Interview Spotlight With Nadine La Reine

Nadine La Reine is a single parent, entrepreneur, and businesswoman, known for her resilience and creativity in the face of challenging circumstances. After leaving a violent marriage when her daughter was just 8 months old, and with a 6 year old son.  Nadine became a self-employed professional to provide for her family. Her 15-year career in retail management was not an option, and her daughter’s chronic illnesses, along with an Autistic son, meant that she needed a flexible schedule that allowed her to be there when her children needed her the most.

Nadine’s story is one of perseverance, determination, and creativity. She has overcome numerous challenges to create successful businesses while raising her two children, both of whom have additional needs in very different and unique ways. Her experience has made her an expert in managing a demanding life and has helped her become an inspiring role model for others who face similar challenges.

Thank you for interviewing with us today, can you introduce yourself to us?

Hi, I’m Nadine, I live in Essex with my 14-year-old daughter and our 3 cats.  I have a 19-year-old who doesn’t live at home. 

Can you take us through your journey to where you are now?

I have been a single parent for 13 years, after leaving a violent marriage when our daughter was 8 months old, and my son (from a previous relationship was 6 years old) Both of my children have additional needs, both in very different & unique ways.  Being self employed was the only way I could bring in an income to provide for us, yet also still be there when my children needed me the most.  My 15-year career in retail management was not an option, nor was any other retail work as I could only be available during school hours and not over weekends.  With no worked experience in other jobs, it was exceptionally difficult to find a job I could fit into a demanding life with a lot of time spent in hospital with my daughter when her chronic illnesses were particularly problematic.  I began picking up cleaning jobs when my daughter started at pre-school, as word spread that I was great with cleaning, organising, designing & decorating people’s homes, my business flourished.  I thoroughly enjoyed everything I was doing, even though it was very hard work and took a toll on my (not so young and agile) body.  A particularly bad spell involving a bulging disc in my spine, sciatica that rendered me barely able to move and the discovery of degenerative spinal stenosis meant that this work was no longer a viable long-term option for me anymore.

Something had to change! I continued (in a lot of pain) while I worked on something new when I was introduced to UW (Utility Warehouse) by a friend.  And it is here that so much in my life changed and was the catalyst to everything I am currently doing.  It led to me discovering the world of networking and I began hosting events for other people.  Then I decided to start my own events, that were a little bit different to everything else out there.  The WOW Web Network was born in the lockdown time of 2020, providing business owners a free platform to remain visible, regardless of their current financial situation & ability to trade.  It was an immediate success and grew quickly.  After 4 months I had to make the decision to start charging as the organisational side of running events was taking up a lot of my time.  A low cost membership that was affordable and accessible to everybody, coupled with Business Support & guest speaker events to fully support and help everybody within the community. It is this business that prompted FSB (Federation of Small Business) to invite me to partner with them as a Membership Advisor.  In addition to these 3 avenues, I am also in partnership with a friend and we are about to launch a brand new business together, mega exciting & more to come on that very soon!  I have an Etsy store, on which I sell my unique, one-off, handmade bags, designed by myself and made from start to finish.  

Since starting, have you made any changes to your business model?

I have rebranded WOW and hosted various formats and types of events in a bid to offer something for everyone, however, as we all know, you can’t please everybody, so I chose to stick with the most popular events.  I also recently launched WOW Women Networking, as I feel there is something very special about a group of women coming together to support each other which is a totally different vibe from mixed networking situations.

Have you ever had a mentor? If so how has this benefitted you either personally or professionally?

I’ve never had a mentor.

What outlets do use for marketing?

Social media, networking, using the best free tool ever, my mouth to do lots of talking!  The more conversations you have, the more opportunities come your way.  

What or Who has inspired you most recently?

I take inspiration from all around me every day, sometimes without even realising.  But if I had to pick one thing it would be a person who I find incredible.  An amazing friend and business partner who came to me one evening saying she had an idea for a business, could I help her set it up.  This is the stuff I love so we set to work straight away.  From that one conversation, she has built an incredible successful business which has turnovers that most would dream of from a start up business.  Her business acumen, attention to detail, use of her time, her confidence, everything is totally inspirational & very motivating.

What is the best piece of business advice you have received to date?

JFDI (Just Fucking Do It) it doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to be done, so get on and do it!  

How do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life?

Creating clear boundaries and managing my time is something I struggle with.  However, I do say yes to a lot of opportunities which come my way on a personal level as I can often spend far too much time working, not enough time off.  Work hard, play hard is probably my best attempt at a balanced life!

Name a seminal point in your career so far?

It would really have to be embarking on my UW journey as it is what has led me to everything I do now, which are all the things that I love the most!  Had I not taken this opportunity when it came to me, I wouldn’t have ended up progressing as I have with multiple business ventures.  It was also incredible for my confidence and financially changed day to day living for me and my children. 

What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?

Ultimately, everything I do is based around helping & supporting people, be that personally with UW, or in business with WOW & FSB.  Connecting people, offering solutions to their problems, being instrumental in steering them to achieve their own successes, that kind of stuff is what give me a massive buzz!

Are there any leading entrepreneurs or SME leaders that you admire and if so, why?

I admire anyone who can follow their dreams, be unapologetically authentic, and build a life based around what is important to them, takes action to achieve their goals and values and appreciates their successes.

How do you define your own success?

I’ll let you know when I get there!! 

Finally, what can we expect from you next?

The new business I am starting with my business partner, which aims to bridge the gap between NHS & Private Healthcare within the Cardiology specialism.  It is an area my partner has been involved with for many years and with her extensive knowledge, experience, connections & resources, and my own business experience and technical skills, we are working on an epic project which will launch over the coming months.

On & off for around 5 years now, I have been working on a idea to develop and app to help autistic children communicate (this is borne out of seeing a gap as a mother to an autistic child)  Funding & building a team around me are needed to bring this project to fruition.  Whilst I’m not there yet, and won’t be for some time to come, it will happen, and it will be a positive and welcome change in the lives of thousands of families all around the world.


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