With the new year and after the indulgences of Christmas we all start thinking about our health and fitness - but slow down, don't rush into anything! The more we rush the more likely we are to fail - it is more important to take things slowly and develop a new lifestyle. With this in mind, the timing seemed perfect to share this interview with you ....
I met Bev about three years ago when we both did The Body Coach plan and we were members of the Facebook support group. We got chatting and I loved her approach and attitude, she really supported me. When she announced she was going to retrain and become a health and lifestyle coach focusing on women in midlife, peri-menopause and menopause, I was definitely in agreement she would be perfect for it. She runs her own Facebook support group now which I help out with as an admin called Fifty Fit and Fabulous so I thought it was about time she took part in my Embracing Life series ... do make yourself a cup of tea and take time to read this one, Bev is really inspirational, totally understands the challenges of midlife and knows exactly what we are all feeling. I am sure you will learn something and certainly feel understood!
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m Bev, I’m a wife to Mark, Mum to Amy and Ben and Grandma to Connie. I live in the East Midlands between Peterborough and Lincoln in a small village which I love, although I grew up on the outskirts of Newcastle upon Tyne and still call it home despite leaving when I was 18. I’ve spent 32 years working for the Ministry of Defence as a civilian working with the RAF but gave up my management position in March 2018 to pursue a new career as a Health and Lifestyle Coach helping midlife women to look and feel their fabulous best.
And tell us a little bit about your business venture and what inspired you?
I’ve always been interested in health and fitness and I trained as an Exercise to Music and Group Fitness Instructor in the early 1990's. I then spent the next 20 years on and off teaching classes part time as a bit of a hobby. I’d also kept myself fit enough (never super fit but in healthy shape) through running, circuit training, squash and walking. But somewhere along the way I let things slip and I found myself on my 50th birthday in January 2016 feeling anything but fit and healthy. I was a few stones overweight, I didn’t like how I looked and certainly didn’t like how I felt. I felt fat and frumpy, my old confidence had disappeared and my self-esteem was in the gutter.
A photo taken at a work’s bowling afternoon brought me up sharp when I looked at it and didn’t recognise the woman looking back at me. I made the decision to do something about it but didn’t really get going until May of that year when a work colleague introduced me to Joe Wicks The Body Coach (via his recipe book, not in person!). I embarked on his 90 day plan and shed a whole load of weight and got my fitness back. It was great, I felt great, but it was incredibly restrictive and way too strict a regimen to be able to sustain long term.
What it had done though was to reignite my passion for health and fitness and I started researching the current science around nutrition and exercise. I wanted to learn how to make sure I didn’t revert back to the fat and frumpy woman I’d left behind so I started reading up on behaviour change, habit feedback loops, mindset and motivation. I also enrolled onto a personal trainer course to up-skill my old qualifications.
I was getting asked by friends and colleagues how I’d lost the weight and could I help them. As a trainer and educational coach throughout the latter part of my MOD career, it was a very easy transition into health coaching and I realised it was something I really enjoyed doing.
I made a plan over a glass or two of prosecco with a friend that we would start a personal training business for midlife women to help them to feel fabulous. And that’s how Floresco was born. That was at Christmas 2017. It’s gone through a number of changes since we started, not least of which was the decision to go our separate ways as we had different goals for what we wanted from the business.
I further trained as a nutritionist and finally made the decision to resign the day job in March 2018 to go full time as a self-employed online Health and Lifestyle coach specialising in helping midlife women to feel more empowered and embrace midlife.
What does an average day look like for you?
I’m still trying to figure out my ‘average’ day nearly 8 months after giving up the 9 to 5. No two days are the same and I haven’t really got myself into a real routine. However I’m working on it. Generally I get up around 8 am and spend about 15 minutes listening to a mindful meditation app. I use Calm. Then I grab a cup of tea and do a bit of journaling. This is anything from jotting down ideas to writing a to do list for the day. I journal a lot and have notebooks scattered everywhere.
I then go up to my home office, a re-purposed spare bedroom which I currently share with my husband (that’s soon to change – this room aint big enough for the both of us!). I try to split my time between what I call consumption and creation. Consuming is me learning – so watching videos, listening to podcasts, watching webinars, reading articles etc. This is important stuff but it’s very easy to get sucked into wasting too much time consuming and not enough time creating. The Creating element is really about doing the work I need to do to support my business. This could be writing social media posts, blogs, recording podcasts, creating video tutorials for my coaching programmes, creating marketing and advertising copy, preparing for and conducting coaching calls and then doing the follow up. Doing the boring but necessary stuff like making sales calls (yuk, not my zone of genius but a necessary part of the business) and doing the books (even worse than sales calls!).
I’ve recently created a second arm to the business which involves working with organisations to help raise awareness of menopause in the workplace and calling on my training background I go into organisations and deliver training to both employees and line managers on how to support menopausal employees in the workplace. So some of my time is spent travelling to training venues or preparing lesson plans.
I don’t really keep normal hours, but I usually try to include some down time in the day, such as getting out in the afternoon even if it’s just to grab a coffee in a local café, or get out for a run or to the gym.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Goodness me there have been and still are quite a few. The biggest one I think was getting to grips with the world of digital marketing and utilising all the different types of software necessary to create a professional image online. Despite having a marketing qualification there was nothing in there that dealt with the online space. So from a practical point getting to grips with the technical side has been a huge challenge.
