I’ve done a flurry of Fearless Fridays interviews these last few weeks and I can’t wait for you to read them and watch them in the coming months! I just love doing these; I’m reassured and inspired myself by all the career transitions stories and I love getting the feedback from you all around the world on how one story or another has given you the spark that you needed to get a move on!
This month’s interview is with Ruth Kudzi, another coach who I met via the Freedom Hacker’s Facebook group, this time a fellow Brit. She was working in a school and, ironically, this meant that she would be unable to make the school pick-ups for her children. When she was pregnant with her second child, she made the decision to start her own business in order to have more flexibility and more time with her family.
If you think you don’t have time to set up a business alongside your current job, just consider Ruth who set up her coaching business while pregnant, with a toddler, and still working in her full-time job! Read on or watch the full interview below to find out how she managed to overcome her fears to set up the business in the first place, and then how she is finding the delicate balance between achieving her business goals – and still remembering why she’s doing it in the first place.
Leaving a corporate job behind to follow your passion: From Assistant Principal to Women’s Coach
Ruth Kudzi was a senior leader in secondary school for six years and recently decided to change career and set up her own business to have more flexibility with her children and to do something she really loves! Today, she is a business and life coach for women, predominantly mums, helping them to develop their confidence, change career, and start their own business.
1) At what moment did you decide it was time for a change?
When I had my first daughter, I started thinking about it before I even started maternity leave, when I was pregnant. I started thinking: I want to do something that’s going to allow me to take her to and pick her up from school. As I worked in a school, I could never do that, which is quite ironic! So I started the process then… But it was when I had gone back to work and when I became pregnant with my second daughter that I realised that something would have to change. There was no way that I could juggle the pick-ups and drop-offs with two of them, and do everything I needed to do at work. I had to physically be at work at set times and that just made everything really difficult to do, and to do it properly.
2) What was the biggest challenge you faced in making the change?
I started my business when I was pregnant; so there was a time when I was pregnant, I had a toddler, and I was working full time! That was about seven or eight months ago and that was really challenging. It was challenging to have the energy, being heavily pregnant, to come home and speak to clients on the phone, to start setting up all of the systems I needed to set up…
Then because I’m working on my own business, I have been working on it throughout my maternity leave, so my youngest is still a baby. I think it’s the balancing: making sure that I’m still spending enough time with her, and I’m going to mummy classes, and she knows that she is very loved – while making sure that my business is growing and everything is working there; so it is a bit of a balancing act! She’s actually in the room at the moment!
3) Where did you get the support you needed to make it happen?
I got a lot of support from my fiancé. I also got a lot of support from my family in helping me with childcare. Both when I was setting it up – at that point they’d help in the evenings – and now; for example, I’m finishing off a post-graduate certificate in coaching and my brother is looking after my two daughters in the interim before their dad can get home from work. So I’ve been really lucky to have family.
I’ve also started having a look at using additional help. I have a child minder now, who helps look after my daughter in my house – so I’m physically there for her, I can feed her, but I can also do my work; and that’s working really well. Before I was finding that I was trying to look after her and do my work, and it’s just impossible!
I also had a lot of fears and I think the reason why I didn’t do it sooner is that I didn’t feel that I was good enough and I was worried about failure; I was holding myself back. I actually worked with a coach on looking at some of my beliefs and looking at my fear of failure, and that gave me the push to actually do it. I knew I wasn’t going to do it unless I changed my beliefs about myself. From that, I do quite a lot of things: I do affirmations every day, every morning and every evening, to try and create that positive mindset; I do quite a lot of meditation – I’ve been trying every day but I haven’t been doing it every day for the last few weeks… Doing coaching, and coming from a psychology background, I know that it’s all from you, and you have to believe it! And I think the reason it took me a while to make that leap is because I didn’t believe that I could be successful; it’s only now that I believe it that I am.
For me, getting the positive feedback from clients has really helped me to develop. Even when I was just working with friends of friends who weren’t paying me anything, they were coming back and they were giving me really positive feedback and I started to really believe in myself more. So a recommendation that I would give to people: if you’re thinking about it, start small, do things for free to begin with, because that’s how you build up your confidence and build up your skills.
4) What’s the best part of your lifestyle today?
I think it’s that I can choose. I can say: on a Monday, I’m going to do this with my daughter in the morning, and this with her in the afternoon, and therefore I’m only going to work these set times; I’m only going to take clients at these set times. I think I find it a bit more challenging sometimes when I’m, for example, trying to do an online course and develop it, or I’m trying to look at my social media strategy, to be as strict with myself. That’s something I’m working on the whole time, to make sure that I keep that balance and that I’m not working all of the time – because as an entrepreneur, you can just spend all of your time working! There’s always something you can do, and you have to remind yourself why you set it up – otherwise, it’s just as bad as working for yourself!
It’s also a great learning curve because you start realising what you’re good at and what you’re not good at; and what I’m not good at, I’m just outsourcing more now. So I have a virtual assistant who does things for me; I have a website designer who’s rebranding my website and is going to help me with my landing pages; I have someone who helps me create the best ad copy… All of these things, it would take me ages to do and I was doing them on my own. I realised it’s actually cheaper: if you think about your hourly rate and what you’re charging clients, and what people are paying you – and then you’re spending five hours doing something that you could pay someone $20 for and they could do in half an hour! It’s ridiculous!
5) What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is considering making a big career or lifestyle change?
I’d say: go for it! But before you go for it, be really clear on why you’re doing it and what exactly you want to get out of it. So if you need to earn a certain salary, you need to do your research and make sure that you can earn that salary. If you want to only work three days, you need to make sure that that will be viable for you.
I think any woman can do it, any woman can go out and set up on their own; but you have to be realistic about what you want to achieve and why you’re doing it. And your ‘why’ has to be really important to you! My ‘why’ is spending more time with my children – that’s my main driver. If that wasn’t important to me, when I’m having a really bad week and things aren’t going to plan, my website looks awful, my ad isn’t working, whatever’s going on… If I didn’t have a strong why then I wouldn’t keep going – so that’s the most important thing, I think.
Ruth is based in London but she coaches clients globally. Find out more on her website or follow her on Twitter and Instagram. If you’re a mum who wants to develop your confidence and change your career, or start up and develop your own business, then you can join her Facebook group: The Empowerment Collective.
Have you made big changes in your life and want to inspire others to do the same? Or maybe you’re 100% happy staying put where you are and want to make a case for being satisfied with what you have? Get in touch to share your story!