“My working week non negotiables”

Solo Episode

Show notes:

The second episode of the podcast is a solo exploration as I discuss what my working week looks like and the ‘blend’ of business and family time that I’ve found works for me. It took a lot to get here – lots of failure and learning curves – and it will need to change as my family grows and the business develops.

I let you in on my ‘Mummy Day’ what my weekly non negotiables actually are, and where I choose to invest in support – family or the business..

I’d love to know what your working weeks look like, and what your non negotiables are?

Bump to business owner links:

Website: www.bumptobusinessowner.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bumptobusinessowner/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carolinepooley/



Hello and welcome to Bump to Business Owner, thank you so much for tuning in today. This podcast is inspired by my mission to find out why more and more mums are leaving the employment world for the entrepreneur life. I’ll be talking to some of the people I believe to be the most inspiring women in business about their journey building their businesses alongside motherhood. I’ll be also sharing some of my own experiences of juggling my award winning virtual assistant agency Upsource, while raising my two young children. Right now they are two and four, and trust me, it can be chaos.

Caroline Marshall: Hello, I’m Caroline and welcome to this edition of Bump to Business Owner. I’m your host and I am the founder of a virtual assistant agency called Upsource. We are a team of VAs that support businesses, entrepreneurs, scale ups, start ups with a whole host of business needs and lifestyle support. I’m a very proud owner of my business. If you can’t tell, I feel this stage of your life is a very odd time, but also actually a great time to start a business. I’m raising two humans who I want to have confidence and I want to give things a go and to feel it’s okay to fail. I’ve always been open with starting a business and I might fail, probably because I’ve failed a lot during the early years of motherhood and I’ve also failed in the past.

Don’t get me wrong. You know, failure is not new. I tried to be a singer, failed at that. It was a learning journey. Let’s not call it failure. Why I’ve started on this is because I wanted to talk about today is what my working week looks like, how I juggle or blend as Toby from my bump would say, blend my week as a mother and a business owner because the question of how do you do it? Which I’m going to be bringing up a lot in this podcast because I know women leave the workplace in droves after they have babies. There’s a reason for that. Women struggle with their career identities. Often after babies, there is still the gender pay gap. So therefore, I think it’s good to talk about what my week looks like because I’m at a stage. What I’m doing right now works. So how does my work week look like? And I’m going to talk about what it looks like now because I will also do another podcast on what my return back looks like, because obviously what I do now, I think I’ve been doing it like this 6 to 8 months. I’ve been doing it since my son started reception. So basically I work four days a week, largely school hours. The school has just introduced wraparound care for this term. So I’m also trying to not feel guilty about putting my son in wraparound care like once a week because he actually quite enjoyed it.

I picked him up from it last night and he was happy as Larry. So I think definitely a learning for us all. Sometimes we feel guilty about something. It turns out our kid is really happy and they’re fine. They’re enjoying the novelty of wraparound care, maybe because it is once a week, it is just a novelty. So practically what I do is tend to work Monday to Friday. Our kids are at two different places. I’m very lucky. I have a husband. He has a busy job. He he works in tech, he’s in development. So he tends to be quite flexible with how he works as well. So we tend to do the school run together. I tend to be at my desk. I learned the hard way not to book meetings before ten. Sometimes I’ll sneak a 9:30 in, but I don’t put them in before ten. And you know, obviously sometimes things happen when I say I don’t put meetings in before ten, I don’t run the kind of business where I’m like, I barely work. Everyone works around me. That’s not how it works. So I run a client facing business. If something happens and a client wants to speak to me, I’ll speak to them. I will do anything to make sure my clients are happy. Within reason.

I’m not someone who’s just going to be like, Oh no, everyone has to work around me. So these are the times where I’m available now. I set boundaries. Boundaries sometimes need to be broken, but they’re there. And so I don’t do calls for ten, and I try not to do calls after two either. So. Well, now my kids are doing a little bit of after school clubs. It just gives me that bit of buffer to maybe go for a walk. Not even work, but I like to walk to pick up my kids. It’s a good walk. It’s up a hill. It takes me like 40 minutes. It kind of either gives me that buffer for if something hits the fan, but it also gives me that buffer to actually like get out away from my desk, walk and maybe listen to a podcast or something. Maybe you’ll be listening to mine if that’s what you do as well. How nice. But Wednesday is Mummy Day and so I really try and block that out and I’ve failed in the past and not doing a good enough job at that and taking calls. And when I say Mummy Day, it’s Mummy Day for my two year old so he’s at nursery Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday I put my kid in creche so I can actually have a workout on a Wednesday morning because that’s like the one of the few times I’ve really managed to dedicate to getting a workout in.

And then we go swimming. We’ll have me and him have like a bit of a snack. We’ll talk about the rest of the family. You know, we know we’re the two pillars of the family. And, you know, we’re keeping it all together because he’s so wise at two years old and we’ll have a little snack and then we’ll just go swimming and, um, yeah, and I tend to walk with him and then he gets stuck helping me with the laundry. Luckily, he seems to like that. He just likes having my attention since, you know, hard being a second child. I am one myself. You’ve never had that attention, so he’ll take laundry. I tend to do laundry on Wednesday. This is fascinating. Sorry. This podcast wasn’t intended to talk to you about my laundry days, but here we are and then we’ll go pick up my eldest. So, um, I really try and block that out. I’m again, I’m not so strict. I won’t look at my emails. I try and get my VA, have my own now, which is fantastic when I say I have my own, like a client. She has a certain amount of hours she’s allowed to go up to, and my budget allows her to go up to and she’s great on Wednesdays for just getting rid of rubbish in my inbox and things like that.

