Do you use the power of Storytelling in your business?
Have you heard about the power of storytelling in business but wonder how to use it successfully? If so you’ll love this episode as my guest today shares her tips and waaaaay more.
Now, if I was going to bake something with today’s guest as the ingredients, the recipe would be pretty impressive! From discovering her passion for storytelling and presenting at just six years old to reading the news for Chris Moyles and Sarah Cox on Radio 1, interviewing celebrities on the red carpet on BBC3, heading up PR for three TV channels at UKTV, starting not one but two businesses and writing FOUR successful children’s books, Nicola Rowley’s journey is inspiring for sure. But it also has a single theme running through it: Storytelling.
In our interview today, Nicola shares her tips for balancing work and motherhood, the importance of being visible for your audience, how to get started with PR for your business, leading with service rather than selling, and ultimately how to harness your zone of genius in a variety of ways to create multiple income streams and a life you love.
JUMP OVER TO MY INSTAGRAM PAGE & TELL ME: what’s one action you’re going to take from listening to this episode?
Links mentioned in this episode:
- Nicola’s website
- Nicola’s photography business
- Mug the Wumph the dancing wizard and website
- Follow Nicola on Facebook here
- The Communications Community
- Working Mum Association
- James Wedmore
- The Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs
- Start YOUR own podcast with podcasting course for business owners: Practical Podcasting for Beginners
Want to listen to more episodes? You’ll find them all here
Michelle (00:00): You're listening to the Ideal Life club podcast, episode 64. And if you've heard about the power of storytelling in business, but wonder how to use it successfully. If so, you will love this episode. As my guest today shares her tips and way more, let's go
Intro (00:19): Welcome to the ideal life club podcast, where it's all about. Fast-tracking your ideal business and life with more clarity, courage, and consistency. Join your host business coach and author of the happiness habits, transformation Michelle Reeves for inspiration interviews and practical tips to finally claim success on your terms.
Michelle (00:45): Hey there, friends, Michelle here and welcome back to the show. Now, if I was going to bake something with today's guest as the ingredients, the recipe would be pretty impressive from discovering her passion for storytelling and presenting at just six years old to reading for Chris Moyles and Sarah Cox on radio one, interviewing celebrities on the red carpet on BBC three, heading up PR for three TV channels at UK TV starting not one but two businesses and writing for successful children's books. Nicola Rowley's journey is inspiring for sure, but it also has a single theme running through it. Storytelling in our interview today, Nicola shares her top tips for balancing work and motherhood. The importance of being visible for your audience, how to get started with PR for your business, leading with service rather than selling, and ultimately how to harness your zone of genius in a variety of ways to create multiple income streams and a life you love.
Michelle (01:51): But before we get started, have you ever wondered what it might be like to have a podcast just like this one to promote your business? If you have, you might have put it off because you're not sure how to get started. If that resonates with you. Then my online program, practical podcasting for beginners is for you. In fact, we've already seen one of our very special students launch into the top 100 on iTunes in her niche with step-by-step videos, covering all aspects of creating and launching your first podcast, plus access to me for help and support when you need it. Even if technology isn't your BFF. Yep. I see. And I've totally got your back on that one. So what could a podcast do for your business? Find out more and get started firstname.lastname@example.org forward slash podcast course. Okay. Back to today's show, uh, my chat with Nicola.
Michelle (02:56): So I am super delighted state to be joined by Nicola Rowley. Nicola has had such an incredible journey to where she is today, but without further ado, I'm going to let her tell you all about that because it has been an up and down journey for short. So Nicola is amazing to have you on the show today. Thanks so much for joining us.
Nicola (03:17): Well, thank you for having me on.
Michelle (03:19): And so let's, let's dive straight in because I really want to get into this in sort of the, you know, the PR business that you've launched and everything else that you've done, but take us back to the beginning. So kind of, how did you get to where you are now from where you started?
Nicola (03:36): So, uh, if we go right, right back to the very beginning, I was six years old. And um, I remember sitting down in my classroom and I remember it like it was yesterday. This is the really strange thing about this. And our teacher said to us, I want you to write your first ever story. And I remember sitting there and something happened in that moment. I wrote a story about a cat, a witch in a spaceship, but I just did not want to stop writing and, you know, break time came. I carried on. I asked the teacher if she wouldn't mind, if I carried on writing, she said, Nope, carry on writing. She'd never seen anything like this and that by the time I'd finished, the story was more than a thousand words long. Wow. And I think it's one of those things that, um, obviously it's quite unusual to have a six year old writing that much.
Nicola (04:29): Um, so they said to me, well, would you like to, uh, read your story out in front of the whole school at assembly? Um, and I was like, yeah, great. Um, and I stood up and I gave everyone my, kind of my, my story. Um, and that was it really, I think first, first two loves number one, writing and number two, um, being able to present some fast forward quite a few years. And I already knew that because of the way that writing makes me feel I wanted to become a journalist. So I trained to become a journalist. Um, and, but while I was at university studying for my degree in journalism, I basically discovered broadcasting and fell in love with broadcasting. So my first ever job was as a radio news reader, a local radio station in Elsbury. Um, and then I progressed all the way up.
