Ruth Kudzi, like other moms around the world, wanted to spend more time with her kids and needed a job that could work with her lifestyle. Now she helps other moms develop confidence and create the business they want from home. Read our interview with the lovely Ruth below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
My main driver was spending more time with my children and being available for them. I didn’t want to be rushing around or missing out on their childhood and wanted to have a lifestyle that meant we could give them lots of opportunities to do a whole range of things. I had always wanted to be my own boss but having kids gave me that incentive to do it now.
Tell us about your business.
I am a life and business coach for mums. I work with mums who are looking at developing their confidence especially around their career identity. I also work with mums who want to change their career, start up their own business and develop their business. I am growing my business to include online courses alongside more traditional coaching making it more accessible for mums with different budgets.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
I have a free confidence course which is a 5 module course covering key ways that mums can increase their confidence. Every module has an accompanying video, workbook and presentation that you can work through at your own pace to take practical steps to develop self- confidence. I am just putting together a visibility challenge for my mums in my Facebook group, Career Change Mums, to encourage my mums who run their own businesses to get out there online.
Where is your business based?
I am based in London in the UK.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
Firstly I got qualified and did some courses in coaching and NLP. I had done lots of coaching through work and had been on various courses but for me completing accredited courses was important as it made me understand the process. I love finding out about the theory of coaching alongside more practical courses. I also enrolled in a post graduate certificate in coaching at Birkbeck College, University of London. I started coaching people for free, I knew that this would be the best way of developing my skills so I coached about 20 different people (from my network, from websites and fellow coaches) for free. This was one of the best things I did as I got some really valuable feedback and refined my style. Reciprocal coaching with coaches had loads of benefits as you can learn lots from other coaches. I set up my own website and started to get visible on social media. This was a learning curve and I have since paid to have my website redone as it wasn’t my strength. I have built up a strong Facebook group and am still developing other channels.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Facebook and referrals. I have been using Facebook to raise awareness and have developed my Facebook group (Career Change Mums) which has been going really well. Offline a lot of my clients come from referrals and this is an area that has grown organically with my business as happy clients are referring friends and associates to me. I am in the process of formalizing this a bit more to give more value to my lovely clients who are referring people.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
At the beginning I went for Facebook ads without really knowing what I was doing and I lost money. It made me realize how important it is to have a clear strategy and to ask for help from others. I also struggled with my branding and website as I was trying to do too much on my own. Working around my children including a young baby can sometimes be challenging as I don’t always have time to do everything I would want to.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I made the decision to work with experts to help me on things I wasn’t so good at. I have worked with two different business coaches and worked with a third one on my Facebook ads. I have also got a web designer, copyrighter and photographer to work on my branding and website so I project the image I want. In terms of time I have become much more organized and dedicate tasks to different times of the day. I have been using automation for social media at times and make sure I block out certain times for my family, exercise and friends so I can have a balance. I have extra childcare every week where I have a nanny in the house with my daughter so I can work but can still be there to feed her and cuddle her regularly. This works really well as I don’t feel as guilty about leaving her as she is in the house and I make sure I don’t spend longer than an hour away from her (she is still very little). I do take her to meetings and even took her to a networking event last week as babies were allowed!
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I go back to my why – the reason I set up this business was for my daughters, to spend time with them as they grow up and to be a success so they have a positive role model. If I have had a bad day or week I make sure I spend some time nurturing myself – whether it is doing some exercise or having a lovely relaxing bath, it is important to spend that time.I also talk to my partner a lot, he is really supportive and helps me reflect on why things might not be working out for me at a particular time. We bounce ideas off each other and he helps me think about creative solutions to my problems. He really believes in me and knows how important the business is to me so I am very lucky to have him in my corner.
How did you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I am very specific about what I do and serve a particular niche. As my background is in Psychology and Education, I offer a more holistic approach to coaching using some of my previous skills. In the “mum market” there are lots of coaches that are very soft, I am more results focused and although I am still supportive I want to challenge my clients as well.I am very authentically me, I have lived this journey and that makes other mums identify with me; I could easily pop up in their mummy and baby yoga class, their NCT group or at baby ballet so I think they see me as one of them – which I am!
What is the best advice you have received recently?
To be more mindful when you are working. If you are completing a task, focus wholly on that rather than be distracted by other things. When you have your own business you have a million and one things to do and I was multitasking and not being as effective as I could have been. Now I plan out my time during the day and make sure that when I am doing something it gets my full attention so emails off, phone off, Facebook off. This is especially important around my kids and I have learnt to switch the phone off around them to focus on them – emails can wait.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
To really focus on why you are starting your business as this will drive you and it’s what you come back to in the tough times. To do as much planning as you can before you start your business and think about who you can get on board to help you with things you might not be that good at. This will save you a lot of heartache in the future and will mean that you use your time more effectively. To get a good mentor and a business coach – you need someone impartial and this will help you get results a lot quicker. A coach holds you accountable and pushes you when you might not be feeling as motivated. A mentor can give you valuable advise and guidance about your specific niche. To go for it, you only get one chance in life and it is much better to have tried and failed than never to have tried.
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
I have become slightly obsessed with Canva to create my social media posts. I love my scheduling app Satori as it makes it really easy for clients to book calls and met to manage my time.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Facebook Group www.facebook.com/groups/careerchangemums
Hashtags #ruthkudzicoach #mumjobs #womensupportingwomen #lifecoach #businesscoach
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
I just re-read “Brilliant Coaching” which was one of the first coaching books I ever read.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I am currently learning about developing profitable online courses and working on a course with Julie Cornish to help me with this. I am also looking at how to use Instagram in a more effective way for my business and looking at courses around this.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
- To have three new online courses to launch by January 2017, I am striving to do these by working through an online course and planning what I want to do.
- To create a signature coaching and mentoring package for mums that are starting up their own business, I am working alongside 5 of my previous clients to make sure this really meets all their needs and hoping to go live next month.
- To streamline what I am doing so I can spend more time with my children and to stop working when they are around – I have taken the step of getting a great nanny three days a week to dedicate time to my business. I am also seeking out time at the weekends and in the evenings and learning to be stricter with myself.