Martina Mercer is an award winning copywriter, journalist and marketer. She won the Working Mother of the Year Award alongside being shortlisted for the best journalist of the year, the Best Role Model in IT and the Most Inspirational Woman in Business.
Here She Shares her Story
I began in business at the age of 14 but life events and poor choices meant that I could never really get stuck in. I welcomed my first born into the world at the age of 21 and knew that I must be a better person in order to be a good role model and mum. I’d fallen in love though and the rose coloured glasses were fixed firmly on my face. It took years to realise I was in an abusive relationship with a narcissistic alcoholic who controlled my every move, who succeeded in cutting me off from my family and friends.
Although, through the marriage, I was the breadwinner, through various businesses, gardening, meals on wheels, cleaning, as he was allergic to work, I wasn’t allowed access to the internet or to extend my education at a college that was 50% male.
The Birth of an Epiphany
After the birth of a beautiful girl, I realised, I needed to get out. He wouldn’t change, he wouldn’t give up the alcohol, and even when he did he was still extremely abusive. I asked for a divorce and endured two years of absolute hell. My children and I ended up in hiding, leaving our few friends behind, we changed our names and started our new life. It seemed idyllic, it actually was, if not a little lonely. We lived on a small holding with ducks, geese, chickens, a dog and a Shetland pony. Six miles from the nearest shop we had just each other for company. While they slept I worked through the night to gain my degree and writing qualifications. On weekends, they’d accompany me to clean caravans, through a cleaning business I set up to bring in the pennies to support us.
While the children were at school I would write. I wrote a few novels, a screenplay, articles and blogs. I dated occasionally and blogged about my adventures. I was lucky enough to be followed by a few celebrities, which brought attention to my writing endeavours.
I actually look back at this time as a happy one. We were isolated but we were safe and the future looked bright, if not far away! I began suffering from panic attacks and anxiety, as I worried about the safety of the children. I’d panic over every rash, every scratch, I felt I was going mad. I was diagnosed with PTSD and cyclothymia. I’m still learning more about it.
From Pompeii with Love
Fast forward a few years and I reconnected with a childhood friend. A boy who used to sit next to me in Latin class. Over the course of a couple of years we slowly fell in love and we’re still together ten years later and celebrating a decade of marriage.
Once I’d achieved my degree in English and certificate in creative writing, I decided to see if I could live the dream and be paid for my ramblings. Through an online marketplace I agreed to write twenty articles on health supplements for a dollar each. (About 60pence then). I felt so proud that someone was willing to pay me for my writing. We actually celebrated that little contact. It seemed to open up a world of possibilities. Little did I know how it would snowball.
Earning £1 per Hour and Loving It
The health articles became part of my portfolio and soon I was offered twenty, thirty, forty, fifty times the price per article. I had to nip myself. It seemed too good to be true. I worked incessantly to deliver ahead of the deadlines and I loved every single minute. The birth of my third child didn’t break the stride as with a househusband now we worked as a team to make it happen.
The obstacles kept coming though, as events were sent to test. Family bereavements and a shock about my health. With a plethora of medications and a new motivation needed to sit at my desk, I needed to adjust my mind-set. I needed to find the work life balance and spend more time with my family.
Founding The Consumer Voice
I started the Consumer Voice after my mum endured a series of shoddy work from cowboy builders, I wanted a place where people could connect and share their experiences, alongside helping those affected to get their money back. From here I became a regular on BBC radio delivering consumer advice.
Writing for Sunday Woman Magazine
I then began with Sunday Woman magazine and wrote on all my favourite subjects, a role I still take seriously today. The magazine is for intelligent women over 30, those with a brain, and we discuss politics, mental health, business, careers, parenting with the odd dash of celebrity. I love it.
Becoming a Marketing Director Consultant
I was also promoted within start ups I worked with to marketing director, due to my insight into the consumer psyche, my ideas, and my work ethic. I don’t offer this as a service any longer, as I decided recently to get back to my roots. To write, to share, to discuss, to be a journalist, a columnist, to do everyday what I love.
Still Not Successful Enough
I’d never say I’m successful, even when I won the Working Mother of the Year Award I couldn’t afford myself that label. For me there’s still a long way to go and a lot of targets to beat before I feel as though I’ve reached my goal. I lost sight of the most important things for a while as I became bogged down in my bank balance. I forgot what made me happy and what drove me to study in the small hours all those years ago. Once again I’m making a change, and following my own advice.
Advice for Fellow Female Entrepreneurs
If I had to share any advice with fellow business women and entrepreneurs, it would be this:
If you’re unhappy, do something. Make a change and stop making excuses. The biggest excuse I hear is “I don’t have time.” You do have time, you just may need to sacrifice a few other aspects of your life while you make the change. It will be worth it and you can do it. You can control your own destiny, you can be a success, all you need to do is picture it, then make it happen. I did, with two children as a single mum cleaning caravans and studying for a degree. To this day, I still continue to make changes. I won’t say it was easy, but it was definitely worth it, and we do only have one life to live.
If you’re unhappy, do something. Make a change and stop making excuses. The biggest excuse I hear is “I don’t have time.” You do have time, you just may need to sacrifice a few other aspects of your life while you make the change
My Working Life Today
Today I offer marketing services to select clients, such as Tax Rebate Services, Game of Canada and Botastic. I’m a writer and blogger for many big brands and start ups, and I have a column on many magazines alongside being the editor of Sunday Woman Magazine. I started a cyclothymia Facebook group that is proving popular. I’m a mum of three, one autistic and have two pugs (one of whom is pregnant). Life is good. I still struggle with the health diagnosis and it takes daily management but I’m proud that I’ve never taken a sick day. I think this is because I love every minute of my working life, so it’s easy to come to work and just be myself. I’m looking forward to writing for Venus and sharing tips on motivation, life and business.
I’m ordinary, a nobody, I’m nothing special. If I can do it, you definitely can. Let me know when you’ve taken the first step as I’d love to be your ally.