“For a long time, I fought it”

with Kate Kurdziej founder of Olivier Consultancy

Show notes:

How will I feel about this situation in 5 years time?

I love this question from Kate Kurdziej, founder of Olivier Consultancy. Whether it was deciding to leave a toxic job in the early days of pregnancy, or leaving behind the lifelong dream of moving to France, it guided her to where she is now.

Kate had a difficult birth, and found the transition to motherhood uncomfortable, for a long time, she fought the change in her identity. After some time, and some counselling, Kate was able to reframe her change in priorities but her business was an important part of her ‘self’. And as she and the business have grown, she’s worked out what is right for her, and put in firm foundations to create a working week that suits her family and her priorities.

If you’re thinking about moving abroad, Kate has some great tips for you as someone who has moved country twice.

Listen in for:

  • Quitting her toxic job when Kate was 3 months pregnant to prioritise her and her baby’s health and wellbeing
  • Asking yourself “how will I feel about this situation in 5 years time” as a guiding light
  • Kate’s difficult birth experience, her struggle with early mumhood and Covid, and how important it is to talk about these things, especially as a business owner, when people only ever see one side of you
  • Having a baby completely changes your identity, you can fight it, or reframe it
  • How long it took Kate to feel like “herself” again
  • We always need something that is ‘just for us’ as mums, could be a business, hobbies whatever works for you
  • Rediscovering ourselves as mums and learning about who we are now
  • How your biggest revenue year isn’t always positive; restructuring your business to make it work for you
  • What Kate’s working week looks like, and the time it has taken to build the foundations to make that possible
  • Kate’s move to France to fulfil a lifelong dream, realising that it wasn’t for her and what that meant and her move to Spain
  • Kate’s tips for people wanting to move abroad

Links:

Website
Instagram
LinkedIn

About Kate Kurdziej

Kate Kurdziej, mum of one and founder of Olivier Consultancy. One for our service based business owners today!

Kate is a seasoned business consultant, on a mission to help service providers to build a freedom-fuelled business that truly gives a work-life balance. Built on her belief businesses should be simple and lean, where you can make the most money and take more time off- life is for living after all.

In 2020, at the height of lockdown and with a newborn baby on her hip, Kate took the plunge and founded her own venture, driven by a vision of spending as much time with her family but still earning great money.

She succeeded and in 2021, her journey led her to her lifelong dream of moving across the Channel to the picturesque landscapes of south-west France with her family.

Continuing to build a fantastic business (of course no business is without its challenges and hers was mixed with learnings of tricky clients, money worries and being the sole income earner for the family!)

After 30 years of dreaming of moving to France, Kate realised it wasn’t for her and so changed everything again and discovered their new home in Spain.

Kate’s journey from the corridors of corporate power to the frontiers of entrepreneurship will inspire many on this podcast.

Kate Kurdziej’s Links:

Website
Instagram
LinkedIn

Transcript:

Intro

Hello. I’m Caroline Marshall, and welcome to Bump to Business Owner the podcast speaking to mums in business. You. I’ll be in conversation with some of the most inspiring women and mothers in enterprise about their journey, how they created their successful businesses alongside raising their children and what that looks like in work and family life.

Caroline (00:00:05):
Hello, I’m Caroline Marshall and welcome to Bump to Business Owner, the podcast speaking to moms in business. You. I’ll be in conversation with some of the most inspiring women and mothers in enterprise about their journey, how they created their successful businesses alongside raising their children and what that looks like in work and family life.

(00:00:28):
Hello and welcome to Bump to Business Owner. I’m your host, Caroline Marshall, and today I’m welcoming Kate Kurdziej, mum of one and founder of Olivier Consultancy, one for our service-based business owners. Today Kate is a seasoned business consultant on a mission to help service providers to build a freedom fueled business that truly gives a work-life balance built on her belief. Businesses should be simple and lean where you can make the most money and take more time. Off life is for living after all in 2020 at the height of lockdown and with a newborn baby on her hip, Kate took the plunge and founded her own venture, driven by a vision of spending as much time with her family, but still earning great money. She succeeded. And in 2021, her journey led her to her lifelong dream of moving across the channel to picturesque landscapes of southwest France with her family continuing to build a fantastic business. Of course, no businesses without its challenges and hers was mixed with learnings of tricky clients, money worries, and being the sole income earner for the family. After 30 years of dreaming of moving to France, Kate realised it wasn’t for her, and so changed everything again and discovered their new home in Spain. Kate’s journey from the corridors of corporate power to the frontiers of entrepreneurship will inspire many on this podcast. I have no doubt, especially my VA colleagues because we all know you in the industry. Kate.

Kate (00:01:49):
(laughs)

Caroline (00:01:49):
So excited to have you on Kate. Tell us a bit of what were you doing pre entrepreneurship and what made you make this change? Tell us a bit about that path.

Kate (00:01:58):
Yes, sure. So pre entrepreneurship, so as you said, I started when my son was five months old, so sort of rewinding before that when I was three months pregnant, I was working as a practise manager in a wealth management company in Yorkshire. A very good prestigious one, but it was very, I’m going to use the word toxic. It wasn’t the right place for me, the sort of setup of it in so many different ways. I could deal with it as one person, but when I found out I was pregnant, that was my sort of catalyst to think, I don’t want to grow. This isn’t a place to grow a baby. This is really stressful, really toxic, and that was my catalyst to quit in sort of a ball of fire. It wasn’t very graceful, but it was really stressful.

Caroline (00:02:49):
How long had you been there for?

Kate (00:02:51):
I hadn’t been there very long, probably, I don’t know, 6, 7, 8 months, something like that. It wasn’t a particularly long time and before that I was living, so that was in New Yorkshire and I’d actually moved to take that job with my husband moved to Yorkshire. We were living up in Durham in the northeast, and I was business manager for a medicolegal case management company. So I was managing this sort of the chargeable time and all of the back office for the growing case managers who were their end users were people with catastrophic injuries like brain injuries, we’re working alongside lawyers help for heroes. There were a lot of army people that have been injured in warfare and things like that. So it was a very interesting role. And interestingly, I took the job in Yorkshire because I wanted to be nearer to family. My husband’s from Stoke on Trent.

(00:03:43):
I’m from sort all over, but we had sort of family along that Midlands belt, so we wanted to move down because we wanted to see people more realising as we were getting a little bit older, we’d done our travelling, we were sort of like, oh, I just want to see people just for a barbecue at the weekend and things. And it’s really hard when it takes so long to visit us. People can’t come that often. So we’re like, well move down. And I took it thinking, oh, it’s this brilliant job in this wealth management practise. And on paper it was brilliant. It was so much more money as well, and I was like, this is the perfect job. This is what I’ve been waiting for. Literally the first day I was like, this is a terrible mistake. This isn’t the place for me. The job on paper, brilliant, the actual sort of environment that I was working in, this wasn’t the right place for me, but it’s kind of too late.