Nicola (05:26): I was reading the news on radio one for Chris Moyles and Sarah Cox, uh, radio five live, um, wanted to be on television. So I moved across to the BBC news channel. I was there for several years, both reporting and producing, understanding television inside out. Um, and by the time I left the BBC, I was their entertainment reporter for BBC three. And it was a brilliant job, but I just couldn't see me standing on a red carpet interviewing celebrities in fifties. And I was just like, yeah, I'm not sure how much longevity this role will actually have. So I wanted to build up my skillset and it felt the PR was that little bit more creative than what I'd been doing. So I moved across, worked on some enormous campaigns, um, helped the agency that I moved across to, to win loads and loads of awards.
Nicola (06:22): Um, and my main client at the time noticed me. Um, and I think like my job interview for that role was, Oh my gosh, I've got a job. Oh my gosh, it's yours. And it literally went like that. And the next minute I was doing a maternity cover, which turned into six years. Um, and six years at UK TV turned into looking after six TV channels, uh, six of their main TV channels. Um, and then my, uh, little boy came along and he took his time, bless him. He didn't come along till I was 40. Um, and during all of this time, I'd felt like something was missing, but I still couldn't quite put my finger on it. Um, I'd launched a photography business, which was going well. Um, but again, although it was really good in terms of the creativity, it just, there was something that was holding me back.
Nicola (07:17): Um, and while I was on maternity leave, uh, I kind of just thought, right, this is it. You've got to bite the bullet. You've got to write a book. This is your only chance to be able to sit there and dedicate the time to it, especially during nap times and everything else. Um, and I did sit down and write a book, but it wasn't the kind of book that I thought I was going to write. I actually wrote a children's book. And the reason that I wrote a children's book was because when my son was about three months old, um, we'd taken him swimming. And there was a little girl that was lying next to him as we were getting them changed afterwards. And she was crying her eyes out and she just could not stop crying. And her mum was trying to console her.
Nicola (07:58): And it just, it was just not working. And James, my little boy instinctively reached out his hand, held her hand and just gave her the biggest smile ever. Now, at this point, it didn't have any teeth. It was very gummy and all the rest of it, but she instantly stopped crying and smile back. And in that instant, I just kind of thought, well, that's number one. That was incredible. Well done, James. Uh, but number two, wouldn't it be amazing to have a character in a book who through small acts of kindness can actually spread happiness? Um, so just something as simple as a smile, and that's how my first children's picture book began. Uh, so it was James and the amazing gift. Um, and I bought it out. I self published it. Um, and I, while I was doing all of that, um, in between all of this going on, let me like writing the story.
Nicola (08:56): I did actually leave it on the computer for about six months now in that six month period, what had actually happened was I'd returned to my former role. And I struggled. I mean, there's, there's no other way about it. I'm sure a lot of your listeners, Michelle will understand this, especially if they're, you know, they're new to being a mum, but I really, really struggled. I couldn't get my head around the fact that I was going to only see my little boy for half an hour a day. And, and it was like Monday to Friday, half an hour a day. And that was it. And I was just like this, isn't why I became a mom just to spend hours commuting coming back. You know, I previously loved my job, but I had really bad separation anxiety from him. And it, it led me to go down on quite a downward spiral.
Nicola (09:49): And I think looking back, I probably did have postnatal depression, although it was just one of those things. I think a lot of people did see, and they did question whether or not I did have postnatal depression, but nothing ever really happened about it. Um, and so what consequently happened was I started looking for ways out because I was just like, I can't carry on like this. I know that actually, if I do carry on the way I am, I am literally at rock bottom. And I was pretty much at that stage when an opportunity came up for me to take redundancy. So I took it and then I really watched my mindset and over the next kind of two or three months, I worked solidly on my mindset. And this is so, so important. So for anyone listening to this, like my number one thing that I would always say to you is work on your mindset.
Nicola (10:46): Number one, absolutely. And try and get yourself to a place where you're looking for the positives. You're not just focusing on what you don't want, focus on what you do want, what do you want the outcome to be? How do you want your dream life to actually feel? And I spent a long time doing all of this, and I reached the conclusion that because I just returned from maternity leave. I felt like I hadn't really finished my kind of corporate career as it was. I felt like there were maybe one or two extra chapters still to run. Um, and I ended up going back to, um, the BBC, but I worked in, uh, publicity, but I worked on a maternity cover contract. And that for me was enough for me to, to be able to just really, I guess it was just, I knew there was an end in sight.
Nicola (11:38): Um, and there were a bit more flexible in terms of hours. I could work one day a week from home. Um, everything just, it kind of felt a lot better. Um, and I felt like I was there. I was being able to see my son a little bit more. It just, it felt like it wasn't quite so, uh, as difficult as it happened, should we say when I first returned to work full time. Um, and when that, uh, time was up, I decided, um, right. Okay. So by this point I brought out James and the amazing gift and I was debating about what to do about my next children's book, um, because James and the amazing gift of done so well, and I'd had celebrities raving about it, and I've been in woman and home magazine in the UK, and I've been in the daily mirror, which is like a national newspaper over here.
