I make £10k a month & lost 9st as a result of my side hustle – it means I can pay off my mortgage early | The Sun

WHEN new mum Rachael Walkingshaw-McGuinness lost an incredible 9st last year, she not only felt fabulous but gained the confidence to set up her own side hustle helping others do the same.

As well as her day job in insurance, the 31-year-old set up her own business as a weight loss consultantwith the 1:1 Diet Plan and now earns up to £10k a month and is a healthy size 10.

In fact, what originally started out as a side project is now her full-time job with husband Jamie, enabling her to pay for skin removal surgery and afford to pay off her mortgage early – all while working less hours.

Rachael – who lives in Newport, South Wales, with Jamie and their two-year-old daughter, Poppy – says: "Before we were both working up to 60 hours a week, and now we work around 60 hours between us.

"We’ve reduced our working hours and nearly doubled our income.

"We also get more family time together, which is so precious."


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'I was the 'big girl''

Before side-hustle success, Rachael was working solely as a manager in insurance, earning £26,000 per year and working around 50 hours per week.

She gave birth to daughter Poppy in March 2020, and at that point weighed around 20st 7lb and was a size 20 – 22.

Rachael's weight had always been an issue. She says: "I had always accepted that I was the ‘big girl’.

"I put on a stone every year – weighing 13 stone at 13, 14 stone at 14 and so on until I weighed 20 stone when I was 20.

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"Jamie had always made me feel beautiful, so I never felt pressure to change or lose weight [but] in reality I was cripplingly self-conscious."

'I felt like I was failing'

Then, returning to work in April 2021 following maternity leave, Rachael struggled to balance her role with family life.

She says: "I returned to work four days a week, but the reality was I found it very difficult to do my role in four days and often worked far more hours.

"I realised very quickly how difficult it is for parents to return to work and just how hard it can be to progress when you have children that need you.

Three months after going back to work, I felt like I was failing in all aspects of my life'

"I really felt as if I couldn’t reach my career potential and juggle that with being present for my daughter. 

"We were a typical working family, both logging back on to work when Poppy went to bed to finish tasks from that day or to get ahead for the next day.

"Three months after going back to work, I felt like I was failing in all aspects of my life – as a mum, a manager and a wife; it just wasn’t working."

Weight loss wins

Thankfully, while Rachael was struggling with balancing work and family life, one aspect of life she did have control over was her weight loss journey.

After years of unsuccessful dieting, in January 2021 Rachael started The 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan.

She says: "My diet [before] had always been either fad dieting or over-indulging for any reason and I’d entered a cycle of losing four stone here, putting another few stone back on, losing another two stone, putting three back on.

"When I returned to work I had been on The 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan for four months – and had lost nearly five stone.

"For breakfast I switched my vanilla latte to a vanilla shake with a shot of coffee, and had a vegetable and crouton soup for lunch, followed by the plan’s macaroni and cheese for dinner and a peanut crispy bar in the evening. 

"I was around 14 stone and a size 16 and felt determined to get to my goal weight before the office re-opened.

"Everyone commented on how amazing I was looking after seeing my progress and I probably felt the best I’d ever felt!"

New-found confidence

This progress gave Rachael the confidence boost to think about what she wanted from her career too and decided to set up her own side business as a weight loss consultant just to earn a little extra cash.

She says: "I had the confidence to look at other areas of my life and look at what I could do to achieve other goals – namely creating more work life balance for me, Jamie and Poppy.

"So many people had asked what I had done to lose the weight, [so] I started preparing to become a consultant from around May 2021.

"The aim was simple: start as a consultant with The 1:1 Diet as a side-hustle to drop down to three days a week in my main job, enabling us to reduce our childcare bill and be able to spend more time with Poppy at home.

"That August, I put a post out on social media saying I was starting out as a consultant for The 1:1 Diet and, if anyone was interested in going on my waiting list, to let me know.

"By October I had more than 50 people on my waiting list to start by the end of that week!"

Side-hustle to full-time career

By the end of October 2021, Rachael had nearly 100 dieters on her books, and it was becoming clear what had started as a side hustle was becoming a much bigger job.

She says: "I decided to take a demotion to a project assistant and dropped to three days a week in my day role, freeing me up to spend more time focussing on my business."

Just a month later she made the decision to go self-employed – and earlier this year her husband Jamie also left his job too.  

'It still blows my mind!'

Now, typically the business makes around £8k to £10k per month.

Rachael says: "It still blows my mind!

"The biggest thing the additional income has enabled me to do is have skin removal surgery to remove the excess skin left over from losing nearly 10 stone.

"The best thing about it all is having more time with Poppy while earning significantly more money per month.

"Nursery costs are now only taking up around 15 to 20 per cent of my monthly income in comparison to up to 65 per cent previously.

"We were previously living month to month but now we plan . . . we’re talking about potentially building a garden office and saving up for our forever home.

"We’re now even in a position to be able to forecast and look at how we can pay our mortgage off earlier than we expected . . . it feels incredible!"

Steps to success

For those thinking about setting up their own direct selling side-hustle, Rachael advises to firstly find a brand you really connect with.

She says: "I am so passionate about The 1:1 Diet that doing my job is also my passion, so I want to invest my time and energy into it.

"Have a look at the Direct Selling Association (DSA), which is the only
recognised trade body for direct selling companies in the UK.

"Also, learn from those around you, set realistic goals and always be true to yourself and what you want to get from your side-hustle.

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"That may be paying off that credit card, a summer holiday or building what could be a new career for yourself.

"The sky's the limit, but don’t feel pressured that your side-hustle has to be a huge business – it can just be a nice little extra income on the side."

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