(00:04:31):
By then I’d moved, my husband had had to quit his job as well, and he was trying to find somewhere and he hadn’t found somewhere to work yet, so I was like, I’m going to have to stay here because we are not in a position, we are in a rental and we weren’t in a position to do it. And it’s funny now when clients come to me with, I was talking to someone today on Slack that I’m helping and she was like, got this client and I’m really worried about this and I’m going effectively lose a huge chunk of my revenue each month if I do X, Y, and Z. And I think people think that you don’t know what that feels like sometimes, and I’m like, oh, I know what that feels like. That is a horrible, what’s the word dilemma to be faced with of just like, do I do what’s right or do I do what I have to do for money? And that’s a really interesting conundrum and it comes up quite a lot with the client boundary training that I do with people because it’s so deeply entwined in our beings of wanting to please or not wanting to be seen a certain way or what will happen if I quit my job. All of these things,

Caroline (00:05:34):
People will be like, what are you doing now? It’s like that whole thing of what others will say rather than doing what’s right. As well as that fear, I always think, me and my colleague always say this, A client does always come around. If you are good, which you are, if you’ve got the big client in the first place, there’s something else that will come back and you are more open to it. You said something about it was like a ball of fire quitting at three months old when you’re three months pregnant. Sorry, what happened? I

Kate (00:06:04):
Can tell you the details if you want. I vividly remember being in the car park on the phone to HR crying at three months pregnant. And I think there were probably a lot of hormones going on at the same time, but it was just like every day was getting worse and worse and worse, and I just felt like there was no way out at that point. Now luckily at that point my husband had found a job and so that was my window of opportunity and I remember being on the phone to HR and given the setup of the company, I won’t go into detail because it might identify, but they couldn’t really help me at that point. So I was just left on my own just like I either go back in and I deal with it and do another six months pregnant, even though the person that was working for said, you cannot take a year off.

(00:06:53):
I can’t cope. And that was my sort of headline of me telling her that I’m pregnant. I was like, okay, this is very interesting. And then I was like, what do I do? So I was just like, I quit. I’m not doing this. I’m not putting myself through this. We all need money. But my husband had found a job then and was bringing some money in and I was like, am I going to look back on this and think, oh, thank God I stayed, or am I going to look back and think, God, that was totally the right thing to leave and I left and it was ultimately the best decision. It was difficult at the time, obviously very emotional and very stressful that I’d quit this big job that we’ve moved for and all of this, but totally the right thing to do.

Caroline (00:07:36):
Now I have such respect for people that do quit their jobs, whether it’s for exciting reasons, as in they proactively want to go and be a freelance or something like that, but people who quit their jobs in positions like yours such respectful because I should have quit my job before I got made redundant, but I was like, oh, I’m just going to have another baby who’s going to hire me. It was literally like, what’s the point in quitting? And you get that in your head and it goes back to that thing of you can quit and something will come up and for you to have such space,

Kate (00:08:07):
Yeah, it always comes good. And I think there is an element of, I was talking to someone about privilege the other day, and if I was not married and I didn’t have any savings, then it would be a very different story. I probably would’ve stayed. But there was that small window of, okay, I don’t need to stay for the money anymore. We’ll have to tighten our belts. But that takes that bit out, and that’s the biggest thing most of the time is you need the money. I think it’s one of those things that you have to think in five years time, how would I feel about this situation? And it can feel terrible at the time, but actually ultimately it will be one that you feel so long as you’ve got, you always have to be able to pay your rent or your mortgage. You always have to put some food on the table. Those things are basics that we have to cover off, but if you’ve got a way to do that without selling your soul, that’s always the option that you should choose.

Caroline (00:08:59):
I love that. It’s the long-term piece you’ve got to think about, and especially when in that position you’re pregnant, that is when you really need to start thinking about it.

Kate (00:09:07):
Yeah, exactly. And I’ve come a long way and the business ownership has certainly been a voyage of self-discovery and personal development, which I think it is for a lot of people, but I wasn’t in the position where I felt like I could speak up at the time or I would do it. I’m a very different person four or five years later than I was back then. I was still felt very young and sort of like, I can’t speak up. And if I’d say it, I’d say it with a shaky voice and I’d cry or something like that. And now if it happened, I’d be like, hang on a minute, you can’t treat me like that. All of this stuff sorted. Whereas I just wasn’t the same person back then.

Caroline (00:09:45):
I do wonder that I was the same. It was I just cry

Kate (00:09:48):
Yeah, and I’m a crier, you probably wouldn’t guess, but I’m a crier.

Caroline (00:09:55):
No, I wouldn’t know that about you at all. I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m a crier.

Kate (00:10:02):
Yeah, my sort of professional demeanour is very professional, but I get emotional about stuff and my instant reaction is to cry. That’s my sort of release, that’s my thing that I do, which is awful at work. If you have to bring something up.

Caroline (00:10:17):
I think it’s a great thing. It’s a great thing to know you’ve got that release, that’s all what up held on from being a crier, but so how did that look like? Did you start thinking, so you didn’t get another job when you were pregnant?

Kate (00:10:31):
So I was three months pregnant and I was like, you know what? We’ve got money coming in. My priority right now is to look after my bump, look after what is going on inside of me and just de-stress. It had been very stressful and I was already worried that I was potentially damaging what was going on inside of me. So I was like, I need to do something proactively. I need to literally just not work, sit on the sofa, go for walks, go for the odd pregnancy massage, just chill the F out to try and undo anything that I might have done for the three months prior. I didn’t know what was going on. You never know how much stress and toxic energy in your body can damage things. So I was like, right, I just need to relax. We’ve got some money coming in, we’ll tighten our belts. Kind of just pushed the problem further down the line, to be honest, because the priority at that point was just for me to not be stressed, and I sort of had a lovely pregnancy. It turned out I should have been under consultant care and I had a bit of a medical emergency at the end that they didn’t pick up, but I didn’t know that at the time. So I had a wonderful pregnancy. I was very relaxed and just sort of taking things day by day and my actual pregnancy was wonderful.

Caroline (00:11:44):
Oh, I love that. I love that. It’s always nice to hear about positive pregnancies. I didn’t like mine. They were fine. I just didn’t like them.

Kate (00:11:53):
Oh, I mean I was very sick. I had awful morning sickness that went into almost month six. I think I was being sick for, it was awful. I lost a lot of weight when I was pregnant as well. That’s

Caroline (00:12:06):
Not good.

Kate (00:12:07):
No, yeah, I wasn’t very well but apart. It was certainly when I got sort of over that and just the fact that I wasn’t being sick at work.

Caroline (00:12:16):
Exactly. It’s so hard being sick and working at the same time. And I think we’ve really undersold these images on TV where it’s like, oh, hilarious. The pregnant woman’s going off to bomb in the toilet. Oh, just the morning. Do you not think that you’re kind of sold?

Kate (00:12:32):
Yeah. Well, for me, morning sickness felt like the worst hangover in the world.

Caroline (00:12:37):
Yes. All day, all day.

