For this Sistr Q&A we catch up with Emma Sexton, complete badass and shero. She tells us her best and worst advice, as well a whole host of podcast and books she’s loving.
Paragraph on who you are and what you do
Emma Sexton is one of the UK’s leading experts on in-house creative teams and the business value of design. A design thinker and doer having started her own creative agency — MYWW™. The ‘inside out creative agency’ has been bolstering the creative capabilities for some of the world’s best businesses and brands since 2013. She is also co-founder of the insideoutawards.com , which celebrate the creativity of in-house creative teams.
Everyone needs a side hustle these days so you can also catch Emma on Saturday evenings broadcasting live from TalkRADIO where she is a Co-Host on the award winning Badass Women’s Hour which is also a podcast and live event.
What was your first job?
That depends if you mean my first job or my first FIRST job? Which was being an Avon Lady ages 14. Don’t ask. I was bad at it and had no idea how to run it as a business, which meant I spent the profits each month on more make up for me.
Do you have a daily ritual that keeps you sane?
I don’t have a daily ritual as such — I realise as I get older that I am not a consistent person. I am very led by my moods and have learnt to understand what I need and how to structure my week. Working for yourself means you can really find the best ‘rhythm’ for how you work best. I know the right times for me to be working on certain aspects of the business.
Another thing which I have got much better at (and it has made a big difference) is to value my rest and relaxation time. I had to reframe it as important work — not a frustration that I wasn’t doing anything! Now I really value doing nothing and enjoy it!
What’s been your biggest career screw up/mistake
I never really feel like I screw up if I can own the situation, apologise when it is needed, take the lesson and move on. I am much less hard on myself as I get older — we are all humans just doing our best. I need all of my mistakes to help me learn and improve.
What advice would you give your 20yr old younger self?
I wouldn’t give her any advice — she needed to go on the journey she did and learn for herself. And she definitely wouldn’t have listened!
What’s the worst & best advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice was from my dad when he told me to ‘worker smarter not harder’. I had not grasped this concept before and there was no Instagram at that time to put this quote on my radar so it was a total revelation. It is my mantra and the underlying principle to how I live and work today.
The worst advice is probably ‘do what you love and the money will follow’. I think it makes people under estimate that even doing what you love can be really hard work at times. Mastering running a business is hard and a very steep learning curve but running a business you love will make it all worth it.
Number 1 tip for nailing an interview?
Don’t let them smell you fear! If you don’t believe in yourself, how will you ever get others too?
Have you ever had a mentor? If so what was the best thing you’ve learnt from them?
I have never had a formal mentor as such but I do have a brilliant network of people I respect and admire. These people are also the ones I can contact and ask for advice when I need to. I find getting a range of perspectives on a situation helps me to make a better decision than advice from just one person.
What keeps you awake at night and what’s your top coping method?
Money — the bigger the business the more of a burden the payroll and outgoings are. But also excitement can keep me awake about the business and my vision for it. Journaling really helps me to rationale the irrational and get things out of my head. Coping is a work in progress because as my business gets bigger the risks are higher — but I wouldn’t change it.
Any inspirational books/podcasts/blogs/people you’re loving at the moment?
– TUT Two Guys in Your head — I am really into physiology and the more you know people the easier it is to work with your team and clients
– 2Bobs — Practical modern guide to running a creative agency
– Future Thinkers — just interesting!
– The E Myth — all about the challenges of being a practitioner learning to be an entrepreneur
– It’s not how good you are but how good you want to be by Paul Arden — I read this in my early twenties and it changed my life!