This month’s Inspiring Parent is someone who is at the forefront of a new revolution in flexible working. Frustrated with the old-fashioned, 9-5 employment mindset that flies in the face of family-friendly working, Nathalia Chubin co-founded By Day, a flexible working company for consultants who happen to be parents. If you are considering a new way to have a healthy work-life balance and a career, then read on!
Over to you Nathalie. What was your working life like pre-children?
I was working in advertising and then product marketing for Sony before I had my first child. I loved being in the publishing and marketing team there, and after my training in advertising became addicted to constant challenges. I did, however, begin to wonder how a marketing role could be combined with a more international or involved family life, and as I progressed towards having children, I couldn’t see any viable answers.
What was the trigger to make your change?
I finished at Sony PlayStation’s product marketing department working on the global game franchises, and we took off to Australia for a project my husband was working on. I began to wonder whether it was possible to have both a career at the level you previously worked to attain, and also spend a bit more time with the family, perhaps working flexibly to accommodate both careers in the household. At the same time, an old school friend of mine got in touch to float the idea of a consultancy company for parents, allowing people who have become senior managers, directors partners etc to take their work freelance and project-based. I lapped up the idea and we began to build the company from scratch.
Which skills, experience and training have you had?
I started as a grad trainee at McCann London working on various businesses from FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) to Entertainment products and Technology. Within the few years I was there I trained in IPA certificates and levels through to HyperIsland which was the best course I’ve ever taken! When I went marketing-side, I took various development courses at Sony training me in management, emotional intelligence, practical MS skills and employment law.
Which existing skills have you used from your old career to your business?
Possibly nearly all of them. As a team of two, I’m handling the marketing side without a team now, so having to put all the previous experience to good use is a daily occurrence, not to mention finding new skills along the way. In list form, I guess time management, creative direction, client services, digital marketing, content creation, partnerships formation, diplomacy, PR strategy, project management, finance and budgeting, social media strategy, IP and advertising regulations and laws, business strategy and development, market research, branding, channel strategy… I could keep going!
What has been a challenge? How have you overcome it?
So many challenges present themselves when you are doing something new. I think we have been lucky in that the normal challenge for marketing is engaging an audience – for us, the kind of thing we do attracts and engages our target quite quickly and effortlessly. That’s not to say we can sit back and do nothing – it’s still a real effort creating content calendars and assets – but the audience is quite receptive so that’s reassuring. I think for me I didn’t realise how much of the day it could take to create very simple assets for social and digital use… and how experience matters. We have been reaching out to experienced friends – who we are lucky to have around – for help and advice on the areas we have little experience in ourselves, and that feedback has been such a relief so far.
What has surprised you?
Specifically, to do with our business, signing up consultants, I’m shocked at the quality level. I expected there to be a wide spread of abilities, levels, etc – but almost everyone who I’ve spoken to after the sign up has been genuinely 5-star quality. And I’m not easily impressed!
What advice would you give to a parent in the same position?
It’s incredible to set up something yourself where you get to shape and develop a business exactly as you’d like it to look. The main challenge will be your resource if there are kids around, but avoid the mum guilt by dividing business/parenting as cleanly as you can. If you’re able, only parent when you parent, and focus on the business 100% when you have that time set aside. Personally, I found having a toddler playing at my feet whilst I type away doesn’t work – neither end up being done particularly well, and the guilt level escalates.
Like so many of us in the flexible working and work-life balance industry, we are carving our own careers and businesses to make sure we have what we deserve. What is so great about the work of By Day, is the connections they are making with like-minded organisations who value the skills, talents and experience parents can bring on ” By Day” basis!
Come over to The Balance Collective with Clara Wilcox and let us know how you are creating a life that works for you.