Venus Thames Valley

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Taylor : Entrepreneur, wellbeing guru & human whirlwind

Business lessons from a self-made millionaire

MEET THE DISRUPTORS Women making waves in traditional industries


The secrets of work life balance

Are you part of the freelance revolution? 1

Advice & Insight

Social media made simple Get results from advertising The legal lowdown on start-ups

US PL Tech ion -

Fash - Travel h Healt more! and

For days like these



D E E P E S T. D A R K E S T. D O R S E T. 3

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Fashion, tech & more ways to make your life easier


Your foolproof #socialmedia plan


The power of great advertising


The secrets of a successful business marriage

in this issue


The business success of Emma-Jane Taylor


The rise & rise of the female freelancer


Leading by example


Why the workplace should be a nicer place


Sir John Madejski on self-belief


Power dresser: Savile Row’s Phoebe Gormley


Fizzing with success: Amanda Thomson’s Skinny Champagne brainwave


A quick tip for de-stressing


The right way to dine al desko


Yes! You can achieve work-life balance


Glamping getaways for workaholics


Tara’s last word


Cut sugar. Drink better.

“ Basically a health food. “

“ A gift from god. “



“ The basic bitch drink. You know you want in, so don’t even try to pretend you’re too cool. “

“ Some genius has created skinny prosecco and we are eternally grateful. ”



Editor’s letter

CREDITS & CONTRIBUTORS Editorial (+44) 01202 559039

Welcome to the Thames Valley edition of Venus, the magazine aimed at women in business!

Editor-at-Large Tara Howard

One of the things I’ve noticed about successful women is that once they know they’ve got a good idea, they’ll go all out to make it happen. When Phoebe Gormley was told that women would never go for her high-end bespoke tailoring, she stuck to her guns (page 48), and when Amanda Thomson, the founder of Skinny Champagne, was branded “a handful” by a (male) industry insider, she just shrugged it off and kept working doggedly towards her goal (page 53). Both are now at the head of growing, thriving businesses – all because they believed in their idea.

Editor Andreina Cordani

Actually, I know how they feel. Eight years ago, I had a big idea, too – to create an awards programme to reward local businesswomen and deliver business and personal development as part of the package. I knew I was onto something special and worked like crazy to set up the very first Venus Awards in Dorset. Now Venus is a thriving organisation; the Awards are held in 10 different regions across the country and we’re still expanding every year. As my work with Venus went on, I became more and more passionate about supporting women in business and tackling the issues which affect us all – from the glass ceiling to the impossible conundrum of work-life balance. I also began to realise that, although there are countless business magazines out there – and even more women’s magazines – there didn’t seem to be one for businesswomen. I was looking for a magazine aimed at me – reflecting the highs and lows my friends and I faced in our day-to-day working lives, offering support, inspiration, advice and a bloody good read into the bargain. And if I couldn’t find one, I’d have to start one. Yet again, I’d had one of those ideas I just couldn’t let go of – and now you’re reading the result! So, whether you’re climbing the corporate ladder or running your own start-up from your kitchen table, there’ll be something here for you. We’ve got no-nonsense social media advice (page 19), advertising know-how (page 30) and a fascinating look at the power of female role models (page 41). Not to mention interviews with extraordinary women guaranteed to leave you feeling fired up and ready to succeed.

Art Director Sebastian Hall Sub Editor Katherine Bebo Contributors Dr Susan England Lilach Bullock Gavin Meikle Barbara Cox Rachel Stafler Jane Common Tiffany Sherlock Zelda De Hollander Advertising (+44) 01202 559039 Published by Venus Awards Ltd Printed by Stephens & George Print Group Distributed by Venus Awards Ltd Disclaimer: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form, stored in or re-introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the Venus Awards Ltd.

I hope you enjoy this issue of Venus magazine. If you want to give any feedback, or have any suggestions on what we should cover next, don’t hesitate to get in touch via the email address below – I can’t wait to hear from you. In the meantime – enjoy!

Tara Howard

Editor-At-Large Founder of the Venus Awards









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Your foolproof #socialmedia plan We can now connect with customers more directly than ever before, and it only takes a few simple tricks to get ahead of your competitors, says social media guru Lilach Bullock

First things first: what’s your strategy? One of the things I’ve often noticed with businesses using social media is that there is no planning behind their updates. You can just tell that they’re posting the requisite few updates a day, a few blog posts, a few shares and they’re done. But if you truly want to get results from social media, this is simply not enough. The best way to make sure you get everything right is to create a strategy before you start posting anything. Afterwards, start creating your plan: which social networks should you join? Who will manage each one of them? What types of updates should you post and how often? What hashtags should you be using in your updates?

Go where your audience is Ideally, you should try to keep up profiles on several social networks so as to reach as many people as possible, and to help you figure out which social network brings in the best results. That said, if you don’t have the resources to manage multiple social media profiles or you’re not getting results because you’re stretched too thin, it’s better to focus on fewer networks and hopefully get more results. If you’re

unsure which social platform is best for you, create profiles on multiple networks and use analytics to compare your results and figure out where you should be focusing your attention and resources.

Develop your brand voice As a business, it’s very important to stay true to your brand while on social media. Set guidelines as to what types of updates you should post and what your tone of voice should be – and make sure your team is made aware of them. It’s important that your social media profiles reflect your brand as sincerely as possible, including its brand voice.

Build a strong following When working on building your social media following, it’s important to remember that quality trumps quantity. While having lots and lots of followers looks good and makes you feel great about yourself, what

good does it do if that audience isn’t interested in your business or your social updates and aren’t taking action? Instead of focusing on getting as many followers as possible, try to find followers that share your interests and are active on the respective platform – this way, they are much more likely to engage with you, share your posts and click on your links; meaning, this is the way to get results. Fo r Tw i t t e r, u s e a t o o l l i k e Followerwonk to browse through bios and find the perfect users to follow.

Engage! The key to social media success is to engage as much as possible, with as many people as possible. Engaging is not just about sharing and retweeting posts, but rather actively starting and joining conversations with other users. Use a social media management tool like AgoraPulse to monitor conversations and perform keyword searches to find conversations that you can join in real time. This way, you will not only improve your engagement levels, but you will also improve your following, get more traffic and improve your brand exposure.


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Get the influencers on your side

Promote your own content

Social media influencers – people who have a strong following on social media – can really help boost your success as their audience cares about their opinions and views. Use a tool like BuzzSumo to research and identify influencers in your niche and start building a relationship with them by following them and engaging with them as much as possible. Once you’ve solidified these relationships and you start getting mentions and shares from them, it can help you reach more people, get more engagement, get more traffic and improve your brand awareness. The results can be amazing; but you will need to keep at it as it can take time to build strong relationships. You might have some influencers already following you on social media. Use a tool – the aforementioned AgoraPulse can help you with this – to identify any influencers that might be following you and start building a relationship with them. The fact that they’re already following you will make it much easier!

If you have a blog, use your social media profiles to promote your posts. Twitter is a particularly great platform for this, compared to, say, Facebook. Twitter users are always on the lookout for great new content, there aren’t any algorithms keeping them from seeing your posts and you can repost your links several times.

Get chatting Twitter Chats – conversations based around one unique hashtag – offer a great way to get better results from Twitter. In the beginning, start by joining relevant Twitter Chats in your niche and participate as much as possible. As you build up your profile and have a strong, engaged following, start your own regular Twitter Chats – this way, you improve engagement, you become more influential in your niche and possibly get more followers and traffic.


