Minnie Sinha: Hi everyone, this is Minnie with a brand-new episode of our podcast, uSpeak. I hope everyone had a great holiday season and that this new year will bring health, wealth, and happiness to all of us. I am super excited to introduce my guest today. She is the founder and owner of withlovebecca.com. Her business aims to help parents find the jobs they love without giving up flexibility. How does she do this? Let me ask her. And here she is, a career coach, and mom, speaker, author, podcaster, and storyteller, Becca Carnahan. A very warm welcome to you, Becca.
Becca Carnahan: Thank you so much for having me, Minnie. I’m really excited to be here.
Minnie Sinha: Sure. You’re most welcome. And before I start my interview, I wanted to inform everyone that Becca has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Today, Boston Moms, Motherly, and many other platforms. So, let’s get into this. I hope you’re ready. So, let’s start from the beginning. What prompted you to start your business and when was this?
Becca Carnahan: Yes. Absolutely. So, a big inspiration for me in working with other parents is being a parent myself. So, I am a mom of two kids. And when my kids were born, as often happens with a lot of parents, some things shifted in my life and in my career. But if we were to back it up even a little bit further, I spent most of my career in the career and professional development space. So, I worked at Harvard Business School in executive education and career and professional development.
It was at Harvard Business School where I really fell in love with this connection between school and life afterward. What can we be doing with our career that can continue to be fulfilling as well as paying the bills at home? So, that work was really integral to the early parts of my career. And then, as I mentioned, when my kids were born, I found I was at an inflection point for myself. Did I want to continue staying within higher education? Was there something else out there for me? I wasn’t quite sure. But I found myself as many parents do being at playgrounds a lot with my two little kids and with other parents.
And as soon as other parents found out that I worked in career services, oftentimes, the conversation would shift. And immediately, they would start to say, “Oh, hey, can we talk about that a little bit more because I don't actually like my job as much anymore” or “The career path that I started down, I’m not sure if this is the right fit for me, and I don't really know what to do. I feel a little bit stuck.” And the more conversations I had like that, the more I realized that these were my people, this is who I wanted to serve.
And so, I then built a business that was really designed for parents who were at this mid-career inflection point to help them land fulfilling jobs that they love without giving up the flexibility that they need. And it was something that was incredibly fulfilling for me. I did leave my full-time job in higher education to focus on my business and that was in 2020. So, for the past four years, I am really honored for this to be my full-time work, to be able to help parents find jobs that fit their lives in the same way that my job fits my life right now.
Minnie Sinha: So, how long back you were at Harvard Business School? How far back?
Becca Carnahan: So, I started there in 2008 and I’m still fortunate enough to do coaching with Harvard Business School to this day with the MBA program, alumni, and executive education. It’s just not where I’m at full-time at the moment. Right now, most of my coaching is with my clients through Next Chapter Careers, my coaching practice.
Minnie Sinha: So, did you go to business school there? Did you do the MBA from there?
Becca Carnahan: Actually, I didn’t do my MBA, what I did was my master’s in higher education. So, while I was working at Harvard Business School, I did my master’s in higher education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. So, right down the road from Harvard Business School. But what I think was really a wonderful combination is that while I was getting my degree in education, I was honing some of these skills that I use now in terms of connecting with students, with members, and helping them through a process, using a lot of that adult education knowledge that I built within the education program there.
But also, just having so much constant exposure to the business world through my work at Harvard Business School and through all the different career paths that students and alumni take, I feel like I was able to get so much great exposure through that work combined with education and has really been an ideal fit for where I am now in my career.
Minnie Sinha: So, over the years, you must be in touch with them and know what they are doing, and getting all the feedback from them, and it must be helping you in your business some way or the other.
Becca Carnahan: Oh, certainly. I think I have learned so much from my experience training as a coach at Harvard Business School and from the students and alumni that I’ve had the opportunity to work with. And through the members and clients that I’ve had through Next Chapter Careers as well, everyone’s story is unique. And while we can take different frameworks and apply them in job search strategies, and apply them, everyone’s story is unique and I feel like I learned so much from every client that I have the opportunity to work with.
