Folks We Love with Emma Isaacs of Business Chicks
Tell us a little bit about your journey and how you’ve come to arrive here.
My career’s been a little unusual in that I’ve only ever had one job before running my own businesses – when I begged my neighbor for a waitressing job at her restaurant when I was 14. I then went on to buy into a recruitment company at age 18, where I stayed for seven years before exiting and purchasing Business Chicks in 2005. Back then it was a tiny group, but we’ve grown it into the expansive network it is today, spanning two continents and eleven cities.
Who’s in your family? Ages? Names?
I’ve almost got an on-court basketball team! There’s four children and they range from eight years old down to two years, and I have one more on the way – due in August. Milla is eight, Honey is five, Indie is four and Ryder (my only boy) is two.
How did you choose your kids names?
I chose all the girls names and my hubby got to choose the boy’s name – that’s fair, right? There wasn’t a lot of science to it, although somewhere along the line a friend pointed out that all our kids’ names had five letters in them, so we had to stick with that theme.
Los Angeles, California
Founder and Global CEO, Business Chicks
What’s on your manifest board?
More time with my family and more time in nature having amazing experiences and creating memories. Kind of simple, really. I’m not into things that much.
Tell us some of your most loved ways to spend the day with your clan?
I’m big on making the weekend family time and try and turn down most social engagements. I get invited to a lot of work events and if they impinge on family time then I generally don’t prioritize them. We have a pool and we go to a lot of effort to try and spend time in there together and we try and have all meals together but during the week it’s really tough. I try and maximize all the time I have with my family so there’s lots of eye contact and physical touch and being completely present with them. I think cuddles, reading books, and playing is so important!
We try and be active as much as we can so jumping on bikes and riding places is great. We also take tons of weekend and day trips out of LA. California is amazing for that. We’ve been to Palm Springs, LA Zoo, Disneyland, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, taken the kids skiing only an hour away, Yosemite National Park and the list goes on. We often have our most fun when we’re just all in the car together, having a big chat, maybe eating a snack, and admiring the scenery passing by.
When you were a teenager what did you dream of? Do things look different?
I had no firm career aspirations but as the oldest child in my family, always thought I was put on the planet for two reasons: to lead and to help others. I had some amazing role models in my mum who is exceptionally kind and patient (I inherited the kindness, but not the patience) and my grandfather who taught me to be financially independent but to also give away a lot of money once it was earned. I never had aspirations of having my own business, but when I worked out it meant I could make up my own rules and create, it seemed a really good fit for me. I’m not good at behaving or staying within lines – I need to be given the chance to play, and make stuff up, and imagine and daydream about what life could be like, so entrepreneurism (provided I surround myself with smarter and more structured people) works!
What are some things you really believe in?
Having a goal and having a big vision for my business, my family and my life inspires me. Without this vision, we can get overwhelmed and uninspired. Whenever I’m feeling down or like I’m not coping, I just take a deep breath, tell myself to be kinder, and think about why I’m doing everything I am. Being inspired to create your purpose, your why, can be as simple as that.
Where do your passions lie?
I’m passionate about helping women remove the roadblocks that stand in the way of them getting anything they want from their lives. I’m also passionate about serving others and doing what I can to help people. I’m passionate about encouraging women to see that they can get what they want so that might be starting a company, growing their career, having a family, and so the list goes on! I’m really passionate about women birthing powerfully too – I’ve had all my four babies at home and can’t wait for my next home-birth too.
Has your relationship with your other half changed since having kids?
What are some of your favorite life lessons you’ve grown to love? (even if learning them at the time was hard)
We all need to work to our strengths and stop beating ourselves up about the areas we’re not strong in. I learned that lesson very early on in my entrepreneurial journey and now I don’t attempt many things that I know I won’t excel at. I simply hire people who are great in those areas, and I stick to doing what I do best. I’ve also learned that there’s no greater skill than kindness – my parents instilled that in me from a young age and I try to practice it every day. This also means being kind to yourself!
What do you wish you could’ve told yourself when you were a teenager?
Keep going. You’re on the right path. You’re going to fail a few times, but learn to love the failures – they never appear like it at the time, but they’re actually the best parts.
What do you find most challenging about being somebody’s parent?
Before I had children, I would have never believed there was enough time in the day or enough energy in my body to juggle a business, as well as raise four children. It’s akin to being on a rollercoaster – you just hold on tight and enjoy the ride! It amazing what we’re capable of as women. I’ve also learned that we have the most incredible capacity for love and that children are a great leveler and lesson for what’s really important in life. Having kids has made me even more determined to be successful and provide the best possible life for them.
What do you want your kids to learn about the world?
Every time I have a baby I get this surge of ambition and this fundamental desire to get back to work and be able to create a life for my kids – to show them what’s possible and to be a role model for them. I know that for many women, motherhood doesn’t produce this same level of ambition, and that’s ok, but for me, I get the strongest feeling of wanting to protect them and give them everything, kind of like a lioness with her cubs.
What are 4 things you can’t live without as a parent?
Coffee. Cuddles. Crying. Creativity.