She Made it Happen! Interview with Keri Hartwright from Safety First
Keri is the mother of a beautiful little girl and is passionate about sharing knowledge with people and providing a high quality customer experience from start to finish. Keri feels that we are at a crisis with emotional health and well being and that we need to be more proactive in supporting young people before they reach crisis point.
Tell us a little bit about your business. Who do you serve and what products and/or services do you offer?
I run a first aid and safeguarding company in South London, UK delivering first aid to anyone from the age of 4 upwards. The first aid is interactive and informative. I think it is a vital skill and have had first hand feedback of when my teaching has been used in an emergency.
I have more recently started working as a parent coach delivering psychology skills workshops to parents of young people aged 9 – 19 years of age. This is something I am really passionate about and looking forward to building on in the future.
These workshops are a step forward in being proactive at managing the emotional health and wellbeing crisis we face by reconnecting parents with their young person. The workshops provide parents with a toolkit to navigate the teenage years.
We look at what happens to the teenage brain, what it means to be a confident parent and why this is important as well as how we can manage unwanted behaviour.
How did you escape your 9-5 and why did you want to?
I worked as a school nurse for 10 years and when I went on maternity leave to have my daughter my world changed infinitely in that year and I separated from her dad, my husband.
My mum was very sick at the time, I had in effect lost the person who had raised me while still having her here. I learnt that my life was not as it appeared when I got married less than 2 years previously and I did not know my husband.
I also faced possible homelessness as we were in the process of buying a house which we could suddenly not afford. Had it not been for my amazing rock, my dad, my life would be very different.
This all rocked me to my core. When I returned to work I was not claiming the appropriate benefits due to misadvice and struggled to cope on a part time salary with all the associated costs that childcare brings and a mortgage and bills.
My job was in the process of undergoing restructure meaning I had to reapply for my job so I got a job closer to home but I had fallen out of love with school nursing. I was doing some freelance first aid and decided I would try and set something up in my local area. I had knowledge of the actual first aid, but no business skills or knowledge. I did this alongside doing a 4 day a week job as well as trying to look after my beautiful girl.
I really wanted to quit my job and decided that as life had thrown me a curve ball and changed immeasurably that I had nothing to lose.
In the beginning of the summer 2017 when my baby was due to start school I quit my regular job to grow my business, to clear my head and find my true direction.
I knew I wanted to do something to support emotional health and well being. This led me to becoming a parent coach which is very exciting and I can’t wait to grow this business
What was the biggest challenge you had growing your business and what did you learn from it?
Lack of knowledge and skills. No plan, and a lot of naivety.
I have learnt some valuable business skills but am still learning. I am less trusting and more suspicious. I do get repeat customers and now do all the training for a number of nurseries which is a huge step forward.
I learnt that perseverance is key and that you need to keep going despite how you may feel.
If you could have dinner with any entrepreneur, who would you choose and why?
Ruth Kudzi so I could meet her face to face!
What do you wish you'd known before starting your business?
What are you working on right now in your business?
Expanding in a positive direction and using other trainers to deliver courses for me which is the direction I want it to go in so I can truly expand.