Minnie Sinha: Yeah, I’m sure. So, tell me, what is your business model?
Becca Carnahan: So, I think about coaching in a couple of different ways. So, my main program that I offer within Next Chapter Careers is called the Career Clarity Program. And that program is designed as a group coaching program and online course. Why I designed the business in that way, is that as I was doing one-to-one coaching with folks. I found that there are so many of the same topics that we were covering in terms of thinking about how do you uncover your career sweet spot where you’re really doing the work that intersects with your passions, your skills, and how you add value to clients or to businesses.
Then, crafting your career and life criteria, the things that are going to help you decide where you’re going to go next to exploring new paths forward, and learning how to network and connect, and research to find those new opportunities. And then, pitching yourself and your story, how do you tell your story to someone else in a really compelling way to open up those doors of opportunity. So, focusing on those four modules in the Career Clarity Program, we bring folks together who are at this mid-career inflection point to work through this course; this program together to help them get to that goal of landing their next fulfilling and flexible job.
I also do work with some folks one-to-one as well, which is wonderful. I really enjoy both the group coaching model as well as the one-to-one coaching.
Minnie Sinha: So, I know you have built your business around many things. Besides other things, you’re also, as you told me, you are also a career coach. So, tell me more about who could be your client, and the kind of coaching you provide, and the cost.
Becca Carnahan: Sure. So, the coaching that I provide is, like I mentioned, to mid-career parents. So, most of the folks that I work with who are generally in their 30s and 40s that are at this career inflection point, where they have the kids who are growing up, and they’re growing up right along with them. So, those are my ideal clients, the people that I work with. And I work with them in the group coaching model as well as one-to-one.
Minnie Sinha: So, how do you find them? Do you advertise yourself? Or it’s just through social media, or word-of-mouth? How do you do that?
Becca Carnahan: One of the best sources of new clients finding me is through referrals, so people that I’ve worked with before who are connecting me with their friends and family who would benefit from going through the Career Clarity Program and having that structure and support to land that next job, that it really is going to fit your life. In addition to that, I co-host a podcast with my friend and colleague, Marie. We have a podcast called, “When Mommy Grows Up,” and that’s an opportunity for us to connect with a new audience.
I also share a lot of content on LinkedIn so folks can find me just under my name, Becca Carnahan, on LinkedIn. It’s where I share a lot of writing. Writing is something that I enjoy so much. It’s a lot of where I started with my work in career coaching was writing about career development. So, I really enjoy being able to share that content on LinkedIn. It’s also a place where I connect with potential clients and members.
Minnie Sinha: Can you tell me more about Career Clarity Program?
Becca Carnahan: Sure. The Career Clarity Program is that four-module program, so where we uncover your career sweet spot, craft your career criteria, explore new paths forward, and learn how to pitch yourself and your story. So, the program itself is an online course, so people can go through the modules, they have 15-minute modules that cover each one of those different topics in depth. So, there’s multiple videos and lessons within each one of those modules. One of the best parts about the program is that you aren’t doing it alone.
So, we have group coaching calls where members can come together, ask me questions, work with my colleagues, ask questions, and get support that they need from us, but also, from each other. So, it’s a wonderful place to network as well as learn and get that support. So, that’s the basis of the program. And then, we also have what I refer to as kind of coaching your pocket. So, there is an app that’s associated with the program so that if folks have questions in between calls, they can post questions in the community and that’s where I can jump in and answer those questions, and provide feedback. But it’s also another online tool that members can use to connect with one another.
Minnie Sinha: It’s more like a forum you have created.
Becca Carnahan: Yes, exactly.
Minnie Sinha: Great. That sounds wonderful. One sentence that caught my eye was career advice and laughing. What is that?
