Blogfest 3: Nicola Cairncross and Her Biz Her Way

Today’s Blogfest contribution, the third in what I hope will be a series of 52, comes from Nicola Cairncross who’s writing about Her Biz Her Way.

I’m very lucky to have decided over 22 years ago, to run “my business my way”.  And its largely been a roaring success!

To celebrate the publication of her new book Your Biz Your Way with Judith Morgan, business coach and co-host with me of Own It! The Podcast, I’m going to tell you the story of how I did that.

Back in 1998 I was still bouncing from one career to another, unable to stick at anything for more than 18 months. I’d had some successes but failed to make a good living in my original love, fashion design.  Now I was helping my future husband Irving to get his house music compilations label, Esoteric Records, off the ground.

The internet had just arrived and after years of entrepreneurial failure, I wanted to learn how to build an online business so that….

…I could work from home and be there more for my kids, Phoebe and Nelson.

…I could lift the wage ceiling on my earnings so I could pay off debt, save for a rainy day and invest for the future.

…I could get to the point where my husband could join my business too and stop having to exchange time for money in an industry where his years of experience were no longer appreciated financially.

…I could travel the world (never had holidays as a kid as my parents were too poor) and see things with my children that would create lasting memories.

…I’d never be financially dependent on anyone ever again

…I could fulfil the potential that I knew was inside me but that school had not brought out.

…I could leave a legacy for my kids that there is another way to earn a living, rather than working in a job that bores you so much you cry in the toilets at lunchtimes.

On a train one day, I read an article in the Evening Standard about coaching and went looking for a coach who knew about the business of music as I had an idea for a software company matching up aspiring stars with music managers.  Pop Idol was in full swing, the fore-runner of X-Factor and The Voice.

I found a great coach called Rachel Turner.  She’d run a record label, publishing company and DJ management company so she seemed to know what she was doing.  However, that’s not what we talked about most often!

I now believe business success is all about what goes on between your ears.

The personal development principles she taught me changed my life, and she eventually suggested I train as a coach myself. I signed up but always knew I wanted to become a specialist coach of some kind, rather than a life coach.

That worked well too, and she eventually recommended that I move on after a year or so to work with Chris Barrow (featured in The Island, Series 1 and “marmite” to hundreds of British dentists).

Now while there have been ups and downs over the last 22 years, mainly caused by life’s vicissitudes, I’ve managed to bring up two amazing young adults working from home largely as a single mother, so I count it as a roaring success.

Especially as I’ve managed to build each business from scratch, no investment, bootstrapped all the way – and do it 100% my way.

One of the ways this My Biz My Way thing manifests itself nowadays is that the kids have all grown up and I now live in Greece most of the time.  This is a 25-year dream that magically and effortlessly came true, well before I reached retirement age.

The second way is that a lot of my business and marketing processes are either automated or outsourced, leaving me to concentrate entirely on my strengths. This makes me very happy and I get a lot of leisure time too.

I get to work with some amazing business owners, inspiring people who are themselves on a mission not only to earn a good living but to help others.

These are authors, experts, specialists and niche business owners who, through my Be Everywhere Online system, are ready to build a powerful personal brand, attract their ideal clients or customers, who arrive pre-sold and ready to invest in themselves.

The third way I do it my way is that while I went through coach training, and very often have a big impact on my clients’ lives, I’ve never felt the need to get certified, undergo supervision or join any organisations.

Many coaches and mentors are crippled by the need for qualifications and peer recognition before they even get going, while I just walk my talk and share my stories.  Ironically, I’m speaking soon for one of the biggest worldwide coach organisations, as someone who’s made a success of coaching outside the corporate world.

Along the way, I became fascinated by the way money works and how we think about money. I couldn’t stop thinking about who is financially intelligent, how they became so, what they know about money that is different to what most of us don’t know.  As I uncovered the answers, I went on a mission to share that knowledge and that became my coaching focus.

One of my bigger adventures along the way was buying a 12-bedroom hotel “no money down” after reading a property investment book and wondering if it was possible in the UK.

After about a year of running The Acacia,  “E-Myth” style, I re-branded my thriving coaching business from to, having written a book of the same name.  I launched The Money Gym one afternoon just before going to pick up the kids from school, and nearly 30 people signed up from the first email.

Two years later, a new client called Judith Morgan joined The Money Gym and came to stay on one of the workshop weekends. As soon as she walked down the hall, dressed all in bright pink, towards our seaside themed breakfast room I knew somehow that this woman was special. She just gave off this incredible vibe, an enormous energy and sense of fun. All wrapped in a 100% no-nonsense manner.

