International Women’s Day 2019This is a fantastic era to be a part of! As a female, we have so many opportunities that previous generations did not, for which, I am so grateful. Don’t get me wrong, there are still many changes that need to be enforced to create a more gender-balanced society, and hopefully, in time, we will achieve this. However, today is all about celebrating the achievements of women, and I would like to share my story with you.
Last week, my husband kindly bought me a spa day for my 30th Birthday at Aqua Sana, Center Parcs Woburn Forest. I was really looking forward to a lovely relaxing day and I had a plan…
9:00 – 11:00 = Sit with laptop in the spa café and complete business invoicing
11:00 – 13:00 = Scheduled massage and treatment
13:00 – 14:00 = Relax in the spa rooms
14:00 – 17:00 = Get home before the mini-monsters, jump in the office and tick a few emails off
This was far from what happened, and I am so thankful for that!
When I entered the spa café, I noticed no one was working – of course! I was in a fluffy white robe and the thought of getting my laptop out felt a little surreal. I tried to put the niggling voice in my head; “you won’t be able to relax until you complete this task”; to one side, so I could fully appreciate this birthday gift and enjoy the experience.
I was forced to stop using technology, stop analysing, and stop planning. Instead, I was compelled to be in the moment, in both mind and body. As I laid down in the Fire Relaxation Room, watching the crackling flame in the open fire, the burdens of work and life began to disappear. I closed my eyes and took myself back…
I turned 30 last month. Happy Birthday to me! This wasn’t a scary milestone. Instead, I felt a sense of accomplishment. In the last 4 years, I have simultaneously built a business and started a family. I have a 3-year-old and a 3-month-old, and balancing my working life alongside my personal life hasn’t been without its challenges! However, I have an amazingly supportive husband who broke the stereotype and became a stay at home dad to help me continue growing my business.
Becoming a mother had been my life goal, whereas owning a business was never something I strived to achieve. I’ve become an entrepreneur, and unbeknown to me, my personality sent me in this direction, a path I am humbled to have found. This did bring an emotional battle of the fear I was going to miss out on seeing my babies grow up.
I soon realised this was quite the opposite! I managed to create a lifestyle that meant I didn’t need to ‘return’ to work after 9 months of maternity leave; I could be with my babies whenever I wanted. I love spending time with them, but I learned to appreciate early that they need to spend quality time with their father and grandparents to create an equally close bond. We’ve ended up creating a lifestyle that isn’t the norm, but it works for us and has made us stronger and better people for it.
I tend to refer to the business as my first baby, the unplanned one! Revit Families were the buzz word of 2015. Many furniture manufactures feared the upcoming BIM level 2 mandate that was due to come into place in April 2016. I had the software and the knowledge on creating these Revit Families, and with my manager’s blessing, I offered my services to a couple of manufacturers on a freelance basis.
My prices were a third of what competitors were asking, and my overheads were nonexistent. I had stumbled across a business concept that required very little to start but held great value in its skill. After falling pregnant in 2015, I knew I couldn’t bear to let go of what I had built, but I also couldn’t do it alone. I hired my first official employee on 15th February 2016. That was the moment I realised ‘Diane Butterworth’ wasn’t ‘just’ my name anymore! Instead, it was the name of a fully-fledged business, my business.
Since then, it has been an incredible journey, one I am excited to continue. I met new clients, learned new skills in the services we offered and managed a business, and created a great place to work for my now 3 full-time employees. Our achievements have been confirmed by the small things like receiving Christmas cards from highly reputable companies and the much bigger things like being shortlisted as a finalist for ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ for Milton Keynes.
…I brought my mind back to the spa, and as I moved across to the Crystal Steam Bath, I gave myself a little pat on the back! Not just for the last 4 years but the many years prior that pathed the way for me to lead this life. I hope to be an inspiration to other women, to reassure people that you can be a mother and a business owner and a mentor.
Yes, it is very challenging, and at times you will want to throw the towel in and question, “Is this really all worth the effort?”. I can tell you; it is if you REALLY want it! But remember, you are a part of your life too, don’t forget to take a moment to stop, relax and reflect that you are an amazing person, and you are good enough.
Happy International Women’s Day!
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2019
The campaign theme is #BalanceforBetter.