Meet Holly Matthews, a mindset coach to female entrepreneurs, speaker and incredible founder of The Happy Me Project. The Happy Me Project is a 21-day positivity course hosted by Holly, whereby you will uncover secrets you already know and explore ways to implement these powerful tools into your own life to achieve some real results. We got chatting to the fabulous mother of two about her other various strings to her belt, one of which includes co-writing an Amazon best-selling book and how we can learn the fundamentals to living a truly positive life.
Hey Holly, can you introduce yourself to us?
Hi everyone, I am an actress, ‘no bullshit’ positive mindset coach, a speaker, blogger and founder of The Happy Me Project. I am also a widow and a Mum of two daughters.
Can you take us through your story so we can understand a bit more in depth about how you arrived at where you are now?
I started out as a TV actress here in the UK. Growing up on television and going to a normal, school in the working class city of Newcastle Upon Tyne, toughened me up and taught me that life wasn’t so straightforward and people don’t always get your journey. As an actress, I had to learn about self-development and bouncing back, because even as a pretty successful actress I was still getting knocked back for more jobs than I was getting.
When I became a Mum at 26 to my husband Ross life became more challenging and in the space of 7 years I’d had two very difficult pregnancies (pre-eclampsia, premature babies, special care, injecting myself in the stomach with blood thinners every day), my premature baby contracting meningitis at 3 months old, and then finding out my husband had grade 4 brain cancer. I learned I had to use every bit of my self-development knowledge to get me and my family through and still be OK, still be happy.
Years of acting has made me resilient and focused, I am obsessed with finding meaning and learning how to find happiness around challenges.
As I learned, people came to me and is the entrepreneurial spirit I am I very organically started to connect all the dots of brand Holly Matthews and make it a fully functioning business. Becoming a coach and mentor was a natural step to what I was already doing.
After my husband died in July 2017 I had to shift my business once more, become more focused and I am now in the midst of a new transformation of my business and I find this very exciting.
As a coach, what is a day in the life of you like?
No day is ever the same to me, I am very intuitive and I go on what I need. The only non-negotiable is that I need a cup of tea in the morning, a ten-minute meditation, time to get ready and at the tail end of the day I have to be off social media by 10pm. Usually, though there will be an element of posting something in my Facebook group and across social media in the morning. Perhaps responding to email requests or scheduling social media. Some days I batch record YouTube videos for my channel, for Channel Mum (who I create content for) or to post across social media.
I may be preparing to do a workshop so I need to venue find, promote, set up Eventbrite, create a social media schedule. I work around school runs (except for like now when the kids are on holiday and I get less time again!) so if I want to go the gym, this is factored in. I may well be creating online course content. I also spend time responding to press inquiries or brand inquiries. It’s all very different day to day. I write a list in the morning and I really try to use every bit of my day.
Can you talk to us about the ‘The Happy Me Project’ that you have launched which focuses on building a happy life within 21 days?
The Happy Me Project online course is a 21 day online positivity course, designed to help you learn the fundamentals to living a positive life, becoming resilient and building a life you love. My brand of positive mindset is not about pretending to be happy and never feeling pain, it’s about looking the tiger in the eye, knowing that life can be extremely hard and deciding to be happy regardless.
I put this course together just months after the most challenging time of my life, just 4 months after my husband died of brain cancer.
The reason for that I had so many messages off people that I couldn’t respond to and I can’t just fob people off, I wanted to give them something actionable and tangible that they could do at a low cost. I wanted them to know that that life CAN be tough and yet it can be amazing at the same time.
That life can be challenging and somehow full of opportunity, it just depends how you look at it. I wanted people to understand that I’m not special, the reason I am living a happy life is because of the techniques I have learnt and now I want to share them with people.
Can you tell us about how you are helping your clients to feel great about their own life and bounce back from challenges they may have faced?
What I aim to teach people is to cut the bullshit, to step away from playing the victim and that their power is in looking their reality square in the face, even when it terrifies them and then going, ‘OK so what do I want my reality to look like? If I can’t change it, whats my next move?’ I want to help people to find their own route and let me guide them to see their own power. I don’t baby people, I wont stroke your hair and tell you it’s going to be OK, if you aren’t prepared to do anything to change where you’re at. What I will do is show you techniques and open your mind to a different way of seeing the world and then step back and champion you and cheer you on every step of the way, as you create the life you love!