But I think the biggest challenge has been the internal battle with my own self-doubt. I’m learning that this is something ALL entrepreneurs and business owners battle. Imposter syndrome, perfectionism, inertia and a lack of self-belief all get in the way of progress. The truth is none of them are real, they’re just self-limiting beliefs but it doesn’t make them any easier to overcome. You just have to learn to keep going, one baby step at a time, and not lose faith.
What advice would you pass on to someone wishing to change career in midlife?
I want to say just do it but I also think you have to be absolutely sure that you are ready for the change. By that I mean a passion can quickly lose its joy if you feel you have to make money from it. Also, I’m not sure I could hand on heart say to someone to ‘go for it’ if it could jeopardise their financial security. Thankfully many of us do find that we are in a more secure financial position by midlife so the risk is potentially smaller. I guess I would say try it on for size first – maybe volunteer, take a sabbatical if that’s an option or find some way to dip a toe in the water. What I would say is never tell yourself ‘I cant’ make the change. So often we block ourselves from making changes because we find a million reasons why we can’t. I can’t afford it. I don’t have the skills. People will laugh at me. These are just limiting beliefs and usually based around fear. Switching to the questions ‘how can I make this financially viable?’ ‘how can I gain the skills?’ and ‘what difference will it make if people laugh at me?’ are far more productive thoughts and I’ve found it amazing how many opportunities suddenly appear just because the ‘can’t’ statement is re-framed as a ‘how’ question.
Do you have a signature style, an everyday look that you love?
I’m definitely a skinny jeans, boots and a jumper kind of girl. I feel most comfortable in casual clothes and after so many years of working in an office where I had to look reasonably smart, I’m enjoying the freedom to dress down. That said I adore getting dressed up for a party or a ball and own lots of evening dresses – a throwback to many formal RAF Mess events. I love Autumn colours and despite the hair being almost white now (I started going grey in my early 20s!) my natural hair colour is a reddish, auburn brown so Autumn colours always feel very comfortable on me. Just lately I’ve been reaching out to the inner hippie in me, and I’ve grabbed a couple of brightly coloured kaftans off a stall at our local market, and I love kicking around the house in them. The joys of working from home – I sometimes don’t even get out of my PJ's til gone lunchtime!
How do you balance your business with family life?
It’s very much easier since leaving work and diving into coaching full time. Working from home means I have more time to spend with Mark. My daughter and granddaughter now live in the house next door (long story) so I am able to help with child care as my daughter is a student nurse. Having the freedom to choose my working hours also means I can arrange my schedule to suit family commitments.
What is your biggest achievement to date?
I think it is probably finding the courage to leave the security of a public sector ‘job for life’ to dive into the uncertainty of a business of my own. But if I’m honest I feel like there have been a few big achievements (well big for me anyway). Running a couple of half marathons felt like big achievements, doing a few endurance walks, especially the Lyke Wake Walk through North Yorkshire which was 40 miles in under 24 hours across the Moors – and that led to other, longer walks which were very challenging.
The achievement I’m most proud of though is bringing up two beautifully well-adjusted children of whom I am immensely proud as well as reaching 25 years of marriage to my best friend and biggest supporter, Mark. Although he really deserves the achievement medal for putting up with me and my hair brained ideas!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
I will hopefully still be coaching women to feel fabulous, but I’d like to expand my circle of influence. I have a book in my head that I’d like to get published and as I love being up in front of people, I’d love to do more public speaking to share my journey and hopefully inspire other midlife women to feel empowered to follow their dreams too. I really enjoy podcasting and I have a long list of people whom I’d love to interview. I guess I want to do more of what I love doing most – talking to people!!
How can we get in touch with you and find out more about you or your product?
My website is www.florescofitness.co.uk but I’m more active on Facebook where I am @florescofitness and the same on Instagram. I also have a closed Facebook Group called Fifty, Fit and Fabulous which is a lovely warm and friendly community of midlifers where we share information, motivation and inspiration. Finally, my podcast Generation Exceptional is on iTunes and Podbean.
I am offering readers of Fifty & Fab a 20% discount off either 1:1 coaching or a group coaching programme. Please get in touch if you would like to find out more and discuss the different options.
Thank you so much Bev! I really admire how much you have achieved since deciding to go it alone and re-train to follow your passion. And do look up Bev's podcast series, she has done some excellent interviews!
I have always felt Bev understood and knows just what we are all going through. Bev runs some group coaching programmes as well as 1:1 options so if you are looking for a bit of support, I can definitively recommend looking Bev up and booking in for a free initial consultation to see if she might be able to help you. - and don't forget to mention Fifty & Fab for a 20% discount.
Hi, I’m Michelle and my blog Fifty & Fab is all about my journey into and through my fifties. I share style tips, health and fitness inspiration, I talk about my holidays and days out and I tell you about my beauty regime and my lifestyle. I hope you might pick up a tip or two and get some inspiration!
Use my hashtag and tag me on Instagram #beingfiftyandfab @fifty_andfab
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