Kate (00:12:39):
And then it’s like imagine when you’re hungover how much you don’t want to work. You just want to lie on the sofa and just not move. Imagine then having to sit at a desk and work. It’s like that’s what pregnant women are going through when they’re working and they

Caroline (00:12:50):
Feel sick. Exactly. And then you know, can’t sleep it off. You’ve just got to go to sleep and you’ll wake up feeling the same the next day unlike a hangover. And it really just doesn’t make sense to me how we’re kind of meant to be gung ho about this and you’re like, what are the time of your life? Unless there’s something seriously wrong with you, do you feel like this? And then you’re just expected to get on.

Kate (00:13:11):
Yeah, exactly. When you’re normally that sick, you’d be on sick leave for six months.

Caroline (00:13:16):
There is something wrong with you in this case. There’s nothing wrong with you. It’s normal, but unless you obviously are going down the really serious sickness route where you need to get help. But yeah, I was lucky only it finished at 14 weeks, but they were a tough 14 weeks.

Kate (00:13:33):
Yeah. Yeah. It’s awful. Don’t wish that with anyone. It’s terrible and you do forget it quite quickly, but at the same time, it’s like when you’re in it and you’re hugging the toilet and nothing’s coming up because actually it’s just feeling nauseous. It’s sometimes not even the sick.

Caroline (00:13:50):
That is it.

Kate (00:13:52):
It is awful. And yeah, I just spent a lot of time lying on the sofa just thanking my lucky stars that I quit my job because I was like, I couldn’t feel like this in the environment that I was in that would just finish me off. So it was the best move in hindsight.

Caroline (00:14:08):
And that’s the long term, so it’s like five years later now, isn’t it? And yeah, you’re living the
dream in Spain, which we’ll talk about.

Kate (00:14:16):
Oh yeah, I’m monetizing the experience that I learned when I was working there because we learned these skills as we are employed and sometimes when people start their businesses, they’re like, I don’t have any experience. I’m like, you do. You’ve got all of your skills from your salaried roles. It was just a slightly different payment situation.

Caroline (00:14:35):
It’s the same. Yes. And different clients and yeah, I think that’s it. You’ve really got to think about what have you done at work? Can you do that freelance? Yes.

Kate (00:14:43):
Yeah, exactly. If you’re going into the same kind of role, you are well experienced in it. So yeah, so definitely looking at it now, thinking it was an awful time. I made the right decision. It turned out for the best. Luckily it could have probably gone a different way, but it didn’t. And then I had a difficult birthing experience, shall we say. Yeah.

Caroline (00:15:06):
And so was it lockdown? So what was that? What was your birth experience?

Kate (00:15:11):
Terrifying. So it was eight months-ish. I remember. Do you remember in lockdown Italy? There was China and then Italy that it was like, and Italy was like, whoa, really bad then really struggling with it. And I think that must’ve been like February time. Ollie was born in April. He wasn’t due until end of April, beginning of May, something like that. So he was born early and yeah, so UK went into lockdown in March and two weeks later my waters broke early. Oh my gosh. And I think it was only about three weeks early, so he wasn’t like crazy, crazy early. And he turned out when he was born to be seven pounds something. He was normal size and everything like that, but his water’s broke and it was terrifying. I remember my dad, he messaged me, I think it was Facebook messenger and he was like, because he watches Sky News, he’s one of these old guys that watches Sky News on 24 7 in his house.

(00:16:14):
And he was like the covid situation’s getting worse or coronavirus as it was at the time. Coronavirus is getting worse. Have you got enough nappies and formula and stuff? And I was like, what the hell? What is going on with this world? And so we started stop piling a little bit. We were like, this is getting serious and serious and this is our first child and we don’t know what is going to happen next. And then the UK went into lockdown and then Ollie’s waters broke and I had a really awful experience just medically for the birth. Ended up with emergency c-section, found out I should have been under consultant care the whole time. I had a really odd, unusual double placenta.

Caroline (00:17:02):
Oh, did they not know you had two placentas?

Kate (00:17:05):
It should have been picked, up double placentas. So the two cords were coming out the placentas into one, but there wasn’t jelly on one of them, which is really dangerous for some reason. Basically I could have died and Ollie could have died and the cord got wrapped around him, so I had to be induced on my own. It was one of those times rather being in lockdown where I was induced on my own with that horrible pessary. They put up you that didn’t work. It never got past one centimetre.

Caroline (00:17:35):
Stressful and early as well, even though your waters are broken.

Kate (00:17:38):
Yeah, I didn’t know what was going on and then his head had only burst the front waters and not the back waters or something like that, so I had to have the hook. They were up me hooking after being induced on my own. It just,

Caroline (00:17:53):
It makes me so sad for you that you couldn’t have your husband there. I’m so sorry.

Kate (00:17:58):
Well, luckily during the birth, I remember them saying to me, the first pessary didn’t work and you have to leave it six or eight hours and then they have to leave it six or eight hours before they put another one in. And it was already late at night at that point and I was on my own and I was like, look, just level with me realistically, if the first pessary didn’t work, is it likely that a second pessary is going to work or should we just get this thing over with and do something else? I put me on the drip basically to induce me and they were like, oh, we can’t say we can try. And I was like, I’m just going to take the decision for you. I remember phoning down and being like, I’m not doing another six hours of just waiting another six hour pessary to probably have a 50/50 chance of it maybe working. I was like, I’m just going to go on the drip.

Caroline (00:18:41):
Good for you. You used your voice kind of thing because I don’t think I would, I didn’t in a lot of circumstances prenatally, and I love to hear women who are like, I’m going to make this decision.

Kate (00:18:52):
Yeah, I think it’s really important to understand. There was a lot of misunderstandings after the birth that in hindsight I’m like, if I understood this more, I think I would’ve been much less. I’ll tell you about what happened. But yeah, basically it was Barnsley hospital in lockdown and they were like, if we go on the drip, you can go through to the birthing suite and your partner can come in. I was like, okay, let’s just fucking do this. Let’s just go over and go on the drip. So I went on the drip. I had a 17 minute long contraction because it just, the drip makes really, really strong contractions and I was just frying out in pain. So I ended up, I wanted a lovely water birth. Caroline, as everybody does pain-free water, painkiller, free water birth as much as possible, let’s just do it naturally, let it go. I ended up with emergency C-section after being on an epidural because the drip was so bad. Luckily when the cord did start going around Ollie’s neck, I’d already had the epidural because of the pain from the drip, so I could go straight into the surgery within, I think I was within about 11 minutes, I was just straight down there being cut open.

(00:20:05):
It was an odd time. And then, yeah, it was fine afterwards. We were in the birthing suite still and my husband Dan, we had a couple of hours together and I remember them saying, do you want some toast? I said, yes. And they said, much, do you want? I was like, how many slices can I have? I’ll have it all.

Caroline (00:20:23):
Yes, no, because are you allowed to eat?

Kate (00:20:27):
I couldn’t eat beforehand, so it had been like, I think probably about 16 or 18 hours by that point.