What coaching methods are you using to create action steps to get your clients exactly where they would like to be in their life?
I am very unorthodox in my methods. I have tried probably every philosophy, ‘new thing’, read self development books like a self development junkie and chipped through life coaching courses, manuals and I often found the step by step approach hugely stifling. It all sounds like buzz words and very corporate to me. I take all of what I have found to work for myself and clients and I use techniques based on what the client needs. When I work with someone I have often no idea what may come out in a session and I have to go with gut more often than not. I do however like to get clients to commit to their own goals and get real about time scale and when and If they are really going to start doing something, we look at whys, the motivation behind what they want and we question. There is certainly no one size fits all method to my approach.
Where can you see your self within the next 3-5 years?
In the next 3- 5 years I want to have my podcast up and running, be speaking even more regularly, have 2 retreats a year organised for those that resonate with my brand of positive thinking and have written my book.
How are you planning to expand what you already offer?
As above over the next few years, I want to scale everything up. For the last year, I have been in a huge transition, both personally and professionally. I have been grieving for the loss of my husband and have had to dig deep, to look at my own motivations and why I do things I do. I now want to use all of this time and learning to make the world move out of my way. I love my life already, I just want to start really doing things that light me up.
Can you tell us what areas you have struggled in professionally as a coach?
I have always had to work on. Money mindset. I didn’t come from. One, so I had to fully learn to take payment and be comfortable with asking for payment. I have zero issue with that now. I also had to learn to set boundaries. As an empath and someone who is a natural helper I initially found it hard not to take on everyones problems as my own and try and solve them for them. I had to learn to give people their power and set boundaries for my own sanity.
Have you ever had any other mentor? If so how has this benefitted you to grow?
I have had lots of mentors most notably Rebecca Bardess, who helped breath some life into me after a very difficult blow out, where I over worked and hid from what traumatic stuff was happening at home with my husbands illness. I also worked with an amazing life coaching friend of mine Caroline Hardwick who has a very straight talking way, similar to me and is probably one of the only people in the world to be able to tell me straight when I’m getting in my own way. I like that in a person.
What outlets do use to market your coaching services?
Instagram and Facebook mainly but Twitter sometimes. I find Instagram the most fun platform and being able to share to Facebook means I get a great reach using this method. I do also use Mailchimp for mailouts.
Which methods are you using to build your own network?
I find a combination of LIVE video, YouTube and the now IGTV a really good way for me to connect with people. Instagram stories too. As an actress video is my thing and people can really get a sense of my style via this medium, so when they read my posts it sits alongside that and they feel able to approach me.
What do you believe are the common misconceptions of being in the coaching industry?
I think people think it doesn’t work or don’t want to spend money on coaching. This is a mistake as I see the accountability and support coaching brings to people and their business’ and it’s invaluable. I also think people think its just for people of a certain ‘type’, it interests me far more to work with people who might never have considered mindset work or coaching and often these people put in the most effort and get the most out of sessions.
There is also a lot of bollocks in the coaching world and I aim to be the opposite of any of that showy, ‘I made a million in a day’ and ‘if you don’t buy my package you don’t want it bad enough’ crap. That just doesn’t sit well with me. I’m all for people making tons of money, thats ace, but we all have our own journey and I hate that carbon copy, we have seen it all before coaching method, it turns me off massively.
What would you like to see changed for millennials in business?
I would like to see more understanding of flexible working and that you just because you don’t dedicate your life to one thing, you are not a ‘jack of all, master of non’, you just aren’t one dimensional. I think this IS changing and it’s about time. I teach my daughters (Brooke who is 7 and Texas who is 5) that we don’t have to be the same thing forever, that we can be many things at once as we have different sides to our personality. I think millennials get it, but its still knocking down those old school thinking patterns that still come up.
What is the best piece of advice you have received to date?
