INTERVIEW : Emma, Career Coach at Work Buddy

Meet Emma, self-employed career coach at Work Buddy.  She’s worked for biggest health organisation in the UK and now transitioned to owning her own business, and helping others with their careers and recruitment needs. She balancing being a mum of two, with pick up and drop offs, while running her own business and meeting her client needs.  She shares her secrets in this post on how she manages it.

FacebookTell us a little bit about yourself…

I didn’t fly far from the nest (Epsom Downs) and have settled in Carshalton with my husband and two young children after living for many years in different parts of Croydon, which I am still very fond of :).

What’s your trade?

I’ve launched Work Buddy London, providing very affordable CV support and career coaching services to mums with a focus on women returners. It’s aimed at the communities around me and I’m passionate about everyone being able to access support and coaching with their next steps in working life. There are lots of forums and free guidance out there for parents which are fantastic but you can’t beat a ‘real life’ champion, boosting your confidence around your unique circumstances. Investing in yourself is one of the best things you can do as a parent – I have my own coach and business support network and it definitely keeps me on track!

What made you choose your career?

It was a natural progression from 20 years in HR and having children to want to work more flexibly but also help others feel confident about returning to work. I became a qualified coach this year and love how people can transform from being given the space to talk and soundboard their ideas. There has been a significant rise in a coaching culture for women because of the way the world of work has and needs to shift and I am proud to be part of that. I took a career break for two years to focus on home and study and returned to HR last year for one last hoorah before I worked for myself. In preparation for that, I set up Work Buddy – Business Community on Facebook where local women support and refer each other.

How your attitude towards work changed since having kids?

I don’t live to work anymore but when I wasn’t working I realised how much I need to be validated by work (let’s face it the tangible outcomes and praise are a bit lacking at home sometimes!) Like most mums, I’m more productive and efficient and this is something that employers are thankfully starting to recognise. I am conscious of how work affects the children in terms of role modelling, it’s very important with a boy and girl they see me in a variety of roles, being resourceful, brave and doing things on my terms.

What’s your morning routine look like?

Repetitive! I have two drop offs (but only one from September *fist pumps*) so I don’t get started until 10am but a to do list is ready for that morning. The week is a mix of clients, CV reviews, marketing, fixing tech issues, learning and getting house stuff done. I miss the commute I had last year – it was part-time and getting little people ready was replaced with reading & listening to music – bliss!

How do you balance childcare and working?

I have been through most scenarios on a part time basis; private nursery, state pre-school, school, childminder, mother in law and stayed at home! You have to let go and trust their meets are being met and remember how adaptable they are. I definitely focussed more in each role to feel I was doing a good job but of course sometimes you drop the ball and nothing bad happens! Learning to stop feeling guilty was key.

In 10 years… where do you see yourself?

Wow, well one will be at uni by then! I hope that Work Buddy will expand to a bigger team and increase its offering to both private and third sector clients as I’m passionate about supporting harder to reach groups and have volunteered with a few charities. I equally embrace the twists and turns that may present themselves in the future, you know like a lottery win!

Best piece of business advice…

KISS – keep it simple stupid! Don’t over complicate your offering and don’t over think everything or you won’t do it. Try and do things as they come to you or as you need to and reduce that massive ‘to do list’. If something is on there months later, just do it or ditch it!

My advice would be “nobody is out to get you“. It can be easy to get into a negative zone about what potential clients or competitors, even friends are thinking about your ideas but most people are very supportive of small business and collaboration so don’t be afraid.

Tips on managing the juggling act…

Try not to separate them, take the up and downs, skills and learning from each role and apply them to each. I’ve become a more rounded professional and parent from having these experiences, they aren’t exclusive and have great benefit to the other.

Want to find out more about Work Buddy – say hello on social media and the website:

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