Know your rivals What are your competitors up to on social media? Take note of what they’re doing and use it to improve your own social media strategy and get better results. There are several things that you should look for, mostly to see what works for your competitors and what doesn’t. For example, what types of updates are they posting and which ones are getting the most/least engagement? Which social networks are they on and what kinds of results are they seeing from each one? What types of blog posts get the most shares?

Don’t rule out ads Whatever your goal – whether it is more engagement, more traffic, more followers, increased reach, etc. – social media ads can help you achieve it faster. Setting up ads on social media is generally very easy to do and can take minutes. Before creating an ad, think of what your goal is so that you can decide what type of ad is perfect for you. Then, decide who you want to reach – social networks generally have pretty good targeting, everything from V gender and age to favourite TV shows. ■

Meet @lilachbullock Lilach is on a one-woman mission to save the world from boring corporate web pages and deadly dull Twitter feeds. As a social media trainer, she helps companies convert tweets and posts into real sales and customer loyalty, and has been listed in Forbes as one of their Top 20 Women Social Media Influencers. Find out more about Lilach at @lilachbullock



“ To



SUCCEED you’ ve got to have

” PASSION Emma-Jane Taylor is a serial entrepreneur with a string of companies – she’s also an author, choreographer, personal trainer, newspaper columnist and TV presenter… oh, and a mother, too. So how on earth does she keep all those balls in the air? Emma-Jane, 44, from Henleyon-Thames explains…


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As you might expect of a successful to write a motivational book called businesswoman, Emma-Jane Taylor Don’t Hold Back, which comes out later never switches off – not totally. this summer. My life hasn’t always been Work is never far from her mind. easy but I wanted to share with others “I get a lot of my best ideas over the what I’ve learnt about succeeding summer holidays,” Emma-Jane says. through grit and determination.” “The downtime gives me Emma-Jane certainly has energy and often, with that, “I never wake up succeeded. She opened her inspiration. Last summer, thinking, ‘Oh God, first business – a mobile lying on the beach in hairdressing service – when it’s Monday!’” Mexico, I had an idea for she was just 19 and now owns a new disco exercise class with flashing and manages StageWorks, a performing lights and glow bands that we could run arts school for children aged 3-16, at NutritiousWorks. So, in my bikini on inspired by her own part-time career as my lounger, I created playlists for the a professional dancer and choreographer, classes. I also decided on that holiday and NutritiousWorks, which she opened in


2013 to bring all her fitness and well-being interests under one umbrella. She funded all her businesses herself, proclaiming proudly that she’s never borrowed money. “It’s all been down to hard work – seeing an opportunity and seizing it,” she says. “With NutritiousWorks, for example, I’d spent years building up a client base as a personal trainer so the business was a natural extension of that.” It might seem that, with her love of performance, she’s naturally confident but her faith in herself was hard won. “I suffered with low self-esteem when I was younger – I was quite vulnerable because of some childhood issues and at



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one stage I was partying every weekend to career ladder, she’s interested in clients. So she’s very involved. I love seeing block things out,” she says. “So building those following in her footsteps. how well-rounded she is – imbuing her with my confidence is something I’ve had to “If someone has passion, I can definitely confidence gives me a lot of satisfaction.” really work on. I first had counselling in work with them,” she says. “I’m so lucky Every Saturday lunchtime, Emmamy early twenties and I still see a therapist to have a great team behind me and every Jane switches off her laptop so she can occasionally now – not to pore over my Monday I send them an email thanking spend the weekend with Betty-Mae, past but to give me strength to keep moving them for their hard work and support. not turning it on again until Monday forward. I’m a big advocate of therapy People don’t thank each other enough morning. And she takes August off – everybody should have it. in business but sharing that every year to be with her daughter. Even though I have a great “People don’t positive message is important.” Holidays aside, Emma-Jane’s daily family and a solid friendship Of course, there’s another routine is punishing. She survives on four to thank each group, a total stranger can other enough feisty female in Emma-Jane’s five hours’ sleep a night – all she needs, she throw a different perspective life who inspires her – her eightsays, although she admits that she escapes in business” year-old daughter Betty-Mae. on your life and help you think to the spa every so often to rejuvenate. outside the box. Mental health always “Betty-Mae tells me that she wants “Sleep is important but I’m just one has to come first – if you’re mentally to be the boss of StageWorks one day of those people who doesn’t need that fit, then everything else will follow.” – she’s definitely my daughter,” Emmamuch,” she says. “Exercise keeps me In her mid-twenties, Emma-Jane Jane smiles. “She’s been to work with me mentally stimulated and, obviously, the so she knows all of my colleagues and right nutrition is vital – I make myself became focused on her physical health, too, qualifying and working as a personal trainer. And the first boss she had in that field, Linda Moseley, Succeed in Business: Emma-Jane’s Top Five Tips became her business role model. “I was terrified of Linda when I met “Don’t worry if things don’t turn out as planned – there’s always another way. My father gave me this piece of advice years ago and I remind myself of it daily.” her,” Emma-Jane laughs. “She was friendly but very, very professional. Her “Never be afraid to take risks – again, Dad taught me this and I now push my boundaries all attitude was ‘we’re here to do a job for the time. There’s a real energy in leaving our comfort zones occasionally.” our clients’ and she was totally focused “I always write my to-do list for the morning the night before – that way I can sleep easy on that. But, pretty quickly, my fear knowing everything is under control.” was replaced by respect. She taught me discipline and teamwork. Linda “Use social media – it’s been vital to the growth of my businesses. I’m on Facebook, and I are now good friends and I often Instagram and Twitter.” tell her how much she inspired me.” “Train, and gain qualifications at every opportunity – you might think you know it all but Just as Emma-Jane learnt from you don’t.” t h e w o m e n a b ove h e r o n t h e


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take half an hour for lunch, just to switch off, and eat fresh fish or chicken as a source of protein and lots of vegetables.” Emma-Jane’s latest venture, launched in 2016, is a project called OceanWorks Retreats, which offers clients mind, body and soul treatments at glamorous locations in the Mediterranean. “Running retreats had long been a dream of mine,” she says. “Our clients enjoy a balanced diet, fitness activities, holistic treatments and fun – then return to their lives fit and well, mentally and physically. I’ve just returned from hosting a retreat in Menorca and our clients lost 4lbs on average and went home determined to make lifestyle changes.” With so much going on, it’s no wonder that Emma-Jane rises each morning, raring to go. “I never wake up thinking, ‘Oh God, it’s Monday!’” she says. “I’m always so excited to crack on with the day ahead. Every week presents the prospect of something new – a different challenge. V I’m very lucky in that I love what I do.”■ For more information on Emma-Jane, visit Or for her businesses, visit, and @ejthementor Emma-Jane Taylor aka The Inspirational Mentor

By Jane Common

Emma-Jane’s CV 1989

Left school and trained as a hairdresser


Launched a mobile hairdressing business


Choreographed Me And My Girl at the Kenton Theatre in Henley-on-Thames


Launched E-Js Dance & Fitness, teaching tap and other dance styles to adults


Began working as a personal trainer, initially for a company and then independently


Opened StageWorks Performing Arts School


Launched NutritiousWorks, bringing all her fitness activities under one umbrella


Started as presenter of The WellBeing Show on That’s TV


Launched OceanWorks Retreats and ‘Emma-Jane Taylor aka The Inspirational Mentor’


So, you’ve got a great product or service to be proud of? Get out there and shout about it, says marketing expert Gavin Meikle Advertising is a vital part of your marketing mix. The old saying ‘build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door’ is only partially correct. If nobody knows about your amazing design and where they can buy it, you’ll spend many unhappy hours in your ‘Mousetrap Warehouse’ waiting in vain for the phone to ring. I know what you’re thinking: “I don’t need to advertise because I have a website.” But I’d urge you to think again. Your website is an essential part of your marketing but it will only work if people can find or visit your site. And, yes, you can build up traffic over time but, unless you’re a digital marketing genius it could take months for your site to start ranking for the search terms you want it to. Which leads us back to good old advertising – via Google, Bing, Facebook or Twitter – to drive users to your site. There are a few simple principles which, if followed rigorously and consistently, will ensure your advertising works more times than it fails. It’s not rocket science and it doesn’t have to cost the earth.


