An Interview With The Founder Of Talented Ladies Club
My last blog post shared the story behind the discovery of Mums Enterprise with Lindsey Fish. Continuing with inspiring stories from women, this week we have another brilliant story from Hannah Martin and how she started Talented Ladies Club.
I could tell you all about the collective but I think it would be better coming from Hannah herself.
Tell us a little about yourself. What is your background?
I’ll try and keep this brief with some edited highlights! I grew up in a small village in Sussex. In my early 20s I dropped out of art college and bought a one-way ticket to Hong Kong, looking for adventure. In Hong Kong I talked my way into a job as a copywriter at a top advertising agency despite having zero experience or qualifications in writing. I’ve since enjoyed a 21-year career as an award-winning copywriter. I now live near the sea in Sussex with my partner and two children.
Talented Ladies Club attracts over 82,000 readers a month? How and why did you create Talented Ladies Club?
I created Talented Ladies Club because I was sick of seeing so many talented women forced to give up their careers because they were mothers. I believed there MUST be a way we could do the things we loved, get paid well and be the mums we want to be. I set up TLC to bring women together and inspire and empower them NOT to give up on their dreams.
Please tell us a little about the team at Talented Ladies Club.
I run Talented Ladies Club, but I have a team of people who help me. My lovely friend (and talented artist and illustrator) Kary does all our design and branding. We have a developer (Alan) who keeps our website in working order. I see my business coach, Julia, every two weeks to work on strategy and keep the business moving forward. When I need technical help I use a freelance digital expert called Carolyn. Sally helps me manage our Facebook group as a fellow admin. Oh and all our photography is taken by the brilliant Marcel.
It’s important that everyone who works with TLC is both very talented and lovely. Life’s too short not to surround yourself with nice people.
How did it feel when your initial ideas for Talented Ladies Club became a reality?
It was so exciting! It took Kary and I just four months to come up with the concept for the site, plan, design, build and write it. We’d set ourselves a really ambitious launch date and worked hard (often late into the night) to make it. I remember so many sleep-deprived meetings in the lead up to the big day.
Once we went live there was a flurry of activity as all our family and friends visited it, but then it tailed off and the real work began. That initial high quickly gave way to the realities of starting a business from scratch!
What was your biggest challenge starting Talented Ladies Club? How did you get through it?
Not surprisingly, confidence! I’d had the idea for 18 months and kept talking about. But didn’t have the confidence I had the right commercial skills, or could be an entrepreneur. Eventually Kary got sick of hearing me talk about it and said she’d do it with me. I then started seeing a business coach, and the site launched four months later. Once I started there was no stopping me!
What do you do to relax or take time out from business?
I love reading and watching Netflix in bed. I play netball badly once a week with a team of middle aged mums (just preparing for a match tonight in the snow!) and I love walking on the beach. Oh and eating and drinking or cinema with friends. (This is beginning to sound like a dating profile!)
Who would you say are your biggest role models?
People who have overcome odds and succeeded.
“People who are able to take what life throws at them and turn it into something positive – and keep smiling.”
And people who have the courage to stand up for what they believe in. People like Dame Stephanie Shirely, Sophie Scholl, Sybil Ludington, Amelia Bloomer and Nellie Bly.
You’ve recently started to expose the MLM (Multi Level Marketing) business models, why should we be avoiding them?
Because it’s a predatory business model that sells people a dream. However the reality is that an average of 99.6% of participants lose money in MLMs. Reps are also encouraged (and sometimes even told) to lie to sell and recruit. In almost one year of researching them there’s not one MLM I would recommend.
Why do you think flexible working seems to be such a contentious idea amongst some employers?
Because it’s human nature to fear change. Flexible working is an unknown to many companies. They can’t envisage how it can work (it just looks like chaos to them), they suspect that people will be harder to manage and will use flexible working as an excuse to do less, and they orry that suddenly everyone will want it if they even entertain it for one. So it’s much easier to simply ignore it, and carry on the way they have been doing.
If you could give one piece of advice to a mum who is considering a career change whilst on maternity leave what would it be?
Use your time on maternity leave to prepare for it. Do as much research as you can, and start making connections. Volunteer in roles that will help you (if you can) and attend conferences and training courses if possible. Also look at what skills and experience you already have that can translate to your new chosen career.
And finally, make your CV and LinkedIn profile are up to date and properly written (and that you’re using LinkedIn to network). We have courses for both!
I think one of the biggest hurdles to overcome when considering a career change or starting your own business after having a family is self confidence. Do you agree? How can mums tackle this?
Yes, absolutely. The only real way to tackle this is to confront your fears and just go and do it! If that feels hard, find your own cheer squad – a group of people you trust who can give you honest feedback and encourage you on. (That’s why we started our TLC Business Club on Facebook.)