Caroline (00:20:35):
That’s crazy to me. When your birthing, you need your energy. I get it. I know.

Kate (00:20:41):
So yeah, we had a couple of hours. So Ollie was trying to nurse on me for the milk to come in. Everything was at that point, normal. I remember a nurse coming through and saying, oh, we took a picture of your placenta and put it in the nursing Facebook group. It’s a double placenta and it’s very unusual. So I’ve got that photo now and I was like, oh, okay. Didn’t really understand at the time that this was not a good thing for, this kind of was the start of all the problems. Anyway, two hours later they were like, we need to kick you out the birthing suite, and I’m really sorry, your husband has to go. He has to leave the hospital. So he had to go home. I was wheeled across to postnatal back onto the ward where I was induced and I was still quite out of it. I couldn’t walk because of the epidural and I remember trying to get some sleep and Ollie was in the little plastic crib next to me and I remember this doctor coming in, this male doctor, and he crouched down next to me and he said, and I remember thinking at the time, I still don’t remember the words that he said, but I remember thinking, this isn’t good. A doctor crouching down next to me.

Caroline (00:21:47):
No.

Kate (00:21:48):
Not giving me good news. You’re not just at the end of the bed.

Caroline (00:21:52):
Doctors don’t come around and just say hi.

Kate (00:21:55):
And he said words to the effect of Ollie’s, not very well, we need to take him to the NICU. And I was like, okay, I don’t really understand what’s going on, but it is something along the lines of, obviously I’ve filled in the gaps in hindsight, but he had pathological jaundice, so his blood type and my blood type were completely incompatible on all counts. Which again, it was only picked up after he was born and he needed to go under the blue lights. But they said when they tested him, maybe he was on the line for transfusion because he was born so early. There’s like the line, do they need transfusion or blue lights changes as they get week by week. And obviously he was born a bit early. He was just on that line still and they were like, we’re not going to do the transfusion. We’re going to go put him right straight away under strong bleed. So he looked like he was on a sunbed basically. He was really yellow and lot of babies get yellow, but it’s the physiological jaundice.

Caroline (00:23:00):
There’s different levels of jaundice kind of thing. I remember my friend saying, oh, isn’t she cute? Her little yellow tinge? And her husband who’s a doctor was like, that’s jaundice. But yes, if you think it’s cute, okay, not good. But hers didn’t need to. Yeah, there’s different levels to it. Some babies sadly have to go back in afterwards. I’ve known a couple that have done that, but Oh, bless him. And you on your own.

Kate (00:23:21):
Yeah, he was in the NICU for two weeks, but they wheeled me across to see him and I remember ringing Dan, I was obviously in floods of tears. It was like I hadn’t seen Dan since Dan didn’t know any of this. So I had to tell Dan on the phone, but because it was the nicu, they were allowing mom and dad in, but you had to stay in for the whole day. So I got discharged and then we went back into the nicu. Obviously I was just like post-surgery, a mess.

Caroline (00:23:48):
And those chairs are not comfy in NICU?

Kate (00:23:50):
No, no. They’re not comfy. And you couldn’t leave, if you leave, you couldn’t come back in the same day in during lockdown. So we were doing 16 hour days in the NICU on those chairs leaving to get some sleep, but how much sleep are you getting? And then back in the next day, it was crazy. So that went on for two weeks and then he got discharged, had to go back on the paediatric ward for nicu, was like this lovely little bubble. And then paediatrics in Barley Hospital is like 1960s hellhole paediatrics ward. And I remember taking the lift up to get, because he needed another test after he’d been home for 12 hours. I remember taking him up the lift passing the covid wards, they were all locked off, but the lift had to go past him. It was still so new now you’d look back at it and be like, oh, that would’ve been a bit mad. We’ve lived with it for a few years and we understand it much more. But at the time it was like…

Caroline (00:24:51):
At the time that would’ve been apocalyptic.

Kate (00:24:54):
Terrifying. It really was. And we went to the paediatric ward and luckily he was okay after a couple of tests. So we got discharged and that was it. Then that was a full, I think it was 15 days worth of NICU and paediatrics and then went home. It was still a little bit yellow, but it was fine at that point. And then it was normal life after that. Well, lockdown normal life.

Caroline (00:25:16):
Yeah, all you’ve known as a mother, that’s the thing. You say normal life, but that as a new mother, that’s all kind of thing. I think that’s the reality of it. And I think it’s really important to tell these stories because like you said, we look at the minute, I think we’re still in a stage of bit of processing what’s happened the past few years. And I can see that more with people who’ve not gone through things like this. So had to do the work more intensely when you’ve gone through NICU or loss during covid. But I think it’s really important to share at that point, we didn’t know how terrifying this was and you had to go take your baby past these wards that were locked down. That would’ve been terrifying.

Kate (00:25:54):
It really was. And I don’t think I’ve processed it myself because when I talk about it, I do get really emotional and sorry. No, it’s fine. I think it is important to talk about these things and especially when you’re running a business, it’s like people see one side of you and actually there’s a lot more going on certainly with mothers behind the scenes as well.

Caroline (00:26:23):
I think that’s perfectly said is that especially with mothers, and that is the difference as the ones who birth the babies who then you had to be on your own and you had to get that news on your own. And obviously your husband very validly went through something as well. But I think it’s always important that while we are trying to also have this success in our careers, we’ve also got to do a lot of work on ourselves because of the stuff we’ve gone through.

Kate (00:26:53):
And it’s that when you’re a business owner, you have to be very visible and you have to show up and be very confident even though you might be processing. And it is not just necessarily motherhood stuff, there might be other stuff going on in your life, but it’s like when you are responsible for generating income in your family, I’m the sole earner in my family now. And it’s like there has to be some sort of, I think compartmentalization of what happened even though it needs dealing with, because if you kind of let it take over your life, you wouldn’t be able to run your business anymore. So it’s really difficult and I think it’s really important to talk about this. And I think it’s funny because when I was not a mother and I was like, oh, the baby will fit into my life. And I had all these sort of idealistic things of, I remember working in Durham and there was a mom that was in the office and she worked next to me on the desk and she was always, she would clock out on time and just all of these things. And then I ask her what she did at the weekend, it would always be about her kids. And I was in my late twenties at that point and I didn’t get it.

(00:28:07):
I’d be like, I just don’t get it. And now I’m like, oh, I get it. She was totally earning money because she’s got her actual life going on outside of this office.

Caroline (00:28:18):
That ultimately is more important. Always

Kate (00:28:21):
100%

Caroline (00:28:23):
And on that, talking about showing up, how have you shown up when it’s felt hard over the past few years? Have you just avoided it or how have you?

Kate (00:28:33):
I think in the early days I avoided it. I mean I started when Ollie was five months, so I was still very much like I was having phone counselling every week. I thought I might have postnatal depression. I think it was just new motherhood and lockdown.

