What Personal Success Means to Me – Joanne McGee
In this series of interviews, Successful Mums founder Jane Knight talks to a number of women about what personal success means to them and how they combine work and family to achieve it.
I met Jo after she won a 121 Business Coaching session as part of a charity raffle prize.
It was fantastic to hear how this mum had started her own baking business and we had a very productive 121 coaching session looking at ways she can continue to grow and develop her business whilst maintaining the work-life balance with her family.
You have two children and are self-employed, so what does a typical day look like to you?
I’m more of a morning person than a night owl so if I have a busy baking day I will try to get up a couple of hours before waking my girls so that I can get a few cakes in the oven. Then at 7am I have to down my whisk whilst getting ready for the school run. Once back from that I know I only have 6 precious hours to get as much done as I can, be that more baking, decorating, shopping for ingredients or delivering bakes to the cafes or customers. The whole reason I started The Lovely Little Larder was so that I could fit it around my daughters and be there for them so once it’s time for school pick up I try not to do any more work until the girls are in bed. Once back from school it’s normal mum stuff, taking the girls to various after school clubs, doing reading and homework, making dinner, bath and bed! If I still have orders on the go I will carry on for a bit but if not I’ll watch a bit of tv or go to bed and read.
In what ways has becoming a mum had a positive impact on your approach to your work life/business?
I’m much more organised and productive in the time that is ‘mine’. I have become much better at being able to say ‘no’ to people as well! Before my children, I worked in publishing and would commute into London each day. I’ve since realised that the only thing I’ve missed about that is being able to read on the train! My husband and I had agreed once we had children that I would stay at home which I was happy to do but also knew I needed something else to keep me sane! I’ve always loved cooking and baking so making the change to my work life and starting my own business has meant I’m able to do something I’m really passionate about every day. I do try really hard not to work whilst I’m with the girls but working from home and the fact I’ve become a lot busier since both girls are at school means that sometimes I do have to.
What does personal success mean to you?
When I have returning customers this is the biggest compliment I can get. Working from home on my own with no one to bounce ideas off can be quite daunting sometimes and when cakes go out the door I haven’t been able to eat myself it’s hard not to have a moment of self-doubt. Some of my customers have returned 4 or 5 times now so that is really reassuring! Similarly, when I’m in one of the cafes that I supply and can see people eating and enjoying my cakes it’s a really great feeling. I also remember when my eldest was still in her pushchair and I had yet to start The Lovely Little Larder her saying that ‘mummy’s don’t do work only daddy’s’! Yesterday both my girls told me that they wanted to be cake makers when they grow up which pleased me so much in the fact that they now see me doing a job and would like to follow in my footsteps (for now!).
What one piece of professional advice would you give other working mums/mums in business?
Be kind to your self and try not to feel guilty for loving your work. When my work has crossed over into my mum time and I’ve found myself putting a dvd on for the girls I can feel terribly guilty at the fact that the whole point of my business was the freedom to be a full-time mum and here I am giving priority to my cakes.
What one thing for yourself do you always make time for?
Reading. When I was commuting I’d easily get through a book a week but now I’m lucky if I get through 3 a year!
If you were invited on Desert Island Discs, what would your top music choice, book and luxury be?
I’m a bit of a Robbie Williams fan, one of my best days ever was spent at his Knebworth concert so that album would come with me as it brings back so many happy memories. I’d find it very hard to pick just one book but The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger I can read over and over. I’m also a chocoholic and have been a member of Hotel Chocolat’s tasting club since 2002 so a box of their chocolates would be a must-have!
Is there anything you’d consign to the ocean and why?
If I’d been asked this a couple of months ago I’d have said no but on Christmas day a couple of ‘cry babies’ entered our lives and I’ve been praying for the batteries to run out ever since! Whoever decided to invent a toy with such an annoying cry is definitely not a parent!
Finally one last tip for women returning to work after a break?
Do something you love. Being a mum is hard work so if you can do another job that doesn’t feel like work it makes everything so much easier.
A big thank you to Jo for her time and if you’d like to find out more about her business check out her Facebook page The Lovely Little Larder, here.
Whatever your idea of personal success, we can help you achieve it… why not book on to one of our Business Start-up Courses or get in touch with us at