Today I am interviewing Sarah Tucker, who is the founder of The Mortgage Mum. Sarah is a prime example of somebody who’s used her passion to generate a profitable business for herself, working around her children and also supporting other women to do the same in financial services.
Sarah was a contestant on the voice in 2019. She was on Team J-Hud, Jennifer Hudson, of course. In this particular podcast episode, we’re going to dive into Sarah’s personal story about what happened on The Voice and how she actually then went on to build a highly successful mortgage business as a mum herself.
I highly recommend that you head over to the podcast of this interview where Sarah was kind enough to showcase her beautiful voice and sing for us during the episode.
For those people who haven’t come across your work before, who haven’t followed you on The Voice, could you perhaps share a little bit of information about who you are and what The Mortgage Mum is all about?
Sure. I founded The Mortgage Mum during my stint on The Voice UK in 2019. It was actually 2018 when I incorporated the company and The Voice aired the year later.
The Mortgage Mum is really about two different sides of the business. We’re a mortgage broking firm made up of women from all over the UK. Not just mums, but we encourage mums to come and work with us because one of our main values is flexible working. We do all sorts of types of mortgages, bridging loans, specialist lending, protection, anything that you need basically.
The other side of the business, which is the one I’m probably most passionate about, is bringing women from all across the UK, helping them get qualified in their CMAP qualification and then bringing them into the firm and supervising them remotely and training them to be able to be mortgage brokers. The idea of that is that they can have work life balance. They can have a career they love working from home and be there for those important things for their children all at the same time.
Having done it myself I know it’s possible. It’s trying to show other women that it’s possible for them too.
I love that. Can you share with us, Sarah, how did you become a mortgage adviser? Did you just wake up one day and say I’m going to be a mortgage adviser today?
No, and actually it’s funny because it’s very linked to the singing. I’ve always kept the two worlds separate, but now I’m starting to realise they’re very entangled and I should embrace that. Hence me singing on your podcast.
I was sitting at my desk, a part time legal PA. I’d had my daughter, she was eight months old at the time . I’ve always auditioned for these shows X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent and had varying degrees of success, but never been aired, even though I had really amazing moments with people like Simon Cowell.
I’ve had a real journey up to this point and I was meant to be on Britain’s Got Talent on the Monday. I was really ready for it, really excited. I’d had a really bad experience with Simon Cowell that year. But I got a phone call and they said, Sarah, we’re really sorry, we’re over subscribed. We’re not going to be able to take your audition Monday, but please come back next year. It was a long line of rejection.
I had my daughter and I remember, just like a switch, I thought I can’t do this anymore. I was 31, been auditioning since I was 17, and I just felt kind of done. I’m done with putting all my energy in something so out of my control and it’s not really that fair. So I’m sitting there thinking, right, what can I do? I’ve got all this energy and enthusiasm and I need to put it somewhere that’s going to change my life. I used to work in mortgages way back as an administrator. I remember thinking, this is really interesting. The credit crunch has passed maybe that would be a good idea.
I Googled, how do I become a mortgage broker? CMAP popped up straight away, very clear. I called my husband and said, I want to be a mortgage broker and I think I can do it around the kids, working from home. This course is going to cost me £500, do you think I should do it? He said, do it, just go ahead and do it. So I studied on the train, at home while my daughter napped and created a disciplined plan. I like discipline once I know what I’m doing, I’m generally alright at sticking to that.
Within six months I got qualified and I can’t tell you what it did for me. It was an amazing, empowering feeling to take a qualification as a grown up and pass, something that was purely for my own benefit and the benefit of my daughter and hopefully future children. Then the real challenge was what do you do? I didn’t know what to do with this qualification or how to start working as a broker.
Because I used to be in the industry, I managed to find somebody and he took me under his wing. I started working on the side as a broker. I was lucky enough to find somebody to give me a chance, but those opportunities are very few and far between for women, especially when you’re quite openly saying you’re going to have more children and you’ve got another job. I didn’t realise I was blueprinting what would become my future business. In the end it worked and it worked even better once I left London and made that my sole focus around the kids.
At what point did you go from sitting your qualifications to becoming a mortgage broker and then setting up The Mortgage Mum? How long did that take?
So I got quantified in 2015 and started working months later. I left London after having my son Joshua in 2016. So had my son, joined another company that was a lot more supportive in terms of administration support and protection support. I learnt a lot there.
Then during The Voice I found all this courage that I never knew I had and having gone through something so terrifying, but so exhilarating after getting through my blind audition, I had this seed of an idea for years but I finally had the courage to say it. My now business partner was my boss, and they said, if you get through the battles, we’ll do it and we’ll set it up as a company.
I didn’t really know what that meant. How do you set up a company? It was during The Voice because I felt amazing during that time and I felt like the sky was the limit and anything is possible. So why not now, why not set this up now and try and help women now while I’m feeling so high. I’m so glad I did because I don’t think I would have set it up otherwise.
