I am part of the coaching team (alongside Phil Bolton), that has launched the Escape the City Coaching Programme. Get in touch if you think we can help.
Susie was one of the first people to reach out to Escape the City and explain how she helps unfulfilled corporate high-fliers find direction. We were immediately impressed and are now really excited to be working with her on the Escape the City coaching programme.
I am now running a career consultancy, working with talented individuals to help them make decisions about their futures - both private clients but also with a range of corporates. I have run my own consutlancy for 2 years now - and wonder why it took me so long to take the plunge!
On a day-to-day basis I may be working on a coaching programme with a private client or working in an organisation - helping them to develop and manage their talent better or running workshops on a range of issues - from thinking about meaning at work, to using strengths at work or doing a great interview. Much of my work is in Europe - working with young leaders or with the Foreign Office.
Before I started http://www.runwayconsultancy.com/" rel="nofollow">Runway I worked as a careers coach at the London School of Economics for 5 years - a vibrant and diverse environment. Prior to the LSE I did a masters and before that I was director of a recruitment consultancy and then set up a training divison for a communications consultancy.
I also have 3 young daughters. I needed a change because I wanted the autonomy of running my own show, and wanted to be able to develop my own programmes and work with clients in a deeper way then I was able to do in a university environment.
I think it was a series of 'wow' moments actually. I had been planning my move, and developing strong relationships with all my external clients, but its pretty easy to stay in a very comfortable rut.
So for me perhaps the real catalyst was when my brother-in-law died of a heart attack at the age of 40, putting all sorts of things into perspective. When I returned to the office after the funeral I handed in my notice.
I had been doing a lot of freelance work in the evenings/weekends for about 18 months prior to leaving my permanent job, which enabled me to start work the day I left my full tome position. This funded my branding, busines cards etc. Two of my big corporate clients wanted to stay working with me and the LSE was happy for me to continue doing this.
My start-up costs were minimal as I had my office at home and was only using my own intellectual capital to get the business off the ground. My main costs are IT, phone, professional development, travel and stationary etc.
The best things are being in control - and that's the worst too! if you mess up there is no one to blame!
I love the high of gaining new business and developing something innovative for a client and it is incredibly exciting seeing a client making new decisions about their career plans - and having the confidence and self-awareness to do this. I sometimes miss having colleagues to bounce ideas off, but I do try to work on projects with other coaches.
I'm sure I work longer hours now, but it's on my terms, and I spend too long doing all the paperwork that has to be done!
I think the best advice is to remember the importance of building strong relationships - all my work comes from recommendation - and you have to keep on top of this and keep in touch with people.
If I was advising someone else I would say understand yourself first - look at what you do well and what you dislike. Are you cut out for being on your own? Then work hard to build an initial client base for yourself before you leap.
I have had a lot of help from personal contacts and clients but would also recommend the following: