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Meet the experts: Creative Reboot

Updated: May 15, 2023

Top tips on managing work-life balance, running a business and following your dream, from the experts leading our Creative Reboot mini retreat on June 9


Sarah Howson, Founder of PA Recruitment

Sarah began her career as a PA working her way up from startups to international businesses, before co-founding her own boutique search business, matching PAs and EAs to clients.

What made you decide to start your business?

Starting a family was one of the main reasons, and setting up a recruitment company played to my strengths as a people person. Co-launching it with my friend Marianne Whitlock meant we could balance our work-life needs and play off each other's strengths. Finally, doing something I was passionate was extremely important.

Best nugget of wisdom you can share with your fellow Creative Ducks:

Don’t underestimate the power of networking and building relationships; share the passion for what you do! Doors open, opportunities arise and there is no greater satisfaction than that comes from connecting two people together where you know there will be synergy.


Kathy Soulsby, Founder of Personally Virtual

Kathy runs her own Virtual Assistant Agency helping people get organised - mostly ninja diary management! Following her first book, Virtually Painless, she's currently sweating over draft 376 of book 2, How to Work with a Virtual Assistant - Outsource Everything but Your Brilliance.

What made you decide to start your business?

I struggled to find a job that interested me enough, so I decided to set up my own business. I now get to choose the clients that I want to work with and feed my creative side with my writing.

Best nugget of wisdom?

Give yourself a "big 3" tasks for the day / week. Three non-negotiables and everything else is extra. It feels achievable and helps prioritise a never-ending to-do list.


Philippa Excell, Women's Health & Fitness

Personal Trainer Philly decided to specialise in Restore Your Core work after having her 3 children. Along with weekly strength classes, she runs events in her studio mixing movement and relaxation with her healthy homemade food.

What made you decide to start your business?

Besides from wanting to work around family life, I have always had a real interest in health and fitness and thought it would be ideal to combine my passion with paid work. I am so pleased I did this as I LOVE meeting new women each day and helping them get stronger and more confident.

Best nugget of wisdom?

Your confidence grows as your business evolves. I was initially overwhelmed by the tech side such as Instagram or video, and hosting events just seemed too overwhelming. However, it is really rewarding when you overcome these challenges. I'm now much more confident on acting upon my ideas and giving them a go.


Isabelle Spriggs, Holistic Massage Therapist

Isabelle offers massage treatments for women, specialising in lymphatic massage, deep tissue, pre and post natal and natural facial lift massage.

What made you decide to start your business?

I believe strongly in the power of massage, both physically and emotionally. I struggled to find a treatment where I received a truly holistic experience (taking into account a person's health, lifestyle and wellbeing to create a bespoke treatment) so I decided to set this up myself! I wanted to create a safe haven for women to leave feeling replenished. After many years in the corporate world, it was also important to have control over my own work-life balance.

Best nugget of wisdom?

Just go for it and put yourself out there! I wish I had started my business sooner but I always held back as it was ‘never the right time’. I continuously change things up and add new offerings based on my clients needs. Nothing needs to be perfect immediately but we have to start somewhere and take the risk, you’ll never know!


Harriet Barcella, Life & Mindset Coach

Obsessed with finding joy in the everyday, Harriet empowers women who have lost touch with themselves in the fog of work, children and life to rediscover what matters to them, and find a sense of clarity and purpose. She provides 1:1 coaching as well as group adventure courses.

What made you decide to start your business?

When I became a mother I saw that many of the women around me were losing their sense of joy, passion, purpose and confidence. I realised that I wanted to be part of the solution. Not only did coaching capitalise on my passion and skills, it also fulfilled a deep desire to make a difference.

Best nugget of wisdom?

Running a business can be really hard - we have to wear so many hats. When I start to feel like it's all too much, I try to reconnect with my 'why'. Why did I choose this path? How can I get back to the purpose of the business? At the same time I look for a little glimmer of joy. A tiny win I can celebrate. A testimonial that made it all worthwhile. A piece of work I'm proud of. Its a powerful way to reset your mindset and stay motivated.


Meet all these experts at our Creative Reboot at Oaken Grove Vineyard, with talks on streamlining your work-life and finding a balance, plus a stretch & release session with head massage, finished off with healthy brunch + fizz.

Friday 9th June, 9.30am - 12.30pm. Tickets are just £45, with proceeds going to Smart Works charity.

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