5 lessons for parentpreneurs from Aleksandra’s exit from ‘The Apprentice’

In a first for ‘The Apprentice’, one candidate has walked away from the show before they’d even been began working on the week’s challenge.

By Damien Everett, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16205713

Lord Alan Sugar  by Damien Everett, CC BY 2.0

In the BBC show, broadcast on 27th October 2016, Aleksandra King left the process, saying that she disliked the blame culture and felt the lack of work-life balance was unacceptable.

Despite Lord Sugar suggesting she “couldn’t hack it”, I think most people feel her decision is commendable, and particularly inspirational for other parents.

So, here are 5 important lessons I’d suggest other parent entrepreneurs should take from this.

1. Be clear on what you want from the start

Arguably, anyone who has watched even one episode of The Apprentice knows that the candidates have to live in a big house altogether, for 8-12 weeks, away from their family. Perhaps worse, the successful candidate would be expected to work alongside Lord Sugar, who makes it clear that he expects them to work very hard as his business partner (whereas he brings the funding).

Is this what Aleksandra really wanted? Probably not.

So, start by being clear about what you want from life and work, and you’ll stand a better chance of getting it.

2. Do your research

Before making important decisions, it pays to do your research. For example, finding out that candidates on The Apprentice are cut off from the world, only getting “a single 10 minute phone call home every week” might have made Aleksandra think twice.

After identifying what is important to you, look at the pros and cons of a decision by speaking to people who have experienced it, doing online research and discussing it with people you trust.

3. You get what you tolerate

In life and business it is often said that “you get what you tolerate”. As parent entrepreneurs we must be very careful not to accept situations, behaviours and conditions that we don’t want.

For example, yesterday a member of my team suggested I do some of my live business strategy workshops after normal working hours, to better suit the diaries of entrepreneurs who feel so busy they can’t free up their time during the day. Sorry, but I don’t want to. I have a wonderful wife and two great children that I want to spend my evenings with, and I don’t want to encourage other parentpreneurs to work antisocial hours either!

So, be prepared to be consistent with your values.

4. Be open about the reasons for your decisions

When Aleksandra was asked why she chose to leave, she was honest about it. She said she felt the severe lack of contact with family was unacceptable. Whether people agree with the decision is up to them, but knowing the reasons allows people to debate and make their own judgment.

Contrast this with the team leader of the opposite team, Grainne Mccoy, who repeatedly avoided putting Rebecca Jeffery in the shop window. This was in spite of considerable pressure from her team, who highlighted that the staff at Liberty of London had said it would increase footfall. When challenged, Grainne did not discuss her true reason for not doing this (probably that she thought it would actually turn people away) and seemed unwilling to debate the pros and cons.

5. Have the strength change your mind

When the reality of life on The Apprentice became clear to Aleksandra, she made the decision to leave.

This can’t have been easy. She’ll have known that the show’s producers and crew, other candidates, Lord Sugar, and some members of the general public would be unhappy with her decision.

Well done Aleksandra, you’ve demonstrated that it is sometimes necessary for parent entrepreneurs to get their priorities straight and make tough (sometimes unpopular) decisions.


Struggling to get balance between your work and life? Want to be able to spend more time ON your business without feeling stressed or guilty? Take a look at the Balance Masterclass…

About The Author

Alexis Kingsbury

Alexis is founder of the Parentpreneur Accelerator and Making Greatness Ltd. He is a serial entrepreneur, with experience creating start-ups in a variety of areas, particularly in SaaS and EdTech. He is also a lucky husband and proud dad, and now helps other 'parentpreneurs' like him to achieve their dreams of having successful businesses, making a difference in the world, and spending time with the people they love.

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