When you meet Juliet you would be forgiven for thinking she has it all. A supportive husband, two happy children, a business – 2to3 days – that is growing faster than she can keep up with and invitations to meet some of the UK’s most powerful leaders. We had the opportunity to meet Juliet to fine out what made her start a recruitment company for mothers, the best advice she’s received and why we need to move away from ‘pink’ jobs and ‘blue’ jobs.
How and when did the idea for 2to3days start?
When I was a business coach for Shirlaws, I attended their client conference with around 100 business owners and the Founder, Darren Shirlaw, chaired a session about leveraging the assets in your business. He asked the room “What is the asset that sits in your business that you are using as your marketing tool”? I decided to ignore my clients and think about myself. At the time I was trying to build a successful coaching business and raise two small children.
That was my “aha!” moment. I wanted to ‘have both’; I wanted to be a brilliant mother and a brilliant business woman. I didn’t want to ‘have it all’ because I don’t believe you can, but I do believe that women should be able to fulfil their potential by being an actively present mother and use their brain and continue their career at the same time without trading one for the other. Also companies, especially SME’s, need great talent but they don’t always need them full time and larger organisations need to address their female talent pipeline. It costs our economy over £23billion each year by these women not working!
Roll on a few months and I was walking through the park one day with my puppy thinking, what is it that mothers say when they want to have both? They say they want to work 2 to 3 days a week, and the people responsible for hiring will often say they need someone in the business 2 to 3 days a week. So 2to3 days was born, which is a platform that matches and connects employers to highly capable mothers who want to do a stimulating job on a part-time flexible basis so that they can also raise their children.
How is 2to3 days different from other recruitment companies?
People like to pigeon hole and if you want to do that people would say 2to3 days is a jobs board but I believe we are something different. Our candidate pool is exclusively mothers. Bright, smart, savvy, switched-on women. We are an engaged community so it’s not just about the jobs, we have surveys, blogs and interaction, and as our business grows there are infinite different ways we can increase the engagement of our community. We are disrupting the recruitment market and revolutionising the way that mothers find work.
Who has been the most important person to your business?
There are many people who have believed in me. Supportive people who have been like battens in a relay race, helping me get to the next stage. However, if I was to have to name only one, my husband. He is my rock and he has stood by me through everything.
What are your views on the gender pay gap report?
I think it’s brilliant and tragic at the same time. It is brilliant that the government is so behind it as it is forcing the larger organisations to plug their female talent pipeline and to pay women what they are worth. But tragic that we still operate in a world where women are paid less than men. It makes my stomach turn, in today’s world salary discrimination should not even exist.
As a society we need to move away from ‘pink’ jobs and ‘blue’ jobs both at work and at home. As much as women need to be supported to lean in at work, men should be supported to lean in at home too. If you strip away all of the emotion there are just jobs that need to be done and men and women are equally able to do them both.
What does a typical day look like?
When you are a working mother you have to be incredibly focused and productive in the time that you have available so I’m up at 6.30am and if the kids are down by 7.20am they get pancakes. I take my children to school each morning by 8am and then I walk my dog until 9am. This is fabulous time for me to multi-task as in that hour I get to do my exercise, set up the day by phoning my team, and at the same time, I use this time to get really clear on what I need to achieve during the day ahead. I have until 5:30 each day to build my business and then I kick into being mum. I also need to weave my domestic responsibilities in with building my business, so Mondays tend to focus on the infrastructure of both so team meetings and going to the supermarket! Tuesdays through to Thursdays I focus on sales and the strategy for the business and Friday I reserve for meetings with people who truly inspire me!
Because of the nature of the business that I am building, I am incredibly privileged to meet a wide variety of people from Government and business. On International Women’s day I was invited to meet both the Prime Minister and Sadiq Khan and every week I meet inspiring business owners and Heads of Talent of incredibly innovative companies from start-ups through to large organisations that all get the value of employing the mothers on my site, so each and every day I have great conversations with some seriously inspiring people.
What is the best business advice you have ever received?
I have been given lots of great advice. My top three would be.
1. Do what you need to do to get to the next stage, don’t worry about everything else.
2. Separate the talkers from the doers.
3. Trust your instinct.
Are you more emotional or rational?
When I was working as a business coach for Shirlaws they had a communication framework called THINK FEEL KNOW which established how you like to communicate. I was pretty evenly split between being a feeler and knower, followed by a thinker! What that means is that I am largely led by how a person or situation makes me feel, followed in quick succession by what my instinct tells me so I operate between my heart and my stomach and then back it all up by thinking it through afterwards. The best state for me to be in is when I feel very calm, then I know what I am doing is right. If I don’t have that feeling I will challenge the issue until I get that feeling.
How do you stay inspired?
Without a doubt it is the feedback that I get from our community of mothers and employers. Knowing that we are making a difference to our society and economy and that by providing this service we are changing people’s lives. The other day I went into an office to find one of the mothers who found a job through our site and she was so thrilled to be working for this company and her boss was delighted too. I have to confess that I walked away with a big smile on my face, as well as shedding a tear. It’s moments like these that make all the hard work so worthwhile.
I am also incredibly inspired by my children. What drives me is that future generations can be true to themselves and reach their full potential without having to make a choice between their career and home
If you were guaranteed the answer to one question, what would your question be?
What do I need to let go of so that I can fulfil my true potential?