Claire Russell runs a network marketing business in which she helps others to set up their own businesses and coaches them on the way to success. In addition to this, Claire is a group leader with a national networking organisation, a public speaker and a mum to two young children.
Tell us a little bit about your role and how did that come about?
I decided last year that I did not want to continue in my corporate role. The demands of that job were such that I had missed key milestones with my children and I wanted to be around for them a lot more. I set up my business, which is a networking marketing business, in the health and wellness sector, within the umbrella of an international company at the start of last year. It was a huge change in profession / sector and so I spent the first 9 months networking to establish a profile in my new sector, before officially launching the business October 2016. I sell a wide range of health and wellness products via a network marketing model; and I am developing and mentoring a network of independent business owners, who I am mentoring to help them to develop their own successful businesses.
I am still connected in the insurance/financial services sector and so I also do a small amount of consultancy work – advising and supporting firms with strategic development.
To add to all of this, I’m also a Group Leader with a national networking organisation. I organise, manage and lead a bi-monthly networking meeting which is attended by many business professionals. I am a frequent speaker on the networking circuit and am developing speaking opportunities outside of the networking circuit.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
No! My first job was a complete chance happening. I had started my A levels and realised only a few weeks into the course that it was not what I wanted, despite being very academic. I stumbled across a job in a local insurance broker, and there began a nearly 20 year career in corporate insurance! I knew from a very early age that I wanted to run my own business and it was a personal challenge that motivated me to do it.
What were those challenges?
I had septicemia when I was a teenager, which resulted in me losing my right hip joint and part of my femur. I had to wait for a total hip replacement and reconstruction until I was 18. When I was 19 I suffered a major stroke, which left me in a coma, which I was not expected to survive. When I did regain consciousness I had lost the use of the right hand side of my body.
When I recovered I became determined to set up the business that I had dreamed of. My first business was established just before my 21st Birthday. I ran this business very successfully for over 10 years before selling it. I then worked in corporate roles for a few years before setting up the business that now I run.
Tell us about a typical workday?
My days vary hugely – some days I am out early to attend a breakfast networking meeting, or because I am driving to meet a client or team member. On the days that I am working at home, I am ordinarily an early riser so I can wake, read a while and then get up, shower and do some work before stopping and helping my children to get ready for school; and taking them to school. My day ends (early!!) with a few chapters of whatever I am reading!
If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?
I have succeeded in my career, largely in a sector perceived as ‘male dominated’ – and it has never occurred to me that I should not be able to achieve anything that I aspired to. I really would like to see more young women simply have the confidence and support to set out to achieve their ambitions.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
To do what you love. It’s not always easy to find – and you may not find it first go – but when you find it, work doesn’t really feel like work.
If you were to look back in five years, what would you see in terms of your achievements?
In five years I will have helped even more people to establish their own business. I will have helped and guided and supported and mentored many people to help them to build the business and the life that they want.
Tell us about your plans for the future?
To continue to build my business and to help as many people as possible to build businesses that they want. To develop further as a speaker and to use my experiences to help and inspire others. To find time to do more volunteering (I volunteer with The Samaritans). And on a purely personal level, to have more time to travel, climb mountains and spend time with my family.