Interview with CEO of HomeWork Workspace, Claire Tucker


Claire Tucker is the CEO and founder of HomeWork Workspace, a co-working and business support company with locations throughout south west London (and growing!), that is dedicated to creating a better working environment for individuals and small businesses.

Prior to setting up HomeWork Workspace Claire had a successful career as a chartered accountant, working at PwC for 14 years.

In November 2017, Claire made the decision to take a career break in order to focus on her family. It was during this time that she had the idea for HomeWork Workspace, a venture that she has devoted herself to ever since.

Starting a business had always been a lifelong dream of Claire’s, and drawing inspiration from her own personal experiences with flexible working arrangements, which she found to be less than ideal, she set out to create a better alternative. Through HomeWork Workspace, Claire’s been able to combine her two big passions – building community through High Street regeneration, and encouraging entrepreneurship.


Describe a typical day for you? 

I have an early start, usually between 5 and 6am, because I’m not a brilliant sleeper and once I’m awake I can’t go back to sleep. I’d love to say I get up and exercise, write 100 pages of my new book and fire off 20 emails, but I usually just go and hang out with my dog because she’s the only one who welcomes me with open arms at that time of day!

I also spend a manic couple of hours getting the children ready for school (correct uniforms, packed bags, games kits, breakfast eaten and getting my daughter’s unruly hair plaited!), before I settle in for work.

Work is different each day, which I love. I’m usually at one – or all – of my sites during the course of the day for a variety of reasons – could be seeing my team, meeting a client, doing coffee cover, meeting our network providers because there’s a maintenance issue, meeting my site design and build team, visiting a prospective site, preparing my management accounts or meeting my investors. Sometimes all of those things happen on the same day! Our sites are all close to my house, so I tend to walk to and between the locations as I feel that this helps me take in the communities that we operate in – while upping my step count of course.

I try to work at least one day per week from home so I can get my head down and focus on bigger tasks. I then do school pick up, followed by further hours of clubs, tea, homework, music practice, reading… before collapsing in front of Netflix. I try to read a few pages of a book most nights – I’m favouring business books before fiction at the moment. I’m finding the startup learning curve is still very steep, so I’m still attempting to educate myself at every available opportunity. I try to squeeze in a 25 minute workout a few times a week – although not at the moment because I am eight and a half months pregnant.

What do you feel are your greatest achievements? 

Definitely starting my business. The longer you are on the journey, the harder you realise it is so the achievement feels bigger each day. Seeing an idea take shape, grow, and have a positive impact on others is something truly special.

What’s in your handbag/ satchel? 

I think it’s a Swiss army knife of handbags, with something for every eventuality. Typically, it contains my wallet, notebook, keys, sweets and lollies (which may or may not be used to bribe my children with…) and pretty soon nappies and wipes will be making a re-appearance after having been absent for many years.

What are your ambitions in life? 

To be content, fulfilled and to feel no regrets about not having taken some risks in life. My life is so busy at the moment and I travel at a million miles an hour, while also doing 95% of the childcare – but having my own business means I have the flexibility to do that. It also means I effectively have two full time jobs but I’m OK with that. I look forward to a time in life when things can be a little more relaxed and slower paced, but right now I’m enjoying building something. My plan is to make a bit of cash from selling my business one day and with the proceeds I’d love to invest in other small businesses to get them started. Funding for businesses making less than £1m in turnover is very difficult to find but there is so much great potential out there. In particular I’d love to support female entrepreneurs and environmental innovations.

What do you wish you’d known at the start of your career you now know? 

I’ve had a great career – I’ve got loads out of it so far and found the journey a blast so there’s not much I look at and think, ‘I wish I’d known that’ or ‘I wish I’d done that differently’.

I’ve always worked bl**** hard though, so perhaps I could have set my boundaries a bit more firmly from the start. Success isn’t about the hours you spend working but the work you do in the hours you have.

In terms of my entrepreneurial journey, I wish I’d known that you have to fail 100 times before you succeed once. It’s easy to get disheartened by failure but in fact it is an essential part of making a business work. The secret is to figure out how to fail quickly and often enough to get the formula right before you run out of money.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

I always had a 10 year time horizon in mind for my business. I’m around four and a half years in so in five years time I will be approaching the 10 year mark. I’d love to be contemplating an exit at that point and setting my sights on my next business venture (I have a very long list of new things I’d like to try…).

What advice would you give a budding entrepreneur? 

Just go for it! It’s an unbelievable journey. But that’s easy to say of course so some key tips I’d give are: 1) Don’t neglect the finances – spend a decent amount of time figuring out your cash flows and get help if it’s not your forte, 2) Make sure you have access to a great support network – both professional and personal, 3) Read everything you can get your hands on – there is so much great business literature out there and it’s all accessible for free or very little money, 4) Plan and set objectives –  it’s really important in keeping focussed and making sure you feel you are making progress. There’s nothing worse than pushing forward with purpose but having no idea why you’re doing it or where you are heading.

What advice would you give to a new parent? 

I definitely don’t have it all figured out and I’m about to have number three. But, I’ve learned that looking after yourself is just as important as looking after your babies. You will be an infinitely better parent if you are happy and healthy yourself. Don’t strive for perfection and don’t sweat the small stuff – a lot of the time you’ve just got to do whatever it takes to get through it with everyone unscathed (even if ‘whatever it takes’ is a little messy and unorthodox). Accept every offer of help and remember that you will – and I absolutely promise this – get a decent night’s sleep again.

Finally, happiness is… 

It’s all about personal connection, so for me true happiness is hanging out with my favourites – my husband, children and dog, our wider families (there’s lots of them and they are all pretty closeby!), and my friends. I also get a great deal of happiness from the 10 minutes I get to spend in bed in the morning with a cuppa and the newspaper.

Interview with CEO of HomeWork Workspace, Claire Tucker

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