Ruth Kudzi is a Coach, Writer and Public Speaker who specialises in helping women build successful businesses.
What job did you do prior to starting your own business? I was a senior leader in a large secondary school, I managed a team and had lead on marketing, operations and recruitment as well as doing lots of training and coaching with my staff and the students. What triggered you to make the change? After returning from maternity leave I was close to burnout. I was working up to 12 hours a day at the school and there was no flexibility - I wasn't even allowed to have 1 hour off to take my daughter to her first day at nursery. I had lost the passion for my job and I realised that I had the perfect opportunity to do something I loved and that I was good at which worked for my family. What was the biggest stumbling block you came across during this period, and how did you overcome it? I knew about Business but I knew less about the online world, I was juggling a full-time job, a toddler and I was pregnant so it was a case of doing what I could. My husband was a great help and very supportive (plus a digital marketing director which helps) but sometimes I felt like I would never get to where I wanted. How does your work life typically fit in with your family commitments and child care? I know work 3 full days and 2 evenings. I have some flexibility on the other 2 days if needed. My kids are in nursery Wednesday - Friday and I can take them and pick them up, they are in shorter days which is great for all of us. I work two evenings for a few hours so I can spend 4 days out of 7 with my kids. I do have occasional events, training and conferences at the weekend however when this happens I know I have Monday and Tuesday with the kids so it isn't as bad. What are the pros and cons of working for yourself whilst raising a family? You can choose your hours, this is a massive pro. They can see you building something you love rather than working in a job you don't like that much. You can provide more opportunities for your children and have more freedom to do different things. The biggest cons are boundaries - you have to be strict about when you are working and when you aren't and it can be lonely working on your own so it is looking at what you can do every day to still have social contact. How do you avoid the stress and burnout that might otherwise be typical of this lifestyle? I work less hours than I have ever worked and because I am flexible I am able to spend time doing things like yoga, the gym and walking which I didn't do before. I think if you have clear boundaries and are clear about where you spend your time this can be the best job ever! What advice would you give to other mums for helping maximise the time and productivity of their days? Schedule everything in with a scheduling tool and use colour coding so that you can see where you spend your time. Don't over commit, think about your priorities for the week and focus on them. When you are doing something get rid of distractions so you can focus on what you are doing and be more productive. Don't forget your needs - even if you only have a coffee and a walk on your own every day this me time is so valuable and will make you more productive (and happier) What is the one ‘habit’ that you believe makes a successful ‘life juggler’? Organisation, I look at my week every Sunday and map it out this means I know what my priorities are and what I need to do plus it means I can see if I need support or some extra childcare.