Guest author Claire Winter has been a content creator, journalist, and copywriter for twenty years. She helps business owners get rid of their writing blocks and to get PR Ready with 1:1 training and online courses. She is a trained NCTJ journalist and started her career at ITN in radio and television. Here she talks about finding a flexible career.
My Flexible Career story
My story about flexible working started eleven years ago when my twins were one. I had started my career in journalism in radio and TV working at ITN, but after I had my first daughter, I moved out of London and got a job in local government in the press and media relations office. After a year I got offered a full-time job, but when I requested a 4-day week and I was refused.
I turned down the role and worked as a lecturer in media studies part-time and then found out I was pregnant with twins! After my girls turned one were one I wrote to a local magazine called Families to see if they needed a freelance writer. But instead of getting a job as a writer I got offered the opportunity to buy the Families magazine that covers half of Berkshire and I jumped at the chance. I thought it would give me flexibility and the opportunity to work from home. I would also be working as a journalist again.
It was hard work, and I went through a steep learning curve as I had never run my own business before. By the end of eight years, I had a virtual team of nine people. I had a social media assistant, bookkeeper, sales agent and six women who delivered the magazine for me.
I was able to
- Take a lot of the school holidays off;
- Never work during half-terms, I took a week off at Easter and the whole of August off.
- To go to school assemblies and do the school run.
Having a flexible job made all of this possible and I am very grateful for the opportunities it gave me. I was able to work in an industry I love and also see my family.
Challenges To A Flexible Career
However flexible working can be challenging too; I often worked late nights and some weekends particularly at the beginning. My husband worked full time so running the house, kids, clubs, and chores fell squarely on my shoulders. I learned to outsource a lot. I used online food deliveries, got more help looking after the kids and help with housework!
During those early years, I felt like I wasn’t running my business or family well. I wish I could go back and tell myself that I was doing a good enough job and that running a profitable business with two young twins and a five-year-old was a great achievement.
Two and a half years ago I sold the business and set up Making Words Come Alive (clairewinter.info). I now teach companies how to write content that converts and to do their own PR via 1:1 training and online courses. My new role allows me to have clients from anywhere in the world, helping people is where my passion lies.
One of the biggest challenges, when you embrace a flexible career, can be working on your own! My advice would be to join real life and online communities that can support you; I run a Facebook group called Cracking Content where I give content, PR and writing tips. Find a tribe that is good fun, useful to be in, and that can support you! I also have a business coach who I check in regularly with, and I work from local café or my shedquarters in the garden.
My top tip is don’t let fear get in the way if you have a good idea for a business or want to try flexible working just go for it.