Who am I?
My name is Annalyz Fraser and I am a Guatemalan mum of 2 happy boys. While doing my MBA in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Nottingham University I met my now husband, whom after our degrees, I “imported” to Guatemala for 4 years. We got married there and after a few unexpected last-minute changes in our plans, we decided to come back to the UK.
Before this, I had been working in CSR or Sustainable Development roles in the non-for profit and corporate sector for over 7 years so when I came to the UK, I was very eager to continue my career in this field. During my last job, I had my 2 children and during the 9th month of my maternity leave I was unexpectedly made redundant. At the time this seemed unfair and scary as I already had childcare lined up and in my mind I was going back to the comfort of my corporate job – but as cliché as it sounds, this was probably the best thing that could have happened to me.
Having done an MBA and worked in the corporate sector for over 20 years, I thought I had many tools that I could use to set up my own business, but I never had thought of myself as an entrepreneur, and I have been very comfortable with that paycheck at the end of the month, without having to worry about anything else.
A coffee and a chat with someone (who should be a life coach) and attending a women’s entrepreneurship workshop in London change my mind. Opening my mind, it allowed myself to dream that I was able to do something that I love, gave me flexibility around my children, challenged and developed me and where I could also give back to the community and earn an income at the same time.
Four months later, on a very steep learning curve, I made my new dream come true; I had the first role-play session of BIG little Me (www.biglittleme.co.uk) in Winchester! I have tried to make BIG little Me a role play centre for children, with a twist. I have managed to find something where I can channel my love for children, my passion for sustainability and my every-growing creativity and created something I think is a bit unique and special.
It has been a bit scary at times and I have had to learn so many things such ashow to set up a business (sole trader or limited?), do my own website, set up and manage all my social media pages (@BIGlittleMeUK), the implications of selling food and drinks for a pop-up café, as well as try to find creative ways to promote my business on a shoe string budget; the list is endless.
Now that I am my own boss, I am working more than I ever had in my life, but it has never been so rewarding and I have never been so happy. However, I wouldn’t be able to do it without the unconditional support of my family and my friends. I have been very lucky to find many networks of people who are very happy to help you and give you advice and who genuinely want you to succeed. In 6 weeks, over 375 children have visited BIG little Me, which means 375 happy children. I couldn’t be happier!