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A Day In The Life Of... Careers

A Day in the Life of Director: Sally Marshall

Find Your Flex is delighted to be delivering our latest installment of the Day in the Life Of series. Sally Marshall is someone who wears many career hats, but is still able to find true work-life balance!

Sally is a social enterprise advisor as well as the director of her own business. Take a look at how Sally finds her day to day and what drives her in her career!

WHAT DOES A WORKING DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?

I currently have 2 contracts with Social Enterprise Kent, working with business owners as a social enterprise adviser. This involves talking to businesses about where they are and where they want to be, putting in place a strategy for increasing awareness and growing their network.

I also work with community interest companies and charities and they often want help identifying and applying for funding. I also run my own business, so I work on that during the evenings and weekends.

I publish a business magazine, so networking is important when keeping the magazine in the forefront of people’s minds. I can do this through social media and engaging with other businesses.

I also have a membership for businesses offering group coaching, a monthly digital planner and social media templates. I know how difficult it can be to do everything in a business so I use my knowledge and experience to support others.

HOW DO YOU FIND A LIFE WORK BALANCE?

My role is pretty flexible and depends on which programme I’m working on and where my clients are based. For the Steer Your Business magazine, I schedule articles on social media during the weekend or evening which doesn’t take too long so it doesn’t impact too much on my personal time.

I’m also setting up a membership for sole traders and this again is automated a lot of the time, with intervention in the evening and over the weekend. I enjoy what I do so it doesn’t feel like work. I do however, plan some down time so that I switch off.

One of the downsides of having your own business is that you don’t switch off enough, so I know how important that is. Walking away from the laptop helps and switching off the phone as well which I do at the weekend.

ARE THERE ANY OPPORTUNITIES TO PROGRESS?

There aren’t any learning opportunities really at Social Enterprise Kent, particularly as I only work on short term contracts. But in my own business, I’m always learning.

My background in the House of Commons set me on the right track but there’s always room to learn more and develop my own knowledge and experience in different sectors.

WHAT IS THE BEST PART ABOUT YOUR ROLE?

The flexibility it gives me and the choices I have to work with different people in different businesses. I love the challenge and helping other businesses thrive.

IS THERE A DIFFICULT PART TO YOUR JOB?

Juggling everything! I need to be well organised in order to fit everything in. That is one of the reasons for developing the digital planner in a way that works for me and hopefully for others. It helps keep me focussed and on track. I also automate as much as possible so that I have more time for the face to face meetings.

IF SOMEONE WAS CONSIDERING A CAREER IN YOUR AREA OF EXPERTISE, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THEM?

I have a lot of transferable skills which I learned at the House of Commons. I didn’t realise how much I knew! I think it’s the same for everyone – you assume others know what you do so we all have something to offer.

I would advise them to research their market, work out what they have to offer and then just go out there and get started. If you wait until it’s perfect, you never actually start so running a business is a steep learning curve but in a good way.

THANK YOU SALLY FOR SHARING YOUR INSIGHTS AS A DIRECTOR! 

A great piece of advice from Sally! It’s inspiring to see a strong business leader so dedicated to her role and one who has so much passion within said role!

If you would like to gain even more insight into how to maintain a work-life balance while working in multiple roles, have a read of a day in the life of a lead power systems engineer and author and founder?

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A Day In The Life Of... Careers

A Day In The Life Of The Lead Power Systems Engineer and Author & Founder of Butterfly Books

We’ve been lucky to gain so much insight from people in a number of different roles. Now Find Your Flex is ecstatic to be presenting the next installment of our Day in the Life Of series.

The amazing Kerrine Bryan tells us how she achieves life-work balance with not one but two roles! Kerrine manages a career as a Lead Power Systems Engineer and is an Author and Founder of her company Butterfly Books. Take a look at her working day to see exactly what balance is!

What does a working day look like for you?

I work in the energy group for WSP USA, which is a global engineering and professional services consultancy. Based in New York, my role is a mixture of technical, project management and business development work. I’m working on some exciting power generation projects including co-generation, energy saving studies and renewable power. For my engineering role typically – I start early around 7 am and start off responding to emails and sorting out any admin. My role involves design so I use software to calculate electrical requirements to ensure electrical systems are safe for use. Mid-morning and early afternoon I tend to have meetings – those could be internal or client meetings. Then back to design work in the afternoon. Occasionally I have project site visits, mainly in the New York area, but I have also traveled to other states and countries for my work.

My work for Butterfly Books includes general running of the business, writing new books, and coordinating with the team on content that will help us make a social impact and spread awareness about our mission. We work closely with other organisations when creating the books so there are often collaboration meetings and our busiest time is when we have a book launch. But that’s also a lot of fun too!

How do you find a life work balance?

I’m married and have two daughters who are 4 and 2 years old. My husband and I moved to the US just before they were born so we don’t have the family support that we would have if we were in the UK. Pre-Covid, just like many industries, the engineering and energy industry were less flexible, but the pandemic has forced them to move to more flexible working patterns and companies have been able to see that it can work. My current employer has always been flexible. I’m currently working part-time in my engineering role, so that’s 3 long days per week. This gives me the time I need for organising the kids (including school run and extra-curricular clubs) and also keeping Butterfly Books going – which is a UK based social enterprise.

