Karren Brady’s career advice on hiring the right staff as your company grows


Zoë Desmond, 42, is the founder of single parent community and dating platform Frolo. She lives in Fulham, west London, with her son Billy, six.

I wake up at…

6.30am. Billy’s dad and I co-parent, so when Billy is staying there, I have a coffee then head straight to my home-office desk. My brain works best first thing, so I like to optimise my time and get ahead. On the days Billy is at home, I start work around 9am after doing the school run.

A normal day involves…

Meetings – but I make sure they are no more than 30 minutes, to avoid procrastination. T

his includes one-to-ones with my team of eight, catching up with our development agency and  being interviewed by journalists.

Right now, I’m in discussions with our lead investors to fund Frolo Dating. Apple has also invited us to join a cohort of female-founded start-ups, which involves a five-week mentoring programme with its in-house experts.

Although I’m very involved with everything from product to tech, marketing and social media, it’s also important to give the team freedom to be experts in their fields.

Listening to feedback from our 40,000 users about how we can improve is always a priority, too. When Billy’s at his dad’s, I try to shut my laptop by 7pm and go to dinner with friends.

But when he’s at home, I sometimes sneak back on the laptop while he watches TV after school and dinner’s cooking. I definitely feel working mother’s guilt. The juggle is real! 

The best part of my job is…

Seeing the difference Frolo makes to lives – mine included! When I became a single parent in 2017, I’d spend weekends feeling so lonely. There wasn’t a way to find other single parents in my area. Now, I’m giving my son a better experience of me as a parent and I don’t feel any “less” than a nuclear family. 

And the hardest?

Being the founder can be very lonely, especially on hard days when it feels like everything is falling on my shoulders!

I wind down by…

Music helps me relax, as does going for walks. I listen to podcasts, such as The Tim Ferriss Show and Dan Murray-Serter’s Secret Leaders. They’re work-oriented, but remove 

me from what’s going on in my own head. 


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