INSPIRATIONAL ideas often occur when they are least expected. For entrepreneurial mother-of-two Hannah Martin, her ‘eureka’ moment came while she was enjoying a soak in the bath.
Hannah and freelance graphic designer Kary Fisher launched www.talentedladiesclub.com – an online magazine-style resource for working, freelance and business mums – in April 2013.
The initial idea behind the site came to Hannah when she thought about a friend who gave up her job as financial director of Bodyshop to spend more time at home with her children.
“It was a eureka moment in the bath. I remember thinking what amazing experience she’s got and she went from the career to being a full-time mum. There are so many women like her, there must be something in-between. You don’t go from that to being happy just dropping off the kids and doing housework,” said Hannah, 41, of Westbrooke, Worthing.
Hannah and Kary became friends while they were both pregnant with their daughters four years ago.
From that moment, it took the pair two years to have the confidence to put the idea behind the website into motion. They employed the help of a business coach in December 2012 and the site launched the following April. Kary is in charge of the visual side of the site while Hannah produces the copy.
Kary, 40, of Kingsland Road, in Broadwater, said: “We want to inspire women through our interviews with other mums – how they have made it work for them. Then there’s really practical advice. Every article is packed with genuinely useful information. We want to inspire and help them achieve their ambitions.”
Hannah has lived in Worthing for 13 years and has an 11-year-old son Ollie and four-year-old daughter Mimi.
She has had first-hand experience of the difficulties associated with balancing a successful career with family life. Returning to work as a copywriter in London just four months after the birth of Ollie, she described leaving him with an au pair as ‘really tough’.
“I was the breadwinner and a single mum. It was a great career and I loved it,” she said.
When she met her current partner, Hannah decided to work freelance from home. During this time she said she was ‘amazed’ by how many ‘amazing and interesting’ women faced similar problems. She felt there had to be tens to hundreds of thousands of woman all over the country and she wanted to help.
She said she had known women qualified as architects, solicitors and fashion buyers who, once they had children, would only be able to apply for admin positions.
“I believe you shouldn’t have to dumb down what you have done just because you’re a mum. You should still be able to use the skills you have got but on your own terms,” she said.
“It’s very black or white, you either make one decision or the other. When you have had a career and that’s really important to you that never dies. It’s really frustrating.”
This weekend, Hannah will be giving a social media workshop at the ExCel in London as part of the first ever Work and Family show alongside The Guardian’s head of technology and LinkedIn’s sales manager.
“I do social media training workshops so I’m not phased about talking to people. We are exhibiting at the show as well. I hope we inspire a lot of women,” she said.
The two mums’ ultimate aim for the ‘talented ladies club’ is for it to be the UK’s number one online resource for freelance and business mums.
“This isn’t some hobby or little project. Most days I’m working by 5am. If I could not sleep that would be great,” said Hannah. “I love the site, everything I do on the site is a pleasure, it’s a passion. I really believe we can help people.”