Nicola (12:31): And, um, everyone was talking about it and everyone was getting really excited about it. I mean, they were like, well, what's next? And, um, I basically made a connection while I was at, uh, BBC, um, worldwide does, it was then. And they introduced me to the amazing, um, dr. Ranch, who was like a TV, um, doctor, um, strictly come dancing this morning and he does a few other consumer type shows. Um, and dr. Rhonda actually came on board for my second book, um, James and the birthday balloon. And he directed the audio book for me as well, which was an amazing COO at the time because his star at that point was really on the rise and even more so now he's very, very well known now. Um, and so that was, that was like amazing. I had all of this and I actually, after I left the BBC and my contract came to an end, I decided I was going to write my third children's book and I was going to take six weeks off and I was going to write solidly for five hours a day.
Nicola (13:39): Um, and that's exactly what I did. Um, so I sat there writing Mug the Wumph the dancing wizard and it, yeah. And I finished the book and when I got to the end of that time, um, a very fortuitous phone call came in, which was, um, my friend. And she said, listen, can you come down and cover, um, the X factor auditions for me? Um, and she was the head of PR at Thorpe park. They were having the expert to come down to do the auditions at the park. So I was like, okay, brilliant. You know, fantastic. Like, you know, we can, I could do this on a freelance basis. This is really good. Um, I walked in there and there's something magical about Thorpe park. It's a, it's a theme park where I was really special about working there for that weekend. And I'd been working till two o'clock in the morning and things like that and pulling really, really long hours, but the team on the ground, it just so amazing that it all just worked and it was hard work, but it was really fun work as well.
Nicola (14:43): Um, and so what happened was, um, Haley had actually, she was leaving and they approached me and they said, look, you've got on so well with the rest of the team, would you like to come in as our head of PR? And of course I jumped at it. It was, it was basically half an hour from home. I could work four days a week, eight till four. And so what I'd actually done, and this is what I would always, always recommend anyone doing. If you are looking to leave a job, you're looking to set up by yourself, plan out exactly what you want your life to look like. That is the most important thing that I can say to you. So that is a brilliant tip. Just plan out exactly how you want it to be, because what I've done is I'd gone from working full time, full time hours, Monday to Friday at killing me.
Nicola (15:38): Like he just did not work on any level. I then went to somewhere where I was on, um, a maternity cover contract. So we knew there was an end in sight. Um, but it was more flexible in terms of the hours. So I was working better hours. Plus I could work one day a week from home to moving all the way away from scrapping a commute, just, just literally half an hour down the road, four days a week, and working the hours that would work for me. So I take, I was taking almost like baby steps to get myself where I needed to be. Um, and I loved my year working there. It was phenomenal. And I oversaw fright nights, which was their biggest, um, their biggest one and the theme parks history, and just completely developed, launched new rides. And goodness knows what else during the time that I was there.
Nicola (16:32): Um, and, but I also knew and everything, this was all completely strategically planned out. My little boy was turning four in the August. So August, 2018, he was turning four and in the September he was starting school. So he would have been in reception. Now, a lot of people might've been just kind of like, right, fine start reception. I'll carry on trying to work the corporate job at the same time and I'll do the juggle. But because he was really little, my feeling was always that actually I want to be there. I want to be the mom on the school Gates for that first year, at least, and see how it works, whether it works me what I need to do and everything else. So as much as I love thought park, I also knew that it was only for a year, but what I found was I got to January, 2019, and I thought at that time, right, I'm going to literally, I'm going to supersize my photography business and I'm going to start bringing in even more weddings.
Nicola (17:38): I've got to January, 2019, and I had eight weddings booked in. And I knew that if I was going to be able to leave, I needed to have my notice in on the 31st of May. So by the 31st of May, I needed to have at least 22 weddings. And so between January and may, I became completely laser-focused and the opportunities that came up I've followed them. I made connections. I did shoot. So I did all of this kind of stuff. And it was all going on in my spare time or what little spare time I did have. And, um, I said, the books kind of got, um, just a little bit shelved for that time while I was doing all of this, because I thought it was the best way to do it. Um, so it was doing a lot of weddings as well. I was photographing a lot of weddings.
Nicola (18:29): I was also trying to do some writing, but so it did mean that I was doing really, really long hours. I was waking up sometimes at 4:00 AM in the morning to do some writing, to get that done before went to work. I do a day's work. I'd come home, play with my little boy, spend some time with him, and then I'd be sitting there editing weddings, um, to get everything sorted. And I did outsource a lot of stuff as well, which is another really, really key tip to pass on. If you're starting a business outsource before you're even ready to outsource, because it's so important in terms of your growth and being able to expand, um, anywhere I worked really, really hard and actually by the eight pro 2019, I had 25 weddings booked in. I'd never had that many before. I'd never really fully concentrated on the photography business quite in that way, but I knew that I had this end goal.
Nicola (19:27): And this is the thing about goals. If you set yourself a goal, make sure that it is time specific. This is not just a kind of a woolly, Oh, you know, I want to lose 10 pounds. Okay. But by when you, because that way you've got a timeframe that you can actually stick to. And so I knew that if I was going to do everything that I had to be handing in my notice on the 31st of May, so that my final day at thought part would be on the 31st of August. And that's exactly what I did. Um, and I left, um, knowing as well, which was really good thing. It was nice to have a little bit of a backup plan as well. I was going to be, um, freelancing forethought part for a couple of months afterwards. So I had a little bit of a buffer.
Nicola (20:15): Um, and in between all of there, someone else approached me about PR and said, could you please, um, work for me in my agency for, you know, three days a week and I'll pay you, you know, you're going day rate and everything else. And that worked really, really well as well. So I was kind of combining working for thought park, combining working for this lady. It was quite full on and quite busy, but you know, it was great. All the money was coming in and everything was good. And then literally on the 31st of October, um, of that year, 2018, literally, um, a lady rang me and she said, Oh, I can't, I can't pay you anymore. I can't afford to pay you anymore from next week. And I was like, Oh, but 31st of October was the day that I finished working at port park as well. So I'd gone from having everything and thinking, gosh, this is amazing to literally having the rug pulled from underneath my feet and not knowing what was coming next.
Nicola (21:14): Now, thankfully, I've been living off the money that she'd been giving me. And so all the money from thought park was quite, I'm just so thankful that, that, that was just sat there in a nice little pot to get me through the next few months. Um, and then a business coach said to me, my business coach at the time said to me, well, why don't you set up by yourself? I mean, you're kind of working by yourself anyway, you were freelancing for them and you were freelancing for her. So you're kind of working by yourself. You just need to get yourself some different clients, not like not the clients that you were working with. And I was like, Oh, okay. Um, and then started thinking about, you know, who I, um, really understand and who I really admire. And it's female entrepreneurs. It's the ones that are doing the juggle, the ones that are running their businesses.
Nicola (22:08): It's the ones that are just getting there, but are looking to increase that visibility. And as part of that, they're looking to really understand how to do PR so they can go off and do it themselves, or get me to help them with it, but also understand their story. And through all of this, it dawned on me that throughout absolutely everything from right from the age of six, all the way through to being a journalist all the way through to photographing weddings and, you know, special events and everything else, all the way through to all the PR side of things, it's always been about storytelling. So there's, it might be visual storytelling. It might be actual storytelling in terms of the books, but it's storytelling. Um, the one other thing that I should mention as well is the, in between all of this, I actually launched the working mum association as well.
Nicola (23:06): Um, and the working moms association came from me feeling when I'd gone back to that first role, um, full time, how I just hadn't felt supported and how I felt really alone. And I think it's a, it's a difficult time for a lot of moms when you walk back into that job straight away after having a baby. Um, and I, I took a full year off, but I still struggled with going back and everyone, everyone feels it in, in a different kind of way. I mean, just the other day in the working mom association group, there was a lady who was talking about the fact that she's had a baby four months ago and she's looking to go back, but she's getting really upset about going back. Um, so everyone was trying to come on board and trying to help her with advice about, you know, you have to do what's right for you.
Nicola (24:00): Um, and my advice to anyone that if you find yourself in a situation, no matter what it is, it could involve a child. It might not do whatever situation you're in. You absolutely have options. Don't please don't feel like you have no where to go. You absolutely have options. You just have to work out what those options look like. Um, and brilliant starting point again, always think about that end point. So always think about what you want your dream life to look like. And, you know, as it turned out with the photography side of things, I've scaled that right back. Because what I found was happening is little one was at school Monday to Friday, and then I'm all photographing weddings on a Saturday. Well, if I'm off every single weekend, then I'm missing out on my quality time with him. So I just scaled back in terms of the number that I do.
Nicola (24:56): And now I probably do about five or six a year. Um, but I make sure that they're the ideal clients that I really, really want to work with. Um, and so, yeah, and so from all of that, my communications agency, um, was born and I now run it today and I help female entrepreneurs and brands in the leisure and entertainment industry. But as well as all of that, I still do all the school visits with my books. And, um, I've just brought out my latest book, Mike, the wants, the dancing wizards. So it's been a busy, old time. I think that's probably a very long winded answer to your first question.
Michelle (25:38): No, it's, I, I just had to sit back and absorb, but your journey Nicola, because, and I know anybody listening to this is going to be just sitting there with their mouth wide open because it's, you know, a lot of us have had, uh, you know, an interesting journey for you to where we are today.
Michelle (25:56): But my goodness you're started at six years old, went by the BBC and the red carpet, three writing books, starting your own photography business, working for Thorpe park, my goodness, me. I mean, you couldn't have had a more kind of varied journey to where you are now, but I love how, you know, the theme is there. You're right. It's all about storytelling. It's all about how you, um, your, your kind of zone of genius, if you like of creating a story that sells.
Nicola (26:26): Yeah. Completely. And it's, what's really interesting. And I found this more and more. I think, you know, my, my ideal absolute dream is to be able to just spend hours every day writing. Now I'm not a hundred percent there yet because it takes quite a lot to become like that all you do day in, day out. And it's nice. I like having variety as well.
Nicola (26:52): I think it's really good to have a different income streams as well, so that you're not reliant on just one thing. And I think for me more than anything else, I think locked down has proved how important that actually is for a lot of people not to be reliant just on one income stream. Um, so for me, I have a large corporate client that I work with that I've been working with throughout some of mine, my one-to-one clients where they are female entrepreneurs themselves, and they might have seen a bit of a downturn in their business over this, these last few months. Um, I've been fine to stay to them. We'll pick up when you can. And that has enabled me to then also manage the homeschooling and doing all of the other bits and pieces. And, um, obviously with the photography that has completely not happened at all, but I've been really lucky because I think I've chosen the right clients.
