Sharon from Chandramala photographed by Abigail K Photography A Cape Town based Portrait Photographer

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I haven’t actually met Jacqui in person, but I’ve known about her for years thanks to the online connected world we live in. I’ve always been impressed by the successes she’s acheived and the reach that she has. It’s been my intention for the longest time to find out what Jacqui’s secret confidence recipe is.

So what do you do when you want to know someone else’s secret to success?

You ask!

And that’s exactly what I did, and I’m thrilled that I did, because she’s shared some amazingly valuable insights that she’s gained over her journey of entrepreneruship. Insights that many of us can use to bolster our daily confidence and to help keep us putting one foot in front of the other.

Business Confidence

Occupation

Digital Marketing Consultant and Coach

 

What problem do you solve for your clients?

I help businesses and brands connect with their customers online

 

How did you get started in this field?

I went from teaching to publishing a magazine for teachers that I took national then international. Digital marketing was part of the quest to find more cost-effective ways to promote the magazine. One thing led to another and soon I was involved in media and marketing for high profile TV clients as well as other niches including Tourism and Hospitality, FinTech, FMCG brands and more

 

Starting and growing a business is an ongoing process with many twists & turns.

Did you have a specific moment that shifted things for you that catapulted your growth?

Yes, three actually. The first was signing the Big Break Legacy Show and diving into digital with extreme focus, working 18 hours a day and learning in the trenches. The second was following my divorce which is a crisis that forced me to learn to ‘sink or swim’ – I’m still moving upstream every day.

 

What was one of the hardest/most important decisions you had to make in your business journey?

To employ more staff in order to scale or to maintain a lifestyle business.

 

What blocks or resistence did you come up against?

Resistance in my business has always been a consequence of my own thinking and my own self-imposed limitations

 

What’s the most important consistent action you took and still take to ensure you continually grow and keep momentum in your business/career?

Commitment to being a lifelong learner and maintaining a strong network.

 

What have been some of the biggest challenges along the way?

Trusting others to keep their word. Time management – always juggling being a mom and a business owner is no mean feat. Self-belief to drive things further

 

What have been some of the biggest celebrations along the way?

Seeing the proverbial lights go on during training sessions – I will always remain a teacher at heart.

 

How has your professional journey, the ups and downs, impacted the way that you’re able to serve your clients?

I’m empathetic towards the struggles entrepreneurs and small business owners face. What I’ve learned has been largely based on experience, not mere theoretical training and experience gives the best (although often times, the hardest) lessons.

 

Personal Confidence

 
When was a time in your life when you did NOT feel confident?

What made you feel like that?

In Std 5 I was on the Johannesburg Mini City Council. It was a time of turmoil in myhome life. I was a leader and excelled academically, but that year stands out for me as one when I felt least comfortable in my own skin and most acutely aware of my short-comings. I was especially prone to social anxiety that year and worried constantly about my socio-economic status compared to that of my peers. I spent a lot of time that year feeling like I was not enough.

 

What’s the best advice you’ve received to boost your confidence?

 

As a child, The Head Girl of my primary school when I was in Grade 1, Sharon Baker, was my class prefect. She took me aside one day and told me that if I worked hard, I could be Head Girl too one day. She was right. And I think her belief in me gave me the drive to believe in myself. I was Head Girl in Primary School and Deputy Head Girl in High School and Sharon’s words stuck with me all the years. As an adult, I’ve had input from women like Mirna de Hart, Renay vd Berg and Karen Venter (all seasoned entrepreneurs and coaches in their own rights) who have reminded me that you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take and that together we can do more. It’s important to remember that you’re never really alone.

What decision did you have to make in order to shift your confidence?

I needed to take action. Action separates the successful from those who do nothing and even small actions can boost your confidence sufficiently to spur you on to more.

 

What challenges/blocks/resistence did you have to overcome?

Fear. Fear holds us back. Fear of the outcome not being what you hope it will be. Fear of what others might think or how they might perceive you. Fear of not being good enough/pretty enough/clever enough/strong enough/fast enough/…. always feeling never enough. Once you come to the place to act in spite of fear and to start accepting your limitations without pandering to them, while acknowledging your strengths without being arrogant about them, you can move past feeling like you’re not enough and achieve so much more.

 

What routines, practices, actions did you put into place? What lifestyle changes did you implement?

Sleep. I have learned that with less than 7 hours a night I do not function optimally. Lack of sleep is no badge of honour. In fact, the glorification of busy should be a crime. We do our bodies, minds, businesses, families and friends no favours when we don’t take care of the fundamentals. Granted, everyone has different needs as far as rest goes, but I think what’s important is to know what yours are and stick to a routine that supports optimal health. This goes beyond sleep and includes nutrition, exercise and time for recreation. Healthy mind, healthy body. This translates to a healthier all-round you and is particularly important for how you feel about yourself and consequently, your confidence.

 

What did you learn from your journey of no/low confidence to now?

All that you need is inside you. Don’t look without – look within. That’s where the answers lie. The approval of others will never satisfy you because it’s external. Know yourself and as Shakespeare said, to thine own self be true

 

What do you do when you need an immediate confidence boost now?

What any girl does! Get my hair done! 😉

 

Do you have any confidence boosting or self love mantras or sayings?

I don’t have a mantra per se, but whenever I’m feeling low or just having a particularly down day, I remind myself that simple acts of self-care go a long way to lifting my spirits

 

What resources (websites, blogs, forums, books) boost your confidence?

Yours is one of the few! But I can also add She Gathers (a recent discovery I’m enjoying) https://www.instagram.com/she_gathers_co/

 

How do you celebrate yourself on a regular basis?

I treat myself to regular manicures – this is ‘me time’ that is also a great confidence booster since hands are always on show. I also like to celebrate ‘me’ regularly with the treat of a candlelit bath, a beautiful bouquet of flowers or something as simple as enjoying a cup of my favourite coffee and a piece of almond biscotti in the early morning sunshine on my patio

 

How does your personal confidence impact your professional confidence?

The two are entertwined. They cannot be separated.

 

 

Confidence Advice

Photo provided by Jacqui

 
What advice would you give to a girl or woman who clearly has low confidence or low self love?

You are more than the sum of your feelings about yourself. Feelings aren’t facts. The mirror tells the same story as the mind: if you look for the things you LOVE about yourself and start to focus on that, rather than turning the spotlight onto all the things you hate, you will slowly begin to see more that appeals to you. You will slowly begin to tell yourself a kinder story. You owe this to yourself.

 

What advice would your 85 year old self give you about your confidence & self love, today?

Honey, you’re the youngest and sexiest you’re ever going to be again TODAY. Live to the full! Don’t hold back!

 

If you were 5% kinder to yourself, starting today, what would you start doing differently?

I’d go back to using the gym contract I pay for!

 

What does confidence mean to you?

Confidence means the ability to be wholly, truly, unashamedly and unreservedly yourself without thought for how others might perceive you. Confidence means being comfortable in your own skin.

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