But Slack, you know, if someone needs me, I’m going to be there for them. It’s like if my kids need me on a work day, I’m going to be there for them. I read a post recently or someone had a theme of like, What’s your non-negotiables? And I was really thinking about this because actually in reality, like I say, Mummy Day is non-negotiable. And it is like if someone messages me again, can we do a call tomorrow? Unless it literally I feel like I’m going to lose a client or I’m going to lose a PR or something, or it’s a really excellent client and I’ll figure it out how to get some childcare somehow, or if my husband can take a lunch break at the same time. But I really am quite strict with the boundaries, but I wouldn’t say it’s a non-negotiable. So for example, we are in as I’m recording this podcast, we are in the month of May this year. In 2023, May includes three bank holidays and half term. So there’s only so much I can do. My business still has to run, so therefore I have actually booked my kid into more childcare and taken the hit financially on a Wednesday because I’m spending more time with him on a Monday. Anyway, it is. It’s a boundary, but it is something that’s negotiable.

So what I’ve started to think because I’m something I’m in the process of doing is Emdr therapy, which is basically. Cause my my son had a sudden, unexpected postnatal collapse not long after he was born, which was very traumatic. And I realised that’s actually my one non-negotiable every week. So I literally only have that as my non-negotiable on a Thursday. And everything else is boundaries, being strict, getting help. But I wouldn’t call anything else a non-negotiable. But at the same time, maybe that’s because I’ve got to that position where I’ve been quite good with my boundaries. And maybe you do have to put some non-negotiables in for either a Mummy day or school runs or things like that, because it really has been a learning process. I’ve done some failed phone calls. I’ve not been the best mum to my kids or, you know, a whole host of things, but in general it’s in my calendar. The team have access to my calendar and so people can see. And also on things like Slack, I put in on I love the emojis on Slack real top tip there. I put like a little child’s every Wednesday and my out of office is on so people know it’s a mummy day and if they highlight if the emoji say it’s a mummy day and and people respect that and I like to think you know I’ve got people on the team who have similar boundaries whether it’s school, working hours, Fridays, things like that.

So it works right now. That’s how I’ve worked things. I can’t lie. I was struggling with the first term. My kid started school and when he was in preschool, there were no after school clubs, no wraparound care. So I really it took such an adjustment getting to the school world and being like, my day finishes at 230 every day. That is, if you’ve sent your kid to nursery and they have their three meals a day there and it’s 8 to 6 people. This is why I felt a business was easier because I struggled. But at same time it wasn’t the same time as turning to my employer and being like, So I know we got used to the fact I’d leave at five to go pick up my kids. So how about I now leave at 230 or, you know, or struggling to find childcare? We did try and actually go down the nanny route and it’s actually really hard to get a nanny and plus, like it’s expensive, obviously. But, um, and I didn’t want a nanny for that many days and obviously financially and that’s, that’s really hard to come by. And then we learned the hard way. We had a great one. And then she managed to find her dream job, which is great for her in the food industry.

But then she was gone after a couple of months. My kids really liked her and I just felt like heartbroken that we’d invested in this person, not just us, but as a family. And then she was gone. And at least I know with myself doing the school run, I’m always there. And then so that’s why time invest in people helping in my business rather than in my home or with my family, I should say. I you know, there’s a whole host of things you can get people to help you with. But having help in my business, I probably spend too much on people helping me, probably take more of a cut on my salary to pay people to help me because then it also means, yeah, s hits the fan like it did the other week. I had flu and we still managed to bring on a client. There was another client who we were going through some changes with and it it all happened. It might have been slightly delayed, but it all happened that week and I wasn’t there. So that’s how my working week looks like. And I’m interested to know how you’re working week looks like, because you know, there’s that constant thing of guilt, Guilt being a mommy, guilt to my team, guilt being a mommy, guilt to my team. So I’d love to know how other people handle this. And I still think, like I said before, it’s easier than being employed at the minute.

You know, that can always change. I don’t want to sit here and say, This year, next year I’ll be like, That was rubbish. I had no idea what I was talking about, but hey, I can change my mind. Like I’ve said before, beauty of being alive and a woman. I can change my mind any time I want, but right now that’s how I feel. Um. But I’d love to know. Please tell me. Please follow us. Bump to Business Owner, Share with your friends anyone who’s struggling on like, how do I run a business? You can. You don’t have to work five days a week. You set your rules. And that’s the rule I have set. And that’s through a lot of trial and error. And I’m sure there’ll be more of it. But I’m pleased to say for now, that’s working.



You have been listening to Bump to Business Owner, the podcast for mums running businesses, aspiring to run businesses, or simply supporters of mums who go on this crazy business journey. I’m your host Caroline Marshall and I run a virtual assistant agency called Upsource. I started it in lockdown 2020, I’ve seen it through maternity leave and it is growing alongside my two growing boys. Thank you so much, please connect me at Bump to Business Owner, my name is Caroline Marshall.

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