Interview with Philippa Haynes
Tell us a bit about yourself, your business and your role?
My tale is a typical one - a story of a professional who has been in corporate life for over 25 years who suddenly decided to BREAK OUT!
My business, Insight 101, is built around unlocking opportunity for business big and small alike. It works with business owners to put their business (back) on the map by differentiating their offer and brand. In a world that has a lot of noise and competition, it’s critical that businesses place distance between themselves and the competition to create a compelling story which defines who they are, what they believe in and what they offer their clients and customers.
We hear about personal branding a lot these days and that’s a big part of it. Customers vote with their hearts and minds so any business needs to create a strong & powerful message that appeals emotionally & rationally.
What’s a typical working day for you?
The joy of being a business owner is that no 2 days are the same! yes, there are elements which are consistent - social media activity, client contact, networking, meetings… but the attraction of working for yourself is that you can break out of the 9-5 drudgery and do something which works for you
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy bringing 25 years of big global brand experience to those businesses that want to make a difference but who frequently don’t have the resources to do so. It’s exciting how quickly change can be made.
I’m also free to do my own thing. I’ve just set up a group on Linkedin called Head Matters which is a community for professionals who are struggling with mental health issues and want a community to share stories and discuss with each other more broadly. How did this happen? I just noticed that there were a lot of posts discussing the issues but nowhere for these professionals to talk in a secure environment. yes, we must all bring such issues into the spotlight to move perceptions but there also needs to be a safe haven for those who aren’t ready to plunge into the public eye
And what are the most challenging aspects of your job?
I think we’ve all heard this before but having your own business means that you are suddenly plunged into a sales role. For the majority of us this is a complete surprise and a source of fear and anxiety.
What techniques keep you focused and motivated?
For me it’s keeping the dialogue going with my peers. Sharing ideas and thoughts. We all have moments of reduced focus and motivation but hearing others in the same boat does help. And there is always someone with a powerful message that brings you back to your purpose.
Building resilience is the most important aspect and that can’t be learned. it has to grow gradually with experience. Sometimes it’s about thinking less and ploughing on and not listening to doubters.
When have you had to be courageous in business and how did you go about it?
Every day really, it’s a difficult business where there’s self doubt and doubters. if you listened too much you’d never do anything. Courage of your convictions is your only friend at times
I’ve recently created and hosted an event which I believed in. As soon as I suggested it I quickly felt absolutely terrified and the pressure of not giving up or failing was enormous. It was simply a case of head down, don’t think too much, think about the end point. Visualize success. Don’t get me wrong, I had meltdowns, sleepless nights and everything!
What are the challenges facing women in business today, especially the next generation?
I think the opportunity for women in business these days has never been so great. Yes, we still see inequality but for the first time there seems to be individuals who are willing to put their head above the parapet and fight for more. We’ve always had these women, take Emily Pankhurst, but there are more of them now and more forums to get our voices heard.
Name 3 key things you think are important to succeed as a woman in business?
Having a vision and a purpose is everything. Knowing what your brand represents so that you have a powerful message
Opening yourself up to opportunity. Learning to spot opportunity and then grab it with both hands.
Putting yourself out there. Networking. No-one else can do it for you.
How can we help a younger generation of women be prepared to succeed in life and business?
I think we need to set a good example and be prepared to share our experience. I don’t think this has changed however from when I was young and starting out. I can still pinpoint those women who were instrumental in my career and defined my way forward.
The only difference is that there are more platforms to share so we should make use of these. we should be aware of the impact we have when we put ourselves out there and be willing to do so even if the thought is terrifying
Do you have any tips for women looking to progress their career in leadership roles?
Leadership comes in many guises and needs to be demonstrated at all times. It isn’t just about getting on the Board of Directors, it’s about taking responsibility for yourself and others. it’s about putting forward your point of view in a constructive and powerful way. it’s about hearing others and helping and supporting. Being authentic, real and passionate are all great traits.
What's the best piece of business advice you've ever been given?
Never fear asking for help, it’s not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength. I received this message aged 26 and I’ve never forgotten it (Thanks Lesley)
What women inspire you and why?
I could name famous examples but in all honesty it’s all the women who’ve decided to step out and give their own business a go. it’s not easy and there are so many ups and downs but you do learn every day. You grow, you make progress.