Women Inspiring Women ~ Meet Joanna Feeley
#IWD2021 - International Womens' Day March 8th 2021 - The campaign theme: #ChooseToChallenge
For this years campaign I have chosen to support and champion fellow Business Women, and have dedicated the month of March to promote and share their journey and challenges in business.
From challenge comes change.
I am delighted to share with you my inspiring interview with Joanna Feeley ~ Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Trend Bible.
1. What inspired you to start your own business?
I started out as a freelance trend forecaster, which I did so that I could move out of London where most of the jobs in forecasting were at the time. I wanted to move back to the North East so setting up as a freelancer enabled that. Over time I just acquired too much work to do on my own and didn’t want to leave those opportunities on the table so started to investigate employing someone which felt terrifying, but here we are 20 people later!
2. What have been the biggest challenges you have had to face as a Woman in Business and how have you overcome them?
The biggest challenge for me has been my own maternity leaves and the maternity leaves of my staff. The worlds of parenthood and work just still haven’t been figured out in this country. I’m not sure that we have figured it out really, we muddle through but the truth is the majority of the parenting and household management still falls to women and this makes it difficult to commit to career development. I’m always trying to learn as much as possible from other companies to see how they support mothers better but there’s not much inspiration out there!
3. Many women are feeling overwhelmed at juggling their professional and personal life, do you have any tips to share to restore the balance?
I’ve learned that for me I need a clear line between work and family time. I don’t work weekends or late nights which I used to at the start up stage, I don’t work a Friday - I call them Sanity Fridays - I don’t do chores on these days, I just do something that I want to do - it could be a 15 mile bike ride or a solo lunch at a lovely restaurant (the pandemic has put a bit of a spanner in the works on this but I will get Sanity Fridays back soon!) I also take 6 weeks holiday in the summer. What’s the point of running your own business if you can’t do something like this? I have lots of business owner friends who say they wish they had done this when their kids were still little. It’s such precious time. It takes a bit of planning to be able to completely leave the business for 6 weeks but it is worth it.
4. What has been your greatest mistake in business and what did you learn from it?
I’ve made a lot of mistakes but some of them have been really useful - I’ve learned from every single one! I make them all the time - it’s too hard to pick one but they course-correct me every step of the way, mistakes are fine as long as you learn something from them.
5. What is the most valuable piece of business advice anyone has given you?
I think it’s something that has been reiterated to me from lots of different mentors, advisors and coaches over the years but it’s to spend sufficient time ON not IN the business. If you’re not being strategic and looking ahead because you’re too operational inside the business, that carries its own cost.