Becca Carnahan: Yeah. I have really approached all of my work with an idea that needs to be centered in humor and heart. I started after my kids were born, creating a lot, doing a lot of parenting humor type of writing. So, writing funny memes, and jokes. That was a way that I found to really connect with other parents who were going through similar stuff. And laughing has always been a way that I have built connections with people. So, I don't think that you have to – career development can feel very hard, and very serious, and very stressful. So, if I can find ways to layer some humor and lightness on top of that, as well as being really heart-centered, that’s the kind of work that I – the way I like to approach this work is with humor and heart.
Minnie Sinha: So, do you create all the memes?
Becca Carnahan: Oh, yeah, I still create memes. I love doing that. I think it’s really fun and something just sparks your creativity. For me, for my career sweet spot, it really is that intersection of using my skills and experience at career development. But I also have a lot of creativity and creativity is a big driver for me.
So, if I can tap into that creativity whether it’s creating a meme, or writing an article, or talking on a podcast those are really fun opportunities for me to then share these messages and frameworks about career development, but package it in a way that’s really fun and accessible and connect with the audience that I think would really benefit from both the lightheartedness and the funniness of a meme as well as the career development tools that can help them move forward.
Minnie Sinha: I’ll be asking you about your writing and your blogs. So, before that, I just wanted to tell you a little about us and our audience. Our audience are primarily women. Some, like to work from home full-time or as a side gig. Most are either working or want to work in the transcription and translation field. And we, here, at TCI precisely offer that. We provide an online training program in general transcription for people who want to be general transcriptionists.
We also have a job board that matches transcriptionists and translators with the transcription or translation company with their unique requirements. And I’m excited to share that very soon, we will also launch an AAERT prep test, so everyone please stay tuned. So, now, moving on to you. Tell me more about Next Chapter Careers and Just Right Job Quiz. What is that?
Becca Carnahan: Yes. So, the Just Right Job Quiz, that was a quiz that I created just this past year, actually. And this taps into exactly what we were just talking about, Minnie, this combination of how do you approach career development from a place of humor and heart? And it was something that I kept going back to that as a millennial mom, I would end up doing these online quizzes, and things of those quizzes like, your personality quizzes, those kinds of things and they were always fun and engaging. I had wanted to create something for careers that was fun and engaging and a little bit silly, and using GIFs, and things like that that I could incorporate.
And so, I was really excited to launch that quiz this past year. And it's a way for folks to really try to figure out what the right type of category of job is going to be the right fit for them. So, are they an emerging entrepreneur? And really, the next right fit for them is to take ownership and to have their own business. Are they a committed coach? Meaning that, not necessarily they have to be a career coach or a health coach, but rather, being able to coach and mentor as part of their role, and that could be as a manager as well. The other categories are the transformative teammate.
So, this is someone who really enjoys working within teams and that’s going to be their sweet spot of working actively with a team, whether that’s in person or online. And then, our fourth category is the self-directed star. So, this is someone who worked incredibly well independently. So, they’re going to be looking for a role that will be the just right fit for them, where they can do a lot of independent work; they don’t need a lot of oversight. And how can we attach each one of these categories to some different roles for folks to consider? So, kickstarting that process of uncovering where that next right role is for you.
Minnie Sinha: So, you do all this with the job quiz, right, what they are, and then, what will be the right field for them. Right?
Becca Carnahan: Yes. It’s a kickoff, exactly. It’s only one part of the process, certainly, but it’s a good way to start to imagine what could be next for you, what would be the right fit for you, and then, we can couple that with coaching, and to really dig into this further.
Minnie Sinha: And do you also help with the placement, also, or it’s just like you coach them enough and then, now they can find whatever field suits them on their own?
Becca Carnahan: Yeah, so much of coaching and the way I think about coaching is helping people get the right tools, and the support, and the strategies to land that next job. So, while my position is not to connect someone and place them into a position, my role is to help them uncover what that position is going to be. What are the tools that they can use to connect with people within that company? How can they pitch themselves and their story so that – we’re really teaching them tools that they’re going to use throughout their life and career to land this next job, but also future jobs.
