What I've Learnt: Caroline Pegden, Co-founder at TempaGoGo

Charlie Spargo's picture
by Charlie Spargo
Caroline Pegden, Tempagogo

TempaGoGo is a tech startup aiming at revolutionising temp agency recruitment in the UK.

Caroline Pegden and her husband Phil founded the company in 2017 from their kitchen table. The tech solution lets businesses find temporary workers quicker than ever - putting them in contact with multiple local temping agencies so they find talent fast.

She's passionate about saving organisations time and money. And what's more, her past jobs have been incredibly varied - having worked in strategy at McKinsey, the UK fashion industry, and led a digital transformation of the public sector.

We found out what moves, challenges, and influences her.

Which single daily habit or practice could you not do without?

Listen to classical music: I’m a big fan of Tchaikovsky and Erik Satie. It helps me relax, focus, and inspires me. I’ve actually discovered recently that studies have shown when you listen to music, it triggers the release of feel-good hormones (dopamine, serotonin) that reduce stress and increase focus and performance!

What's been your luckiest break?

When I was 17, on the morning of the French baccalaureate, I dreamt of a really-not-so-well-known author and checked his biography in a really-not-so-common encyclopaedia. A couple of hours later, I was astonished to discover that he was the author selected for the French baccalaureate test - I got top marks for it!

What's your best failure?

Before being an entrepreneur, I felt that asking for help was a sign of weakness, so I avoided doing so. I potentially missed lots of opportunities to learn and meet inspiring people.

As an entrepreneur, you have to constantly get out of your comfort zone, and need to learn fast. I’ve reached out to people, some known, some unknown (the power of LinkedIn!) - I’ve been amazed by how much people are willing to help and share their experience, often for free, and offer invaluable advice.

What is the best investment you've ever made, either financial or time?

The efforts I (and my parents) have put in my education. It has allowed me to have unlimited choices in my career, and given me the ability to be really flexible and adaptable. That’s incredibly precious - I’ve had the opportunity to work in ten countries, in numerous sectors (from aviation, to luxury and fashion, and the civil service, and now recruitment) which has been really fulfilling. Investing in education just pays you back triple!

How would you describe your work/life balance?

Being an entrepreneur with two young children, my life is packed! Given that my co-founder is also my husband, it can be hard to switch-off. We have a rule: we don’t speak about work when the children are around, at the dinner table. It’s a forcing device that works really well!

Which book would you recommend others to read and why?

'Black Box Thinking' by Matthew Syed - the whole philosophy of the book is to openly accept and nurture mistakes as a way to learn and improve, rather than blame. It’s at the core of our company culture at TempaGoGo.

What one piece of advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

Ask yourself: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

Don’t worry about what your career might look like in five to 10 years’ time. Who know what it might look like, and why does it matter? Go with the flow, follow your heart and your instincts, the answers will come by themselves. And if something doesn’t work out, just change and move on!

Who or what has had the single biggest influence on your working life?

My four years at McKinsey. It’s given me the confidence, the structure, the ability to adapt, to receive and provide feedback, to ask questions.

Tell us something about you that would surprise people.

I’m the proud owner of an allotment garden.

What does success look like to you?

For TempaGoGo to become the Rightmove of the temp recruitment market - so that when people think “temp”, they think “TempaGoGo!"