Hello and welcome back to another week of Mama You Can, a series started to started to share inspirational stories of Mama’s who have changed career direction, started their own business or negotiated a more flexible role to fit in with family life.
This week we hear from Fiona who runs EzeeSport. EzeeSport is a small business run by Fiona and husband Peter from Epsom, Surrey. They run sports classes for kids from 2-11 years of age. Their aim is to promote an active lifestyle to kids and teach them not just sports techniques but also life skills.
I’ll hand over to Fiona to share her story.
Mama You Can: Fiona Crossman
Hi, I am Fiona, a 47 year old mother of 2 teenage daughters, Kaitlin and Aimee and wife to an ex-sportsman and now a coach, Peter. Together with my husband I run a sports coaching business – EzeeSport which teaches foundational sport skills to children aged 2 – 11 years.
My days are filled with running my business and being a mother and wife. In addition when I do get a chance I love to swim and play racquetball. My husband and I are originally from South Africa, but have been living in the UK for over 18 years now.
When did you decide to change direction in your work life? Well, actually there have been 2 major changes of direction in my work life.
Prior to becoming a sports coach and business owner, I was an Early Year’s teacher. When I went back to work after having my first girl, I soon realised that I wasn’t going to cope with working full time. So I approached the head teacher and ask her for a job share. She wasn’t very open to it and eventually I handed in my resignation.
Whilst that was liberating when I made the decision, it took me about 30 seconds to realise I will need to do something to still sort the family out financially. I knew I was important for me to be at home and look after Kaitlin whilst still earning. This led me to start a new business from home which I could do whilst still being a mum and a wife. Unfortunately things didn’t quite work out in our first business as relationships broken down with the franchiser which led to the second major change in my work life.
It was at that point that my husband and I decided to start something on our own from scratch. It was both very brave and very foolish. If we knew then what we know now…. Well, I guess we may still have done it anyway! EzeeSport has been in business for 5 years now and thus far has been the biggest adventure we have had (apart from being parents to teenage daughters of course!)
Was it a quick decision or something you thought about for a long time? Leaving teaching was a pretty quick decision, but deciding to start EzeeSport was something we had been toying with for a while. I think most times you leave the awkward decisions until the very end, until we’re left with no choice and EzeeSport was partly a product of that.
A franchisee business we were part of, prior to EzeeSport wasn’t working out. We were losing faith in them rapidly. We wanted to set a company up where kids and their skills were at the heart of everything we did.
It wasn’t a quick decision, I would say. We had been thinking about it for a while but at the pace the changes came through, it definitely took us by surprise.
How did you feel in the lead up to the decision? I felt very apprehensive, but excited at the same time.
And how did you feel after? After the decision was made there was a sense of relief – at least we now had direction and a very exciting project ahead of us. We had actually taken the plunge and we were grateful we were building something that was our own. Believe me, there were moments when we would look at each other and say “What are we doing?” But if we had to do it over again we definitely would – hopefully without making the same mistakes J
Now you have taken the plunge how are things going? I can’t say it’s been easy, but it has been rewarding! I don’t think I could ever go back to a “normal job” again – I enjoy the freedom I have of running my own business and the flexibility it brings. Occasionally I think how much easier it would be to go to work from 9 – 5 and leave work at the office, but then I think of all that I wouldn’t be able to do like working from my bed on a cold winters morning, with a lovely cup of hot coffee made by one of the girls.
What advice would you give to other Mama’s who are thinking about making a change to their working life? 1. Gather as much information as you can before taking the plunge. Know what your commitment would be and the potential earnings. If you are going to start your own business do some market research to find out if there is a need for what you are going to offer. 2. Talk to people who have done something similar to what you are about to do and are successful at it. 3. Don’t stop learning – there is so much free information out there. You may want to resume your career after taking a break from it and being a mum, but continue to up skill in that time so that you can re-enter the work place with confidence or gain the skills needed for the new path you want to take.
Thanks so much to Fiona for sharing her story, I often feel the same, going back to a 9 to 5 would probably be easier, but I don’t think I’d like it after a day, I love the flexibility and the hard work (secretly)!
Mama You Can will be back next Thursday, until then why not read some of the other stories…
- Mama You Can: Kelly Pike
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