Shortly after graduating from UCLA’s architecture and interior design program, Nika Fouquet decided she was ready to start a family. But with the demands of the industry and a new baby on the way, Fouquet was faced with the common question many career-driven mothers have: Can I really balance my work life and family life effectively?
After leaving her job with Los Angeles-based interior designer Kerry Joyce, Fouquet went back to the drawing board on what she wanted to do professionally. In an interview with BlackEnterprise.com, the mompreneur shares how searching for schools for her son led her to opening a Tutor Doctor, which is the fastest growing at-home in private tutoring franchise in the United States.
BlackEnterprise.com: What made you transition from the interior design business to tutoring?
Fouquet: Once the reality of having a child came into play and it was time for me to go back to work, I had a hard time juggling my hours with a newborn and I made the choice to not return. That was a very hard choice for me because while I was enjoying my new child, I lacked direction and I have always been very career-driven. When my child got older, I started touring schools to try and decide what would be a good fit for him, his personality and his learning style. At the time, I was also trying to decide what to do with myself and I came across Tutor Doctor. I learned about its core mission, what they are about and their core values. While exploring that and reflecting on my experience of touring so many schools, it seemed like it would just be a good fit because it allowed me to stay with education, which I loved, and it was something that would allow me the flexibility of being a mom.
What were some of the challenges you faced in making that career transition?
It’s interesting you should say that because some of the skills did transfer over. One of the things about being an interior designer is you are curating a lot for your clients and you are problem solving, and those kinds of skills are what I carried over with me. I am curating because I have to find really strong tutors to place with my families, and I’m problem solving because these families are coming to us because they have a struggle and they need somebody to fix it.
What tips do you have for a professional looking to make a successful career transition?
I would advise anyone who is considering a career change to first make a list of things you want to have on a day-to-day basis. Then, make a list of the things you don’t want. If you start drafting that list then it will help you narrow down areas you should consider.