Trailblazing mum loses four stone and transforms her life swapping benefits and food banks for running a £100k a year venture as a business coach

·9-min read

A trailblazing mum transformed her life and her looks by losing more than 4st and going from being dependent on benefits and food banks to earning more than £100k a year coaching other women to follow her lead.

Originally from Lancashire, mum-of-three Ellie Burscough, 35, fell on hard times after her eldest daughter was born in 2010, when she left her call centre job and was forced to live on hand-outs.

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, where she now lives with her children, Charlotte Gomes, 11, Gabriel Gomes, nine, and Alice Nelson, 20 months.

Ellie’s first business helped mothers lose their baby weight (PA Real Life)
Ellie’s first business helped mothers lose their baby weight (PA Real Life)

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.”

Ellie was even invited by Richard Branson to his island to mentor local entrepreneurs (PA Real Life)
Ellie was even invited by Richard Branson to his island to mentor local entrepreneurs (PA Real Life)

“I learned so much and now I use that experience to help others,” said Ellie.

Back in 2010, 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.”

Ellie ‘s third child Alice was born in April 2020 (PA Real Life)
Ellie ‘s third child Alice was born in April 2020 (PA Real Life)

She said: “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.”

Ellie (right) used to live near Preston, Lancashire until she was four years old (PA Real Life)
Ellie (right) used to live near Preston, Lancashire until she was four years old (PA Real Life)

“My business is growing really well and I’m helping a lot of people,” said Ellie.

Ellie became pregnant while she was travelling around Europe with her then partner Nuno Gomes, now 43, an IT consultant, 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.

Ellie walked to work in a call centre until a week before her daughter was born (PA Real Life)
Ellie walked to work in a call centre until a week before her daughter was born (PA Real Life)

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.

“I could only do things that were free and I could walk to.

“I had always wanted to have at least £2,700 in my bank account so, if anything happened with my grandparents or family in England, I could go over and see them.”

Ellie (right) spent the second part of her childhood in Australia(PA Real Life)
Ellie (right) spent the second part of her childhood in Australia(PA Real Life)

“Instead, I had nothing,” added Ellie.

Pregnancy had also seen 5ft 5in Ellie jump from weighing 10st 9lb to 13st 5lb, meaning her body mass index (BMI) used to gauge a healthy weight was 31.1, compared to the NHS healthy range of 18.5 to 24.9, making her obese.

Forced by financial constraints to live mainly on a diet of lentils, chickpeas and porridge, she decided the first step to getting control of her life was to get fit and lose weight.

  1. Who do you want to help? - You need to identify your target market. Not only the industry you want to work in but also a specific niche that sets you apart from the competition.

  2. Have a strategic plan - It is important to know how much money you want to make and how many clients or sales you need to make that money. It's key to think about what packages or services you will offer and how to market them.

  3. Get support - Having business advice from a mentor really helped me with Power Mums. It is important to surround yourself with people who have already done the thing they want to achieve in a way that matches your values. This can also include watching YouTube clips or podcasts.

  4. Work on yourself - You have to work on yourself and your self belief and make sure your head is in the right place or even the best plan will not work out.

  5. Enjoy the process - Do not just think of it as an end goal of making a certain amount of money. You have to play the long game, so enjoy every step.

She said: “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.

“Before that, though, I had started to lose weight, because I didn’t have a car, and I didn’t have any money, so I was walking everywhere and I couldn’t afford meat or chocolate or any luxury food.

“Being poor actually helped me to lose weight quickly.”

After giving birth to her third child Alice in April 2020, Ellie has lost 3st 13lbs (PA Real Life)
After giving birth to her third child Alice in April 2020, Ellie has lost 3st 13lbs (PA Real Life)

And in just seven months, her weight plummeted to 9st 4lb, taking her BMI down to a healthy 21.6.

She said: “I felt really confident in my body.

“I didn’t realise how much my body had changed until one day I was out shopping for sports bras and I actually looked down and I had abs.”

Ellie visited family in the UK in 2018 with her partner (PA Real Life)
Ellie visited family in the UK in 2018 with her partner (PA Real Life)

Her transformation also gave her a brilliant business idea.

She said: “I got the idea when I was wanting to find somewhere to help me lose weight for a kind of mums’ boot camp.

“I wanted to have my baby nearby, but looked after, so I wouldn’t have to push her in a pram or drop her off to day care or something while I worked out.”

“There just wasn’t anything in my area like that,” explained Ellie.

So, feeling inspired, 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 in a playpark within earshot.

Ellie believes finding a mentor is important for success (PA Real Life)
Ellie believes finding a mentor is important for success (PA Real Life)

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 quickly for just £5,000 to a friend who was already working with her and followed a new path, coaching others to be successful, like her.

Thanks to modern technology, the world is now her oyster and she has used her skills as a business coach to help people in 15 different countries – earning around £32,000 a month in 2017 and 2018.

Ellie was determined to make a better life for herself and her daughter Charlotte (PA Real Life)
Ellie was determined to make a better life for herself and her daughter Charlotte (PA Real Life)

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 was jet setting all around the world running retreats for business owners.”

Ellie set up Power Mums to help women like her keep fit (PA Real Life)
Ellie set up Power Mums to help women like her keep fit (PA Real Life)

She said: “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.

“As a group, we put £75,000 towards his charity.”

Ellie and Richie are both business coaches (PA Real Life)
Ellie and Richie are both business coaches (PA Real Life)

Now Ellie, who separated from Nuno in 2018 and lives in a different city from her new partner Richie Nelson, 32, also a business coach, is concentrating particularly 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.”

Ellie lives with her three children in Queensland (PA Real Life)
Ellie lives with her three children in Queensland (PA Real Life)

“But I think it’s important to do it for yourself and your kids,” she said.

She also feels that women are often held back by self-esteem issues, which she can use her personal experience to help them overcome.

She said: “A lack of self belief can get in their way.”

Ellie has gone from living off food parcels to a six figure salary (PA Real Life)
Ellie has gone from living off food parcels to a six figure salary (PA Real Life)

She said: “Not believing they are good enough or deserving enough is the biggest obstacle for women.

“Many suffer from imposter syndrome, too. This means they often compare themselves to others who have been in the business longer and then come to the conclusion that they’re not good enough.

“But I show them just how successful they can be. It’s really all about taking things one step at a time.”

Ellie has earned up to £32,000 a month as a business coach (PA Real Life)
Ellie has earned up to £32,000 a month as a business coach (PA Real Life)

To find out more about Ellie and her work visit her business page on Facebook herehttps://www.facebook.com/ellieburscoughcoach

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