It’s something we’re told never to discuss, but these women are breaking the taboo.
Hula Hoop instructor
‘The business just grew and grew’
Hannah Murphy, 34, is a Hula Hoop instructor. She lives in Fareham with her husband Tom, 36, and their three children, aged 11, eight and three.
‘The first time I ever used a Hula Hoop, as an adult at least, was after my second child was born in September 2011. I was desperate to get rid of my mum tum, so I bought a hoop and, standing in front of the TV, wiggled it around my hips. I don’t know whether it was the endorphins from the exercise or the fact I felt like a kid again, but I had a smile on my face the whole time.
‘I’d been an air stewardess since I left school but wanted a job that fitted around family life, and thought maybe this was it. I trained as a fitness instructor and was soon running a range of classes, from dancing to aerobics. But the most popular was almost always the Hula Hooping. In September 2013, I was asked to teach children at a local school. I loved watching the awe on their faces as I spun the hoop around my wrist, along the back of my neck and over my head – all of them anticipating their own turn with the hoop. It became a regular slot and the business just grew and grew. Now I have around 12 staff members running workshops across the country. I earn around £70k a year, which has allowed me to live in my dream home and send my children to private school. It sounds unbelievable that I’m earning such a good living from a plastic hoop, but with a good idea you can achieve anything.’
‘I had a book deal but It’s tough to get to the top in this industry’
Daisy White, 42, is an author. She lives in West Sussex with her husband and two sons, aged 12 and nine.
‘I’ve always loved writing. After I met my husband, and had our children in 2007 and 2010, I quit my job as cabin crew and started working part time as a 999 call handler, writing whenever I had a spare hour.
‘I initially self-published fantasy novels, selling them online, but I soon realised I’d never make a living that way. Then, two years ago, I started writing The Ruby Baker Mysteries and signed a trilogy with a large crime publisher, Joffe Books. Before I Found You was in the Amazon Kindle top 50 books for five weeks. Spurred on, I quit my job and wrote full time, specialising in psychological thrillers and the genre of ‘cosy mysteries’. I signed a two-book deal with HarperCollins in 2018 and Remember Me and The Forgotten Child were both published this year. But it’s tough to get to the top in this industry, and I only earn around £10,000 a year. I’m a long way off making money like JK Rowling. But I’m doing a job I love and that’s all that matters.’
Daisy’s latest novel, The Forgotten Child (HQ Digital), is out now
‘Working in retail, you might assume I’m on a minimum wage’
Jade Shallow, 28, is an Aldi supermarket manager. She lives in Purley.
‘As a child, I wanted to be a professional football player. But back then, it wasn’t a sport promoted for women. So I turned my sights elsewhere. I studied Business Management at Brighton University and it sparked a new passion.
‘Leaving university in 2013, I had a few different jobs before joining a graduate scheme at McDonald’s. There, I worked my way up to Crew Manager. But when there didn’t seem to be opportunities for further progression, in 2015, I joined Aldi in Ewell as Assistant Store Manager. Within months, I progressed to Store Manager. I was so proud of myself. Aldi is a discount supermarket, but it looks after its colleagues extremely well. Working in retail, you might assume I’m on a minimum wage, but I earn a competitive salary of nearly £46,000 a year, which rises to over £59,000. I think people see supermarket workers as just stocking shelves and working on the tills, which of course is important, but there’s a lot more to it. I love developing people. I believe that when everyone rallies together, you are a stronger team. So I support my team to be as driven and passionate as I am.’
‘I’m hoping it’s only up from here’
Jenna Sinclair, 30, is a positive psychologist and life coach. She lives in Shoreham-on-Sea.
‘After taking a degree in Criminology and Applied Psychology, I wanted to help people. But it was only when I had counselling myself in 2015, for self-esteem issues, that I realised I wanted to make that my career. I went back to university and gained a masters in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology. Then, two years ago, I launched my own business, Living Intentionally.
‘I coach people all over the world, usually via Skype. I help people with low self-esteem, people who are stressed or who just need direction. We look at how they can make positive changes in their life that will impact their future. Mindfulness has helped me have a better relationship with myself, too. I’ve also been working on something quite niche – coaching people while they stand in the sea. It has a positive effect on wellbeing. You go into a profession like mine initially believing you’ll make good money, as it’s such a skilled job, but that definitely hasn’t been the case so far. I only made around £5k last year, but it’s early days and I’m hoping it’s only up from here.’
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