How important was it for you to use that purpose and passion that you had in your personal life to essentially grow a business? How important is it to go from your passion with The Voice and singing into building a business for profit?
I didn’t really realise at the time what an important role Mortgage Mum would play. My healing from The Voice experience, but also like you say, in turning passion into profit.
Sometimes in life you make really key decisions that you don’t realise you’re making, such massive decisions in that moment you’re just making them. At the time when I was on The Voice, I remember thinking, I know this industry and I know it could let me down tomorrow and I couldn’t really believe they would air it. When I came off and I’d just got four turns and I was high as a kite. I’d never felt so happy. I remember someone saying “this is going to be an amazing episode”. I said to them, what are you talking about? They said “of course it’s going to air. You’ve just got four turns!” I was like, I’ve had four yes’s before on X Factor and it never aired. They were like, but “this is The Voice; you’re going to get a shot. You’re in Team J-Hud, you are going to be on TV”.
I just didn’t believe it until it happened because I’ve been let down so much by this world. I knew that even when things were great, that it could change. I thought this is a unique time of my life. My 15 minutes, if you like, what can I do in this time that’s going to give me longevity and that’s potentially going to make a difference in the world? Not just me winning the show, happy days for me and my kids and my husband and my family, but that’s actually going to do something significant.
So I must have known that life after The Voice wasn’t going to be what I hoped necessarily. I had a short pocket of time to do something significant. You can use your passion and direct it to something else that’s going to give you profit from a logical standpoint while still nurturing your passion project on the side. I think that’s what I’ve learned. It doesn’t have to be the same thing necessarily.
One of the things I love about what you do, Sarah, is that you really do bring in your passion into your work. Your Instagram account, for example, you do so many great tips and videos that you share on your Instagram feed about how to take out a mortgage when you’re self employed, for example.
What I love is that, I’ve seen you singing on there as well, and you really demonstrate who you are as a person through your personal brand. I think that’s incredibly powerful.
I just want to touch upon one point that you mentioned there, Sarah about your journey of healing, because I am sure there are a whole bunch of people reading this right now who have been through similar situations in their life. Probably not interviewing on The Voice or X Factor perhaps but stories where we have been through trauma or grief or loss or something that has really caused some significant impact in our own lives, which can actually then direct you in terms of, how do I deal with this? How do I deal with this significant trauma?
When you talk about your healing journey, Sarah, how did you deal with the rejection from The Voice?
It was really hard. I’ve had so much rejection over the years. I thought to myself, I just want my moment. I just want this moment to validate all these years of trying so that when my kids are older and they have kids, I can know I did it and show them and say, when I got that moment, it was everything. It was so much better than I thought it could be, which never happens to me. I have very high standards and high expectations generally. It was everything I wanted it to be and I was so happy.
I was getting tipped by the producers that I could win. I had allowed myself the first time to really believe that anything is possible and that I could win and I wanted to win. I really, really wanted to win and have a record deal and make music. I just loved it. And I felt like I was right where I should be. And then that ended in a heartbeat just as quickly as it happened. It finished. And I came home to my life that I was very happy in before The Voice, but I was not the same woman. The woman that stepped on that stage and delivered that blind audition was a completely different version of me. I can’t go back to her, even if I want to.
Some days I want to want less but I can’t. I’ve stepped up and it’s new level, new devil. I’m here now. I’ve had new lessons to learn as the new upgraded, version of myself.
So the crash was hard. You allow yourself to go higher, as Brene Brown says, you’re going to get your ass kicked. That’s the way it is. If you dare greatly, you sign up to get your ass kicked sometimes. I came off and nobody knew I was off because the show’s always a step ahead. So I had a week to just sit in it, knowing that no one was watching me. I was in grief. I can’t tell you the pain, I’ve only ever experienced pain like that when I lost a child. And I know it sounds crazy, it’s a TV show, but it wasn’t. It was my “I’ve made it”, my validation of myself.
So I crashed and burned, and of course I had The Mortgage Mum, which when I was sky high, felt like a brilliant idea and totally in my capability to deliver. But when I was low and crashed and broken, I just thought I haven’t got it in me to do anything. I don’t even know how to parent while feeling like this, let alone own a company and deliver to these women.
I think it was you that said this to me, Catherine, that sometimes you can birth something in pain. Look at childbirth, you go through pain, but you birth something beautiful in it. I really now see that The Mortgage Mum was that because there was only one then and she called me in the most horrible time of my life saying, “I’ve just passed my exams and I’m so happy. And I feel so excited. I’m going to get my summer back. And I just have to tell you, I know you’re not ready yet, but I can’t wait to join when you are”.
