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For some, turning into parents sometimes triggers more than just a change in their family life. For some, they take the leap to see if the grass is really greener...

Over the next couple of months, I will be sharing some inspirational real life story of parents who have taken this leap. 

First cab off the rank is yours truly :) I hope you enjoy this look into my personal journey.

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Tell us about yourself

Hi my name is Niña and I’m a wifey, mama and mummypreneur. I run Niña Gadhia Photography and specialise in baby, family and maternity photography.

We are lucky enough to live in the Inner West of Sydney and as a family we enjoy heading out to the local parks and cafes.

My day doesn’t officially start until I have had my first sip of an almond milk flat white. On a cheat day the coffee is accompanied by a toasted banana bread.

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What career did you have pre kids?

I was an accountant before having my son. I worked full time during uni and studied part time. My career started off in the Business Services division in chartered accounting and ended as a Financial Analyst in a commercial role.

In my time as an accountant I held titles such as Chartered Accountant, Financial Controller and Financial Analyst. I used to pick up mail and run errands such as buying donuts for the office when I was a trainee accountant. I worked hard to get where I got to in Finance and I even managed and mentored a team or two during my time.

To many people accounting brings up images of boring suits sitting in front of computers getting excited about debits and credits and excel. I didn’t think it was that bad.

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Did you enjoy what you did?

Yes I did, honestly. For me, the debits and credits weren’t that exciting. Once I got the opportunity to meet clients that’s when it got more interesting for me. When I was a CA I had the opportunity to sit in front of partners of investment banks, working with them through business structuring and tax issues. I loved to hear the story behind the numbers. What did my client do? How did they get there?

When I moved to Commercial I was lucky enough to be mentored by an awesome manager. He questioned status quo and was always looking to better systems and reporting. He made sure that the Finance team were seen as business partners rather than back office staff. Being in that team made me feel like I added value rather than being seen as an annoying compliance box that needed to be ticked. I learned so much about how businesses work as I was given exposure to all facets of the business.

I liked what I did and I loved the team I worked with. We always managed to have a laugh and it was common to have secret “tax meetings” at the bar downstairs to end the week. But did I love Finance? No. Did I have a passion for it? No.

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What do you do for work now?

I now run my own photography business. At the start I did all genres of photography – weddings, parties, christenings, head shots. But in the past couple of years I found that I loved newborn, family and maternity photography so I have decided to specialise.

My weeks are never the same. I can spend one week purely shooting and editing newborn photos. Some weeks I focus on blog and social media work. Some weeks I get to do location scouts for upcoming outdoor shoots. Some weeks involve having to do my book keeping. I am a busy bee because I am the one and only employee but I get to do what I love every day.

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Why did you make the change?

When my son was born I had every intention of returning to Finance. During his first year I stayed home and had started the photography business as a way to earn some extra cash while I was on sabbatical from my corporate job. At one point I did some project work for my old boss and I clearly remember how HARD it was to juggle family and work life. I dropped off my little guy at day care very early in the morning, so early that he was the first baby there. I would work solidly in the office as I knew I only had limited days in the week to complete the tasks then would rush home to make sure the little guy wasn’t the last baby at day care. I got one hour of quality time with my son before I had to start dinner and the bed time routine.

I didn’t want to be rushing from one moment to another. We wanted a better work life balance and that’s why we chose to take the leap and make the change.

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What was the biggest challenge you faced making the change?

For me, marketing has been the biggest challenge. I have had to invest in training sessions to create strategies, spend hours researching on effective ways to market my business and continue to monitor and tweak my marketing efforts. It is a very different mind set from what I usually apply and is not intuitive for me.

I am very very lucky that my most effecting marketing tool has been word of mouth. My lovely clients have been so kind to me by sending more clients my way.

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How has your life changed after making this move?

In the start up years it was busy! I took every job that came along to the detriment of my stress levels and time with my boys. What we had set out to achieve – a better work life balance, wasn’t happening. This needed to change.

It took some time but I learned to prioritise. Family always first and I needed to make sure I was looking after myself too. If you keep only pouring from your cup you will soon run out and have nothing to give.

I have a four day week and take limited weekend bookings in the off season. Yes I still work very hard but I build flexibility into the day for my family. I can shoot in the morning, make dinner and spend time with the boys then I will spend a couple of hours at night editing or blogging. If something urgent comes up, I can juggle things around to make sure I can address the urgent issue.

I am definitely working a lot harder running my own business than I did sitting in my Finance role but I also have a lot more flexibility to make the best life that I can for my family.

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Do you have any advice for anyone thinking about changing careers post kids?

Finding your passion is one thing. You need to make sure that your passion can also bring home some bacon.

If you don’t have a business background, do a basic business course that covers accounting, marketing and legal at a minimum.

If you can hire yourself a business coach that has experience in your chosen industry, they are an investment that will pay off in the future.

Do your home work before taking the leap – crunch the numbers on how much your initial investment will cost, how can you get started, what will you need to get started. Do you have the time to give this your attention to give it the best chance at success?

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This blog is the first of a series of real life stories I will be sharing over the next couple of months. If you enjoyed this read make sure to share and sign up to my mailing list to read the others.

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