A mum has revealed how she transformed her life from relying on benefits and food banks to earning more than £100,000 a year as a coach – even working with Richard Branson .
Originally from Lancashire, mum-of-three Ellie Burscough, 35, fell on hard times after her eldest daughter was born in 2010.
Ellie had to leave her call centre job and was forced to live on benefits .
Not only did Ellie survive, she soon thrived and used her experience of hard times to become a successful businesswoman on the Australian Gold Coast in Queensland.
She lives there with her children Charlotte Gomes, 11, Gabriel Gomes, nine, and Alice Nelson, 20 months.
She said: “It felt really, really scary when I was living on benefits, not to have any money in my bank account.
“We were living week to week. But I got through it and more than got back on my feet.
“I learned so much and now I use that experience to help others.”
Back in 2010, as a first-time mum bringing up a child without an income, Ellie had £260 a week to pay for everything, including her rent.
Now no longer with her eldest children’s father, she said: “Back then, I could hardly get by and it made my world feel very small.
“I couldn’t afford a car. I couldn’t afford public transport either most of the time.
“I felt like such a failure and like I couldn’t provide for my family. I just felt like I wasn’t free.
“Now, I’ve come to a place where I feel happier and more confident than I’ve felt in years.
“My business is growing really well and I’m helping a lot of people.”
Ellie became pregnant while she was travelling around Europe with her then-partner, but decided to go back to Australia, where she had lived since she was four years old, to have the baby.
With UK and Australia citizenship she could work, but her partner was Portuguese and did not get a visa allowing him to find employment until 10 months later, when her baby was already six months old.
But, working long hours in a call centre despite being heavily pregnant, she felt hugely stressed.
She finally decided to leave the job at 39 weeks pregnant – a week before her daughter was born in April 2010.
Mother to a newborn, living on welfare cheques and using food banks , with her partner not yet able to work for visa reasons, she hit rock bottom.
She said: “I felt like a bit of a failure. If friends asked me to go out for lunch or something like that, I couldn’t afford to.
“After I’d had my daughter, I decided I wanted a better life for us both, so I began learning to be a personal trainer when she was about six months old.”
In September 2010 she launched Power Mums, a fitness club where mums paid to exercise together in the park, led by a personal trainer – often Ellie herself.
While they kept fit, their children were looked after by professional babysitters.
The idea was a hit and, after just two years, Ellie was earning over £100,000 from five different groups in the Queensland area.
Then, in 2012, after giving birth to her second child Gabriel, and wanting more time to herself, she decided to sell the business and become a life coach.
She has now helped people in 15 different countries – earning around £32,000 a month in 2017 and 2018.
She said: “I had grown the business to that point through working really hard.
“At the time I had ten people working for me.
“I even went with a group of entrepreneurs to Richard Branson’s house, on Necker Island, part of the British Virgin Islands.
“We were invited by Richard to mentor locals from a nearby island. We were chosen as people who want to give back to the community.”
Now Ellie is concentrating on helping women face up to their fears and boost their earnings.
She said: “I believe a lot of women, especially mums, feel like they can’t start a business because they’ve got kids.
“They say they are time poor or energy poor and their kids come first.
“But I think it’s important to do it for yourself and your kids.”
Ellie’s five tips for starting a successful business include having a niche, making a proper plan, getting business advice if you need it – and enjoying the process.