Interview with Hayley Anderson-Richardson from Families in Sync

Read how Hayley Anderson-Richardson launched Families in Sync after a life changing accident and changes within her industry that did not fit with her beliefs.

Hayley was determined to change not only her family’s life, but the lives of others too. In 2017 alone she’s gained five award nominations, become a finalist in three, and won one (so far)!

What’s your career background?

I loved the social side of school but that could not convince me to go to college; I knew it wasn’t for me. So despite having a place to start a hair and beauty course I decided work was a better path.

I landed on my feet in a job I loved working within the insurance industry within the motorcycle industry alongside some of the largest names in the industry, I loved it. Yet several years, one baby and a new relationship later I was living an hour from my family where I grew up in Harrogate, and training to work with children and families.

Roll forward a few more years, a few more house moves, one wedding, one more baby and a couple of businesses later (one of which I recently sold and am loving seeing it grow and develop) and I was content loving my job working with the NHS and local government supporting families.

In 2012, after another baby, I suffered a life-changing horse riding accident and shortly after my job role within early intervention and social care started to change.

This was the push I needed to start Families In Sync bringing together everything I loved about my job and removing everything I didn’t, while still being able to see the positive changes my work brings about.

How did your career change after having children?

I began working with them! Before children I was the one who was adamant I was never having children or getting married however fate had different ideas and I moved into working with children, their families and their carers.

My approach to work also changed. 40+ hours a week was not an option. I did try it, but my children need me and so my work life balance focusses around what my family need first and foremost, which I am very grateful for. I also use this approach with my staff to ensure they all receive the work life balance I know is so important.

Where did the idea for Families in Sync come from?

Would you believe me if I said I had a dream? I really did!

I knew my lifestyle had to change, I knew how my job was changing was not right for me or my family. I knew my current business was not ‘the one’ as much as I loved it.

Then I had a dream, I took a huge leap of faith, and it paid off. I had a lot of help and support from amazing family and friends who thought maybe I was just crazy enough to make this work, it turns out they were right.

How did you move from idea to actual business?

Via a very wiggly path. I made lots of mistakes, and had a great time putting together the business model, meeting lots of new people.

Just before I was due to launch I was offered voluntary redundancy which I saw as a sign and took. Very quickly after this the family coaching and support began to take off along with the nanny agency I has at the time.

However after a while I realised the nanny agency running alongside the parenting support did not fit with my long term plans and I moved this over to a local company.

Now in its place I have a training consultancy for childcare providers and also most recently for Mums starting out in business which is growing beyond what I could have imagined.

What’s your USP?

Everything I do is bespoke and personalised to who I am working with. I take the time to get to know each client and build a relationship with them.

Unlike a lot of companies I do not use the word bespoke to add an extra £ to a price. I offer ‘bespoke’ at no extra cost as the relationships with my clients are the most important thing to me and building long term relationships which offer value and make a difference is why I do what I do.

Who’s your target audience?

My business has two parts to it, which means I work with different audiences. Firstly are parents who require support or coaching with any aspect of family life – from behaviour, to sleep, to relationships and everything in between.

Secondly are childcare providers looking to improve their practice. And finally, and most recently, mums who are looking to start their own businesses or grow hobby businesses.

How do you spread the word about what you do?

Everything we do comes from talking and networking. Whether that is me and my team out shouting about what we do and getting into our community building relationships or clients who tell others about us.

We do very little marketing so to think we have got this far on just people talking and sharing what we do is amazing.

What’s been your most successful marketing strategy?

Facebook, Facebook, Facebook. This is where my clients hang out and where they find it easiest to talk to me so I have groups they can jump into, advice threads they can catch me on and we are always available. This works as this is where my clients find it easiest to negotiate, find us and communicate.

What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?

Like any business we have had our challenges and our ups and downs. I think the biggest obstacle for me has been me. I am so passionate about what I do and about helping my clients that it is very easy to have a tunnel vision and not be able to see clearly.

This is where having a fantastic team and business mentor really helps as it has enabled me to get everything out of my head and into an order and work process.

And your proudest moment so far?

Everytime I get a message thanking me and the team or I hear or see the impact we have had on a family or child that makes everything worthwhile.

However for me hearing my children so determined to be successful and follow their dreams as I have inspired them means everything and more.

My daughter has a desk in my office and is forever developing her new ‘business ideas’ currently she is designing a business selling hand picked flowers. To be able to know I have made this shift in their mindset makes me so proud of them and all I am sure they will go onto achieve.

Why is work so important to you?

I am the type of person who needs a purpose and to achieve, so even on maternity leave I was completing further training. I took a year out of work to be at home and ended up volunteering. I need to have something for me where I make a difference. It also helps me to feel like a ‘whole more rounded’ person.

Who inspires you?

Thats easy: my parents. My mum worked so hard when I was growing up working several jobs just so myself and my siblings could have everything we wanted, we never went without, she never complained, she survived on very little sleep and was always there for us. She has inspired me to achieve for my family.

My dad knows how to drive me forward, a lot of what I achieved has been down to things he has said to me (knowingly or unknowingly) and that is something I have learnt and taken on board from him from him being able to inspire and drive someone to meet their potential.

I have such a close family and even now they still continue to inspire me every day.

How do you balance your business with your family?

I have a family business. My children are always keen to be involved they are proud of what I do. My husband also has his own business so we work our calendars around the family, children and time together.

When you love what you do you make it work. My family are my ‘why’ so they go in my diary first and only if it is something completely necessary will work ever replace it.

I started this business so we could have more of a family orientated lifestyle and that has remained at the core. So I work while they are at school and in bed sometimes. Before school holidays I work like a maniac so I can take some time off and I also do childcare swaps with other parents during longer holidays os I can get a few days uninterrupted work in.

What are your three top pieces of advice for someone wanting to do something similar?

  1. Don’t underestimate personal development – having a vision, building your knowledge, developing you as a person and your belief system is just as important as building your business. The two go hand in hand.
  2. Be you – people buy people so don’t try build a brand around something you are not. Be real and be honest. It will take you far further than sales patter.
  3. Done is better than perfect – stop procrastinating you will only regret what you don’t do.

You can find out more about Families in Sync on their website.