Caroline (00:28:50):
Well, you had no one to turn to going. No, no one to like this

Kate (00:28:54):
And no sleep. The sleep deprivation. I always say to people, sleep deprivation, I can’t even put it into words. That is a killer. So you put onto that. Any other things and responsibilities that you need to do? How is a new mother supposed to fathers, they’re getting up in the night as well. If you’re married to a good one, they’re helping out as well. It is crazy. The sleep deprivation and what that does to your brain,

Caroline (00:29:22):
Let’s just say it here again, it’s a form of torture, sleep deprivation.

Kate (00:29:26):
This is exactly what I say. Caroline always end this conversation with saying, no wonder they use it as torture technique.

Caroline (00:29:33):
And just because you love your child doesn’t make the physiological side better, but

Kate (00:29:40):
Who dares wins? Do you watch it? They go in with their headphones on and one of the things is they go through a bit of a training thing at the end and it’s a little bit like torture techniques. They deprive them of sleep and they put the headphones on them and play horrible noises. One of the horrible noises is a screaming baby. And it’s like that’s used as a torture technique.

Caroline (00:30:03):
And then I think what’s always clear is especially, I mean me and you have never been in that position of taking a year off, but it’s not just the first months and actually the first months sometimes it doesn’t even happen. It’s after the first months where this sleep deprivation happens.

Kate (00:30:20):
In hindsight, it’s difficult when they’re not sleeping a little bit longer. The night when they go from two hour windows to five hours and they might get a few extra hours in overnight and then you’re like, oh my god. And I think I forget. I think you
Caroline (00:30:33):
Suddenly feel you’re so well rested, you’re like, I’ve had five hours

Kate (00:30:37):
Sleep. But when they’re little babies it’s easier in a way. I remember just Ollie being on me in a sling all the time and it’s like I had two hands free, I could move around. I used to cook stuff I used to do, you could take your baby with you.

Caroline (00:30:51):
I went to the podcast show the other day, there was a baby there and then I thought very different bringing a toddler here.

Kate (00:30:56):
Yes. And then your life is just ruined again as soon as they can walk and you’re like, okay, now I can’t do anything. And then that goes on until they’re about four and it’s just life is different. And I think for a long time, Caroline, I fought it. I felt really, I dunno what the words, I’ve struggled with the words because it’s like you love your children so much, but it was like that I’ve had to give up so much to be able to now just play with you for 10 minutes and keep you happy or cook you some sort of puree and it’s like I don’t get to do anything that I want to anymore. And I fought it for a long time. I felt quite aggrieved by it. And now I’m the opposite. Now I’m like, when can I finish work so I can see Ollie? I’m desperate to spend time with him. And I think that’s just a reframe in my mind what the priority is because the priority isn’t me at that point. When you’ve got a baby, the priority is them. But when it’s always them, especially when you’re not getting anything back from them for months and months and months.

Caroline (00:32:02):
You should have been a priority, I think that’s where, and that’s a societal thing. You should have been a priority in those early times until you are ready not to be a priority I think is the key. And I think what you’ve gone through is so normal and it should be spoken about more of okay, stuff changes when you were pregnant, you were clearly pregnant, you were sick, all of that stuff. But to suddenly then give up, you’re a career woman, Kate, you had your life. And then to suddenly be like, now you’ve got to go and sit down and play for 15 minutes with a child who’s not interested.

Kate (00:32:37):
When you vocalise it like that, it’s like what a terrible mother that she didn’t want to play with her child. And it’s like, it’s not that it’s so much deeper than that. It’s like, but I don’t get to do anything that I want to do anymore. It feels really petulant, but it’s like you have to kind of, your whole identity shifts whether you are ready for it or not. And I don’t think I was quite ready for it. I certainly wasn’t the kind of woman that was desperate to have a baby. It is some people’s dream is like, oh, I want this big family and I can’t wait to be a mom. I was the opposite. I was like, fine, I’d like to have a baby. That’s sort of part of what I wanted, but I don’t think I really thought in much depth about how it changes and I don’t think you really know until it happens anyway.

(00:33:23):
And I did used to wonder why mums put pictures of their children as their Facebook profiles and it’s like you lose yourself and they become your whole world, which they are. It’s not that I’m saying that they’re not, but it’s like at some point, where does the mum go? Where does the woman go? And I think that’s really, it’s an interesting journey to plot because I only feel now after four years, I probably started feeling it after three years, aren’t they? That I’m starting to feel myself again, that I’ve got a little bit of time. And part of it is time, part of it is sleep, part of it is childcare.

Caroline (00:34:03):
And it’s hormones. We’re starting to learn this, your hormones as well. And so do you think part of you wanting to have you again was key for Olivier Consultancy being built up?

Kate (00:34:15):
I think so. I think you always need something that is you and not just all about the kids. I think you need something that is for you. And even though I’m building this business for the greater good of my family, it’s mine and it’s for me and I love doing it. And I make the choice sometimes to spend more time with Ollie or work and I get to make that choice. And most of the time I spend more time with Ollie, but I’m much better, I’m much more at peace with the decision now of no, I still get to do the things that I want to do and I’m starting to have hobbies now and work on the business and it’s just feels very, this year feels very different. And Ollie just turned four, so I think for me that’s been a bit of a milestone. His fourth birthday.

Caroline (00:35:06):
Yeah, I think I can relate to that. I think four is a huge milestone of getting out these baby years. And when people say it doesn’t get easier, I’m really sorry. But I think if you can start to feel like you again, you can manage everything the child throws at you.

Kate (00:35:22):
And the challenges come with tantrums and oh no, now they can talk and ask you why.

Caroline (00:35:30):
That’s right.

Kate (00:35:31):
But actually being able to interact with this person that you’ve raised that wasn’t able to Ollie’s had speech and language difficulties. So it’s only much more recently that we’ve been able to fully have a conversation with him. So it’s like that probably plays into it as well of like, oh, I feel like there’s kind of an end product to this now it’s, it kind of feels really different to how it did a year or so ago. And I think we need to embrace as moms embrace being okay with taking time for ourselves and not just going supermarket shopping and all those cliche things where we’re like, yeah, just taking a shower isn’t time for ourselves. Actually having chunks of time where we’re like, what do we want to do? What is it that we like now? Because my interests have changed as well. I don’t even remember what I like sometimes because I’m always doing Ollie’s stuff and choosing stuff for Ollie and it’s like I go clothes shopping and I don’t buy anything for myself. I just buy Ollie’s stuff and it’s like, what do I want? What do I want to wear? What do I want to look like? And all of these things that I haven’t asked myself in years now, Caroline, that are just starting to come back.

Caroline (00:36:42):
And it’s so important for him to see that in his mum, to know who she is so that he can be comfortable with who he is. And I really believe that. And so Kate, so when did the dream for France come along? You had this traumatic, traumatic birth, which thank you for sharing. It’s just a really important I feel, and then traumatic lockdown with a baby. You start to live your consultancy. I don’t blame you going through all of this that France came along. So how did it come along?

