Interview with business success and motivational strategist Rebecca Cross
Read the journey Rebecca Cross took to where she is now – from single mum with a newborn worrying about how she’ll make ends meet, to happily married mother of three with two successful businesses.
What’s your career background?
I graduated in 2003 with a degree in business studies and ended up going straight into sales at a national recruitment agency where I started as a reruitment consultant making those dreaded cold calls and then moved to in-house recruitment.
I then worked for leading companies such as IBM as an asset auditor and the Wall Street Journal as an advertising executive working within the finance sector working with Banks like UBS, Credit Suisse, HSBC, Barclays and Deutsche Bank.
In 2008, my first child, Emily, came along. This marked the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey and the end of me being an employee and I have never looked back!
How did your career change after having children?
My situation was forced on me a little as when Emily was two weeks old, when my husband at the time, walked out on us!
My mindset was one of being very determined to never let Emily out of my sight, and this directed me to the type of business I wanted to have. This business – my first – was an online kitchenware business.
I wanted a business I could build from home and around a baby. I was on my own and in survival mode and very much could not be separated from Emily. It was like I was starting all over again and I wanted to make sure I would build the life I wanted for Emily.
It really was like learning everything in my life all at once – being a mother, a business owner, and a single parent.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
My needs at the time. I needed an idea to ensure I could make money and fit around Emily. As I had experience in advertising from my time at the Wall Street Journal, I decided to put together a small glossy magazine this was a great opportunity to provide lots of free content about the local community and give the local businesses an opportunity to advertise at a very cost effective price compared to other means.
I was happy to be selling again. Emily and I would walk the streets of south London and sell advertising space with Emily in her pram. I was determined to set up another income stream, as I ran this alongside my online kitchenware business.
I was approached two years after my magazine business to buy the magazine as they had many others in other local post codes. For me this came at the perfect time as I wanted to purchase a home for Emily and I, as we had to move out of the matrimonial home, and this was a great opportunity to be able to put the proceeds towards a deposit.
When my second born came along, I decided that I was going to work from home as a virtual assistant. This was a great move and I was hugely successful at winning amazing clients.
One of them was a leadership trainer and I was hooked on all her work: NLP, Motivational Maps, and delivering training following on from this. I decided to set up a business in coaching, and train and educate myself with many different mentors to give me the knowledge and experience I needed to support and help two million women. This is the journey I am on now.
The reason I took this move into coaching is my own self-belief was amplifying to an extent that I truly felt if I can do all these things after instances growing up and having my daughter Emily, then anything really is possible.
I know that so many of us that share the message of empowerment, but we are all unique and we all have something to offer. I had this light bulb moment that I had something to offer and I can do this… so let’s set a goal and it was a goal of 2 million women and that is something that excites me every single day.
How did you move from idea to actual business?
Both my business ideas – my property company and mentoring and coaching business – came from passion and visualising the end result. They both drive me to the reality I have today.
I have always wanted to be in property, but you need money to do so. I wondered if there was a way I could get into property without lots of money and fill a gap. So I looked into this and found a strategy called Rent to Rent. This is where I rent properties from landlords, and rent that said house by the room.
Now this sounds very straightforward, but you need these rooms to be the best and lots of regulations need to be met with the local councils. However, if you work with the right deal and the figures stack up it can be a great way to generate cash, fill a gap (rooms needed at high calibre and low cost) and help with further investments.
Coaching is away to offer so much and really change lives. Again I wanted to be different. I am authentic and very blunt, there is no BS with the strategies I put in place, and I want to be very high touch.
I don’t feel there is enough of us in the industry that are like this. Many female entrepreneurs invest in me and it is important to me that they learn, make money and have the wings to fly to the next level and, importantly, have a high ROI.
What’s your USP?
I have authentic and no-nonsense strategies for the women I work with, and they get results. I look at what my client needs and then decide on what are the best strategies for her and her business.
Who’s your target audience?
I work with budding female entrepreneurs – the woman that is craving to be a business owner or has an idea but is not sure where to start, is feeling stuck, and lacking self-doubt.
How do you spread the word about what you do?
Through my own Facebook community, where I have a small but committed tribe, as well as on LinkedIn and Instagram, and through guest speaking.
What’s been your most successful marketing strategy?
Definitely launching my own Facebook group! I have a high income from members within my group and teach the strategy to my clients.
What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?
Scaling my businesses while being a mother. I have had to make sacrifices to grow and build my businesses, like many other mums in business have.
It has been difficult as when you run a business which you are growing you have to ensure the foundations are solid, and due to your commitments as a mother, you often are not able to go as quickly as you would like to.
And your proudest moment so far?
Well I have two – giving birth three times and being a mum to my three children, who I am very proud of. I am also proud what I have built to date as there was a time in my life when I was not sure where I would end up and what was going to come my way.
At the age of 14 and having a reading age of seven, I truly thought there is no way I am going to make the outside world. I thank that 14-year-old Rebecca for never giving up and being as brave as she was.
Why is work so important to you?
I want to truly make a difference and show as many women as possible that ANYTHING is possible. I love what I do and when you do love what you do it’s not “work”.
It’s a vision for me that I am making into reality and I want to inspire as many as I can that if I can do what I am doing, anyone can have whatever life they want. It’s all about taking ACTION of some kind!
Who inspires you?
I don’t have a set person, because truly every woman that I meet that takes that leap of faith to change their lives, to live the life they want is a huge inspiration to me.
That woman that will work on themselves to get to where they need to be is really my hero because I know it’s tough to do. As a result, I cheerlead them all the way.
How do you balance your business with your family?
I now have semi-retired my husband and he supports me fully to help me with the children, so that I can do what I need to do for us.
It was a brave decision for both of us; him for taking my role of the school run and meals being prepared, and me being out there making the money. But without that support I would find it truly hard to do what I want to do.
I look after myself and make sure as a family we have time together. We have routines and we talk as a family but I do want to shout out to my husband as he truly is someone that supports my mission. This has been a huge help and has highly contributed to my success over the past seven years, and I sincerely thank him for that.
What are your three top pieces of advice for someone wanting to do something similar?
- Don’t over-think the “what if’s” as I have heard many times before that the opposite to action is perfection and this is when you sometimes realise you have focused on the perfection for too long that you’re still in the same place.
- If you have a true passion to do something, take that passion and run with it! The universe always has your back. I truly believe that and if you trust the process you will always find a solution.
- Never give up! That’s is NEVER NEVER NEVER!
You can find out more about Rebecca Cross on her website.