I’m Charlotte and I run Looking After Your Pennies, a financial education website. It is a company that I created back in 2018 with the aim of empowering people around their money. Let me share my journey from student to small business owner.
I spend my days writing articles, recording videos, working with brands, and building a social media presence to get financial education out into the mainstream.
When I was at school, I was always into Maths. I knew that whatever I ended up doing it would have something to do with numbers. The obvious career choices were accountancy and engineering, but when I left school, I couldn’t choose between the two and decided to keep my options open. I was really lucky and went to a great school. It meant that I left with 12 GCSEs grades A*-B and 5 A-levels. From there, I went to the University of East Anglia to study Mathematics.
My first job was a part-time position that I started a month after I turned 16. I was a customer service adviser at Curry's. Being a September birthday, I started working there when I was in Year 11 and stayed with the company until I finished my degree. I had a lot of fun doing that job and it taught me a lot about people and how to manage emotions, which would come in very handy later.
Where did my career take me? Whilst I was at university, the 2008-09 recession hit. I had started a Maths degree thinking that I would be able to walk into any job I liked at the end, and suddenly large portions of the financial industry were collapsing.
With this in mind, I decided to pursue a career in teaching. I stayed on at university to complete a PGCE in secondary Maths education and secured my first job a couple of months in. I worked at the same school for nine years taking on a variety of different roles whilst I was there. My favourite was SENCO (special educational needs coordinator) where it was my job to ensure that all children received an accessible and appropriate education.
I started Looking After Your Pennies in 2015 and almost instantly realised I wanted more flexibility in my life. I wanted to spend more time with my family and I wanted to travel too. After my second child was born, I created Looking After Your Pennies. It was a side hustle at that point that I worked on around my part-time job as a teacher.
In 2019, my family and I decided that we wanted to travel the world, so I quit my job as a teacher and became a digital nomad. Working on my business between exploring the world with my family. COVID-19 prematurely ended our travels, but I have continued to work in the world of financial education. It gives me the freedom to work around my family and I know that we are good to get back out into the world as soon as the world is ready.
Have I got any advice for someone starting their career now? Nothing has to be forever. I had no idea that what I do now was even a job when I was at school. I don’t even think it existed then.
When I entered teaching, I thought that was it, I would be a teacher until I retired. But you can change and pivot your career as much as you like until you find the right fit for you. Your working life is long. There’s plenty of time for as many different jobs as you like.
Visit Charlotte's website or Instagram to find out more about what she does in the financial education sector.
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