Meet the #motherhustlers: Louise Goss
Louise is an award-winning journalist, writer, and mum of two small people who are not yet in school and generally demand most of her time. A self-confessed dreamer, she is a lover of dance, travel, photography, and languages. She studied French, Spanish, and Japanese although rarely gets the chance to use them these days. She has worked in national newsrooms in the UK and Australia on both sides of the camera; presenting, reporting, producing, and writing. She and her husband embarked on an adventure after they got married and moved to Sydney, Australia where they lived for six years. While there Louise turned her hand to FinTech when she worked with a tech startup as the editorial director but with motherhood decided to focus more on writing. She wrote a client’s memoir and completed the first draft of a novel, which she would like to eventually publish. Now back in the UK, she is writing for a lifestyle magazine, taking too many photographs, and setting up her own blog and magazine in her ‘spare time’.
Tell us about yourself, your business, and how you got started!
I am a wife, mum of two children, a boy aged 3 and a girl, 21 months. Just last year we uprooted our family and moved halfway round the world from Australia to the UK where our family is all based. Having lived there for six years and being where our children were born this was a huge decision but the right one for us. As a former military wife, I am used to moving around and getting on with life! I would describe myself as a creative type balanced with a good deal of pragmatism 🙂
My business is a magazine called The Homeworker. It is, as the title suggests, for people who work from home, providing advice, inspiration, business profiles and articles covering all aspects of the work from home lifestyle. I have only just got started so am in the process of compiling material for articles, writing my blog, and making regular tweaks to my website!
The idea for The Homeworker was germinating for a while. My career has always been in journalism as I love working with people and hearing their stories. I also love photography, design, and creative writing so when looking at how to combine all my passions, a magazine seemed to make sense.
While working for a Tech startup, I became aware of how many people, particularly women, were running their own businesses from home. I was profiling people and businesses and really loved getting to know them and deconstructing how they operate and balance their home and work life. As someone who has worked from home for several years, I could empathise with the struggles as well as the great benefits and so slowly the idea formulated. I currently write profiles for a lifestyle magazine and so the first part of my idea was to profile people and their home-based businesses. I then expanded on this to come up with The Homeworker.
What inspired you to start your own business?
From a young age, I always said “I never want a 9-5 office job.”
Funnily enough, I have never had one. I have often freelanced for news organisations and still do for a magazine. When I began writing from home as well, I realised how ultimately I love to be the boss of my own time, work my own schedule, and be in control of what I do. I found a lack of creative control and flexibility in other jobs frustrating. I have freelanced a lot in my time and so in some ways, I have often worked for myself so starting on my own felt like a natural step.
What struggles do you face when it comes to balancing your work and family and how do you deal with them?
The biggest struggle is not allowing my work to encroach on my family time and being able to spend any time with my husband. Also, a seemingly minor point, but stopping my toddler daughter from rummaging through my desk and playing on my computer! I currently have my workspace in our living room and so boundaries around time and space can be a struggle.
I have to be really disciplined around scheduling and organising my time so that I know I have times set aside to do certain jobs and am not trying to answer emails while playing with my children. Luckily, deadlines have been a big part of my working life so I am quite good at ensuring work gets done. However, this usually means cramming what I can into a nap time (I am currently writing this while my daughter sleeps) and working at night once the children are asleep. This does mean I get little time just to be with my husband as I am either ‘mum’ or ‘businesswoman’. Again, I have to force myself to step away and allow myself some downtime. Usually I make sure I eat with my husband after work so at least we sit down together and talk and maybe watch a box set episode too. With my workspace, it just forces me to be REALLY tidy! 🙂
What do you think is the secret to raising a healthy business and a healthy family?
I am no expert on this and I know I get it wrong sometimes but obviously, you need to be able to dedicate time to both. I think it is really important to be present for your family and equally be able to focus on your business when it is time to do that.
I think prioritising and scheduling is key so that you know there is time set aside to do the jobs you need to do and you don’t think about them or try to do them while being with your family. I also think communication is so important. Explaining to your family when you are working and why you have to do what you are doing can help them to understand and feel less resentful. The support of your family when you are trying to raise a business as well is critical and can help you not feel guilty about spending time away to do it.
What is one piece of advice you could give to help other mompreneurs out?
Self-care! I have found that my time is spent being a busy mum, running around after two pre-schoolers, working on my business, and being a supportive wife. Then there is also the running of the house, the cooking, laundry, and admin tasks. Feeling exhausted is inevitable but at some point, it is not conducive to being productive. I would always say, don’t try to be a martyr, accept that you are only human (as super as you are), and that we all need time to recharge and reflect without feeling guilty about it.
Take time for yourself, you deserve it.
What words of encouragement do you have for your fellow mompreneurs?
As a mum you suddenly become more efficient, you have to become a top negotiator, get your hands dirty, cope with limited sleep, and are responsible for another human. Running a business? Meh, you got this!!
Do you have any great / inspiring stories from your own experience that you would like to share?
I often underestimate my own achievements and fail to see my wins, however inspiring they may be.
I think we all have to believe that we can do it. Self-belief is tough if you are prone to self-doubt and social media can exacerbate the comparison disease but I have managed to achieve a lot without a lot of support at times.
While my husband was in the military, my son was born and we were living in Australia, half a world away from our families. When our son was 5 weeks old, my husband deployed and I was alone with a tiny baby, no family support and no husband to come home at night to share the snuggles, the bedtime routine, or the anxieties of raising a newborn.
It was tough. I didn’t know what I was doing, I had never been a mum before but instinct kicks in and if you have no choice, you do it. At the same time I was committed to writing a memoir for a client and suddenly I realised the power of the nap time hustle, even with a baby sleeping on me! My son remained a happy, contented baby. We went out, I took him on trips, took him swimming, nursed his fevers, and he never went without. It may have taken me a little longer than without children but my client also got a 90,000 word book on his desk and I felt pretty proud about that.
Any fun facts you want to share?
I dance. A lot. I used to take dance lessons growing up and carried on into my uni years. Whenever I need a break, if it’s wet outside, or I just want a bit of fun with the kids, I stick on some music and dance like crazy around the house. I dance to anything upbeat that gets the energy going. It could be anything from the ladies: Sia, Beyoncé, Rita Ora, to any hip-hop tunes, and I may have been known to dance to Van McCoy’s The Hustle.
Where you can find Louise:
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