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Doers and Dreamers...Chloe Willis
The Doers & Dreamers series is all about finding out how people start working for themselves and setting up their own businesses, whatever they maybe and that's not just selling hats ;) This week we meet the lovely Chloe. I've known Chloe for about ten years, in fact we even lived together at one point and she is the cousin of my hubby. She's the warmest, smiliest person I know and so pleased she took the leap to start her business...because she really is one of life's Dreamers & Doers.
Hi Chloe tell us a bit about yourself? (and your business)
I'm one of life's optimists! I love people, live music, things involving tents, supporting other women and spending time with my big family. As well as working 2 days a week in Learning & Development I'm a Birth & Baby Mentor teaching Daisy Birthing, parent and coming soon baby classes!
Daisy classes are not like any other I fell in love with the warm style, the focus on positivity and the woman centred approach. A new term started on Sunday and at the end of class the Mums stayed to chat as I packed up. One said "I cant believe after one class that I'm feeling more positive and happy about birth" another said "can we have the next class straight away?!" by the time I got home I had this email "Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the first class, am so glad I signed up!" it doesn't feel like work when everyone is enjoying themselves this much!
What was the driving force to start Daisy Foundation Norwich?
Women are important. Birth is important. How people feel when they become parents matters. I've met too many people who felt disempowered, didn't know enough about their options or did not get the support they needed. The desire to help couples prepare for birth and support them drives me every day.
I love the fact that I'm learning more and more all the time, I feel very grateful.
What’s your workspace like?
I teach in a lovely community space that's bright, calm and welcoming. There are huge wooden beams and massive windows so we can have our classes by natural light and the sun goes down as we drift into relaxation.
Tell us about a typical day?
If someone pops a coffee and almond croissant in my hand first thing the day has started well! I wake up to two little grinning faces and books being thrust at me "Mummy read it?" How could I not! A typical day this summer has involved a mission to the beach. I'm so happy we moved to Norfolk the coast is just beautiful. If the boys have been loud and are getting cabin fever at home they instantly relax at the beach. We can throw stones in the sea, spot seals and paddle for hours.
If I'm teaching I have a check list, demo baby Barnabas, yoga mats, pillows, blankets, candles, notes, music & water. I always re-read my notes before class so I'm prepared and can make eye contact with the class and move around lots demonstrating positions and movements.
Once the kids are in bed I'm studying for my baby qualifications at the moment so will write essays or read up on baby massage, yoga, brain development and postnatal exercise. Our classes are more than just a baby yoga class, they are really holistic and recognise what both Mum and baby need, I'm so excited to launch them in Norfolk!
How did you launch?
I advertised classes on the usual mums websites and on social media. I ran stands at some local baby events and talked to as many mums as I could. I didn't have a launch event as such but am thinking of a party soon, a late launch that involves some of the wonderful parents and babies!
What’s your favourite online resource (app/tool) that is indispensable for work?
I use Facebook the most. It's a lovely way to keep in touch with women in class and they can private message me with questions. Seeing pictures and hearing positive birth stories is the best, I feel so proud of these Women!
How do you manage family and work life balance?
We've made a huge decision to cut back on our working hours while the kids are young so that we can home educate in the early years. It means lots of planning and sometimes we're ships in the night taking it in turns to work and spend time with the boys but it's right for our family. Working as a team and communicating is so important to make it work and it's not always easy. After 17 years I sometimes think things and assume he'll know!! My best advice is to try to be fully present in what you are doing. If I'm teaching I'm there 100%, listening and caring about the women in that room. If I'm playing I'm catwoman 100% and contemplating my complicated relationship with Batman!!
What have you found most surprising since setting up your business?
It's both harder than I thought and better than I thought! The amount of work involved is pretty epic but the feeling of doing a good job and making a difference off your own back is priceless.
On the tough days how do you self motivate?
I look at my boys and think about the kind of example I want to set. I think about why I do what I do and the importance of positive birth. If all else fails put Ace of Base on really loud and sing along and have a family dance session in the kitchen. Getting the endorphins flowing and the blood pumping works wanders.
What’s been your business highlight so far?
Being told by a woman that her Husband used a really nurturing massage technique I showed them throughout labour and it totally got her through "I don't know what I would have done without it, it got me all the way to 10cm". I'm just reaching the end of my first year and have started to have women coming to class through word of mouth. There is nothing better than knowing someone enjoyed the class and encouraged their friends to book.
What have you got planned next?
Daisy Baby launches soon, it will be so lovely to extend support into the fourth trimester. I am going to be so broody seeing all those cute newborns!
I've got some very exciting plans in the pipeline to better support parents in North Norfolk, where there are not many class options at the moment.
I'm also planning some very special luxury pregnancy retreats where couples can learn their antenatal education in a stunning setting, alongside pampering and a romantic baby moon.
And finally….what’s your top tip for anyone thinking of starting their own business?
It has to be focus on your business and your vision and don't worry about what others are doing. People will be drawn to your credibility, positivity and passion. It's easy to make comparisons but I know what I have to offer is unique. Have a plan, visualise your goals, believe in yourself and appreciate what an amazing job you are doing. Trust me, you are amazing.
To find out more about Chloe and her amazing classes please visit http://thedaisyfoundation.com/ or you can email Chloe directly firstname.lastname@example.org
Chloe also runs Mama Fox Fair, a specialist parents children's lifestyle fare in Norfolk.
Every Monday we will bring you a new Doers & Dreamers interview. Let us know who else you would like to know more about.
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