What personal success means to me – Cheney Hamilton
In our series of interviews, Successful Mums founder Jane Knight talks to a number of women about what personal success means to them and how they combine work and family to achieve it….
From Fleet Street to Find Your Flex, Mum of 3 Cheney has now launched her latest website FindYourFlex, an inclusive platform for anyone looking for flexible working. I asked this award winning business mum what personal success means to her and what a typical working day with two children a new baby looks like
JK You have 3 children and own an award-winning business, so what does a typical day look like to you?
CH At the moment, the hardest part of my day is waking up! My 4 week old baby is rocking 3 boob feeds a night, so by 8am I definitely feel like a zombie mum – roll on the routine! My other half gets our 4 & 2 year old breakfasted and ready for nursery and we are all packed in the car by 8.30 for drop-offs to school then work.
After that, me and Harry settle down for a mix of feeds, naps and techno catch ups with my team to set the day and weeks sales and marketing agenda… I must say, without Slack, Zoom & Hubspot our 100% remote working team of flexers would be much harder to manage!
Flexibility really works for me and the team (which is spread across the globe) – we all have child or care commitments and we all work around each other and for each other, as and when untimely situations arise – which is often! The rest of my day is spent promoting our platform, updating our sites, writing blogs ad articles, launching campaigns and networking at events and across our social channels.
My time is fairly tightly managed, I delegate well and trust my team to do what needs to be done – this means I can still do pickups, lunch and tea, bath time and bedtimes without having to work heavily into the evenings and as for our weekends – they are sacred!
JK In what ways has becoming a mum had a positive impact on your approach to your work life/business?
CH It’s taught me that LIFE happens and mostly when you really need it not too! When Bea my first child was born, I was working on Fleet Street, was the only senior female within my company and had committed to heading back to work after only 5 month mat leave with my husband opting to be one of the first men in his company to take enhanced Shared Parental Leave. Bea was born with hip dysplasia, which meant we spent a lot of her first 15 months in and out of hospitals, she had various body casts and surgeries and my other half who was home with her for the majority of this period started suffering from depression.
It’s hard enough being a new parent, but being housebound because your child can’t get her vaccinations and can’t be around other children, or fit into a car seat makes life really difficult. My boss at the time was amazing, letting me go 4 days but still paying me a full-time salary so we didn’t lose out financially on top of everything else we were going through – he really was awesome. Skipping forward 2 years and 2 healthy children later, my request for a flexible return was denied, a precedent being set in a 95% female office was not wanted and so I decided to look for pastures new and came up short.
My choice for flex was either a healthy pay cut and demotion or to do something about this lack of flexibility in senior positions and set up my own business promoting exactly that.
Two years on again and I manage a team of 13 flexible workers who work from home in the UK & Dubai on 3 community site, 1 job board and a host of social channels. I have worked with over 300 clients supporting flexible job opportunities and reach over 1M new flexible working candidates every month.
Without becoming a mum, none of this would ever have happened.
JK What does personal success mean to you?
Being happy with my family, providing my children with strong parental role models and making sure they always believe that they can do whatever they hope to do without limitations!
JK What one piece of professional advice would you give other working mums/mums in business?
CH Keep going, its always hard work and even harder in the holidays – learn to prioritise & delegate (if you can) quickly – having a new baby has been my biggest challenge to date, but my clients understand and are fine with me boob feeding through sales calls!
JK What one thing for yourself do you always make time for?
CH A long bath and an episode of Greys Anatomy!
JK If you were invited on Desert Island Discs, what would your top music choice, book and luxury be?
CH Jean Auel, Earths Children collection – my fave books of all time, I must have read them about 50 times each and I still love them!
JK Is there anything you’d consign to the ocean & why?
CH Bing – if he just did as he was told in the first place… The same goes for Peppa Pig actually, they are both naughty and my kids definitely end up copying them!
JK Finally one last tip for women returning to work after a break?
CH Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want, whether its flexible hours or a raise, times are changing.
A big thank you to Cheney Hamilton for her time.
You can find out more about her fabulous website here.