Fri 14 / 08 / 15
Interview with Joanna Nutley, Director of Nutley's Kitchen Gardens
Serial entrepreneurs pop-up breakfast, July 31st 2015
It wasn’t until Joanna Nutley was asked to speak our Serial entrepreneurs pop-up breakfast that she realised she was one. A look back at her 20-year business career includes a graphic design company, a magazine for parents, furniture restoration, a gite in France, and property development. Prior to that, she had worked as a freelance editor in London for national newspapers and magazines, but began her career in book publishing. Currently, her largest company is an online retailer & wholesaler selling everything to do with growing your own food. Concurrently, she also manages ten rental properties, a French holiday let, is planning and building up stock for a co-venture with her husband restoring 20th-century design pieces and is constantly thinking of possible new businesses. Confronted with the evidence, Joanna is very comfortable with her new description and excited about all present and future ventures.
1. What does being an Entrepreneur mean to you?
I feel a little uncomfortable if I call myself an ‘entrepreneur’. It makes me sound like I’m bigging myself up – I guess in my mind it always meant a business big shot who gets interviewed in the Sunday supplements. But if it means someone who enjoys starting and running a business, who finds (almost) the whole process very creative and fulfilling, and who relishes working for themselves and reporting to no-one, then that’s definitely me.
2. What did you want to be when you grew up?
I could never decide what I wanted to do, but I knew I didn’t want to go to university. On my last day at school, a teacher asked me why and I told him ‘I want to own my own business’. I think I was impressed by family members who had their own businesses – I was always interested to hear how they were getting on - but I didn’t actively pursue it myself for years. I did, however, always have it in the back of my mind. I knew from a very early age that I wanted to experience a lot in life, go to lots of places, try different things. So a 9-5 job until retirement wasn’t going to fulfil any dreams.
3. When did you decide to be self employed?
I spent many years in working in offices in London – book publishers, then newspapers & magazines – and can remember looking out of the window feeling jealous of the people who were outside and ‘free’. Walking or driving around during office hours, and not confined to the same four walls, bum on seat for 8 hours a day. I felt imprisoned. But it took a few years for me to have the courage to break away from the regular monthly pay cheque. A big catalyst was when I got a break in journalism, with an interview with Dudley Moore. I went to see him, but I never wrote it up. My heart wasn’t in it – even as a freelance journalist, you’re likely to be doing someone else’s bidding. And I needed to be free! A year later my first child was born, and we moved down to Worthing. (Yes, that’s where Freedom lies folks!) I’ve been pretty much fully self-employed ever since.
4. Who inspires you?
I don’t have any particular role models. I am inspired by all sorts of people in all kinds of ways, on different days and for different reasons. It’s a bit of a cop-out answer, but if I was pushed I guess I’d say that on a business level I admire people who have those qualities I think I lack. I tend to be impulsive, so I admire those who are a little more cautious (not too cautious, though!). I can hide myself away sometimes, so I admire those who encourage me out and bolster me up – through them I’ve learned the importance of networking. And I admire those who can stay calm and (relatively) cheerful in a crisis. I’m still learning on that score.
5. What is non negotiable in your schedule?
Nothing is non-negotiable. At the start of every day, you might have a plan. But things happen, and you have to be able to react appropriately, while keeping your most important priorities in mind. I have a running list of things to do, and I cross things off and add to it daily. Some things are small, 10-minute jobs and others are larger ambitions. But they all go on the list.
6. What would you like your epitaph to read?
Oh blimey. If I wanted to be remembered for anything, I would probably want it to be that I was successful in my business, and that I did it without being horrible to anyone, or saying ‘I’m very competitive’ all the time. Now that sounds very self-righteous, but there it is. It’s an aspiration.
You can find out more about Nutley's Kitchen Gardens on their website
Our next Serial Entrepreneurs pop-up breakfast is in September - find out more here.
This blog was written by Ebonie Allard – The Entrepreneur Enabler. Ebonie works with innovative and creative misfit freelancers, business owners and entrepreneurs who want purposeful, fulfilling and rewarding three dimensional lives. She helps them to accelerate adventure, catalyse connection and magnetize money. Find out more or get in touch here.
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