How This International Businesswoman Found a Better Work-Life Balance with ActionCOACH
There’s nothing wrong with loving your work, but some people get so busy making a living that they forget about life. Time and again, ActionCOACH business coaches find that a better work-life balance often tops the list of areas their clients want to improve.
United Kingdom-based ActionCOACH business coach Lucy Cameron understands her clients’ struggle to achieve a good work-life balance all too well. Before becoming a community and business builder with ActionCOACH, Lucy had very demanding, time-intensive careers that took away from family time.
A Head Start on the Corporate Treadmill – And Running Out of Family Time
At 26, Lucy was the youngest buyer at Burton Menswear and worked her way up to being Systems Training Manager for Arcadia Head Office. A few years later, she completed her Masters of Business Administration and moved out of London to raise a family – and found herself with a four-hour commute each way.
More recently, she worked as an Organizational and Personal Development Manager for Crossrail in Canary Wharf, U.K. While she was able to slightly cut down her commute (at three hours, it was still far from reasonable), she still wasn’t able to find a work-life balance. With three young children, the long hours Lucy had to work and travel was far from ideal.
“I was leaving home at 6:15 in the morning and getting home at 7:30 p.m. on a good day,” Lucy said. “My kids were asleep when I left, and by the time I got home, they were tucked up in bed. Fair to say it wasn’t a great work-life balance.”
Lucy’s husband Clive also had a strenuous work schedule at Morgan Stanley. Not only were Clive and Lucy struggling to spend time with their family, it was also very difficult for them to find appropriate childcare for their kids. Few nurseries were open early enough for Lucy to drop them off before work, and even fewer were open late enough for her to pick them up. Lucy and Clive opted to get a live-in Au pair.
“Since my husband also commuted, my children were missing out on both parents,” Lucy said. “And, when my kids were two, five and seven – which is when we had an Au pair – she seemed more like a mother figure and friend to the children than I was. I felt my relationship with my kids was getting increasingly distant, and I was missing out on so many of their functions – school assemblies, plays, carol services.”
Changing the Game by Becoming a COACH
Lucy decided it was time to make a change, which is when she ran across franchise ownership with ActionCOACH.
“I had never really considered running my own business, but the more I looked into it, the more boxes it ticked,” Lucy said. “Business coaching pulled together everything I had learned professionally – business acumen, the theory I studied for my MBA, along with coaching and people skills. Owning my own business was also a way to accomplish my personal goal for a better work-life balance.”
In addition to ActionCOACH’s advantages pulling together Lucy’s skillsets, the opportunity stood out to her because of its international footprint and proven systems.
“ActionCOACH took the risk out of starting a business – it gave me a reliable framework, training and ongoing support, and that’s really what I was looking for in entrepreneurship,” Lucy said. “I also really liked that they had a global presence and that their marketing and sales support was all mapped out.”
Since becoming an ActionCOACH franchise partner in 2012, Lucy has experienced tremendous success with the brand. She has grown her business by impressive margins every year, and she has been widely recognized within the business world for the substantial results she’s generated for her clients.
Less than a year after opening her business, Lucy received an award for the Best Client Results in the U.K. for her work with a signage company. She was then recognized for the Best Client Results in the South East for two consecutive years. In 2015, one of her clients was voted the Best Retailer in Europe and Best Independent Retailer in the U.K. They credited so much of their success with Lucy’s strategic business coaching and guidance that they gave her their certificate.
Striking the Right Balance
For Lucy, however, the work-life balance she was able to strike with ActionCOACH was even more important than any accolade. She works four days a week, taking care of administrative and marketing work with her team on Mondays. Tuesdays through Thursdays, she finishes coaching by 5:30 p.m. so she can eat dinner with her family. She takes Fridays off to spend with friends and family. During the summer months, she and her family spend the day travelling to their vacation lodge in Norfolk.
Finding time for school events is much easier for Lucy now that she works from home, and she’s able to pick her kids up from school each day. In finding this balance, Lucy has also found she serves as a positive role model for other working mothers.
“There is so much pressure to choose between work and being a mom, there was a constant feeling that I was doing a poor job of both!” Lucy said. “It’s possible to run a successful business, be a great mom and get the work-life balance. I have been told that I inspire women to push themselves to be more than they thought they could be, and that makes me really happy.”
In the future, Lucy looks to continue expanding her business by bringing on another business coach as an employee. She’s also building a team of freelance trainers, so she can provide additional services to businesses around leadership and development.
“I’m hoping to find other working moms to fill these positions, creating even more female role models in the business world,” Lucy said.