Hi, I’m Adam, the co-founder of Business Coach Network. I live with my beautiful wife Emma and daughter Kate in Shropshire. I will attempt to position this blog between mildly amusing and a cure for insomnia, but I hope I can use it to provide both and laugh and shared understanding.
So, there I was hosting an important business meeting up in Scotland when at the age of 50 (half way to dead) my beloved wife texts me with some great news – I am going to be a dad. Realising that what my wife was actually saying was
“Congratulations and say goodbye to sleep and suits without sick on the lapels (I have to be honest in the first month I had considered buying a white suit not for the obvious John Travolta resemblance but as it was milks natural colour).”
After the birth which I coped with remarkably (I have no idea why ladies moan so much about it, it was a doddle), I was offered voluntary redundancy. Having missed most of my first child’s formative years I elected to become a stay at home dad/ cook/ cleaner/ homemaker) – OK the cleaning is a lie I hired one; there’s only so much I could cope with at once!
The first months were great and all a learning curve and whilst my little Kate was a real baby I was never alone for long and everyone was willing to pitch in and help. It was great; my wife was still on her maternity leave and the support was never ending.
But all too soon the maternity leave ended and the new baby novelty wore off. I was home alone apart from the noise of the nappy destroyer. I still, however, felt really blessed. My long-suffering wife works away several days a week and so was really missing our daughter when she was away. We both tried to share what we could – thank you WhatsApp (other chat services are available)!
So, whilst I never forgot how blessed I was to be a stay-at-home dad here comes my first moan.
You get to the stage when your child needs more entertainment than you can provide (more to the point you need an interaction that doesn’t involve dribble). You start to look around for mother and baby groups (anyone guess the issue here?) or sensory classes and the likes. As a stay at home dad when you walk in to these close-knit communities of like-minded females to say it is uneasy is an understatement; to the extent I had to check both feet in case I had stepped in something on the way in. It did get easier over time, but I had to take my wife with me for moral support and to gain acceptance in to the “pseudo masonic motherhood.”
The time flew by and soon Kate was reaching her first birthday and my time as a stay at home dad was coming to an end. Kate was starting nursery and I needed to get a job. Now here lies the next problem.
I had always worked for a large company and managed to secure a remote working contract, so I was mostly based at home with the odd trip away. The job front was bleak (tumble weed blowing across my CV). I was either over qualified or more to the point the recruiters had no idea what transferable skills were.
The decision was made that I would start my own business (gulp).
I had always managed hundreds of people and looked after projects running into the tens of millions, not to mention managing the profit and loss for my little empire, so how hard could it be?
Business coaching was my chosen field. Full of a new found enthusiasm I ventured out in to my new world.
I knew I had lots to offer potential clients from 20 plus years of managing various departments and teams, balancing profit and loss statements, teamed with my experience in workforce management.
But I soon realised that the actual coaching aspect of my personal bio was somewhat lacking, so off I went to learn how to become a serious coach. It became apparent soon after starting my course that I was going to love this – not only could I coach clients in a strategic and constructive manner, but I also had the consultative qualifications gained over many years to drive significant improvements across their business. I also found a real, productive way to use my passion for Lean Six Sigma and Continuous Improvement t benefit others.
That is where the fun ends (temporarily).
In the first months of running my own business I realised I knew nothing about marketing or networking.
This is not a problem in itself, so I asked for help on social media. To my recollection I found 1500 social media gurus, marketing kings/queens and even coaches willing to coach me on coaching?! I moved rapidly from a strategically minded business professional to becoming carrion for vultures. Everyone had the solution to my problem, and they were all willing to allow me to pay to prove it. I realised very quickly the coaching styles I would never use myself!
A feeling of desperation and failure seemed to be creeping over my ambitions (for ‘creeping’, look up ‘galloping like a crazed mare’). My wife has been and still is so supportive and encourages me that it is all worth it. “Just look at Kate” she says; and yes it works. Just the thought of our beautiful daughter and I get back on the horse and start the trek again.
As a family we run like a well-oiled machine. I normally drop Kate off at nursery and pick her up at 5. Whilst my wife runs Kate her bath, I cook the tea and after we’ve eaten (weather permitting) we take the dogs out for a trot. This is our down time where we reflect on each other’s day and think just how lucky we are.
Now well into my new venture I am building on my several (coach talk for two) clients and things are starting to gain traction.
Starting your own business is probably the most difficult task you can undertake. You just don’t know what you don’t know! When you add balancing this with a baby (not a toddler, as she will always be my baby) and happy home life everything becomes very difficult.
Do I regret my choices?
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