Nicola Huelin is a Business Coach & Mentor, TEDx Speaker, Author of The Invisible Revolution, founder of Mpower for mums in business, Grow Your Coaching Business and co-creator of The Confident Leader programme. Since the age of 24, when she had her first child, she has been passionate about the topic of how mothers/primary caregivers can combine business/career success with raising a family in a way that works for them. Today, she feels incredibly blessed to make a great living doing work she loves, while enjoying life with her beautiful fusion-family – with her partner Graham, she has four incredible children. But it wasn’t a straight-line journey.
What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your corporate journey/venture/initiative.
I was born and grew up in the UK, but spent most of my adult life (from 20 to 37) living in different countries across different continents – south of France, Barcelona, Singapore, Mauritius and the Seychelles. It was such a rich experience.
From a young age, I’d always had a love for ‘all things business’.
I studied business at university up to post-graduate level and my career started in Marketing. My career evolved into project and programme management and moved quickly into business consultancy.
With the majority of my career being before the birth of the internet and social media and the explosion of entrepreneurship, I never imagined back then I’d be one day running my own business.
Nobody in my family had even been an entrepreneur or self-employed, so choosing to leave my successful career as a business consultant, especially when I was the main breadwinner, was a huge leap of faith, and one that didn’t make much sense to those around me, at that time.
Every industry that is now a large-scale, top-notch business once started as a small idea in the minds of entrepreneurs. What was that idea or motivation that made you start your business /initiative? What motivated you within to say YES, go for it!”
I remember the day, in fact the 10 minutes, that changed everything for me. I heard a simple story about a piece of ribbon, which was the catalyst for my leap of faith to leave my successful career and move into entrepreneurship. I call it my ‘Golden Ribbon Moment’ > click here to read the story on the Mpower website > https://www.mpower.academy/blog/my-golden-ribbon-moment
The irony is that I became an entrepreneur because I was craving more flexibility and freedom for my family life. Yet, within two years my first ‘family lifestyle business’ led me to burnout. Although the business was a financial success, it came at a very high personal cost and I considered it one of my biggest failures.
Once I’d recovered from my burnout, my love of business remained and so too did a burning question ‘Surely it must be possible to build a business you love, without sacrificing your quality of life, health or sanity in the process?’.
And so, my quest began.
I went on to build other businesses and learn the missing lessons (the things they don’t teach in MBA or in the corporate world). I’d reached a brilliant place in my own life and business, and with the birth of social media, I began to see a movement of other women embarking on the same startup journey – many of them keen to find greater flexibility and freedom. But what I also saw was that many of them were struggling with overwhelm and getting clients. With my business and marketing expertise and having also trained in personal transformation coaching, I knew I could help and I felt passionately about sharing what I had learned and giving back.
Tell us something about your initiative or current role. What is it about, and what impact are you trying to make?
Today, I work in 3 areas.
It all started with Mpower– empowering and supporting a movement of women building a business while raising a family www.mpower.global
As Mpower grew, fellow coaches wanted to know how I’d done it. I felt passionately about helping them turn their big calling into a great living too. I believe coaching has the power to change the world, so it was exciting knowing that by helping one person turn their coaching business vision into reality, there would be an exponential ripple effect as they went on to change hundreds and thousands of other people’s lives. And so Grow Your Coaching Business was born. www.growyourcoachingbuiness.co.uk
All the while, I knew my mission was to help women on ‘both sides of the fence’ – not everyone wants to, or is meant to, become an entrepreneur, and more than ever organizations need to retain talented women to harness the power of richly diverse teams. An organisation approached me to ask if I could help with developing the confidence of their female employees and future leaders – and so I partnered with Successfactory, who have developed over 85000 leaders worldwide and co-created The Confident Leader programme for women in the workplace.
Your journey and your vision are very inspiring, but are there any achievements or accomplishments you would like to mention?
There are a number things I’m proud to have achieved during my journey – becoming a successful leader in the corporate world, having the courage to take a leap of faith and make big changes in my career to create success on my terms, overcoming my life-long fear of public speaking to do a TEDx talk, finding my written voice to publish my book The Invisible Revolution, specifically written for mums in business (which I’m proud to say was listed in the Independent’s 10 best business books written by women), building a community of amazing women in business, working with incredible clients.
However, I see my biggest and most meaningful accomplishment when I look at my children. I’m proud of the amazing young adults they have become and the incredible relationships I have with them. Without a doubt, my greatest personal accomplishment is to have found the right way for me to not only build a business I love, but equally enjoy motherhood, building in the flexibility and freedom to fully experience the joys of family life in the way that felt important to me.
Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity?
It’s so easy in today’s world to fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to others. It’s important to know what success means to you, and to follow that. There is no ‘ONE’ right way to build a successful business, only the way that is right for you.
Women are a growing force in the workplaces worldwide, standing shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. There are cracks in glass ceilings everywhere, with many women breaking through to carve out a space right at the top of the pyramid. What are your thoughts about women leadership today?
In today’s complex, fast-changing and challenging world, leadership is key.
We are all leaders. Leadership takes many forms – whether leading others within an organization, leading a team in our own business, leading a community, leading our families, leading within our own lives. We must never underestimate the impact we can have on the people and world around us, even if we don’t have ‘leader’ in our official job title.
I believe today’s most successful organizations are those that nurture and harness the power of diverse and talented leaders who are supported to reach their highest potential and bring out the best in others – at all levels of the organization. A diverse team (including for example gender identity, ethnic origin, nationality, education, physical ability, sexual identity, religion, age, etc.) bring such richness and power to a team – and female leaders have a key role to play.
What would you want to say to our young women leaders/audience reading this?
Believe in yourself and surround yourself with the right people. With self-belief and the right support – anything is possible!