Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?
I’m Sherry, mum to two gorgeous redhead daughters. One’s a teenager (will be a smart and sassy research scientist when she grows up) and the other is an almost-teenager (and already a published author).
What’s your business called?
I run The Confident Mother, an independent coaching practice.
Can you describe it in one sentence?
I am an author, coach and speaker. I work with ambitious women to help them get clear on what they really want and then find the confidence to do it, particularly in technology and professional services, whether that’s help with their career confidence, dealing with the inner critic, sorting out work-life balance or stepping up to new leadership responsibilities.
When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?
A former Global Head of IT Service in a City law firm, I was made redundant in 2009. I used my LinkedIn contacts and networking experience to find a new role setting up and managing the UK operations of a US outsourcing company. As my daughters got closer to secondary school, I realised I was fed up spending my work day in a glass box office when what I really wanted was to be more available for my children. I decided to take a different approach to my work-life-family balance and set up my business in April 2012. Even though at first, I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do!
How did you fund your start up?
I was lucky in that coming from a legal IT background, it’s a fairly small market. Everybody knows everybody and I was very well known in my then niche (law firm service delivery). I quickly won 4 law firm clients and effectively that funded my start-up.
How do you manage working around your children?
It’s so important to look after yourself first so that everything you do works for you. As women, looking after ourselves is often the easiest thing to drop. But self-care is not a luxury it’s an absolute essential. It gets easier as the children get older because they need you in a different way. I start work once they’ve left for school and stop when they get home for half hour or so. While they’re doing homework, I carry on with client calls, blogging or podcast interviews. Because I work with mums, I offer a few evening calls too. Thursday mornings I go running and go to choir. School holidays can be trickier but my husband is a teacher so he is around too. He was the stay-at-home parent for about 4 years when I went back to work full-time after maternity leave so he is very capable (as are most men if we only would give them the opportunity).
Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
I don’t really have a typical day, more a typical week. Mondays is an Admin / CEO day – marketing, finance, planning etc. I talk to my accountability partner every Monday at 8am. I mentor for The Coaching Academy on Mondays and Thursdays. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are reserved for client coaching calls and VIP days. Fridays is typically a podcast and social media day, though I will spend time every day on Twitter and LinkedIn. If I have a speaking gig in the evening, I set up afternoon appointments the City with law firms and banks interested in my leadership confidence programme to make the most of my time in the City. I blog twice a week on my website and LinkedIn. Plus two podcast shows Confident Conversations and On The Tipping Point launching late June. I aim to get to two networking events a month, trying to avoid Monday evenings (when my husband works) and Tuesday evenings (running club night).
What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?
Like any business, I’ve gone through ups and downs. My business has evolved and changed direction since I started. My biggest challenge was trying to be something or someone I’m not and figuring out who I want to work with. I didn’t realise until a year ago how important authenticity is to me. I have learned that it is really important to focus on doing work that you love and doing it in the way that you love doing it.
What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?
I love the freedom, the independence and the flexibility. More than anything I love being in charge. Plus my children have a strong role model in me.
What are your plans for the future?
One of the great things about running your own business is that there’s always room for creativity and growth! I love being on stage so I want to do more speaking events. And I love working with groups of women: I absolutely believe in the power of masterminds and peer groups. When like-minded women gather together, magic happens and the result is always bigger than the sum of the parts. I want to bring more women to my business mastermind and my Leadership Confidence programme.
What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?
Oh so much advice.
· Just get started. Don’t wait for it to be perfect because “done” is WAY more effective than perfect. It might be scary, it might be hard … but just get started.
· Don’t try and do everything …. As in don’t spread yourself too thin over 6 different social media channels. Don’t sell 20 different services. Don’t try and do it all by yourself. Get help.
· “Get a coach”. I know – I’m a coach so I have a vested interest! Seriously though, working with a coach is what got me started. Otherwise I might still be sitting in that glass box office. Get help, get support, get accountability. A coach will support you, encourage you, challenge you and give you the kick up the backside that you’ll need from time to time. If you can’t afford a coach, buddy up with an accountability partner.
Facebook: The Confident Mother group https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheConfidentMother/