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The Midlife Business

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Episode 12: Vicki Nicolson on Flexibility, Branding and Writing Her First Novel in a Hospital Car Park

In this week’s episode, I am joined by the wonderful Vicki Nicolson. Vicki is a graphic designer specialising in branding and creating card decks for female business owners.

She is multi-talented and has recently published two contemporary romance novels and launched her author brand of VH Nicolson. Vicki is now smitten with writing love stories and happily ever afters and don’t we all need a bit of that in our lives! 

We discuss why she started her business, the challenges she faced, why she started writing novels and how she finds the time to do it all.

 

Episode Highlights:

  • (01:30)  Why Vicki started her own business
  • (07:42)  The difficulties Vicki faced when she started her business
  • (11:57)    Vicki’s advice to new business owners
  • (15:18)    How Vicki came to write her first novel
  • (18:47)   How she finds the time to run a business and write books
  • (24:14)  Why Vicki uses TikTok to promote her books
  • (36:58)  The advice Vicki would give her younger self

About Vicki Nicolson:

Vicki Nicolson is a graphic designer specialising in branding and creating card decks for women business owners. Vicki also recently wrote her first contemporary romance novel over lockdown and launched her romance author brand, VH Nicolson. She is now completely smitten with writing love stories with happily ever afters. Vicki was born and raised along the breathtaking coastline in North East Fife in Scotland. 

For more than two decades she’s worked throughout the UK and abroad within the creative marketing and design industry, as a branding strategist and stylist, editor of a magazine and sub-editor of a newspaper. Married to her soul mate, they have one son. She has a weakness for buying too many quirky sparkly jumpers, eating Belgium buns, and walking the endless beaches that surround her beautiful Scottish hometown; she’s now moved back to where she runs both her graphic design business and author brand. 

 

Connect with Vicki:

Website: https://vickinicolson.com/

Author Website: https://vhnicolsonauthor.com/  

Transcript

sHello, and welcome to the Midlife Business Show with Suzanne Mountain. This is the podcast that celebrates all those of us who are building a business during our middle years. I’m an ex corporate girl who started my business six years ago in my fifties. And I’m loving it. This podcast is here to inspire you with conversations with other entrepreneurs about the messy and magical ups and downs of this period of our lives. Plus, I’ll be sharing simple, actionable step by step strategies to help you build a business with impact and a life that you love

 

Suzanne  (00:05)

I want to welcome the lovely Vicki Nicolson to the Midlife Business Show. Vicki is a graphic designer specializing in branding and creating card decks for female business owners. However, Vicki is multi-talented and has also recently published two contemporary romance novels and launched her author brand of VH Nicolson. Vicki is now smitten with writing love stories and happily ever after stories.  Don’t we all need a bit of that in our lives. So welcome Vicki. I’m excited to be speaking with you today. 

Vicki (01:17):

I’m so excited to be here. Thank you.

Suzanne (01:19):

So I know you started your branding business after giving up your corporate role a bit like me. Tell me what made you make that step? What were you thinking at that stage?

Vicki (01:30):

So I have, well, I left my corporate business. Uh, well, it wasn’t my corporate business. I left the corporate world, uh, because my son was about to start school and,  I couldn’t figure out how I was supposed to pick him up from across the bridge. Cause we have a bridge that separates us and sometimes it shuts down and weather conditions and such like, and if your child is at school, schools don’t keep those children. They throw them out. I was like, oh my gosh. And there was one day I was late for school and I thought, oh my gosh, I can’t do this anymore. Um, a nurse said, I would keep them back if the bridge is to close down now and again, but I just couldn’t figure it out. And I was like, I have to do something different. And my husband said, cause my husband worked away quite a lot. And he said, why don’t you just think about setting up your own business, but that not work out better for all of, I was like, you know what it would be. And that’s whenever I’m the graphic design world and solely focused on that. So I come from a very deep rooted marketing background, PR and graphic design, anything, visual, intellectual communication. And uh, so yeah, so I set up online, I’ll be seven years this year that I have been, uh, online now. So it feels like such a long

Suzanne (02:45):

Seven years. So I’ve, I’ve just celebrated my sixth year anniversary. So you are a year ahead of me. Um, so you, yeah,

Vicki(02:53):

But I think is that not when we met, did we not meet whenever you just first started the six years ago.

Suzanne (02:58):

Yeah. It would be six years ago this summer that we met. Because I’d been in business sort of, uh, four months, something like that. I knew I needed to speak to somebody about branding. And that’s when you came into my life. 

 Vicki, you mention, and the bridge and stuff. Do you wanna tell our listeners where you are so that they understand and your accent as well? You’re a lovely accent.

Vicki  (03:26):

I’m from Scotland. So I’m based in Fife, um, and where we are positioned, obviously there are quite a few rivers that separate us from certain areas. So you’ve got the bridge and the fourth road bridge, you know, bridges, separate land sort of thing. So there’s not many places if you want to work in the city or the bigger towns aroundabout and obviously you have to commute and travel to get to where you need to for corporate life. So, yeah, so that’s where I, that’s where I am and that’s what I used to do.

Suzanne (03:55):

That’s lovely. And of course, if you, you may remember our discussion about my mum coming from Fife originally, so I know where you are

Vicki (04:03):

And it’s beautiful right on the coast. Yeah, we’re right beside St Andrews. So on the beaches and I get to travel those and um, I live about, oh, couple miles away from the beach, which is lovely. So yeah, I can get to go for daily walks or whatever that’s if it’s not raining, which it tends to do a lot.

Suzanne (04:21):

Yeah. Well, having said that, you know, as, as you know, I’m now by the beach, by the sea and it’s pouring with rain today. So even on the south coast of England, we get it too.

Vicki (04:32):

Yeah, I can imagine.

Suzanne (04:35):

So what was it that you really wanted to achieve in your business other than, you know, obviously making it fit with your family life, which, you know, a lot of us that’s a driver, but what, what did you wanna do with the branding part of your business?

Vicki (04:50):

Well, I had always, so my degree was in marketing and design so I did both. And every job that I’ve had has always allowed me to do both texture and visual communication. So I have been like an editor of a magazine, sub editor of a newspaper. Um, you know, I’ve worked in PR and marketing and I’ve done all sorts of stuff. I’ve essentially always been like the in-house graphic designer, but the brand person also creates the content for it too. And, um, I decided to when it, oh, my business that I wanted for focus on the part that I actually enjoyed the most, and that was the graphic design stuff. Um, and then I specifically thought, well, I love doing the local side of things. And that was where I focused my business on all the branding and it’s where I tend to really excel.

Vicki (05:37):

It’s the creativity part of it. 

And I just seem to know what people want and like, um, it’s quite an intuitive, maybe psychic part of me almost, maybe. Um, and that’s what I focused on. And the whole point of setting up, honestly, you talk about family. It was for flexibility to allow me the flexibility, to be creative, to allow the flexibility, to be here for my family, to allow me to be here. Whenever my husband, he was working away quite a lot, and I needed to do school pick up and drop off that’s that genuinely, those are my reasons. And that has always stayed with me, flexibility to allow me to be.

Suzanne (06:15):

Yeah. And that’s great. I mean, God, the corporate world misses out so much by not giving, you know, men and women, the flexibility they need to lead the lives they want.. So when you talk about how, you know, it is sort of psychic with your branding, I think the thing for me, when I think about you and I do think about you in the branding sense, because that’s how I’ve known you longest is I can spot a Vicki Nicolson brand a mile off because although they’re all different,  they’re not the same, there is a definite something about them that comes through and they are beautiful.

Vicki (06:56):

Oh, that’s really, I think if we all have our own style, right. If that comes down to writing, so writing, um, anything visual, anything you’ll pull together. I think we always have like, people talk about being ified, um, which makes me laugh. But genuinely we all have our own style of like how we would present ourselves and are known for your brand. Whether or not that be design clothes, how you look, how you talk, how you, you know, text people, your content that is all part of your brand. And I suppose part of my brand is I have a, a style, a certain style. Yeah.

Suzanne (07:33):

Yeah. And it, you know, it comes over really well. So how did you find it when you really first set up your business? Was it as easy as you thought it was going to be?

Vicki (07:42):

Nope, absolutely awful. But everybody thinks, oh my gosh, you’re gonna leave your job. And everybody in the online world says, oh, it’ll be fine. There’s loads of customers. And I’ll be absolutely fantastic. Yes, I got loads of customers. I was absolutely busy as hell, but I was not charging. I was drowning. I was charging an incorrect amount, so I wasn’t making anything. I can remember. I started in the September and in the December I stood in my kitchen and said to my husband, actually don’t think I can afford to pay myself this month. And he was like, why not? I said, because I’m not charging properly so I can remember crying and in that moment I remember thinking, right, it’s gonna be Christmas.

And as soon as Christmas was over, I’m gonna do everything I can between that Christmas and the new year to sort of set up and start up again and I’m gonna rejig all packages and I’m gonna charge correctly. And I literally, when I, I must have tripled my income just by doing that. 

And that made such a difference beginning. It was not easy though, because it’s that self-belief in yourself that you’re not actually like I’m worth enough. So therefore I shouldn’t be charging that amount of money. And that actually is false economy really? 

Cause one, you burn out, two, you can’t afford to pay yourself. And three really it’s about actually charging yourself for what you worth and paying yourself for what you worth. Cause ultimately it’s a business. It’s not a hobby.

Speaker 1 (09:14):

 

Suzanne 

Yeah, absolutely. I was having this same conversation with a client this morning actually. And she works part-time at the moment and has a very respectable part-time job and her plan is to give that up and focus on her coaching business. But she’s, you know, the money she’s charging currently, she would have to work day and night and weekends, and it just doesn’t make any sense. 

But when we talk about the amount of money she would need to be charging, she then flips out and her mind monkeys run riot and tell her that no one will pay her. That even though that, you know, the, the figures we’re talking about and not figures that, you know, aren’t out there in the coaching market, uh, you know, a, a, a very reasonable level, her money mindset is just not in the place where she feels she can do that. And it holds us back so often. Doesn’t it?

Vicki (10:10):

It does very much though. I am proofing the PR of that. Um, honestly hand on my packages went from £245 up to £845, and now they’re £1 2 45. Yeah. And, people pay the money to work with me cause they want to work with me and they value what I do. But I also put really great thought into my packages and I give incredible value. Cause I also have so much marketing experience. Um, and because of that, people don’t just get a brand, they get advice on how to market their business and then what to do next, how to use things. And then I was a Canva,  brand ambassador as well. Um, and then they get all the, you know, the beautiful layers of that on top of it, because I can then teach them how to use it and be in control of their brand. Cause they don’t want to have to keep coming back to me time and time again for, you know, small things here and there. They want to be in control. And that’s what I do. I give you all the tools and the resources to be able to essentially make a brand come alive because having your brand done is one thing, but actually pushing it out there into the world and maintaining that consistency is huge. And I teach people how to do that. So that is what I do. I design and deliver essentially.

Suzanne (11:28):

Yeah. And that makes such a difference. Doesn’t it? Because it, as you say, it’s one thing to just have the pretty brand, but if you don’t know how to use it and you don’t know how to create things that are on brand, it’s, you know, people soon lose touch with that origin of the brand that the, the designer came up with. So I really think that does make a difference.

Vicki(11:50):

That’s huge.

Suzanne (11:51):

So what would be the one piece of advice you would give to new business owners?

Speaker 2 (11:57):

Oh, charge what your worth from the start. No matter how scary it feels and be consistent. Consistency is absolutely enormous in terms of newsletters, content, um, your social media posts where you post be  Focused on a specific platform. You know, if you want it to be Facebook, be on Facebook, if you want it to be LinkedIn, be on LinkedIn. If you want to be focused on TikTok be on TikTok. But you have to be really focused on where it is that you want to market and where your people are. Cause you can be on multiple platforms, but in not all your customers are on those platforms. Yeah. So yeah, definitely consistency and pick the people platforms to show it and charge it worth.

Suzanne 1 (12:40):

Yeah. And I mean aim into consistency cuz showing up for a few weeks and then disappearing is not gonna get you paying customers.

Vicki (12:48):

Exactly. And I talk about this with my card deck. So I create card decks for people now after cards, all that good stuff. Um, and I have to keep saying to people, you know, here, you need to go, here’s the card deck. Oh. And here’s the card deck again. And here’s why you should have it. And here’s how to use. And here’s my five top tips on how to use it. And here’s a card for you. I want to do five today. And here it is again in it’s. And did you know if you get it, it’s like, you have to keep, always telling people over and over and over again, this is the thing. And the thing is this, this thing, cause it’s gonna change your life. So you have to keep going and consistency is key for that. Cause you can’t just go, oh, here it’s and then run away.

Suzanne (13:29):

Which we’d all like to do sometimes. Isn’t it? Cause yeah.

Suzanne  (13:32):

Especially when you first start to market and sell like that, it can feel really yucky. And you know,  I often say to my clients, I want you to talk about it till you’re sick to death of it because you are hearing it all the time and thinking about it all the time and they’re lucky if they catch one.

Vicki(13:50):

Yes, True.

Suzanne (13:52):

You know, you just have to keep going with it. Um, you can’t just sort of put it out there and then because on that first post, you don’t get any response running hide. Yeah. You go, oh, well I won’t mention that again then

Vicki (14:04):

I know. I think people do think that, but I think we get scared and I know that from a customers to smell them like, oh no, but I don’t want to be pushy. And it’s like, it’s actually not being pushy. And the other thing is too, is if you’re a firm believer in, you know, creating your own life and your own success and everything, then you have to just go, right. This is what I want from my life. I know that this is how I’m gonna change it. And I then know how I can help and support people with how magic I am inside. And in order for me to help and support them, I know that in return as a byproduct of that, I’m gonna have the new house that I want or I can move to wherever I want to, or I can buy the car that I dream of. I can go on holiday. And I, I know that whenever I’m really focused and serious about, whenever I make sales, um, and when I’m focused on what I want to do and why I want to achieve it, then magic happens. Um, and you can help lots of people, but the byproduct of it is that you can actually live a life that you

Suzanne (15:00):

Love. Yeah. You get to do good by doing good, you know?

Vicki(15:03):

Yes.

Suzanne (15:03):

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So tell me about that shift from focusing so slowly on the branding and the card decks to becoming a published author.

Vicki (15:18):

Really weird. So since I started my business, I have been really like focused on journaling and vision boards and I’ve always created a vision board, created goals for a sale or intentions, whatever, however you do it visually or textually, it’s entirely up to yourself. But I normally write down my stuff for a vision board. And then I had a vision board that I did whenever I first started. And one of those things was, write a book. 

Now I was so resistant to writing a business book because I was like do I really have anything different to say than anybody else. Yes. How I say it is possibly different. But part of me was like, I don’t want to write a business book. 

Then over lockdown. Uh,  I’ve got really into reading. I cocooned myself away and I’ve been a huge reader for years. Anyway, since I was a little girl, like I literally used to be the only girl in the little mobile library that used to come around, I would be the only child in that mobile library.

Vicki (16:13):

And like, so I’m a huge leader and always have been. And then I read a lot over lockdown and I discovered an author called TL Swan and I joined a Facebook group. And the more and more I got into that, like, oh gosh, eh, I absolutely love all these love stories and how they all ended at the end and these beautiful men and women. And it just was like, it created something within me that I can’t even explain. And I was like, oh, it’s just mad. It felt magical. And then, um, TL Swan, put a post up to say, I’ve been asked quite a lot about, how to write a book and how I started. I’ve started this, this writing offer. Would you like to join now and I’m gonna teach her how to write a book.

Vicki (16:57):

So she, I joined and thought, oh, this is great. And I watched all the videos. I literally couldn’t stop watching them. And within probably about, oh a week I had a whole book plotted out and I’d already started writing and I was like, this is magic. And I just knew that the business book thing wasn’t right. But this was, but I had pretty much all this stuff in my head that I just was like, it was almost like the book was ready to be written. And I, I wrote my book in just a few short months. Um, and it is, it’s no mean feat it’s like 120,000 words or something. The first book then just download out of me. And that was another 150,000 words I’ve just finished out in my third book. That’s another 100,000 words.

Vicki (17:40):

It just seems to flow out. It’s like a channel or something. I have no idea how it works, but I just seem to be able to do it. Butt did all of that for us off the back of her heart. She just did it all for free and mentored us through the whole of lockdown. And then those, that of us that were serious and wanted to publish. We then were siphoned off into a different group where she still offers the most amazing support. And she is a Amazon top bestseller. Number one. Most of the time she is a phenomenal woman with the heart of gold goals. And I can’t thank her enough. I’m very grateful. There’s a lot of us who feel exactly the same way, but she has taught me pretty much everything I knew. And I, I think the whole thing with her is that she was the same age as me, whenever I started out writing. And I found that really inspired. I thought maybe it is time a bit. It’s okay for me to change what I’m doing right now. So right now I juggle my two businesses between graphic design, branding card making and writing,

Suzanne (18:40):

Which was one of the questions I was gonna ask you how?

Vicki (18:47):

I split up my days. So on a Monday, Tuesday, all I do is write. And then on a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, all I do is design. And I make sure that like on my, so when I say Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, what I do is on a Wednesday, I will do like all calls on a Wednesday. So client calls on a Wednesday, Thursday, I’ll do all design Friday. I’ll have a bit of a flex day where I can do a bit of both of a we so it’s quite blended. 

 

But my first book that I wrote, cause everyone’s like, where do you find the time? Cause you’ve got a family and whatever else my husband took very unwell over lockdown. He was in Vietnam working, um, got flown back. He had an eye stroke. Um, but we didn’t know that at the time, but he had, he lost his eyesight in his left eye.

Vicki (19:30):

And I spent hours in car parks at the hospital waiting for him to come out from every test that you’ve ever known. Um, and I pretty much sat and wrote my first book in the car park of the hospitals. 

But what I do is I find snippets of time. I don’t sit on the couch watching television. I know I want to write books. What I do is I get my iPad out and I write and I just to keep on writing and I find lots of little things and I take notes, I need notebooks. And I make sure that I’m making the time for that, but it comes really naturally. It’s not forced.

Suzanne (20:07):

That’s amazing Vicky. I mean, that you’ve managed to do it like that because I’m, you know. And I still imagined you doing it in your office. I hadn’t picked up on the fact that your husband had been so poorly and yeah. And, but it just goes to show that almost when you are ready and you are gonna do it, nothing will stop you, you know, you will find a way if, even if that’s doing it in the car, you know, in the car park while you’re waiting between hospital appointments.