Kate (00:37:13):
Well, to be fair, France had been on the cards forever, even since I was a little girl. I always went on holiday to France and I always wanted to move to France. That was the dream. And then I met my husband when I was working in France. We were both working, we were doing a ski season in the French Alps and we ended up going to South Korea and working somewhere else. But it was always the dream to when we sort of settled down to come back and have a family in France, that was our dream. We both speak French and that was just kind of where we always knew we’d end up. We got married in France six years ago and that was just always the plan. It was like I didn’t want to stay in the uk. I didn’t want to stay travelling my whole life.

(00:37:55):
So France just felt like home. And we tried to do it just before Brexit, wonderful Brexit, and it just didn’t work out tax wise with my husband’s job and things like that because of Brexit and all of these rules changes and with sort of employment and things like that won’t bore you with it. It’s incredibly boring, but it was to do with tax and it just didn’t quite work out. And I was going to start my own business at that point. Something in operations administration, something along those lines and that all just sort of fell through and then got pregnant and that was the bit that I told you at the beginning of moving to Yorkshire and things like that. And then during lockdown was hard, hard all of 2020. My husband lost one of his best friends as well during lockdown and had a bit of a lockdown funeral for him.

(00:38:43):
So there was some quite big tumultuous changes going on in our lives at that point. And we sort of, Ollie was, Ollie turned a year in April, 2021 and we were both like, is this life, this is the time that we can make a change. My business was growing, it had been active for six months and it was gaining traction and growing. My husband’s job could be done remotely. He was quite remote for most of lockdown, which actually talking about privilege and things like that before that helped because he was present in the house quite a lot during lockdown. So he went from two weeks, which would’ve been his paternity leave into six months of being around. Most time he was working. But if I needed to go and do something or go on a zoom call, somebody was there to take the baby. Not all the time, but there was an extra pair of hands. So yeah, we just sort of looked at each other Caroline one day and were like, should we just do it? Screw Brexit, it’s not easy anymore. Let’s just start with visa paperwork. And yeah, I handed the whole entrepreneur visa paperwork for both of us, got Ollie’s visa sorted and we moved in September, 2021. So it took about four or five months to go through that process.

Caroline (00:40:00):
And still kind of covid era a bit.

Kate (00:40:02):
Yeah, it was still Covid. Yeah, we sold our house. We were having to have house viewings during all masked up and having to leave the house and things like that. But yeah, we just sort of, again talking about long-term view, Ollie was approaching 18 months and we were like, if we’re going to do it, we need to do it now. When Ollie’s Young doesn’t have friends, hasn’t started school, he was just doing a couple of mornings a week at a very low full nursery and yeah, did it. And it was great. When we first, it was the dream when we first got there, it was like, wow, I can’t believe we’ve done this. But actually in hindsight, Caroline, the dream was moving to France, didn’t really put much thought into what is our life going to look like when we get to France?

Caroline (00:40:43):
That’s a really good point to highlight for people who have dreams of moving abroad. I have something I’m going to talk to my husband about who often turns around and tells me he wants to move abroad. It’s their life.

Kate (00:40:55):
Yeah, what is your life? I would say that’s the biggest question is what is your life going to look like when you’ve done the move? How are you going to make friends? How are you going to socialise? What’s the childcare? So we got there, we ended up moving quite rurally, no childcare places. So we had a year of no childcare after moving to France, which was totally unexpected. And in hindsight I probably could have planned that a bit better, but I would just sort of was under the assumption that there’d be a, there’s local nannies, there’s crash. I just didn’t think much of it and find out the hard way that isn’t the case and things get booked up when the child’s six weeks.

Caroline (00:41:33):
Well I feel like that’s just early mumhood, not even the fact of moving abroad that you just not even think about that stuff.

Kate (00:41:39):
Well there was so much other paperwork to move abroad that it was like childcare was like, we’ll sort that out another time and it didn’t work out. So yeah, we had a whole year of me working in the morning down working in the afternoon and just split childcare, very lonely, very isolated life.

Caroline (00:41:56):
Ships in the night kind of thing as well with each other. I imagine.

Kate (00:41:59):
Ships in the night getting really narky with each other if one of us wasn’t meant to be working, but a client needed a call at that certain time and things like that and it was like, oh, you’re on my time sort of thing. And then Ollie’s starting to scream in the background or something like that and it was like, yeah, that went on for a while and then we got a crash place in France. So then he went to French crash for five mornings a week and that really reduced the sort of burden. And at that point I was like, my business is getting huge, I need more time. So Dan reduced his work and I went to full time and that was the worst decision I ever made. I never ever wanted to work full time, but I was prioritising the money and the sort of growth of the business without actually being smart about I don’t have to put more hours in to grow and went full time, took on big projects, horrible clients and just sort of generally was like this is not what I signed up for. Had my biggest month in business a few months later. I had Covid at the same time as I had my biggest revenue month in business. And I just look, I remember looking at myself in the mirror and thinking, what have I created? What have I built? Because this is so far from what I ever wanted. And that’s when I started to make the changes that I have done over the last year and sort of get much smarter with how I’m running the business.

Caroline (00:43:20):
And what were those changes? Was it less clients, more, what did you decide to do to pivot that?

Kate (00:43:27):
Putting a lid on project work. Project work. It’s so hard to keep clients within their deliverables. No scope creep. You don’t quite know how a client is when I was doing quite a lot of tech and process setup as well and I just struggle with it slightly going off on a tangent, it’s like if someone’s coming you for a full done for you tech setup, they’re doing it because they don’t have time or they’re not very techie. So when you hand it over to them realistically, what is the expectation there? They don’t have enough time to now learn the full system that you’ve intricately built for them so they won’t be able to use it. And then you’ll find it really hard to shake them off because you finished your deliverables. But it’s sort of keep coming back to I want you to be able to use it or they just can’t use it because you’ve ended up building something which was too brief, but they’re not techy enough to be able to use it.

(00:44:22):
I sort of had this realisation overnight that I was like, I’m not doing done for you stuff anymore. This is because of this people pleasing part of me, which a lot of service struggle with. I feel awful at the end of projects because I know that this is happening. I know that they’re not going to be able to use it or they’re not going to be able to use it properly or I’m going to have to really put up a barrier, which I had to do with one client that kept coming back and back and back and I ended up feeling awful and it was a horrible ending to it, which it didn’t need to be, but she wasn’t taking no for an answer and it was like, who’s the winner here?

(00:44:55):
Dunno who’s getting a good experience out of this? And yeah, overall it was like I’m talking very sort of nuanced parts of this, but it was like overall, is this really what I want to do? So I started thinking done with you when I was still doing the tech side of it. Done with you is a much smarter choice because then the client ends up understanding at a much deeper level.

Caroline (00:45:16):
And they know they’ve got to input that time. It’s that expectation piece, isn’t it? And I thank you for sharing. I think I’m very ingrained obviously in the service provider world and I think sometimes when I talk to people there’s a bit of a dream of projects and getting stuff done and I think that’s a really good reality to share. Thank you.

