How did you start out?
No Fluff was born a few years ago. I’d been driving sales teams and strategy for many years, and in my spare time was helping my friends and small local companies improve their processes, practices and techniques. I love this - without good sales strategy and practice they just had good products and services and not enough clients. It was a natural move to set up No Fluff to help my much-loved international education sector welcome more students.
What piece of advice would you give to your 21-year-old self?
It’s the advice I live by now - if it’s not a smile - move on. I could’ve done that quicker at 21.
What helped you get as far as you have?
As well as support and belief from those around me I stick to my principles and do the job well. I thrive on helping others succeed and grow and (modesty aside) I know my stuff. I truly care about the teams I work with, and remembering that I can improve their day, not to mention their performance, keeps the referrals coming. Practically speaking I’ve had the fortune of working at a great company that believe in me and have given me flexibility to start No Fluff and remain an active Director.
A low point in your career/life and how you overcame it?
My lowest point was when I became ill about 7 years ago. To be honest I didn’t handle it sensibly. I had recently become a single mother with no financial support and felt huge pressure to keep all the plates spinning without anyone noticing something was wrong. My determination to just ‘crack on’ meant I didn’t tell anyone and coped alone, not allowing myself to be seen as ‘weak’ and not entertaining the idea that I needed help. It was only a few years later, long after treatment, that I realised that help was there and nobody would have thought worse of me. So I didn’t overcome it as such but I learnt from it. And perhaps I needed to cope alone to prove to myself that I could. And keeping work as normal as possible was steadying.
One word to describe yourself?
What are you most proud of in your professional life?
Teaching skills then seeing salespeople use them, work hard and hit target. And enjoy doing it!
Your first paying job: What and when?
My first entrepreneurial endeavour was selling my homemade craft items to commuters with my friend - they were terrible and I didn’t sell many (bless those that pitied my creations). My mum must have known I wouldn’t make much cash but she helped me set up, encouraged me and didn’t judge when I ditched the idea. She continues like this today!
At university I picked up sales skills at a local newspaper in an evening job and knew I’d found my ‘thing’. It was mainly women working there, a job that fitted around childcare or studies, and I loved the job, loved the friendly competition of these ladies that were driven by a challenge and working hard to earn extra cash for their families after a long day caring for their toddlers.
When I was mid-exams I saw a tiny advert that set my path for the rest of my career - asking me if I spoke languages, liked to travel and could sell. I called immediately and told them it was my job and when could I start. I’m not sure I’d have that naive overconfidence these days but it helped get me the job. And I’m still there today so I was right! That self belief and willingness to go for what I wanted was set up by my family - I’ve been lucky to have such support and encouragement.
What do you do to keep yourself centered?
As well as seeing friends I relax by walking my cockerpoo on Whitstable beach.
What’s your favourite quote?
She believed she could, so she did.
What would your superpower be?
Jets of anti-hate vapour to spread liberally (so I’d probably need to fly, too).