This week on my Parents in Business series I’m delighted to be featuring Karen Taylor who created Parent Cloud. Karen has a simple mission of helping parents to thrive once they become a parent and also helping businesses to support parents within their workforce.
What a fabulous business that Karen has here. Becoming a parent is so challenging, and dealing with returning to work after maternity leave is another challenge in itself. One of Karen’s goals is to work closely with businesses to help them build a stronger bond with parents, and to address gender diversity and the pay gap.
All of these things are something that as a working parent I feel really strongly about, and I love the idea here behind Karen’s business. So please all have a read of her business story and her top tips for setting up your own business.
Tell me a little bit about you, your background, and your business?
I started my career in Executive Search and then moved into HR about 10 years ago. I worked for a large Investment company in the city helping to build their business and offering career coaching to their employees. I loved being able to see the impact I had hiring great people and then helping them to grow. During my time there I had my two children and was lucky enough to work part-time and as part of a job-share. The business was fantastic at supporting me and enabling me to continue to work while also spending time with my children. That said, it certainly wasn’t easy, balancing the two was incredibly difficult sometimes, which is why I’m passionate about trying to make that same journey easier for Parents. I founded Parent Cloud earlier this year, we partner with businesses helping them to support parents in their workforce by offering access to specialists via online remote consultations to help with the run up to giving birth, during maternity leave and after returning to work. I’m loving seeing the difference we’re making both from a mental health perspective and, also helping companies to address the issue of gender diversity.
What were your motivations for setting up your business?
When my youngest daughter was 18 months old, she became very ill with sepsis. It was without a doubt the worst few weeks of my life. The company I worked for were fantastic but I found it difficult coming back to work and the more I started to speak with other working parents about how challenging it can be, the more I realised my experience wasn’t out of the ordinary it was, in fact, the norm. A study recently found that working Parents are significantly more stressed than other employees and I feel strongly that the businesses who invest in ways of supporting working parents are going to be the ones that thrive. Companies are now publishing their gender pay gap reports annually and we’re still not seeing any significant shift. Supporting working mothers to make their journey through parenthood easier, giving them the confidence and headspace to still focus on their careers, is one of the most fundamental ways we can positively impact the gender pay gap.
How do you balance the business around your family and childcare?
It can be chaotic at times and there are moments when I don’t feel like I’m managing to do anything as well as I’d like but I want to set an example for my girls, for them to grow up feeling that anything’s possible. I also have some great support from my husband who believes as much as I do in what I’m trying to achieve, which makes a huge difference. I also love lists. I seem to have several on the go at any one time which tends to keep me on track.
Since setting up your business what has been your biggest success to date?
While I really love to see the difference we can make to businesses I actually get the most satisfaction from reading comments from individuals we’ve managed to help. Getting an email from someone saying that we’ve made their life easier in some way, big or small motivates me more than anything else
What’s your top tip for anyone who is thinking about setting up their own business?
When I was growing up, I didn’t really think that setting up my own business would be option for me. I just pictured myself spending my life going into an office, working for other people. Working for a company that really embraced entrepreneurialism and marrying into a family full of entrepreneurs made me start to feel that it’s possible. There are always days when I can feel out of my depth, but I tell myself to just take it step by step, break things down if I feel like I’ve hit a brick wall and reach out for advice. Everyone I’ve reached out to have been so keen to help you should never feel like you’re without support.
Fundamentally, if you have an idea that you’re passionate about then start chatting with people about it and take it one step at a time. Reading the Lean Start-up is also a good place to start, it helps to strip away any natural tendency towards perfectionism and instils a feeling that you can permanently evolve and change as a business.
Thank you so much Karen for being part of my series, I wish you all the best of luck for the future.
If you like what you’re reading and would love to be part of my Parents 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: Emma Hammond, Logan’s Plate, and Tribe PR