Ruby Brown is a curious woman. As an entrepreneur and long-time owner of a boutique nanny recruitment agency, her curiosity and hunger for new experiences saw her starting a full-time job while keeping the agency running on the side. We were lucky enough to chat to Ruby and hear some of the insights (aka: pearlers) she’s had about this experience.
RT: Can you tell us briefly what you do (what’s your business and what’s your day job?) – how long have you been doing them for?
RB: My business Nanny Match is a recruitment agency focused on quality candidates and good relationships. Nanny Match has evolved over 7 years, mostly as a side-business. In 2017 I took a leap and worked on Nanny Match full time for a year. After a year I scaled back and took a full time job in a tech start-up.
RT: What made you decide to get a day job?
RB: I had decided to work full time on my business because I really needed to know how far I could take it. I'd thought about it before but never committed. One day, I said "fuck it" and took the leap to work full time. We were profitable and growing. It was exciting!
After about a year, legislative changes in the industry meant I needed to restructure my company. It was at that point that I assessed the road map and realised the changes I needed to make didn't fit with my values. So I restructured and stepped back.
I had developed new skills and realised what parts of business were most interesting to me. I took about a month to restructure and guide all our clients and employees through the change.
“It’s rewarding to know that business owners are extremely valuable employees” - Ruby Brown
RT: How did you choose it (did you get poached, did you apply via regular recruitment process or did you know someone?), were you specifically looking in the same field as your business? If so, why stay in the same industry?
RB: Before I made the change, I booked a session with a mentor. She helped me to realise what's important to me: autonomy, control, caring, learning, integrity
I went on a traditional job-hunt, seeking companies and roles that reflected these values. I specifically looked for roles within recruitment, HR and sales, and I ended up working for a tech company in the childcare and education space—a great fit!
RT: What have you found most challenging part about your working situation currently?
RB: I'm an all-or-nothing kind of person, so I'm struggling to split my attention between another company and my own side-hustle. I'm going through a process of accepting that I'm giving my time and energy to someone else's dream. This is challenging because I so deeply believed in the value driving my business. It's easier to believe in something that you fully understand and something that is all yours. I'm grateful I've found another values-driven company and I'm definitely finding alignment there. It's just a process. Learning how to work in such a different environment has been challenging, too. I've switched from a quiet home office to a buzzing, open-plan office in the CBD. A few things that have helped with this change include noise-cancelling headphones, open communication with colleagues, mediation (brightmind.com) and Work by Thich Nhat Hanh.
RT: What has been most rewarding so far?
RB: Using the skills I gained as a business owner to find employment—and make a career change—was very satisfying. It's rewarding to know that business owners are extremely valuable employees. We offer very unique skills, ideas, perceptions and experiences. Working in a bigger company means I'm learning and practising new skills every day. I'm surrounded by very talented people. It's nice to shed some weighty responsibility, receive a solid salary and focus on just one aspect of a business for a while. I can hone in on specific skills and I have all the support I need. I think letting go of my ego and getting stuck in with a team has been really beneficial, too.
RT: What have you learnt?
RB: Everyone is hustling and learning.
Business involves risk and creativity.
As long as you follow your values you'll feel more certain about what you're doing.
It's important to share the weight and responsibility of your business with others. This means giving up some control.
“As long as you follow your values you’ll feel more certain about what you’re doing” - Ruby Brown
RT: How does your owner self and employee self differ?
RB: Interesting question! My owner self is more confident because I have a very deep understanding of the business, and of course, I have control over everything. As an owner I feel that I have more control over my time and direction. As an employee I feel that I have more freedom (less responsibility) but less direction. My employee self is nosey-as-fuck, because I want to understand the why behind everything. I'd like to say that as an employee I have more work/life balance, but I don't, because my personality means I'm obsessing over this job as much as I obsessed over my business.
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