Interview with Kate Daly, co-founder of amicable

Find out how the experience of her own traumatic divorce inspired Kate Daly to set up amicable – a faster, fairer, fixed-price way to separate and divorce.

What’s your career background?

My background is psychology (grad and post grad), my career began working within HR management for M&S. I then went on to work in Change Management for KPMG. My specialism changed slightly when I moved to head up the Leadership Development practice at KPMG.

In 2002, I set up my first people consulting company, People Fan Club, running large scale change and people management projects. I helped mostly media companies to get better outcomes by internalising and living the brand.

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I went back to Uni to get a MSE in counselling psychology and specialised in relationships (relationship breakdowns in particular). After that I went into private practice, helping couples when their relationships breakdown. Through this work, I naturally went into divorce coaching to help people get emotionally ready.

During this time, I worked with a whole bunch of lawyers, helping get their clients in a more stable emotional state to approach their divorce. This work led naturally to the birth of amicable, the legal tech disruptor, my business partner Pip Wilson and I founded in 2015.

How did your career change after having children?

When I worked for KPMG I realised that if I wanted to have a child, flying all over the world at a moment’s notice and being away for months wasn’t really conducive to having a family. That was part of the motivation for going back to university. I thought it would enable me to do a lot more private practice work and work my clients on a more flexible basis.

This lifestyle change was the only career planning I’ve ever done, no three or five year plan for me!

Where did the idea for amicable come from?

I went through my own divorce which was pretty traumatic, and through my career helped many other people who had had similar, negative, experiences and knew that there must be a better way.

How did you move from idea to actual business?

The key to turning amicable into a ‘proper’ business was realising that I couldn’t do it on my own and I needed a business partner to help me scale the business. That business partner is Pip Wilson, my mentor and coach for my business at the time but also a friend who I met through NCT. Pip’s tech background turned amicable idea into a business that could scale up.

What’s your USP?

amicable’s USP comes from our two very different perspectives because Pip and I are very different people. The founding team is a combination of technology and psychology. We don’t believe that technology is the answer to everything, nor do we think that human beings are better than technology.

We’re not trying to polarise the debate, we’re providing a genuine combination of technology and people that gives the best outcome for families.

Who’s your target audience?

Anyone getting divorce, anyone who wants to do the right thing by their children and anyone that wants to walk away from divorce not feeling traumatised and scarred. amicable exists so that people can walk away from divorce feeling like they are in a better position to move forwards in life.

Amicable is sometimes an aspiration at the beginning of the process. And providing you have the aspiration to get divorced amicably, we can help.

What’s your proudest moment so far?

Two moments, one is when customers thank us and get quite emotional. It makes all the hard work worth it when you can see that you’ve done a good thing for a couple or family and you’ve saved them from a spiral of trauma.

The other times I’m proud is when my kids talk about the business, I hear them say ‘my mum wants to help people so she can make the world a better place.’

Why is work so important to you?

Work gives me a sense of who I am, it’s part of me and enables me to shape the world and have an influence. It feeds my desire to help people. It’s also incredible important to me that my children see that hard work brings rewards.

How do you balance your business with your family?

It’s like spinning plates, it’s tough because there are sacrifices. I try and hold on to the key important things that I need to be around for my kids and I create time with them in the day.

What are your three top pieces of advice for someone wanting to do something similar?

  1. Spend the time researching your idea, I was able to earn a living whilst testing the concept of our idea. Be prepared, it takes quite a long time.
  2. Don’t try and do it on your own, nobody’s an island. It really annoys me when people say they are.
  3. Just start doing it. Don’t over think it, just start, experience and then change your arrangements to fit.

You can find out more about amicable on their website