With more women working and becoming self-employed, finding a balance between family and work has never been so difficult. Today's story by Laura from Your Wedding, Your Way, is about how Laura created a business as a wedding planning and making the decision to work all the way up to the day of her beautiful daughters birth.
Being self employed has so many upsides but the main one is freedom. Freedom to choose your own hours, to be your own boss, to give yourself your own goals, decide your own values, manage your own finances and create a business you love. You never get the dreaded Monday morning blues, or at least I don’t! But there are also some pretty hefty sacrifices that you make when quitting the 9-5 steady career though. I used to be a primary school teacher and for 10 years of my life, that took up a significant proportion of my time and energy. Those 30 young people deserved my time and energy and they got it. During that time, I also decided to start a business in wedding planning. Most people I know who started back when I did in 2011, have since moved onto other things, realising that wedding planning as a business is not quite everything they envisioned it to be. Working with someone else’s budget and someone else’s vision is quite different to planning your own but I still love it just the same. Managing the teaching workload as well as starting a business was a challenge and meant very little sleep but I took it slowly and after 5 years, managed to quit teaching altogether.
This decision didn’t come easily. Giving up one of the most stable careers you can have, in a school I loved with children I adored was a bit of a wrench to say the least but it was either leave the business to continue as it was, doing a few weddings a year, or take the plunge and dedicate the time needed to it to do more. So I decided to take the leap. This meant, as well as giving up the stable monthly income, a career I had built, my employer pension contributions and everything else associated with being an employee, I was also giving up any potential maternity pay if and when we had children.
Two years down the line when I did fall pregnant, I knew that having 9 months off just to spend with my newborn wasn’t going to be an option – but I knew that when I gave up teaching. Fast forward to now, 39 weeks pregnant, having just worked on two photo shoots in the last month, having another one next week (the day before my due date!), venue visits yesterday, meetings with couples last week, quotes still being prepared and sent out for parties in the next few months, phone calls regarding potential ongoing business opportunities and many many hours spent in front of the laptop - the work doesn’t just stop when you are self employed. Lots of people keep asking me how I do it or if I am going to stop once she (yes, it’s a little pink one) is here. The answer is no! I will certainly be getting more help in but stop? No chance, it’s just not really an option! And not because of the money side of things either. Financially, I could take as much time off as I liked but then the business I have spent years building would have to take a sidestep and would inevitably lose momentum. I love what I do and when an opportunity arises, whether that be working with an exciting new venue, on a fab new client’s wedding or on an awesome party, I can’t help but not want to turn it down! I get major FOMO! So while I may reign in some aspects of the business, the majority will continue to have my attention for a good while yet. And that is also one of the benefits of working from home. I don’t have to go to an office to be able to get anything done, I just need to open my phone/laptop which is much more accessible!
I am not completely disillusioned, I know it will be hard and some sacrifices may have to be made but I have had a cleaner for the past year or so which helps immensely with the household side of things (best investment you can ever make) and I will be getting assistants in to help with the weddings and events on the day but for the main part, I will just be getting on with it! I am a pretty calm person and relaxed about most things so I will just take it in my stride and see how things go! Apart from the obvious lack of sleep which will definitely be a challenge (I love my sleep), I will be settling her in a sling as often as possible and transporting her along to all sorts! Do I have back ups in place? Of course, I’m not silly! I know full well that the first few weeks/months will be tough and how much I manage will depend on how much she sleeps and a whole host of other factors but while the rest of my NCT group will all be enjoying lots of baby groups and lunches with their newborns, I will be drafting proposals and organising suppliers in nap time. You just do what you’ve got to do don’t you!
My background is as a wedding & lifestyle photographer, shooting both digital and film to create authentic, soft and natural fine art photographs. Working primarily with natural light to give my work a beautiful, light and airy touch infused with soft tones.
I have always appreciated and valued the simple things in life and finding the interesting in the ordinary. Coco Lane was founded as I wanted to create something that is about an experience, the slower pace of life, cosiness and candlelight, cuddling up on the sofa with loved ones, being with the people you love, sharing food with close friends, a feeling of home, nurturing a chosen career, wanderlust travels, savouring the small moments in everyday life and just being you and enjoying a cup of tea.
I'm excited to bring you stories that promote all those moments in life that give us value and meaning; inspiring us to live beautifully.
"I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. If you are interested in something, no matter what it is. Go at it full speed. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it, and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good" - Roald Dahl