role model

Secrets of my Success: The Baby Planners

07 03 2012

Nearing 33 weeks pregnant and a typical Type A personality, you’d think I’d have everything pretty much sorted for our first-born’s imminent arrival – sadly, not so!  I have my hospital bag packed – check. I’ve cobbled together a birth plan based on Google results, advice from friends and gut instinct – check. We have our ‘stork walk’ next weekend – check. But do I feel organised?  Heck, no! It’s all a little overwhelming. Talk about information overload – I’m not sure what I should and shouldn’t have done by now and every experienced mum seems to offer different advice ahead of d-day…. Not to mention all the questions I have for when the little bundle arrives.  Given my mounting panic, I was intrigued to hear about The Baby Planners – run by former nannies, Gemma and Simone, the company is a ‘concierge’ service for expectant parents facing similar overwhelm to myself through “bump, birth and beyond”.

I’m all ears this week to hear of the inspiration behind this power duo and their innovative company.  Enjoy!

Tell me a little about you, your enterprise, your mission!

The Baby Planners is a London-based baby planning and maternity concierge company dedicated to providing support and guidance to new and expectant parents?

What is your vision of your best life?

We would love The Baby Planners to be a big success and be able to branch out into charity and community events – doing work we love that helps people as well as having a happy home life would be perfect.

Can you tell us about some of the challenges/obstacles/fears you’ve faced and how you’ve tackled them.

Simone: I’m a bit of a control freak so delegating tasks and trusting that they’re completed was a problem for me at first but, with a bit of practise, I’m getting better and don’t feel the need to keep checking up…which I’m sure is appreciated by Gemma!

Gemma: I have a big fear of public speaking and talking to strangers, so much so that I missed every class at college where I had to speak in front of a group! I still don’t like it but the more I’ve had to speak to new people for The Baby Planners the easier it’s got.

As for challenges for our company, finding a good balance between work and play has been hard. Having enough time to spend with loved ones and friends as well as looking after The Baby Planners is important and we’ve had to learn to prioritise.

Have you ever thought you had everything planned, only for life to show you an alternative?

Simone: All the time! I’m very much a planner only to have my plans changed at the last minute. I have learned that you just have to go with the flow and that everything happens for a reason.

Gemma: I wouldnt say i have things “planned out” but I normally know what path I’m on. I never expected to do some of the things I’ve done though and I’ve had a couple of curve balls thrown at me, the biggest of which was moving to another country for a few years. It was spur of the moment and if I hadn’t done it my life would be very different now.

Has there been a ‘defining moment’ that has changed your life or your view of life? What has been the nudge in the right direction for you?

Gemma: When my grandmother, who I was very close to, died I realised I could have done so much more by that point if I’d had more focus. It gave me the kick I needed to go out and do the things I wanted to do before it was too late. Figuring out what I enjoyed doing and focusing on those things helped me put the idea for The Baby Planners together.

Simone: Starting our own business has changed my life. I never thought I would have the skills needed to run a company. After many years of former bosses telling me that I had the skills to branch out on my own I finally took the plunge with Gemma and I have loved every moment since.

If you were to look back and offer advice to yourself, what 3 pearls of wisdom would you share?

Gemma:

Don’t waste money on things you don’t really need.
Do what’s right for you and not what everybody says you should do.
Figure out what it is you love doing and do it. It makes getting up at 6am much easier!

Simone:

Don’t rush. Take your time and all will work out in the end.
Trust your instint.
Communication. It’s vital especially with a business partner.

What book, piece of music, blog, quote or person inspires you the most?

Simone: I have such a diverse set of inspirations that I couldn’t pick just one. However, when I need a pick me up I head over to Tate Modern to spend a few hours looking at the paintings and then head into the members area to look over the River Thames to St. Paul’s Cathedral. The view of London on the Thames never fails to inspire me.

Gemma: I like quotes that give me hope that what I want to achieve in life is possible and remind me that the only person that can make it happen is me – like this one: “The best way to predict your future is to create it” by Peter F. Drucker

Keeping with Simone’s art theme I also really like this quote: “Everything you can imagine is real.” – Pablo Picasso.

Any last words of advice?

Simone: Buy a small note book to keep in your handbag. Jot down anything that inspires you or those random ideas that seem to pop into your head on the journey home.

