Karren Brady gives career advice – from business partner woes to changing jobs

APPRENTICE star and vice-chairperson of West Ham United FC Karren Brady is answering all your careers questions

Today, she helps out a someone who set up a business with a past colleague but is pulling all the weight and gives advice to an employee who wants to change career but is feeling overwhelmed.

Baroness Karren Brady gives career advice
Baroness Karren Brady gives career advice

Q. I set up a business last year with a guy I’ve worked with in the past. I thought we had the same work ethic so I felt confident creating a 50:50 split partnership via a limited company.

However, I’ve brought in all the work so far and feel like I’m doing everything, then handing him half the money each month.

I’ve tried to tell him to pull his weight and I’ve consistently asked him to bring in contracts, but I feel the clients buy into me and my experience so he doesn’t even try. What should I do?

Name and address withheld

A. This is such a frustrating position to be in. You need to be firm with your business partner, and show him how little he is contributing and that, despite you talking to him on numerous occasions, nothing has changed.

Tell him you want a formal financial review, which will very obviously show your contribution to the company’s financial success is more significant than his.

Propose that if he does not increase the number of contracts and match your contribution, the only way you envisage this company moving forward is to switch to a commission-based package, so the pay each of you receive is directly related to the money you bring into the company.

Instead of each being on a 100% fixed salary, you would have the same base salary and then you’d receive commission for your own sales on top of this. If he refuses, it’s time to consider going solo. You obviously excel at creating relationships with clients, so you should have the confidence to know you will succeed on your own.

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!


Q. I’ve been at my place of work for eight years, but for the past nine months I’ve been actively looking for another job. I get so excited when I apply for positions and think of what my life will be like when I have a job with better pay, as I’d like to buy a house.

However, whenever I get an interview, my confidence slips and I start talking myself out of making a change. I know it’s time to leave my current job, so how can I stop feeling overwhelmed?

Sara, via email

A. It sounds like you are definitely ready to take the next step in your career, and the only thing stopping you is you! It’s normal to feel anxious about leaving a company, especially one that you have been at for eight years, but you need to overcome these nerves in order to move forward.

The fact that you are being offered interviews shows you have skills and experience, so you just need to work on your confidence. The best thing you can do is prepare for and rehearse potential interview answers.

Write down your key achievements over the last few years and what skills you used to gain those great results. Look through the job description and find examples of where you have delivered objectives in your current job relevant to the role.

Read and re-read the notes you make – you cannot prepare too much for an interview, after all – and ask a friend or family member to do a mock interview with you.

Finally, don’t forget that job hunting is a two-way process – you are a valuable asset and the company you are applying for must be right for you, too. Good luck!

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Compiled by: Claire Frost

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


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