Nicola (27:53): They all agreed to pay me for this year. Um, but they're postpone for next. So the money's still been coming in, but it's like an obviously next year, then I'll be doing those weddings, but it's just worked really well. Um, but I do think that because I planned it in such a way that I wasn't always relying on one source of income, it has meant that I've been able to ride the storm a lot more easily.
Michelle (28:23): I think that's something that as you say, as, you know, come home to a lot of people during this time is how easy it is for the rug to be completely pulled out from under you. And I certainly know, um, members of the ideal life club, Facebook group, we've been chatting about this and you know, some of my clients as well, I've helped to bring them online from their offline businesses.
Michelle (28:46): So we've got people in the group who are, um, one to one personal trainers, for example, well, that business completely stopped during lockdown. And another business that I've been working with, um, has classes that were running sort of face to face with children. And again, you know, that all had to stop completely. So it was a huge steep learning curve for so many people. I think having to understand new technology bring their businesses online, but it really has kind of emphasized to people. I think that key thing about having more than one stream of income and it doesn't have to be, you know, it doesn't have to be that you create a whole new business. It might just be that you add another string to your business, both. So for example, doing an online course, taking what you were learning, creating an online course, that can be passive income for you. Like you say, you know, writing a book cause I've done it as well. So I love that, um, that this, you know, the whole idea of having, um, diversified income. And you'd certainly, you're a good example of how that's worked.
Nicola (29:50): Definitely. And I think, I mean, in terms of the children's books, cause a lot of people, they think that they want to write a children's book and everyone gets really excited about it. And then they're kind of like, right. So I brought out a children's book and you're saying, okay, well how did that do? And then they'll be like, well, it's available for sale on Amazon, but they haven't actually really thought it through. So something like a children's book, you need to look at everything like a business. So understand how you can actually bring in revenue through doing this. And when I first started out with the books, yeah, I didn't, I didn't have any contacts with the local water stations or the local schools or anything else. But over the years through building relationships with people, through talking to people, through putting myself out there and getting visible, what I've been able to do is while we've had locked down, I've been recording video, like messages of me actually reading the first chapter of my book.
Nicola (30:53): And then the schools are taking those and putting them up onto their YouTube channels that are then shared with the rest of the school, with the parents. And then you're able to start building it out. So yes, I haven't been able to physically go into schools and do the visits and do all the inspirational talks I love to do with the kids. Um, but I've been able to reach them in a different way. And I actually made the decision to bring forward the launch of MACC, the one with the dots, he wears it because I just realized that there was year one and year six, we're going back to school, but there were an awful lot of children between the ages of seven and 11 that were just still at home with their parents. And, you know, trying to make sense of what on earth was going on, not seeing their friends and everything else.
Nicola (31:42): And I just wanted to be able to give them an adventure and just being able to transport them to a completely different magical world. Um, so it was, it was like thinking as well with my business hat on. Um, okay. I know that we're going into lockdown. What is it that I can do to help others? You know, a lot of the stuff that I do does come from a place of wanting to be able to help others. And I think if you operate from that place, whether you, whether you think about it or otherwise it actually, it, it does pay back. Um, so what I started doing was, um, free story time sessions. And I did those on a daily basis when we started lockdown. So when the school has been, I was doing daily story time sessions so that people would like parents had a little bit of a breather.
Nicola (32:34): Children had a place that they could go on a regular basis if they wanted to. Um, and everyone loved it. And I think it created a bit of a buzz. So then when I came to launch the book, cause I just thought, actually, I'm just going to bring it out earlier to help them a little bit more. It was just an, a natural, easy progression.
Michelle (32:53): And, and you know, we've seen this again and again, have any, and it just, you know, for everyone listening, it's such a great tip. There operate from a place of helping others, you know, give the value that you want to get because it will come back to you. I mean, all you have to do is look at the Joe wicks workouts on YouTube and see how crazy they went. They were all completely free, but you, my goodness, I'm sure the sales of his books that had nothing to do with YouTube workouts have gone through the roof because a lot of putting yourself out there and being visible in terms of giving value is still great PR for your business is still putting you out there. It's still getting you known and making your name, um, you know, more known in the marketplace for what, for what you do. So really great tip there, you know, and think about in your businesses, how can you add value to people? What is it that you can do that, that gives back and allows people to overcome a challenge because then you start to become the goatee person for whatever it is that you're offering. Is that, would you agree, Nicola?
Nicola (33:57): Oh, completely. I mean, you hit the, the nail completely on the head there in terms of, you know, what, what Joe Wicks did. I mean, it was incredibly clever. They announced it just before everyone went into lockdown. When everyone's thinking like, there are all these parents up and down the country going, we don't know what we're going to do. How are we going to cope? Great, thank you, Joe wicks, because he became the savior of the mornings. It was like great. At nine o'clock we've got Joe wicks. So you had a little bit of structure to the day, even if the rest of it all, when Pete Tong, you had a brilliant start to the day. Um, thanks to Joe. And I think it absolutely is about, you know, what the genius of doing that and it's part and parcel. We, you know, he announced that he was doing his keep fit sessions. I announced I was doing my storytelling sessions on exactly the same day without me knowing what he was doing or, you know, um, but basically what it did was just giving back and it does make a massive difference. Now I get people coming to me saying you were the lady that was doing the storytelling sessions during lockdown and for him on a much, much bigger scale, he'll be getting more opportunities because he will have grown his audience.
Nicola (35:16): He will have increased his fan base. He maintained visibility throughout this whole time. And when I was saying to all of my clients throughout lockdown, it was so important to remain visible and not hide away. I think sometimes it's business owners, something like knocked out could be presented to you and you're like, you might not know how to handle it, but actually it's not a bad thing to just, you know, go live on your Facebook page and just say, we're in this together. I'm going to remain visible. I'm here for you no matter what, um, and just be there. And, um, I know a number of my, um, uh, entrepreneur, friends, they all staged summits or online launches, people were launching and they were doing spectacularly well. Um, and that's because I think they had an offering that was gonna work really well for the audience that, that previously nurtured.
Nicola (36:18): But also people were desperate to have something to focus on on a regular basis. They wanted to learn a new skill. They wanted to, you know, really improve themselves in some shape or form. And I definitely think for me like the focus of having every day Storytime sessions at 11 o'clock, it made a massive difference to my wellbeing as well. And, and I, you know, I think it was that whole kind of thing you knew you had to get up. You had a reason to be there all the time, because you had to, you couldn't let down those five people that were watching you from all over the UK, there was, you know, people tuning in from Norfolk and Wales and wherever else they were tuning in from, you had to be there. Um, and it's, it's so important to have had that focus, but constantly think about your visibility, think about how people can find you, how they can hear your message and what you have to say.
Nicola (37:16): And a lot of this, when it comes down to PR it's all about storytelling and not selling. So don't think about, Oh great, I've got a new course coming out. So I want to go out there. And I want to tell everyone that I've got this new course coming out. No, one's going to be interested in that. Well, they want to hear is a story about you. What's your journey been? Like? What, how have you got from where you were to, to where you are exactly how we're doing with this interview? You know, where did I go from and where did I, where have I ended up? And I think that's far more interest to people because then they could see how they might be able to relate to it. They can see how, you know, someone's done something. There might be a nugget of truth in there somewhere that might really resonate with them.
Nicola (38:06): And that's how PR works best it's stories. And there are so many stories. We all have so many stories that we carry around with us, but we just don't think about, um, but actually those stories are incredible value to your audience. They're incredible value to the people that you're looking to reach. And I often say like a lot of people are quite nervous about PR. They're not sure how to do it, or what's best or how to step out of their own way when it comes to PR. And I often say that actually the best thing to do is not think about it as being about you. And that sounds like a very strange thing to say, but actually what you're doing is to help someone else is to help your ideal client be able to solve a problem for themselves. Now, if that involves you talking about how, like with me, I hit rock bottom, but then I worked on my mindset so much that I knew what my purpose was in terms of helping to inspire children, um, through my books, with a love of reading, writing, and also being there to support working moms, um, and globally.
Nicola (39:23): And then that led to the creation of the working moms association. So really thinking about how everything pays back and take people on that journey with you, because that messaging that you're talking about will, somewhere along the line, inspire someone to take action in our own lives or to change something, or maybe they'll want to work with you more. You never know. Um, but you have to think about it. It it's always like if you have a gift, you have to pass it on to someone else and that's what PR can do.
Michelle (39:59): Oh, what a great way of describing PR. And I love that because I hear this quite a lot actually from, from the clients that I work with, it's either fear of public relations, PR or fear of going live on Facebook, going live on Instagram and using social media, which and both of these things are really just a tool in our marketing toolkit, aren't they, it's all about how we are really crystal clear about who we're trying to, um, to, to work with who's our ideal client and what challenges do we help them overcome. And I think, I guess we know in terms of how we think about creating our story and what our story is, would that be a good place for people to start?
Nicola (40:40): I think probably the best thing to do is when you start out and you're thinking, right, okay, where am I even going to find my story? How, how am I going to be able to do this and find that story that's actually going to appeal to the media is to sit down and list out. All of the things that you've done is to sit down and really think about why you've started your business or why you're doing what you do. And then from there start building it up. Quite often. I, I do strategy sessions for my clients whereby I sat and I listened to them and I asked them loads and loads and loads of questions. And then afterwards I go away and I write their stories for them. And, um, on one occasion I had this lady, um, we were doing her session and we got to about two minutes near the end and about 90 minutes long. And about two minutes from the end of her session, um, she started talking about her radio station, um, that she, so she brought concert every Monday to Thursday, live from her radio station in her converted garish. And I was like, no, no, no, hang on a second. You, we have talked about all kinds of things. We've talked about your business. We've talked about the fact that you organize all these enormous events, um, for gospel singers and people fly in from all over the world, but this, what is the radio station?
Nicola (42:08): And she said, Oh, you know, yeah. So, you know, I've got 10,000 listeners and I was like, and how much did it cost you to convert your garish? And she said, Oh, thousands. And that was like, seriously. And you know that if someone has spent thousands converting their galleries, they've done it properly. So I said, well, could you just send me a picture of what this, what it all looks and she did? And I could tell because obviously my background is radio. I could tell she had all the proper soundproofing, she had the right kit, everything. Um, and it was phenomenal, but she didn't even think to tell me. And sometimes we can overlook the things that are the most important thing. Now she broadcasts Monday to Thursday for an hour every day. Um, she now has 14, 15,000 listeners that tune in, and what she does is she gives positive messages to help people start their days in the right way.