I work on the Butterfly Books on the days off for the few hours whilst the kids are in school and also in the evenings once they are in bed. My husband does the school run on the days that I’m engineering, and I do the school run on the other days. The flexibility of my engineering role has really helped be achieve work-life balance.

Are there any opportunities to progress?

Yes definitely, particularly with the skills gaps in engineering there is always an opportunity. I was recently supported by my employer to study for and take a US professional exam. This involved me taking some time off to study, working lots of late nights. In terms of running Butterfly Books and being a business owner, that’s more self-learning/. By building a network of people doing similar things, as I have done, we learn from each other too.

What is the best part about your role?

The best part of engineering is that not one day is the same. Every day presents a challenge, so work is never boring, plus I always learn something new every day. Similarly with running my business, Butterfly Books, it’s a continuous learning curve. But what keeps me going is knowing that we are working towards having a positive impact on equality across industries and different careers.

Is there a difficult part to your job?

I can honestly say that there haven’t been too many difficulties in my engineering role. The publishing industry, however, is very traditional and rigid with many barriers to entry. This is something I’ve had to circumnavigate when setting up Butterfly Books.

If someone was considering a career in your area of expertise, what advice would you give to them?

If someone was considering a career in engineering I would say to speak with engineers – and if you don’t know any then there are plenty of resources or organisations that can put you in touch with engineers – such as the Institute of Engineering and Technology. When it comes to publishing – I’m still learning – but again it’s the same approach of reaching out to organisations and building a network to share ideas and learn from others.

Thank you Kerrine for sharing your insights as The Lead Power Systems Engineer and Author & Founder of Butterfly Books!

Thank you so much to Kerrine who an excellent role model for anyone who is driven and is looking to have a varied professional life while still maintaining life-work balance!

To read more about what a working day looks like in different roles, why not take a read of the day in the life of Business Support Manager Akinsanya Tolulope!

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A Day In The Life Of... Careers Flexible Working Future of work

A Day in the Life Of a Founder and CEO: Alex Tomchenko

Alex is the Founder and CEO of Glambook; an all-in-one platform created to aid beauty professionals grow their budding businesses. Alex has an extremely positive and forward-thinking outlook on the life of a CEO. He highlights how much time, dedication and hard work it takes to build a thriving business. While also pointing out the need to decompress when you can and leave business at the door and make time for yourself. 

Alex also has some unique views on the meaning of progress and how transferable skills can be used to help build a brand. He also points out the importance of utilizing fresh talent prepared to soak up new ways of doing things and how this can be more beneficial to growing businesses than recruiting based on experience. This is definitely a mindset geared toward the future of working and we are excited to learn more about Alex and his working life as a Founder and CEO.   

What does a working day look like for a Founder & CEO?

I wake up at 7:00am and after a nutritious breakfast I start checking my inbox and messages. We meet with the team at 9:00am to help us align on priorities and set up the tone for the day. Before lunch, I’m focused on monitoring our results and growth and take a few more business meetings. After lunch, I spend time on mapping out business goals and tasks, aligning on workflow and hosting additional meetings. Towards the end of the day, I look at our daily progress and that helps me identify our goals and tasks for the next day. I go to bed at 11:30pm.

How do you find a work life balance?

To be honest, it’s not easy to strike a perfect work and life balance during the growth stage of a startup. What helps is that I work on something that I’m truly passionate about and I do it together with my wife, who is my co-founder. While we don’t have a strict schedule that divides our business and personal lives, we manage to find time for both. Usually, we are busy with work during the day and late evenings are reserved for things not related to business.

Are there opportunities to progress?

Progress is an important part of life. However, progress doesn’t necessarily mean doing something new. Often, it’s finding a new way to do something. At Glambook, we’re doing just that, finding a way to transition the beauty industry into the digital space. I’m a believer that opportunities for progress are always here and they will always be available.

What is the best part about being Founder & CEO?

The best part of my job is to have freedom to create a product the way you envision it. To create a product that will bring value to your users. If you can’t find something that works for you, you can create it. During my 13+ years spearheading a digital marketing agency, I gained valuable experience in promoting and growing other people’s products, so now I am fortunate to have an opportunity to finally use those skills and experience to build and grow my own product.

Is there a difficult part to your job?

Challenges help you have a different perspective, think outside of the box and look for alternatives, which means constant growth and development. I’m not a big fan of formalities – to have a meeting for the sake of having a meeting, or create documents for the sake of having them, so I prefer to focus on things that matter, bring value and make a process more meaningful.

If someone was considering a career in your area of expertise, what advice would you give to them?

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. This is something I’ve learned the hard way during my time at the digital marketing agency. It’s a much smoother and easier task to bring a beginner up to speed than trying to ask an established expert to re-learn and do things differently. An established professional may already have their own point of view and past experiences that prevent them from seeing a full picture. For someone who is just starting out in a new industry, there’s a much higher chance of being successful. Be curious, goal-oriented and motivated by the project you’re about to kick off. As the saying goes, if you’re trying to do the impossible, do it with people who don’t know that this is impossible.

