Hi, my name’s Sarah Arrow, and I’ve worked for myself all of my life. What I mean by that is that even when I was employed, I worked for myself; for my own goals and own satisfaction. I realised from a very early age that unless I worked hard and did what I enjoyed i.e. work for my own satisfaction, I was going to have a long and miserable working career. I’ve taken some roles in order to access education, others to access contacts and others for the ability to make great transformations in someone’s life. I’ve been blessed with my career and I’ll continue to take roles and contracts that enable me to achieve my goals in life.
In my current role, as MD of Sarkemedia.com, a boutique social media marketing agency, I’ve worked there for three years but done the role for seven. It’s not like anything else I’ve ever experienced, sometimes the days are long and the work is un-challenging. Other days the workload is light yet intriguing. In this role I’ve met so many fascinating people including Will Young, Karren Brady and Tony Robbins and, believe it or not, they all approached me first. Such is the power of blogging!
We’d love to hear more about your business
I manage a team of outsourced staff from a home office and from a Regus office. We talk on Skype every day, and by email, and meet up whenever possible. I am looking to take on two permanent staff members in 2014. My aim in business is simple: to get it running so well that I can work from the beach. Last year I spent just under a month in Lanzarote, and I found that it was very easy to work by the swimming pool and still get stuff done. This has to be the ultimate in lifestyle businesses!
Although I have a business degree, I’d never actually used anything I’d ever learned until I set-up Sarkemedia.com
In the late 1990s I’d qualified as a coach/assessor but never actually used those skills until 3 years ago. Each day I wonder what skills and experience I’m going to draw upon and I feel gratitude for having such a diverse skill-set that nothing seems like a huge problem. I am continually learning and my job means that I’m constantly reading, thinking and creating. I cannot imagine it getting any better than this.
This series of interviews is designed to inspire others, mainly women, on the same path. What tips would you share with them which would short-cut their journey to happiness being their own boss?
Firstly, you have to do the work. You cannot not do the work, it still has to be done. You have to create, you have to transform and when you do so, you will get the most immense satisfaction you’ve ever felt. When you don’t do the work, when you don’t execute, you’ll feel stifled, restless and unfulfilled. When that happens you’ll wonder what the hell you are doing, but when you do the work you are achieving something.
Everyone has days where they want to quit, throw in the towel and give up. Be prepared for them. Get over them, it’s always the darkest before dawn.
Invest in yourself – get a mentor, a coach or pay someone to keep you accountable. The first time I did this I couldn’t afford it and I cried myself to sleep at night worried about the expense. It was one of the best decisions I’d ever made. Not only did I get a terrific ROI, I made great contacts. You are a wonderful person, invest in yourself, you are truly worth it.
And finally get a blog for you and your business, you can position yourself very easily with a blog. I have a free guide on how to set one up, with no optin. Just message me on Twitter or Facebook and I’ll send it to you. When you blog you attract into your life the most wonderful people, heck, mine attracted in Tony Robbins and we drank champagne together in Canary Wharf. If you take nothing else from this post, take that starting a blog will change your business life for the better.
What did you struggle with most in your start-up phase, and how did you resolve those issues?
I struggled with battling depression and not wanting to get up and do a thing. It was tough, and I had young children too, a daughter in her teens and all the baggage a person didn’t want. It was when I realised that unless I did something, I’d be stuck with it forever, that I actually did something about it. My biggest struggle was realising this was my choice, and I was told that by countless people but wasn’t ready to hear it. I knew then that not only was I shaping my life in the most negative manner, I was becoming incredibly negative and it was making me into a person that I disliked. Once I’d pulled myself together and took charge of my life, more things fell into place and I found managing the start-up process was a lot easier.
I also discovered when I released my passion that clients came to me and work was much more enjoyable. What’s not to love about that?
What have you learned about yourself while working solo?
That I can do anything that I put my mind to, that there are truly no limits. I’ve learned that endurance is a skill that I have in abundance, that clients are attracted to my strength and sometimes just sometimes the teacher appears when you are ready to make the next transition in your life.
Did you choose self-employment or did it choose you? Any regrets?
Self-employment chose me, and my biggest regret is that I allowed my depression to control me for so long, and by biggest regret I mean the only regret that creeps by and reminds me from time to time.
What one encouraging thought sums it all up?
That my working journey has another 30-40 years left and there are lots of people I’m going to meet, clients that I will help with their transformations and individuals that will share their singularity with me and change my life in unimaginable ways. There are so many adventures yet to be taken. I can’t wait!
Do you have a project you would like readers to know about?
I have webinar on the challenges of blogging and how to make it work for your business.
I’d love to meet the readers who are sharing my journey via this post. Of course, there are some lovely attendance goodies available on the webinar. One of my current clients tells me they attend all my webinars just for the gifts I share! The real magic of course is delivered over the course of the webinar and it’s packed with actionable content.
Do you feel lonely and isolated when working for yourself? Are you an introvert or an extrovert? How do you get your social needs met and what do you recommend to others?
I’m a confident introvert. Nothing makes me happier than being with my husband and children. I’m truly blessed to have them in my life. However when I go out, I have a public mask that I wear, I learned this was essential to protect my privacy when I managed a pub in my early twenties. Hence my family call it my “pub face”. It means that outwardly I seem very sociable and confident but inside I can be terrified. I’m absolutely appalling at meeting people face to face and that means I’m now famous for my straight-talking when I struggle to hold a conversation above small talk.
In many ways, social media meets all my social needs, I no longer feel isolated like I did when I first moved to Essex after the bustle of London. I’ve connected with some wonderful women who’ve become firm friends.
Working for yourself can be lonely but it doesn’t have to be. You can make friends on social networks and you can use membership sites and Facebook groups to connect with like-minded individuals. With women-only networks like Athena and 50% biz / 50% Social networks like 4Networking, as a woman you have more choices than ever to connect to other business women and prospective suppliers and clients.
My advice to others is simple, be yourself, but that doesn’t mean you have to bare your soul publicly. You don’t have to share anything you don’t want to and you are no less authentic for keeping some aspects of your life private.
Sarah, I’ve followed your writing enthusiastically for ages. How can others find out more about you and becomes fans too?