Hello and welcome to another incredible monday motivation Q&A. This week we are delighted to have Vicky Charles with us. Vicky is a single mum and a self employed copywriter and social media specialist based in Wiltshire. Aside from creating content for her clients, Vicky also runs workshops and hosts her own podcast and blog, singlemotherahoy.com too.
Hello Vicky, it’s fabulous to have you here, how are you today?
Hi, I’m great thanks! We’ve recently moved house and I finally feel like we’re settling into a good routine with my daughter going to school and my working from home.
Happy new home! It’s extremely important to have a place that you love living, especially when you work from home a lot of the time. Speaking of your run-from-home business, how different is it now from what you envisioned when you first started out?
Well, I didn’t really have a vision when I started out; I just had this idea that I wanted to work from home and be more flexible around my daughter – it didn’t really matter what I did! Now I feel like I’m more motivated than ever to do brilliant work for my clients and to grow my business. I even have a business plan. That’s something I’ve never had before!
It’s amazing how many women allow inspiration to take them when they have children. Your openness to what you could do has really paid off, and now that you do have a vision for your growing business, you’ve really accelerated – it’s inspiring. As a single mother and a passionate business owner, you must have a lot to juggle and keep on to of, what is your favourite way to get away and relax?
At our old flat I found it hard to switch off because our kitchen and living room were open plan, with my desk crammed into the corner, and I shared a room with my daughter, because her bedroom was too small to fit both her bed and her toys!
Our new home has a separate dining room and living room though, and the living room is kept as a quiet space with the door closed until my work is done for the day. I have an amazing “Escape” scented candle from one of my clients. It’s perfect for lighting in the evenings and really feeling like I’ve escaped from work and stress. My living room has become this haven of calm where I can really chill out – even with a pile of toys in the corner!
It sounds divine, and so important to make time and space for ourselves as we work on our big goals. What techniques do you use to keep yourself motivated and moving towards them?
I only get 5 hours per day to work while my daughter is at school, if I don’t want to end up playing catch up in the evenings while she’s in bed! I batch my work together so that I’m doing lots of the same sort of thing, and then I tell myself that when I’ve done this particular batch of work, or I’ve worked on this task for 45 minutes, I can take a 15-minute break. That fifteen minutes is usually spent either doing housework or preparing lunch, but I do find that I’m more motivated and productive if I allow myself that 15-minute break.
It sounds like you’ve got time management down to a tee, such an important skill. What other qualities do you consider to be important in business owners/entrepreneurs/business women?
An openness to helping each other. I think there’s this big idea that we’re all in competition, especially among women in business. The reality is that even if someone offers the exact same services as me, they do it in a different way and will appeal to different people who will be right for them and not a good fit for me.
If we can get over this idea of being each other’s competition, we can help each other, share best practises and ideas and we all benefit. Sometimes being in business feels like those times at school where the teacher gave you a test and everyone sat there with their arms very elaborately placed over their work so that nobody could see. I don’t think that serves anyone. As the saying goes: no man (or woman) is an island!
I completely agree with openness and collaboration amongst women in business. I treasure the support of our sisterhood – I can’t understand why anyone would want to do it all alone. Every one of my best ideas have come from working with others. It’s so important to have a network and it is through my network that I was inspired to specialise in creating designs for working women. Where do you go for inspiration?
YouTube! There’s always something there to inspire me, whether I’m looking for something to help me feel more positive, a TED talk to learn from or a video on a particular topic to help with my writing. I watch Brett Moran’s videos when I need to feel more positive and uplifted, and Lara Morgan when I need a metaphorical kick up the bum!
I agree! It’s amazing what a quick video can do to inspire. I really enjoy watching a ten minute video when I’m on the running machine at the gym – inspiring and passes the time! What is the one piece of advice you would give to yourself if you could go back in time to the beginning of your business/career?
Don’t wait for permission; nobody is going to give it to you, and nobody is going to randomly invite you to pitch to them! I spent ages thinking clients would come to me if they wanted my help, and not wanting to bother people by pitching to them! I’ve still got a long way to go but I’m definitely getting better at showing people how I can help them!
Love this Vicky, it is so true! And what’s the single best advice that someone else has given you?
I had a nervous breakdown in 2010 and a lady told me, “be kind to yourself.” I’ve tried to always remember that because I think we all – women especially – have a tendency to be really hard on ourselves. I’m a single parent and I’m self employed so there’s always this underlying feeling that I should be doing more. I have to remind myself that the saying about filling yourself up first is right – I need to take care of myself, or I can’t take care of my daughter or my clients.
Self neglect. I know you’re not alone with that one. And a lot of the times we have to ask ourselves why we are doing what we do if we’re not taking the time to enjoy the process and let ourselves benefit at the same time. Finally, what advice can you give for sustaining a successful business in an ever changing world?
Keep learning! I write for clients on a wide range of topics, so I’m always reading books, magazines and blogs in their particular niches so that I can write about their topics with a degree of authority. I also read a lot of business and self development content, and I’m training to be a mindfulness coach. I try to learn something new – however small – every day, and you’d be surprised how often the things I’ve learned for one particular part of my business end up benefiting me in other areas too.
Thank you so much Vicky for sharing your inspirational story with us! As a special thankyou to our readers, Vicky is offering 5 personalised tips for your social media accounts for just £30. Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org and quote this blog.
If you’d like to get in touch with Vicky and check out her services and inspirational podcasts then just follow the links below.
Remember to check back this Thursday when Vicky reveals her handbag essentials!
Have an inspirational day,