Nicola (43:02): I mean, what an amazing thing to do, but she didn't think that that was actually of interest at all. She just thought, that's what I do. And I think sometimes we can get a bit caught up in not realizing how extraordinary we all are and how we all have amazing skills and stories to tell. It's almost like sometimes we just need to unscramble them and unpick them. And you know, if you are getting stuck with this, then, um, I mean, yes, by all means you can go to a professional to help you unpack it all, but also ask your friends and family, those who know you the best and just say, what are the top three top four things that you think about when you think of me, because that might help in terms of kind of like the, the thought process for you to start being able to pull together your story in that way.
Nicola (43:54): But the media loves the journey. So always, always remember that the media loves the journey. So if you've gone from being 30,000 pounds in debt to becoming a millionaire within the space of three years, they're going to love that story because everyone wants to know how to do that, right? Or they're going to love the fact that, you know, I had a client that she had a five hour Packers, but in order to get her out Packers, her dream began when she tracked the Inca trail in Peru. But then she exact case I was describing to you earlier. She put a plan in place. She saved, she found a way with her husband to be able to buy a new house, uh, with enough land for the owl Packers. And it was very intentional. So by the time, you know, she starts talking about the fact that we've got five hour Packers in my field, out the back, and I can see them while I'm working as a financial advisor from my office at the bottom of my garden, while she's talking about this, that's her story. That's an amazing story. And it all began at that moment on the Inca trail, in Peru.
Michelle (45:02): Wow. That's an amazing story actually.
Nicola (45:05): And the, but everyone has a starting point. Everyone has that kind of moment. And whether I like when I'm telling my story, whether I actually say, I start at the age of six, or I start at the point where I literally hit rock bottom, and then I built myself back up, it's entirely up to you, how you present your story. And that's what you have to always remember as well. So don't feel like you have to give everything away, Watson all. And, Oh my gosh, there are some things that I don't want to talk about. Don't talk about them. You absolutely are in control of this. And I think sometimes people talk to journalists and they feel like they have to tell them their life history. And then they, they wonder why potentially they come unstuck. Um, the, the way around it is to only give away what you want to give away.
Nicola (45:57): And if you know that there are key points that you don't want to say to a journalist, write them down and put a big, no above them. So you, you actually stop yourself from actually telling a journalist this, um, and that's advice from actual journalists because they've seen what has happened to people where they just feel like the need to spill the beans and say everything because, you know, how often do we actually get to talk about ourselves and just ourselves, quite often, we're talking about other people or we're doing things with others. And it's quite rare to actually talk about ourselves. So really focus on what you do want to say. And if it, you know, the other thing to say about your story, if it involves someone else and you haven't cleared it with them, that they going to be talked about, don't put them in because you will run into so many issues further down the line. Um, and you don't want to affect relationships with your family, your friends, all of that kind of stuff. It's just not worth it. Um, so yeah, it's really worth, um, just taking the time to really think through your story because it is so, so important.
Michelle (47:10): We really super tips there. Why would love to know you are clearly so, so busy running, you know, more than, than one business effectively, you know, you've obviously scaled back your photography business, but you're still doing photography. You've got your communications business, you're still writing books. So what daily habits and practices have you got, make sure that you can maintain your energy, manage some time for yourself? How do you keep your energy levels up?
Nicola (47:37): I think my number one thing that I do every morning without fail is a half a pint of water. And I've started making not quite a warm pint of water because apparently that kickstart your metabolism as well. Um, so that's my absolute GoTo. So if you manage one thing, manage that, um, I am a big fan of podcasts. I love listening to podcasts, but I also love to read as well. And I think anyone that's a writer or who enjoys writing, you should always immerse yourself in it, in as many books as possible. And that includes children's books as much as, you know, business books or fiction books, um, for pure escapism. So, um, I like to do that. And I also like to really journal to me, being able to write is a real, it's a real release. So every morning I try and journal as much as possible.
Nicola (48:41): Um, just to have that kind of, you know, even if it's just for 10, 15 minutes, it's my special me-time. Um, and I zealously guard it because if you don't, it's a bit of a slippery slope. It's like anything. I think if you get into a bit of a habit of doing something, it just, you it's much easier to maintain. Um, I used to be really, really good and I used to also do lots of stretching and exercises and everything else. First thing in the morning, I like get up even earlier. Um, then I knew my little boy would be getting up and then I do all the stretching and the water and the journaling and everything. I not brilliant right now with the exercising, but I do want to get back into it. So it is something that I'm going to bring back in. Um, definitely because I, I love that whole, the moment before anyone else gets up in the house, it's such a special time. It really is. It's precious. So it's like hanging on to it before the kind of craziness of the day begins. It's it's your time. And I think for me, it's, that's the best time that I have.
