Overcoming isolation for women in business: Amanda Kerin shares her vision

Amanda Kerin is the founder of Creative Women’s Mastermind a community for women in business, freelancers, solopreneurs, coaches or consultants. It brings together women who are responsible for their own income by creating content and marketing, servicing clients and producing products. The community helps overcome isolation by providing routine, productivity, company and connection in your working day.

Why did you start Creative Women’s Mastermind?

I started my business as my life went through a major adjustment. I found myself in love and living in the French Alps with my partner, a pilot – it felt like I was living in my own RomCom. However, it was definitely not quite like the movies, as I became incredibly lonely and isolated working from home on my business from the mountains. I had moved from my hometown of Bristol, with a large local business network, to a tiny ski resort – the complete opposite end of the scale!

Living in the mountains and working from home affected my confidence, creativity and income. My mental and emotional health suffered, and I now know why isolation is used as a torture method in some countries. So, it’s not surprising my coaching business suffered.

I then decided to step back from the online space for a while and be around creative humans in real life. It was during that time that I knew I didn’t want to work for other people for the rest of my career, and those feelings of wanting to run my own business came back.

Overcoming isolation

I started to think about what I would really want being a woman in business working from home. The biggest piece that was missing for me was connection with like-minded women. There had been no relationships or friendships formed or the kind of support I needed during that time, and I felt lonely. I only knew women through a keyboard. I thought I couldn’t be the only one having these thoughts.

So I created the idea of a mastermind and coworking community online. It’s a membership community where we meet online and cowork together a few times a week. We also mastermind, brainstorm and share ideas with one another to progress our businesses once a week too. Meeting up online regularly provides the connection where support is given and relationships and friendships are formed.

There are other opportunities to meet up, but these are the core elements. The idea is to have company in your working day with other creative smart women, get stuff done but also have time for a chat. It could be the only conversation you have with a like-minded woman that day!

If you feel isolated or lonely, it’s easy to end up procrastinating with the many distractions you have around you. The schedule of the sessions helps to create a structure and routine to your working week, so you can keep focused.

How did you get started?

I’ve been operating since July 2019 after eight months’ validating the idea. I then took a three-month sabbatical from my part-time job in Geneva. I’ve had a slight blip along the way after a nasty skiing accident earlier this year, but I’m now back on the road to recovery.

I’m still living in the French Alps and over the past few months I’ve been finessing the service and the times of the coworking sessions to serve largely the UK, Europe and the US. I also have members in Australia and New Zealand!

I’ve taken on a virtual assistant this year to help me with the admin tasks and I’m also working closely with my website tech help.

Membership growth hasn’t been as fast as I would have liked, but I think we’re all impatient as entrepreneurs! I believe in my idea, I have some great testimonials and a high retention rate so feel confident the business will grow this year with the right tools and strategy.

What did you do before this business?

I’ve worked in creative industries my entire career. I used to be a Radio Producer and Event Manager. I believe being creative and logical is a rare trait, so together these skills have enabled me to make the most of my creativity and organisational ability to bring people together and make sure they keep to time and get stuff done.

I love ideas and I’m a creative at heart; winning a Sony radio and event awards during my career in creative industries.

Being creative doesn’t mean you have to be a crafter type of person, creativity is about ideas and I genuinely believe we are all creative. Some people just may not have tapped into it as much as others yet. It breaks my heart to hear people saying ‘I’m not creative’. That little seed of an idea is creativity, follow that curiosity and see where it leads…

I ran an events company until I retrained and transitioned into coaching and I’ve been helping others achieve their creative dream since 2013.

What are your values?

My values are very simple and go back to the core of what I wanted during the time I was working from home alone.

Connection, Support, Collaboration, Accountability and Action are all woven through me and Creative Women’s Mastermind because if I take myself back to that painful time of being lonely and isolated, these are what I wanted.

I believe that if I had more help and support whilst working from home on my coaching business, my mental and emotional health wouldn’t have been so affected. During this time, I lost my confidence and felt as though I couldn’t reach out, as I was the miserable one in the corner comparing myself to everyone else’s perceived success. It’s a very self-destructive and slippery slope not living out your best creative life and making the most of your potential.

Did you need funding to get started?

Originally I saved enough money to see me through six months. I took a three-month sabbatical from my part-time job, so I could give the business the time and dedication it needed.

The business hasn’t grown as quickly as I would have liked and an opportunity came in to freelance for my previous employer for a few months, which has given me the cash injection to invest in myself and the business.

What marketing techniques have worked best?

I’m still trying to figure out the best marketing strategy for my business. I’ve been testing and trying a few different ones. A free Facebook group didn’t really work for me and now I’m focusing on launching a podcast and trying to put helpful content on the various social channels. I’m currently in two minds whether to master one platform or be visible on the majority of them! I’m still testing and trialing that one! Also at this time, I’ve made the decision to keep the checkout open and offer a 14-day trial for 1 £/$/€ depending on where you are.

How are you using technology?

Technology has been the bane of my life! I am definitely not the most technically savvy individual, so I’ve intentionally kept things really simple. There is phase two for the business which involves more tech and that’s why I’m working with my website wonder woman!

The next stage is the dedicated membership platform for the content and an affiliate link.

Where do you get your support from?

I’m in a mastermind group myself and I also have a coach. My fiancé is super supportive and helps give me a fresh perspective on my ideas, even though he doesn’t necessarily understand the online business world – that can sometimes be refreshing!

Who has inspired you and why?

My mum inspired me when I was growing up, as she ran her own businesses. Sadly she’s not with us anymore, but she always encouraged me to follow my dreams and love what I do, as life is too short to be unhappy and miserable in a soul-sucking job.

Three things you have learned?

You’re more capable than you think. It’s easy to let fears and uncertainties control you but I encourage you to be brave and courageous. Scratch that itch and explore your idea as you never know where it will lead. It keeps nagging your mind because it wants some attention! You can make your ideas happen when you put your mind to it. You figure things out along the way – you don’t have to know everything to get started.

Everything is temporary and things will pass. No matter how bad things are, things will change as time passes, and the time will pass anyway. In those moments of despair, go with what you need right now. When I was trying to make my coaching business work, I knew it wasn’t going to work at that moment in time because of who and where I was and also how I was feeling. What I needed at that time was connection with other creative humans in my life. The business had to wait.

Learn from everything and don’t be afraid to journal, reach out and ask for help and support. You can learn from your mistakes and experiences. I’ve learned to accept mistakes, they are never failures, just a whole heap more experience which I can learn from.

You are not meant to suffer or work alone. We are human beings and designed for connection. It’s human nature to want to help people if you’re asked. And people love to help if they’re asked!

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