I just thought, how am I going to do this? I can’t let this woman down. I’ve sold her the dream and she would have nowhere to go if we’re not here. So I threw myself into hard work instead of sitting and wallowing. It was a painful process and people might see the TV show and think all of that doesn’t relate to me, but these TV shows capture us because they’re real life. They’re real people with real emotions, they give you access to people’s vulnerability. They put it on a screen and you feel it. You can feel it from the screen and you relate to it for whatever your journey is.
So whether it’s a four turn on The Voice or you’re trying to get validation from your parents or your teenage self need of validation that you’re cool enough we need people to say you’re good enough. Business is not easy. It’s not supposed to be but I’m really glad I persevered because it helped me heal. Helping others helped my heart to heal from my grief about the situation. Now I feel like I’m right where I should be.
There’s a couple of things you’ve mentioned in there Sarah. You mentioned about increasing your self worth, and we talk about this a lot on the podcast.
Was there anything specifically that you did or any books that you read or anything that helped you to improve your self worth?
I’m somebody who’s very committed to my self development and it’s a practice. And if I fall off I notice it. I feel different. I don’t feel as good. I learned that the hard way, because I did and did and did, and then I got postnatal depression, and I couldn’t anymore. That taught me self care is vital.
Self development is crucial for me and for everybody. I try and teach that wherever I go, because I see it in other people and I think you’re not looking after yourself. We live in such a busy world. Burnout is so common so self development is crucial to me. I love growing and learning and developing, learning more and more about myself.
The books that really helped me is The Universe Has Your Back by Gabby Bernstein. I loved that book about obstacles are detours in the right direction. I had to believe that was true when I was in the middle of my own obstacle. Anything by Brene Brown I just will watch and listen to endlessly. She’s amazing.
The one I love at the moment is by Rebecca Campbell, Light is the New Black. That inspires me to continue with following what’s right. For me, not necessarily what the norm is, but doing what’s right for me and and knowing that will help the world in some way, if I do that.
That leads quite nicely actually into spirituality because from a wealth creation perspective, as women building businesses, it’s about continuously learning, pushing those boundaries or understanding lessons about our own lives and how we can use that to fuel us, to deliver better results, better outcomes, more purpose in life, more fulfillment, more happiness.
All of those things that we seek and personal development I think is really, really important and spirituality too. You’ve shared how you journal and your morning routines. What’s your self care practice? What does that look like? What kind of routines do you practice in your life?
I do something called Miracle Morning. I’m not going to lie, I go through periods like everybody else. Nail it for 40 days, then I’ll drop off. It’s a book by Hal Elrod. It’s something you read initially and think there’s no way I’m getting up earlier and doing all of that before I’ve started my day but it is absolutely brilliant.
I get up half an hour earlier than the rest of my house and I always exercise first thing. I do SAVERS. S is for silence, I do meditation. A is affirmations, which I never believed in as a concept, but actually I’m totally sold on. V is Visualisation, E is exercise, R is reading and S is Scribing and you map it out. So you use Alexa, for example, to time it out.
Every single morning it means you’re reading a bit of self development. You’re silencing your mind. You’re Visualising what you want to happen next, you’re moving your body. That’s not all in half an hour, by the way! You’re writing down your feelings and you’re connecting. The more I did the more came through, the more my journaling would take over and deliver me messages.
I love connecting. I get messages. It helps me motivate my day and it makes me feel great. Then the kids wake up and they know what it is as well. If they come up to early, I will say, mummy is doing her miracle morning. Sometimes they will join in and sometimes they just understand, okay, when mummy’s finished, she’ll be with us, which I never would have imagined would happen with a two year old and a five year old at the time.
I love how you involve them in that. That’s amazing. How old are your children now?
Seven and four.
Amazing. So quite possible, even with little ones to involve them in your morning routines.
Yeah. The novelty has kind of worn off for them now they just leave me to it. But the fact is they understand it as a concept. And I think that’s really powerful in itself. If they see me closing my eyes, sitting down, they know not to interrupt me. They know that that’s meditation and they know enough to do the same pose themselves.
I’d love to have been told that from a young age because I think they’re going to need it. My daughter, especially. She says, I need quiet time. So it’s good. I really like it.
What are the consequences for you if you let those boundaries slide, when you don’t do those miracle mornings?
Overwhelm, stress, racing thoughts, un-productivity, snappy, snappy judgements, sensitive. I feel resentful. I feel like I’m chasing my tail. I haven’t got caught up with myself and it will be bedtime. I’ll meditate before bed, which is pointless because I just fall asleep. Although that’s still relaxation, it’s not as good as the morning.
So those days I feel the difference. It’s one of those things that it’s not necessarily a bad day if I don’t do it, but I notice it more if I don’t do it, than if I do. It’s not like I come out and feel that the sky is amazing and my day is going to be glorious today. That’s kind of what converted me to meditation because I’m not someone who likes to keep still. I like to chat and feed myself. It was something I had to learn how to do.