Michelle (49:54): Oh, 100%. I agree with you. I, I jealously guard that morning time as well. I was up feeding our four Indian Runner Ducks this morning, outside in the garden at six o'clock and just being alone with no demands. Other than those that I put on myself, it is a really, really special time to just be with yourself and be with your thoughts. And, and I think, you know, collect yourself before the day begins almost, you know, sets yourself up for the day because you know, running a business, a parent, you know, all the demands that you have on your time, just having that little bit of space for yourself, it can be quite hard getting up. It's easier this time of year. I can tell you than it is in the winter though. Nicola one, one last question from you. Um, you, you inspire so many with everything that you do. I know, especially the children that reading your fantastic children's books, but who inspires you?
Nicola (50:53): Um, I definitely, I absolutely adore Hal Elrod and the miracle morning for me was an absolute game changer. And I discovered that while I was doing my very, very long commutes when I went back to working, um, at PR with BBC. Um, and so I'd be, um, doing these hour and a half commute, one way, hour and a half commute, the other. And I, I literally devoured the miracle morning and I think for me, I was still working on my mindset at that time and it cemented everything and just so much of what he says makes sense.
Nicola (51:32): Um, and there's another book that he's just brought out and I think it's called something, something equation. Um, but it's, it's again, I've started reading it. I need to read it again, cause I've had to take a pause from it, but I'm going to go back and repeat it from the beginning because it just like, there's so many things or like light bulb moments that go off when I'm reading his books. Um, the other book that I really really loved was, um, Carrie green, she means business. Um, and I, I think for me what happened with that book was it just, it found me at the right time and it found me at the point where I was thinking about starting the working mom association. And I was thinking, well, how on earth am I going to do this? I have no idea. And actually like, because it was so step by step, it made it so much easier to do it.
Nicola (52:28): Um, in kind of like bite sized bits, really. I could work out how I could pull it all together. So that was the other one for me. I loved James Wedmore. I'm a massive James Wedmore fan. Um, and, um, unfortunate enough to have an amazing business coach called Lisa Johnson as well.
Michelle (52:48): Oh, I know Lisa well, she's been on show, isn't she fantastic. Absolutely. She's amazing.
Nicola (52:55): So Lisa was the person that said to me, well, why you not running this as a business by yourself? Um, which was, yeah, it was the kick in the right direction that I need it. Because at that point where that lady had kind of basically just turned around to me and said, can't pay you next week. And I had no idea of what I was going to do. I was kind of thinking, I'm like, gosh, do I, I need to go and freelance for someone else.
Nicola (53:21): I need to go work in an agency, but someone else. And she was the one that she just said, you're looking at this role. You need to, you need to almost, you've just got to, you've got to think in an entrepreneurial way because you absolutely will fly with this. And without her faith in me, I don't think I would have built the business that I have managed to build. Um, so yeah, I mean, I can't recommend her enough.
Michelle (53:49): I can just imagine her saying that to you as well, knowing for sure. Nicola, it's been such a pleasure having you on the show today. I echo verything you've said about how our old and just, um, for those of you who've maybe have read the miracle morning or maybe if you haven't read it, then, uh, you know, there is a book that he wrote that he co-wrote actually called the miracle morning for entrepreneurs, which takes it to a whole other level. And I definitely recommend that first and as well. There's a lot in there about how you can use the miracle morning tips within your business. Um, so that's a good one for anyone out there listening as well. Nichola, thank you so much for joining us today. It's been a complete pleasure. How can people get in touch with you? Contact you, find you on social media?
Nicola (54:38): So social media find me fire, um, my Facebook group, which is, uh, the communications community. And, um, if you want to connect with me on social media, I'm on Facebook. And my author page is at author Nicola, J Raleigh. And, um, yeah, those are the two best ways to be able to connect with me. And of course, if you're a working mum come and find us, it's the working moms association, we're there, we've got a lovely group. There's about two and a half thousand women, um, in that group. And it's hugely supportive and all the things that you can't, you can't feel like you can say on the main page, which has got 60,000 plus women on, then you can say in the group, because then you're going to get that kind of like real support and, um, yeah, just help from the other moms who get it, they've been through it. So, um, yeah, that's, that's what for me is just really, really special.
Michelle (55:42): That's fantastic. I will make sure all these links are in the show notes guys at michellereevescoaching.com/listen .com as always. Nicola, thank you so so much for joining us today and have a fantastic rest of the week.
Nicola (55:56): You too. Thank you so much, Michelle.
Michelle (56:03): So there you have it. My interview with Nicola Rowley, what a journey am I right? The power of storytelling is definitely something that Nicola has inspired me to use more in my business. And I love those tips for getting started with PR and incidentally, my daughter, who is 11 as I record, this has read Mug The Wumph and high recommends it. And as always, I'll pop all the links in the show notes at michellereevescoaching.com/listen. Do leave me a comment or drop me a note on Facebook or Instagram and let me know what your favorite part of this interview was and whether you'll be upping your PR game, using the tips you heard today. And Hey, if you liked this episode, would you do me a favor? Would you head over to iTunes and leave me a comment and a review? It really does mean that more amazing women will be able to find the show. Okay, that's it for me today. Thank you so much as always for tuning in. I know your time is valuable and I really appreciate you taking the time to join me. I'll be back with another episode soon, but before I go, why not come and join us in the idea of life club, Facebook community, a space I've created for ambitious women who want to grow themselves as well as their business come and join us michellereevescoaching.com/ideallifeclub. In the meantime until next time, be positive, be powerful, be productive and keep fast-tracking your ideal business and life. Bye for now.