Can you tell me more about yourself, your work background, and your business?
My name is Emma, and I’m a mum of two daughters living in Kent. My background is in corporate IT recruitment, business development and looking after clients. Clients have been my focus in all my jobs. I currently work alongside a large global health and wellness brand, which is amazing as it’s flexible around my daughters. It’s been great being able to work from home around them, and has made such a difference, particularly with all the home-schooling the last few months.
What motivated you to start working for yourself? Is this something you’ve always wanted to do?
I think it was about finding a more flexible way of working. I’ve always been very career-driven, and it was all about my career, and then I had a family and things changed. So, I probably didn’t think about it before that, but that made me look around and explore different options as I wanted to be able to choose my hours, and I wanted to be able to have a better work-life balance as well.
Do you think that more people will be considering working for themselves now?
Definitely. For example, I have a neighbour who doesn’t commute anymore and works from home, so that time he used to spend commuting, he now goes for long walks and does exercise. People have started to realise that you can make better use of that time and dedicate more time to things like self-care. So, people have found a better work-life balance that I think they won’t want to give up and go back to the way it used to be. I think that’s definitely one of the few positives that have come out of the situation, and working for yourself definitely gives you more control.
What is one piece of advice you would give to other women looking at setting up their own business?
I would say definitely do it! It’s so rewarding, because you’re doing it for yourself rather than somebody else, and it really does make a massive difference being able to organise your own time, set your own goals and then be proud of your own achievements. One thing I would say is to research all the options because there are so many different options out there, whether it’s building your own company and starting something completely from scratch, or whether it’s working alongside a company independently like I do. There are so many opportunities out there, so you’ve got to do your research and find the right fit for you.
What qualities would you say are needed to be able to work for yourself?
Definitely self-motivation, because no-one is going to knock on your door or kick you out of bed in the morning to make you do it! I think resilience is important as well, especially if you’re starting your own business and starting something from scratch. Not everybody is going to want or need what you have, so it’s about being resilient to the fact that not everybody will be your ideal client, and to keep going until you do find your ideal clients.
As someone who works for themselves, where do you turn to for help and support with your work?
I know a lot of other women working for the same health and wellness brand that I do, so I’m lucky that I do get to work with a lot of other women. I also do a lot of local networking with other small business owners, and you end up meeting a lot of people like you because you’ve got to be quite like-minded, quite positive and self-motivated, so you click with people. I’ve made some really good friends from networking events.
Why do you think gender equality and balance, and having a more diverse workforce, is so important?
I always think of the younger generations, and for them to see and grow up in a more equal playing field. I think having two daughters as well means I really want to be a good role model. You want to show them a good work ethic and show them that anything is possible. If I didn’t inspire them that would be my biggest regret, that’s really important to me.
What impact do you think the pandemic and lockdown will have on gender equality?
I think there will be a mixture of positive and negative changes. I think the periods of home-schooling have made it really difficult for working parents because you have to juggle so many things. If you have an understanding employer then that’s fantastic, but if you haven’t that’s tough, and things like the home-schooling do typically fall on the mum more than the dad, unfortunately, that’s just naturally how it falls.
What’s your next big goal?
I think business-wise it’s to help as many people as possible because we have this opportunity to help other people earn an additional income from home. So many people have had their situation drastically change over the last twelve months, whether that’s short term or long term, so to be able to help more people would be amazing, and also to be a good role model for my daughters.
Who is your biggest female inspiration?
Probably my mentors in our business, so, people who are already doing what you want to achieve. I tend to be more inspired by people I know because then you know them, you have a connection with them, and you know how hard they’ve worked.
How important do you think the mentor/mentee relationship is?
I think it’s really important, and it’s brilliant because you can see first-hand what’s possible. I think people also really want a sense of community and a sense of belonging, especially over the last twelve months, and particularly when you start something new in business, so to have that mentor/mentee relationship, and to feel part of a community, is really valuable.
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