And it’s so powerful. Isn’t it? We had a guest expert come into the money circle this month, talking about the power of journaling.
We talked about the morning routine of journaling, which comes from a book called The Artist’s Way. It is really important, particularly from a mindset perspective because when we get into overwhelm or procrastination or we feel stressed or anxious, having that opportunity to be able to just write down what’s going on in your head and at the unconscious level to get that opportunity to just get out of your head.
All of those limiting beliefs, all of the things that are bothering you, worrying you. For anyone who hasn’t read The Artist’s Way, it’s a great place to start. If you’re wondering, well, I’d like to journal, but I have no idea how to get started. It’s a great book which we talked about in our masterclass. It’s like a 12 week program in a book.
I would say definitely for me, I am not a natural morning person. I could quite happily lie in bed until eight, nine o’clock. A lot of my journaling I tend to do the evening just because that’s the best time for me to get out of my head, what has been throughout the day. But I know it would probably be better for me to do it in the morning. I just find it very difficult to get into that really early morning routine pattern because I’m more of a night owl.
You have to know when you operate best and he says that in the book, he calls it the miracle morning because it’s catchy, but he does say you can do it at any time of the day.
What I like about that as well is it’s about consistency which is why I was asking you about what happens when you don’t do that.
When we don’t do something consistently in business, then we do see the consequences. But you also get to learn what works and what doesn’t work.
Is there anything that, from your experience of your journey through The Voice and X Factor and building a business, what would you say has been your biggest lesson that you’ve learned about yourself, going through that whole process?
We’re all stronger than we think we are and we can handle a lot more than we probably give ourselves credit for.
It’s taught me about perseverance and if something doesn’t work once doesn’t mean it’s never going to work. Some things just take time to grow. If you get rejected, it doesn’t mean you should stop trying. Lots of the most famous business people in the world have such incredible stories of rejection.
I think it teaches you so much about yourself and how much you want something. If your soul wants it, and you’ll know if your soul wants it because it won’t let go. You’ll feel it in your stomach and you’ll just not be able to ignore it. It does know what’s best for you and it will guide you. You don’t have to have it all figured out. You just have to take the next right step. At some point you’ll look back and go, wow. All of those little decisions you make contribute so much to your story. And that’s a really powerful thing to do, reflect on it.
I love that phrase. You mentioned there about doing the right next step. And if any of you who have not watched Frozen 2, that whole film is all about the role of women and empowerment. I just think it’s amazing.
And Into the Unknown; you have to be willing to step into the unknown. You can’t have it all figured out. If you wait for the day until it’s all figured out, you won’t move. You’ll stay still and then show yourself and allow yourself to be seen. Step into the arena. No one’s going to shove you in there. You have to step there yourself.
We judge ourselves so harshly. Don’t let the people that are watching on the sides, that are judging people, but not stepping out and doing something themselves. Trust the opinion of people around you who are doing what you’re doing and pushing themselves like you are.
What is next for The Mortgage Mum, Sarah?
We’ve got our next round of recruitment in October and we do a quarterly round of recruitment, so we’re currently interviewing for that. There’s I think maybe 300 women in our study group. It’s such a lovely, supportive space. So they’re studying for their CMAP.
If you’re thinking maybe CMAP, then head in there, have a chat with people, very open, it’s a very supportive space and that’s Mortgage Mums in Training on Facebook. Then for me in The Mortgage Mum, I’m very excited about what’s coming next. We are going to be launching a podcast soon which I am so excited about because I have so much to say about so many different things. And I have so much interest in people. I can’t wait to hear the stories of people along the way. I’m really excited about it. It’s not just going to be about mortgages, because I’m quite aware that people don’t want to talk about mortgages all the time, but it will have some great mortgage content on there.
Obviously it’s all about balance. I want to try and help other people balance their lives, whether that’s work life balance by becoming a mortgage mum or whether that’s a woman in business balancing their kids. Just try and teach people what I’ve learned and what I’m still learning.
Amazing. Thank you so much, Sarah. If anyone wants to follow you and maybe for your podcast as well, Sarah where would be the best place for them to find you?
The Mortgage Mum is everywhere, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, so find us on any of the social media platforms. My singing stuff is generally Instagram at Sing Mother Tucker and I also do have a YouTube page where I just upload random videos of me singing in my kitchen.
I do take some requests and I will always try and deliver if people ask for a specific song. I’m thinking about combining the two YouTube pages. Perhaps just put my name in YouTube and you might see it all in one place.
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- The Miracle Morning
- The Miracle Morning Companion Planner
- The Miracle Morning for Parents & Families
- The Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs
Brene Brown – Daring Greatly
Rebecca Campbell – Light is the New Black.
Gabby Bernstein – The Universe Has Your Back
Julia Cameron – The Artist’s Way