As a single mum who’d had eight years off for child-rearing, I had no idea what I wanted to do next. After attending the CareerSmart Mums workshop sessions, my confidence returned, and I was able to put together a comprehensive resume. Not long after, I was very excited to gain employment in the community services sector.

Although I’d worked in the industry for many years before, after returning for a short time, I realised it wasn’t for me anymore. Using the tools learned in the workshops, I went back to the drawing board to find a new direction for my career.

The workshop tools helped me identify my entrepreneurial bent, and my key strengths of adaptability and excellent people skills. I really wanted a lifestyle business that would provide an income for my children and me, but also give me control over my hours. I toyed with the idea of working in real estate, and even began studying towards my real estate license.

But after an initial stint volunteering at the local real estate agency to build my practical skills, I quickly realised that this wasn’t the job for me either. However, seeing the property management contracts coming through the agency did make me think that cleaning work could provide the income and flexibility I was looking for.

I learned at CareerSmart Mums that most jobs arise from your network, rather than being advertised positions. My newfound network certainly opened doors for me. The agency that I had been volunteering with asked me if I would like to do a couple of bond cleans for them. I earnt a fantastic pay in that first week, and it was replicated it in the second week.

I took the plunge, used the lessons I learned at CareerSmart Mums to tap into my entrepreneurial and people skills, and I now operate my own cleaning and maintenance company. I have a growing clientele, and now I employ a number of contractors who do the cleaning and garden maintenance for me. I’ve expanded my services to even include odd jobs around the home. I work hard, but I really enjoy it, and it’s given me the flexibility and satisfaction I wanted from my career.

It was tough at first, returning to the workforce after so many years away from it. I think it took me some time to find my feet, but the effort I put into developing my skills and consolidating my career direction has paid off. The take-aways from the CareerSmart Mums workshop helped to build my confidence and gave me the courage to seek out courses, and try new things until I found something that was right for me.

I now have a job that is very satisfying, and provides the lifestyle I want to lead with my kids.