Oooh I'm very excited to have another fab interview for you!! It's incredible having an insight into people's businesses, especially working parents!! Since having baby Summer she has given a whole new layer to Rose Hill Designs, how I work and how much time I have to work!!
In this blog, I am focusing on working parents like us and how we cope with it plus how it affects our businesses! This is an interview with the very successful Wendy Jones-Blackett who started her handmade card business in 1996 and in May will have been going for 22 years, now that's amazing!! She has 2 boys; 11 and 15 years old.
1. Tell me about you and your business? Your elevator pitch if you will.
Wendy Jones-Blackett Ltd is a British greetings card company producing contemporary handmade and hand finished cards for card and gift shops.
2. How do you manage to run a successful business and have two children? Do you have any advice for mum’s with their own businesses?
When I had my first child we already had six agents, premises and two full-time employees. My husband Steve had been working with me for just over a year so it was a bit easier to take some time off! As the sole designer of the company I still had to get ranges ready for deadlines so we had a childminder for three days a week when Sam reached a year old. It would have been impossible to keep the business going without help so short-term I retained only the design work and delegated everything else - even my parents worked for us! By the time we had Alfie we had 12 people working with us and were also dealing with Sam’s special needs (he’s Autistic) so I managed to take 6 months off before going down the nursery route 3 days a week.
3. How do you tend to manage your time? What would a typical week involve? Do you have any time off?
A typical week involves me being in the office for about 25 hours over 5 days plus a few hours occasionally at the weekend and a couple of hours during the evenings. I confess I answer a lot of emails on my iPhone!
4. How have you seen things change with the growth of your business and your growing boys? Has it got easier as they have got older and need you less?
I think it does get easier as they get older, although having them in bed by 7/7.30pm meant I could do some work on in an evening!
5. What do you believe is your secret to your success?
Delegate as many work-based chores as you can, take it one day at a time, and don’t be a busy fool...
6. What has been your best piece of advice?
‘Starvation is a great motivator’ and ‘Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity’ are the only pieces of advice I’ve found to be true!
7. What are your top 5 actionable tips?
* Get your work/life balance sorted and try not to do both at the same time - it will end in disaster!
* Eat well.
* Sleep well.
* Get some fresh air and Exercise.
* Go with the flow.
8. What is the most changeling thing about running your own business? Has this changed over the years?
Trying not to worry - it’s so easy to get anxious about the future when in reality all you have control of is today. I try and focus on what I can do each day and stay in the moment. Designing is great for that!
9. Where do you see your brand going? What would be your dream project?
The ‘brand’ has always been about bringing out cards which are innovative yet commercial. I hope to keep the handmade part of the business going as we employ a lot of people locally and sticking bits onto cards is a nice job to have!
10. If you could do it all again what would you do differently?
I can’t think of anything I’d change - we’ve made choices along the way which suits our lifestyle and family commitments and I’ve really enjoyed the flexibility of being self employed. The people we work with are the backbone of the company and I count my lucky stars we found them! You can’t beat a great team!
The key points I took from Wendy's interview are:
* Delegate. Personally I find this quite hard only because it's really hard to find the right person to delegate to (I would LOVE a fab sales rep that would want to manage themselves) If you want to grow (which is your choice too as you may not want to, you can be perfectly happy with having a steady income and lovely work/life balance) then we definitely need to delegate!!
* I love this line from Wendy "it’s so easy to get anxious about the future when in reality all you have control of is today. I try and focus on what I can do each day and stay in the moment."
It's soooo true and something I really like to work on!! I listened to a great short video from Marie Forleo Q taking about this...
"Train yourself to resist nothing... All forms of stress and aggravation and freak-outs are by products of resisting how things are in this moment... The faster you stop wishing things are different from what they are and start dealing with things the way they actually are, you win because you get into the alignment with the flow of life rather than working against it... Let's not spend any time or energy or stress being upset about this, this is figureoutable.”
Amazing!! I really hope this helps you with your inner peace and gives you an insight to how other's are working and how you can take on board some of these tips to help with your business!!
x x x