Tell us a little bit about yourself
Hi, I’m Shazia Mustafa and I’m the cofounder of Third Door, a family-friendly coworking space with an onsite flexible Ofsted registered Nursery in London. I have three children who are aged 11, 9 and 7.
Third Door is the UK’s first coworking and flexible nursery hybrid business, based in South-west London. I co-founded the business nine years ago with my husband. Back then and even more so today, Third Door has been about removing the parenthood penalty and creating a better work/ life balance for mums and dads. We have created a solution that allows parents to be able to work near their children, thus saving them time and money by cutting their commute time, as well as removing parent-guilt. Our nursery solution is super-flexible allowing parents to choose between fixed days and flexible packages, upgrade and downgrade their childcare package depending on their needs. With the flexibility we offer, we have helped countless families, especially mothers, who may not otherwise have been able to return to work and continue their careers on a full-time or flexible basis. We also have many members who are freelancers or run their own business and they say they couldn’t have done this without the services we offer. We always designed our services and amenities to be inclusive of fathers, and as a result, are delighted with all our dad members who also regularly use the Workhub.
What inspired you to start your business
A few months after I had my first child back in 2007, I knew one thing for certain; I wanted to work and continue with my career. However, like most new mums, I was reluctant to be far from my baby and wanted somewhere I could work in peace whilst my little one was cared for nearby. My husband was also studying for a self-funded MBA at the time as well as working full-time as a remote employee. When I suggested the idea of Third Door to my husband, he immediately understood the concept and based it as a feasibility study for his MBA dissertation. When he received a Distinction for his work, we decided to set up Third Door for real and two years after the initial idea we launched Third Door, in Putney, London. The world’s first coworking space, with an onsite flexible nursery, was finally open for business.
Describe your typical day
Fortunately, I don’t have such a thing as a typical day; every day is different which I love. Typically, I pick up my children from school whilst my husband drops them off at school. Besides pick-ups, by day varies from one day to another, but most of my time is currently spent working on the strategy and expansion for Third Door. I love what I do and am certainly driven with the impact and possibility of what Third Door can do over the next decade and for future generations. I have undoubtedlyfound more efficient ways of working over the past decade and look forward to sharing these with you.
Name three words that describes success for you
Name three business tips that you would give to yourself if you were first starting out.
How do you juggle work & play
As a mother in business, I would remind mothers to remember to look after themselves - both physically and mentally. That’s why I love going to the gym to do weightlifting, spending time at home baking, reading the latest book about feminism (!) or watching a great movie. Step away when you need to and work on your own schedule, not somebody else’s. Relationships with loved ones are more important than building your legacy or money. Because when all that fails, it is only relationships that you can fall back on to support you. Nurture yourself first and your relationships and everything else will work out. I step away from my work for a few days every few months and then go back to my ‘why’. I also make sure I have downtime for myself, as well as my family. I can’t stress how important self-care is. Likewise, to aid this focus on self-care, I also try to work shorter focused bursts, rather than long stressful days.
What would be your plan B?
It would definitely still be in the same space as I am now. Perhaps working as CEO for a charity that helps women and children or setting up another business - ideas of which I have plenty! This is my passion and I would find it hard to work in a different space, to be honest.
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