Starting a business at any stage of your life is already hard. What about if it happens simultaneously with a drastic change in your physical body?
In this episode, Katie Taylor, Founder and CEO of The Latte Lounge, shares her journey from discovering that she has perimenopause and how that led her to build an amazing community that helped a lot of women. Listen up as she enlightens us that we are not alone in whatever journey we are going through.
If your hormone levels fluctuate all the time, these symptoms are enough to make a diagnosis, and no one should suffer, and nobody should be spending years and years waiting and trying. Don't suffer in silence.
Get your health sorted first, and then if you’re working in corporate, before you go and set up on your own, get that all in place before you leave. Get some business coaching and have a business plan. Speak to your bank manager and figure out how you're going to finance everything.
01:08 Episode Intro
01:34 About Katie
02:15 The story that led Katie to create The Latte Lounge
08:18 How Katie created a community that helped a lot of women
10:08 How the conversations about menopause and perimenopause have changed
11:45 The effect of Katie’s condition on her work in the earlier stage.
14:02 Katie’s advice for women going through perimenopause
18:21 Katie’s mission in the workforce
20:33 Katie’s advice for women who wants to start their own business on their well-being
22:50 How to connect with Katie
Katie Taylor is the Founder and CEO of The Latte Lounge, an online platform for women over 40. Married for 28 years with 4 children, Katie has seen it all and understands that the sandwich generation brings about so many challenges. Previously she worked for over 25 years in PR, Marketing, Fundraising, and Event Organising for a variety of different children's and mental health charities.
Hi, I’m Ruth, a business coach specializing in helping freelancers and business owners adjust their mindset and marketing so they can get fully booked with clients they LOVE to work with. I’ve helped hundreds of self-employed women achieve the time and money freedom they craved.
I’ve started this podcast because when I first went all in and left the corporate world to be a freelancer, I was grateful for any work that came my way. After over 20 years of freelancing and working for other people, I started to realize I’d created a glass ceiling for myself.
In 2017, I finally started listening to that voice that had been telling me for a long time that I wasn’t doing what I loved and fulfilling my true potential. It took a critical illness to give me that wake-up call. I don’t want the same to happen to you.
You can expect practical advice, inspiring stories, and a lot of aha moments as we uncover and kick to the curb all the obstacles you have been putting in your way.
I’m on a mission to inspire women to start and play bigger in business.
Free stuff: https://www.ruthgilbey.com/next-client
Ruth Gilbey 00:04
Hello and welcome to the inspiring women in business podcast. My name is Ruth Gilbey, and I'm a business and marketing coach. I'm on a mission to inspire women to start and play bigger in business. Now I started this podcast because when I first went all in and left the corporate world to be a freelancer, I was just grateful for any work that came my way. After over 20 years of freelancing and working for other people, I started to realize I'd created a glass ceiling myself. It was in 2017 when I finally started listening to that voice that had been telling me for a long time that I wasn't doing what I loved, and I wasn't fulfilling my true potential. It took a critical illness to give me that wake-up call. And I don't want the same thing to happen to you. You can expect practical advice, interviews, inspiring stories, and a lot of aha moments as we uncover and kick to the curb—all the obstacles you've been putting in your way.
Ruth Gilbey 01:08
Hi, everyone. Welcome back to the inspiring women in business podcast. I'm very excited to have Katie Taylor from the Latte Lounge with me today. Katie and I met virtually a few years ago, didn't we? Katie, and I'm a big admirer of what Katie has been doing. So thank you so much for joining me today. Katie, do you want to introduce yourself to everyone tell everybody what you do and who you help?
Katie Taylor 01:34
Yeah, sure. Thanks for having me on, Ruth. Lovely to see you. So yeah, my name is Katie Taylor, and I run an online platform for midlife women. And it's called the Latte Lounge because I've always had the best kind of conversations, and chats and pieces of it basically, with my girlfriends in my local coffee shop. So I wanted it to sort of have that feeling of, of an online coffee shop, really.
Ruth Gilbey 02:00
Amazing. So do you want to? I know you've shared that I've heard your story. And it's so helpful and inspiring. But could you let everyone know? How did you come about creating this amazing community that's helped so many women?
