised this way of working afforded me greater flexibility than directing. By the time I was pregnant with Xander, my second child, I was a full time blogger. 

Vicki Psarias, Honest mum, honest mummy, children changing careers

What were your reasons for leaving your previous career? Why did you decide not to stay?

I don't really feel I ever left my previous career really because I am still directing-in a different way of course (not with sets of hundreds) but via my vlogging work and when I work with brands in ad films etc. I am also still an editor, my own editor- all these skills are transferable and valid when working in the digital field and have hugely inspired and informed my work.

I am also developing a TV series and have an exciting film project in development too which will take a while due to the nature of it but it's exciting to be working in this way again.

I have definitely diversified over the last 5 1/2 years, creating a business with my site Honest Mum which works for my family and I and things are evolving for me there all the time.

Creativity is fluid and opportunities in the arts, thanks to the democratisation of the internet, mean they are now, also limitless too. I love the freedom of working in this way.

Tell me about your new career now?

I received distinction in my MA in Screen Drama from Goldsmiths, University of London where I specialised in Screenwriting and Direction, gaining a BA before that- and my work and years of experience as a screenwriter, director and magazine editor have definitely informed my role as a blogger- and vision for my site Honest Mum.
The beauty of creating a digitial business, as it was for me, is you need no overheads bar your computer. I always say that every business needs a maternity leave-a period of time where you can simply direct time and energy to your passion project, ideally without huge financial restraints. Or, simply continue the day job, feeding the 'dream job' bit by bit, growing slowly but surely. Sites are online portfolios too, operating as a CVs for your skills. As well as gaining directing jobs from my blog, I'm also commissioned regularly to write for magazines and other sites and have been hired to present on-camera for ITV and SKY News along with my many brand collabs. I've even gained modelling jobs from it.

I now actually earn much more than I did as a full time director with my site, something I didn't expect when setting up Honest Mum. 

Vicki Psarias, Honest mum, honest mummy, children changing careers

Talk me through an average day for you now? How much has your life changed?

I currently work 4 days a week- as I always have 1 and sometimes 2 days off a week. I've built my business to the extent where I am in control of my time and can work remotely if I choose to. I spend the morning with my kids pre-school and nursery, on the days my youngest isn't off and finish bar emergencies by 5.30. I try not to work at night where possible and if I have to, I switch off by 9pm. I love what I do but I don't live to work.

I run nearly every day for at least 30 minutes and am determined to start yoga again. My husband works from home so I love us breaking for lunch together. The highlight of my day is when my kids come home from school and we all get to eat and catch up around the table. They are my world.

What is the best and worst thing about your new career?

The creative fulfillment and that no one day is the same while offering me a flexible career I am in control of, are by far the greatest aspects of the job, the worst is that the internet never sleeps and I often receive work-related emails at crazy hours. I've gotten very competent at switching off my phone though!

Is there anything you miss about your previous career/life before children?

Not hugely although I do miss physically being on set directing and collaborating in big teams- so am working towards doing more of that in the future.

I miss going to the toilet alone too but solo toilet time is overrated, right?!

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to do what you have done?

I have tonnes of posts on my blog where I share my blogging tips here, and posts on becoming a #mumboss,  but I would say buy a domain name and simply start-just write what you want to read. Know that your voice is unique and valid and keep at it.    

Vicki Psarias, Honest mum, honest mummy, children changing careers

How can you support my blog?

If you have enjoyed reading my blog and would like to support me further, any of the following would be hugely appreciated: