Psst! Don’t want to read? There’s a video version of this interview at the bottom. Scroll down to watch!
It’s another Flourishing Entrepreneurs interview! I’ve loved the feedback I’ve got from you guys on this series and how nipping behind the scenes and digging deep on female business owners is really helping you with some of your own journeys too.
Today I’m introducing Flourishing Entrepreneur #8 Maddy Jones, or Maddy Shine as she’s known to her audience on Instagram and beyond. Through the magic of online presence and SEO (search engine optimisation, for those not in the known), Maddy teaches creative women how to get more visible online.
Can’t be bothered to read? There’s a video of highlights from my live chat with Maddy based on this interview below. Scroll down to view!
Who are you, what is your business and what job title do you have?
Hello! *waves enthusiastically* Thanks for having me! My name is Madeleine Jones, usually known as Maddy Shine as that’s my Instagram name! I run a business called Making Your Business Shine because that’s exactly what I love to do. I support creative women to get more visible online. My job title has been affectionately adopted as the SEO Queen. I’ll take it ;)
What were you told about work growing up?
I was told that I could do or be anything I wanted in life as long as I was happy. My parents wanted to ensure that I didn’t feel pushed into any particular career that I didn’t want to be in. It was wonderful but at the same time because it was limitless I felt overwhelmed as a teenager and had no idea what I wanted to do. I’ve often found it strange to give what feels like one of the most important choices (university) to a teenager.
I did endless careers and aptitude tests, Myers Briggs (I’m ISFJ by the way and it has had zero effect in my life to know this) with wildly differing results. Stage Manager was one of them (I do love being bossy?!) whilst Social Worker was another (I would be terrible – I’d be crying and hugging all the people all the time because I absorb emotions like a sponge).
Now, of course I have come to realise that the sort of job I wanted to do didn’t show up in these tests because it didn’t exist.
This was the late nineties – my Dad had got the internet before any of my friends’ parents, and so I learned to code in HTML and geek out to my heart’s delight. I didn’t know until 2005 that I could actually get a job working online (and yes, that was after I graduated with a business degree)
All I really knew was this – I wanted to be in London. I grew up in Devon and whilst it was beautiful being by the sea, I wanted more. I was lucky enough to get two internships in PR for the Boat Race and the London Marathon where I got the advice to do a business degree (I had previously been accepted to be an English Teacher).
I followed through and loved learning about business but the module on Entrepreneurship was lacking. I learned nothing about to how to start a small business. So I didn’t. I got 9-5 day jobs in marketing, office management for 8 years before being made redundant, taking my cheque and heading off to India where I quite literally caught up with myself, my sleep, learned the power of reflection and relaxation and found what I really wanted to do.
I wanted to be independent, to no longer have to ask for permission for holidays, to work with whomever I wanted, to live passionately and to make money doing so. So I did, and here I am. That is the short version of my business story. The longer version is available on my blog written in the form of GIFs.
How has your mindset changed around work since then?
My mindset has changed significantly around work. I have gone from not believing in myself to not only believing in myself but in everyone else. I believe every human being has the capacity for enormous potential, they just have to find their ‘thing’ and the right support to go for it.
I was not confident in my day jobs. I pretended to be, but I didn’t enjoy it. I didn’t feel challenged enough and I constantly sought side jobs and projects. In my spare time, I helped run the press office at Henley Regatta for a number of years, I organised fancy dress parties, I became a CELTA English Teacher in my spare time, I launched a community campaign to save the houseboat community where I lived for a while (we were successful), I helped friends with university projects, marketing campaigns for their small businesses and I spoke with many, many people. I like talking. You can probably tell that from this interview ;)
My business was started because I got engaged and started as a real bride blogger for a vintage wedding blog that was popular at the time. Sara (the blogger) recognised I had other skills to contribute and made use of them and started recommending me to others which I will always remain grateful for! I networked like crazy and have enjoyed the journey thoroughly!
I’ve taken losses on the chin, I’ve picked myself up and cracked on. It’s when I’ve feared failure and stopped myself that I’ve really missed out, so I no longer do that so much and instead rely on the support I receive.
In my previous jobs, I learned how to speak up, how to project manage, how to communicate clearly over email (without body language), how to persuade people, how to share useful information about perhaps some dry topics but in an interesting way (or as one associate said to me ‘You could sell ice to an Eskimo’).
My business is teaching people how to get found online, how to be more visible through search engine optimisation, social media and marketing techniques. These don’t have to be dry topics, it’s all about getting found by the people you want to be found by. I’ve learned that this is what creative women need, and I want to be the one to provide this service to them. I have always been passionate about working with women, and whilst I do work with men, it was with women that I felt most comfortable. I am mega passionate about shining as you are, doing what you want to do, and not worrying about the fact that you don’t fit into any box (because I don’t!)
But really my mindset shifted and I realised my natural talents when I went to India in 2010 and met the Bright/Balanced View teaching. There’s a centre in north Goa that runs workshops and classes from December to March every year and apart from being in paradise, it’s where I truly learned what I want to contribute to the world.
I did the 12 day introductory course where I clarified all belief systems that I held about myself and then went onto participate in many other trainings they do, including one about strengths, gifts and talents which I’ve done about four times in the 8 years since and always learn more about what I want to contribute!
How do you prioritise your health as a busy entrepreneur?
Better and better each day! I much prefer to walk rather than take the bus if I know the way! I have a step counter which helps significantly but also what I’ve found is just being happier within myself, I don’t put so much pressure on myself and I go for long walks sometimes and sometimes I don’t. I don’t belong to a gym, but I dance a lot!