Vicki (20:37):

Yeah. Yeah. And you know, like I say, about the age thing, like I think it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. 

I feel like I know who I am now. I’m gonna be 45 this year. Um, I know who I am. I know what I want from life. I feel more like me than I have ever felt before. I kind of feel like I wished I’d known, known all those years ago. I know now I think this age comes that, you know, real sort of clarity and knowledge about who you are. And I feel really confident and comfortable who I am 

I feel confident as an author, I feel confident as a graphic designer and a branding stylist, I feel confident as a card designer, I feel like I can be creative in lots of different ways. I don’t need to niche myself down.

Suzanne (21:19):

Yeah. And I’m sitting nodding here cause I, I completely agree. You know, people talk about aging being a negative thing, but actually so much with it, doesn’t it, you know, all that experience, all that self knowledge, you know, all that self development that we’ve done on our adult life is all still there. We don’t leave those ages behind. 

And you know, you are writing your steamy romance novels with happy endings based on, you know, what you’ve seen of the world and the life experiences that you’ve had. And, and it, you know, it comes with that. It would be a very different book if you were writing it and you were 20 as opposed to writing it now.

Vicki (21:58):

Yeah. I think the timing is always right. Whenever you put yourself out there into the world of being an author, you open yourself up to criticism and that comes with everything. 

But Amazon, obviously you get reviews and I read a review of one of my books and it said something about how some of it was ridiculous. And there was a scene in it that is involved handcuffs. I write steamy romance. They’re very spicy, but this scene was not spicy scene, it was a funny scene. And she was like, it was, it was just ridiculous. It’s what she said. And I was like, it’s actually a true story. Like one of my friends did that to somebody and it was funny and I’m like, it’s actually true. 

So you can use experiences to make it reflect, you know, like funny things in and all that sort thing. Cause my first book is like a comedy romance and my second, because not so, and it’s more angsty, but there is all that, you know, you can layer up your life experiences or things that people tend watch people. It does come from life experience. I genuinely couldn’t have written the book that the books that I’ve written now couldn’t have written them 20 years ago. It’s been divine time in.

Suzanne (23:06):

Yeah. Yeah. Completely agree with that complete that, you know, everything that you’ve read or listened forms, what you have inside of you that you can give to your business in all sorts of different ways. And you are doing that exactly with your books. So absolutely. So the third one is when is that due to be published?

Vicki (23:25):

So that is due in a couple weeks, same in the beginning of March. And I’m excited about that. I have obviously had to adapt an awful lot to the way that social media has changed as well recently. And uh, you know, it’s all, it’s all sort of come together. I know that whenever we’ve talked in the past, we’re talking about TikTok and social media and things, but booktalk is absolutely huge on TikTok and that helps market my book. Like it is massive. 

,

Suzanne (23:52):

Tell us more about that Vicky, cuz I know there’ll be some listeners who, you know, have published their books, but perhaps haven’t caught onto some of this new way. Very few of my people use TikTok, but I know, you found it really beneficial. So tell me about TikTok and how you’ve been using it to promote your author business.

Vicki(24:14):

Yeah. So TikTok is really, essentially everybody thinks it’s just people dancing and whilst it’s quite a bit of that, there is a huge networking community on there called book talk and talk is a huge thing. Um, I set up a new account a couple of weeks ago. Um, I’ve already, I’ve had one since last May, but I set up a new one the other week there. Cause I’m always getting banned.

Suzanne (24:38):

Cause your books are a little bit steamy?

Vicki (24:42):

But I’m not alone. We all do it. One of my friends,  has like four different TikTok accounts cause she’s always banned on one of them or two or three at time. So you need to have a backup. So, yeah, so I have two accounts that I work on, but within the last week, two weeks,I’ve set that up. It’s not long. I think it’s only about 10 days or something. I have accumulated over a thousand new followers. I’ve got like just under thousand likes on there and that’s only in 10 days. I mean, things move fast on TikTok. The great thing about it is that you can actually capture people’s attention by music, the texts that you put on there and by using the right hashtags and actually all these things are really beautifully searchable, uh, which I love it about TikTok and they can be really short, sharp.

And to the point you can do five, six, second videos. The video capability on TikTok, absolutely exceptional. I find it and I am not a video girl. I am a graphic designer. So 2d designer is my thing. 

Video has always escaped me completely, but TikTok has completely too. My opinion on video it is so easy to do. You can overlay things. You can add text, you can add music on, you can stop and start videos. You can do silly transitions. It is so, so clever. And I have found that. Um, so I started off a cards making TikTok account and I didn’t work because that’s not where my clients are. My clients are on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and I know where my clients are, but from my book stuff TikTok way forward. So I’m like, right, well what do I need to do to be there?

