What are your greatest creative or productive challenges and how do you overcome them?
Whilst my greatest challenges used to be things I could control, like procrastination and lack of focus, these days, since the birth of daughter, I find my greatest challenges have changed significantly.
I now have to contend with a very real lack of time and trying to get things done even when I’m physically and mentally exhausted. It can be really hard to be creative when you’re basically a walking zombie. To be honest I’m still trying to work out how to overcome these new challenges, but some things that have helped, are learning to say no to people/projects that don’t fit my big picture goals, planning and knowing exactly what my top priority is whenever free time does comes up and working out what my strengths are and where possible delegating things that I’m not the best at.
Who or what are your greatest influences in business/creativity?
My background is in film production, so I’d have to say my greatest creative influences tend to come from film makers such as David Lynch and Pedro Almodóvar and whilst this use to greatly influence my video making, I couldn’t tell you what place this has in my business life. Probably none, other than I’m a little peculiar and so are my ideas!
In terms of business, I tend to be drawn to people who put soul into their work. I’m a big fan of fellow coach Christine Kane for this reason, and probably because she is a creative with a music background. The big business mogul types don’t really do much for me to be honest.
Is there a vision/project you haven't been able to realise yet due to things like time, money, technology etc.
There are so many! If I had a penny for every unrealised, yet amazing idea… All joking aside though, there is a project that’s whirring around in my head at the moment that I’m just itching to implement.
Having been on maternity leave for the best part of the last year though (and about to go on maternity leave again in about 2 months), the barrier on this occasion is financial; and of course there is never enough time.
You use and recommend Vision Boarding a lot. Can you briefly explain what this is and how it can help you in business?
Glad you asked. I do indeed love vision boarding!
So I know many people may be familiar with the idea of sticking pretty pictures to a board and using it like a kind of wish list to the universe, but this is not the way I work with vision boards. To me creating a vision board is more of an intuitive process that taps into your subconscious and draws out your innermost desires, your values as a person and the vision you have for your life (even if you aren’t consciously aware of what that is). I know it all sounds a bit airy-fairy, but I’ve seen amazing things happen and great insights gained through the vision boarding process that I teach.
How it’s helped me in my own business is that, with very little effort, I was able to gain real clarity about my branding and what I wanted my business to stand for and create in the world. I now use my vision board as a visual reminder about what the business stands for and why I do what I do, and in addition to that it is great way for me to keep track of my business goals.
In my personal life, my vision board is actually bringing to fruition a long held desire to move to Italy… just a few years ago this seemed like an impossible dream.
I’m not sure exactly why vision boards are so powerful, but I guess it comes down to getting to the heart of your desires (much deeper than the “I want to be rich and drive a Porsche” kind of stuff) and having a constant visual marker that keeps you focused on the stuff that matters.
You recently produced the 5-Day Business Cleanse Challenge. What do you think is the most common cause of inefficiency in creativity/productivity/business?
For creatives it’s got to be having too many ideas and not getting focused enough to take the necessary action.
I would say that entrepreneurs are creative by definition, and so they run into very similar problems too. For myself as a creative and a business owner, this is definitely my biggest hurdle and it drives me insane. Do you know that in the last week alone I’ve had about 3 multi-million pound ideas?!
It’s so tempting to pursue multiple projects and ideas at once, but that really is a recipe for going nowhere fast. The thing is even when you know that, you can’t just stop the ideas from coming and so it really does take intense focus and the ability to anchor yourself to your ‘why’ or your bigger purpose to see one thing through to completion and not get carried away with something that doesn’t fit in with where you’re really trying to go.
What are your favourite online/digital creative tools (e.g. software, apps, etc.)?
I have to admit that I’m just terrible at graphic design and so Canva has been my saving grace for all manner of design projects. Other than that I love Adobe Spark for throwing together quick promotional videos on my phone or laptop, and Trello for project management and editorial/content scheduling.
What do you love most about what you do? What do you dislike about it?
I adore working with people, watching them grow and transform and getting to know all about them.
When you work with a great client, you can come away from coaching session feeling so energised and inspired that you feel like you should be paying them! Also it’s a role where I’m constantly learning and that is very satisfying for me.
To be honest the only thing I don’t really like about it is that the day-to-day running of the business (or any business) can get a bit boring and monotonous for me, especially when it comes to tasks like bookkeeping, tax returns and admin. Even though I can outsource those things, I still like to know what’s going on and ensure that I know how to do everything in my business myself as well.
Oh and something I’ve really gone off recently is social media, which is a massive part of my marketing so that’s not ideal.
What advice would you give to someone who was unsure about how to create or what to create, or was unsure about certain aspects of setting up their own business?
My advice would be to get really, really clear on who you’re serving or who your customer is before even creating anything. The more you know what your audience needs, the more likely it is that your service or product will be a success. I know it can be tempting to go into a new project with all guns blazing and think that you’ll be able to wing it on creative genius alone, but there is a lot to be said for proper planning and having a strategy in place.
The other thing I would say is seek support. There are some amazing communities out there for business owners and creatives and the majority of people are really friendly and helpful. Even though I work alone for most of what I do, I have a whole bunch of other business owners in all different fields that I turn to for help and support regularly.
The power of community and expanding your network cannot be overstated and can open up so many new opportunities to you that wouldn't be available if were always a lone ranger.
Do you have any quotes or a motto that you live your life by or think about often?
The two phrases that keeping me going when the going gets tough are: “This too shall pass” and “This or something better”.
My favourite books are strangely all kids books from my childhood, such as The Moomintrolls by Tove Janson and the Deptford Mice series by Robin Jarvis. Perhaps this is because I never read much fiction anymore and only tend to read to learn.
In terms of business, I don’t really have a favourite and am constantly consuming new material, but I have found the E-Myth Revisited by Michael. E. Gerber incredibly useful and insightful and I highly recommend it to all small business owners.