Kate (00:45:35):
Yeah, if you ever want practical reality, Caroline,

Caroline (00:45:39):
I do know you are very good at that. I love it. We are on the same page with that.

Kate (00:45:45):
I think it it’s just an evolution of business. A lot of service providers start with service provision of done for you work regardless of what that looks like projects, the money’s in the projects multiple four figures, but there is a disadvantage to it as well. And what I’m doing now fits much better with my life, my lifestyle and my family. And I still have a couple of retained clients that are legacy clients that I absolutely love and keeps me at the front line of operations for online businesses. But it means that I can sit much, much more comfortably in my consultancy now because I’m not having to do stuff for people all the time. And it does get tiring after a while, VAs feel it. Any sort of operations, copywriters, you feel it after a while it does get quite exhausting.

Caroline (00:46:35):
And so what does your work week look like now? You did, you are not, now you scale back.

Kate (00:46:41):
No, I work less than 25 hours a week most of the time. Sometimes it’s less. I’ve literally just a few weeks ago sent out a letter to my ongoing clients to say that I’m no longer working. Fridays not available anymore, so it’ll be a four day work week, so that’ll probably drop me to about 20 hours. And then Mondays are very slow. Mondays I check in on a couple of retain things, just sort of checked up things on fire. Generally it’s a bit of a fire check day and just sort of prioritise things. And I don’t need to open my laptop first thing if I don’t want to just sort of check a few things out, try and work on my own business a little bit on a Monday. And then Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday is when my slack availability is for my consultancy clients. So Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday is quite heavily into Slack, but again, I don’t respond as soon when someone pings me. I have a couple of moments in the day that’s scheduled to go in and check stuff and I only do that between nine and two UK just because I want to finish to be able to pick up poll and yeah, Friday is either my business or nothing at all. I’ve just started paddle tennis, which is like,

Caroline (00:47:55):
Yes, one of my team does that paddle tennis. Yeah, it’s a real thing, isn’t it? Especially for expats.

Kate (00:48:00):
It’s a real thing. It’s very Spanish. It’s like the Spanish nationals thing at the moment. But yeah, I’ve just started my first paddle lesson and just sort of Fridays to try and take for me as much as possible.

Caroline (00:48:13):
I love that.

Kate (00:48:14):
And I remember listening to people talk about this kind of work structure when I was new to business. I remember thinking how is that even possible? Unless you’re a coach or something, how is that even possible? And it’s like it is possible but it’s not. I’m very realistic with my clients like this isn’t an overnight win that you get. This is about sustainably structuring your business to allow you to drop your chargeable time by doing other services or different services or bringing in a chargeable team. Now I’ve never had a chargeable team underneath me. That’s not the way my business has ever been structured. It could be, but it’s what I help other people do. But it’s more the services and how I’m using my knowledge to help people with more of a done with use side of things because then I drop all of those hours that I’ve done for you, but I still keep the revenue high because you’re still accessing the knowledge and I’m still there supporting you just in a slightly different way.
Caroline (00:49:12):
I love that and thank you for sharing that. And it’s a case of putting in the work to get there I think is a really key piece of that. And it’s a mix of time, but being strict on yourself, I think it’s discipline, isn’t it? And it’s discipline in a different way.

Kate (00:49:27):
Discipline and consistency is probably, yeah, and I don’t mean consistently showing up on social media, that’s where you hear the word consistency, but consistency with your own work week. And I’m over three and a half years in business pushing towards four years in business now and it’s like this is only relatively new for me, this sort of more relaxed work structure since the beginning of this year. So that’s three years. It’s taken me to leverage what I’ve got. Every opportunity got my first paid speaking role at the end of this year and it’s like finally I’m getting there. But you have to build that platform to start off with. It’s not an overnight success. All of these sales coaches tell us or make it seem that you can just tweak your messaging and suddenly have a flood of inquiries. It doesn’t white work like that. There’s other work that needs to go into your business. A lot of it is mindset. And that’s something that I rejected for a long time as well. And I realised, okay, maybe if I’d worked on that sooner, I might have even got there quicker. But that’s come as well as the business evolves and you have to make more difficult decisions and really stand up as a leader. And when you really start feeling comfortable with that or more comfortable, you get much more momentum in your business. That’s certainly what I’ve experienced.

Caroline (00:50:44):
I love that. You’ve definitely inspired me. It’s all set and it’s that true. It’s not like just because you say you’re now charging 50 pounds and doing this, you’re not just going to get the clients. I think that’s what people think is like, oh well they’re doing that. It’s because it shows online they’re doing that and that’s not how it works. That is a step.

Kate (00:51:02):
Yeah, one of the many steps that I’ve been helping quite a few people over the years, just quietly mentoring behind the scenes VA to OBM, that is a lot of the sort of mentoring side of it. So the consultancy is more for the HR and finance professionals, but the mentoring I, the mentoring comes in there as well, but a lot of it is VA to OBM stuff behind the scenes. And they’re like, I want to be an OBM. I’m like, do you realise this is probably a six to 12 month journey? This isn’t just, and I said to someone, I’m running a Slack bonus week at the minute for some of my membership members. And a question that came up straight away was, I want to transition from VA to OBM. And I said, okay, great. Why is it the increased hourly rate? Is it the fact that you can earn 75 plus an hour? Why do you want to be an OBM? Because it is a very different role to a VA. Very, very different.

Caroline (00:51:55):
And I think he is because there’ll be people who don’t know difference, but the key is the clients as well, who are your clients? Because an OBM is a very online world term and job role. So I think that’s always something to bring awareness to is who are your clients and are they the clients you want to work with as well? Yes. Yeah.

Kate (00:52:15):
OBM online business management is very demanding. If you think that you are being responsive as a VA and in demand as a VA, you’ve got no chance of being an OBM because you are managing someone’s business. Imagine your business now giving it to someone else. That’s the level of responsibility that you’ve got for somebody’s business of knowing all of these things. And you have to step into a totally different version of yourself when you’re transitioning from VA to OBM because you’re no longer going to be delegated tasks to, you are the one responsible for understanding and delegating the tasks and keeping up with absolutely everything that’s going on in the business. So physically and mentally, it’s very demanding. And you can’t have 10 clients. You have to have a much smaller amount. And this is the mistake that most ubms make. They’re into the money and they take on lots of clients and then they burn out.

(00:53:10):
And I’ve just seen it with somebody now she’s burning out because she’s taking on, she took on too many clients because of the income. And so you have to really, it’s a totally different business structure behind the scenes and that’s why I love helping people with it because I’m like the practical side of it is very different from the VA role. Totally doable if you are up for it. But it’s not just like, oh, I get to double my hourly rate. I think that’s what attracts the majority of that VA to OBM transition. And I’m like, okay, let’s start there and then let’s work deeper of is this actually a good fit for you?

Caroline (00:53:47):
Oh, I know. That’s so helpful. Thank you. Okay, and we’re running out of time, but briefly, so how did you make that change then from France to Spain for anyone who’s might have ever been in this reality on what if I moved there and it’s not for me?