Just follow these few simple steps…

Step 1: Create Your Master Plan You’d be amazed at how many marketers and businesses overlook the need to create a cohesive marketing strategy, but it’s a very important aspect of a successful campaign. It allows you to organise and plan every step of the way ahead of time and profile your customers’ needs and wants so you can maximise your results. If you don’t have a clear, well-thought-through marketing strategy, you’re not ready to start.

Step 2: Decide Where You Are Going To Advertise Once you know your business goals, your target customer personas and your key messages, it should help you choose the best places to advertise. There are many

different advertising opportunities out there, each with a different price point aimed at a different audience. All you have to do is decide which ones to use. Please don’t rely purely on price! There is absolutely no point in advertising in a place where your target customers don’t go, just because it is cheap (or expensive!). See above for some suggestions – highlight the ones you think might work for you.

Step 3: Create Your Advert Anyone can write a bad advert – it takes skill to write a good one, which is why the creatives in Mad Men got paid so much. Well-written ad copy can generate thousands – if not millions – in revenue, so it’s worth hiring a copywriter. If you really don’t have the budget for one, just remember to focus on what makes you different from the crowd. Make sure you don’t copy your rivals’ ads, it won’t differentiate you. Instead, follow this four-step formula:



Which advertising option is right for you? Print


• Interrupt – Write a compelling headline, grab the readers’ attention by reminding them of a problem that matters to them which your product or service can solve. The purpose of the headline isn’t to sell your product, it’s to get them to read on!

that drive visitors to an online ‘property’ can be easily measured, and ones which drive people to call, visit or email you require you or your staff to log those enquiries and their triggers, manually via a spreadsheet or using a CRM (customer relationship management) system. You might want to call in a specialist to help you keep track of things here.

Local newspapers Local community TV School newsletters Regional TV Trade publications In-store TV screens Regional newspapers Local Radio Theatre programmes Local directories Parish magazines Business show programmes On your car/van On local taxis Bus advertising Billboards Pop-up banners Sports-ground advertising Adverts in London Underground trains

• Engage – Create a strong subhead that hints at how you can solve their problem. • Educate – Explain briefly what the consumer can expect to get. • Offer – Include a call to action; tell them what you want them to do next. Many people go for the jugular by asking the prospect to call, email or buy now. Well-designed adverts ask for a smaller commitment such as clicking on a web link. This approach has been shown to have a much higher conversion rate.

Step 4: Measure The Results The method you use to measure the results will, of course, depend on the nature of your ad campaign. Adverts

Advertising effectiveness metrics include: • Comparing sales before, during and after your advertising campaign (there may be a lag period depending on the nature of the product, service or market that you’re advertising). • Linking your advert to a specific landing page designed only for that ad, which isn’t accessible through your website menu. Then, using Google Search Console to measure the traffic to that page before, during and after the campaign. • C o u n t i n g c u s t o m e r fo o t f a l l (if you are a retail business).


Your website YouTube Local authority websites Google AdWords Bing adverts Facebook adverts Instagram advertising Online directories such as “The best of…”

• Asking customers how they heard about you and keeping track of the answers. Include a coupon code in the advert which people have to quote to get the offer. Use a different code for each advert so that you can compare the relative effectiveness of various media. • Assigning a dedicated telephone number to your ad that automatically redirects calls to your usual number.

Step 5: Optimise Your Campaigns Once you have hard, objective data, you can assess the relative value of the different forms of advertising, decide which ones to keep or drop, and use the data to fine-tune ads that work for you. This will boost their effectiveness and ensure that each campaign sparks interest V and excitement about your company.■ Gavin Meikle is a hands-on digital marketer, coach and content creator, specialising in presentation skills, sales and influencing skills. @gavinmeikle






The rise & rise of the female

freelancer Growing numbers of women are working for themselves, and changing the way we all do business in the process


guarantee the long-ter m security women are still usually the ones who here’s a quiet revolution taking place in the which made it so appealing. stay home when the children are sick, or working world, a slow Add to that the number of young juggle childcare during school holidays). transformation which will women graduating or leaving school For journalist Victoria Lambert, eventually change the way without jobs to go to – working this way offered an There are the country’s economy works for good – or facing years of lowopportunity to shake things and women are the driving force behind it. paid internships to prove up a little. “It gave me a more Between 2008 and 2016, the number their worth – and it’s easy great chance to diversify,” female freelancers she says. “I remember of female freelancers increased by 55 to see why millennials than there were reading that the best time per cent compared to a 36 per cent are driving the increase, growth in males. In the same time with a 66 per cent rise in to start a business is in a in 8 period, according to a study by IPSE, an freelancers aged 26-29. recession, so decided to organisation that helps freelancers and But while the financial crisis may have start a company which appealed to people the self-employed, the number of mothers been the push, there’s more to it than like me who have portfolio lives and are working this way increased by 79 per cent. that. As the economy recovers, people eager to try new skills.” In addition to Yup, a nearly eighty per cent jump. are still sticking with the freelance life her writing work, Victoria started Miss Of course, you don’t have to – another IPSE survey found Dashwood’s Register, an online service look hard to find out why this Over 2/3 say that only two per cent were linking self-employed professionals looking change is happening now – they are less actively seeking employment. for media coverage with journalists. “I 2008 is when the credit crunch stressed by For working mothers, it’s easy to like the way the daily needs of a startup began to bite, and redundancies their job see the appeal. When you have fill the gaps in my other work,” she says. forced thousands of women a family, it’s priceless to be able Luckily, the Great Freelance Revolution into the gig economy. Since then, to plan your work more flexibly around came at a time when technology was the job market has totally changed the commitments that young children connecting us all, making it easy for and the workplace can no longer bring (and, yes, for better or worse, certain professions to be done from home,

