Sarah Buchanan, 31, is mum to Hermione, four, and Eleanor, two in May. She runs Baby-Birth (www.baby-birth.com) and started the business after her own positive experience of giving birth. With her husband also running his own successful website, just how do they get the balance right?
What work did you do before you set up your company?
My career before having children was working as a PA for a chairman and director of Christie’s Auctioneers, a member of the Goldsmith family, and more recently for a managing director of a maritime security company.
How did you fund the business?
All the funding for Baby-Birth has been personal, with no external investment.
What was the motivating factor for staring your own business?
It was giving birth to my first daughter, in 2008, at home in water using hypnobirthing techniques that made me want to help other women experience birth in its truly empowering and normal state. So, in 2010, I set up a hypnobirthing practice and continue to teach this birth preparation method from my home.
In my capacity as a natural childbirth consultant, community midwives invited me to speak about physiological childbirth at the large local hospital and it was from this experience that the inspiration to develop Baby-Birth came from.
What do you enjoy most about running your own business?
If just one woman read an article on the website that helped to sow a seed of “I can do this”, then this is good enough for me. Educating women about birth is my passion so to be able to develop this platform for me is an exciting opportunity. There is so much work to do to help shift this ingrained mindset that childbirth itself is a frightening and horrible experience. For many women this will be their life’s peak experience and it is very sad to think they are dreading the day their baby triggers the birthing process.
Running a business can be a mixed bag sometimes. What have been you highs and lows so far?
I once met an extraordinary woman who made a lot of money in the tech industry. Over dinner she commented how an entrepreneur will always feel chased, and now I understand this completely. I have an assistant who helps with the website but overnight you become the managing director, the techie, the administrator, the financial controller…it can seem overwhelming at times but thinking long term, I’m hoping all of the work will be worth it.
How have you managed to stay on top of your career with the demands of motherhood while running a business?
Motherhood is the most demanding and emotional ‘job’ I’ve ever done. Never in my professional career did I experience the extraordinary highs and lows that looking after very young children can cause. So when thinking about the demands of balancing family and work, I think a good dose of perspective and the occasional pink gin and tonic helps.
How has running your business impacted on your relationship with your partner and children?
I have two girls who are still young and I do feel guilty when they are in the house and I’m in front of the computer, but sometimes this is unavoidable. My husband is very busy with his work – he runs a website which is fast becoming the online marketplace for antique string instruments – so, together, we are very aware that time spent with our girls really is precious.
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?
You can do it with determination, drive and patience but always give your children the attention they need first. Emails, calls and paperwork can wait until they are sound asleep.