When you see someone successful it’s easy to think that its all come effortlessly to them. Why is this so? When that’s rarely the case, especially with professional women. In this series I hope to explore the professional realms of different working women, how they’ve got to where they are today, and what nuggets of wisdom we can be empowered by moving forward with our own careers.
This is a monthly catalogue of question and answer interviews, called the Working Woman Series. I hope you enjoy reading these pieces, as much as I enjoyed interviewing these inspiring women.
This months installment comes from local Cheshire Wonder Woman, Jacinta Russell. A girl with many different hats; her main titles include freelancer and business owner. Jacinta owns boutique marketing and design company with her Mum, Made in Cheshire. Providing services to clientele from graphic design, to social media management, to beautiful content creation. Both mother and daughter have an extensive arsenal of marketing and PR skills, and if you ask nicely they will even manage your events.
Alongside Made in Cheshire, she’s also setting up a networking group specifically aimed at girls in business called ‘BusyGirl’. Jacinta’s ideology behind the network comes from finding traditional networking groups intimidating, and more often than not – male dominated, “I’m really passionate about creating a support network of other like-minded girls who can socialise and mingle in a much more friendly and fun way…”
Lastly, Jacinta bosses it everyday as a Manchester based lifestyle blogger. She tells me, “Blogging was something I fell into almost by accident, I write content and blogs for other people and thought I’d give it a go myself! It’s definitely been an industry I’ve enjoyed being part of and 2017, and saw me work with some really great brands last year like Pandora, Candy Kittens, Selfridges and Missguided…”
I wanted to start this interview series with Jacinta is for two reasons; 1. She’s a great friend of mine, inspires me everyday, and I feel like she could be an inspiration to any young woman, no matter her industry. 2. If you haven’t noticed, take a scroll down to the bottom right hand corner of my new website, and notice who it’s designed by… Made in Cheshire. That’s right, Jacinta worked tirelessly with me throughout November/December last year to help me bring my new site and look to you guys. I’m sure she’ll receive any thank you letters, chocolates or love sonnets in the post.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever been given?
I’m not sure it’s really career advice, but one thing that always sticks in my head is something my Mum told me Oprah Winfrey said (although I think it originally came from Maya Angelou), which is “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better” I think it’s really important to focus on your strengths and not beat yourself up over your own progression and journey, both in business and in life. It’s really easy to feel inferior in comparison to someone you look up, but it’s important to remember it’s all a process and to just focus on doing the best you can right now.
What’s your on-the-go snack for when you’re out and about on a busy day?
I try not to snack too often and focus more on getting three good meals a day but if I do need a bit of an energy burst, and I’m trying not to unleash the crisp-loving monster deep within me, then I’ll definitely reach for something healthy like a banana or satsuma or even some cashew nuts. I could eat bad food all day every day so I have to make a conscious effort to be sensible!
How do you balance your personal life with work?
I really do think that balancing your personal life with work is one of the biggest challenges of being self-employed. To someone who works for a company and has a boss, I’m pretty sure being self-employed seems like a dream and I suspect they imagine a lot of lazy mornings, long lunches and being able to take time off whenever you fancy. Whilst working for yourself does allow you a certain degree of flexibility, I don’t think people realise you’re probably putting a lot more hours in than a traditional 9-5 and sometimes you have to make sacrifices others wouldn’t. I think we’re all guilty of not switching off and to be honest, I don’t have a profound answer or solution for this question! One of my biggest goals in 2018 is to learn when to shut the laptop lid and to make time for wellness and meditation – as well as just plain old fun! You can’t be ‘on’ all the time or you’ll burn yourself out.
What creative or practical tool could you not do without in work?
I absolutely couldn’t be without a paper diary – it’s just a necessity for me! I love the digital age and couldn’t survive without my iPhone, sad I know, but in terms of organisation, for me, a digital device doesn’t cut it. When a reminder or diary appointment flashes up on my phone, I find it so easy to ignore or miss it – whereas thumbing through my diary in the morning and seeing what I have on really sets me up for the day. There’s nothing quite like committing something to memory by physically writing it down.
What keeps you driven, when things feel stagnant or flat?
Knowing that I’d hate taking direction from a boss! I absolutely love working for myself, I love working solely for my own career progression and success, and love being able to do things I really enjoy as my job. Life really is too short to be doing something you don’t love, and I know I’d just be miserable working for someone else’s dream.
Do you feel there is inequality in the workplace in 2018? If so, what can be done to inspire young people to break this?
I think inequality is part of life in general, not just the workplace, and the only way to let it not affect you is to be determined, ambitious and not let anyone put out your flame. Your age, your gender, your background or any other factor shouldn’t hold you back in a field and if a barrier is created then you need to fight to overcome it or put yourself in a different position that allows you to flourish. I’m a big believer in everything happening for a reason and sometimes a negative experience is what is needed to give you the push to make a change. In short, don’t let anything put you down and if something is, make positive steps to change that situation.
How do you respond to other people’s reaction to your career success? Whether it be positive or negative?
When you’re a young business owner, you have friends who ‘get it’ and friends who don’t. I know some of my friends have absolutely no clue what I spend my days doing but absolutely champion and support me nevertheless and I think it’s important to surround yourself with people who are your cheerleaders! We’re all just trying to get by in the world and life isn’t easy so the nicest thing you can do is support other people in their choices, and hope they support you back.
What is your favourite Instagram account? Why?
One, you want me to choose one?! I’m forever scrolling and discovering new accounts and I just love looking at accounts with a consistent theme or really great photography. Bloggers are my fave people to follow and at the moment I’m loving @bethsandland, @mariajblogs, @inthefrow and @lydiaemillen. They all have quite a unique style whilst still appealing to the masses and I love that.
What are three things in your work arsenal that you just couldn’t live without?
My iPhone, my MacBook and my camera. Everything I do in my job is quite social media or design focused so if I have those three items I’m pretty much set up. I’m by no means a professional photographer, but I do love to take a photo. I couldn’t be without Instagram and you can do pretty much anything if you have a laptop so I’m pretty much set up, don’t you think?
Who is your career icon? Who inspires you?
I don’t really have a career icon, nor do I have one sole person who inspires me – instead I get inspired daily from my friends killing it at their jobs, people on social media who I see pushing out great content every day, or clients I meet that are taking a brave step in leaving their 9-5 and following their dream. I think we’re part of this really fantastic ‘girlboss’ revolution; where we’re all just doing us, doing what we love and I don’t know how that can’t inspire you daily, ‘cos it does me. Girl power.
Inspired by Jacinta’s story? Reach out to her on Instagram.