LEAVING THE 9-5: KERRI WALKER, PR CONSULTANT AND COACH

Are you finding it impossible to juggle kids and career? Dream of leaving the 9-5 and working more flexibly? This series looks at inspirational women who are working the way they want.

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Kerri Walker is a PR consultant and coach. She lives in Kent with her son. You can reach her at www.kerriwalker.co.uk

 

1. Why did you want a more flexible career?

I needed a flexible way of working because I had a baby and realised I just couldn’t leave him in daycare to find a full-time job.

2. What were you doing before you had children?

I was flirting with freelance part-time alongside short-term sales and marketing manager contracts. I couldn’t commit to anything long-term as it gave me ‘the ick’, even as an employee I enjoyed having freedom to wander to something else.

3. What was the trigger point that made you switch?

I had taken on small freelance projects for a few years and when my son was born I just realised I wanted to make a go of it properly and never return to a job where I had to leave my son every day (plus I do not like being told what to do, when I can go to the bathroom and when I can take a lunch break!)

4. What’s a typical day like for you?

Every day is different. I went on holiday a year ago for a week and we did day trips, zoos, farms the works every day. I came home from that holiday and thought ‘I want to live every day like I’m on holiday’… so I do! I fit work in around my schedule and what I want to do with my son so I love each week being different. I have two mornings a week to work and I work in the evenings to catch up if I need to. I’ll check on social media throughout the day of course (I can’t keep away now I’m hosting a group).

5.  What advice would you give to anyone wanting to give up a 9-5 job?

Save some money, get yourself on the radar of people and have a date as a runway to leave your job. You can easily set the initial things up for your business while in your 9-5 job. When you take any money you can because you are so desperate to pay rent, this is when your passion disappears for your business and it is utterly soul destroying. Take on clients and projects that are aligned with your business as well as charge what you are worth and the impact on your whole life is huge. Removing the pressure of ‘having to make money’ will enable yourself and your business to grow.

6. How do your earnings compare with when you were working full or part time in a 9-5 job?

I earn double the amount I would in a job, I work a quarter of the hours, I have no commute time AND I am here with my son every day. There is simply no comparison!

7. What do you think is the biggest challenge for working parents?

For me it was the guilt of leaving my son with someone else because I needed to work. I was fortunate to not do this until he was 11 months and even then it was only for 4-8 hours a week, so I really feel for women who leave their children while working in a very full-time role.

8. If you weren’t doing this job, what else would you be looking in to?

I used to do acting and modelling so no doubt had the corporate world not got a hold of me I would have moved to London when the offers were coming in and would probably be pursuing that still.

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