Katie Taylor 02:15
Yes. So I'm 52 now, but when I was 43, there was a four-year period of my life from 43 to 47, where I basically lost myself. I was a very busy mum, I've got four kids, I was working, you know, running a home, and I was managing really fine. I never found it particularly, you know, difficult having such a big family that I started to feel exhausted all the time. Very, very teary, and emotional. I started developing anxiety, low mood, I had sort of aching joints, and all sorts of weird and wonderful symptoms, like heart palpitations, and I kept going back and forward to my GP over those four years. And they, first of all, they said, Well, maybe you should try working less, you know, possibly you're suffering from depression. And maybe you're just juggling too much. So they sort of suggested I should try and work part-time and just sort of taking the pressure off myself a bit. So I did that for a bit, and nothing changed. Then I started sort of having this brain fog, like I was walking through a sort of, you know, almost like a cloud and sticky treacle every day and just felt disconnected from the world. So I sort of felt like I was going through the motions, but not really, my emotions were not attached to anything, I sort of, I really just felt no joy in life. And every time I went back to the doctor, they sort of offered me antidepressants, which I wasn't keen on taking. They said, Well, why don't you just lose weight or, you know, get fit. And you know, and I had put on about over this period for stone and weight as well, but I just had no energy or motivation or drove to even address it. But I did try and exercise and eat well, and nothing helped. They sent me to various heart specialists. They put a heart monitor on me for 24 hours to see if there were heart palpitations was anything, you know, worrying. They suggested possibly early-onset dementia, which I was terrified about because that was just shocking to me. You know, I've forgotten words and that kind of thing. And, you know, sent to a psychiatrist and an orthopedic surgeon for my bones. And really, I just got to a point where I just couldn't cope anymore. I was not living life really particularly well. I became a hermit. I didn't want to go out; I was hibernating. And I was just a shell of a woman, really. So I eventually thank goodness My father is a retired breast cancer professor, and he was the one I just went crying to, and I just said, I don't know what's wrong with me. I think I'm getting mad. I think I'm a hypochondriac. And he said, I think this is hormones, and I think you should go and see a gynecologist who specializes in hormones. So I went to her, you know, and I still had periods, and I've never suffered from hot flashes, but within half an hour of describing my symptoms, she said to me, Well, this is classic perimenopause. Now I'd never heard of the word perimenopause. I was in my 40s. I, you know, I didn't have hot flashes. I still have periods. So to me, it was like, well, hang on, I can't be menopausal. That's just old women then rocking chairs with gray hair and a fan. But she explained that perimenopause could start up to 10 years before you know menopause. And she suggested I started on hormone replacement therapy, which was the progesterone either in a coil, which I'll go on about in a minute, and estrogen patches. So that night, I came home, and it was one of those light bulb moments. And I couldn't actually believe that these seemingly unrelated symptoms all had a reason for them. So, on the one hand, I felt enormous relief. But I also felt incredibly angry that no one had diagnosed this or even mentioned the word perimenopause. And so I turned to Facebook. And there were all the Facebook groups I've been following. Over the years, we're sort of for mums with toddlers, and they were talking about nappies and playdates and buggies. And it wasn't really relevant for me anymore. I felt like I've grown to the next stage, and my kids were teenagers. And I wanted to talk about sort of women's health issues. So I set up the Latte Lounge, and lo and behold, that night, I had over 1000 member requests, which was overwhelming. So I stayed up for two days approving all these requests. And I couldn't believe how many other women could relate to my story. So that's sort of how the Facebook group started. But the reason I decided to set it up with a website was that I wanted to support these women properly. They were coming with some really troubling women's health issues, in particular, whether it was menopause or gyne issues, but they were also coming about other things, you know, teenage mental health, aging parents, you know, divorce or getting lost and wanting to retrain and try new jobs. And so I've put together an advisory team, there was a medical advisory team and a team of writers and bloggers and contributors who could, you know, support the women on the group properly, rather than some well, meaning women giving some tips and advice that may not quite be the right advice. And I guess because I'm a doctor's daughter, I think I've been brought up to you know, my father's always said, Show me the evidence. Yeah. He's very sort of anti-quackery. And so I wanted to be sure it was a safe evidence-based, you know, a website providing non-biased information to support, inform and signpost, women to the right help and information, rarely,
Ruth Gilbey 08:02
So many questions I've got from what you just said. It's just that so so many women want to join the latte lounge. And so that what they say to this is no other space for me. They couldn't. There was no place for that else for them to talk about it.
