A family focus
What was your life like before you became a Forever Business Owner?
For over 15 years I had worked for the NHS in various capacities. When I decided to register as an FBO, I was working as a Clinical Nurse Specialist at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. I loved it! I was very passionate, cared a lot for my patients, and I was climbing the nursing career ladder. But I was desperate for a family.
My partner, Andy, and I had wanted a family since we met in 2010, but sadly I cannot have children. IVF was our only option, and although our first course was a success, we had a miscarriage at 11-and-a-half weeks. Although this really affected me, I’m not one to give up so we did a second course and our baby was born in April 2013 – our life was perfect!
How and why did you get involved with Forever?
In January 2013, when I was six months pregnant and preparing for maternity leave, my life suddenly changed forever.
My sister, Zoe, became unwell, and on January 22nd she died in hospital. Her sudden death not only changed my life, but the lives of everyone around me: I looked at people differently, our family-dynamic changed, I was re-evaluating life, and I thought I would never cope without Zoe.
Then, on April 10th, Sofia was born. Life had changed dramatically again, and I found dealing with life and death so close together very difficult. Time with my family became the most precious thing to me and I decided that working full-time and putting Sofia in nursery was not going to work for us as a family.
During this time Andy came home with a C9 – he looked after me whilst I was pregnant and this had caused him to look pregnant himself! When I saw the Forever logo, I suddenly remembered Natalie Heeley and that business thing she'd asked me to do for four years. I contacted her via Facebook, we met up, and I got started.
How did you adjust to the business?
Sofia was only three months when I signed up but I was able to fit Forever around her regular feed and nap time. It was difficult in the beginning though as I was too anxious to leave her with anyone. I didn't know anything about the products or business, and when Natalie told me we had to contact people I almost crawled under a rock – I was so shy, had little confidence and could only think of about three people!
But I had a clear vision of where I wanted my life to be; I made changes at home (I stopped watching television and reading trashy celeb magazines) and focused on my business.
What key advice would you give someone who is new to the business?
Ensure you recognise and connect with what motivated you to do the work when you first started. Although part of the work we do can be easy – such as when we visit people at their homes, drink tea and build friendships – there is also an emotional side which can be really hard. You need a strong reason behind your decision to be an FBO so that you can move past those difficult times.
What key challenges have you met along the way?
The biggest challenge is dealing with different human behaviour. I've been verbally abused by people and have had to deal with rudeness a lot throughout my journey. I’ve learnt to remember that not everyone will like or be nice to me. That's just life and I can't control that, but as long as I work to the best of my ability, remain kind, humble and have manners, then at least I can sleep at night. I've learnt to let go of any negativity that surrounds me; my family can help me overcome anything.
How has the bonus income benefitted your family?
Achieving my first Chairman’s Bonus cheque was just incredible, and my income has allowed us to move to a home with a garden for Sofia and our dog, Holly. I've also been able to help my sister, Becky, and my brother, Adam.
My parents are very proud but extremely stubborn, and so far have refused financial help from me. Instead I paid for them to visit Zoe's favourite holiday destination – Skiathos in Greece – and slowly I am secretly paying off their debt.
Money cannot buy back the happiness my family felt before Zoe died, but I’ll do anything I can to make the future less painful for us all. We are so thankful to Forever; it has given us so much and we are really excited about the next five to ten years. I finally feel like I belong somewhere and I want to help other people find the freedom to enjoy their lives too.