Kate (00:54:02):
Yeah, it took a little bit of soul searching because it’s like a 30 year dream since I was a little girl that I wanted to move to France and now suddenly it’s like I’ve told everyone forever that I’m going to move to France, and now I’m like, me not quite. For me, this isn’t the right fit anymore. And it’s like, again, that thing of, but what will other people think? What

Caroline (00:54:25):
Will other people think? Hard relate. And when I decided to stop being a singer, but I’ve told everyone,

Kate (00:54:32):
Yeah, it’s exactly that. And it’s like, but first of all, it’s that spotlight effect of no one really gives a shit. You are the one thinking about yourself. It’s so

Caroline (00:54:40):
True. No one else is. That’s the thing with social media where people are like, oh, I don’t want to post this. What will people think? I’m like, they’re too busy thinking of themselves. Yeah,

Kate (00:54:48):
Probably won’t even read it, just post it. So it was that thing. But I’d been in my business for, I don’t know, two and a half, three years at that point. And it was like I come on this personal development journey enough to be really smart about the decision of, but I want something better. I know there’s something better out there. I know there’s a better fit. Luckily, my husband and I are like two bees in the pod. We’re on the same page with it. So he was just like, yeah, we need to make a change. Good,

Caroline (00:55:17):
Good.

Kate (00:55:18):
Are we going to do another long cold, depressing winter in France or are we going to go to the Mediterranean coast? So we were like, let’s do it. And it all happened very quickly because of visas and we wanted Ollie to start school in September in Spain. So we sort of literally just did. It was very stressful. The move was quite stressful. We had to come down quite a few times. We were buying the house as well, and it was two full days in the car there and two full days back to France each time. We did that three times. So it was very intense, but it was intense with an end date because Ollie was starting school in September. So it was like we knew that if we could just get down there, just live out of su, we were living on an inflatable sofa bed because we had no furniture, because we sold our house furnished in England.

(00:56:10):
We were in a rental in France, a furnished rental in France. So we had no furniture when we got here. Ollie had his cot. He was still in a cot at that point. So yeah, we just were like, let’s just, again for the long term of this is where we want to be. Who cares if we have to sleep on an inflatable sofa bed for four weeks? I had my laptop on a tiny little plastic green table sitting on a tile floor doing my work. I didn’t have a desk or a chair. And it was like, that’s just how it needs to be for a little while. And because of this is where we realised that this is where we wanted to be, nothing seemed like a big deal. It was just like, yeah, it’s fine because we want to be in Spain.

Caroline (00:56:47):
Transition phase.

Kate (00:56:49):
And we just knew it was a better lifestyle just for us, for Ollie, for the weather. The weather’s a big thing that really affects mood. So we knew that this was going to be the right mood and luckily it’s all worked out

Caroline (00:57:04):
Okay. It’s been so good to me. It also shows your business evolution over those times along with your evolution since becoming a mother, but also as a family and the logistics of location. I mean, you’ve moved three times.

Kate (00:57:19):
Won’t be moving again. I’m just, I refuse to move again. I will make it work here. And yeah, this is the last time. But yeah, logistics is the right word. And I think if you are thinking of moving abroad, definitely focus on what is your life going to look like when you get there, because that’s ultimately you. That is what you’re moving for. So what is that going to look like?

Caroline (00:57:41):
That’s so logical, but I’ve not even thought of that, but it’s so logical.

Kate (00:57:45):
Yeah, the move is such a big thing. And then you go on what, right? Move Spain and stuff and you’re looking at that and it’s just like, that’s nothing. You could live anywhere. What is your actual life going to look like when you get there? What is the schooling? All of those sort of practical questions that aren’t so sexy to think about. They’re the ones that are going to mean something when the novelty wears off that you’ve just moved to Spain, what you actually going to do on a daily basis there.

Caroline (00:58:13):
That’s so true. And yeah, I say I point that out to my husband all the time. He’s like, think of the swimming pool you could have or the shared pool even, whatever you’ve got. And I’m like, yeah, but that will wear off. It’s about day-to-day life, what you are happy with. And any other tips for people moving abroad with their logistics or want thinking of trying to create this dream life like yours?

Kate (00:58:32):
I think be really realistic about the financial implications. I mean, we’ve spent, it was thousands moving to France and thousands moving to Spain since Brexit. This is not a cheap thing to do anymore. And most of them have minimum income requirements for if you’re moving your business there. So you probably need to start planning 12 months in advance and making changes to your business. I was lucky that I still had a lot of retained work at the time of applying for my Spanish visa. If I applied for it now, I probably wouldn’t get it, even though I’m making more because I haven’t got the certain requirements of working with that client for a certain amount of time. They have to be a UK limited, all of these certain things that I wouldn’t have known about. So I was just right place, right time. So really try and take off the rose tinted glasses of yes, you can sit with a glass of rose by the pool, that will happen, but practically how can you make this the most successful move? And the success comes from the logistical planning of it, and that has to start way in advance. Do the opposite of what I did.

Caroline (00:59:38):
And you’ll be right. It’s like a business as well. The success is in the logistics. Yeah.

Kate (00:59:43):
Yeah, exactly.

Caroline (00:59:44):
You really do practise what you preach, Kate.

Kate (00:59:47):
I do. I do. And you’ll be pleased to know it was all in a clickup list, our whole move and everything like that and what we needed to do and before and after. And there’s so many moving parts and that’s what overwhelms most people when they think about moving abroad. They have this idea of wouldn’t it be lovely to move to Spain? And then the actual overwhelm comes with where do I start? All of these things to learn and do. And it’s like either pay someone to help you or start learning and do it yourself, but that’s going to take probably a good six to 12 months minimum. Don’t underestimate the amount that you need to learn to move.

Caroline (01:00:18):
That’s really realistic as well as the optimism of the glass appraiser by the pool. So Kate, where can people find you?

Kate (01:00:27):
So I hang out on lovely Instagram most of the time. So I am at @olivierconsultancy. I have a website, olivier-consultancy.co.uk, and I’m trying to revive my LinkedIn at the moment. So you can always find me just my profile, Kate Kurdziej on LinkedIn. So more than happy to chat to people, drop into my dms. If you’re listening to this podcast and just say hi, let me know where, let me know that you are listening to this podcast as well. It’s nice to know where people come from.

Caroline (01:00:58):
Well, no, thank you, Kate. Like I said, I’ve been following you for a while. Well also we do chat. I don’t just follow you and to hear other parts of your story is just such a privilege. So thank you so much.

Kate (01:01:11):
You’re so welcome. So lovely to speak to you. Caroline.

Outro

Thank you so much for listening to Bump to Business Owner. I hope you enjoyed the conversation. Please do rate, review, follow or subscribe wherever you’re listening. It really helps us to connect with more mums and business owners. You can DM me at Bump to Business Owner on Instagram and I’ll be back next week.