This post is part of a series of Professional Parents Profiles where working parents around the world share their stories and experiences of family work balance. Whether you own a business, would like to or work full or part time, you can share your story too! Together, we can all share ideas and inspiration to find better balance. Please contact me. Renee
Francine Bell, is 38 years old and lives in Perth, Australia with her five boys. Her eldest is almost 9 years old, and the youngest are the twins who are three-and-a-half. She purchased the business Additive Free Kids a year ago.
Brief description of “Life Before Children”
Life before children I had a corporate career in the world of Accounting and Finance. Working for one of the Big 6 accounting firms. With the skills that I learned at the firm, I was able to transfer this skills anywhere around the world. Spent a couple of years on the other side of the world in the UK – working and travelling. Returned back to WA and settled into Commerce with the not for profit organization – RAC. Held many and varied roles there including the last being a Corporate Accountant involved in valuing, buying and selling businesses.
How does this compare to “Life After Children”
After children initially, I went back to work on a part time basis so that the demands of family life could be met together with the need for me to continue in a professional capacity. I enjoyed my work and helping others, contributing back to society. With 3 kids, I found 3 days a week was a good balance for the family. Once I had 5 kids, 2 days a week became more suitable to cope with the extra demands.
(Approximately )how many hours a week do you work?
Since purchasing Additive Free Kids I work on two dedicated days a week (during school hours) and a few hours extra here and there. Would estimate would probably work around 14 hours a week. This is flexible.
Are there any particular laws/initiatives in your country/location that support working parents?
Right to retain your job
What are the main challenges in your country/location in terms of achieving balance?
Employers recognizing part time workers more. Enabling job sharing of the more senior roles.
Your top tip/s for Family Work Balance:
Determine what works best for your family based on your family needs
This is a very individual decision.
Always put the needs of yourself and family first.
How long have you been in business?
I purchased Additive Free Kids one year ago.
Short explanation of how and why you came to start your own business:
I have been very passionate about additive free living since Cormack was two years old. I had spent much of my maternity leave with the twins researching ways how I could assist in this space. I was contacted by a friend, once I had returned back to my employment, that an opportunity had come up to purchase Additive Free Kids. I was very happy in my job, however, my passion was with removing harmful food additives. I decided to bite the bullet, give up my corporate career, and jump straight in! The rest is history!
Any professional qualifications/training you’d like to mention?
Bachelor of Commerce
Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors
Do you find these qualifications/training still relevant now you’ve become a parent?
Yes most certainly
What was one of the most unexpected things about becoming a parent?
How little control you have!
How much these little people can teach you!
What is one of the greatest wishes for your children? And yourself?
That my children are able to pursue their passions and be as happy as they can be
One of the moments you are most proud of in the last few months?
Helping families see amazing changes with their children (that are typically diagnosed with ADHD) with the removal of harmful food additives. Such confirmation I made the right decision to buy this business!
One of the biggest challenges in the last few months?
Owning your own business there is a steep learning curve. It is very different to being in a corporate world where you have specialists for everything. In your own business you are the owner, accountant, marketing expert, designer, communication, IT. It all rests with you!
What kind of work does your partner do? (if relevant)
What do you love about being a working parent?
I love that my boys see that I am working in an area that I am passionate about. That I am retaining a part of me that is not related to Dad or to them.
Do your children go to school/daycare/alternative child-minding? How often?
3 of my children now attend full time school.
My twins attend daycare 2 days per week (so I am able to work)
Do you and how do you support other working parents?
We have a great community where I live where parents help each other out with school drop offs, school pick ups, holidays. It is very hard to manage school holidays with both parents working!
Describe your office
I have a dedicated home office that is very girly (my own special place that is juxtaposed to my life with 5 boys!) that looks out to a lovely garden and is often sundrenched! I love my office J
Describe your “typical” day or week
Typical work day varies all the time. It could be:
- providing consulting advice to a client
- hosting an information session for parents
- attending networking events
- attending professional development
- conducting research at local supermarkets
- blogging about latest product reviews
What are one or two of your favourite products or services?
Coaching: this is where we see the most amount of transformation with our clients. The value to these families cannot be measured!
What was one of the most unexpected things about starting a business?
How steep the learning curve would be. Given I audited businesses, and had been an accountant for my corporate career, I assumed the transition would be very easy. I have enjoyed every minute of it though! I love learning!
Where do you see yourself and your business in 1 year? 5 years?
Having helped families all across Australia remove harmful food additives. To see a big change in the additive space, where manufacturers are reformulating products to give consumers the transparency they are seeking
What advice can you give others just starting out in business?
Follow your passion!
Is your partner/family/friends supportive of your business?
My partner is very supportive!
What is your favourite thing about being in business?
About Additive Free Kids
At Additive Free Kids we help families transition to Additive free living and provide educational resources for your additive free journey. Many families don’t realize that their children’s issues relating to:
- stomach upsets
- behavioural problems
- learning difficulties
- skin rashes
can be improved by removing harmful food additives. Contact Additive Free Kids today for a free consult:
FACE BOOK: www.facebook.com.au/additivefreekids