Oh gosh so many great bits of advice but mostly just to stay in your own lane, once we focus on what everyone else is doing our heads start to spin and we find ourself trying every different way to make our business’ work ‘oh they’re doing Facebook groups I should focus on that’, ‘Oh they’re doing webinars, I better do that too’ and podcasts and a YouTube channel. Suddenly you’ve done nothing well and you’ve watered down your brand. BE YOU full out, unapologetically and see what happens.
What is the number 1 critical lesson you have learned in your career so far?
Just to know what you want and be flexible with how you get there. Don’t be afraid to be wrong, to change course and to fail. You have to do all of these things to have any kind of longevity. Leave your ego at the door because you will mess up and vulnerability and openness about your journey is actually hugely attractive.
How do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life?
Im not sure I do. I just aim to be good at the thing I’m doing in that moment at that time. Sometimes I definitely do not get that balance right. However, I have allowed myself to just be and flow and see what happens since my husband died and actually have found that I have been more successful working in this way. Learning to let go of the outcome and stay open to what may come next is very freeing. My life is something I love though, so I guess the balance is there more than most. I wake up and do largely what I want every day.
The highlight of your career so far?
So tricky there have been many but let me focus on the last year. I am very proud to be a high profile supporter of The Brain Tumour Charity, to have helped others through some of their grief and the set up of The Happy Me Project in time when many would have crumbled. Appearing on Lorraine Kelly two discuss my journey was also very important to me.
What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?
When people come back to me and say ‘ I changed my life for the better because of something you said’ or when they tell me I helped them through a dark period in their life. It just doesn’t get any better than knowing you might have been a chink of light in a dark time for someone, that you may have helped them pull themselves through.
Which other leading entrepreneurs and pioneering game changers do you also admire and why?
I love Mel Robbins for her straight talking, non nonsense approach, she doesn’t let people off and in doing so helps them see their truth. I love Marie Forleo and Gabriella Bernstein, Sophia Amoruso and so many more. I love people who stand out from the crowd, who live their truth, who have a sense of humour and aren’t afraid to call people out.
How would you say you are intending to use your voice to educate others in the coaching industry?
I intend to use my voice to show people you can take your goals and business seriously, but not yourself. That you can live openly so that others may learn, whilst setting boundaries that allow you to have your own private moments and thoughts uninterrupted. I want to teach people that they can be their own brand of weird and when they do that they will find their own tribe of weird, that suits their weirdness and they can make money being around those fantastically weird people and selling them products that help them with a pain point in there loves. That you are nuanced and contradictory and that it is ok to change your mind. I do not pretend I have it all figured out, I don’t and I learn something new every day.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
I am currently reading Living Fearlessly (Rachel Henke), which I am enjoying a lot and recently re-read The Power of Now, which I have read many times before but learn something new at each new stage in my life.
What does your Podcast playlist look like?
The Gary Vee Audio Experience, ‘Dreaming and Doing’ with Nicky Raby who is a fabulous life coach friend of mine. Also ‘The School Of Greatness’ with Lewis Howes, The Marie Forleo Podcast ‘Online Marketing Made Easy’ by Amy Porterfield, Oprah’s ‘Supersoul Conversations’ and ‘Screw the Nine To Five.”Wise Wild and Wealthy’ with Louise George, ‘Pretty Normal Me’ and finally The True Geordie, both are great friends of mine
How do you measure your own terms of success?
Success to me is measured in this quote by Bob Dylan “A man Is successful if he wakes up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does whatever he wants” I am already successful but to me its always been about freedom. Can I wake up and do what I want, wear what I want and say what I want. Obviously, I can scale that up to afford whatever I want and money is definitely a motivator for me. I didn’t come from money so I want to be in a position where I never have to think about money, in order to do that you have to be pretty wealthy but success has to be about more than that, about substance and value and what I give back. Life is too short for it to be about the stuff we have.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
Living your life exactly as you wish and being unashamed of who you are and going for whatever it is in life you want. When you live like this the world moves out of your way.
Lastly, what is next for you throughout 2018?
More Happy Me Project workshops, the introduction of The Happy Me Project Online TEEN addition, more speaking events, working with some more brands, the podcast and finishing my house as it’s under a big renovation! I want to travel more with my beautiful daughters and continue to build my brand.