55% 200


“That’s a pretty big change to the working world – and women are leading the way”

our local coffee shop and even (if we’re always just about managed to pull it Although still a minority, sole traders desperate) a sticky table in the corner off. Looking back, it’s the best thing I could have a growing impact on business – last of a soft-play centre. have done.” And freelancers year IPSE estimated Britain’s two million Because that’s the flip are less likely to be stressed freelancers contributed £119 billion to side of freelancing – the the amount that freelancers – a recent survey by the economy, a rise of £10 billion on the flexibility which allows contribute to the economy Citizens Advice revealed previous year. If the trend continues at this f re e l a n c e r s t o d ro p that 67 per cent of selfrate, the number of self-employed people everything for a school play means they also employed people are only occasionally could outstrip the number of public-sector find themselves picking up their laptops or never stressed by their workload workers before the end of this decade. at 11pm, conducting conference calls in and are more likely to report feeling That’s a pretty big change to the working V their car or – in the case of one especially satisfied with their work than employees. world – and women are leading the way. ■ dedicated woman we spoke to – meeting a deadline on the same day she gave birth. There are other catches, too – insecure income, lack of pensions and perks, hours spent chasing late payers and missing out on human interaction. Not to mention • Apps like Toggl and HoursTracker help professionals who the creeping self-doubt you feel as you charge by the hour to keep track of their work and bill accurately. negotiate a major deal while sitting at your kitchen table, surrounded by the • Todoist allows users to access their to-do list from multiple remains of that morning’s breakfast. devices, as well as providing space for teams working remotely But when it works, it really pays off. “I to collaborate. was encouraged to take the plunge by my then-boyfriend,” says writer Elly Earls. • Similarly, Slack creates an environment where teams can “Since then I’ve lived in Thailand, Bali, swap messages, share documents and chat without being in a brief stint back in the UK and the same office. now Ibiza. Meeting deadlines in Bali was an adventure – I never knew if the electricity • And if you’re missing those watercooler moments when you was going to go off, whether the Skype chat to colleagues, you’re bound to find a group of like-minded line would hold up and I had to attempt professionals on Facebook (if not, set one up yourself!). These to be professional on calls with CEOs groups can be vital for networking and keeping you sane. and celebrities with absolute carnage going on in the background! Somehow, I

£119 billion:

By Dr Susan England and Andreina Cordani

How freelancers make it work



“Believe in your business

120 per cent

– if not more” Over 40 years in business has taught Sir John Madejski a thing or two – here he shares his start-up wisdom with us… In the mid 1970s, John Madejski used a mere £2,000 to start a sales magazine which later became known as Auto Trader, the bible for the second-hand car market. Two decades later, he sold the company for £160m (of which he received two-thirds) which, as he says himself, “ain’t bad going.” He went on to rescue Reading Football Club from receivership and start successful Auto Trader offshoots around the world. He is passionate about investing the money he’s made into his local community in Reading. As you can imagine, he has a fair bit of expertise to share…

What advice would you give someone starting a business? The most important thing is enthusiasm – you’ve got to make sure that you


totally believe in your business 120 per cent, if not more. You’ve got to devote yourself to the cause and you’ve got to see it through, come thick or thin. It’s not for the fainthearted, that’s for sure. And not everybody is an entrepreneur – you’ve either got it or you haven’t. Secondly, you have to make sure, in my humble experience, to start off in a modest way. Don’t start reaching for the stars – walk before you can run, avoid excessive borrowing at the beginning, try to do it on a shoestring as much as you possibly can. Develop the business in an orderly way that suits you and that you can cope with. Nothing is wrong with starting off small and growing big. With Auto Trader, it was just like going to hell and back for the first years,




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but then we suddenly realised that it was established and we could expand slowly. We had a chance to open in the North West, then developed a partnership with the Guardian Media Group – you have to seize opportunities when they arise, but cautiously.

If money is a barrier, what advice would you offer to entrepreneurs starting out with very little? You’ve got to seek financial advice and, if you have to, borrow money… but it’s something that I really didn’t want to do personally. It wasn’t until very much later in life that I started borrowing, and that was when banks were throwing money about like drunken sailors in the early 2000s, which created a lot of havoc throughout the economy. I think you should grow at your own level. Be wary of borrowing and don’t take on more than you can actually deal with.

What other advice would you offer entrepreneurs?

By Tiffany Sherlock

Anticipate every conceivable possibility that may or may not happen. Seek good advice if you can – whether you take it or not is entirely up to you. The people who’ll give you the best advice are probably the ones who will be more objective about the whole thing. And enthusiasm will take you everywhere – it’s very infectious.

think a lot of the time women are far better at running organisations than men – they don’t seem to have the same ego problems as men do, which is quite helpful. They seem to have an ability for empathy and in-depth understanding of the human being, if you will. Although one has to be very careful here because one can’t possibly be sexist in this day and age!

Which women have been an inspiration to you? My mother was certainly inspirational – her ability, her pride, her devotion. I’ve also been inspired by my two daughters. They’re both pursuing their own careers in London – Camilla in media and Helen in property – and I’m very proud of both of them. They have helped me and I often use them as a sounding board for a lot of issues in life. Certainly in business they’re very bright – I’ve got total admiration for them. Also, I’m just reading a book about Dame Stephanie Shirley. What an incredibly inspirational lady she is. She came over here in World War II, then set up a computer business and became incredibly wealthy. Being the kind of person she is, she then donated most of it to good causes, which I think is what it’s all about. If you are fortunate enough to make money, I think it’s only right and proper that you use that money in an inspiring way to help others.

Have the opportunities for women improved since you started out in business?

Do you think it’s important to reward success with events and prizes such as the Venus Awards?

It was far more difficult for women back in the 1960s and before. I think that’s all basically dissipated now and women find their own level. Let’s face it – the prime minister’s a woman, you’ve got Merkel in Germany doing a great job, you’ve got the Queen… I mean, there are so many inspirational women that are around now. There are a lot of women now doing very, very important tasks in life. I

I do think these Venus awards are very, very positive and inspirational. There are a lot of people out there who run their own business with nobody to turn to, and something like the Venus Awards enables people to get some credit from their peers. That’s very important because when you’re at the top of the heap, it’s difficult getting encouragement because V it’s a lonely place – it’s tough at the top! ■

The lowdown Born Robert John Hurst in 1941, he spent some of his early years in a children’s home until his mother’s marriage to Polish airman-turnedbusinessman Zygmunt Madejski. In 1976, young John launched Thames Valley Trader – which then became Auto Trader and spread throughout the country. He sold the business in 1998. Over the years, Sir John has invested millions in reviving Reading, including bringing Reading Football Club back from bankruptcy, relaunching the local radio station Jack FM and funding the local school, now known as John Madejski Academy. Sir John has two grown-up daughters but never married.





Leading by example Female role models and mentors have never been more important to business success, and here’s why…


dvice books are full of tips for business people looking for success. Some are more helpful than others, but one that has been proven over and over is the value of role models and mentors, especially for women in business. “There is no doubt that female role models make a huge difference,” says Allyson Zimmermann, executive director at Catalyst Europe, a non-profit working to expand opportunities for women in business. “Companies send a very strong message to the rest of the organisation when they appoint women into senior roles. Our work has demonstrated that businesses which have appointed female board directors are more likely to increase their numbers of female corporate officers over a subsequent five-year period.” According to her organisation’s research, almost two-thirds of women say a lack of visible female role models is an obstacle to their career advancement. “There are two factors in play here,” says Zimmermann. “Firstly, the presence of female role models demonstrates to other female talent in the business that women can fulfil their career ambitions,





