Interviewing Helen Pinkett for this blog meant getting technical and having our conversation via Facebook video. Sadly our schedules meant that we couldn’t meet in person, and yet we were still able to have a lovely chat over a cup of tea.
I first met Helen at a networking meeting many years ago in Bath, and we have stayed connected through the wonders of social media ever since.
Helen is a serial entrepreneur with several businesses to manage, and so it was amazing to hear how she fits all the pieces of her life together to live out her passions, grow supportive communities and help others to connect in the small business world.
It was an absolute pleasure to interview Helen. I hope you can find a moment in your day to pop your feet up and read her fascinating story.
Helen, I would love for you to share just a little of your story, and what first fascinated you about starting your own business.
My background is in hospitality, having always worked in hotels since leaving school. I started as a housekeeper, then went to reservations and bookings. I then moved into accounts and sales and finally into management.
I believe there is always a reason for everything, and I do look back on my days in the industry and think “that was really hard work,” however it gave me everything I needed to go out there and do my own thing.
It will be 4 years in November that I have been self-employed. I left the job I was doing after 10 years as it was the right time for me to move on.
I always knew I was going to be a business owner I just had no idea what the business was going to be. As it turned out, somebody I knew was selling their wedding business, I bought it and that’s where it all began.
I wanted to have more freedom, be around more for my family, and do something under my own steam.
Having a readymade business certainly helped. I think it would have taken me a long time to decide what I wanted to do otherwise.
The opportunity literally fell into my lap. It grew from being a wedding directory, to styling and planning and to what it is today.
As time went on however, it became apparent that weddings are quite seasonal, and I wanted and needed to do something else. That’s where I added the social media management and the VA (Virtual Assistant) business.
The VA business is no longer running, although I do still offer social media management to clients, as well as business mentoring and training, which I absolutely love.
I’m also a Facebook community leader and this year I was invited on an all-expenses paid visit to Facebook in Dublin. I’m hoping to go again in 2020, as it was an amazing opportunity, and the work I do with social media has become an important strand of my business.
I often get asked how I manage to fit all the pieces of my businesses together. I guess it’s one of my strengths and a skill I’ve developed, I just crack on and get things done.
I also love everything I do, so it doesn’t ever feel onerous or a challenge, it all slots in beautifully.
I’m very much a can-do person, and going back to my days working in hospitality, where it was so fast paced, juggling jobs and multi-tasking, it was during that time I really honed my organisation skills.
I know you do a lot, that your business is multi-faceted, and you only do what you are passionate about. I wonder can you share in a bit more detail how you discovered those passions.
I am a multi-potentialite and you could say I’ve made it my business to do things I love, of which there are many.
I’ve always loved organising things, so when the opportunity to take over the wedding styling and planning business came about, it was the perfect opportunity for me step out into the world of self-employment and run my own business.
I have also loved beauty and holistic treatments and all that kind of stuff for as long as I can remember, this combined with my event planning skills, I’m in my element when I’m organising my wellbeing and spiritual events .
When I was working in hospitality, I ran their social media and fell in love with how it can connect people. Hence why I offer social media management to my clients now.
Whether I’m running an event, helping a bride and groom to plan their big day, or leading groups on social media, the golden thread that links all the different facets of my business is that I love to help bring people together, to connect people and build supportive communities.
Community and connection really are at the centre of everything I do.
I’ve met you a few times in real life and connect with you through social media regularly, and on every occasion, I would say you are being truly you, sharing all that you love and are passionate about. What would you say to someone who may be feeling stuck and looking to make changes in their life to be more of their true selves?
This is a subject close to my heart, because although I do all these things, things that I feel enormously passionate about, I also spend a lot of time thinking about my purpose.
I can honestly say I get stuck regularly, and with so much going on, I do question myself, and ask why am I doing all of this?
It’s at times like this when I make space to step back occasionally, and realise I’m not stuck, I just need a moment to pause.
Stepping back and doing something different, focusing on things that are going well, things that are moving and flowing, really helps.
Staying in a state of overwhelm and focusing on those feelings, I’ve found only makes them stronger. Choosing to move away from them, and accepting that they are temporary, that it may be how it is right now, but that it’s not going to be like it forever helps too.
I know that you love to get things done, and have achieved some amazing personal goals, such as running half marathons, Tougher Mudders, and walking the Three Peaks Challenge in 24 hours. What’s on the horizon in terms of things you would love to get done or achieve in the future?
I do live in the moment, although it is fun to have things to look forward too, and work towards.
So for things like the half marathon and tougher mudders, I have always done them with a friend, and part of the enjoyment has been the training we do together. We’ll go out for a run and gossip and we’ll support one another as the nerves build leading up to the challenge. When it’s over, we often think what’s next? Hence why we do it all again.
I did find out recently that I didn’t get a place in the London Marathon in 2020, so I won’t be running a marathon any time soon, although I’m not too disappointed.
Since the spring I’ve been working with a personal trainer which has been an ongoing personal goal of mine, and I’ll be running the Bath Half marathon again in March next year.
Business wise, I trust that it will flow, and things will unfold for me on that front, although I am looking at getting my branding sorted.
You spend a lot of time giving to others, through your business and events, how do you give back to yourself?
In the last couple of years I have done a lot of inner personal work, both self-healing and personal development. Whether its been reading books or attending courses, I’ve chosen to invest in myself. I’ve been burnt out and I’ve been stressed and unwell as a result, and I never want to go back there again.
For me it’s essential to keep mind and body healthy. I can honestly say I really do look after myself now, and make sure I’m feeling good, so I can be at my best to do whatever is needed in my business or for my family.
I tend to start work early in the morning, because that’s when I’m on fire. Meaning I can then switch off at 3 o’clock when I pick the kids up from school.
I would love to know if there have been any fascinating women who have inspired you throughout your life and your business?
This is such a difficult question.
Since I’ve been self-employed, I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many amazing women in business and built some great networks. It’s these communities and friendships that have helped me no-end on my journey, so it feels somewhat impossible to single out just one or two women.
Helen what are your top tips to leading a fulfilled and happy life?
I think top of my list would be to try and find the fun and joy in everything you do, because life’s way too short to be doing things you don’t want to.
I would also recommend saying yes to opportunities that come your way. If you feel drawn to something and it feels right, go for it, don’t overthink things.
Likewise it’s ok to say no. Learn to protect yourself and know that you don’t have to do everything.
I believe you can change your life and live whatever life you want to, it’s up to us, we create all of it.
Thank you, Helen, for your fascinating story and for sharing your words of wisdom. If you would like to connect with Helen Pinkett and discover more about her many businesses, you’ll find her over on Facebook here.
I hope you enjoyed taking a moment to read this blog, and I can’t wait to bring you the last in this series of interviews next month.
Until next time, be truly you!