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Monday, 25 July 2016

Children Changing Careers p11: Anneka from Hello My PA

children changing careers, Hello My PA, Mrs Crafty B

Welcome to part 11 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 Anneka from Hello My PA.

Here is her career changing story...

children changing careers, Hello My PA, Mrs Crafty B

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

My life before children seems such a distant memory but in reality it was only 5 years ago. Working as a PA and office manager for a property development company on science park in Cambridge, I loved my job and aspired to develop my skills in marketing and perhaps go on to work in PR. I didn’t have a specific goal in mind but the world was my oyster and I have always been keen on self development and seizing opportunities.

My working week was Mon-Fri; leaving the house at 7.30am to get through the 16 mile commute via heavy traffic and often staying late in the office. Once home, my husband and I would share cooking duties and we would just chill out in the evenings doing, well, not much at all.

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

When my first born was 9 months old, I returned to work on a job share basis. For three full days a week I would drop him off at the on site nursery whilst I went back to my office role. The other two week days, I spent catching up on housework, shopping and spending time with our little one.
A few months after returning to the job I previously loved, I made the extremely hard decision to hand in my notice.

children changing careers, Hello My PA, Mrs Crafty B

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

Around the time I returned to work, we had received some life changing news regarding a member of our family. This meant some added pressures on me at home. When I fell pregnant again, with lots of complications, I realised I wasn’t giving my all to my job. Most importantly I wasn’t giving my all to my new role as a mother and in the end, I had to prioritise my little boy and my family.
Tell me about your new career now: 

I knew when I left work that I wouldn’t be able to give up financial independence permanently. Before leaving my role, I had trained as a childminder doing evening classes. I set up a childcare business alongside writing my blog Mrs Crafty B and I began running various craft workshops, groups and events. Unfortunately, I had lost my second baby a few months into the pregnancy but by this point I had carried a third pregnancy full term and I had a newborn who came along to all of my events with me.

children changing careers, Hello My PA, Mrs Crafty B

In 2014 this was all put on hold when we relocated to Wales due to a job offer received by my husband. The need for financial stability became apparent after a period of adjustment and I decided to do something that I had been considering for a long time; set up a virtual assistant business.

It had always been something that I had discussed with an old colleague and friend. With a huge network of contacts in the craft and blogging world, having worked with lots SME’s and start ups and having a few transferable skills, I knew I could make a difference to some people who couldn’t afford to employ someone on a full time basis.

I set up Hello My PA in 2015.

children changing careers, Hello My PA, Mrs Crafty B

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

My work as a virtual assistant is extremely varied. I don’t always know what will come my way day to day and all of my clients have different requirements and services tailored to fit them personally. Monday is my dedicated work day when I am child free all day but currently, the rest of the week has to be juggled. Sometimes my little one might have to go into childcare so I can focus on a project or I might start very early in the day or work till late at night.
Our lives have changed massively as we are now earning a small income from my business without compromising my role as a Mummy. We don’t have the benefit of having family nearby for help with the little ones and my husband works long hours and travels a lot; so it lies with me to run a tight ship day to day to fit everything in.
With careful balancing, I make sure my family and my clients all get what they need, when they need it. I have even started making time a few minutes each day for myself! (I honestly do not know how this happens).

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

The best thing is flexibility. I can organise my workload around family commitments and I get to work with fab people with whom I can build great working relationships. I also don’t have to sit in traffic everyday and the world is now truly my oyster.

The worst thing is stability. There is no steady income or guaranteed pay at the end of the month. Getting the balance between business admin and marketing and working on client projects is also a challenge.

children changing careers, Hello My PA, Mrs Crafty B

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


I am not sure how to elaborate on that one. I much prefer working in an office environment with other ‘grown ups’ but I am familiar with co-working spaces and I love to network with other VA’s and business owners so I don’t necessarily miss out on that. My life and my routine is very different now but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

children changing careers, Hello My PA, Mrs Crafty B

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

Having children is the perfect opportunity to reassess what you do and how you do it. They give you a different perspective on life. If ever you thought a change in your career path might be right for you, this could be the perfect time to put that change into action.

children changing careers, Hello My PA, Mrs Crafty B

Read previous posts in the series:

Children Changing Careers - p1: Emma from Little Hotdog Watson
Children Changing Careers - p2: Alexandra from Tendre Deal
Children Changing Careers - p3: Dani from Deluxe Blooms
Children Changing Careers - p4: Bonnie from BON LDN
Children Changing Careers - p5: Vicki Psarias from Honest Mum
Children Changing Careers - p6: Karen from Two Tiny Hands
Children Changing Careers - p7: Nicola from TM(M)I
Children Changing Careers - p8: Laura from Maybimoo
Children Changing Careers - p9: Vicki from Bo & Bel
Children Changing Careers - p10: Clare from Clare Bowes Photo

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