There were a few times when I felt like I was going to combust with nervous energy, but I didn't...it was character building for sure and SO worthwhile...
I’ve had an incredible journey with Digital Mums, and it all started late last year (2017), when my family and I (husband and two small persons) had re-located to Farnham, Surrey from (a very rural) part of Wales. I’d been out of work since having my eldest, Ollie (4 years old), and was nervously starting to think about entering the workplace again.
My youngest, Eva, was nearing 2 at the time, so I knew that it would be some time before I could embrace a full-time 9-5…but that’s when it struck me…I didn’t want a 9-5, stuck in an office negotiating whether I could have the time off to attend the nativity or a sports day, I wanted to be involved with school activities when I could and go to a coffee morning or playgroup with Eva when it suited me. The ideal was to have something to get stuck into but that provided a better work/life balance which I had struggled to have in my previous marketing role.
I was at the park one day with the kids ( a great place to meet new mums by the way) when I got chatting to another mum who suggested up-skilling via a Digital Mums course. With a background in marketing, it sounded right up my street so I went home, popped the kettle on and started to do some research. I sat for the next 10 mins or so and completely knew this was right for me, but the imposter syndrome got hold of me a little while later…I’m so rusty how would I ever deal with a client again, how do I even speak to one and fit all of this in around a busy home life?
Maybe in a year or so I thought…
Surprisingly, that week I had emailed a friend who had set up her own marketing agency for some advice about returning to marketing and she too recommended the course to me. I’m definitely one of those women who believe that things are just meant to happen and, as it had been suggested to me twice in one week, it started to feel like this was the path I was supposed to take.
I signed up for the course the very next week and began the Associate Programme in January this year and can honestly say that I have not looked back…
Yes, there have been weeks when I have not enjoyed ‘social media’ in general and there have definitely been times where I’ve had a panic thinking that I’m being a bit crap at balancing everything, BUT I am a changed woman to what I was 6 months ago. My confidence is back, I CAN engage with and successfully deliver for a client (who are not as scary as you initially think) and I’m now writing my final report for the course with a hope to graduate in the next few weeks.
The course in itself is very methodical and as the weeks go by you feel that little bit of confidence returning with each assignment and challenge you complete, which are all completely geared up to equip you with plenty of skills to do this in the real world. What’s great about the Associate Programme, is that you ARE doing this in the real world; you’re implementing a live campaign for a real client and having an impact.
Two things I have been SO fortunate to have during the course…
- A fantastic Programme Partner.
Helen Wright at 9-2-3 Jobs needs no introduction really. She is a true advocate of flexible working and tries her best to do away with the completely inflexible 9-5.
Helen had been made redundant when she was pregnant with her first child and after speaking to many professional and like-minded mums in the playground at school, had decided that all this professional talent was indeed wasted because these mums couldn’t find a role that would allow an extent of flexibility with its hours.
That was Helen’s 'a-ha moment’ and so she founded 9-2-3 Jobs, matching professional individuals with flexible roles that she regularly educates employers about. 9-2-3 are out there actively banging the flexible working drum and it's working..it was such an honour to work with Helen and her team, especially as she was so open-minded to trying literally everything during the social media campaign, including a TweetChat AND Facebook Live to really get the word out there for flexible working.
- The best and most supportive group of ladies in my cohort that a girl could ask for. Go Nora Ephron!
The great thing about doing the Digital Mums course is that you are put together with 4 other mums doing exactly the same as you course wise, but all with different programme partners so you go through exactly the same challenges, highs and lows together, and without them I wouldn’t have been able to get through some of the most challenging workload weeks.
We were there to support each other, ask questions and find the answers together and just sometimes have a bit of a giggle. It makes you realise just how great women are when they come together and I know that we’ll stay firm friends as we navigate ourselves through a world of social media (and not so scary clients) once the course has finished.
For 9-2-3 Jobs, I ran an uplifting and empowering campaign, focusing on mums who were looking for their ideal role that would offer a work/life balance. We showcased video testimonials of working mums doing the flex after finding a role through 9-2-3, as well as sharing tips and advice for CV’s, confidence boosters and sharing events that are run through the 9-2-3 Club that offers a chance for those to network and learn new skills or debate new topics at the same time.
The campaign, although a little overwhelming at times, was a huge hit for the brands awareness. We hit our KPI’s that we had set-out from the start and even though the stats started to drop towards the end of the campaign, the fan and follower base continued to grow which was just great and so satisfying to see.
What’s next for me?
Well, after having a well deserved break, I’ve been lucky enough to be asked back to come and work for 9-2-3 as their social media manager which is just awesome. The team will be hosting a National Flexible Working Day on the12th September encouraging everyone who can make it on the day and those online to work flexibly for one day and really shout about the benefits it can bring to families, to those who have caring responsibilities, to those with disabilities and to simply everyone, everywhere. I love the passion and the ambition that this company has for flexible working.
I cannot recommend the course enough - it will push you but give you way more character and confidence at the end of your journey, as well as a network of strong, talented ladies that you’ll be able to keep in touch with thereafter.
My advice…DO IT!