Hey all . . . I know, I know, it's been awhile with these awe-inspiring interviews, but never fear, here is the next one for you inspirational taste-buds, so without further ado let me introduce interviewee number 4 - Laura Walker. Laura is a kick-ass mum to a beautiful daughter who has Autism. You'll see in the interview exactly what life is like for Laura, juggling her family/carer life with a business; but I assure you, you will never dream of procrastinating in your own life again after hearing her story . . . especially how she makes time to squeeze in ballet lessons for herself in her busy schedule . . .
(image from pinterest)
Describe your personal situation (i.e., disability, caring responsibilities, as much as your comfortable with) and your business?
I am the primary carer to my daughter 12, (13 next month) she is autistic, has a learning disability, communication disorder and pathological demand avoidance. These labels sound quite scary, but my daughter really isn’t scary. My daughter attends a specialist school which is at the other end of town and so gets picked up and dropped off by a bus every day. I am a professional artist with a studio which I recently moved to my mums beautiful attic. I work around my daughter, around her school hours, so when she is off school I don’t work as much, It gives me a lot of flexibility. My partner worked full time until he was made redundant in Jan of this year he has been unable to find any other work so is around at home a lot which has been really good apart from lack of money. My daughter needs a lot of support in everything she does, I’m always exhausted by the end of the day.
What motivated you to start your business?
I have worked for companies before and enjoyed it for a while but then became frustrated by their lack of good management, office politics and tensions between people. I began to hate being told what to do when it was inefficient and badly organised, I began to hate the job and I vowed I would never put myself in that position again. After my degree in Textile crafts I knew I wanted to continue being creative, making and really didn’t want to work for someone else. I enjoyed the creative freedom I was given at university and I also needed something which would fit in with my caring responsibilities for my daughter. All these things motivated me to start my own business.
(Image from Laura's Etsy shop)
How do you balance your personal needs with your business/work?
This is something I have had to learn to do It is difficult to define something you love as work but of course there are many things to be done within the business that I don’t enjoy, like admin and accounts. I feel now that I have managed and balance both in a much better way now. I realised at one point that I didn’t have any ‘hobbies’ as such, my work was also my hobby, but recently I have found new hobbies (ballet) which are still creative but totally unrelated to work which I think has been beneficial to me, it gives me a complete head break from everything else I do. I do often become overwhelmed by things personal & work, I have to put some things on the back burner, like with this questionnaire. I’m often interrupted especially recently it seems and life becomes very chaotic & I just have to manage it the best I can.
What is the toughest thing you have had to deal with in life/business and what got you through?
The toughest thing I’ve ever had to deal with was the death of my father 2 years ago and it affected all areas of my life. Other things that have happened have paled in comparison; it has given me a new perspective on things. My family and a few close friends are the thing that got me through and are still getting me through. The hardest thing for me in my business was having to give up my studio last summer because my partner lost his job, but I have a new studio in my mums attic and I have quickly moved on.
(Image from Laura's Etsy Shop)
What is the most “WHAM BAM” exciting thing in life/business that has happened and how did you celebrate?
I think all the pieces I have had in magazines/journals, they always give me a thrill and having my work stocked in the V&A shop.
Which business/person has inspired you and why?
I have a number of artists who are a few years ahead of me inspire me for various reasons. I have looked at people who have work in a similar work to mine and looked at where they exhibited who are their buyers etc, its been the very practical things that I have looked at with these people not so much the creative side.
Do you have any life/business tips you could give my readers?
Dedication. If you want some thing then go for it, but its hard work. Research, research, research, knowledge is power it gives you the edge. There is a lot of learning involved in creating a successful business or life. My approach is that if I want to do something then I go and learn about it excessively! Learn and practise then it’s a lot less daunting, it’s a great feeling to conquer something you never thought you could do it also builds confidence.
Anything else you would like to add?
I have learned that Life is to short to do something you don’t enjoy!
Laura Jaine Walker - Couture Buttons, Jewellery Pieces and Gifts