Mums in business - how to find work/life balance
- Credit: Archant
Somehow managing to maintain a work and life balance, while also bringing up young families, here we celebrate the multi-talented women who are successfully doing it all
1. Tell us about who you are…
2. What makes you good at your job?
3. How do you manage to achieve a work/life balance?
4. What’s the best piece of advice you ever received in business?
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Role: Runs two businesses – a digital marketing agency specialising in web design and build, b:web, and an online children’s soft furnishings retailer, Babyface.uk.com
Address: Unit 205, Lansbury Business Estate, 102 Lower Guildford Road, Knaphill GU21 2EP Tel: 01483 799475
Web: www.bwebsites.co.uk and www.babyface.uk.com
1. As well as running two businesses, I have five children aged from three to 22, a one-year-old granddaughter and another grandchild on the way, and a marvellous supportive husband who is b:web’s technical director.
2. Clearly, the ability to multi-task as there is always lots going on in my life! I’m also good at seeing the bigger picture, building good and lasting relationships with my clients, and not being afraid to take risks – b:web is about to celebrate its tenth birthday and has diversified enormously in that time.
3. I have a very supportive family who help out with childcare, and a very supportive team working hard to make both businesses the success they are.
4. A great business opportunity is not necessarily one that brings in cash directly; look for opportunities to promote and build relationships – both are as important as cash in the bank.
Hometown: East Horsley
Role: Offering personal training for women who want to feel “totally energised and seriously fit” through her business Yummi Scrummi
Address: Melrose, Guildford Road, East Horsley KT24 5RX
Tel: 07771 513232
1. I am an enthusiastic personal trainer providing an hour of pure energy, focus and drive to achieve client’s desired fitness goals and nutritional needs. I have a supportive husband and two darling blonde-haired, blue-eyed daughters, aged three and one, who also have oodles of energy, just like their mum!
2. With a positive and upbeat attitude I have rapport and empathy with my clients. I believe in variety, challenging the body and the mind and persevering to the next level. We never get stuck in a workout rut.
3. With a good team around me, including great childcare support, parents and husband, it works. I work mainly in the morning training three to four clients and still make kindergarten pick up – leaving afternoons for mummy time!
4. Be confident in being selective as to whom, when and where to work. It’s also about getting branding, messaging and tone distinctive and truly reflective.
Role: Head of early years/preparatory and a member of the senior leadership team at Manor House, an independent day school for girls aged from two to 16 years.
Address: Manor House Lane, Little Bookham KT23 4EN
Tel: 01372 458538
1. I am married with two children. I was born and brought up in Kenya and emigrated to the UK some 25 years ago. I am very lucky to work where I do currently, as head of early years/preparatory (and a member of the senior leadership team) at Manor House School for Girls in Little Bookham. It’s such a beautiful, warm and caring environment where the girls are really supported to achieve the best they can academically.
2. I have a holistic approach to my job, which enables me to provide a teaching environment that is not only exciting, progressive and challenging, but one that is rich in instilling values and self-worth in every girl.
3. I have to be extremely well-organised in
everything I do but I have learnt to prioritise the myriad of things I have to do on a weekly basis effectively.
4. I would say to “take pride in how far you have come and have faith in how far you can go.” I think that is particularly true as a woman, and something that I like to instil in all the girls.
Role: Director of Complete Plumbing and Renewable Services, who pride themselves on delivering a friendly and efficient service to customers.
Address: 11 Station Road East, Oxted RH8 0BD
Tel: 01883 734 958
1. I am a mother of three children under seven, wife to Simon and director of our Oxted-based company, Complete Plumbing and Renewable Services.
2. I am very hardworking, honest and always strive to be the best I can in my home and work life.
3. Having my own business and a young family is definitely a full-time job. I take and collect my children to and from school before heading off to start my working day for the company. I am very lucky that I have a close family and fantastic network of friends around me.
4. The best business advice I’ve received is that you’re only five people away from the one person you want to meet to help you grow your own business. So getting to know people of all kinds is very important.
Amanda Cooper and Alison O’Neill
Role: Running Puddleduck Nannies and Surrey Housekeepers, offering bespoke recruitment of childcare, housekeepers and private staff including chefs and drivers in and around Surrey.
