Career change and job love stories

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Retail Management to Training and then on to Beauty through self-employment

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"I had no formal beauty experience, but I threw myself into all the inhouse training that was on offer. This gave me the confidence and the drive to set myself up on social media and to start promoting my new business."


What a journey Helen has been on.  Helen established a successful career in retail management, but found that part-time opportunities at that level were pretty non-existent when she had her children.  That's when Helen moved on to develop a career in training, before facing some very scary and difficult times personally, which meant she needed to rethink things again.  "How could I return to a ‘normal’ and fulfilling life?  But when the time came working for myself made so much sense"  I think you'll see how her passion drove her forward, despite entering a whole new field (for the second time!).  Her story is humble, but I suspect Helen is braver than she may realise.  Enjoy!

Tell us a little about yourself – who are you besides the job you do? 

I’m married to my lovely supportive husband Nigel, we have 2 (almost) grown up boys and the only female company in my house is Amber, our Cockerpoo! We live in a small village on the outskirts of Stratford Upon Avon where we enjoy village life to the full and love getting out and about in the local countryside on foot or by bike. 

What do you do now? 

I’m a Leader with Tropic Skincare which basically means I help others achieve their dreams! Whether that means happy customers who see fabulous results or those that join Tropic as an Ambassador and build successful businesses on their own terms whatever their goals are, I help them achieve them!

What do you love about it? 

Being part of Tropic is like being part of one huge supportive family. It’s an environment where your efforts are valued, encouraged and celebrated Starting my journey back in 2013 was like taking in a lovely invigorating breath of fresh air!  At last something I could be passionate about, products that I could rely on to contain no nasty chemicals that have the potential to cause so much damage to our bodies, just pure natural ingredients to boost my health and vitality.  When I look in the mirror I know they are making a difference to how I look and certainly to how I feel. Sharing this feeling with others is a joy!  I feel empowered to make a difference in others’ lives which is something that has always been of great importance to me in whatever role I’ve been in. I’m now also in a position to be able to help others share this amazing feeling too as I build a team of like-minded people all sharing the same passion.

I love learning new ways to achieve my goals. This fresh, exciting, journey has allowed me to make so many good friends along the way and I think I’ve found my true path in life! 

What did you do before and how did you end up there?

Most of my adult life I have served others.  I’d worked in Retail Management for many years before deciding to start a family and when Jack my first son came along part time management roles were simply not available, so I left to search for pastures new. I stumbled upon a role at Coventry City Council where I was part of the Training Team delivering training in all areas of Council Tas and Benefits legislation.

Why did you decide to change?

Back in 2012 I received the news that no one wants to hear, that tore my world apart, when I was diagnosed with a Brain Tumour.  Luckily for me treatable, albeit with major surgery but leaving me with little choice but to step away from my previous role. 

How did you decide what to do instead? 

My recovery was slow but thankfully straight forward, in the scheme of things I was incredibly lucky!  No chemo or radiotherapy to endure but many long months of agonising pain and an overwhelming sense of doubt in myself and my body.  How could I return to a ‘normal’ and fulfilling life?  But when the time came working for myself made so much sense, I could work when I wanted to, where I wanted to and, best of all fit around the needs of family life!

I was offered the opportunity to work with a major established company selling makeup and gifts door to door. I enjoyed getting back on my feet at my own pace and it was great meeting new people and being sociable again!

Whilst the flexibility was great, sadly the earnings weren’t, and I’d also noticed my skin reacting to some of the ranges. 

Where did you start when it came to actually making the change?

I realised that self-employed life was attractive to me, especially as a parent. So, I began to look for alternative options locally.

How did you actually make the change? (training, finances, learning etc)

By now I had two boys to think about and one of my school Mum friends had just started with a new company and she invited me over to see what it was all about. I fell in love immediately with the ethics behind the brand and how the products made me feel. I had no formal beauty experience, but I threw myself into all the inhouse training that was on offer. This gave me the confidence and the drive to set myself up on social media and to start promoting my new business.

What were /are the biggest challenges? (internal and external!)

This new chapter hasn’t been without plenty of challenges but then that is what makes it a positive experience!  The first challenge was family, the ones you would think would be the most supportive were a little sceptical and to be honest still can be! You have to build a level of resilience as for many the idea of buying direct from someone rather than a shop is still a little alien, so you learn to accept the ‘nos’ and move on! You need an eye for an opportunity and don’t overlook any that come your way.  Remember that people buy from people and that you need to offer excellent service and exceed their expectations constantly to keep them coming back to you. 

What advice would you give your younger self?

Never settle for something that you are not happy with! You’re working for far too long to be doing something where you don’t feel fulfilled!

How has life changed?

I now have the flexibility to work as and when I want. I’ve made some incredible new friends and have had some amazing experiences that would never have been possible without being self employed with my current company.

What do you miss about your previous line of work?  

In some ways I miss the ‘regular ‘hours. When you are working for yourself it’s hard to stop and to take a break and if you are not careful working from home can be challenging, you need to be strict with your time management otherwise domestic and work life blur into one!

What hopes do you have for your future?

I hope to encourage more people to make healthier lifestyle choices and to empower others to build their own successful businesses.

What advice would you give to anyone looking to find and pursue a career/job they love?

Make a list of pro’s and con’s of your current role, address the ones you have control of then decide whether the others will ever change and if not seek out new challenges that and play to your strengths.

Where can people find / follow you? 

Twitter: @tropicstratford

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