Kiara: Paralegal and Business Owner

Introducing Kiara Edwards: Paralegal and Business Owner, as well as so much more.

Tell me a bit about you, your career & what gets you up in the morning

I graduated university in May this year! I studied a Bachelor of Criminology / Bachelor of Laws. I also recently finished my Practical Legal Training and I am about to be admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court in October.. I have been working full time as a Paralegal for two years and I have been made an offer for Junior Partner at the end of this year at the same firm. On the side, I also own a small Subway shop that my mother runs for me as a Manager whilst I am at work. My job is part of what gets me up in the morning - I love what I do. My family, my partner and my close friends also get me up in the morning. I have a huge amount of unconditional support and love. The people around me support every decision I make, encourage me to chase my dreams, and most importantly they keep me grounded.

Business owner AND partner in a law firm! What a boss. Life is busy. How do you manage it all?

I am an obsessive scheduler! I make a mental list in my mind at the beginning of every week of things that I need to achieve this week. In terms of being productive with my time, I make a ‘to do list’ every single morning and highlight the priority items. I am motivated by completing tasks, so checklists are what keep me at my best. I am also aware of my limits and I take time away from work and the business when I am feeling at my capacity. I am lucky in having a workplace that allows short mental health breaks for when I am feeling overwhelmed and over-scheduled. To be honest, being a small business owner during the COVID-19 pandemic was very time consuming and it took away from my legal career but things are much more under control now - thank god!

How did you know this was the right path for you? What support networks did you have? It wasn't until this year that I knew that I had chosen the right paths for myself. Like most of us, I was filled with self-doubt and second guessing. I think for me, something just clicked and I felt like I was in the right place at the right time. I was thriving at work and my business was on the road to recovery from the initial COVID hit. It felt really cathartic when I realised that I had all my ducks in a row that my hard work had paid off. In saying that, my career and my business are very different - and I think that is totally ok. I think that it is important that we don’t limit ourselves to just one thing in our lives. It is good to expand and grow as we move through our lives. You’ve taken two different pathways and are doing both - what is that like and how do you find prioritising what needs to be done?

I am very lucky - I have support from my family and my partner for the business that I own. This allows me to spend my 9 - 5 life focusing on my career as a Solicitor. I honestly really struggled when the Coronavirus first hit in balancing my two work lives. My business was suffering financially and I felt guilty being away from the business in such a difficult time. Balancing the two can be challenging at the best of times, but it is also very rewarding. I am in a position that will set me up for the rest of my life if things keep going the way they do. I am also in a position where I can employ my friends and relatives in my business. Like I mentioned in another question, I am very big on planning out my days - I believe that this is the reason that I can do both successfully. What are your top 3 tips for women wanting to do something totally out of the box? Don’t be afraid of your dreams - Do not feel as though you are dreaming too big. Do not limit yourself and do not surround yourselves around people who make you feel small or incapable. Remember that it is normal to feel the occasional self doubt and that it is important to realise that the self doubt is temporary and that it can fuel your motivation. No dream, goal, or ambition is entirely unachievable.

Set out your goals & strategize - I strongly believe that you should never dive into something head first. It is important to consider what you want from your life and to take reasonable and practicable steps in doing so. Be willing to compromise & develop adaptability skills - Regardless of the situation, life is unpredictable for all of us. We have all had to adapt to change whether we like it or not. I think that flexibility is the most important tip for people looking to act outside of the box.

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