Gemma: Trust your instincts and make choices that are right for you and your family not ones you think your suppose too. And lastly, if you need help or advice, ask for it.

Image: One

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Secrets of my Success: Financial Freedom Coach Karie Hill

06 13 2012

Money.  What does the word mean to you?  It’s just five little letters but it’s bound to be loaded with meaning for you, probably since the day you were given that first shiny coin for your piggybank!  So how are you and money getting along these days?  What habits have you got in your relationship with your finances?  What are your goals?  How does financial freedom sound?  If the very words make your body relax a little, you’re going to love our inspiration this week – Financial Freedom Coach Karie Hill.

Karie walks the talk – a former police officer, she created her own financial freedom that has allowed her to create a business she is passionate about.  I speak from my own experience of being coached through one of her group programmes when I say that she is a great role model – as both a financially-savvy  woman and as someone who clearly puts heart, soul and courage into her work.

 

Tell me a little about you, your business and your mission!

I am a financial freedom coach with a mission of getting thousands of women out of debt. When women get this part of their life handled, things start to open up in the most beautiful way and they’re able to experience the gift of freedom – the freedom to choose their best life.

What is your vision of your best life? 

I want everyone I come in contact with to leave the experience feeling inspired by our connection. In order to do that, I have to continue to live my best life which means serving through my business, practicing what I preach and focusing on my own personal growth every day.

Can you tell us about some of the challenges, obstacles or fears you’ve faced and how you’ve tackled them?

After being in a career for nine years that was a big part of my life and identity, I decided to resign and embark on my entrepreneurial journey. I was so afraid and nobody understood how I could leave a stable job that I had spent almost a decade in. There was something inside of me that just kept pushing me forward and that’s how I live now. Even when I’m completely freaked out and scared, I just keep moving. I have never felt more free and happy in my life.

Have you ever thought you had everything planned, only for life to show you an alternative?

Yes! I’ve always been obsessed with planning and focusing on the future and I’m usually ten steps ahead of the moment. I was in a relationship and thought I had our future together planned until one day it all came crashing down. On the outside it may have seemed like just a broken relationship but it was one of my greatest lessons. I can look at the experience now and feel thankful. Life showed me an alternative to my big plans in a great way and now I’m living more present, more spontaneous and more peaceful than ever.

Has there been a ‘defining moment’ that has changed your life or your view of life?  What has been the nudge in the right direction for you?

A defining moment in my life was when I tragically lost a family member that meant the world to me. This is when I realized how short life really is and it’s up to me to create the life I really want. It sounds so cliché but it was a real experience for me. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about that moment.

If you were to look back and offer advice to yourself, what 3 pearls of wisdom would you share?

  • Stop worrying about what everyone thinks. This is your journey and it doesn’t have to make sense to anyone but you.
  • “When people show you who they are, believe them.” Maya Angelou
  • Follow your intuition. There is a little voice or feeling inside of you that is your true guide. Listen to it. Follow it.

What book, piece of music, blog, quote or person inspires you the most?

Books I believe every woman should read:

The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle Laporte

Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

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Secrets of my Success: Be Well With Arielle

05 30 2012

I am the proverbial magpie when it comes to jewellery – some girls covet the latest killer heel, some the must-have handbag …. for me it’s jewellery in all it’s decorative form.  So, imagine if you will, the same beautiful ring catching my eye everywhere I seemed to look – snaps of bloggers wearing it, adorning some lucky lady on a YouTube video, it taunted me! And then I found it.  I was watching a Creative Abundance lecture and there was the gorgeous designer Arielle Fierman herself sporting the iloveme ring – its design includes a floating freshwater pearl and, as part of Arielle’s unique jeWELLery range, is infused with healing reiki energy.

I’m delighted that Arielle kindly shares her story: the inspiration for her creative busineas, how she’s tackled challenges that have come her way with grace and her vision for her future best life.

Tell me a little about you and your lifestyle:
My name is Arielle Jaguar Fierman. My parent’s hated their names so they gave me an initial (J) as my middle name and now I get to pick any name I want! Lately, I’ve been calling myself Arielle Jaguar. I was born and bred in Manhattan, New York City and now, I design jewellery and provide wellness tips that leave women shouting “I LOVE ME”! Check out my “I love ME” collection and delicious, easy healthy recipes at www.bewellwitharielle.com!

