After a career in marketing and design in London, culminating in the sale of our business to Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, I began the search for more meaningful work and a less stressful lifestyle. I relocated to Sydney in the mid 1990s and following a stint as GM of a largish design group (now part of Landor), set up shop as a consultant and coach to small creative companies, helping them fine-tune their positioning and attract more clients. By this time married with a young son, I was working happily while still skirting around the edges of a deeper opportunity.
Be careful what you ask for
Along the way, I'd become the 2nd person in Australasia to achieve Professional Certified Coach accreditation from the International Coach Federation and keen to raise my profile, willingly let an ABC Four Corners camera crew follow me and a couple of clients for a TV segment on new work practices. No sooner had the program aired than my cruisy little business went nuts and I had more clients than I could handle. Any sense of balance left the building and something had to change.
Is that a niche I see before me?
One benefit of attracting a swathe of new clients, was that I quickly recognised those who got the most value from my work and who brought me the most joy. They were individuals looking to create sharp, solo, lifestyle-led businesses. With my marketing hat on, I promptly registered the name ‘Flying Solo’ and set about focusing on purely that target market. Within what seemed liked weeks, I had a rapidly growing newsletter list, a publishing contract (that led to my first Australian bestseller), a regular column in The Telegraph and a nice flow of speaking engagements.
“I don’t think of work as work and play as play. It’s all living.”
A tiger by the tail
With sole traders comprising over 70% of Australian small businesses and with so many looking for guidance and connection, it was clear Flying Solo had the potential to be more than a lead generator to my consulting business. With a small band of fellow soloists we began creating Australia's largest and liveliest small business community, attracting a membership of well over 100,000 before selling the business in late 2017.
Completing the circle
With Flying Solo now a key part of David Koch's Pinstripe Media, I have returned to my roots. Today I support those going it alone in business and think of myself as a 'venture strategist'. I work with entrepreneurs of all ages - many in the 'creative industries' - and help demystify the process of creating or rejuvenating smart, lifestyle-led enterprises. Stay in touch by subscribing to my newsletter, tuning into my podcast or exploring my services. You can also learn more about me and read a heap of testimonials on LinkedIn.