Louise Heasman, mumpreneur, Athena

Co-founder of Athena, and networking strategist and trainer Louise Heasman shares her journey to business success with MothersWhoWork.co.uk.

Name: Louise Heasman
Age: 36
Children: Two daughters, Georgie 3 years old and Heidi who is 18 months
Company: The Athena Network, www.theathenanetwork.com
Profit in first year: ?60k

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What was the motivating factor for staring your own business?
To create a flexible working life around raising a family. When I had my first daughter I realised I have never been more focused and more determined to make my business work.

What are the best bits about running your own business??
Having a bit of independence and being able to take off all school holidays and work school hours!

Running a business can be a mixed bag sometimes. What have been you highs and lows so far?
Franchising Athena is the best high ever! It makes me feel really proud to see our Silver and Magenta Army sweep across the UK! The lows are really when I am torn with trying to juggle very important meetings with sick children – the guilt and the tug on those heart strings is the worst thing ever! And they always seem to fall ill on the most inconvenient of days!

What is available to mothers now that you wish you had access to when your family was young?
My family is still young! I would really like to see much more help with childcare costs for business owners as childcare costs me more each month than my mortgage!

How have you managed to stay on top of your career with the demands of motherhood?
By having a great support team around me. My husband has been brilliant and along with my friends all of whom think I am completely mad! I
have also been blessed with the best business partner anyone could wish for!

What is your worst experience along the way?
Falling out with my first business partner and having to re-brand the company as a result of it.

Any tips for expectant mums, or mothers who feel that you can’t have a successful career and a happy family life at the same time?
Just be realistic about your goals. You don’t have to achieve everything all at once. To keep a happy balance and stay sane, it’s important to set realistic work goals alongside your life goals. It’s pointless setting a profitability target of ?500k in your 1st year of business if at the end of the year you don’t see your children and your husband decides to leave you for another person!

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