She Endured Foster Care, Abuse & Divorce To Launch 3 Businesses Aimed At Empowering Other Women

This is the sixth article in a new series we recently launched on the site called Today’s Wonder Women – designed to celebrate the inspiring, impactful, empowering and extraordinary things ordinary women are doing every day. Over the coming months we will be sharing interviews, essays, articles and guest posts about women who are creating change. This week we’re sharing a powerful essay from UK-based business coach and motivational strategist Rebecca Cross who faced a number of personal battles growing up but managed to not let those determine her future. If you too have a story to share and want to add your voice to the Today’s Wonder Women conversation, get in touch by emailing

It’s a funny feeling when you are growing up and you are learning and adapting to what life throws at you. All I wanted was a good life, to not have to worry about money to be loved and to love myself. For me I have always felt different in a way that I know I was meant for a purpose that I have a feeling I know what people are thinking and sometimes I am very much spot on. I can sense things and feelings around me and I suppose that is a good starting point for my story.

I am the eldest of three daughters and my parents divorced when I was young. We experienced many troubled times due to the marriage my mother and father had. I believe at some point before I was born they truly loved each other, my mother was training as a nurse and my father was a policeman, but I don’t recall ever seeing them love each other. I always sensed hurt, anger and jealousy, and I am not sure why. Eventually, our grandparents were granted the grandparent visitation rights to take care of us.

My first memory believe it or not, was when I was just over two years old and my father was in an armchair asleep while my sister Charlotte was being born in hospital. My diaper was wet and I recall feeling very uncomfortable with a drenched diaper. It’s amazing I remember snippets of my life when I was so young but I believe there is a very good reason for this. My father, for his reasons alone will know why, but he drank and my mother was very scared. The marriage was not a healthy marriage and domestic abuse was prevalent.

I went to many primary schools and moved house many times. As a result of this as an adult I never find moving house stressful as I have done it so many times as a child. Growing up I always felt I could sense things and feelings around me but I also felt I was not very pretty and not very intelligent. This was the part of my own self-esteem and self-love that never came into fruition until I was in my late 30s.

I struggled in education. I was bottom in most classes and was always thinking, “how the heck am I going to survive?”. When I was 14 the school realized I had a learning difficulty, had missed many parts of my basic education, was dyslexic and had a reading age of seven. That was the start of the Rebecca you would meet today – which I will tell you all about shortly.

Looking back, although I loved my mother and father I don’t feel they ever put their daughters first. It was always their hatred and their indulgences that came first. My mother loves her children but she has, and I feel still does, crave a certain lifestyle today which halts the true relationship I would like with my mother. 

At aged seven, my sister and I ended up in foster care separated from our mother and forced to stay with people we did not want to be with. Again we had to change schools, meet new people and leave more friends behind. Our father did not take us in for his reasons only he knows about and no other family member could take us. Aged 10, I stayed with my father and my step-mum and frankly made the biggest mistake I could leaving my mother and sister.

This is because I thought the grass was greener but in true honesty I stayed because the only people who were nice to me were my eldest step-sister and dad. My other step-sister bullied me and actually had me beaten up by the next-door neighbor. She was standing on our door-step at the time laughing with her friend and my step-mum just gave me dirty looks every opportunity she could.

At the same time I found out that my mother was pregnant with my little sister and had to go away again. This time Charlotte was in foster care and I had no way to go back to my Mum and sister. I ended up pretty much running away from my Dad and my mother told Charlotte and I we would have to say our father was dead which we did. At the age of 11, I felt that these two humans that had me and my sister were still putting their hatred before us and frankly we had had enough.

Fast forward a few years,  I ended up working so hard on my education, hard enough to pursue a university degree. I realized that with the right people around me and the right mindset you truly can achieve ANYTHING. I lost my sister for some time to addiction and I was trying to help her the best I could – but she simply does not want the help. I have not seen her since my daughter was born in 2008 – and would love to see her again as I do miss her. 

I was 15 when I met my first love. He and his family truly took me under their wing. I was able to experience what being with a “normal” family was like. We married 10 years later. However, what I didn’t realize is that Rebecca who had grown up with feelings of survival and that kick-ass attitude had become lost somewhere in comfort and being looked after, and had forgotten so much of how she got to where she was heading.

Despite my unsettling childhood, I left university worked for amazing corporates like IBM and the Wall Street Journal. But my kick-ass attitude had now vanished. I was comfortable and not living the true life I know I was destined for. When I was 27 years old, I gave birth to my daughter Emily. And then, totally unexpected, two weeks later and not long after my 28th birthday, my husband walked out on Emily and me.

At this time I did not even know how to pay an electricity bill, never mind change a diaper. I was not the true me. I was lost, I was scared and I hardly told anyone that I was on my own for 12 months.

However, when Emily was about 4 weeks old that old Rebecca was surfacing – the one who found out at 14 she had a reading age of 7, the one that made sure she would make a life of herself and be a kick-ass no-nonsense woman! So that is what I did. I started my first kitchen-wear business. It was online and I spent a fortune on my Barclaycard to set the website up. I promised Emily I would be a millionaire and would be a mother she would be proud of and look up to. I was determined not to have history repeat itself.

This business went relatively well for a few years. I didn’t make a lot of money and it was not something really to brag about, but the losses I made were certainly the lessons I learned. When Emily was nearly 12 months old, I started a magazine business. This went really well. I eventually sold it and this gave me the opportunity to invest in another venture. In 2014 I started my first property business and in 2017 I started my second property business with a partner. These three companies are the businesses that I am growing today and I truly love what I do.

The moment I truly realized I was working on a business that was my “calling” was two years ago when I became a Motivational Map practitioner and studied NLP. I became passionate supporting women to grow six-figure businesses and work with their motivations and mindset. This is when Stepping into Greatness, a community of aspiring, ambitious and driven entrepreneurial women growing six-figure businesses was born.

I have the great privilege to mentor nearly 200 women in the Virtual Assistant market for a global online business working on their business strategy and living the true work-life balance. I work with aspiring female entrepreneurs in a range of industries that have an idea but are unsure where to start and I help grow their confidence to achieve magnificent things working on mindset, strategy and success tools I have used for the last 10 years. 

I have realized that anything is truly possible. I have three companies that are on its way to generating nearly half a million dollars moving into 2019. My journey to help 2 million women is truly on its way. I have remarried and have three beautiful children and not only that – I truly love me. I have realized that my individuality is so important to me, my family and friends and to those I serve. Why? Because we are all unique and we are all here for a reason. It stems from our passion, what we strive to do in life and what we truly desire. If you can tap into that and work on that you can achieve truly magnificent things – and this is so important.

Being the best version of you is one of the most important ingredients of success and you will attract what you put out every single time. I am grateful for every single event in my life and my parents for the people they were then and are now. I love them for that because I would certainly not be the woman, sister, daughter, auntie, mother and wife that I am today!

Rebecca Cross is a business success coach and motivational strategist. She hosts the podcast Stepping Into Greatness available on iTunes an Anchor FM. You can learn more about her work and get in touch by visiting her website.