Social Media and content consultant Verity Hurd tells us what the key drivers were for leaving her dream corporate job to set up her own business, live the multi hyphen lifestyle and why she now feels she is cheating in life!
After university I quickly fell into fashion retail and started to make my progression into management. It wasn’t my original plan, I wanted to be a education officer for a professional dance company. I graduated from uni with a contemporary dance degree and was determined to change the way schools and education saw dance in the curriculum! That is just another reminder for me how plans can change dramatically and how other things can evolve so naturally.
My fashion retail career changed when I decided to work for my CIPD in Learning and Development. I trained and paid for this course while I worked full time as a store manager. I knew things had progressed, I was falling out of love of being on the shop floor and was more interested and passionate about helping my team develop. Being in Learning and Development seemed like a no brainer.
To cut a long story short, I landed what I considered to be my dream role then. I was working for one of the UK’s biggest fashion department stores as a Learning and Development advisor creating product knowledge and styling content training. I had hit jack pot. I was creating content on a subject I loved, I was developing people, I loved getting up for work, the people I worked with, the work was exciting and I felt fulfilled. I won industry awards within the first 12 months and I was making incredible progress.
I fell pregnant in 2016. It was unexpected and came as a bit of a shock. Despite all the other emotions that came with a surprise pregnancy, I never once felt this was the end of my career. I knew things would change, but in my mind I would return to work and carry on up the corporate ladder in some way.
While on maternity leave, I decided that I wanted to do something that kept my mind active, gave me some personal development and I could learn some new skills. Okay, so any mothers reading this will be thinking how naive! As if having a new born baby isn’t hard enough, and you are right it was naive. I struggled, I struggled really fucking hard with early motherhood. I was depressed and lonely. I found this new lifestyle monotonous. I needed something for me. Motherhood was taking everything from me. I felt selfish and like I wasn’t being a good mum, hell, I still have those days where I feel that way, but it was important that I found something to keep my brain active in a different way to Motherhood.
I started a 6 month, vocational social media management course with Digital Mums. Looking back I had no game plan for this, I just liked Social Media. I was just using it more and more and thought it would be good to have more understanding of it.
It wasn’t until I noticed my Instagram feed had started to become filled with ‘insta mums’, influencer mums but also mums that were making a living from their businesses, their skills and their passions that I started to see a new way of working. I was already following Sarah and the No Bull Business School from doing the blog school the year before. I took part in the Insta School and started to pay more attention to Sarah’s content and my eyes opened a little bit more. Again, looking back on Sarah and how she drives people to fulfil their business goals, she has been a key inspiration for my future decision making!
Returning to work after maternity was exciting and nerve wracking at the same time. Part of me was thrilled to be back into this routine, but another part of me felt I had lost some brain cells along the way. However, I did feel I was nailing the work life balance with working part time and being there for my son. Well for the first 2 months anyway.
So what changed? What made me give up this lifestyle, the steady income, the friends at work, the creative output I had from working there?
There were 3 key distinct drivers that drove me to say goodbye:
- Lack of freedom– I will be honest, things were unstable when I returned and my role was made redundant. However, I could have taken another role within the same team, doing some similar things as well as learning some new skills. Which at first was the option I took, but the same day I withdrew my decision and took redundancy. Something triggered inside me, I suddenly got annoyed with the lack of freedom I had. I was actually fuming for a while that the role I had worked so hard for, won awards for, saved the company thousands of pounds through the way I had changed things was now ‘ceased to exist’. I felt pigeoned holed and it didn’t matter what I was good at anymore. I was just another number and as long as i fitted in and kept quiet with what they wanted, my years of experience and hard work didn’t matter anymore. I vowed to never be in a position where I had no freedom to choose over what I did and how I did it again.
- Lack of opportunity– As much as you can progress through the corporate ladder, its a hard slog. Again, you are controlled by when someone says you can have that pay rise, when you can develop and take on new responsibilities. You are always capped. I was seeing people make a living now through lots of different streams and I realised there was more to me then just a Learning and Development role.
- Ability to have creative control of my future– Like I said at the start, life can change quickly and things can naturally develop. I have ideas all the time, I also know I want to make a living through a few different mediums and working for one company was not enough for that anymore. Right now, I want to make content, I want to write about style, I want to help fashion brands with their social media and digital strategies, I want to make training courses….. I know this will evolve and thats okay because it shows my business is progressing and I have the power to keep adding to my skillset and draw on my experiences to make a living!
You have to trust your gut instincts. I had some friends and family tell me to stay there so we had the steady income and ‘see how it goes’ but I knew my mindset had shifted and I had never felt so empowered to make this big life changing move. I will always have motherhood and the inspirational people out there who were planting the seeds in my head during maternity leave that I could do it, to thank.
Within a month of leaving this company, Sarah advertised her role as Content Executive for the NBBS and I knew I had to get it. It was the perfect start to this new journey I had embarked on. Don’t get me wrong, I am still very new to it and I have long way to go before I can say I have been successful in my new dreams and aspirations. But I have set up my own business combining my loves, passions, skills and knowledge. I have set out who I want to work with, what I charge, and when I work. None of it has been easy, but despite that, I do I feel I am cheating the system, because its my rules and I never thought ‘work’ could be like that. xx
Follow my journey on Instagram here