and secondly, we know that women in leadership roles (compared to men in the same positions) are more likely to recognise and develop other talented females.” Mentoring hit the mainstream in 2013 thanks to Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In. The Facebook and former Google executive stressed the need for women to champion other women. She also advocated Lean In Circles, small groups of eight to 10 women who meet regularly to learn and grow together. There are now 33,000 Circles in 150 countries around the world, with giving these groups tools and resources to guide them. Eighty-five per cent of women who are in a Lean In Circle credit it with a positive change in their life. “Mentorship and sponsorship are key drivers of success,” said Sandberg in her Mentorship Matters video. “These personal connections lead to opportunities and promotions that are crucial for career development.” Whether it’s a formal mentor or a more informal peer relationship, these connections both help women see future possibilities and encourage them to apply for new roles. Charity communications and fundraising executive Mandy Johnson credits a peer relationship for leading her into her new role as CEO of the Small Charities Coalition, which has over 7,000 members around the UK. “Nearly a year ago, I was talking to Zoe Amar about my next role and she told me to stop doing myself a disservice and advised that my next role should be as a charity CEO,” says Johnson. “I was flattered but thought it was a ridiculous suggestion. Me… a CEO? While I solidly believe that women make excellent leaders, I needed strong, female role models in my life to give me the confidence to go for it. Her constant belief in me, combined with seeing what she achieves every day, really helped. I wouldn’t have even applied for the role without the support and positive examples set by the women in my life.” Amar, the Director of Zoe Amar Communications, also knows a thing or two about the value of mentors. She credits her mentor, Alex O’Dwyer, the “I needed strong, former director of female role models communications at Scope, with giving her in my life to give encouragement me the confidence the to set up her to go for it” business, which helps



charities with their digital, social media and marketing strategies. “Alex pushed me to be the best that I could be and I remember her advice every day. I would not have had the guts to set up my business without her,” says Amar, who runs a team of six women and also acts as a formal mentor and peer supporter. “One of the aims of my business has been to support other women. When I started my business, I was keen to provide opportunities to women who are coming back to the workplace after having children or who are juggling other commitments. I wanted to create a different kind of agency, where women have challenging work and we support them around other commitments in their life. With two small children, I need to work in that environment, too.” Although the numbers of visible female role models in business are rising, there is still a lot of work to be done. Less than a quarter of FTSE 100 boardroom recruits in March 2016 were women, the lowest level since 2011, according to the Female FTSE Board Report. “Sponsoring should not fall exclusively to senior women. It should be led by the many men who are chairmen and CEOs,” the report recommended. “I had mentors when I started out and still do today,” says Joanna Abeyie, diversity champion and mentor. “You never stop learning, or needing support and guidance.”

MENTOR MATCHMAKING How to find one, and how to make the relationship count

• A mentor works best when it’s someone who you have a connection with already, as well as a common interest. Be specific with what you want to get out of the relationship and make those goals known so you are on the same page. • Once you find a mentor, be respectful of their advice and report back to them with progress or challenges you may be facing.

By Rachel Stafler

• Come to your meetings well-prepared and with specific areas that you’d like help with. Most importantly, be gracious and thankful for their help. • If you like the idea of collaborating with several women at a time, then a Lean In Circle could be worth considering, and there’s a wealth of information on

And if you don’t see the network you need… set one up! Joanna Abeyie is the managing director of creative talent recruitment agency Hyden Talent, and founded the MagNet media mentoring scheme when she was 21. “When I arrived on my Journalism Masters course at City University, it was predominantly filled with white, middleclass students and I thought it was a shame that there wasn’t a more diverse mix. At the time, the course was £8,000 and I knew that this fee eliminated so many from the application process. “Reflecting on all the work experience I’d had since I was 16, I remembered that most of the newspapers and consumer women’s magazines I’d worked on didn’t have anyone from an ethnic-minority background and very few people identified as coming from a working-class background.” Joanna hit on the idea of a mentoring scheme for diverse talent and approached Loraine Davies, director of the Periodicals Training Council, and Nicholas Brett, deputy managing director of BBC magazines, with the idea. “I knew that for the industry to take my aims seriously, I had to connect them with the best talent I could find.” They were convinced – as were several other major publishing companies – and the scheme led to 150 people finding full-time work. “It will always be one of my proudest achievements. I received countless emails of thanks and gratitude. One lady told me that she’d never had anyone believe in her in the way that I did, and that the opportunities and encouragement the mentor had given her had changed her life. “The scheme was run entirely by volunteers, including me, and made no money whatsoever, but our impact V as a collective was priceless.” ■


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So, do

NICE GIRLS get the corner office?

According to business experts, women need to toughen up to succeed in the workplace. Journalist and media consultant Andreina Cordani tells them – politely – to get stuffed I was brought up to be nice. I know, light. I started to realise that niceness what were my parents thinking? Didn’t had hampered my whole career. they know that nice people finish last and Without it, I’d have shoved myself that if you wanted to succeed in life you into the limelight; written a few have to kick ass? Didn’t they know that attention-grabbing tweets, ruffled a nice would eventually become a byword few feathers and got more promotions. for ‘boring,’ ‘pedestrian’ and ‘risk-averse’? Nice has ruined me. Screw nice. No, they didn’t. They weren’t thinking Except… It’s the subtitle of Frankel’s about my future career success, net income book that bothers me: 101 Unconscious and social media profile. They just wanted Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage to raise a kid who was a decent human Their Careers. Oh, that’s right – silly being and knew how to behave in public. little women making mistakes again. Now, of course we know That huge, colossal howler of “Niceness that niceness is an insidious being ourselves and expecting has helped poison that destroys careers – everyone to respect that. especially if you are a woman. The system is set up by men, my career Yes, many of us are guilty for men, and yet we’re the in countless of niceness. We try to solve ones who are told to police our ways” problems that aren’t our own; emails, our actions and thoughts, we yield the floor to others when they to become someone different in order to interject in meetings; we share too much reach our goals. To be more like men. and apologise too often. According But niceness has helped my career to Lois P. Frankel’s Nice Girls Don’t Get too, in countless ways. I’ve given legThe Corner Office, we’re our own worst ups to talented interns and tried, mostly, enemies, especially when niceness to be a pleasant, approachable boss slides all to easily into self-deprecating. – which means I now have a bunch of Sorry to disturb… It’s only little me… ex-employees (aka friends) who think I hope you don’t mind me asking but… of me as a decent person… and who Former Google exec and entrepreneur are now in a position to give me work. Ellen Petry Leanse first noticed that And as for my job itself: a huge part women often use the word ‘just’ in their of working in the media is about getting business communications, and that people to talk, to feel comfortable with it made them look less assertive. Her you and trust you. That’s when the word LinkedIn post on the subject went viral ‘just’ becomes powerful. Just one more last year, causing thousands – me included question… Just asking… Sorry, I know this – to look at our emails in a whole new is hard for you but could you just tell me…

It’s not just the media, either. Across the country, millions of women are succeeding in their careers by exercising empathy, caring about what they do and not being afraid to show it. Some of them are undervalued and underpaid, but some really do get the corner office. And when the email goes round announcing their promotion, everyone sighs with relief that the job didn’t go to an over-assertive arse. The trick is to draw the line between nice and pushover. To treat people as human beings who need positive motivation one day and a kick up the bum the next. To know what you want and communicate it honestly but politely. The trick is not to change who you are for some stupid job V title. Whatever you do, ‘just’ be yourself. ■ @AndreinaCordani



