My passion for writing led me to Elizabeth earlier this year. I was writing an article for the Times of Malta last March and Elizabeth helped me shed light on being a mumpreneur.
Elizabeth is one of the most interesting persons I have met thus far. She is positive, driven, and extremely focused. Our conversation flowed easily over a cappuccino in a quaint coffee shop in the heart of Rabat. It was a nice way to start the day; especially on a Monday morning.
I started off with what would seem like a basic question.
What does proofreading involve?
When I proofread, I’m improving what can be improved and eliminating any errors. It’s the perfect version of your own work. I like to refer to it as the four-eye principle; having someone else look at your work with fresh eyes.
Technically speaking, proofreading takes place during the final phase and involves checking the written work for typing errors, missed words, punctuation marks etc.
I find that most people confuse proofreading with copyediting. The latter involves sentence structure. Say you’re writing your dissertation and the ideas are still unclear or not flowing. Sometimes, clients mean they need both. Nowadays, proofreading is a requirement and an essential part of the academic career.
What is unique about your business?
I set myself apart from others who work on proofreading as part-timers and have an unrelated full-time job. Don’t get me wrong, they have my respect! But, this is my passion and my focus 24/7.
I approach it as a professional. That is, I’m fully aware of the responsibilities involved. For most students, thesis-writing can be a stressful moment and I acknowledge and respect that – that is why I meet deadlines, read guidelines and work to the best of my ability.
My 11 years of experience provides me with not just knowledge but also an understanding of how things are done. For example, I know what universities expect and can see things from a much broader perspective than the client does.
What does a typical working day look like for you?
I have to balance my two roles; a mother and a business owner. I have two little kids who are still in their formative years and who need a lot of my time. On the other hand, I’m a business owner; not just a proofreader or book editor. So, I have to run and further develop my business as well.
Typically, I work around my kids’ schedule. I’m also lucky to have the full support of my family, especially my husband. So, if I have to put in more effort or schedule meetings, they back me up every time. I believe that the role of a mumpreneur is managing your business as well as your family without denying yourself anything. For instance, you need the time for yourself because it’s important not to experience a burnout.
When did you decide to take the leap? Was it something you have always intended for yourself?
Running my own business has always been my dream. I’m an ambitious person and always try to think of ways to develop and grow my business further. I spent 10 years of my life teaching English; which I loved. But I wanted more. It was a huge leap. I remember my friends questioning my sanity.
Quitting a safe job was not easy but I don’t regret it because I’m doing something I’ve always wished to do. And that is, spending quality time with my children. Up until they were three years old, I still worked but less intensely because they were my sole focus. I don’t believe a mother should forget about her aspirations just because she becomes a mother. The will to work, aspire and improve are all great skills to pass on to your kids. They see you as alive, driven and passionate about your work. We have our crazy days, but we make it work.
What is your biggest failure? Your biggest success?
What is a failure anyway? I am a very positive person. I don’t acknowledge failures; they’re small setbacks. It’s all about how you look at it. I see it as learning something new about your skills or about your limits. You either going to give it another go and be more prepared or decide that it’s not something that you would like to pursue. Either way, you have grown. Self-growth and improvement mean everything to me.
I believe that small everyday successes are still successes. Getting out of my comfort zone and doing things that are challenging drives me onwards. Another one of my biggest successes is seeing my kids grow, and not just physically. Looking back, I feel extremely satisfied that I managed to give them my all.
What advice would you give female entrepreneurs?
Find time for yourself and set small goals. Don’t set big targets and overstress yourself. I try to take things one step at a time to stay motivated with short-term goals. Try creating a personal plan and keep in mind that not everything will go as planned either. Don’t close up shop just because you’re having one bad day. Be kind to yourself, be realistic and don’t be too hard on yourself.
That is when I realised how important it is to be part of a support network. If you’re in need of help, don’t et your pride get in the way. Know your limitations and accept the help you’re being offered.
Don’t try to do everything yourself. You don’t have to be an expert in every area. Outsourcing can save you time because trying to do everything on your own is a struggle.
Join the Group: Malta Mumpreneurs Network
Three (3) tools you would recommend to anyone starting their own business?
Google Keep – for your to-do lists. Or, more likely in my case, the I WILL DO list.
Self- Motivation techniques – I believe in these techniques. E.g. when I’m tired, I try and work five minutes more; just a step further to improve self-discipline.
Take mental breaks – You need your off days. When I don’t have tight deadlines, I take pleasure in reading and listening to motivational business speakers.
Oh, and coffee! Haha!
Quick questions 🙂
Tea or coffee?
Tea to relax, Coffee to work
Books or movies?
Time travel or teleportation?
Teleportation I’m a very realistic person – li I just leave and visit different countries/places. I love travelling.
Winter or Summer?
Adventurous or Cautious?
Adventurous; I love doing things out of my comfort zone.