My mental and emotional health as you can probably tell from my answers here, is of utmost priority to me. From the age of 16 to 30 I experienced panic attacks, and I was even signed off work with depression for a few months when I was 23. I no longer experience any of this because I am so much kinder to myself, I take support way before it gets to this stage and I feel much better about my outlook on life.
I’ve always lived life to the fullest, but now I spend a lot more time alone, a lot more time relaxing and I don’t feel bad about that in the slightest! Who will look after us if we don’t?!
How does food feature in your life and what does it mean to you?
I love eating food, but I wouldn’t call myself a foodie. I can name my favourite three food groups a la Will Ferrell in Elf – pasta, pastry and root veggies.
When I was travelling in Asia for 3 years I stopped cooking altogether and it’s taken me a while to get out of that habit. Now that I’m back in London, I cook for my flatmate and we tend to eat reasonably healthy, although we’re both busy so sometimes it falls by the wayside in lieu of convenience!
As for what food means to me, I think comfort is probably the key factor. I associate food with special occasions, special times, and feeling good.
What is your favourite meal, something you would recommend others learn to cook or prepare?
My favourite meal will always be my mum’s spaghetti carbonara. I live for pasta! It’s not particularly healthy but if I could eat one meal for the rest of my life, it would be this. I would live a shorter life but I would die happy!
It’s super easy to prepare – boil the spaghetti with a pinch of salt in the water. Add a pot of single cream with two eggs in the bowl and whisk until runny with no lumps. Chop bacon into small pieces and fry or grill with nothing else added (although sometimes I add chopped garlic). When the spaghetti is cooked (I throw a piece against the kitchen wall and if it sticks, it’s cooked!) drain the pasta and add back into the saucepan. Immediately add the egg/cream mixture and the bacon bits and stir. Add a lot of pepper. Mix, then serve. Nom nom.
The voice in your head - we’ve all got one! What negative thing does it say to you most often and how do you deal with it?
Negativity comes up all the time for me, saying a whole host of things, but how I deal with it is by practicing the deep relaxation techniques I have learned and continue to practice with the Bright/Balanced View training.
I take time out if it’s getting me down, I learn to see how the negative point of view can be of benefit. Most likely it’s simply a sign to make a cup of tea and go to the loo, instead of ploughing through 10 more emails!
Success – what does it mean to you? What is your version of success?
I have whole Pinterest boards defining success for me in different areas of my life. Success is work/life balance, and more people doing what they love and making money from it as a result of what I teach them. It’s being able to have the lifestyle I want, to have fun, to choose what I do and who I work with. It’s being able to have time with my adorable niece (she’s the best!) and to resolve the guilt from being away from inbox, and at the same time resolve the guilt about being away from family and friends when I have to work.
I’m kinder to myself than I used to be, so I consider myself successful in this regard. As for actual finances, my goal is to have a six figure turnover within the next 12 months.
Self-care. What does it mean to you and what self-care practises do you have to look after yourself as a busy entrepreneur?
Self-care is extremely important to me. By making time to take care of myself I know I can be of more benefit to others – my loved ones, clients, community. By prioritising self care I am kinder, more generous, I enjoy life more and I am more productive. Self care for me can look like having a nap when I need to, or going for a walk, taking care over my appearance, spending a little more on groceries, or turning a client down if we’re not the best fit. But it’s all rooted in the deep relaxation techniques I have learned and practice daily with the Balanced View training.
After doing the introductory 12 part course back in 2011, you are offered access to a four part support system consisting of the deep relaxation practice, a mentor who you can contact at any time, the training media which is all online and the worldwide community. I have taken full support from this over the years, and I have participated in many workshops and retreats.
The retreats are the ultimate in self-care, there’s a centre in the Swedish countryside which is particularly magical and I’ve been lucky enough to take time out to visit twice in the past year.
What one book, video or podcast would you recommend to entrepreneurs?
I have read tonnes of business books, self-help books, personal guidance and productivity books and I have read none that come anywhere near One Simple Change Makes Life Easy. It is a good taste of the Balanced View training and what it’s all about.
What one tip, quote or resource would you share with other entrepreneurs to help them on their journey?
On the internet, I often find that there’s two extremes – either ‘you are enough’ vibe or ‘you have the same number of hours as Beyonce’ vibe. I find neither extreme particularly helpful.
I find personal reflection and finding people who work in a similar way is the most powerful way to realise just how far you’ve come, and where you want to go with your life.
I would not underestimate it. This doesn’t mean I sit around worrying and going over all the mistakes and missed opportunities I’ve had in my life. It means I create space around my tasks and projects so that I am more productive, and much happier with life.
Of course, my Facebook group “So Exciting Obviously SEO for Creative Women”is a fantastic resource for creative women to increase their visibility and get found online doing what they want to do.
Watch my interview from Instagram Live with Maddy where we delve deeper into her trip to India and get some SEO tips from the expert herself on how to get found online:
More about Maddy and where to find her:
Maddy Jones is affectionately known as the SEO Queen. Her mission is to help passionate creative women get more visible online and grow their businesses by leaving Confusionville for dust and effortlessly attracting and booking the perfect clients. When she gets hold of your business, it’s like a glitter bomb goes off. You can find me dancing here on Instagram or in my lively Facebook group So Exciting Obviously SEO for Creative Women .
Check out her website here: www.business-shine.co.uk
Follow on Instagram: @maddy.shine
Facebook: Making Your Business Shine
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