Vicki (26:21):

So I have, I mean like 44, like figure out TikTok. I felt like I was too old for it and start, but actually I dont dance, I’m not singing. I’m not being silly. I am essentially telling stories of my book and telling, giving a little bit of pupil insight. So I do a lot of book flick. So you flick your book and record it. And then you overlay a little bit of your story on top of it. And some videos get three, 400 views. 

Other videos that I have got on my main account are erupting maybe 40,000 views on that video. Um, one of the girls that is in my, author network is extremely successful. Her name is JC Hawk. One of her videos got like 1.3 million views or something. And it has helped her business and her pages on Kindle, like absolutely explode.

She is doing so well on there. And if you just be consistent. So I post anything between three to five videos every day. They don’t take me a long time to make, you can bank them. 

Um, so like if you just sort of like, like content create and then you can draft them all and keep them safe from there and then post them when the time is right. And, and, and it is, they’re easy to create. They don’t take long to somebody else. I do. And I’ll think, oh, I’ll put a lot of thought into it and I’ll literally get like a hundred views. I’ll do one really fast. And I’ll be like, I’ll up to 12,000 views. How did that happen? So it just, it’s totally, there’s no rhyme or reason. It is a little bit of, um, having a bit of a play and seeing what works for it and then repeating that same strategy. But it is easy to do. Cause the video capability is unreal. It’s so simple to do.

Suzanne (28:01):

So they’re not face to camera necessarily, which is where it, lot of people get hung up.

Vicki (28:06):

Mm, no, I, I used to do that at the very start. So last year, and then I changed my strategy at, uh, the beginning of this year and I thought, right, I’m gonna do brand story stuff, which is like, go back to my old school marketing strategy, tell a story. So how did I tell stories? And I tell my book stories, book, flick and overlay in some of the text I’m doing like tiny little snippets of book scenes. And when I say book scenes, I literally mean it could be two lines of text, but it’s enough to grab people’s attention to make them want to read.

Suzanne (28:37):

That’s incredible. So do you think that it’s a completely different audience for your books as the ones for your cards? Do you think that your card buyers will buy your books or,

Vicki (28:51):

Well, you see you say that and whenever I first started writing, I did get a lot of people messaged me. Wow. It’s just totally amazing. And whatever else. And then other people are like, what the hell made you do that? And they did the thing is as well. Um, being genuinely honest and quite grounded, people are fascinated by sex. And I, I, I don’t know why it fascinates people, but people are like, oh my gosh, you have to write sex scenes. And I’m like, don’t have to write them. I actually quite enjoy writing them. And uh, I remember reading Jen Sencero’s book and all about the fact that when you are connected mind, body, soul, and that includes, um, pleasure and sexual pleasure, then your, your whole world is oyster basically. Uh, and I thought, gosh, that dead inspiring. I read that a long, long, long, long time ago.

 

And actually a lot of people are, I think in Britain, we’re quite stuffy sometimes. And we don’t like to talk about that kinda thing. People look at me and they go, oh, I’ve read a book. Somebody came up to me supermarket couple weeks ago. Dunno like much again, it’s really good. It’s quite spicy the way I’m like clearly never had 50 shades, but OK. Cause my books are contemporary romance and yes, there is sex scenes in there, but erotica is a little bit different. So that’s, you know, that’s a step up sort of thing. So depending on where you are, but people do go, Ooh, they get a sort of worry about it. But I have had so many messages from women who have said, oh my gosh, you’ve improved my sex life. Or you’ve no idea like how dull my sex life has been.

And I can’t wait to like test whatever I’m like, it’s magical. And actually that whole sort of genre of it depends how open you want to be. It also depends if you’re a reader. So demographic design, customer shake books, probably, but it’s probably more a businessy type books, which I no longer read. Cause I think if I don’t know it by now, then there’s something wrong. But yeah. I tend to think quite well if they’re into that then. Yeah. But people, a lot of people follow my journey and a lot of people like my page. So I have to maybe say, yeah, probably a little bit of both, but yeah. People are getting intrigued by it. They’re more like tell me more. It’s probably cause it’s spicy people like spicy. I

Suzanne (31:18):

Mean, exactly. I mean, surely we all want a bit of spice in our lives, don’t we, you know, absolutely. Right. I think there is something sort of reserved about the British quite often. Um, and maybe it’s a generation thing as well. I think, you know, when I listen to my daughter and her friends and she’s now 30, they talk more openly about sex than perhaps, you know, people of my generation do. And I’m, you know, 15 years on from you. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t think about it and we don’t do it. And we don’t want, you know, to have a spicy life. It

Vicki (31:52):

Just means yeah, absolutely.

