This week I interviewed Anita Nichols to find out how she made her career change from corporate land to being her own boss. I’ve learnt a lot from Anita over the years and I’m sure you’ll take away some great insights with this interview just as I have.
1. What were the things that prompted you to change your career? How long did you think about it before you took action?
I have always loved working with people and as much as I used to tell my candidates not to call themselves a “people person”, I am in the true sense of the word, a people person. As a mother though, I became less of a people person in the corporate world. I was feeling agitated a lot, wondering whether I’d get a call from the childcare centre to go and pick up my sick child or worry about whether I would get the 5.09pm train from town to pick up the kids before 6.
I chose to work full time in the corporate world after having children but I soon realised that it was no longer for me. I have a passion for health, well-being and fitness and deep down knew that that was the path that I wanted to take. And just like that, I did.
2. How did you do it? What were the steps you took?
The first step for me was to realise that if I left my city job, it was NOT the end of the world. You see, I always thought that if I stepped away from the corporate world for too long, I would be missing out. I really struggled with walking away. What I didn’t realise was that I would still be able to talk to adults, just in a different environment.
So I started up a blog Fit Mother Hubbard with not really many expectations. I just wanted to connect with other people through the online community and get the message out there that you can balance family, fitness and fun.
3. What were the biggest challenges you faced in making your career change?
One of the biggest challenges for me or us was the loss of income. It’s a big slice out of the financial pie when you go down to one salary. Thankfully for us, my husband’s salary allowed for me to be able to stay home with the kids. We had to learn to be extra thrifty but I can’t say that we were really strict with this.
Another challenge I faced was going from having eight back to back meetings a day to being a Stay At Home Mum. I have never seen myself as a “born to be mum” so I knew that it was going to be a big challenge for me and I won’t lie, it has been.
4. Do you have any specific mentors that you work with?
I was able to form really strong relationships in my previous roles and I have stayed in touch with a few very clever cookies. A good mate of mine (previous State Sales Director of Sensis-Perth) has been mentoring me as I set up my new business.
It’s daunting going from working for somebody else to working for yourself. With the guidance from a good mentor, you can really start to build solid foundations for your business not to mention confidence.
5. What have you loved the most about your new role?
Doing something that I am so incredible passionate about – kids and family fitness. I can’t tell you how excited I get when I see children playing in the great outdoors and keeping active. I also love being able to work the hours that I want.
One other thing I love about my new role is waking up at 3am with new ideas for the business. I keep a notebook by my bed and jot down any ideas that come to me. And they always seem to come to me at odd hours. I have never ever been so excited about losing sleep over my job before.
6. What advice do you have for other women wanting to make a career change?
Sometimes all you need is to take that leap and know that all will be ok. I think it’s great to experiment with different jobs through your career but you really need to do what you love if you want to feel contentment. It only took me 22 years to realise this. I have never heard a more truer statement than, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life!”
7. Who has made the biggest impact on you in your career and why?
Good question. When I was working a second job in my early twenties to help me save for my trip to London, I found myself mesmerised by a guy in a pinstriped suit. He oozed confidence, had the voice of, well a damn good salesperson, and was paid $10,000 for his service for the day.
I got chatting to him about sales and being fearful. He asked me what FEAR meant to me and I explained that I was afraid of people not taking me seriously, of me not knowing my product properly, of basically, failing. He then explained to me that FEAR is False Expectations Appearing Real.
This short statement has carried me through many sales roles, through difficult meetings, through life really. To this day, I can’t even tell you what his name was but he had such a profound impact on my career.
8. What is Anita and your new business L’il Busy Bodies, up to in 2015?
Li’l Busy Bodies is a healthier way for kids to party. It’s an active party service located in Melbourne’s Bayside area for children aged between 4-12 years of age. We offer 5 themes (Multisports, Soccer, Footy, Boot camp, Nature Walks) which are run in parks and trails around Bayside. In addition, we run activity based excursions for kindergartens where we discuss healthy living with the littlies followed by a 45 minute activity session.
In 2015, I will be completing my Lifestyle, Food and Wellness Course as an extension to my Personal Training qualifications and building my new business. Head on over to my social media channels and say hi.