My #SummerTimeOut as a Digital Mum.

It’s true what they say — time flies when you’re having fun! I still can’t quite believe it has been five months since I started the Advanced course with Digital Mums.

I stumbled upon Digital Mums purely by chance after being made redundant in December 2014. I had been working in the Digital Out of Home advertising business for over 10 years, a long time. I felt I could do my role as a Digital Content Manager standing on my head. Scheduling content across 1000 digital screens? No problem. Project managing a digital advert campaign? With my eyes closed. The role had see me plan my wedding (it was a LONG engagement!), get married and become pregnant with my first child. I felt settled, comfortable. Then almost a year to the day I returned back to work from maternity leave — wham! Redundancy.

To say it came as a shock was an understatement, and right before Christmas too. Although there is never really a good time to lose your job! Panic set in. What can I do? What about Beatrice? She was used to Mummy working from home. Would we have to put her in full time childcare? How would we afford it? A trillion and one questions flooded my mind.

One day when faithfully updating my LinkedIn profile I happened to stumble across Digital Mums. Reading what they had to say was my ‘hallelujah’ moment. With their advanced course I would be able to retrain as a freelance social media manager. The job description fitted my skill set perfectly. It was almost as if this course had been tailor made for me. What really swung it was the fact that during my training I would work alongside a real business. Putting the theory into practice and running their social media channels. No better way to learn really.

A phone call with one of Digital Mums’ co-founders Kathryn Tyler sealed the deal. I applied for the course and found myself signed up to the Digital Mums March cohort.

The training is broken down into: lessons, assignments, peer group support sessions and interactive sessions with your business. All of the learning is done online and can be completed at your own pace. During the training you learn all the elements you need to become a freelance social media manager. From user personas and tone of voice to creating a campaign and developing a content strategy. It’s all there.

From the start of the course you are given a peer group. I’m not quite sure what the special Digital Mums recipe is for creating a peer group but they definitely got mine spot on. We were named after the amazing Michelle Obama and quickly nicknamed ourselves ‘the Obamabelles’. Although we have only known each other a matter of months, to me my fellow Obamabelles feel like old friends. We all get on so well and the support for each other (on and off the course) has been absolutely phenomenal!

What I loved about having a peer group is that even though you study independently you know that you always have someone there to chat about a lesson or assignment. We swiftly created a What’s App group where we have been known to debate intellectual topics such as 90's boy bands and potty training alongside metrics and social media analytics. The peer critique I received from my group was so helpful in designing my campaign and content strategy. Obamabelles — I couldn’t have done it without you all.

Since March I have been working with Anna Cameron at Babysitters of Kensington & Chelsea. I have to say that working with Anna has been an absolute pleasure. From our first telephone meeting (which we have weekly as part of the advanced course) it was clear we were going to work well together. Throughout my training I have received Anna’s full support and encouragement. Running our #SummerTimeOut campaign was a lot of fun. I have met and engaged with so many incredible people via Twitter and Facebook. It’s been an absolute joy and although I often found myself functioning on 4 hours of sleep on occasion from having a toddler and studying. I loved every second of it.

Working with Anna made me feel so valued again and I can honestly say that I felt like one of the team.

As the course comes to an end, I can feel my ‘media mama mojo’ returning. I am so much more confident about launching myself in the big wide world of work as a freelance social media professional. I am very excited about the future of flexible working and the opportunities it will bring to me and my family.

I am so grateful to Digital Mums for providing me with the tools to get my confidence back, but of course I couldn’t have done this without my business. So a huge thanks to Anna and the team at Babysitters of Kensington & Chelsea for all their support and for believing in me. If I ever need a babysitter next time I stay in South West London I know who’s number will be on speed dial…

www.digitalmums.com / www.bokac.co.uk