Address: Williamson House, Claremont Lane, Esher KT10 9DA
Tel: 01372 469378
Web: www.puddleducknannies.co.uk and www.surreyhousekeepers.co.uk
1. Between us, we have six children, we live in central Esher and are lucky enough to have beautiful offices on the High Street for work.
2. We are meticulous when it comes to registering candidates. Our standards are extremely high. Instinct and intuition is key for us to stay ahead in a very busy market place.
3. Life’s a juggle but with solid childcare in place at home we are able to dedicate our working lives to the business. It’s all about being organised at home, ensuring everything is in place. It’s vital our business partnership works on a give and take level; it’s essential we understand each others’ needs and communicate continuously.
4. Always be true to yourself. Don’t mould your thoughts and feelings to suit a particular situation. Conviction in your product or service is key to success.
Role: Marketing manager for Halo, which offers premium kitchens and orangeries. Their Cucina range is focussed on bespoke kitchens, whilst Illuma is centred on bringing light into your home in the form of rooms beautifully encapsulated in glass.
Address: Halo Head Office, Unit 18, Alltask House, Rochester, Kent ME2 4EJ
Tel: 0800 145 5871
1. I work as the marketing manager for Halo. The role includes producing brochures, advertising, websites and event planning. With a three-year-old son and a one-year-old daughter life is hectic.
2. I enjoy working and building up our Halo brand; no two days are ever the same. It is always interesting visiting our Design Studios in Redhill and Tenterden to work with our creative designers.
3. I feel very fortunate working for Halo, a family-orientated company with a culture of flexible working. It is also great to have the support of our external agency, Onside Creative, to support my busy role.
4. My manager often says to me there are only so many hours in a day, it is not always possible to achieve absolutely everything – prioritise your tasks, write a list, clear your mind and start afresh tomorrow!
Role: Owner and founder of Glutton & Glee, a British café and food shop specialising in delicious home-made food, cakes and gluten-free goodies.
Address: 6 Tunsgate, Guildford GU1 3QT
Tel: 01483 452934
1. I am the owner and founder of Glutton & Glee, which opened almost three years ago in the centre of Guildford. It has become a much-loved café by locals and visitors, known for its home-made light lunches and delicious cakes. Away from work, I have been married to my husband for a year-and-a-half and my daughter turned one in February.
2. I am a real people person and an excellent judge of character. It has been so important to build a friendly team at the café that I can rely on to deliver our ethos on a daily basis.
3. It’s still a struggle, but I’m learning to balance my two ‘babies’. First came Glutton & Glee, then my daughter, each with their high demands. I didn’t know it before, but running a business is easier than looking after a baby!
4. To be very good at one or two things, rather than being just okay at lots.
Hometown: Haywards Heath
Role: Overseeing the clinical and support teams at Spire Gatwick Park – a private hospital providing a range of treatments, from orthopaedic to ophthalmic, ENT to cosmetic.
Address: Spire Gatwick Park Hospital, Povey Cross Road, Horley RH6 0BB
Tel: 01293 785511
1. I oversee clinical and support teams. I have been fortunate to work for a company that has helped me develop skills beyond my professional boundaries and kept my passion for the business through new challenges. My two children are now in the throes of exam years. They are growing up and learning to be independent. The support they need changes but is constant.
2. I thrive on planning and driving improvement and using people’s strengths to form cohesive working, while calmly dealing with today.
3. With a supportive husband and wonderful childcare, you still question if you have done the right thing. However, my children are active, participate, have aims and have no qualms in packing a bag and heading out into the world.
4. The best advice given to me is to keep an eye on the goal but don’t expect to get there in one leap.
Role: Helping clients with property finding and corporate relocation in Surrey: from sourcing the ideal property to rent or to buy right through to moving in, through The County Homesearch Company Surrey Ltd.
Address: Fairways, Churt Road Hindhead GU26 6HX
Tel: 01428 606030
1. I experienced corporate relocation when my children were young and have moved house within the Surrey area, so I know first-hand the emotional and practical issues that arise when trying to secure the perfect home.