Dresser Tailor and businesswoman Phoebe Gormley is breaking the glass ceiling in that great bastion of male tradition, Savile Row – and empowering women along the way


hink of Savile Row and an image of older men getting fitted for grey or navy suits springs to mind. For centuries, the street was strictly men-only – from the majority of tailors and cutters to the customers themselves. But young tailor Phoebe Gormley is one of the women helping to break down that perception. Her shop, Gormley & Gamble, offers a selection of made-to-measure clothes from suits to silk pyjamas – designed by women for women. “We give our clients


a curated menu of options,” says Phoebe, who, at 23, is also one of the youngest tailors on the Row. “When a customer comes in, I like to get to know her, her daily routine and how she wants to be perceived. I act as a stylist to that person.” Phoebe was drawn to tailoring as a child, growing up in a small village with little more than three churches and a fabric store. “If you weren’t into religion, there wasn’t much else to do,” she says. She started sewing at the age of seven and, as a teen, cut and reworked one of her father’s old suits for herself. When




a family friend suggested she work on Savile Row, she sent off a few letters and ended up interning there for the next five summers. “Waist-deep” in London’s clothing business, she made contacts, learned valuable skills, and witnessed the ins and outs of running a company. After a year studying at Nottingham Trent University, she decided to take a gamble and use her next year’s £9,000 tuition fees to start her own company instead. She put together a business plan based on feedback from industry contacts – but as she prepared for launch

some of those contacts backtracked, 2014 as the first tailor for women’s madesaying there was no market for women’s to-measure garments on Savile Row. made-to-measure fashion, that women “More than being a woman, my age were “too hard to please” has been a hurdle,” says and more interested in Phoebe, whose staff of “As a teen, “fast fashion poly-blend” four is all-female. “Madeshe reworked to-measure clothing is and not timeless pieces. Any woman who has ever about men, heritage and one of her struggled to find decent workskills that are passed down, father’s suits and I am very young for or occasion-wear will know that’s not true, and Phoebe’s this industry. That I am for herself” instincts told her not to give female has actually helped up. She found new suppliers who believed me in a number of ways – I am a in her vision and the business launched in woman making things for women,


By Rachel Stafler


which has led to many clients to be in control of their lives – not wanting to choose us.” realising that it makes you much less in Jayne-Anne Gadhia, CEO of Virgin control! You need so much determination, Money, was one of the first clients resilience and drive to keep going day after to choose Gormley, day. Be prepared to lose buying 12 items and “You need so much all holidays, never switch setting up a direct debit off, never stop working, determination, for a jacket-and-dress and worry about the pay combination every resilience and drive cheques of people twice month. Phoebe now your age. It’s not easy but to keep going” V makes clothes for a wide it’s worth it.” ■ variety of customers Find out more about Phoebe at – from businesswomen to princesses – @Gormley_Gamble seeing between five and 10 clients a week. @gormleyandgamble “When a woman comes in to try on a piece, we often have tears in the dressing LEFT: White fullroom,” she says. “After years of wearing length coat with clothing that never really fits, they are so gold buttons happy with the way their new piece looks, telling us that it makes them feel so good about themselves. That is the most satisfying feeling in the world.” Around 50 per cent of the BELOW: Beige jacket clothing she makes is workwear, with silk floral-print lining with 25 per cent occasion wear and the final 25 per cent is for women who are stretching themselves to buy one or two pieces that fit perfectly. “We have a menu of 10 jackets, but often women will come in asking for a particular style and we can then make something unique for them.” Two and a half years after launching, Phoebe’s business is flourishing. She’s been named one of Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30, as well as Young Star at the Women of the Future Awards 2015, Entrepreneurial Spark at the Great British Young Entrepreneur Awards, and featured in Management Today’s prestigious 35 Under 35 list. She counts some of the most influential women in fashion as mentors, including Meg Lustman, CEO of Hobbs, who read an article about her and got in touch. They now meet once a month for breakfast, with Lustman offering her advice on running a business, fashion and how to keep some semblance of a work-life balance. Next spring, Phoebe will launch her first collaboration, with Donna Ida Denim, offering jackets in short, medium and long sizes, mimicking the way men’s jackets are currently sold. The idea came out of conversations with CEO Donna Ida Thornton, another of Phoebe’s mentors. “The reason you start your own business is because you find something you love that no one else is doing,” she says. “Most people want to start a business



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success Bubbly that’s low in calories but still great quality? What’s not to like! We meet Amanda Thomson, the brains behind Skinny Champagne…


ometimes sexism in business is a hidden, secretive thing, hard to see and hard to prove. Other times it just stares you right in the face. And for Amanda Thomson, a woman setting up a champagne brand in the male-dominated drinks industry, it was pretty hard to avoid. Like the time when, at a pitch meeting with an industry insider, she accidentally caught sight of an email she wasn’t supposed to see. “It said something like: ‘She’s clearly going to be massively successful but what a handful! Thank goodness she’s got her husband behind

her’,” Amanda recalls. “Ironically, my chances to drink champagne – on the red husband was more offended than I carpet at Cannes or at premieres – and was. I think as women we become fairly as time passed she became more of a immune to these things. When I first connoisseur. “I was raised in a vegetarian, came out with the idea I think I was no-sugar household and because of that shot down on a daily basis.” I started to think about what “Nobody had To Amanda, though, every went into wine. I discovered launched a bit of negative feedback that sugar and additives are brand that served as fuel to push her often put in. I couldn’t find was all about forward, because she knew she stuff to drink that I knew I transparency” was onto a good idea – selling could trust, and I couldn’t high-quality, low-sugar, organic fizz, quite believe that nobody had launched brilliantly branded as Skinny Champagne. a brand that was all about transparency.” In her previous career as a BBC arts The thought nagged at Amanda correspondent, Amanda had plenty of so much that, in 2010, she and her


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By Andreina Cordani

husband, Ian, moved to Paris with their two children so Amanda could gain a Diploma in Wine at the famous Le Cordon Bleu school. While at a tasting there, she met champagne maker Alexandre Penet, whose bubbly was utterly delicious but who refined the taste by adding reserve wines from his family’s cellar rather than a sugar mix. “It was a light-bulb moment. It came to me that this could be my game-changing product.” The idea for Skinny Champagne was born. Now all she had to do was create it… With no business experience, Amanda tackled the challenge by asking lots and lots of questions. “It was a bit like speed dating – I just took meeting after meeting,” she says. Amanda started to reach out to potential mentors and investors on Twitter, LinkedIn and any social media, just requesting a 50-minute meeting. “What was the worst that can happen? If you’re afraid of people saying no to you, you’re not ready to start a business! “I quickly worked out that I didn’t want venture capital money and I didn’t want crowdfunding as I didn’t want the idea to go public in that way. In the end, I took a small amount of money from some very smart investors who now act as my business ‘phone a friend’ if I need them. I ended up with the right people and the right money, but it was a really tough, tough process.” Finally, in 2014, Thomson & Scott Skinny Champagne was ready to launch. “Holding a bottle in my hand that first time was pretty crazy,” she says. With the brand aimed squarely at a young, clean-eating generation, she soon found herself supplying to Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Fenwick, as well as Amazon. And with the business firmly established in the UK, her next mission is to crack America. “We’ve just sent our second 40ft shipping container out, which is a massive high. I’m really excited about the US.” But what excites her even more is the idea of supporting other female entrepreneurs starting out, sharing her experience and her energy. “I hope I get a chance to inspire the next generation and promote more women V in my company as the board grows.” ■


“If you’re afraid of people saying no to you, you’re not ready to start a business!”

Find out more about Thomson & Scott Skinny Prosecco and Skinny Champagne at @skinnychamp @skinnychampagne





The secrets of a successful BUSINESS MARRIAGE

If you’re dreaming of starting up a business with your husband or partner, how do you ensure that it’s a success while keeping your relationship on track? Solicitor Teresa J Payne gives her insights...


any of us have been there: relaxing on a sunlounger thousands of miles away from home, all seems right with the world and the conversation with your other half turns to that business idea you know would make you both millions. Before you know it, you’re drawing up a business plan at dinner and emailing your boss to hand in your notice. But no matter how secure your partner ship is in life, it’s important to do things right when setting up together in business.

