This week on my Mums in Business series I’m delighted to be featuring Nikki who created; Kids to Career, a business set up to support mums returning to work after having children or being on maternity leave. This is a business that is close to my heart, as I know only too well how important it is to support Mums and boost their confidence once they return to the work place after an extended break.
So if you’re about to return to work, or would like some inspiration, then take a read of the below blog post.
Tell me a little bit about you, your background and Kids To Career?
My name is Nikki Vivian and I’m mum to my two little girls A (4) and M (2). I am also a writer and owner of Kids to Career. I set up to Kids to Career to support women back to a career after they have taken time out to raise a family. I work with women who are due to return to work after maternity leave or a longer break and are looking to rebuild their confidence, or women who are looking for a career change since becoming a mum. I’ve worked in careers for almost 9 years for a top UK university, but last year I took the plunge and set up my own business and I am loving it. I offer coaching, workshops and online courses and I have a blog full of advice and resources.
What were your drivers and motivations for setting up Kids To Career?
After 15 glorious months off with my eldest daughter on maternity leave, I had a really hard time returning to work. I hated leaving my daughter and my professional confidence had taken a real knock. I’d spent so long out of the workplace that I didn’t feel like I had the skills or ambition in me to get back to where I left off. To make it worse, I was immediately made redundant and had to start looking for a new job when my confidence was already at an all-time low.
Despite working in careers, the process of selling myself to recruiters, recognising my skills and having the confidence to get myself out there was really hard. I actually broke down and cried in my first interview. It wasn’t pretty.
I did get another job, but I knew it wasn’t for me and when I got pregnant with my second daughter a few months later, I didn’t return after maternity leave. The idea for Kids to Career had been born and I worked away at it in the background and launched last year. I desperately wanted to find something that meant I could work around my children with minimal childcare and it had to be something I felt really passionate about.
I don’t want other women to feel the way I did when I returned to work and I knew I could use my skills and experience from the last 8 years in a careers advisory capacity to good use helping other mums. Being a mum gives us so many additional skills that can help us progress in our careers and I want to help mums use these skills to their advantage. I strongly believe that being a parent should help boost our career prospects, not hinder them and I certainly don’t want to see women take positions that they are over qualified for and unhappy in due to a lack of confidence or a belief that this is all they are worth now.
How do you balance the business around family and childcare?
We don’t have extended family nearby to help out with childcare, it is just my husband and I, so it was so important to me that I was able to be flexible with my work. I have a wonderful childminder who allows me to work two short days to fit around school pick ups for my eldest and I work some evenings. My husband and I are both self-employed, so we are able to make sure there is always one of us available for school drop offs and pick-ups, so we use minimal childcare. It’s a tough balance but the flexibility to be there for my kids is a driver for me.
Since setting up the business what’s been your biggest success to date?
I had an aim to replace my salary by the end of 2017 and I achieved that in November last year working less hours which felt incredible.
What’s your top tip for Mums who are thinking about setting up their own business?
Make sure it’s what you really want. Think about your reasons behind doing it and if you’re sure it’s right for you, don’t spend too long thinking about it, get out there and do it. You can start small with little projects while you’re doing something else to test things out, but ultimately you need to just do it. I spent a long time thinking about things and always ended up talking myself out of it. I started whilst I was still being paid in my job with mini projects and when they worked well, it gave me confidence to carry on. Always have in mind why you are doing it as a driver. When I have an off day, I think about how much I would hate to be in a job where I couldn’t get time off to go and see my daughters school play or to play with my girls in the snow when the school closes.
Thank you so much Nikki for taking part in my series, it was lovely to interview you, and I wish you the best of luck in the future.
If you would like to be part of my Mums in Business then just drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or have a nose at some of the other businesses I have featured in my series: Moment Health, Isabella & Us, and Mums Back.