Mandy Nicholson is passionate about helping women build financially viable and secure businesses. Her specialty as a business coach is creative entrepreneurs, who might not have financial backgrounds or business experience. Through her online workshops and mentorship programs she helps creatives navigate the weeds of entrepreneurship and gain clarity on their vision. In just a few years the Northumberland, England-based entrepreneur has grown her coaching company into a six-figure business – though she doesn’t count that as her only success – Nicholson is proud of all the women she has helped succeed in the pursuit of their dreams. Today she is finding inspiration in the every day, despite challenges and loss she has faced, and following her own motto to, “Think big, take action and don’t let anybody talk you down.”
Nicholson’s story, as told to The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project:
What was your reason for starting your business?
I am on a mission to change the perception of wealth in the creative space by teaching ‘starving artists’ to become savvy businesswomen and use their creative power. With decades of leadership and business experience with global retailers at a senior level, I am business brain meets creative brain. This gives me the unique advantage of being able to see passive and multiple income streams in every business, creative businesses are no different. There are an abundance of talented creative women out there who just don’t know what they don’t know right now, this was my driving force to get started.
How do you define success?
Success to me is about following the pull towards your full potential, doing what you love and earning your worth from doing it. It is entirely possible to earn an abundant income in your zone of creative genius, but there is a disconnect with many creatives who often define success in a different way. For me doing what I truly love, helping women like me and having wealth defines success. It’s not just about money, but money is important and not a dirty word.
Tell us about your biggest success to date
My biggest success so far in summary has been creating a six-figure business during the pandemic and helping other women to exceed their financial goals. I have enjoyed every step of the process in building my business and loved watching my clients fly. Passing on knowledge and expertise in an authentic way and changing the lives of others is the epitome of my success so far.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
Generating leads that are a good fit for both sides is always the biggest challenge in any business. It has taken consistency, determination and a lot of holding my nerve to show up every day and find my ideal clients. Recruiting a great team and implementing systems that create this consistency is essential for growth and an investment in predictable results.
Have you experienced any significant personal situations that have affected your business decisions?
I was bankrupt 11 years ago, but I re-built. I have had many health issues, but I am still here and moving forward. I lost my husband last year but found gratitude for our time and a lesson to continue to reach for my biggest dreams. When you experience such huge life changing experiences it is important to learn from them, tell the story and keep going. I learned how to manage my money like never before after my bankruptcy, I became better. I have focused on doing the things I ‘could’ do when I had health issues. I have learned to allow myself to think big after losing my husband, as life is short. Notice the lessons, learn and do better.
What is your biggest tip for other startup entrepreneurs?
Accept that your business will take time and investment, there are no quick wins. Fill your skill gaps, ask for advice and build your network. You will be bombarded with marketing offering you ‘the solution’ to all of your problems, but this does not exist. It is important for you to learn all of the moving parts in your business, become the master, write the manual and then scale when you have secured the income to pay the people. Trying to cut corners will have an impact on your income and this is why many startups fail.
How do you find inspiration on your darkest days?
I keep my vision strong, practice gratitude and meditation and look at my children who inspire me daily. We all need to anchor ourselves to a vision of our future self, there will always be obstacles along the way. I have had a Scottish castle on my vision board for over a year since I lost my husband. I decided I was going to step into my ‘zone of genius’ and create a plan to buy my castle and run creative retreats for people from around the world. In March this year I decided to sell my house and move to Scotland so that I could ‘feel’ my goal. Then guess what? The universe gave me a seven bedroom house that needed renovating within my budget. I am now creating my ‘mini castle’ and three ‘art themed’ retreat rooms. The universe gave me a practice run. My advice, think big, take action and don’t let anybody talk you down.
Who is your most important role model?
My greatest role model was my dad who instilled self-confidence in me and assured me that I could do anything. When you believe that you can do anything, then you can. I have had many mentors in my life, in my professional career and in my entrepreneurial journey, but that one person who believes in you is all you need. I do the very same for my children now so that they can go out there and take on the world their way. It is the gift that keeps giving generation to generation. Think about that.