Katie Taylor 08:18
I think it was, look, I think it was really timely because when I joined Facebook, Facebook had only just existed. And all US mums sort of who was 40 rarely joined Facebook really just kind of see what our kids were up to check. They were safe online. So when I started this group, those women had grown up with me. So at that time, there wasn't a Facebook group. And then what there weren't these websites, online spaces talking about menopause, and women's health and midlife issues, they just didn't exist. And over time, you know, I started to sort of connecting with other women who were sort of doing similar things, you know, or slightly different things and, and that space is now kind of exploded and and and to a point where you know, I'm now 52. So, you know, I've noticed there's this huge midlife movement. Now I think everybody's just. We're all sort of getting to the same place at the right time, I suppose. So but I just feel a massive responsibility to each and every woman in that group because they're coming to that group because they don't know where else to go. So my mission and aim with every single person are to sort of packing them off to wherever they need to go with as much information as we can find for them so that they're safely sent off to the right place that they're not lost in this kind of, I don't know, online space, and they're coming to us in the middle of the night. So that tells you a lot. You know, it's almost like the Samaritans they're lying there at night worrying about everything, and they kind of need to dump it somewhere and pray someone will help them.
Ruth Gilbey 09:57
Do you think the conversations about Do you think it's getting easier and the conversations are getting it's easier for women to talk about menopause and perimenopause? Now, do you think it's changed?
Katie Taylor 10:08
I think it is now because I think what's happened is about a year after I started, Andrew McLean came on to Loose Women, and she announced she was leaving Loose Women to have a hysterectomy, which threw her straight into menopause. And she wrote a book about her journey. And it suddenly kind of opened up the floodgates, and everyone started talking about it. And there's, you know, Meg Matthews, you know, is now a very big menopause campaigner has been talking about it. And you've got people like Eureka Johnson and Carol Vorderman and Lorraine Kelly. So you've got all these high-profile celebrities who are now all talking about it. And then you've got sort of the women's voices. You know, I connected with a wonderful lady called Diane dancy Brink, who we met through my group, and I've been campaigning with her for a long time now at a government level. She set up the mate menopause matter petition. And the campaign aims are for better GP training for menopause to be taught in schools, which it's now on the curriculum because of the campaigning that she's done. And lastly, for workplace policies so that women are being supported in the workplace. So I think it's a combination of celebrities getting out there talking about it, Davina McCall, her program out, and then you've got all these women campaigning and sort of saying, you know, enough is enough.
Ruth Gilbey 11:31
Going back to just also that you said that when you were going through this, and you were going to the doctors, and many suggestions that you were given and you were given put through so many different tests, you were suggested that you worked part-time as well.
Katie Taylor 11:45
Yeah. And that was, I mean, at first, I agreed with them because I thought, you know, hang on a minute, you know, I had four kids under the age of seven, you know, and that's, that's a lot for anyone to sort of juggle, you know, and then you're working full time, then you're running a home and, and, you know, we're the sandwich generation. So we're kind of stuck between bringing up our kids helping our aging parents, and we're kind of the people who just, there's just no time or energy aimed at us. And so I thought, well, you know, luckily, my husband could support me, and I did go part-time. Ironically, I was working for a mental health charity at the time. So they were amazing. And they just said, Whatever it takes, just do it. But eventually, I had to give up my job because I just, I just couldn't focus. I'd be staring at budgets. And it would be like staring at a blank piece of paper. And I couldn't string sentences together. And it was a combination of being embarrassed that I wasn't fit for purpose and then terrified to ever go back. Because if at least if I was at home, I could embarrass myself. And that's the thing I find probably the most shocking. And the thing I want to help women with more than anything is to keep them in the workplace.
Ruth Gilbey 12:57
What advice would you give because I work with a lot of women and I have my own membership? And some of the women are talking about perimenopausal symptoms or going through menopause as well. So and I personally I'm 47. But I went through, I guess, chemical menopause. I went through early because of having breast cancer. And I remember myself thinking, No, I wasn't ready to deal with that. And you know that it was casually said, you might go through menopause. And that was it. You know, there was no information. And there's so many different side effects and so many different ways it and it was quite a shock for me to go through that without being because as I say, in my mind, I was like, I don't have to think about that until I'm in my 50s. Yeah, what advice would you give to women who are, you know, feeling like something's not quite right? Or they think they might be going through perimenopause, or they're trying to work as well and juggle life. What advice would you give them?
