May I introduce you to Callie Pettigrew. I’m absolutely thrilled to be hosting a new series of blogs celebrating female entrepreneurs who are simply thriving. It’s my aim to bring you a varied range of stories featuring women who are living life on their own terms and shunning the idea that life has to take a back seat when you run your own business. Although these women will share their tips and advice, I hope this blog series also inspires you to do things your way – to carve your own path. Click here to see the first interview and to read a full explanation of what a Simply Thriving Entrepreneur is.
Callie is a fun, enthusiastic and talented stylist, with a love for all things minimalist and sustainable. She’s often to be found travelling the world taking beautiful pictures that make me want to visit everywhere she’s been, and her book reviews are also something to look out for. Callie has only been a solopreneur for less than a year but she already has such a wisdom about what works for her. Lists, boundaries and introvert time are all key for Callie, and that totally resonated with me. I’m so excited to see how Callie’s business develops this year – I love her sustainability slant and I know that’s something we’re all keen to learn more about. Read on to find out more about Callie…
Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do
Hello! I’m Callie, an Interior, Product & Event Stylist based in London. I love to create beautiful imagery and spaces that help brands and individuals visually engage with their audiences using simple design with a playful twist, whether that be styling a creative workshop, an independent maker’s product or your home.
I spent the last few years working in creative events, before deciding to start my own business earlier this year as I wanted the freedom and variety of working for myself. Recently, I have also started hosting my own workshops, with the aim of teaching and inspiring others so keep your eyes peeled for those!
Some other things about me… I am a serious sun-worshipper and really struggle at this time of year with such little daylight! Like Julia, I can’t stop buying plants. I love to read, and write regular book reviews on my instagram. I grew up in Hong Kong which is where my love for travel stems from. I’m passionate about living a more sustainable life, and have spent the last year making conscious changes to my lifestyle. I don’t believe you can do it all, but if we all make small changes where we can it will make a massive difference.
How do you plan your day/week?
Planning is so vital in the way I run my business. When I don’t make time for planning, my productivity drops massively and I struggle to get anything done. On a Sunday evening I like to sit down and put a plan for the week in place. I check what I’ve got coming up whether that be for work or in my social life and schedule how to work around those things/where I need to prioritise. Also I always try and do a weekly food shop and all those bits and bobs around the flat on a Sunday so that there are no excuses on Monday and I can start the week fresh. I actually love Mondays and find them to be one of my most productive days, but if there’s washing up to do or my desk is a mess, I find it really difficult to concentrate.
Someone told me recently that you should always start your day with the most important thing on your to-do list and that was one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received. Once your main task is out of the way, everything else seems so much more manageable.
What does success look like to you?
This is such an interesting question! I used to think success was all about how much money you make or how many instagram followers you have. I couldn’t have been more wrong and I’ve completely changed my mindset over the last couple of years. Success to me now is a mixture of having the freedom to work on projects that excite and inspire me and being well respected in my industry for what I do and how I go about it. It’s never alright to be a horrible person.
At the end of the day, I think it’s about being proud of what you do. Being self-employed takes so much strength and determination and I think sometimes we forget to take a step back and appreciate everything we’ve achieved.
What does self-care mean to you, and how is that reflected in your life?
I’m a complete Introvert. Don’t get me wrong, I love going out for dinner with friends and doing fun social things, but for me, self-care is making sure I give myself enough time alone to recharge so that I avoid burn-out. It’s vital and can be as simple as an hour cooking dinner, or even watching a film and mindlessly scrolling my phone. Downtime is more important for me now than it has ever been before – When your business consists of just you, you have to look after yourself.
Looking back, is there anything you would you change about your first year in business?
I’m still in it! It’s been a crazy year so far and a total learning experience, but I don’t think I would change anything looking back. I’m a big believer that everything happens for a reason and I might not be where I am now without mistakes I’ve made along the way.
Having said that, I do think when you start out it can be so hard to separate yourself from your business. I hope that next year I will be able to streamline a little and start to delegate things to people that will be able to do a better job!
What boundaries do you have in place regarding your work/life balance?
I’d like to say I’ve got this down, but to be totally honest, it’s something I often struggle with. Living and working from home can be really challenging so I try to get out when I can and work from a coffee shop or coworking space so that when I come home it feels like a natural end to the day, but it doesn’t always happen.
I’m also working on saying no more. I have a tendency to try and do everything, whether that’s a work project or drinks with friends, but it is so important to know when to say no to avoid overwhelm.
Balance wise, I try to block out personal time in my diary as well as work time. This allows me to be more mindful and aware of how much I’m doing. As someone who works a lot of weekends, it can be difficult to distinguish what is personal time and what is work time, but as long as you are making a conscious choice to do one or the other, I think you’re fine.
What’s the best and worst thing about working for yourself?
There’s not much better than the freedom of working for yourself and being able to decide what you do and when you do it. On the downside, that comes with a lot of responsibility to make sure you do actually get things done! You only have yourself to answer to.
The worst thing is a toss up between two things. Firstly… accounting. I hate it and as soon as I can I will outsource it to someone who actually knows what they are doing! Secondly… I thought I would have no problem working alone, but I really struggle with not having anyone to bounce ideas off. I now text friends all the time (to their annoyance I’m sure) asking for opinions. I’d love to share a studio or coworking space with other creatives in the future.
Please can you share a top tip for an overwhelmed entrepreneur
Lists, lists and more lists. There’s nothing more effective when you’re overwhelmed than getting everything out of your head and down onto paper. At the end of every day I like to write a to-do list for the following day which really helps me to prioritise depending on what I have going on, and start each day with a clear plan. Breaking things down can also be really helpful. There’s no point in putting a huge task on your list as one ‘to-do’. You’ll keep putting it off and it just won’t happen. Instead break that large task down into manageable tasks and over time you’ll make much better progress. It’s important to add that equally there’s no point in writing an endless to-do list. It’s unreasonable and you’ll be back where you started.
Where can we find you online?