Don’t shy away from legal talk

It’s the same as having a conversation with any business partner. Set a time and place to discuss the legalities and make sure you have an agenda. Take minutes, too! If you are in a business start-up, it may be more appropriate to take legal advice jointly, but if one party is joining an established business, consider taking separate legal advice. It’s vital to understand the difference between being sole traders working together and a limited company. A limited company has its own legal Decide who owns what identity so, as a shareholder, your from the get-go liability is limited to the amount that you have invested in the capital of the Whether you go into business with your business or any additional sums that spouse, a partner, or any other person, you may have personally guaranteed. the legal position is the same. It must be As a sole trader and partnership, there decided who will own the assets which is little distinction between you and the make up the business at the outset. business. Any business debts become For example, it is possible your debts and your personal “Seek advice assets – including your for an individual spouse or non-married partner to from day one” house – are not protected. own assets in a business, You should also bear in either as a shareholder or member of a mind that you may be liable for the partnership. It is also possible for business debts and obligations of your business assets to be owned by a limited company partner. Alternatively, you can operate as opposed to an individual person, in as a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), which case those assets are the property which would afford you more protection. of the company, which is treated in law as being a legal entity in its own right. Make sure your home You should seek advice from day setup is secure one as to what would happen to the assets if you were to split up with Talk about your domestic finances your partner and decide on the and have an emergency fund to ease best course of action from there.

the pressure when cash is tight, as it frequently is in a new business. The last thing you want is family bills, such as the mortgage, not being paid. Take time to understand each other’s risk-taking levels, too. If one of you is risk-averse and the other more gung-ho, it could put a real strain on the relationship. Also, agree how you will cover holidays. Unless things have taken a turn for the worse in the relationship, most couples want to holiday together!

Know your rights in case things go wrong It’s not something you’ll want to think about but the reality is, if the relationship does end in divorce, life can get complicated. The business will form part of your joint assets, as will any other property, shares or investments. If this happens, try to stand back and take the emotion out of the process if at all possible. Some couples can continue working together postdivorce but this is tough. Others accept that one party will retain the business and buy the other’s share. Finally, if you are heading for the divorce court, do take advice from an experienced family solicitor before you try to negotiate a settlement, and certainly V before you reach any agreement. ■ Teresa J Payne is a solicitor and owner of the law firm, Parfitt Cresswell and Director of legal compliance software company Compliance Manager. She is also a certified business coach and co-author of The Good Divorce Guide. 0800 999 4437


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The right way to dineal desko


Yes, we know that eating lunch at our desks is bad for us, but nearly a quarter of us do it all the same. Nutritionist Barbara Cox shows us how to do it right…




Chew slooowwwly

Many people eat as if they’re in a race to get the food in their stomach as fast as they can! They shovel the food into their mouth, chew for a few seconds and then swallow. What they don’t realise is that the process of chewing is actually a vitally important first stage in digestion – due to an enzyme in our saliva. Slow down and chew for longer and you should see an improvement in your digestion.




Find out more about Barbara at

Keep hydrated Offices with air-conditioning systems can be quite dry, so make sure you’ve got a plentiful supply of water. Your brain is at least 85 per cent water and dehydration can be distracting.

Beware of caffeine o’clock

Coffee, tea, energy drinks and some soft drinks are relatively harmless in small quantities. However, too many can cause dehydration and caffeine overload, leading to sleepless nights and underperformance the next day.

Switch off autopilot Commonly, when we eat at our desks, we’re not focusing on our food but on our work instead. This habit can lead to poor portion control, weight gain and digestive problems.

BUT... Don’t drink & eat


If you’re having a meal or a snack, avoid the temptation to drink anything with it. Your digestive juices are trying their hardest to break down your food, so the last thing they need is for you to start diluting them, even if it’s with a glass of pure spring water!

Eat at regular intervals

Skipping meals can cause drops in your blood-sugar levels that could eventually lead to dizzy spells and lack of concentration, which will disrupt your working day. Make sure you go to work after a good breakfast, don’t skip lunch and don’t eat dinner too late or you won’t enjoy a good night’s rest!

Steer clear of the office biscuits

If you feel the need to snack between meals, first have a glass of water – people often mistake thirst for hunger. If you do need a bite to eat, go for something like fruit or a cereal bar that’s free from additives. Junk food doesn’t give you the prolonged energy flow you need to get through a busy day – after an initial energy rush, sugary food often leads to a drop in blood-sugar levels, causing the jitters, sugar cravings, a lack of concentration and lethargy.


Yes, you CAN

get worklife balance right Keeping everything running smoothly at work and home is all about mindset, writes Rachel Stafler Work-life balance. It’s what everyone director of the Leicester-based Work wants but no one seems to have. In Life Balance Centre. “Yes, but you can’t our busy and rushed world, work has a necessarily have it all at the same time. way of creeping up on even the most “Life goes in phases. As you go mindful of us. But finding your ideal through those phases, your priorities work-life balance isn’t as can change. Typically, that can “We get difficult as you may believe. mean when you’re younger, It won’t involve massively addicted to you’re career and socially rearranging your schedule or being busy” focused. Then as you get changing your lifestyle. What it older, you’re typically more will involve is thought and making small relationship and then family focused. changes to the way you think and act. Then life changes again when kids are “The most frequent question I get grown. There’s a flow to the demands asked is: ‘Can you really have it all?’, on our time over the years and problems says positive psychologist Julie Hurst, come up when we don’t recognise that.”


Psychologists and life coaches agree that before making any changes to your life, you first need to give thought to what you really want, both materially and psychologically. It may be that we spend time making money to buy things that we don’t need or that we spend time on tasks that don’t make us feel satisfied. One easy way to feel more content is to set daily goals, according to Hurst. She recommends thinking each morning about the feelings that you want to experience that day. That can include things such as laughter and friendship, or even certain values that you want to live by that day.


Feeling overloaded? Sketch out a quick Urgency/ Importance matrix to help you prioritise. Life coaches use these to help clients figure out how to prioritise a to-do list – don’t forget to include items from your work and home life…


These are obviously your top priority – do them asap.


Fit in if you can, secondary to the first box.


Schedule a time to do these, and stick to it!


Delegate or ditch completely!



Answer colleague’s slightly pointless query.

Run through tomorrow’s presentation.



Call Mum

By Andreina Cordani

Play/hang out with kids

More importantly, a change to the words you use when talking or thinking about work can change how you feel. “When I started thinking that I have the opportunity to do something, instead of ‘I must’, there was a shift in my head,” says Hurst. “When your brain feels compulsion, it releases a stress hormone, but when it feels there’s choice involved it produces a happy hormone. The brain likes choice.” On a practical level, there are steps you can take to keep the demands of work from creeping in to your personal time. Setting strict limits on digital

“Put my Frozen DVD on NOW, Mummy!”

Feed children!