THANK YOU TO ALEX FOR SHARING HIS INSIGHTS AS A FOUNDER AND CEO WITH US!

These were some amazing and unique insights from Alex, who shows us what it means to have the entrepreneur mindset, having not only the passion to create something unique but also to keep your eye on the future. Alex showcases a forward-thinking mindset, highlighting the fact that experience isn’t everything and if you do have experience, it is important to be flexible in your approach to different aspects of business. A refreshing take on the working life of a Founder and CEO! Alex also made the point of how his skills in marketing were transferable when creating his own product and business, which is something all of our readers should consider. We hope you enjoyed reading all about Alex’s amazing and interesting work life!

For other takes on the working life of a Founder and CEO why not have a read of A Day in the Life Of a Founder and CEO: Alex Bozhin.

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A Day In The Life Of... Business Careers

A Day in the Life Of a Founder and CEO: Alex Bozhin

Being a leader in business can be a long and difficult road, especially if you are a founder and/or CEO of an organisation. However if you have the drive and determination, every day in the life of a Founder and CEO can be rewarding as Alex Bozhin shares with Find Your Flex.

Alex managed to build a fast-growing company in Postoplan; an automated marketing platform for social networks and messengers. Alex is proud that 95% of his team stayed with the company since the beginning. He developed not only an efficient company structure but also corporate standards that allow to onboard new employees being fully remote. He would now like to share his journey and experience so far, to help and inspire existing and aspiring business leaders.

What does a working day look like for a Founder & CEO?

My workday begins at 6-7am. This has already become a habit, so I don’t use an alarm. I always do my morning warm-up exercises, and then spend about two hours on strategic issues, such as plans, indices, goals. Then comes breakfast.

Between 9am and 2pm, I have meetings and calls with my team, partners and investors. I try to use these hours as effectively as possible, and I believe that things should always be discussed in person because that’s much more efficient than exchanging a hundred letters.

The hours between 2pm and 5pm are usually spent on less important projects, dealing with mail and managerial tasks. During this period, I also try to go for a short walk, have lunch and get some exercise. I leave work that requires the least mental effort for the evening, and use this time to plan my next day. I work more than eight hours a day, but try to keep a work-life balance, improving the effectiveness of my actions.

How do you find a work life balance?

I believe that dividing my workday in two helps me to preserve the work-life balance. I think that leisure time should be treated as a separate task that mustn’t be skipped. We may have plenty of internal resources and work for 16 hours straight, but such an approach has a negative impact on effectiveness. This is why I try to switch back and forth between work and leisure and spend my lunch with family.

Physical exercise also helps to reduce stress. I spent a lot of time fine tuning this balance, and things, obviously, change as time goes by. The company is growing, and that means the growth of both responsibility and obligations. On the weekends, I try to work no more than seven hours a day to avoid burnout. I cannot stop working on weekends altogether, because when your company has a monthly growth of 20%, you have to work hard to keep up. Nonetheless, I’m convinced that doing things outside of work is an important resource of energy.

Are there opportunities to progress?

Opportunities are always there. For me, opportunities are all about balance. I don’t work because I’m forced to, for me, it’s both a hobby and a part of my life. This is why I don’t have negative emotions when I work long hours. But it’s important to add that I’m finding points of growth not just in my work, but also in my personal interests and family.

What is the best part about being Founder & CEO?

The best thing is to receive positive feedback from clients and investors. When an investor writes to give you a positive evaluation and notes the company’s growth, for me that’s recognition of my professional expertise. When users say that we have the best user support, it’s important for me that I’m doing something big and that my efforts to make something better than others are recognized.

Is there a difficult part to your job?

The most difficult things are the mundane tasks, and that’s not just all the documents one has to deal with, but doing any kind of same-type tasks. I also believe that hiring new people is difficult. You are given a very short time to judge both the person’s level of expertise and their ability to fit in with the team and uphold the company’s values. We routinely reject those who have the necessary experience, but won’t fit in with the team. So, that’s difficult. But corporate values and team cohesion have greater importance to us.

If someone was considering a career in your area of expertise, what advice would you give to them?

Learn to build relationships with people. This is the key factor in any job and profession. It’s not difficult to learn new skills, but stepping up the career ladder depends on your ability to find common ground with people around you. Even experienced managers may have a hard time discerning a genius behind a standoffish person. Learning the art of communication requires more than just the ability to be easy-going and non-confrontational. You also have to learn to keep the promises given to the team, the company, and your superior. The market is huge, but having a reputation of reliable and easy-going employee will definitely help you in building your career.

Thank you to Alex for sharing his insights as a Founder and CEO with us!

We are delighted to gain these valuable insights about Alex’s personal journey as a Founder and CEO. We hope it benefits others who are wishing to start their own company or have reached the position of CEO or a similar leadership role.

To find out more about Alex and his organisation visit Postoplan’s site here.

If you would like to read about the Day in the Life of People in other roles, why not check out our post on the Day in the Life Of Dr Ranj?

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