Very soon, I had had enough of being a lone wolf and decided to invite Judith to become a partner in the business, along with best friend and manager of the hotel, Steve Watson.

Judith made a great business partner, having been an Accountant and Finance Director and coming from an army background, she is frightfully organised (which made up for the fact I’m not at all so).  I know I drive her mad!

In so many ways we are totally different; she’s firmly got at least one foot in the alternative “woo woo” world while I’m a devout atheist.  But in lots of ways we are awfully alike – we are both rampant Creators in Wealth Dynamics terms.

We’ve remained friends ever since The Money Gym and three years ago I’d had enough of podcasting alone and invited Judith to start a podcast together which we called Own It! Your Business & Your Life.

Now, I’m so delighted for her (and small business owners everywhere) because she’s written an amazing and ground-breaking business book called “Your Biz, Your Way” and you can get your copy here at

One of the things I most value about Judith as a business partner and now as a friend (and my coach a lot of the time) is her unerring ability to see things really clearly. When I’m blinded by a swirling fog of emotion and indecision, ten minutes talking to Judith helps me cut to the quick of it. She’s kind but firm and very straight talking, which I value enormously.

This post is my tribute to Judith and my way of helping get the word out about her much-needed book. If you are a small business owner you’ll find this a very useful, refreshing read and it’s even got it’s “laugh out loud” moments too.

Not only do I love her book, I devour her blog and I really look forward to her weekly “newsy newsletter” too. Even though I know her so well, talking to her every week on the podcast if not even more often, she’s always got something new to say and its always sound common sense.

I give you a great business coach, an awesome podcast co-host, and a totally amazing human being, Ms Judith Morgan!

Read Nicola’s blog post HERE at her own website and find out everything she’s up to in order to be everywhere online. You can follow her on Facebook, watch her vzines, pick up her Twitter feed, book her to speak for you or just have a chat! And as she said, you can listen to us both every Friday on our podcast. We hope you will, we do it for you.

Dear Nicola,

Your tribute means the world to me, thank you for being such a typically early adopter into this blogfest game as into every other which takes your fancy.

Now, let’s get the factual and historical inaccuracies out of the way first…! My Dad was in the Royal Marines, so you could get away with military but never with army. Oil and water, Love. Oil and water. You can’t call the Royal Marines the Marines either, ‘cos those are the American ones. And I wasn’t wearing pink the first day we met. I was wearing a fabulous navy blue jersey dress with a horizontal white stripe, my favourite way back then, and in which my Mother had told me (uniquely in my life) that I looked “a million dollars”. What you are remembering is the shopping basket I was using that year which was my signature pink and bristly, it looked rather like a stiff broom or a vicious doormat on the outside – remember?

Now, let’s get to the good bits, the bits we have both got right in our time together. Typically you’ve told it like it is. I have been with you for most of your self-employed journey to date, in one capacity or another, client or business partner or poddie. It’s not always been easy, as you infer, because we are so alike and yet so different. Two Creators, just what one business doesn’t need. You will remember I am sure, and fondly, that when we used to ask Steve in business meetings what he thought about our ideas he would tell us just to make up our minds what we wanted and he would make it so! Making up our minds was often the hard bit for us, whilst he made his difficult bits look easy. Ah, bless. Good times. “Stand by your beds, she’s coming down from London to do an inspection and sort us all out.” You were funny but very rude and cheeky, you two.

Your seven “Is” that begin with … wow! What a worthwhile list, and as you mentioned only this week on our podcast, Your Big Why. I appreciate very much the things you then go on to list about what strikes you as valuable in your business today including living in Greece, automation facilitating happiness and leisure time, meeting and working with great people and that irony of speaking for the ICF when you have walked outside the lines all your business career and now that’s precisely the reason they want you. Who could possibly have envisaged any of that? None of us, not until we crack on and give it a go. None of us knows where this journey is going to lead or indeed where it will end. Great, innit?

One of the things we do have in common is a love of music. And reading your post put me in mind of Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves, the Aretha Franklin version of course. Don’t know why, but there you go. See you on Thursday for what will be the recording of our 167th show. Un-effing-believable!

Your Biz Your Way

If you have enjoyed reading my words here, you might also enjoy my book - Your Biz Your Way: Learning to Trust Yourself. Relax! You've Got This. Get a chunky free sample and/or buy the book here Read My Book

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