2. I have to adapt to ever-changing situations in the property market and have a huge determination to find the perfect home and get the deal closed for my clients.
3. I have interests and contacts outside of the property world so that helps me to relax. Prioritising family time is always a challenge so for me it has meant delegating and having a great team I can rely on.
4. Feel passionate about your business.
Hometown: Englefield Green
Role: Founder and marketing manager of the company Frog Bikes who design and make lightweight bikes for children.
Address: Silvester House, Ridgemead Road, Englefield Green TW20 0YG
Tel: 01784 557300
1. My husband and I set up Frog bikes in 2013, and we run the business together with the help of a small team. I am responsible for our marketing, but being a small business we all get involved in everything.
2. I have loved setting up Frog Bikes as I’ve been able to combine my skills from previous jobs, ranging from strategic planning and financial analysis, to communications and brand development.
3. Our office is at home, so it’s a very short commute to the pod in the garden. But it does make it difficult to switch off at the end of the day. When we’re with our two children, we try not to talk about bikes all the time, although it’s really a family business: both kids love riding the bikes and promoting Frog.
4. The best piece of advice I’ve received is that if you’re ever in doubt, make sure to do what’s right for the customer. It’s simple, but it’s so true.
Role: Founder of At Home holidays, a company that provides experienced cooks for family holidays as well as dinner and drinks parties, and celebrations in your home or holiday home.
Tel: 01342 843727 / 07890 854186
1. I used to run a marketing agency but left to have my two children, who are now aged eight and six years old. In April 2010, I launched At Home Holidays to suit my new family lifestyle. The business combines my marketing and cookery skills (I was formerly a chalet girl).
2. At Home is successful because we consistently deliver a high standard of service, with over 60% repeat bookings. We build relationships with our guests. It is a bespoke service and we have a ‘can do’ attitude.
3. My husband and family are very supportive, as my hours can be anti-social. I have a few rules – be there for the school run/activities and only work two weekends per month or delegate to my loyal team.
4. The best advice I’ve ever received was to ‘always remember why you started the business in the first place and stick to your plan however long it takes’.
Role: Founder and managing director of Whitedown Interiors, a boutique interiors shop specialising in mid to high-end home accessories and furniture.
Address: 73 High Street, Chobham GU24 8AF
Tel: 01276 858863
1. I founded Whitedown Interiors in 2013 and run all aspects of the business. Originally from Cape Town, I decided to take a gap year in England, where I met my Italian husband, Francesco. With three children, Max (eight), Grace (seven) and Hugo (four), we wanted the country life and moved to Surrey three years ago.
2. I have an obsession for interiors and have an innate eye for detail. I am very understanding to customers’ requirements and budgets.
3. I’m lucky in that I have a very supportive husband. I am super-organised and run a very tight ship at home. Our weekends are very precious and we value every moment that we spend together from completing homework to sitting round the table enjoying a roast dinner on a Sunday. My children are brilliant in the fact that they have adapted extremely well to mummy working.
4. When my father was setting up his very successful business, I made him a card which read: ‘never give up’. He reminds me of that.
Role: Working for the southern area manager of Express Bi Folding Doors, a family-owned business that has grown from seven employees to over 130 staff nationwide in its first six years.
Address: Phoenix Court, Lotherton Way Industrial Estate, Garforth, Leeds LS25 2GY
Tel: 0113 286 9191
1. I work from the showroom in Redhill and at home in Romford, Essex. I work directly for the southern area manager, issuing quotes and order confirmations. My husband and I have seven children between us, so being able to work from home is a great asset for me.
2. I am good at my job because I have excellent organisational skills and I am very conscientious about the work that I do.
3. I deliberately avoid all rush hour traffic around London, so this allows me to balance my family life with work. I send the kids off to school and arrive home around the same time as them, so my work doesn’t interfere with my home life. If, for whatever reason, I do have work that needs to be done, I am happy to work weekends and evenings because I have been allowed a degree of flexibility.
4. The best piece of advice that I have ever been given is to always do everything to the best of your ability.
Role: Deputy head of the nursery and junior school at Lingfield Notre Dame, a co-educational day school for children aged from two-and-a-half to 18.
