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  • Writer's pictureLauren Leopold

Career change: How this childhood dream became a successful business

Updated: Sep 30, 2022

Career Change Chronicles is my regular column about brilliant women who’ve changed careers to follow their dreams. Here, we meet my client Katie Seidler, who recently left her job in retail after 17 years to focus on her interior design business Hello Haus. She lives in St Albans her husband Russell and Henry the dog. You can find her on Instagram @hello_haus

Tell us about your journey into interior design

I always knew there was a passion for interior design there. From a teenager I was obsessed with interior design, I would make my mum take me to the "Real Homes" show so I could meet my idols from Changing Rooms. It was always there and a passion from the start. Through my school years I was put off because my drawing skills are awful! It stopped me applying for an interior design degree and changed my path temporarily. But 10 years ago I took a course in residential interior design which re-sparked my childhood passion. I was working full time in retail at the time though and couldn't see how I could make this passion a business.

Fast forward to 2017 when I set up my Instagram account to document my home redesign. This turned into a platform for sharing knowledge, connecting with like minded people and was the start of my business. It all came back to finding that spark that motivated me to make the jump, working in a field I love and loving getting up on a Monday. I then worked to build my business as a side hustle over the last year.

What were the challenges that drove you to make the change and how were they impacting your life?

I'd been working at the same company for 17 years - I loved it and had grown up in the retail industry, however there was always a “niggle” of what if? I loved the business I worked for but after so long I wanted a change.

The pandemic then really changed things for me. During this time I realised that I needed to make the leap. Being able to manage my own time, work on my passion and ultimately help people to create a home they love. Our homes have never been so important and this year I realised I had to change things and focus on interior design full time.

How did the career change start for you?

I started taking workshops in 2018 locally in Hertfordshire, helping people to create a "Vision" using mood boards. I love taking these and still do them online at the moment. I then used my instagram platform to market my E-design service as I had built a large audience over the years to over 40k people sharing my tips and ideas. E-Design really took off for me and now I offer an On-site service too.

How long had you been thinking about it and what made you decide to finally do it?

I’ve been thinking about it for 10 years! The final decision came from lots of support from family, friends and coaches I worked with. It came down to building my confidence through client work during the pandemic and ultimately getting a huge buzz seeing how I could help people. It didn't feel like work so I knew!

How did you make the change?

I started the process of setting up my business alone and then realised I needed a mentor to help me and push me through some of the hurdles. I worked with them for 6 months and during that time made the decision to leave my job. I also joined a local community of female business owners where there was constant support, encouragement and practical online workshops for the "business stuff" I wasn't aware of. Two months in I joined the Topology Designer's Toolkit Group which has been invaluable through peer support and working 121 with a coach.

When you were side hustling, how did you manage your time between your 9-5 and your hustle?

Whilst I was building the business this was hard, I won't lie! Lots of early mornings working 7-9am and then late into the evening after work. I knew I needed to put the hours in to make the business work and I'm so glad I did. Now I have my time back though!

What's life like for you now that you're changing career / side hustling / running your own business?

I love what I do! When your job is your passion there's no better feeling. I can manage my diary myself, decide what I want to work on and ultimately feel a lot less stressed. It's hard work and I'm still putting in the hours and being a jack of all trades (PR, marketing, accountant, designer etc...) but I wouldn't change it. I've waited so long to get here and I''m excited! It's put a spark back into me and I finally feel like I've found my purpose and my ‘why’ thanks to the coaching I’ve had.

What have been your biggest achievements?

  • Starting a business and making the jump from a secure, well paid job that I really loved

  • Creating and running workshops online and in person

  • Growing my Instagram account

  • Working with some amazing brands

What are the challenges and how do you deal with them?

Imposter syndrome always crops up, I'm not sure that will ever go! I just need to get better at telling it to be quiet. Also, knowing when to shut off! When it's your "baby" and you love it, it's very hard to stop working into the night. I've now set myself a 7pm computer curfew!

What have you learnt along the way?

So much! It's been a huge learning curve. Of course I’ve learnt a lot of practical business things but I've also learnt a lot about myself! All those negative voices telling me 'I can't", I'm learning how to control them and working with Lauren has really helped.

What 3 tips would you give to people wanting to do the same thing as you?

  1. Get on hands experience before you make the jump

  2. Ensure you have a support network around you, they are going to get you through the tricky times and h ire a coach if you can.

  3. Just go for it! Don't let your own head stop you following your passion

How has having a coach helped you along the way?

Lauren has really helped me look forward and see the bigger picture! Taking away my limiting beliefs I had in myself and where they keep coming back she’s given me the tools to hush them. She is so easy to chat to and has been an amazing sounding board. It's been the best experience and I can't wait to carry on working together once she’s back from maternity leave.

Do you feel like you've got a 'niggling' feeling that you should be running a business inside you like Katie did? Maybe you just need the focus and clarity to make it happen? Or maybe you already run a side hustle or business and want to take it to the next level. Either way, drop me a line to see how I can help you.

Meet Lauren

Career Change & Business Coach and Side Hustle Queen

Hi, I'm Lauren. I burnt out, hit rock bottom and used the experience to manifest my dream life. I now help passionate and ambitious women change career, start side hustles and grow businesses. I'm living proof that you can - and deserve to - have it all.

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