What Personal Success means to me – Silke Thistlewood
In this series of interviews, Successful Mums founder Jane Knight talks to a number of women about what personal success means to them and how they combine work and family to achieve it.
Mum of two, recent award winner and a fab networking woman in Tonbridge, I met this lovely lady a few years back when I attended her Tonbridge event for local mums.
Silke was more than happy to share what personal success means to her….
You have two children and recently set up your businesses Nourish to Thrive and Raise Up Business Club, so what does a typical day look like to you?
I get up at 6am, which most mornings is about half an hour before either of my kids wake up, so I’ll have a coffee whilst writing my social media posts for the day. I’m hoping to get on top of planning my social media a little better at some point this year, so I can reclaim this time for something other than work though!
I’ve just started using a social media blocking app to stop me from checking Facebook and Instagram for various hours in the day so I can be more present for the kids. So no mobile between 7-9am and 3-7pm. Interestingly I’m getting more done this way!
If I have my toddler with me I won’t do much more than reply to social media comments and emails throughout the day. I will sometimes take her along to a meeting with someone, however – she’s quite good company and a very cute business partner!
If both kids are in childcare (2.5 days per week), I split my time between my 3 businesses (I’m a massage therapist, too). Some time will be spent writing content, which could be for an online membership community I’m putting together, workshops, marketing materials, newsletters or blogs. And way too much time is taken up by technology like updating websites, updating events details and grappling with email service providers – something that will be the first thing I’ll outsource when I can afford it!
Once the kids are asleep I’ll either spend some more time on social media or catch up on life admin, which falls by the wayside much too often. A few nights a week I’ll do nothing though – and I always get a fairly early night. I don’t function well on too little sleep!
In what ways has becoming a mum had a positive impact on your approach to your work life/business?
It’s given me more focus, that’s for sure. When you have such limited time available to you, you have to really think about what it is you want to focus on. I’m also much more adaptable and able to roll with the punches, which isn’t really like me at all – I don’t like change! Very often my motto is “done is better than perfect” so things that I would have agonised over for hours pre-kids, just gets done and no one has ever turned around and complained because it’s not perfect!
What does personal success mean to you?
I love building communities so the Nourished Mums and Raise Up Business Club groups I have created feel like a huge success to me and are my most favourite place to spend (virtual) time. I’m normally not very good at appreciating what I’ve achieved, but with this, I make sure I remind myself often that what I’ve created is useful and helpful to lots of mums and women in business.
On a personal (and to be honest, financial) level, I think I’ll feel successful when I’m in a position to pay a good chunk of money towards a bigger house in a few years time.
Part of feeling successful for me has included being ok with slow progress. I’m physically and mentally unable to work late into the night or take on too many things at once, and it’s taken me a while to be ok with this and not compare myself to others who are (seemingly) getting more done. For now, I’m happy to be able to spend more time with my kids than I would otherwise be able to and be as flexible as possible. Once they are both at school, the balance will shift again and I’m hoping to accelerate business growth a little more then.
What one piece of professional advice would you give other working mums/mums in business?
Set systems up for your business as soon as you possibly can. I’ve been winging it for way too long and am now playing catch up trying to get organised properly and putting systems and automations in place.
What one thing for yourself do you always make time for?
A coffee by myself in the mornings – if the kids are up early for some reason I’ll either put the TV on for them or go back to bed with my drink and get my husband to look after them instead. I’m very grumpy without some time by myself first!
If you were invited on Desert Island Discs, what would your top music choice, book and luxury be?
I’d bring a “Best of 90s Rock” album, anything by John Irving (I haven’t read a novel in ages and he used to be my absolute favourite) and my bed.
Is there anything you’d consign to the ocean & why?
Muddy wellies and tons of layers on small children. Makes me crazy angry every single time I have to get my toddler dressed/undressed for a cold and rainy day!
Finally one last tip for women thinking of starting a business after a break?
Really get clear on what you’d like to do. Your priorities and values may have shifted substantially after having a baby or taking time out for another reason. Think about what gives you purpose, what your passion is and ask yourself if you could talk about it endlessly for the next 10 years. Once you’re sure about why you want to start a business and what it means to you, it’s so much easier to make the time for it.