Address: Racecourse Road, Lingfield RH7 6PH
Tel: 01342 833372
1. I absolutely love my job. I can go from playing in the role-play post office in nursery on my banana phone to presenting to the board of governors within minutes. I have two sporty teenage children, a car and a rabbit and am responsible for over 300 children at work. I wouldn’t have it any other way. 2. I am organised, hard-working and good at dealing with people of all ages and backgrounds, whether they are happy or angry! I’m good at empathising and diffusing situations, a useful trait in a busy thriving school!
3. I am fortunate to have my children at work with me, in the senior school. It’s great to be involved in their school community and to see them progress into responsible young people. When the work commute is also the school run, it helps! Organisation is the key.
4. Qualifications and keep learning – it’s the one thing that can’t ever be taken away from you.
Hometown: West Byfleet
Role: Joint chief executive of the Ambassador Theatre Group, which is based at the New Victoria Theatre, a venue that has established itself as one of the foremost theatres in south east England
Address: New Victoria Theatre,
Woking GU21 6GQ
Tel: 0844 871 7645
1. I am joint chief executive - we own 40 theatres across the UK and on Broadway and are also an award-winning producer with a ticketing business. I founded the company with my husband Sir Howard Panter 20 years ago and today it is regarded as Britain’s greatest commercial theatre success. I have three children – a daughter and a son from my first marriage and a daughter with Howard.
2. I am passionate about theatre – and have been from a very young age. It is vital to have someone at the top with this commitment to the magic that happens on stage every night.
3. With difficulty. My first daughter was born with Downs Syndrome but thankfully my mother has always been there to support. Howard does the school run and turns up at school events – like all families, we do our best!
4. My father advised me never to give up too easily. Hearing that something is “too difficult” or “can’t be done” usually spurs me on!
Role: Running TT Communications Ltd, a PR and media consultancy helping large and small businesses to raise their profiles. Address: 1 Coppice Place, Wormley GU8 5TY
Tel: 01428 687705
1. After a successful career in London providing PR and strategic media advice to government ministers, I decided to set up my own PR and media consultancy three years ago. I now provide a range of clients both large and small with PR and media support.
I am married with two teenage children – one girl and one boy – and a very lively cocker spaniel called Barney.
2. Good media contacts and the skills and expertise to be able to do my job well! I have been working in media and PR for over 25 years so have built up a lot of knowledge.
3. I do a lot of work from home when I’m not out seeing clients so I try to work flexibly depending on what my two children are up to.
4. My father was a very wise business owner and ran his own successful consultancy business after a long career in the public sector. He always said that hard work and a passion for what you do would get you a long way and I think he was right.
Role: Marketing manager of Danes Hill School, a co-educational day preparatory school in the heart of Surrey.
Address: Leatherhead Road, Oxshott KT22 0JG
Tel: 01372 842509
1. I have the pleasure of working at Danes Hill School in Oxshott, a co-educational preparatory school, as marketing manager. My husband and I have been married 13 years and we have two fantastic daughters, Maddie, aged 10, and Darcie, aged eight.
2. I love my job and as a result, believe that is why I am good at what I do. My colleagues tell me my happy and sunny disposition is infectious and I always strive to ‘make a difference’ every day.
3. My job is to promote our amazing school. As both my daughters attend Danes Hill, I feel my work life balance is blurred. Much of my time is spent at school, both in my professional and personal capacity. It is a delight to report on the wealth of achievement at the school, so I don’t see it being a chore!
4. Invest in people not numbers.
Role: Running Mary Zoeller Associates, a public relations consultancy helping communication between an organisation and its target audience.
Tel: 07764 938548
1. I publicise my clients’ businesses and events by advertising and marketing them locally. Away from work, I have two children, who are aged 11 and eight.
2. I really enjoy working with a variety of different people across many different sectors including entertainment, retail and charities. I really love what I do, which helps enormously. Good time management and organisation skills are essential in my line of work – as well as a sense of humour!
3. I try to be very clear about what is work time and what is family time. My wonderful clients respect that I work unusual hours but most of them don’t work 9-5 either, so it’s never really been a problem!
4. Find out what you love doing, find a job doing it and if you dread Monday mornings, it’s time to change what you do.