Nicola Huelin Q and A Interview
Can you share your back story with us, a bit about your childhood?
Who knew I’d end up where I am today! Born in Kent, eldest of three children, into a modest but very hard-working and loving family. My parents moved to Sussex when I was 9 years old, and I’ve always considered it home. At 18 I left home to do a business degree at Southampton University and when I graduated I had a Marketing job lined up in a high-tech company in Sophia Antipolis in the South of France. I’ve spent most of my adult life living abroad, my children and I have had the opportunity to live in some beautiful parts of the world – South of France, Barcelona, Singapore, Seychelles, Mauritius. I came back to the UK in 2010, just me, my two children Carlie and Liam (who were 13 and 7 at the time) and two suitcases! It was as if one life had just ended, along with my marriage, and although I couldn’t see it at the time, and it would take another five years for me to realize, a whole new life was on the horizon.
Were you a determined child or has that developed?
I wouldn’t say I was a determined child, although I’m sure my parents would disagree! I was certainly impatient – if something was important to me I would do everything in my power to make it happen, and the sooner the better! To the outside world I probably appeared a confident child, but I experienced life more like a ‘swan’ – to the observer I glided with ease, but under the surface the world was often a place that confused or overwhelmed me – I was just very good at just getting on with it, even if it scared me, especially if it involved helping others. I’ve always attached a high importance to family and helping others.
Can you share something about yourself that is not widely known?
Not many people know that I spent most of my adult life as a complete ‘Speakerphobe’! Those who now see me speak often ask how I managed to overcome my fears, which would literally have me in cold sweats, palpitations and running to the bathroom every five minutes. My idea of public speaking was something similar to a near-death experience! My speaker journey started two years ago, when I was determined to smash my fear of public speaking in order to share my message with the world. I’ve worked hard, step by step, building my speaking confidence and experience, getting the right support along the way. Today, I’m really proud to say that I’ve become an international paid speaker, and something that’s not public knowledge yet, is I’ve been invited to speak at a TEDx event in Crete in September 2018! I am hugely excited about it, in fact I’m ‘terracited’; half excited and half terrified! Hahaha! I really want to say to anyone reading this who feels they have a big desire to speak from the stage, or write a book, or run a marathon (something else I did after a life of believing I couldn’t run)…whatever it is – if fear or the belief you can’t do it, is holding you back, I have one message for you – If I can do it, anyone can – and that most definitely includes YOU!
How and when did you know you wanted to become an entrepreneur?
In 2002, at the age of 29, I heard a simple story about a piece of ribbon that would change my life forever. I call it my ‘Golden Ribbon Moment’. It led to me quitting a very successful main-breadwinning career. What for? I traded in my high-flying career to join a business that had no clients, no money and didn’t even exist yet! Many thought I was crazy, I know they did, because a few were brave enough to tell me to my face.
Perhaps you’ve already had a golden ribbon moment? A moment in your life where something happens (redundancy, a new baby, illness, loss, a new opportunity) or something is said to you (in a book, an expert, a friend, family, colleague, a film, article, news flash or perhaps a whisper from your heart and soul) that makes you realise that life’s simply too short – too short to wait, too short not to change, too short not to be living it the way you really want to.
I knew deep down I couldn’t measure success by what was accumulating on the outside. That true success for me had to bring fulfilment and happiness on the inside first and foremost – and for me personally, that meant becoming an entrepreneur.
Tell us about your business…
I founded Mpower for mum in business to help women build a truly successful business around the family life they love – most importantly, finding the right way for them to turn their big dream into reality without sacrificing their quality of family life, health or sanity in the process! I’m all about helping women in business turn overwhelm, doubt and frustration into clarity, confidence and concrete results in the form of clients and change in the world. As a multi award-winning, certified business coach and mentor with over 20 years’ experience in business, my vision in founding Mpower is to become the UK’s number one choice for mums in business when they are looking for support and inspiration to build a successful business and get the results and lifestyle they deserve.
Today we have a growing community of over 800 like-minded women all on a similar journey, and are making business coaching, mentoring, masterminding and guided learning affordable and accessible to mums in business throughout the UK.
What did you give up to get to where you are today? What did you have to sacrifice?
Ironically, the secret of what it really took for me to get to where I am blessed to be today is not about sacrifice, in fact, it’s the complete opposite. I believe the biggest lesson my personal journey has taught me is that true success begins to unfold the minute we begin to put our own needs equal first to everyone else’s. As cliché as it might sound, the seeds of our potential success, happiness and fulfilment will lay dormant until we give them the right conditions to grow – one of which is self-love!
