Case Study: Kelly Akister

Kelly Akister is a qualified teacher, specialising in advanced early years education. She's been running her own business - Reading Fairy Lancaster - for over a year now.

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Tell us about your business?

I’m a qualified teacher, specialising in advanced early years education and I’ve been running my own business for over a year. When I returned to teaching after my maternity leave, I wanted to return part-time but I was unable to do so for the younger years age group, which is my speciality, so I took the plunge into self-employment.

I’d heard about the Reading Fairy programme while attending Baby Sensory classes, but after searching on the internet, I was disappointed to see the nearest classes were in York. After more research I knew that Reading Fairy was not only the perfect class for my daughter but also my ideal career. I’ve been running classes since September 2019.

How did you hear about The Growing Club?

I saw that Jane Binnion was doing the 30 Day Live Challenge on Facebook, which I did and it helped me a lot. I kept on receiving the email newsletters and I’d seen that there was a Bloom and Grow course at a venue, but it was 8pm on a Monday night and I couldn’t make it due to childcare commitments that had arisen from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Then Jane messaged me a few days before the online course started, to let me know it was now virtual, so I could join in and still be at home for my young daughter. I could access the course when it suited me and my family and totally fit it around me and my life, which is brilliant. The playback option is really helpful.

Which parts of the course did you find most helpful?

The self-care and wellbeing side was massive for me. I’ve never experienced that in work before. Going forward and having the wellbeing knowledge, will benefit me, my family and my business. 

Also, having that safe space with women in a small group – even virtually – has been great to share concerns and support each other, focusing on our wellbeing alongside our learning and businesses.

What were your goals when you started the course?

I wanted to feel like I was an actual business woman! I feel that now I’m a prepared and organised business woman with a plan.

One of Jane’s videos was on thinking about sales pitching and looking at how we build relationships with people and how we treat people. I initially started my business with the mindset of treating people how I would like to be treated. During the lockdown, I created a Facebook group for the parents of the children I teach, so that we could keep in touch, build a rapport and stay buoyant together during the lockdown. This was a real success.

What are your plans for you and your business now you’ve completed the course?

I think the course will really benefit my business massively moving forwards. I hope to work towards getting my business back into venue a little later in the year, following the lockdown easing after the pandemic. I feel better prepared for my goals and plans for the future – the goal setting session was a good one to replay and is beneficial to revisit it now that I can plan ahead again.

 My second year in business was the perfect year to do the course so I can really take the strategies and ideas gained and move them into my business. I’m excited about what will come next for Reading Fairy Lancaster!