Hello, my name is Sarah, I am 37 and I'm a............?
Why do I find it so hard to answer this question? Between 2000 and 2016 I could easily answer it I was a photographic/editorial assistant at a newspaper and from 2006 onwards a mum. A mum who worked part-time in a job she'd been in since her teens. A mum, who in 2015 decided to start a blog on the side, more as a creative outlet to share crafty tutorials and woodland walks than a money making idea.
Why am I even writing this? I think some people presume that I don't work. I do the school pick-up every day, I am out and about - clearly I am just another stay at home mum. Of course there is nothing wrong with that at all, but I feel the need sometimes to share that I often "work" seven days a week and on top of this blog I do two other jobs.
My job came to an abrupt end in the summer of 2016 when I was made redundant after 16 years. I felt lost. I hadn't updated my CV in 16 years, let alone had a job interview. We relied on my salary and couldn't afford for me not to work.
After much protesting that I didn't need to, my husband convinced me to sign on at the Job Centre, after all I had been paying my National Insurance for 16 years why shouldn't I claim my £70 per week whilst I was looking for a job? Finding a job was harder than I had ever imagined, I wanted something to fit in around the children but everything I applied for didn't.
I was very disheartened and I hated my weekly trip to the Job Centre. An opening had come up for a Midday Supervisor (aka dinner lady) at my children's school so I applied and started working there three lunchtimes a week. As nice as it was to have a job again, at only 3 3/4 hours per week it wasn't going to pay for much.
I have never had a lot of self confidence, so starting my own business hadn't crossed my mind. Even though I had been blogging for well over a year, I hadn't earned a penny from it (to be honest I hadn't tried).
I'd been working at the school for a couple of months, I'd done safeguarding training and first aid courses and opportunities kept arising for 1-1 roles and teaching assistant jobs. I applied for one role but didn't even get selected for an interview.
Then, I got a message on Twitter, out of the blue, a business who were writing a book about glamping asked if I would be interested in helping to edit some of their reviews. They had been reading my blog and liked my style of writing. I set myself up as self employed and started helping with a few bits here and there. They asked if they could meet me in person, I must admit I was unsure what it would come to but it basically emerged into regular freelance work including copy writing for the book, logo designs, social media managing and even sign making!
From there, a blogger friend got in contact and asked if I was interested in being her VA. For those who don't know, VA stands for Virtual Assistant - basically like a personal assistant but everything is done online and from home. This is something I had never even considered but it was perfect!
It opened my eyes to a whole new world of blogging and working from home - I joined some blogging groups and realised there was potential for me to start making some money from my own blog.
I continued at the school, even taking on extra hours at the after school club and had my sideline of VA work.
Fast forward almost two years and I have four regular clients who I do work for every week. Sometimes I source and write copy, update websites, manage social media, design logos and banners and help with general admin. It often means I have to put in a few hours in the evenings and at weekends but it allows me to have that flexibility of working around my children.
I have come a long way in a few years. I have designed, built and maintained my own blog, improved my photography skills, learned all about SEO and even written a book.......
My name is Sarah, I am a mum, a blogger, a virtual assistant, a columnist and a midday supervisor - some months are tougher than others but it goes to show, hard work pays off in the end.