Karren Brady's career advice on working with your family | The Sun

APPRENTICE star and West Ham United vice-chair Karren Brady answers your careers questions and meets an inspirational CEO.

Here she gives a reader advice on working with family.

Q) I’ve owned my own floristry business for 10 years, and my eldest daughter has always had an interest in my work, helping out during the summer and even doing more formal work experience with me.

She recently graduated with a first class degree in media and communications, and I could really do with someone to grow our social media and look after our PR – for which she’d be perfect.

She’d love to get a leg-up in the industry, but I’m worried about a working relationship getting in the way of our mother/daughter relationship.

We’re really close, but I’ve heard horror stories from a friend who used to employ his daughter. What do you think?

Millie, via email

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A) Don’t compare your relationship with your daughter to that of your friend and his daughter.

You’ve had a taste of working alongside each other over the years and you’re still really close, so you’re obviously doing something right!

The best way to avoid any issues is for you both to lay out your expectations before she accepts a full-time job with you.

You need to be clear exactly what you would expect from her in the role, how you will work together and how you will deal with conflicts.

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Agree to listen to each other and to be open to each other’s ideas.

This way, you are clear on what the ground rules are before she starts.

Agree that work stays at work (as best as it can!), so that your personal time together doesn’t become all about it, too.

There is something very fulfilling about working in a family business,  and hopefully it will be a rewarding and happy experience for you both.

A day in the life of…

Hannah Hodson, 26, is the CEO and founder of Tovi Gifts, which sells sustainable handmade crafts from Sri Lanka. A single mum to Billy, four, she lives in Great Gidding, Cambridgeshire.

I wake up at…

4am. Sri Lanka is 41/2 hours ahead, so I start when my team of 14 there do.

They can have power cuts for six to eight hours daily out there, so I’m often overseeing the organisation of extra equipment and staff to double the number of coconut bowls engraved during the hours with power.

All our engravers and seamstresses work from home, so they earn money while caring for children and elderly relatives.

As a single parent, I understand the juggle!

A normal day involves…

When Billy gets up at 7am, I make his breakfast and get him ready for the 15-minute walk to school at 8am.

Back home, I spend two hours producing digital marketing content for social media and our website blog, which is crucial for brand awareness.

We reach over 30,000 people weekly through Instagram alone.

Coconut bowls are hugely popular with food-focused influencers and we currently collaborate with around 40. Most afternoons, 

I eat a sandwich in the car on the way to visit retailers.

My job requires a lot of plate spinning, but on the school run home, I mentally park any work issues.

Sometimes my mum Amelia, 51, a college lecturer, looks after Billy – if I make a last-minute trip to Sri Lanka, for example.

But normally I go in the school holidays so that he can come too.

After Billy’s in bed, I work until 11pm.

Most nights I fall asleep on my laptop, but after enduring redundancy three times before launching Tovi Gifts in 2021, I’m so motivated.

It means everything to provide Billy with security and show him how one person can make a difference in the world.

The best part of my job is…

The people I meet. During my last visit to Sri Lanka, a seamstress who turns rice sacks into hand-stitched tote bags proudly showed me the washing machine she had bought using her wages.

And the worst…

In the beginning, it was tough leading a team through a process that I didn’t understand myself. 

I wind down by…

Playing dinosaurs with Billy in the bath before I put him to bed. 

For more information, visit Tovigifts.com.

Be a boss

Bossing It is Fabulous’ series about ordinary women who have launched incredible businesses.

It aims to inspire other women and show that if these ladies can do it, so can you!

Read more at Thesun.co.uk/topic/bossing-it.

Compiled by: Claire Frost & Gemma Calvert

Karren cannot answer emails personally. Content is intended as general guidance only and does not constitute legal advice.

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