Sue Williams Q and A Interview
Can you share your back story with us, a bit about your childhood?
I was a very quiet child who always had her head buried in a book. This carried on until around the age of 12 when suddenly I could no longer find books that I enjoyed reading – people didn’t really write books aimed at teenagers/young adults back then! I would describe myself as having had a Pollyanna kind of personality, always believing the best in people and that things would work out. The “real world” was often too much, and I stopped watching the news around the age of 11 or 12.
Were you a determined child or has that developed?
I am a Taurean so I can be quite determined. Back then, I was determined to please my mother something that wasn’t always a good thing, as it meant I didn’t develop a very good sense of self. I was shy and lacking in confidence and always remember my first meeting with the school careers adviser. When I had mentioned that I wanted to be a journalist, she immediately asked: “do you think you would have the confidence to work amongst the red tops on Fleet Street?” My immediate answer was no, and our conversation turned to what else was available – banking and the Civil Service being the main options.
Can you share something about yourself that is not widely known?
I am a great believer in the healing power of laughter. When I was participating in a spiritual coaching course in 2011, the tutor commented that she thought I had a healing laugh. This opened up a whole new world of exploration for me, and I went on to train as a Laughter Yoga Leader.
How and when did you know you wanted to become an entrepreneur?
When I took early retirement from the Civil Service in 2010, where I had worked in the field of careers information, advice and guidance for adults I became incredibly inspired by the entrepreneurial world. I attended events and training and marvelled at the ingenuity and commitment of the entrepreneurs that I came across. I also reignited my love of books and creative self-expression.
Tell us about your business…
There are two aspects to my businesses. I am a property investor with a small portfolio of buy to let properties, three of which I share jointly with a business partner.
For the second business I write and publish inspirational books, cards and apps. Back in 2012, as a result of experimenting with writing morning pages – a free writing journaling technique – I began to write poetry. My signature poem, called Believe, inspired me to collate true stories by different entrepreneurial women on the topic of self-belief. I went on to publish two anthologies of stories and also developed the Believe cards and Believe app. There are 54 colourful Believe cards, which can be used for a daily dose of inspiration. The Believe app allows you to pull a card at random and answer a series of 3 coaching questions to set you up for the day. In 2017 I achieved a Gold award for my Believe app in the Janey Lee Grace Platinum awards. I ran my first live event, Your Signature Success Story in 2016, and plan to run more events aimed at would-be authors.
What did you give up to get to where you are today? What did you have to sacrifice?
I needed to leave my job. However, this was not really a sacrifice! It was time to go and leaving opened up a whole new world of opportunity for me. Although I had to sacrifice my dream of being a journalist when I was younger, there are so many opportunities to write available now that didn’t exist back then, so it is never too late!
What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to do?
As a “died in the wool” people pleaser, the hardest thing I have had to do is to believe in myself and what I have to offer. I have to re-visit the words of the Believe poem that I wrote in 2011 which I see as my true North regularly. This spurred me on to canvas for votes when I was nominated for a Women Inspiring Women award in 2012 and 2013 for my writing and helped me to keep going when experiencing difficulties as I planned my first event in 2016.
What are your goals for 2018 and beyond?
I certainly wish to run more events for aspiring authors. Alongside this, I have two books that I will be writing, and I will aim to get a publishing deal for one of these. This will be a whole new area of exploration! I want to collaborate more closely with other inspirational women, particularly around the development of inspirational cards, and other products and services.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time? Do you have any big Goals?
I have an over-arching goal of touching 1 million lives. Because my products are designed to give inspiration the word “touch” seemed most appropriate – to give a boost to some-one’s confidence or self-esteem through my inspirational books, cards and apps or to bring a smile to some-one’s face or a dose of motivation when they need it.
Can you share 3 #BizTips for Women in Business
1) Don’t be afraid to start where you are – for example – if you write a book now you can always revise and update later.
2) It can be useful to have more than one income stream such as combining property investment with more creative or service based activities.
3) It is really useful to collect information once and use many times eg delivered in book format, an online course, blog, in person workshops etc.
How can people best connect with you online?
You can read more from Sue Williams – Express Your Creativity With A Card Deck inside #BizRocks Magazine Issue 60
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