Cheryl MacDonald is a Yoga Elder, an author, a successful and ethical business woman (take a peek at Cheryl on BBC’s Dragons’ Den or on ITV’s ‘This Morning’ with Holly Willoughby), and most importantly, mother of one gorgeous little man. She started YogaBellies when she was made redundant from her role as Business Analyst when on maternity leave. When her son was 6 weeks old, she started teaching pregnancy yoga classes in her spare room and things have grown very quickly from there.
Cheryl is an ethical, successful ‘mumpreneur’ and has been awarded multiple awards and accreditation’s including The Scottish Edge Award, three What’s on 4 Little One’s Awards as well as being finalist in Woman of the Year, Working Mum’s Best Employer and What’s on 4 Junior’s Awards. Cheryl currently lives in Singapore with her 6 year-old son, Caelen and her husband Mike (a Cardiologist,) but hails from Glasgow, Scotland originally.
Cheryl has taught yoga and birth preparation to many celebrities including Kimberley Walshe (Girls’ Aloud,) Fearne Cotton and Catherine Tyldsley. She is also the author of two books for women, Birth ROCKS and YogaBellies for Pregnancy. She also has a range of luxury, eco-yoga products, PeaceLoveYoga by YogaBellies and has a best-selling YogaBellies for Pregnancy DVD.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
I always wanted to be a yoga teacher but my mum wanted me to go to university first, ironically J I definitely didn’t plan it, I was made redundant and just hoped to teach a few classes around my son.
Have you faced any challenges along the way and if so, how did you deal with them?
Working around my son is the main one! I would work in the middle of the night while feeding, my main priority has always been him. The business has grown very organically because I and my other teachers genuinely love and believe in what we do.
On a typical workday, how does you start your day and how does it end?
I stumble out of bed around 5am when my son gets up (he’s 7 now so its unlikely to change) and I practice 10-20 mins of yoga, whatever I can. I get my son off to school then start working through my emails and plan my working day. I liase with my teachers online but my duties cover all kinds of things like recutiment, working on new products, creating new class plans and incentives for the teachers, social media etc. I work from home so I can usually practice yoga again later or get to the gym before Caelen comes home.
Tell us a little bit about your company and how did that come about?
When I was pregnant, I felt there was so little support for women. I attended very dry pregnancy yoga classes and thought there has tp be more, women need a community. It just grew from there.
Tell us about your Dragon’s Den experience
It was very scary! Mike (my husband) and I kept changing our minds saying , oh we can’t do this. But on the day the Dragons’ were actually lovely. I kept waiting on them to start shouting at us but they were fantastic.
Have you ever had a mentor or a sponsor or anyone who has helped your career?
Not really no. My husband has been a fantastic support and I was part of an entrepreneurial hub, Espark which really helped me, but mostly everything I’ve learned as I’ve gone along.
If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?
Flexibility. To allow women to work around their family. There is no logical reason for someone to have to sit at a desk from 9am-5pm every day and expect them to be productuive. I do things when they need done and I take time for my family and my personal wellness when I need it. I promote this across my employees and franchisees too.
If you were to look back in five years, what would you see in terms of your achievements?
That I had helped women to work around their families, to care for themselves, their children and each other.
Tell us about your plans for the future?
More franchisees across the world spreading the YogaBellies message. More products and a greater community of women.
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I’m an inclusive, not scary, totally normal yet heavily qualified yoga instructor and founder of YogaBellies® and the Birth ROCKS Method. I’m trained in self hypnosis and meditation and what I love is helping women (ALL women) enjoy yoga without having to whisper all the time and wear fancy activewear that cost a month’s rent.
I believe Yoga is for everyone.