What is your vision of your best life?
I know I want a family – little kids running around, helping me in the kitchen, and a nice space to live and work but I really focus on today, the now.  I have a tough time looking into the future and visualizing it.  Right now, I want to be happy. And when I think of the future, all I want to be is smiling ear to ear, always happy.

Can you tell us about some of the challenges/obstacles/fears you’ve faced and how you’ve tackled them?
Right when I was starting my jewellery business, I had a lot of push-back from some of my friends and family.  They were very supportive, but they also were fearful that the recession wasn’t a good time to start a jeWELLry business. Everything I make and do has an intention behind it- to make women feel beautiful and loved and fulfilled.  Why wouldn’t someone want a piece of that?!  Amidst the negativity, I kept on going and kept on believing in myself.  I literally put up my hand and stopped the negativity in it’s tracks one time.  It worked!  Believe in what you are doing and people will start believing in you too.

Has there been a ‘defining moment’ that has changed your life or your view of it?  What has been the nudge in the right direction for you?
There have been so many defining moments/events that have brought me to where i am today – a yogi, self-help-lover and New Yorker.  The main event was when I was laid off from my job.  I called up my life coach/mentor, Gabrielle Bernstein and these were her exact words: “Wahoo! Arielle- that’s GREAT news! Now is the time that you can start your jeWELLry business!”  From that moment on, I began creating my business.  Every day since, I’ve been building my business, creating and designing beautiful pieces of jewellery that have meaning and that HELP women to love themselves and take care of themselves.

If you were to look back and offer advice to yourself, what three pearls of wisdom would you share?
1. Have fun! Life doesn’t need to be so serious – even in those “should-be serious”, very serious moments!
2. Always, always, always be yourself. Feel great in that bright, colorful eyeliner? Wear it! Don’t mind what opinions other’s have! It’s cool to be yourself, who knows? You can even be a trend starter!
3. Go to yoga, even when you dont feel like it!

What book, piece of music, blog, quote or person inspires you the most?
“Just do it”.  I have a tough time focusing – I have a very creative brain so my mind can be off in so many different directions at one time!  My lack of focus often makes me procrastinate.  When I observe myself treading, I tell myself “JUST DO IT”…and then it get’s done!

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Secrets of my Success: Claire Mischevani

04 30 2012

A mere five days before I got married, my sister and I went to the British Bridal Exhibition and we both fell in love!  Beautiful, hand-sewn, embellished belts caught our eye, swiftly followed by the truly elegant bridal designs of Claire Mischevani.  In a word, breath-taking.  But the real clincher for us was meeting Claire herself – clearly talented, as well as one of the warmest and most inspirational entrepreneurs either of us had come across.  We were both touched and inspired by her story and so wanted to share it with you….  And for the bride-to-be, a visit to the gallery at ClaireMischevani.com is highly recommended!

Tell us a little about you/your enterprise/your mission…

I am Claire Mischevani, a British Fashion Designer who has been designing for 10 years. I have my head office in Shrewsbury, Shropshire and a showroom a few minutes from Sloane Square in London.  I design bespoke garments for private clients, including celebrities and I have stockists for both my wedding dress and fashion collections.

What is your vision of your best life? 
Just to get the perfect work/life balance, as it can be difficult when running a thriving business.  I am so happy that the business has grown so much, but I wish that I could spend more time with my family and friends.
Can you tell us about some of the challenges/obstacles/fears you’ve faced and how you’ve tackled them?  
In the beginning I was faced with all sorts of obstacles, mainly stemming from lack of experience. I also found it difficult to find skilled workers, which is key to a business such as mine. I have always learnt valuable lessons from facing challenges directly and not shying away from them, it makes you a stronger business woman. You just have to learn from your mistakes.
Have you ever thought you had everything planned, only for life to show you an alternative?  
Yes, this happens all the time, but I believe that things happen for a reason and you just have to deal with what life throws at you in the most positive way possible. I have always found that if ever I go against my instincts/gut reaction then things tend to go wrong!
Has there been a ‘defining moment’ that has changed your life/your view of life?  What has been the nudge in the right direction for you?  
My nudge was when I was working as a lawyer and not enjoying it.  My Grandmother passed away and it just made me realise that life was too short to be unhappy at work, so a couple of days later I handed in my notice and left.  I have never spent a minute regretting my decision and that was 10 years ago and I still absolutely stand my decision to leave my job and felt it was the best decision I could ever have made!
If you were to look back and offer advice to yourself, what 3 pearls of wisdom would you share? 
1. Always go with your instinct. 
2. Take advice from people who have been in your line of business.
3. If things go wrong, do not give up.  Dust yourself off and do it better next time.
What book, piece of music, blog, quote or person inspires you the most? 
I take inspiration from so many different forms of media including films and magazines, that I could not name one in particular – I find new inspirations every day.
Image: One
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Secrets of my Success: Jenny Blake of Life After College

