As well as working with female entrepreneurs to help them run their businesses more smoothly, Nikki also runs a blog called Mama’s In Business designed to help mamas navigate the technical aspects and how-to’s of business so they can create a life of more freedom. She recently hosted a fully live online conference specifically for mamapreneurs and brought together some amazing experts to help them progress with their business. Her goal was to make it easier than ever for mamas to network and grow their business without having to worry about childcare, travel or hotel arrangements!
Nikki Swindle // Pretty Geeky // Business Support // UK // 30s
What motivated & inspired you to start your business?
When I started my first business as a Fitness Professional back in 2007, becoming an entrepreneur was a total fluke! I was struggling to get regular paid work so I set up my own fitness sessions and my business was born. I inadvertently tapped into a need, I guess! I quickly became hooked on the freedom and flexibility being an entrepreneur gives me. I love to make the rules and I truly love being creative and making my own packages and products! Once I had my little girl in 2011 I began craving an online business to give me even more flexibility and the ability to work from anywhere. I put my corporate experience and the experience of my first business together and Virtually Angels was born. I now work from wherever I want and collaborate with fabulous female entrepreneurs all around the world. I love the freedom that running my business gives me!
What steps did you take to get things going in the beginning?
I devoured blogs that were going out of fashion, haha! Anywhere I could find help or tips, I would soak it up like a sponge. I very selectively invested in some coaching & training to get up and running and it was worth every penny. I don’t think I would have got going as quickly without it. I think having the courage to try something even if you have no idea whether it will work, is crucial – take the chance! I have never in any business made a formal business plan. I’ve always relied on ‘bootstrapping’ until I get some cash flow behind me – using low cost or free tools until I am in a position to commit to a regular monthly fee for a better service. The easiest way I found to get my first clients was through networking and connecting with people online. I just started making friends and sharing my knowledge and the enquiries and clients came pretty soon after that!
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
I wouldn’t say that any one strategy works better than another. I have always believed my success has come down to a combination of simple strategies working together. I would always encourage people to make sure, at a minimum, they:
– blog regularly (weekly or biweekly is my recommendation)
– build a list and email that list regularly to build a relationship
– network (whether online or offline)
– I never sent out special discounted offers or paid for Facebook ads for Virtual Assistance clients – it has always come from building relationships and offering value to people by sharing my knowledge. There are so many more things you can, do but these 3 would always be my starting point.
What challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?
Maintaining boundaries for sure! I find it so easy to get overwhelmed with work and be working constantly OR get so absorbed in one particular project that the rest of my business suffers or gets behind. To combat this I have a weekly schedule that has a time slot for everything and I spend that time slot working on that particular task – when the times up, I move on. This way I can make sure that everything keeps ticking along in my business nicely :)
Can you tell us about any habits you have/things you do, which set up success every day?
I like to do EFT every single day to clear resistance and blocks. It has been so helpful for helping me to break through my limitations. I also like to read educational blogs or learn something new every day that I can apply to my life or business.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Just get out there and do it! Don’t let others’ ideas of how it *should* be done stop you. It’s your business and you make the rules! Follow your own path :)
When I face a big challenge, I…
chunk it down to make it easier to deal with.
The most courageous thing I’ve ever done as an entrepreneur is…
set up an online live business conference with no idea what I was doing!
If I could go back in time to when I started my business I would tell myself…
forget everyone else! Run your own race!
The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is…
don’t try to be everything to everyone. You’ll never win.
My favourite business tool/resource/book/podcast is…
My favourite book is The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy – amazing read!
My favourite quote is…
“If things go wrong, don’t go with them.” – Elvis Presley