Katie Taylor 14:02
I mean, first of all, I just want to say I'm really sorry for what you went through. And I think it's quite before I give advice if you can bear with me for a couple of minutes. I want to give a bit of context and history, you know, and which is very relevant to what you've been through reason. There was a WHO report that came out, you know, 20 years ago, I can't actually remember 20 years ago, and they were just women were all on HRT, and they were doing really well, and it was just a standard thing. And this report wrongly suggested that being on HRT increased the risk of breast cancer. So overnight, all the women just came off it was a sensationalist headline, it had been leaked to the press, and all the doctors lost confidence in prescribing it, but it was a flawed trial because of the age group of the women in the trial row are a lot older, and I don't need to sort of going into that people can look it up. The point is that everyone has lost confidence in prescribing HRT. And this whole new generation of doctors have not been sick of not Seeing or being brought up with the latest evidence or to see that check the nice guidelines, and it's safe and, in fact, estrogen-only breast cancer. So for people like me who've had a hysterectomy, it actually reduces your risk of breast cancer. So there is no wonder that women are scared and they're confused. And I think my advice to everyone is we have on our website. We have a symptom checklist. If they download or print it off, it's free. You just download a print of the symptom checklist. There's also an article on questions to ask your doctor and to prepare for your appointment. And I would then, if you're feeling symptoms, I would make a double appointment with your GP. Ideally, see if there's a perhaps a female GP of menopausal age, you know, just because perhaps they'll be able to relate to it a bit better. Or even ask at the phone call. Is there anyone who has a special interest in menopause and then take along your symptom checklist, print off the nice guidelines for menopause care because HRT, not antidepressants as first-line treatment for perimenopause and menopause symptoms, and go along to your doctor fully prepared? And also, just to note, the blood tests are not helpful over the age of 45. So your hormone levels fluctuate all the time symptoms are enough to make a diagnosis, and no one should suffer. And nobody and nobody should be spending years and years waiting and trying and waiting and try. You know, HRT today is natural. It is replacing the hormones you've already lost. We think it should be rebranded and estrogen deficiency disease in the same way that thyroid you know, if you have low thyroid, you take thyroxin It's that simple. It's it should be a rebranding exercise. And also, there are so you know, I'm not pushing HRT, lots of women don't want to or can't, and nutrition and fitness and lifestyle are so important regardless, but if you can, and you want to take HRT, there are so many health benefits, reduces heart disease, reduces the risk of dementia reduces osteoporosis. And you know, for those that can take it, let me tell you, for me, it's like rewinding the clock, I would say 30 years, you know, I've got so much energy I've my brain clarity is fantastic. But whatever, if you're worried or you're concerned, or you've had breast cancer, or there's a family history, and you're not happy with your GP, or they're not confident asked to be referred to a medical specialist, and then you sit down, and you have an informed joint discussion with them. Now you can go on the British Medical Society website, and you can type in your postcode, and it will show you where your local, your nearest NHS specialist is. There aren't that many. Unfortunately, we've got a list of specialists on our website. Those are private medical specialists, if that's an option, where you can have a one-to-one appointment pretty quickly, but just don't suffer in silence.
Ruth Gilbey 17:58
Such make great advisors. This is such an important episode for women because I personally know people who've been through it, and I rushed over what's changed HRT and the different women that you know, they were going through all sorts because of it. So I think it's such an important conversation.
