Introduce yourself, please!
My name is Katie Birks from Katie Birks Branding & Design. I spend my time doing all things creative, from website design, branding, book covers to hand lettering and map illustrations.
When I’m not perfecting one of my design projects, you might find me on the yoga mat, in front of the big screen (film and tv is one of my favourite ways to experience downtime or escape) or planning my next trip abroad.
With a background in photography and production, I’m often intrigued to visit local art or photography exhibitions, particularly if I’m out of town or on a business trip – it’s a great way to add some culture to my relaxation time.
Tell us a fascinating fact about yourself.
If it counts as being fascinating, I’ve ridden an ostrich?! Although, however much of an amazing experience it was, I wouldn’t do it again and would rather make sure these animals are looked after properly and in fair conditions, because you never know how they’re treated on the other side, away from the public.
What inspires you?
As usual with creatives, inspiration comes and goes. In fact, I often find it pops up where I least expect it… and it comes in a variety of forms. It’s often from other creatives or entrepreneurs, whether they are professional artists, online inspirations or local business women – they all offer different types of inspiration to me – sometimes in the form of advice, or sometimes from the outside looking in – you can gather and learn new ideas this way too.
What I’m reminded at in these times is to always look ahead – to broaden my horizons, experiment with something new or different (however big or small) and remember, there is no such thing as failure, only feedback.
What made you decide to be a trainer for The Growing Club?
Building a successful business can be a very empowering experience – but it can also take over your life. Being able to sustain, develop and make a business into anything you want it to be and do it in a way that contributes or aligns with your personal life, is a different journey all of its own.
Building a sustainable business requires time, commitment and perseverance and often a subject that you are truly passionate about.
I believe that anyone who has the dream to build a business, deserves the opportunity to be supported through the process of building it – to be part of a community, a network and a support system, which helps them achieve their goals.
For me, The Growing Club gave me the space, community and support that a sustainable business venture needs to blossom – and I’d like to offer that to any other person who could benefit from such an experience.
What are some of the pitfalls for women in business that you’ve experienced?
One of the most common pitfalls or problems for women in business can be that the majority of start-ups founded by women are done without a team or support network, which creates a very lonely and often scary environment to start building a business from.
The Growing Club offers a range of courses for women at all stages of their business and with varying levels of commitment. All of which includes an excellent peer-support system, a place for women in business to talk, problem solve and learn from one another.
Having a community of like-minded women to bounce ideas off, ask for guidance or even just meet up with for a coffee, can make a massive difference in keeping their business, goals and mindset on track.
How can The Growing Club help women to grow their businesses sustainably?
One of the biggest things I gained from The Growing Club was confidence. Confidence in myself, whether that was in realising I was the only one in control of my business, making decisions or knowing my ability both professionally and creatively was ‘good enough’.
There is a certain phrase that you have to be ‘good enough’ to run your own business – but good enough compared to what?! Because there’s no point in comparing yourself to others when they’re not you. You are your only self, with your goals and your business – no one else can be you, so gaining the confidence to own my business in its truest sense couldn’t have benefited me or my business more.
In addition to the mindset, there are some key skills and training that support creating a sustainable business – from finance to sales, to automation processes. After making some minor adjustments to my day-to-day, I gained big benefits, including a deeper awareness of how to use my time (both literally and in how much my time is worth), a clearer concept of how to meet my goals and what was important to me. I also developed a fuller awareness of what I did and didn’t want my business to look like.
All of these things have provided me with ongoing skills to maintain a sustainable business and grow at the rate I want to, on my own terms.
If you could offer one time-saving tip to a woman running her own business, what would it be?
My one tip is that: you can’t control other people, you can only control what you do, what you say and how you do it. There are times when we all have to work around other people, or make sacrifices for the greater good of the business – but running a business should always be pro-active and not reactive. Don’t let other people rule how you work and spend your time, or you’ll find that you don’t run your business, they run it.
Tell me about your training course in Lancaster?
Along with my co-trainer, Nicola Garrett, we start the Lancaster, 12-month Growth Programme in 2 weeks on May 21st 9:30-12:00. The last few spaces are currently available, so contact me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch with The Growing Club: email@example.com or call 07892 712417
Just that I can’t wait to get started with a new group of wonderful business women and watch them smash their goals!