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'The only way to do it all is to accept that you can't

Single mother Bernadette Doyle, from Belfast, founded business-coaching empire Client Magnets five years ago.

And now juggling a multi-million euro empire with the school run, she's on her way to Dublin to teach other working mums how to do it all too.

The former sales trainer reveals how becoming a mum inspired her to work smarter, not harder.

"When I discovered I was expecting my first child in 2006, things changed for me completely," recalls mum-of-two Bernadette, who was among a group of entrepreneurs invited to Richard Branson's Necker Island estate before it was destroyed by fire earlier this year.

"Up until then, all of the success I'd achieved in business came from trying to work like a man -- trading time for money, working long hours and getting results."

"After my son Benan was born, I didn't have the time or stamina to do that any more, so I began thinking of ways to package my expertise more efficiently."

The result was a hit series of DVDs, seminars and online coaching that would deliver her money-making message to more people at once -- and still make time to watch Thomas the Tank Engine with Benan (5) and JJ (3).

"The type of business I have offers flexibility," says Bernadette. "Personally, I think that's the only option for a woman who's got children.

"As a working mum, you don't stand a chance in the corporate world -- by the time you get to the office, you've already done three hours work."

So what's her secret?

"Women often tell me I'm their role model," says Bernadette, "but I think the only way to do it all is to accept that you can't.

"I started out by hiring a nanny and doing the grocery shopping online -- and actually, it was harder to hire assistants at home than work because I had judgments about what that made me as a woman.

"But there's absolutely no way you can run a home and successful business at the same time -- just this morning, I had a coaching call with a client who was in tears because her business is going well, but her house is a mess.

"Working mums should use their business know-how to manage their home," she advises. "There's a direct link between how successful you'll be in business and the state of your fridge.

"By biggest tip is: Get help," adds Bernadette. "I still like my laundry done and beds made, I just don't do it all myself. And by accepting that I physically can't, I'm a better mum."

See www.clientmagnets.com

Irish Independent