My Flourishing Entrepreneurs series continues this week, introducing you to incredible women who have started their own businesses. I talk with them about how they got started, what jobs they were doing in a past life, what the voice inside their head tells them and dig into the resources and tips they can offer you on your entrepreneurial journey.
I'm thrilled today to introduce my Flourishing Entrepreneur #3 Amie Forster, a blogger and Personal Trainer.
Who are you, what is your business and what job title do you have?
My name is Amie and I am a Blogger at FitnessForster.com and Freelance Personal Trainer.
My business has a few different areas to it- as a personal trainer I train clients 1:1 and also in groups in a class environment. As a blogger I write about fitness, health and travel and I also create healthy recipes (mainly sweet treats) in collaboration with health food brands.
I also have a third business which I have recently launched- Wonder Box UK. This is a monthly subscription box service with a difference.
What were you told about work growing up?
Growing up I was told that work and being an adult was something very different to being young. I was told work was very important and making the right decision about work and a career was also very important. From these few words I was always under the impression that whatever I chose to do, I had to make it work for the rest of my life.
I’ve never really been given career advice as such. I was lucky that my parents supported me in whatever I wanted to do so it was a case of as long as I chose something I wanted to do then they were fine with whatever that was. They were keen on my education though and of course made sure that I carried on with my education when school was over.
I always knew what I wanted to do from the age of 13/14 so making the decision to study that subject after I had left secondary school was a no-brainer for me- childcare. I was 100% sure I was going to do that job so nobody really recommended anything else to me because they knew they wouldn’t change my mind! I made that very clear haha!
I remember people asking me what I wanted to do and my response was always the same- I wanted to look after children with the end goal of having my own business and having my very own nursery. So, that’s exactly what I went and did. 12 years in the childcare business working my way from apprentice at the age of 16 to managing a nursery at the age of 25.
How has your mindset changed around work since then?
My mindset isn’t actually all that different now to when I first started in childcare but it is very different to how I ended my time in childcare. I was very driven to succeed in the area I had chose to work in and that’s why I ended up being a deputy manager at 22 (managing the nursery for 6 hours a day alone) and managing a nursery at the age 25. I was very work-driven and having such a huge responsibility at such a young age I would prioritise that over everything else. I would take home work to do even though it wasn’t required of me and I would research ideas for displays and things to do with the children out of hours. I had pride in my work and I loved it.
Once I reached the point of becoming a manager, that’s when things changed and my mindset shifted.
As a manager of a nursery (for a large company) you pretty much spend all of your time behind a desk, looking at a computer and doing paperwork. Yes there was always paperwork to do but before I became a manager but I was still doing the part of the job I loved - spending time with the children.
I started to hate my job. I wasn’t meant for just sitting behind a desk and managing adults (which is the hardest thing because it pretty much turns you into a b***h), I wanted to get back into the rooms with the children.
I was miserable, constantly stressed, tired because I couldn’t sleep and because I was working intense 10/11 hour days and I just felt so down all the time.
I couldn’t even tell you how many times I just sat and cried because I wasn’t coping with it all. This is when I started my blog; it was something completely different that I had a huge interest in and I was hoping it would take my mind off work.
Long story short; I stuck out being a manager for two years, went through the sale of the company I was working for to a large corporate company (that’s a whole other story) and then finally decided to call it quits.
The main reason for calling it quits apart from the fact that I really REALLY disliked what I was doing; my dad passed away. Having this happen really shifted my mind and the way I was thinking. I had obviously thought about quitting hundreds of times before but this happening was almost like a switch being turned on; life is far too short to be unhappy and down all the time.
But, that’s not the point where I changed my job. I had a couple of months off to re-asses my life and what I wanted to do. Within this time I realised where my true passions were exercise and blogging. Of course this isn’t something that you can just build overnight so I took on a part-time job in a nursery and built my blog properly and trained as a personal trainer on the side of this. Just over one year later (May 2018) and I was a fully qualified PT and my blog had really taken off.
How do you prioritise your health as a busy entrepreneur?
In all honesty, it’s difficult. When I first went fully freelance I had all these big ideas that I would go to the gym more, cook my food from scratch for every meal, take the time off I needed and so on. As you can imagine, that did not happen.
I actually struggled to begin with and found that I was exercising less than I was previously, was working all hours of the day because I thought I needed to because I’m now working for myself so who else is going to do the work?!
