I am Karen Allen, aged 38 and I co own Rise PR (www.risepr.co.uk)I had my first daughter Sadie at the end of 2008. Prior to her arrival I had been working in PR in London for around 12 years. Even before Sadie was born I was keen to change my working patterns as I knew I wouldn’t have as much control over my working hours as I wanted meaning I would only see Sadie for about an hour a day at best. So when Sadie was about a year old and I felt ready to return to work I decided that working directly for my own clients, based from home would work best for my family.
Around this time, my husband who also works in PR felt he also wanted more flexibility in his working patterns. We decided to pool our skills and experience in different PR sectors – mine in consumer PR and his in b2b and technology to open our own PR agency. We launched Rise PR (www.risepr.co.uk) specifically to provide PR consultancy for smaller and growing businesses.
We launched at the beginning of 2010 and received a lot of support and warm wishes from friends and colleagues. In terms of set up costs, they haven’t been huge as we work from home, meeting clients at their offices or other locations as and when needed but on the whole most of our work is done remotely.
It is a challenge working with your husband sometimes – but on the whole we work on separate clients, but call on each other for support and advice when needed. We just need to make sure we don’t talk shop too much after hours and we have defined work and family time. Its really important we both make an effort to see friends and old colleagues to maintain our networks and build new ones online as home working can be tough sometimes and you can feel cut off.
I currently work 3 days a week – which works well for me as I don’t want my daughter in full time childcare. Luckily we have family nearby and the nursery is flexible so we have addition childcare on hand should we want to take on more.
I’m really pleased I took this step, although having a job may be easier in some ways its been a positive experience for me so far.