Katie Taylor 18:21
Yeah, and I think people mustn't think it. They're suddenly somehow injecting some weird foreign medicine into their body. That's not what HRT is. It's just naturally replacing your hormones. And we also we work with corporates now. So you know, I know you've got lots of, you know, women who got their own businesses or you know, work for other people. But the one thing I'm very passionate about is we go into workplaces now. And we can help write policies or guidelines. We can organize educational talks or training HR managers, and it's about breaking down the taboos. And I think if you know if you're the business that you work for if there's a conversation going, and we're breaking down the embarrassment, and you know, there are we often put panels together where we sort of bring in some of the staff members to talk about their own experiences. And I think, interestingly enough, we did one with a technology company a few months ago, there were 350 people in the audience, and 50 of them were men, and it was the man who had the most questions and was the most grateful because they like my husband, a lot of them felt they'd lost their partners, their wives, they didn't recognize them anymore. You know, well, there's, you know, very male-dominated businesses where women are just embarrassed to even bring it up or worried about keeping their jobs, and they're just stuck. There are some really simple workplace adjustments that businesses can employ. And you know, what were our slot assertive 40-50-year-olds work? We should be top of our game. We shouldn't be leaving our jobs now. And it's so it's a no-brainer to support your workforce, and you know, be educated.
Ruth Gilbey 19:58
100% such important work, I think it has a ripple effect. I think, you know, for everyone, more education, more understanding, it's just going to have that ripple effect onto everybody. So for my listeners, who a lot of them are, they might be working in corporate, they might be freelancers, or they might be just starting their business, they might be working in corporate and thinking, you know, I want to leave and start, you know, start my own business. I want to become a freelancer. What kind of advice? Would you give them more, I guess, around their well-being? What kind of advice would you...
Katie Taylor 20:33
Look, I think I left my job because I felt so terrible. I didn't know, you know, was feeling terrible that I felt so terrible. And I'd never ever imagined I would ever, ever set up my own business, the thought of it terrified me, I've always worked in charities, so I'm used to kind of giving, and I hate talking about money in business, it just never sat comfortably with me, in some ways. You know, I'm now kind of grateful for what I went through. Because I love working for myself and working from home has provided a work-life balance, I've made loads of mistakes along the way. But what I have learned is you've got to get any advice you can take from anyone take it as surround yourself with really good people who you trust, you know, who are experienced, and who are happy to sort of who have the same vision as you because you can't do it on your own. Because if you do it on your own, you will just be, you know, sort of plodding along and not really growing. You'll just be kind of stagnating. And also, you know, obviously, you've got to earn money, and you've got to be able to survive. So, you know, it was scary leaving. Luckily, I had a partner who could support me while I got myself better. But if you're not feeling great, get that sorted first before you leave the job. Make sure that you're you know your hormones are balanced. And you're mentally well because a lot of women going through perimenopause make massive, drastic changes. I've heard people just get divorced. I mean, I moved house for no reason whatsoever, you know, people do very random things. So get your health sorted first. And then before, if you are working for a corporate, you want to leave and set up on your own kind of get that all in place before you leave. So speak to people like the lovely Ruth and get some business coaching and have a business plan, and speak to your bank manager and figure out how you're going to finance everything. But I realized now that I'm only as good as the team who were around me, that's, and that is the truth.
Ruth Gilbey 22:33
Yeah, I think that's Yeah, get the foundations in place because then that will set you up to great advice, and also the 100%. You don't have to do it on your own and have a great community around you. Thank you so much, Katie. How can people find out more about you? Where can they find you?
Katie Taylor 22:50
So the website is www.lattelounge.co.uk. If you want to, email us at [email protected] And the Facebook group, we've got about 20,000 members now, is the Latte Lounge top tips for women over 40. And on Instagram, we are @loungethelatte. Yeah, but you'll find all of those via the website. So just click on it.
Ruth Gilbey 23:17
Awesome. So I'm going to put all that in the show notes. And I'll also put a link to that. Download the symptoms checker as well for everybody as well so that all the links that Katie has mentioned will all be in the show notes with the episode and the symptom checker. Thank you so much for your time today, Katie, wonderful to have you on the show.
Katie Taylor 23:38
Pleasure. Thank you, Ruth, take care.
Ruth Gilbey 23:40
Thanks for listening to the inspiring women in business podcast. I hope you found this episode helpful. If you did, I would love it if you would leave me a review. Also, I would love to connect with you on Instagram. That's where I hang out most of the time. I'm @Ruth_Gilbey. I'll put a link in the show notes for you as well come and connect with me. Tell me about your business. And also tell me what you'd like to hear next on the podcast. And lastly, go and check out the business building hub on my website. There you can find more amazing free resources to help you take the next step in your business. And you can also find out other ways that you can work with me. I'll see you soon.