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What do you do?
My name is Hayley Cooper and my business is lettings and property management. I manage a portfolio of properties in and around Lancaster and Morecambe. I went to Lancaster University and I started working as an estate agent from 2005. I left in 2014 having been there for around 10 years. When I had my children, working as a corporate estate agent didn’t fit in with my life anymore and I really didn’t want to go back into it.
So I set up managing rental properties. I’ve completed all of the relevant courses and I’m now accredited. I’m so passionate about the properties I manage and I take care of them as if they are my own.
How did you find out about The Growing Club?
Towards the back end of last year, I became completely burned-out. I was exhausted and my family were also impacted by me being so tired. I stopped feeling joy in my business due to being so busy. I was anxious and worn down.
I found out about The Growing Club from Paul Aisthorpe who recommended it to, so I applied to Jane for a place.
Tell us more about how The Growing Club has helped you?
The Growing Club has been amazing. I’ve been working by myself since 2014, bouncing ideas off myself with nobody really to speak to on a daily basis, aside from landlords and rental clients.
Meeting so many different women in business has been really beneficial to me. I’ve got a business buddy too, and I’m connecting with another woman to talk about mutual business referrals. It’s been lovely to connect alongside others and the course has really helped me to focus on different areas – every month is something different to learn and talk about.
Even self-care – it’s not even something that is usually related to business, is it? I hadn’t even considered it alongside my business. It feels almost indulgent. I used to think I was invincible until I hit burn-out.
The course has made a massive difference to my mindset so far – 100% – and I know it will benefit my business greatly.
I feel so different after month four and receiving help. It’s been amazing with things like helping me to get my head around finances, instead of doing everything myself. We’ve been learning how to delegate and dump the stuff you don’t need to do – prioritising workloads.
What were your goals when you started the course?
I wanted to get in control of my business. I’ve never worried about it not doing well, because it always has done well, but things like trying to get organised around my tax return – making sure I don’t leave things last minute and I now do it monthly. Christine, who is an accountant, came in for a session and led us through some strategies and I’m now using a new software which automates so much of the daily letting agency finances, which has massively reduced my time spent on administration.
We also did a session on business fears. Being able to discuss these things in a room with other women is so great. It’s helped with my self-worth; my anxiety and stress levels have reduced and my work-life balance has improved too.
I wanted to be in a position where I’m comfortable enough to have another two members of staff. I’d like to step away and enjoy the occasional holiday without worrying about my business. I’m aiming to grow to the point of increasing my business to that level. We’re working on an 18-month time line for these goals and I’m progressing well.