04 23 2012

I can still remember the girl in the year above me at school that I looked up to –  “a good all-rounder” I think the teachers called her, and confident and popular to boot.  A role model.  Fast forward twenty years and Jenny Blake is one of my grown-up equivalents.  With proven success in the corporate world at Google, Jenny took a courageous leap onto her own path to, in her words, “live big” and LifeAfterCollege.org is the result.  Speaker, author, coach and yoga teacher – Jenny tells a little more below…


Tell me a little about you/your blog/your mission!
I blog at LifeAfterCollege.org to help others “Wake up, Live Big and Love the Journey” through a mix of my own personal experiences and practical tools and templates. I recently made one of the hardest decisions of my life – I quit my job at Google after five and a half years to build my own business as an author, speaker and life coach. I was terrified that I’d end up in a van down by the river, but I’m thankful to say that so far, 5 months in, I’ve broken even. Finally, I love dogs, dancing, music, travel, and cupcakes.

What is your vision of your best life? 
In my best life I’m waking up every day, going for a run, reading with a nice, warm cup of coffee, taking and/or teaching yoga class, reading more, and doing meaningful work (not busy work, and not stressing over the small stuff). I feel like I’m closer to that vision now more than ever, so I’m really trying to focus on enjoying and expanding every moment, and remembering to express my gratitude for my life. 

Can you tell us about some of the challenges/obstacles/fears you’ve faced and how you’ve tackled them?
My biggest obstacles are usually internal, I can be my own worst enemy. For a while it was the thought that I’m not smart/pretty/original enough, then when I would succeed, I’d have fears that it was all going to come crashing down at any moment. I’m a highly sensitive person prone to over-thinking and anxiety, so that’s why exercise and yoga are so important for keeping me balanced. 

Have you ever thought you had everything planned, only for life to show you an alternative?
Absolutely! I thought I had landed my dream job when I was working at Google. I bought an apartment, bought a car, and was working in Career Development. And yet, something was missing from my life. I started to feel over-worked and unhappy. Little did I know that those feelings were planting the seeds for me to soon quit my job, rent out my house, and move across the country from San Francisco to New York to pursue the roller-coaster of self-employment. I left the corporate ladder and the “American Dream” I had created behind in order to live a life of freedom and spontaneity. 

Has there been a ‘defining moment’ that has changed your life/your view of life?  What has been the nudge in the right direction for you?
I had a terrible case of “book block” and even though I had a first draft of my book written in 2008, I couldn’t bear to look at it or see it to completion…for SIX months. I felt horrible – like I was watching my dream die on the vine. Then I decided to “act as if” and attend a local Speaker’s Association meeting. While there, I met Michael Larsen, the author of the book How to Write a Book Proposal, and he gave me his copy. I realized it was time to get back on the horse and at least TRY to pitch my book idea to literary agents and publishers. That set me on the course I’m on today, where my book eventually was published by Running Press (after 27 rejections from other publishers) in March of this year. I learned that when something is meant to be, spontaneity and opportunity WILL work in your favor, but only if you meet it halfway with your own conscious effort. 

If you were to look back and offer advice to yourself, what 3 pearls of wisdom would you share?
Don’t be so hard on yourself, and release judgment of others. 
Express gratitude often. 
Don’t sweat the small stuff. 

What book, piece of music, blog, quote or person inspires you the most?
Martha Beck is an author and one of my personal idols.  She wrote the books Finding Your Own North Star andSteering by Starlight, which I recommend to every single person I know! I love quotes too – one of my favorites is “action is the antidote to despair” (Joan Baez). 

Image: One

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