This week on my Mums in Business I’m excited to be featuring Eliza who created an online magazine called Healthy Living London that focuses on health, particularly for mums who are living in London. I know all too well how hard it can be to be a mum in London, and there is quite a lot of pressure on us to be seen as successful, so I was nodding along reading Eliza’s story. At the same time Eliza has set-up pre and post-natal classes known as The Warrior Method to help support mums get back into shape after having a baby, by making sure that they are doing the right exercises for their body.
So if you’re a mum in London who is needing support with their post pregnancy body, or a mum in general who is looking for business inspiration then take a read of Eliza’s story below.
Tell me a little bit about you, your background and Healthy Living London?
I’m Eliza, a 35 year old mum to an 18 month old, affectionately known as ‘HB’. This stands for ‘Hungry Bear’ which was the bump’s nickname as I blamed him for making me eat ALL the Magnums during pregnancy. When he’s being especially beastly however, HB stands for ‘Hell Beast’. I live in London with my husband who’s a consultant and author. Whilst I used to work in advertising and digital marketing, I realised that my colleagues were fantastic, I didn’t feel good about promoting products which I didn’t believe in.
After 7 years in the industry, I left to work for a small medical and healthcare supplies company, particularly working on the launch of a baby skincare product. However, my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and it wasn’t feasible to continue working such a demanding job, whilst trying to cope with being my mum’s primary carer. Upon reflection I’m proud of how I looked after mum, but at the time I lost a lot of confidence as I associated who I was with what I did and being surrounded by people who associated success with money, I felt very unsuccessful.
Once I had mum’s situation a little more settled, I could turn my attention to my career, but this had to be part-time and flexible as I was constantly listening for the phone in case I had to rush back to take care of my mother. Whilst she had an excellent 24-hour carer, mum was experiencing seizures and other medical issues so I always had to be available. I set up an online magazine, Healthy Living London and used it to inspire others to live a healthier life in London. Whilst it doesn’t make me much money, I love the inspirational journeys my writers go on and exploring health for myself.
What were your drivers and motivations for setting up Healthy Living London?
My interest in health and fitness prompted me to gain my Personal Training certificate and once I found out I was pregnant, I took my pre and post-natal qualification too; mainly for my own purposes as the information out there on what you should and shouldn’t be doing was confusing. The main turning point for me was when, four months after having HB, I went to a local Buggy Fitness class and was horrified at some of the exercises we were made to do. As a result of running up and down stairs with hips which were still unstable, I could barely walk for a week due to pain. I have since discovered that I wasn’t alone in this and one girl I spoke to suffered from months of back pain after a similar class.
And so The Warrior Method was born. Whilst I currently focus on pre and post-natal clients, the main common element with my clients and classes are that it provides safe fitness, and unlike other fitness classes it also focuses on wellness; specifically techniques to help release tension, ease anxiety and reduce overwhelm. So many of my clients are stressed and I think that living in London can be particularly demanding. I combine a variety of strategies to keep my classes interesting and whilst there’s always an element of foundational fitness, I involve pilates-based exercises, yoga techniques, HIIT, LISS, circuits, callisthenics and boxing.
I absolutely love helping people and seeing them grow in confidence. Plus, I get to hold all sorts of very cute babies and I’ve only been puked on once! (The child had had quinoa for lunch – it wasn’t pleasant…)
How do you balance the business around family and childcare?
Since I work for myself, I can set my own times for classes and private clients. HB goes to nursery twice a week and we have a fantastic nanny who comes for a day and a half so I fit the majority of my work in then, making sure that I am completely attentive to my family on non-work days. At weekends, my husband looks after HB on Sundays so I can also enjoy precious time to myself so that by Monday I’m feeling revitalised and more resilient.
Since setting up the business what’s been your biggest success to date?
My biggest success lies with seeing the progress my clients make. One mum was devastated as she had stomach muscle separation which was only diagnosed during my group class. She has two children and none of her post-natal appointments involved checking for diastasis recti and only at my classes did she first hear about it. We discovered that all the exercises she thought would help her flatten her post-natal tummy did the exact opposite but after several months of hard work and specific exercises, she’s radically reduced her gap and as a result, she has a flatter stomach which was important to her. My Mummy client-based is transient and many leave to start back at work, but a lot have said how much more confident they feel after taking my classes. These comments always fill me with joy.
What’s your top tip for Mums who are thinking about setting up their own business?
There are so many tips I can think of! If I had to choose just one, I’d say to just go for it. There’s that great quote – What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly? We don’t know what we can achieve until we take that first step. There will be many challenges along the journey but determination, focus and belief will get us there.
Thank you so much Eliza for taking part in my series, it was lovely to interview you, and I wish you the best of luck in the future.
If you would like to be part of my Mums in Business then just drop me an email: email@example.com. Or have a nose at some of the other businesses I have featured in my series: LoveKeepCreate, what2buy4kids, and Mission: Mindfulness.