Suzanne (31:54):

So people, you know, I believe that people will still want to read that sort of thing. Yeah. They may be private about it. Um, I mean, not be as open about it, but I still think it’s relevant to everybody’s lives. Isn’t it?

Vicki (32:07):

Oh totally. Yeah. I had, I’ve had a few people say I’m not liking your page and I’m not gonna comment, but I do read your books and I absolutely love it, but I wish I had a private Facebook group. Cause then people wouldn’t know and I’m like, I need to set that up. I think if I think about eventually, but right now I just don’t have the time and whatever else in the graphic design, it’s nothing else for me to manage and I, to be realistic about the amount of time that I spend on things too. Cause I already spent quite a lot of time on TikTok already spent quite a lot of time on Facebook with my business and on Instagram and stories and all that good stuff. So I need to be realistic. Yeah. You’ve gotta split up carefully and I have to go, right. Well, yeah. Do you wanna do a Facebook group, but that’s future sort of stuff. So yeah.

Suzanne (32:47):

Well then you have to decide what, you know, what extra would you actually get out of that, that you’re not getting from the mediums that you’re using at the moment? Cause it’s gotta be worth your while as you say, you’ve, you know, the whole about setting up your business was to give you time and flexibility. Um, not to be working all the time and, and you know, you’ve got three avenues here that you are, that you are working on at any one stage. So you’ve gotta be really disciplined about how you use that time to make sure that there’s a purpose behind it rather than just, it’s a good idea, cuz there’s lots of things we could do that, that are a good idea, but they’re not necessarily, um, gonna add great value.

Speaker 2 (33:25):

Yeah. I agree massively.

Suzanne (33:28):

So two questions about books then. So who’s your favourite author for fiction? Let’s talk fiction first.

Vicki (33:37):

Oh gosh. Uh, um, favourite fiction author. That’s a tough one cause I read a lot. God, you put me on the spot.

Suzanne (33:47):

Oh, sorry. Vicki. Tell me the business book then the one you’d recommend other people read. Cause I, you know, I know you’ve recommended a lot over the years.

Vicki(34:00):

Yeah. You know what? I’m gonna go back to Zoe. Let’s do fiction first. Then it has to be TL Swan. Cause she’s been the most. She’s the one that stood out for me the most. She’s the one that really got me started choosing contemporary romance and she’s got a new one coming out and I’m literally desperate on the edge of my seat for that to come out in a couple weeks time. Cause her writing is just phenomenal. So that’s gotta be TL Swan fiction. Okay. Let’s do that.

Suzanne (34:23):

And, and she sounds like a wonderful, generous woman as well. You know, in the fact to mentor you guys go for nothing. That’s that’s amazing. So yeah. Let’s have a round of applause for her.

Vicki (34:34):

Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah.

Suzanne (34:36):

So business book?

Vicki (34:38):

Mm. So I love Jen Sincero. I’m hoping I’m saying that, right? Yeah. I think she’s wonderful. And absolutely. I’ve got two books sitting on my desk just now that I actually go back to all of the time, uh, by Rebecca Campbell. It’s the Rise Sister Rise &  Light is the New Black. Yeah. Lovely. I adore those two. They both sitting on my desk now I must have I read them probably Ooh, 10 times at least. I think they’re both incredible. 

And I tell you what else is a book that stands out. That is a very old book and I don’t hear many people talking about it, but it’s called A Happy Pocket Full of Money. And it’s nothing to do with money. It’s actually about being really happy and your entire life in, in its entirety. Um, so that you can create the life that you actually want. So when you think of money, it’s actually quite intangible. It’s like, it’s not really there, but it is. But it’s the things that you fixate on and put value to, um, and how you can, how you can then leverage that sort of mindfulness and like the unknown sort of thing into being. It’s a really, it’s quite an intense, but it changed my life.

Suzanne  (35:52):

Right. Okay. That’s not one I’ve heard of. So that’s really interesting. Thank you. I will have a little look for that at, cause I love to read fiction and business books, but a bit like you, you know, I’ve had a long career in learning and development as well. 30 years of that plus my business thing. So a lot of it I think, yeah. Okay. I’ve read this in a different format or yeah. A different way. It’s gotta be something new to excite me. So

Vicki (36:15):

Yeah, absolutely. I think you need to, but I think you always need to read in different types of things as well. So like I like books about money, but I like books, books about mindset, creativity, you know, it could be the deadline or handwriting or it could be, you know, different things about community or, you know, content creation. I liked it vary my nonfiction, uh, reading and I have got hundreds of books. I did a huge clean out Christmas time that I need to have a clean out and got rid of a lot of them. Cause like I say, if I dunno it now there is something categorically wrong.

