Mumpreneur Profiles: Writer Keris Stainton

Tell us about your family

Married to David for 13 years, we’ve got two sons, Harry (4) and Joe, 2 months. We live in Lancashire.

What did you do before coming up with your business idea (previous career, stay at home mum etc) and how was it making the transition?

I was an Administrator in Corporate Recovery and Personal Insolvency, which was just about as depressing as it sounds. I always knew I wanted to write, but I’d been focussing on fiction. Then, one morning, sitting in Starbucks before work, I realised that I could try freelance journalism. I had a life coach, Suzy Greaves, who used to be a freelance journalist herself and, as soon as I told her my plan, she was an amazing mentor and I sold a couple of articles to Essentials magazine fairly soon after. Once I knew that I could do it, I became less and less interested in my “real” job and finally decided to just pack it in and make a go of writing. That was three years ago and I’ve never looked back.

When did you launch?
Well, I left my job at the beginning of September 2005 and my first article appeared in November 2005. 
What has worked well about your business?
I like the flexibility of fitting it around my son, but I also like the flexibility of being able to change what I do. I started out writing for magazines, but, after a couple of years of that, found that I wasn’t enjoying it anymore and so I switched to blogging. Now I’m starting to move away from journalism altogether and focus more on fiction.
What has been your biggest challenge so far? How have you dealt with it?
My biggest challenge by far has been my fear of rejection. I’m not sure I am entirely past it, but  it is improving (when I started out, after submitting an article I would go incommunicado for the rest of the day, worried that the editor would be trying to contact me to tell me how rubbish the piece was!). Now I try to tell myself that it’s not all about me. (Which is difficult when, you know, it clearly is!)
How do you fit in work with the family?
I work while my son’s at school (and husband’s at work). I try not to work evenings and weekends, but because I love it and the computer is *just there* I find myself working much more than I should. My four-year-old now says, “I just need to do my WORK!” and then taps on the keyboard like a maniac.

I’m not sure how it’s going to work when the new baby’s born. I haven’t really thought that through…

What advice would you give to someone else wanting to work in this area?
Well I’m not sure it’s the same now due to the economic climate, but the main thing I found was that it was easier than I expected. I’d always heard that you had to first be established on staff and have tons of contacts before going freelance, but I found that all you needed was a strong pitch and writing ability. My advice would be to go for it. And look at rejection as a good thing: if your work is being rejected, at least it shows you’re trying. And sooner or later someone will bite. 

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