Write novel





4 Sort through junk mail Take cold calls

Read Mail Online sidebar of shame

technology can go a long way to ensuring people email me, they get a message back that work doesn’t invade our home that says I look at email three times a life. Mobile phone apps such day. You can’t always do that as Freedom allow users to “Think each when it comes to your boss, block out certain apps – like but you can say that Tuesday morning work email or Facebook and Thursday nights are for about the – at set times so that they your family only. Manage the feelings can focus on other tasks. expectations of others and you want to they will learn quite quickly.” “Give some thought to how technology is helping you rather In short, there’s no one experience than feeling like you need to formula for work-life balance that day” serve it,” says Jenny Garrett, that works for everyone. The executive career coach and author of key is knowing what you need to feel Rocking Your Role. “We get addicted to satisfied and then figure out the tweaks V being busy and that doesn’t help us. When you can make to bring that to life. ■


Are you looking to switch off from work completely on holiday? Or do you need to stay connected 24-7? Whichever camp you’re in, there’s a perfect UK glamping break to suit you…

Set in the woodlands of North Brewham, Somerset, The Bower is a very grown-up tree house indeed, with an organic food hamper, cosy log burner and luxury bath salts and candles surrounding the outdoor tub (there’s an indoor bathroom, too.) What it doesn’t have is Wi-Fi or any 21st Century entertainment. 0117 204 7830

Set up that Out Of Office now – no pesky work emails or social media updates will get through to you at these holiday havens. Fans of all things retro and shabby chic will love the Vintage Vacations campsite on the Isle of Wight. Guests stay in lovingly restored Airstream caravans kitted out in very British decor from yesteryear, which will send anyone above the age of 30 drifting back on a wave of nostalgia. The owners recently polled regular customers asking if they wanted Wi-Fi – the answer was a resounding no.

Cosy Lichen Cabin is set in a peaceful orchard in the Wye Valley, where the nearest neighbours are the local sheep. It’s a place of simple luxuries – think log fire, sheepskin throws, a guitar and books. 0117 204 7830 07802 758113




Islander is a beach hut on Freathy Cliff, Cornwall, originally built to house evacuees in World War II – although the hot tub was a later addition. Bright and airy, the huge front windows open to let in the sea breeze and allow you to enjoy the amazing view while you pick up your emails or watch Netflix on the smart TV. 01637 881183

3 connected cabins

If being cut off from the world is your idea of hell, these heavenly retreats are fully connected to the outside world. Proof that you can have an eco-friendly getaway without staying in a hobbit hole – Seaglass is a slick, modern beach hut in Tregonhawke, Cornwall, made of sustainable timber insulated with wool, topped by a living roof. There’s full Wi-Fi, TV/DVD and an iPod dock… but you’ll probably spend most of your time enjoying the view from the hot tub. 01637 881183

Tucked away in the village of Marhamchurch, North Cornwall is Nomad, two gypsy wagons and a rustic Cornish bothy which comes with Wi-Fi, wireless speakers and TV.

By Andreina Cordani 01637 881183




Keep calm and make a list Working mothers face enough challenges without wasting their energy on worry, says entrepreneur and Venus founder Tara Howard

has conspired against you and you’re I am, without a doubt, a borderline workaholic. I’m a fiend for working running late for an appointment. through my to-do list – or my ‘project Don’t worry about whether something plan’ as I call it. With the primary will go wrong, but do plan for it – by responsibility of winning business for leaving early or by allowing some wiggle the Venus Awards, I’ve got into the room between appointments. I used to habit of setting myself daily, weekly and hate being early for meetings because it monthly targets. I’m always working felt unproductive waiting for everyone, against the clock. Yet I also know that but now, with my mobile phone, I can’t sustain this level arriving early means of energy without setting “Don’t worry about I have the chance to personal boundaries. whether something catch up on emails! As a working mother, I often work in the I know how easy it is to will go wrong, but early mornings when convince yourself that if everyone else is in bed. do plan for it” you don’t tick off all the It’s not worth fighting boxes – at work AND at home – then to keep work and life separate – better you’re a failure. That you’re letting to accept that the two will always blend people down, especially loved ones. together. So pay your bills online during But worry can be counterproductive your lunch break, check your work emails – all that energy needs to be redirected at home whilst you are waiting for the in a positive way. For example, instead children to sit down for the evening of fretting that you’re always juggling meal. Don’t stress that the split between work when the children are around, home and work can seem fluid, it’s think about how your hard work is not a sign of bad mothering and it teaching them how to take responsibility, can be used to great advantage. how to strive for what they want to But, for me, the most important achieve and stand up for what they thing of all is accepting reality. As a really believe in. working mum, there will never be That said, with two teenage sons at a convenient time. Things will go home, it’s crucial to let them know that wrong. Mum-guilt is not going I’m still their mum, and interested in to go away. But the rewards what they’re doing in their lives. It’s of this life are pretty rich, not about how much time I spend with too. Dallas and his siblings, them, it’s about the quality of that time. Donny, Ryan and Cherie I recently did the London-Paris have been raised in a family cycle ride with my number two son, that has always run businesses Dallas, and it was great to have an – two entrepreneurial role adventure together for a few days. models right there at I’ve also learned not to sweat the the breakfast table. small stuff. There will always be times I am a handswhen nothing goes to plan, everything o f f m o t h e r. I

Meet Tara Pilot, hotelier, model and serial entrepreneur, Tara Howard founded the Venus Awards in 2009 as a way of recognising women’s achievements in business and promoting female role models. @TaraHowardMe


believe in making them self-reliant and – to a certain extent – giving them space to make their own mistakes. Although I am there to guide them, of course. Someone once said to me that the best thing you can do for your kids is ‘help them help themselves’ and I certainly live by that. The result is four resourceful and self-sufficient young people. My eldest daughter, at 23, has taken herself around the world many times and is now a TV presenter. My eldest son left home at 14 to pursue a tennis career and earned himself a scholarship to Queens College in New York. When I look at them – and the children of my working-mother friends – and see how confident, hard-working and positive they are, I realise that maybe we don’t have V that much to worry about after all.■

The new Golf. In our showroom right now. £4,000 towards your finance deposit. £258.51 per month. (Includes an additional £500 for attendees of the Venus Awards Ceremony)

Solutions Personal Contract Plan* Representative Example subject to 48 months, 10,000 miles per annum agreement for the new Golf SE 1.6 TDI 5-door. Duration

49 months

Optional final payment

Retail cash price


Deposit contribution


Option to purchase fee payable with final payment £10.00

Customer deposit


48 monthly payments


Total amount payable


Total amount of credit



Excess mileage (per mile) 8.4p Rate of interest

4.84% fixed

Representative APR

4.9% APR

Marshall Volkswagen Kidlington


South Oxford


Telephone: 01865 591801.

Telephone: 01235 355677.

Telephone: 01635 888222.

Telephone: 0118 402 4497.

Marshall Motor Group Limited is a broker and not a lender and can introduce you to a limited number of lenders, who may pay us for introducing you to them. *At the end of the agreement there are three options: i) pay the optional final payment and own the vehicle; ii) return the vehicle: subject to excess mileage and fair wear and tear, charges may apply; or iii) replace: part exchange the vehicle. With Solutions Personal Contract Plan. 18s+. Subject to availability and status. T&Cs apply. Offer available on selected cars only when ordered and delivered by 30th June 2017. Indemnities may be required. Offers are not available in conjunction with any other offer and may be varied or withdrawn at any time. Accurate at time of publication. Freepost Volkswagen Financial

Standard EU Test figures for comparative purposes and may not reflect real driving results. Official fuel consumption figures for the new Golf range in mpg (litres/100km): urban 29.4 (9.6) – 68.9 (4.1); extra urban 44.8 (6.3) – 76.3 (3.7); combined 37.7 (7.5) – 72.4 (3.9). Combined CO2 emissions 180 – 102/km.



The Tiguan. Cool. Calm. Connected.

Marshall Volkswagen Kidlington


South Oxford


Telephone: 01865 591801.

Telephone: 01235 355677.

Telephone: 01635 888222.

Telephone: 0118 402 4497.

Other sites in Barnstaple, Grimsby, Scunthorpe and Taunton.