This week on my Parents in Business series I’m really excited to feature the lovely Gemma who created her own coaching business; Gemma Gilbert, to help other Mums create their own dream businesses.
Gemma’s motto is all about finding a work life balance and striving to be effective and productive in everything that you do when it comes to your business. So go on read her story to find out just how she could help you….
Tell me a little bit about you, your background, and your business?
I’m Gemma and I’m a business coach, specifically for mums who want to start or grow their own service-based business. So that’s anyone like a coach, consultant or healer that provides a specific service. Running a business can feel so lonely and totally overwhelming at times (I know because I run one too!). It’s a lot to juggle and there is so much information out there you can become paralysed before you even begin. That’s where I come in.
I help super driven mums find more clients and grow their business, so they can satisfy their ambition but also have the family lifestyle they really want. That usually means a healthy balance between work and family life, and plenty of flexibility. At the heart of my business is efficiency and productivity – basically, achieving more in less time! If we want to spend those precious moments with our children, we need to get the balance right and that’s what I help mums figure out, along with the practical business building steps.
I have to say, I love it. I get to bring together my previous experience as a secondary school English teacher and my career in customer strategy, sales and marketing into one amazing role. I work from home, decide my own schedule and get to choose what time I drop off and pickup my son from nursery.
What were your motivations for setting up your business?
It was definitely becoming a mother that led me to start my own business. My ambitious side had sort of been blindly following the status quo for the past 10 years, always looking for the next promotion. Then I had my son. I remember many hours spent with my friends on maternity leave, having circular conversations about what the hell we could do so we didn’t have to go back to work. We all had brilliant skillsets, but the options all seemed so out of reach, especially amidst the overwhelm of being a new mum.
Back in my day job, I was miserable. Suddenly I was seeing roles that were perfect for me given to other people, because I just couldn’t make the commitment they needed. But something had changed in me as well, I didn’t want to make that commitment. I wanted to see my son. For a while, this left me feeling powerless. How could I climb this ladder that I’d always been taught to climb, without sacrificing time with my son? It didn’t take me long to realise the two weren’t compatible. The ladder had to go!
I started looking at my options in earnest and landed on coaching. The great thing about coaching or consultancy is it doesn’t take years of study to begin – I’d been coaching in different form for years, so it was a natural transition to pursue this more formally.
I wanted to have a totally kick-ass business, and live life on my terms – that means balance, flexibility and the best family lifestyle. No compromises. Now I want every ambitious mum to know they can have that too. We live in a world where just too often mums have to choose between a successful career and time with their children. It’s about time that changed.
How do you balance the business around family and childcare?
The first 4 months of running my business on top of working full-time and being a mum were totally exhausting (but worth it). I’m not sure I got the balance right in the early days – my partner and I didn’t get to spend much time together and I know that I wasn’t always present for my son, and was often on my phone or laptop.
This imbalance was one of the things that made me realise I needed to go all in on my business. I started my business late August 2018 and left my job in December 2018. Now I work full time on my business for 4 days, and the rest of the time is for my family – the way I always wanted it to be. I still work in the evenings if I want to, but after my son is in bed or during nap times. I make sure I have intentional play sessions with my son where he gets my 100% attention – no phones, no technology. At the end of my work day, I put my laptop and diary away as a mental indication this is family time now. I’ve also built into my monthly review a reflection on my work-life balance as it’s so easy to let it slip (you know when you find yourself checking social media when you’re meant to be playing trains?!).
Since setting up the business what’s been your biggest success to date?
My biggest success to date is backing myself and daring to believe that I could this thing. I now have the lifestyle I’ve always wanted – the one that seemed like just a pipe dream just 6 months ago! Being able to choose when I see my son is definitely my biggest success.
What are your top tips for parents who are thinking about setting up their own business?
If you’re thinking about setting up your own business, my top tip is get help. It is the most sensible thing you can do the propel your business forward, especially if you’re short on time. There are so many things to wrap your head around when you start a business. You’re going to make mistakes, fudge things up and eventually (hopefully) muddle your way through. With the right help, the mistake-making, fudging and muddling is seriously reduced!
Also, things change when you put your own cold hard cash down – you’re making a financial investment in yourself and your business. It’s amazing how much harder you will work to make it a success because you don’t want your money to go to waste!
Thank you so much Gemma for letting me feature you and your business on my blog. I loved reading inspirational story and I wish you all the best of luck in the future.
If you like what you’re reading and would love to be part of my Mums in Business series just drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or have a nose at some of the other businesses I have featured in the series: Hesford Media, LioBites and Wholey Moly.