March is the month where we celebrate many things including Mother's Day and International Women's Day so I thought it appropriate to feature some inspiring mums and we'll be showcasing them throughout March - hope you enjoy the "March of Inspiring Mums" series!
Today's interview is with Hayley Southwood, who describes herself as an accidental entrepreneur! Not only does she run the Southwood Social Hub, which is an incredible modern networking community for female entrepreneurs, she also has her own online store (Southwood Stores) selling beautiful Scandi influenced homeware and gifts.
Hayley is also a mum of 2 young men aged 18 and 20 years old. She lives in a little village in Buckinghamshire, just outside of Milton Keynes.
1. Tell me a little about yourself and how you got into the job you’re now doing?
I started my first business at 25, so I have always been a self-employed woman. I have always created jobs that work around me dropping off my boys and picking them up from school.
I launched my shop about 5 years ago after people kept asking me where I bought my own homware products from. I then launched Southwood Social Hub as I was so lonely in business and could’t find a community where I felt comfortable. Traditional networking groups felt so stuffy!
Tell me one interesting fact about you?
After my Mum died I felt so lost and I wanted it all to end so badly. One day Paul (my husband) went to the pub and when he came home I had bought a Vintage Ice Cream Van off eBay!
Please can you share 3 tips for managing the juggle of motherhood, life and business?
- Try really hard to not feel guilty about EVERYTHING.
- Be realistic about what you can really get done - that way you won’t feel so upset when you haven’t achieved those huge lists.
- DO it all your own way! Please don’t look too much at what everyone else does. We are all different and no way is the right way
What's the best piece of advice you could give a new mum?
Just enjoy the ride, it goes so bloody fast. I have loved every second of each stage. Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t all easy but it was definitely all WORTH IT.
Colour can make a real difference to our mood - what’s your favourite colour? And how does it make you feel when you wear it?
I cannot leave the house without red lipstick on. It has always been my ‘OK, I can do this’ message to the world. Even when you are knackered or you feel like its all crumbling around you!
What’s your favourite activity to do with your family?
My boys used to love all those hideous ball-pit places when they were young. I used to hate them, they smelt so bad and the kids were all sweaty but I feel like I earnt my badge. As they got older I just became a taxi driver, dropping them off at Ice hockey, and hanging around for hours!
What do you like to do for some me-time?
Nowadays I completely throw myself into my work. Both my boys have gone off to uni now. I was really worried about this next phase of my life. But do you know what I am LOVING it!
Hayley, you are an inspiration to so many people and your Southwood Hub is a community of amazing like-minded, strong and creative female entrepreneurs. Thanks so much for sharing an insight into your life and why you do what you do.
If you've enjoyed this interview, make sure you check out our other "March of Inspiring Mums" series here