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How do you go to work and have children? By Nicola Wicks at Hartbeeps

Five years ago when Ethan was born I was currently on maternity leave from a role in Compliance and Audit for a Business process outsourcing company, and as the days went by I started to think more and more that I did not want to return to a desk based job. I started to worry about somebody ‘telling me what to do’ and when to go on lunch, and asked myself ‘how do you go to work and have children?!’!

For parents out there, you know what I mean right? You start to get your routines and enjoy that you can just nip to the shop, get dressed later than 6am and essentially do what you want (well, baby permitting!!).

As much as I liked my job and loved dressing up each day, doing my make up just right and sitting in board rooms with my boss as she worked to up skill me, I started to prefer being on my own schedule.

These kind of thoughts led me to start thinking about my next career, baby in tow. When a best friend suggested I try a Hartbeeps baby group (she’d been taking her little girl to one in Leigh on Sea), I started to look for the classes in Solihull. Nowhere to be found…

Believe it or not but five years ago there weren’t that many baby groups and as the popular ones were getting booked up, hubby put it to me ‘why don’t we buy a Hartbeeps franchise?!’. So that’s what we did!

One month later I was pregnant with Elle. Three months later (and whilst still working between pregnancies) I started running classes for free. This allowed me to practice my technique, scripts, find locations and set a business up!

I stopped these classes at 8 months pregnant and threw my first Hartbeeps birthday party at 37 weeks pregnant worried I might give birth during the middle of the most luxurious house! I survived and so did the start of my journey…

With a two year old in part time nursery and a six month old in arms, I set my business in motion with 5 classes throughout the week, one every day!

Elle came along to all the classes and sat in a bouncy chair or was my demo doll! She only cried once in the 7 months she came to the classes with me and 1 special mum who still attends today with her now 2 children, stepped in to help without batting an eyelid. The grown ups loved her and I think it really helped me to deliver the classes and be more relatable. Don’t get me wrong it was hard at times!!

On a Friday both children would attend the 2 classes I delivered at the sadly departed Mothercare store in Solihull. I was invited to be part of the new class timetable Eddie Catz soft play were introducing. Our first meeting took place in the ball pit, the weeks, months and even two years that followed included Ethan’s toilet training, Elle learning to walk, and everyone in store and who attended could not have been more welcoming and helpful. They would offer to open numerous food packages (this, their ipads and the soft play were a great help in making our set up work), even taking them to the loo and watching them whilst I loaded and unloaded the car (often up all those steps when the lift stopped working!).

When September 2019 came around it was time for school and full time nursery to start, we adjusted our schedule and way of working, which meant pre May 2020 I would carry out the administrative tasks of the business when the children were in education and I was not delivering classes. Owning my franchise has allowed me to run my business around the children; don’t get me wrong there are still days that they have their long days in wrap around care, but I am able to do school drop off and pick ups half of the time, and we have afterschool time filled with play dates and activities. Something I am aware some parents are unable to do during the week due to full time work.

I am now currently delivering Hartbeeps@Home via live sessions, recorded classes, online content and social media. Hartbeeps is needed now more than ever; both me and my business are people first and with that I am honoured to still be delivering and supporting parents and children during lock down.

When I went to my first training meet up with Hartbeeps, I met another new franchisee owner. I panicked and said ‘How am I going to do this and deliver classes of high quality with a new born baby and a toddler?’ Her words (more advice) will stick with me forever….’you’re in the most understanding business, working with families and children, just take them with you’.

If you’re thinking about owning your own business and being a parent, pick one where you can be flexible with your hours. Most importantly be flexible with your approach; don’t worry what others think, be confident in whatever it is you're doing (from the job itself or deciding to take your children to work with you!). Ask questions and research how others did it; everyone’s approach doesn’t always work for you, but if you can select the best, most successful bits, then you can be your best, most successful self.

If you want to ask me any questions or contact me regarding the Hartbeeps@Home term please feel free to via: nicola.wicks@hartbeeps.com

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