Because of this I found myself not eating properly as I was just working all the time and before I knew it 8 hours had gone and I hadn’t eaten anything. This of course then leads to tiredness because I had zero energy and then the cycle would start again the next day.
Now my mindset has shifted with regards to health. Exercise-wise I plan a couple of days in advance as to what workout I want to get in. I have started going to F45 3 times a week as I love the workouts there and it makes me feel great. If I manage a fourth or fifth workout in elsewhere then that’s a bonus.
With food I always make sure that as soon as I get up I have a good breakfast to set me up for the day. I now always make sure I grab a break away from work and prep lunch and I give myself a finish time for work.
Yes of course it doesn’t always go to plan and sometimes if I have a super busy day my health doesn’t take priority unfortunately but luckily those days aren’t happening all that often.
I find having a good plan of action for each day helps me keep on top of things which in turn means I get the time to prioritise myself.
With regards to my mind I have developed a pretty positive attitude towards being busy- I definitely thrive from being busy and always having something on but I also make sure I don’t plan in too much so that I get plenty of me-time. I have a routine where I get most of my work done Monday to Friday which means I can chill out at the weekends.
Currently I always take a full Saturday off and part of Sunday and this is the perfect amount of time for me re-set my mind and become focussed for the next week of work.
How is your relationship with food?
I like to think I have a pretty good relationship with food. I have a relaxed approach and basically just eat when I’m hungry so I don’t have specific eating times each day. Food is fuel to me so as long as I keep myself fuelled throughout the day I feel good and most importantly I’m happy with that.
I consume a pretty good diet filled with veggies, fruits, grains, fish, meat, etc; and of course cake, biscuits, chocolate and bread. I love bread!
Food features heavily in my life and I very much like eating out. A good day or night out will have food in it somewhere. Like I said, I see food as fuel for my body so it means I can live a healthy and happy life!
What is your favourite meal, something you would recommend others learn to cook or prepare?
Dauphinoise potatoes! Not the healthiest I will admit but oh my goodness they are so good!
Admittedly I am not the most creative when it comes to cooking savoury dishes and my imagination only goes so far here but a good bolognese or chilli is a must. So versatile and you can add whatever you want really. My husband makes the best bolognese and he literally throws all sorts of stuff in.
The voice in your head - we’ve all got one! What negative thing does it say to you most often and how do you deal with it?
That voice sometimes pops in and makes me wonder if I’m doing the right thing being self-employed.
Only yesterday was I driving back from an F45 class wondering if I will actually ever get anywhere and if I will be able to support myself in years to come. As both myself and my husband are self-employed there’s always that little niggle that wonders if it will last. I guess the way we overcome it is by working hard every day to make sure we are getting the opportunities we both want to ensure we can do what we love for longer.
We have a spreadsheet that we update each month with our incomes and it predicts how long the money we have will last us if we were to make no more money from now- it’s a scary spreadsheet but it gives that boost to really go out there and grab those opportunities that arise.
Self-care. What does it mean to you?
Self-care can mean many things but to me it means looking after my mind, body and soul.
I make sure I take the time-off necessary to keep my mind active but also give it a break. Whether that’s a long walk or simply just sitting in the garden by myself (well, with the dog now). I am pretty good at switching off when I need to so my mind works pretty well with this. With regards to my body I like to look after it by exercising regularly and moving lots. I don’t overdo it and I listen to my body if it needs a break.
If I have the DOMS from hell you can bet the most I’m doing is a bit of stretching or yoga! I also find sleep does wonders for me! I make sure I get 7-8 hours every night and if I feel a little run down or tired I generally find having a 20 minute nap sorts me and I can carry on with my day feeling much better and refreshed.
What one book, video or podcast would you recommend to entrepreneurs?
I would have to say the books by Sarah Knight are my favourites. She has a series of 3- ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k’, ‘Get Your Sh*t Together’ and ‘You Do You’. They are funny, witty and very well written. They definitely gave me food for thought when I read them a while back.
What one tip, quote or resource would you share with other entrepreneurs to help them on their journey?
My one tip is don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Being an entrepreneur is hard and you will come across things that are outside of your comfort zone and hurdles that you have no idea how to get over. It does the world of good to just ask; no question is a stupid question.