We love to highlight the stories of our fellow Accidentals from the Ohana, like Lucas, Jess, and others, we love to amplify the impact Salesforce has had in changing our prospects, enriching our lives, and ultimately contributing to our happiness. Even more, it’s great to highlight when those so enriched bring that opportunity back to others in the Ohana, just like Heather Black. Please enjoy, share widely, and connect with Supermums at Dreamforce, https://supermums.org, and on Facebook! – Tom
It took a while for me to realise the full capacity and potential of Salesforce, I had started using it at my previous business Striding Out, where we offered career coaching and training to young people.
It was useful to help manage our delivery work with those young people alongside fundraising, HR and marketing activities. It was our centralised system for managing the team’s delivery across the UK and reporting back to funder on our achievements. It just made life easier.
When I needed to get more from the Salesforce platform, I decided to take a Salesforce admin course; consequently, I became hooked and completed both a Salesforce Advanced Admin and Consultancy course that year. It was a fantastic foundation on how to approach the design of a solution and it’s the structure I still use today with customers.
When my partner and I decided to go on sabbatical to travel around the world, I realised how empowering my Salesforce skills were, as I could continue working as a Salesforce consultant, earning whilst I travelled. Salesforce offered me more flexibility and I could work remotely, so we when we returned to the UK we decided to move to the seaside and have a family, and I switched careers to work as a freelance Salesforce consultant.
After having my first child, I worked 3 / 4 days a week over the first two years largely from home, which enabled me to breastfeed still alongside working with the occasional travel to client meetings in London. It allowed me the flexibility I needed especially as my mother was terminally ill too.
After a couple of years into working freelance, I decided to approach investors to enable me to grow my team beyond just me, and I secured a £140k investment from Big Issue Invest to grow my consultancy agency. We now have a team of 20, and our programmes are sponsored by big companies like Accenture, Form Assembly, Deloitte Digital, Validity, Dyson and St James Wealth Management.
It was through travelling around the world and working alongside my first child that made me realise other mothers could have a career in the sector, and I decided to launch Supermums. Mums are desperately looking for flexible well-paid career opportunities and wanted to share the opportunity I had found. I had the experience of running a training and employment company and Salesforce expertise so I brought the two things together to create a new workforce development programme.
However, the time wasn’t right. I actually wanted to start Supermums three years before I did, but had to get funding for it. I was running a consultancy working with charities and social enterprises, but as this was still fairly new and I hadn’t enough traction to get funding for Supermums. It was frustrating as I’m an entrepreneur and want to get on with things, plus I could see how much it would really help mums.
It was a difficult time, not being able to put into action something I so passionately wanted to do. When the time finally did come when we were ready, my daughter Annabel was only three months old. It certainly wasn’t ideal but I realised I the time was right and I needed to take advantage of that. As you can imagine juggling bringing up a baby with launching was a huge challenge!
Things I wish I’d known at the time would be how important it is to surround yourself with experts either as consultants, trainers or employees. Try to focus on your strengths and invest to delegate or upskill on your areas of weakness. Don’t ignore these areas as otherwise you could create a bottleneck for your own growth.
However, being patient for success has been my biggest learning from all this. It’s a marathon not a sprint, we often want everything to happen now, but working towards a 90 day strategy, celebrating achievements and work towards your long term goal is important. I now know this.
Heather Black is the founder of Supermums , which propels mums into the Salesforce Ecosystem through courses for admins, marketers and developers. Supermums launches in the US November 2019. Heather is an advocate for women in tech and she has taken an active approach in developing new talent. As well as the Supermums project, Heather runs webinars, attends panel events and speaks on flexible working, retraining, working parenthood and women in tech.