My name is Lucy Whittington. I’ve had my own business since 2005 and Being a Business Celebrity launched in 2010.
Tell us something about yourself we may not know, something surprising perhaps?
I don’t actually eat cake every day!
What is your business all about and how do you think and feel about it now?
My business is me doing MY Thing. I help other people to find their Thing and this is me doing mine. I used to be ‘good’ at marketing but now I am doing what I am brilliant at which is helping amazing people do their Thing and get Famous for it (as a Business Celebrity).
I get to work with amazing people who are all brilliant at something (even if they don’t know it yet) and want to get paid for doing that. I have woo woo, I have wacky and I have highly professional and corporate with everything in between. Variety is the spice of life after all.
I work from home at the seaside with adventures to London and other places as I want. My husband – known as the colouring-in dept – works at home too which means our small people get to see lots of us. We have our own offices though; apparently I talk too much! I also have a small team of gorgeous associates and assistants ‘virtually’ working for us.
Do you still have ambitions for your business?
The usual: work less, play more. Actually my work is play so that’s not true. Just a small ambition really – get EVERYONE doing their Thing.
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?
Short cut to happiness – do it YOUR way. As long as you are offering something of value to someone else who is willing to pay for it for more than it costs you to deliver, then HOW you do that is entirely up to you. I am very high maintenance so like to run my events and have my meetings in very nice hotels and venues with plenty of cake involved. I love to work the days and times I want to. And I charge what I am worth and don’t discount, although adding extra value is always good. For me, happiness comes from pleasing yourself first and that way you’re never resentful about your ‘work’ so it’s all good.
What did you struggle with most in your start-up phase, and how did you crack that?
Way back when I started out as a consultant I was on my own all day. I found it was very easy to ‘potter’ and ‘do stuff’ but not actually get very much done. I think it took me three weeks to pluck up the courage to call what turned out to be my first big client. It’s very easy to get very busy with non essential details when frankly you should just jump in and get on with it. If you need details they can get done in a hurry if you have to. Just. Get. Clients.
What have you learned about yourself while working solo?
That it’s OK to not do everything. I’m not brilliant at everything so why would I do something I’m not brilliant at, as it takes my time away from doing something that I AM brilliant at.
I’ve also learned that it’s a good idea to leave the house now and then. Whether that’s to go for a walk to re-energise or head out to an event or networking to be around other people, learn, connect and enjoy being in business.
Did you choose self-employment or did it choose you? Any regrets?
I chose it. I always knew I would. I had a now or never moment and went for it.
Regrets… well we all have the odd moment on a ‘sick day’ when you know you’re not getting paid to be snotty and watch films sat on the sofa which you would be if you had a job. But I value my freedom way too highly now – I can work when and where I want to! What’s not to love about that? Plus I am absolutely terrible with being told what to do, so having a boss could be a huge problem for me now.
What one encouraging thought sums it all up?
Doing your Thing is the best feeling in the world. And that extends to how and when and where you do it too. Choose your own life and build it the way you want it because even when I am busy and working ‘hard’ I know I chose that – and I love it.
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? What do you recommend to others in this regard?
I am an EXTROVERT! But, having said that, I absolutely need my alone time. I value my solitude and thinking time. I love to travel by train, walk on the beach, and hang out in my office writing and reading to make sure that happens.
My husband works in the business too so we’re usually both ‘around’ the house during the day (and he makes a lovely pot of tea!). Plus it’s usually a case of ‘how much can I get done’ during the day before the small people are back causing havoc so I don’t have much chance to feel lonely.
I do talk a lot of the day too. The nature of my work is that I’m on Skype and the phone a lot mentoring, coaching, interviewing, chatting to people so I don’t feel isolated. And there’s always Facebook of course, the perfect work at home tea break.
I also make sure I have plenty of ‘meet real people’ activities in my diary. That might be me at the front of the room as a speaker, it might be attending a networking lunch, dinner or drinks, or a one to one day with a client. I also run a Mastermind so I get to spend lots of time with real people while doing my Thing too. And I know I need that but it’s balanced with days in the office ‘on my own’. Even Duracell bunnies need to recharge!
Thanks so much for sharing your story, Lucy. How can readers find out more about you and become your fans and followers?
My website is: BeingABusinessCelebrity.com – help yourself to the free goodies!
I’m on Twitter @LucyWhittington
And you can find me on Facebook at Facebook.com/BeingABusinessCelebrity