Minnie Sinha: And are these jobs – when people come to you, or like, moms and dads you meet and they come to you for career advice, are they looking for jobs that they can do from the comfort of their home, or they’re open to go out also? What is the majority that they want?
Becca Carnahan: I would say it’s definitely a mix, actually. So, I certainly have clients who want to be working from home, some people who really prefer the in-person environment, and others, who the hybrid work style is the right fit for them. And I think that’s really important to note because while a lot of us are looking for flexibility and fulfillment, those words can mean different things to different people. So, that’s a big part of what we do in the Career Clarity Program is helping you to define what flexibility means to you, what does fulfillment look like to you.
And for some people, that is, the flexibility is being able to work from home, so you have the ultimate control over you don't have to commute and maybe it’s easier to get your kids on and off the bus, and that remote work is a really good fit for you. For some people, flexibility is more being able to, maybe you are going into the office, but you can choose the days that you’re going in. So, really, defining what flexibility and fulfillment look like to you can help determine whether a fully remote role or a hybrid or fully in-person role is best aligned with how you work best.
Minnie Sinha: If I may ask, what is your success rate? If people come to you and how successful they are later finding the right job, what they’re looking for. Do you have any data on that?
Becca Carnahan: Yeah. I think a lot of people are still – we have folks who are in progress, people who I’ve worked with in the past. So, I’d say overall, people have been really happy with how the program has helped them to take that next step forward. And not everyone is actually looking for a new job outside of their company. For some people, it is maybe job crafting their existing role. They find that, and for some people, that landing that next fulfilling and flexible job might be their existing role. However, they need to craft to that position so that it’s a better fit for their life and for their interests.
For some people, it’s actually building a business. So, while I talk a lot about landing that next fulfilling and flexible job, sometimes you’re creating that job, as well. So, I’ve seen really great success with people both looking for an external job as well as creating one on their own.
Minnie Sinha: Yeah, I’m sure they are sort of, with you, they are finding themselves, what their strength is, and they can pursue what they work in.
Becca Carnahan: Yes. Exactly.
Minnie Sinha: That’s good. That’s good. And then, so, let’s talk about – I know you write blogs, so tell me, how do you choose topics? And who writes the blog? Do you write it or do you have a writer?
Becca Carnahan: Yeah, I write them. I write the blogs. So, you mentioned the blog earlier, With Love, Becca. And that blog started, as I mentioned, parenting humor was really how I got started with a lot of my writing, was writing funny stories that related with other parents. So, that’s how the blog started and has since evolved. Certainly, they still bring in the humor and the heart.
However, when I’m thinking about topics to write about, I am looking for those key areas that I’m hearing from coaching clients and from other people in my community, from podcast listeners about what are some of the career and working parents’ issues that they’re facing and how can I help provide them with some tools or some different ways of thinking about this that will allow them to move forward. So, I looked for my blog articles to provide really helpful content, but written in a way that is engaging, and fun, and not too stuffy so that we can approach career development without it feeling exhausting. There’s enough to be exhausted about as a parent, so let’s add some lightness to what can be a really serious topic.
Minnie Sinha: And how frequently do you write a blog?
Becca Carnahan: So, typically, I have a couple new posts each month, sometimes more, but I’m often writing. I write a lot on LinkedIn, so short form types of content. I have a newsletter that goes out every week to folks who are on my newsletter as well. And then, in terms of longer-form blog articles, I like to have a couple new ones each month.
Minnie Sinha: Good. Great. And also, you are a successful writer, also. So, tell me about the books you have written.
Becca Carnahan: So, I’ve written three books: two children’s books and one book for the adults. So, my two children’s books are Balinda Baloney Changes Her Mind, and Benji Baloney, her brother, Benji Baloney Learns to Be Brave. And both of these children’s books are really designed thinking about what are – how can we take an idea, for instance, with Belinda, thinking about what we ask kids all the time, “Well, what do you want to be when you grow up?” And oftentimes, kids are presented with maybe a few different, what their parents do for work, or they see images of a firefighter, or a police officer, and that’s kind of what they’re thinking right now.