What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to do?
Rebuilding my life from ‘ground zero’ after my marriage ended in 2010 was without a doubt, one of the hardest times in my life. My children were only 13 and 7 at the time. The hardest part about that period was seeing how much pain my children were in and not being able to do anything about it. It affected them deeply. I am so proud of what we have been able to achieve together over the years, healing and rebuilding our lives. What was the hardest period of our lives, has turned out to be one that has taught us so much about who we are and what we can achieve together. I am so proud of the incredible young people my children have become.
What are your goals for 2018 and beyond?
My mission is to empower one million mums in business! I know, huge right! Having dedicated 2017 to the new book, The Invisible Revolution, which is already having a big impact, my focus for 2018 is now to make a difference through Mpower’s events and online Academy. 2018 will see Mpower expand its range of high-quality and affordable business startup and business growth programmes in the new Mpower Academy.
We are also launching a range of events for mums in business. Starting in spring 2018 with the launch of the Mpower National Business Awards specifically for mums in their first 4 years of business. We, myself and the judges, want to recognise and celebrate all of the personal qualities and milestones of early business startup and growth – the awards will encourage, indeed request, self-nomination as I don’t believe in sitting around waiting for others to make things happen. We want to celebrate the achievements of Mums in business by looking at the big picture and through a brand new lens of what success, wealth, results and impact really look like in this new-world business landscape. One of the goals I’m particularly excited about is the fundraising work that Mpower does, donating a proportion of proceeds from the book, programmes and events to incredible charities, such as Gingerbread (a UK charity supporting single parents) and Love Support Unite (a charity empowering children, families and communities through sustainable development in Malawi, the world’s poorest country).
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time? Do you have any big Goals?
Looking back at 2017, I’m blown away and feel very blessed by everything that has happened – from winning awards and becoming a published author to simply sharing so many special moments with Graham and our families.
Mpower will continue to empower thousands of mums in business in the UK and beyond, with the help of trusted Mpower experts I am bringing together this year. Together we will create a posiripple effect through both the business success of those women and the charity work we support (Graham and I hope to visit Malawi next year with the charity Love Support Unite to visit the communities and meet the families our fundraising has sponsored).
I will also have published my second book (helping changemakers master their Marketing). Most importantly, I will have enjoyed five more years of family life with Graham, and our children – I am really making the most of Liam still living at home. He is 14, so in five years’ time he will probably be starting university, where he wants to study to become a games designer. All those hours of playing his games console will hopefully begin to pay off!
Can you share 3 #BizTips for Women in Business
Wow! It’s such a challenge for me to only give 3 top tips! There are actually 14 essential tips, or Pillars of success as I call them in my book…but I’ll play by the rules and give the first three which your readers can take away and begin to take action on immediately…
1) Know why you’re doing it
What is your true ‘why’ for being in business, over and above making money? Making money is certainly part of the equation, but if you’re thinking of starting your own business for the money and the money alone, and hoping it’ll be easy money, I strongly recommend you think again. Business success is never plain sailing, and we can all reach points when we question why we’re doing what we’re doing. The women in business that find the extra something to keep going, even when the going gets tough, all have a secret weapon – what I call ‘Paramount Purpose’ – a clear sense of why they are in business over the money.
2) Know your own mind
How aware are you of the power of your thoughts?
It took me years to realise that building a successful business didn’t start with what I was doing, it started with what I was thinking. Having the life we desire all starts in our head. I believe that business success is 20% about know-how, tools and techniques and 80% about developing what I call a Performance Mindset – a way of thinking that empowers us to step outside our comfort zone, try news things and not be held back by the fear of failure.
3) Surround yourself with the right people
As entrepreneur Jim Rohn quite rightly put it – we become the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Surrounding yourself with the right people, gives you what I call People Power. Successful women in business also have the right blend of five different types of People Power – their support network (those who support them personally – emotionally and logistically), their business network (mutually beneficial and supportive relationships that can lead to mutual referrals, collaboration, joint ventures, partnerships), their Dream Team (the professional support we build into our business over time through staffing or outsourcing), their Tribe/Community (a group of like-minded people who share similar passions, have similar values and are perhaps on a similar journey), and of course their ideal clients (the simple fact is, no clients means no business).
How can people best connect with you online?
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You can read more from Nicola Huelin – 14 Steps To Building A Business You Love inside #BizRocks Magazine Issue 61
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