Thank you Sarah for letting me ‘interview’ you for Berkshire Mummies, A Berkshire Mumpreneur series. I have known Sarah for a number of year and have attended her Pregnancy Yoga, Baby Yoga and Well Women’s Yoga before (which I have paid for myself). I highly rate Sarah’s classes, knowledge, support and friendship.
Tell me briefly about your business?
My name is Sarah Bickley and I run Yoga and More. I teach Birthlight Pregnancy and Postnatal yoga classes as well as Baby Yoga and Well Woman Yoga. I feel very privileged as I get to meet women in their pregnancies who often come back for Postnatal or Baby Yoga so I get to be a small part of that amazing journey. I also have a wonderful group of women who have come through my classes and continued doing Well Woman Yoga with me. Many friendships have been formed over the years within the various groups and it is lovely to see these support networks being formed.
Tell me briefly about yourself and your family?
I have been married for over 20 years and have two teenage children, a daughter aged 16 and a son of 13. I have been practising yoga for over 20 years and fell even more in love with it whilst practising at home during my first pregnancy.
When did you set up your own business and why?
I first qualified in Baby Yoga back in 2007 and have built up my offerings since then. Whilst on maternity leave with my daughter I took voluntary redundancy from my office management job. I felt driven to create a business around something I loved that would fit in with the demands of family life. I first started with very small classes from my living room and moved out to a local halls where I now accommodate around 50 women across my weekly classes.
What do you see as the benefits of being self-employed?
Having the flexibility to work around family life and school holidays. If you are lucky enough to find something you feel passionate about, it really doesn’t feel like work. I get to meet so many amazing women from the area and am always bumping into people that have been through my classes over the years.
What are your top tips to other parents considering setting up their own business?
Find something you feel passionate about, put your own personality into it and you will never lose motivation to keep driving it forward.
Don’t be afraid to start small. When I first started I offered a free taster session of baby yoga at a local hall and only two people went on to sign up for the course. I thought about cancelling but decided to go ahead and move it to my lounge. These two ladies became firm friends with each other as did their children and I know that they are still in touch now 13 years later!
Try and have set times for work and home life, it is easy to feel you always have to respond to enquires straight away but if you can separate work and have clear times where you are fully available and engaged for you and your family, this brings about a better balance.
What’s next for your business?
I have recently trained as an independent hypnobirthing practitioner with the amazing Dani Diosi (Mama Serene). This has allowed me to put together a course which incorporates all of background training, alongside this new knowledge. I am really excited to add this as an offering to my pregnant clients. The more I learn the more passionate I feel about pregnancy and birth and beyond and supporting women during this time.
How are you managing to run your business and look after your family during lockdown?
Coronavirus forced me to take my classes online and I was very apprehensive at first as I am not the most technical! However it seems to be working well and I have had positive feedback. I was very lucky that my current clients were adaptable and open to trying it out. As a family we are getting use to working around this and me taking over the lounge a few times a week. Also it turns out that my husband is a great camera man, which has been very helpful. In some ways it is easier as rather than rushing to cook dinner and help with homework before I run out the door in the evening, I am able to plan things earlier as we are all at home.
Finally, what three things are you doing to keep sane during ‘lockdown’?
As a family have been playing lots of card games and have learnt a few new ones. We are now having regular family games evenings which is nice as it means the TV gets switched off.
We are ensuring we get our daily walk and I have created a bit of a circuit that I do each morning to kick start the day with some exercise and I can often persuade my son to join in with me which makes it more fun.
We are using Zoom to connect with the grandparents and like to play games and quiz’s with them, which is always entertaining.