Suzanne (36:50):

I love it. Love it. So what is the one piece of advice you’d give to your younger self, looking from where you are now

Vicki (36:59):

Start sooner? Mm. So I should have, and I thought about this really interesting. You asked me that this morning I was putting my makeup on to get ready for the day and go and do school run. I thought to myself, if I had started my business a very long time ago, it would have made my life much easier. And the was, my husband was in the Royal air force and we traveled around a lot. And every time we moved, I had to then get, give up my job and moved to a new job now was always very lucky with jobs. And I think those jobs actually made me who I am today, but I think it would’ve been much easier had I had a job that I just took around me everywhere and the author thing works perfectly for that. Um, but the graphic design thing would’ve been even better, I think in terms of where I was in my life at that point, um, 20 years ago, I wish that that’s what I had done. I wish it’d set up my own graphic design agency a long time ago.

Suzanne (37:59):

It’s such an interesting question, isn’t it? Because actually when you think back to what was, and wasn’t available technology wise and social media wise and things, I was running a business 20 years ago, my first business and it was a very different ball game to the one that we have now, because at that stage, generally small business owners didn’t have websites and there wasn’t face spoke and those types of things to be promoting yourself on. So I worked with corporates, providing leadership development and leadership coaching directly into corporates and the word all came word of mouth, but I actually wanted to reach people directly like I do now using social media and there just wasn’t avenues to do that. You know, you could do like mail shots and those types of things, but the internet hadn’t exploded, you know, in, in the way that it has now. And I think back to what I could have done. So it’s, it’s that art of what’s possible now that make that seem exciting almost isn’t it?

Vicki (38:58):

Yeah. I think sort of like looking back and talking to yourself from younger years is, is wonderful. But at the same time, maybe it’s not meant then like everything I found is meant for a reason, like I said to you like the divine time and thing with me, you know, writing about, I feel, I don’t think I was ready for it then maybe I wouldn’t have been ready for start a business sooner either. Yeah. I think that’s probably, probably maybe where end should be.

Speaker 1 (39:24):

Yeah, yeah, yeah. And you know, I’m, I’m a great believer in things happen at the right time for the, for a reason, you know, and we’re all in exactly the right time now to do the thing that we are doing. So yeah. I, I understand that feeling. I think if I was thinking about my advice to my younger self, it might have just been, you know, just relax and trust that it’s the right time or it’ll happen in the right, because I felt when I get that’s yeah, yeah. Go on.

Speaker 2 (39:52):

I trust that’s a huge word. Trust and trust in that. Everything’s you trust yourself? Trust other people. Yeah, that’s huge.

Speaker 1 (39:58):

Yeah, it is. It is. But you know, when I think about when I, when I gave up my first business and went back into corporate life for a while, I felt that I’d give, well, I just used the word gave up. I felt like I’d given up on the dream, but actually what I learned during that time when I went into that corporate organization and it was a huge sales and marketing company was just exactly, I see now what I needed to know for the next evolution. So, you know, it’s, it’s about trusting that things happen at a time for, for a reason. Um, and taking those lessons with you then as you move on and move through. Absolutely. Well, thank you, Vicky. It’s been lovely talking to you today. If the listeners want to find out more from you, where should they go?

Speaker 2 (40:47):

So I’m on a number of places. So my Vicki, my name is Vicki with an i and then Nicolson without an h, which is just the most complicated thing in the world. When you have to tell everybody I am Vickinicolson.com and you can find it all about my card designs and my graphic design business and branding design, et cetera, and love logos. That’s literally life. Um, and I love anything to do with colour and movement and exciting colors and all that good stuff. Um, with regards to my actual author brand, I am V H Nicolson and I am everywhere. I was that brand cause there are readers everywhere in the world and TikTok seems to work best for me anyway, but I’m on Instagram and I to be gathered a really on as well. So it’s been good, but, but yeah, so I am Vickinicolson.com and then VH Nicolson, um, for my author stuff.

Suzanne (41:40):

Lovely. Thank you. And we will be putting links to you on our show notes so that people can connect with you and find you there. So if people have thought, oh gosh, I didn’t write that down. Or I’m in the car listening or on my dog walk, then just check back in on the listener notes and you’ll find the links to finding out more about Vicki. And you know, if you fancy getting yourself some, uh, steamy, bedtime reading, I can thoroughly recommend at least the first two books, um, and looking forward to the publication of the third one. So thank you. So thank you for your time today Vicki. And thank you all for listening and I will be with you again next week.

Suzanne (42:24):

Okay. That’s a wrap for today. Thanks for listening, please subscribe. Great and review the midlife business show. And if you’ve enjoyed it, tell your business all about it. Bye for now.

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