One of the things I wish they taught us at school (alongside the sex education classes) is how to plan for motherhood and maintain a career. No one tells you in your teenage years that the road to motherhood could be fraught with difficulties during your career building or seasoned professional years. With the average age of first-time mums in the UK now being 30 (in the 1970’s it was 26) and the fastest growing group of first-time mothers being the over 40’s, planning for motherhood is a feminist issue.
So, when is the right time to have a baby? If you plan to have your child early on in your career could it stall it? Leave it later in life could you miss the baby boat altogether? Also, with 1 in 7 couples experiencing fertility issues could you find yourself being caught up in the rounds of fertility treatment, hospital appointments and stress that could result in you leaving your job or having to leave your job because your employer and/or work culture is unsupportive? These are real issues that women are grappling with.
Even if you are lucky enough not to experience fertility issues you may decide that you want to be a ‘present parent’ and have a work/life balance or are a seasoned professional who wants to enjoy your long-awaited DC (Darling Child) who may turn out to be your only child.
So, how do you afford more flexibility into your life when your current job or employer does not do flexible working and/or the career you are in is so stressful it is having an impact on your health and fertility?
Well, there is a growing number of women who are deliberately setting up businesses before they have a child so that they have established a flexible working lifestyle before, during and after their baby arrives. Millennials take note. Entrepreneurship could be the answer.
Helen Tewogbade Olukoga is a seasoned professional who is at a stage in her life in which she is thinking about having a baby. She is the founder and owner of the Taiya Soul Music Group A London based creative business, that uses music as a tool for support, empowerment, coaching, mentoring, teaching and communication. Helen set up multiple businesses partly in anticipation of impending motherhood. Find out more about Helen’s Start-Up story here:
Business Feature of the Week: Taiya Soul Music Group
- Tell me about your business?
Taiya Soul Music Group is a business based in London that uses music as a tool for support, empowerment, coaching, mentoring, teaching and communication.
Taiya Soul Music Group provides a variety of services.
1. I am a professional singer and performing artist
2. I am a professional songwriter
3. I offer professional vocal and breathing lessons
4. I am a life coach and mentor
5. I am a business woman and entrepreneur
6. I run a lingerie business - to provide a better narrative on image
All these professional services use music as its core, and creativity as the backbone. The different elements of music and its power to upskill, empower, teach, enable, provides a voice for women who need it most.
2. When and why did you set it up?
I started each part of the group at different stages in life, but I’ve always been involved in music, I started singing at the age of 7, song writing at the age of 10, vocal teaching at the age of 18, mentoring at the age of 28 and the Lingerie shop at the age of 37.
I set the group up because I naturally have a love for music and have always been deeply reflective of it as a tool, and always looked into the possibility of using it further than the remit of singing and entertaining.
The vocal teaching and coaching I do, came out of volunteering my services as a music director in my church at the time, I found that girls and young women would use part of our music teaching time together to ask for advice and coaching for challenges such as self-esteem, confidence, career guidance, education, and so on. I realised there was a need for it and started volunteering my time to do it more and more.
3. Where did you get your business idea from?
The idea to bring all these business services and artistry together came out from a recent conversation I had with Linda, when she asked me what I did, I listed off all the above and more, and on hearing it, it just sounded all over the place. Bringing it into a group makes more sense, gives it a core identity, and connotes the very thing I want to achieve. Community and togetherness. A creative community where we are a group, a collective of hearts and minds at different stages in life, but a place where I can be leaned on, learn from, and learn in the process.
4. How did you set up your business?
I wrote a business plan for each area of the group. I then created a strategy including aims and objectives and included milestones. I registered the name of one of the businesses with Companies House, then opened a business account. In my strategy, I’ve included marketing and promotional strategies, vital contacts, and tribes I can get support and information from, and targets.
5. What problems did you encounter? How did you overcome them?
The first problem, and one that I am having to work through every day is finance. Building the business, while still being able to pay the bills and utility every month is a true challenge. I work as a contractor, this helps pay the bills, and gives me flexibility to plan the business on a weekly basis.
The other challenge is being in a relationship, I’m engaged, and have been with my Finance for almost 8 years and living together for 6 years. This does have its benefits, please don’t get me wrong. The challenge is (when you are an independent person like I am), remembering that your business decisions and plans can impact those closest to you.
I’m used to thinking, planning and finding solutions for myself, so leaning on someone has been a new learning for me. To resolve this, my partner and I have regular ‘couples business’ talks where we update each other (he is also Self-Employed) on the goings on of our businesses and opportunities, and challenges we might need help with, where we are on our targets, and achievements, and if there is any support, we can give each other.
6. What have been the benefits to you in running your own business?
The benefit of running my own business is flexibility, and more and more freedom. In running your own business, you become more time rich. You learn to work with each 24 hours better, and lastly knowing I’m pushing towards my own vision, achieving my own dreams on my terms, nobody else's.
I’m also building a legacy for the future, one that my future kids and current family can be proud of. I’ve always wanted to be an ambassador for success, through my gifts and skills.
From an early age, I knew I was called to support people and enlighten them to the beauty of themselves, so creating the group allows me to use my gifts, passion and mission on a larger scale.
It’s personally empowering knowing that I have the biggest influence in making my life, my reason for being here successful or not.
7. What has been your proudest business achievement so far?
Daring to start a business in the first place. Brazenly thinking I could turn my talents into an income. I never once thought of fear, I just had a sense of duty, a feeling of urgency, it felt like if I didn’t get up and do something, I was missing out on the possibility of something great, and most importantly I would be failing on my mission from God.
8. In hindsight, what one piece of advice do you wish someone gave you when you started out?
Get some business coaching, not just business advice. In my case, it would have helped me make sense of the business a lot sooner. The group would have been born a lot sooner, and the mistakes and second guessing on some of the things I wanted to achieve would have been avoided altogether.
Want to know more?
Taiya Soul Music Group provides a variety of services.
- Professional singing and performing artist
- Professional song writing, and vocal arrangement (studio and live)
- Professional vocal and breathing classes to help develop vocal skills, and tool for managing anxiety, and depression.
- Life coaching and mentoring for women interested in business and personal development
- Online Lingerie shop - O Intimate Lingerie, for women.
All these professional services use music as its core, and creativity as the backbone. The different elements of music and creativity coupled with their power to upskill, empower, teach, enable and provide a voice for women who need it most.
For inquiries please email:
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