But oftentimes, they’re going to change their minds. So, I wanted to really celebrate the fact that as kids, but also, as adults we can be changing, evolving, and growing, and changing our mind along the way. So, that’s Balinda Baloney. And with Benji Baloney, I really wanted to tackle this idea of bravery doesn’t have to look one, single way. I think you can be brave certainly, by being big, tough, and strong, but you can also be brave by being vulnerable and showing compassion. So, those were those two topics for the children’s books, which I love very deeply.
And then, my other book is called, When Mommy Grows Up, and When Mommy Grows Up is a career development book for millennial moms. We infuse a lot of humor and parenting stories. But we take those parenting stories and lessons and flip them into career advice. So, for example, we might be teaching our kids to use their words, but are we listening to that same advice as adults? We’re teaching them to make new friends, but are we willing to put ourselves out there and do networking as part of our career and make new professional friendships?
So, that’s the idea of the book, and it’s been a really wonderful tool and resource for people to flip this big, scary idea of career development on its head and approach it through the lens of parenthood.
Minnie Sinha: Very good. The children’s books, they seem quite fun, and actually, I would like to read them.
Becca Carnahan: Oh, great.
Minnie Sinha: I’d definitely read Mommy Grows Up. And tell me where anyone can buy this, all these books.
Becca Carnahan: Yes. Yes, so they’re all available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target. So, if you look for them online, you can find Belinda Baloney, Benji Baloney as well as When Mommy Grows Up.
Minnie Sinha: Great. I will do that. And I hope my audience took a note of that also.
Becca Carnahan: Thank you.
Minnie Sinha: They sound so much fun. So, I am almost down to my last question. And let me know if I missed mentioning or forgot to ask you something important you offer. Did I miss anything?
Becca Carnahan: No. This has been great. It’s been so nice to share with your audience about the Career Clarity Program and about my books. I really appreciate the opportunity to share.
Minnie Sinha: Thank you. Thank you. It was so great. Last, I wanted to ask, I see you have a beautiful family. And what does this family do for fun?
Becca Carnahan: Yes. So, I have two very athletic kids. We are running around to a lot of different sporting events. My husband and I are big sports fans as well, so it’s a lot of fun for us to both coach them in their sports as well as cheer them on. So, I think that’s, for this season of life, we’re sports parents, a sports family for sure. And looking forward to over this next year, we also like to travel together, and see new cities and places, so we’re hoping to do a little exploring this year, as well.
Minnie Sinha: Where do you want to go? What tops your list to see?
Becca Carnahan: Yeah. So, we’re going to be going to Texas this year, actually, which we’re excited about.
Minnie Sinha: Nice.
Becca Carnahan: My kids have never been, I’ve never been, so we’re going to go and do a little exploring in Texas.
Minnie Sinha: Perfect. It’s a very big state, so you will be walking and doing a lot of travel there. Very beautiful state. So, this wraps up my interview with you, Becca. I’m so grateful that you took some time out of your busy schedule to talk with me and share your insight and incredible journey including some valuable tips, skills, and resources. Before I let go of you, please tell my audience how they can find or connect with you.
Becca Carnahan: Yes. I think the best place to find me, connect with me, follow along with my work is through my website, it’s nextchaptercareers.us. And that’s where you’ll find links to where you can find me on social media, you can find the Just Right Job Match Quiz that we’ve talked about as well as links back to my blog and books. So, that’s just nextchaptercareers.us. And you can always come find me on LinkedIn as well, just under my name, Becca Carnahan.
Minnie Sinha: Perfect. That sounds wonderful. Thanks so much, Becca. I wish you continued success in all your future endeavors. Take care.
Becca Carnahan: Thank you so much, you too.
Minnie Sinha: All right, everyone. I look forward to our next installment of uSpeak. Please share this with anyone who may find it interesting. Also, please check out our website at www.transcriptioncertificationinstitute.com. And remember to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and X. See you next time. Bye.
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