Starting something new can often be a bit scary and let’s face it, feel daunting. But, wow what an amazing, challenging, roller coaster of a journey this had turned out to be.
If you’d have said to me a few months ago that I would hang up my wings with British Airways, retrain with Digital Mums and successfully pass their Social Media Management training course, I would have laughed!! Ha ha…what me?!
It was on my 40th birthday that I was talking to a friend about returning to work from maternity leave. I loved my job as senior cabin crew, but returning to work after having children always has its challenges. There’s so much to think about, childcare costs, logistics of 3 children, one at nursery and two at two different schools and not to mention that my job required very early starts and nights away from home. To be honest I’ve actually been lucky. British Airways has always offered me a level of flexibility which I would find difficult to get elsewhere and for that I am extremely grateful. But after having my third child, I could see that I needed to find an alternative career that would fit the busy demands of a young family.
My friend told me about ‘Digital Mums’ and how she had been using a ‘Digital Mum’ to support her business. So I decided to bite the bullet and apply. Before I knew it, I’d signed up and was starting just a few months later! Before the course started there were moments of doubt as to whether I could really go back to studying and how on earth I would study with a 10 month old baby at home. But, I had to give it my best shot!
The course start date came around unbelievably quickly and the nerves really kicked it! Before I knew it I was having my first Google Hangout (yes, I didn’t even know what they were!) with my peer group. Our weekly hangouts proved to be an invaluable part of the training, somewhere where we could discuss our weekly assignments, independent learning or just have chat when things got tough!
The first few weeks of the course were quite straightforward and I was managing to fit the course work and tutorials around my baby’s naps, feeding times or when he was playing quietly (he wasn’t crawling at that point). There was lots of reading, note taking and tutorials to watch, which often required me to be studying late into the night, once the kids were in bed.
The course had its ups and downs, some weeks were more interesting than others, some weeks I couldn’t wait to get on with the coursework, other weeks I had to really make myself do the assignments, but that’s part of the course of learning, no 2 weeks were the same, some weeks life just got in the way!
As part of my training, I had to run my own campaign, I chose to focus mine on the local area. I had to set up, manage and run my campaign over 3 social media platforms. Again, I felt the nerves kick in – how can I set up a campaign? What if I get wrong? What if I can’t find any content? What if no-one follows or likes me? What if what if… lots of deep breaths!! Over time my confidence with HenleyHub grew and I was soon Bommeranging with the best of them! Hours were spent on Canva agonising over the perfect font and colour, getting organised with Buffer, Hootsuite and Trello. I felt the confusion of Facebook Ads and shouted at the computer screen quite a lot! I took part in tweet chats and hosted my own (now that was full on!) created videos on Ripl and relished in the ease of IFTTT.
Those 6 months were incredibly challenging, juggling the studying, completing assignments, running a campaign, returning to work 3 months into the course and as well as being a mum to my 3 children! I had to make some sacrifices, getting up at 5am to study before the kids woke up, working late in the evenings and fitting in all things social media as and when throughout the weekends. It sometimes felt like my phone was my third arm! The house was more than a little neglected and there were times when my children thought it was normal to have porridge for dinner! It was hard at times and I wondered if I would actually get through but there was a huge amount of support from my peer group, other Digital Mums and of course my very non social media husband!
I feel that my biggest success was actually completing the course. When I reflect back on my time during the course, I’m simply amazed by what I’ve learnt, how far I’ve come and what I’ve achieved. The power of social media is pretty incredible and I’m very excited about the next stage of my social media journey – going freelance, achieving that work/life balance and the beginning of Fly Social!