Meet Rachel Letham, a board level executive with over 13 years experience in a high-pressure industry who believes that potential is what you could be, that it exists within you to grow. In the last 10 years, Rachel launched and successfully ran an online fashion and lifestyle magazine, ran two successful fashion festivals, been a brand ambassador for high street fashion brands, launched a social media and brand strategy consultancy and has been a network marketing professional. Since being respectively being listed in Management Today’s top 35 under 35 women in business in the UK back in 2015, Rachel re-launched herself as a success coach. So we ask her to take us through her journey to where she is today and also how Rachel is helping other entrepreneurs by to giving them a positive mindset and vision to reach the top.
Hey Rachel, can you introduce yourself to us?
I’m Rachel Letham, a career success coach, wellness entrepreneur, and self-proclaimed Queen of the Side Hustle! I’m so excited to be back here, I was last interviewed in 2016 under my previous guise of LadyM as the founder and editor in chief of my online fashion magazine. I’m so pumped to be back again, further along, my journey and sharing with you my new world of personal development, success coaching and positive mindset.
Can you take us through your journey to where you are now?
I have worked in the produce industry for 12 years, its fast paced, its stressful and I love it. I’m a senior leader in a company I have helped grow for the last ten years, but I have always wanted something else. I’ve never wanted to leave the 9-5 completely, for me it’s a matter of living your best life, making experiences happen and taking opportunities as they come your way. In 2010 I started blogging, it quickly turned into a brand, LadyM Presents and an online fashion and lifestyle magazine.
It was a platform for up and coming designers and brands to showcase their work and I have 6 great years with it; later on in it’s success I had a lot of the brands and designers asking me how to use social media to better raise their profile, they liked what I did and wanted help. This turned into a brand strategy and social media consultancy that I ran for a year before deciding to close the magazine. I joined a network marketing company for a year and although it wasn’t really my thing, I loved the personal development side of the business and this really captivated my heart. Roll forward two years and I am a Certified Advanced Success Coach and living a parallel career as Group Head of Brand for Soloberry, a berry company and as a career success coach under my married name, Rachel Letham.
What is a day in the life of you like as a now success coach?
I work in my day job 3 days a week and then bring success coaching into the rest of the week. My days are varied but I always start with an hour for myself. I mediate for ten minutes, have a gratitude journal session, read out loud my positive affirmations and mix in a few other mindfulness techniques. It’s a great way to start the day and gives me a positive mindset for success for the day and the week.
I write a Self Care Survival Kit newsletter each week, so I spend a lot of time reading personal development books, inspiring magazines and listening to podcasts to help ignite content ideas, I’m also working on launching this as a product next year, to give a year of Self Care inspiration.
Alongside this I am coaching clients; helping them get clarity and a sense of direction in their career – whether that is taking the next step, moving industry or with some CEO’s taking a step back after many years at a senior level, to get more of a work/life balance.
My mantra is to live a balanced and inspired life on my own terms; which allows me to achieve all my goals in my careers as well as keep grounded, mindful and relaxed.
Having had 13 years experience within high pressured industries, can you tell us about how you got started?
I joined an industry I knew nothing about and l learnt on the job and worked my way up. I started in an administration role straight out of university but I have always had an interest in marketing and getting messages across; even in my first role, I had a side hustle, helping to promote lesser known fruits and get growers promoting their own fruit, so is great to now be doing that on a global scale with our berry business. I had a great start to my career in taking over a role of import procurement, which meant I got to travel the world, speaking with growers, choosing where to source from – I was like the man from Del Monte without the panama hat!
I then moved to the company I am in now, where there were 6 of us to start with, with £4m turnover and now there are 45 of us and an almost £90m turnover. We build the business up together and I had the privileged to travel to central and south america a lot to source berries and build up relationships and I’m really proud of where we have got to as a company today.
I guess I just took every opportunity that was going, saying yes to everything even if it was out of my comfort zone. That is the way to learn, get past the discomfort and into the learning zone and there were times when I had no idea what I was doing, and times where we were accompanied but bodyguards and had a bullet proof hummer (in Guatemala) but I just went with it and that is how I have managed to grow in my career and in my confidence
Can you tell us how you are helping other entrepreneurs by to giving them the positive mindset and vision to reach the top?
I work with senior business leaders; those who are in a director or partner level or those who aspire to be there. These are people that are great at their jobs but often lack the confidence and self belief to go for the next role.
This is particularly the case with women. When a job is advertised and there is a criteria of 10 things you need to meet – a man will apply for it even if he only has 1 thing on the list, women think they need 8+ to apply – it’s a mindset and confidence thing and this is what i want to help people with.
I help people understand what they truly want to achieve in life, what their values are and what areas of life they want to improve. We then look at what’s holding them back, identify limiting beliefs and work on strategies to improve their mindset. I help them carve out a route map to their goal or desired outcome and then I help them navigate that journey to a positive mindset and success
Can you highlight 3 tips for discovering personal development?
- Give yourself time to think about you, your life and what you desire. So often we are in the rat race, pushing through each day and we don’t have time to stop and think. That’s why my weekly Self Care Survival Kit is great, it’s a quick read on email, gives two tips to implement into your weekend (I send it on a friday) and it gives you permission to stop and think. Personal development starts from within, we need time for this
- Stop the comparison. Always scrolling through social media, wishing you could live someone’s highlight reel? That is exam try what it is, the highlights – stop the comparison to them. You are your own person and when you really feel content with that, then the personal development sets in. Start noticing the situations that cause you to play the comparison game. Social media, as I’ve mentioned, is a big one for most of us. What about other circumstances? Is there a certain person who is constantly bragging about this or that, or asks you questions about your life that are designed to make you feel inferior? Back away from the drains – those people who suck your energy out from your or make you feel like you have to live their life. Surround yourself with radiators, people who lift you up and energise you
- Breathing is everything. But we don’t really think about how we do it. Often we are breathing to shallowly or lightly and not getting enough oxygen around our body. Focusing on your breath and your body will allow you to open your mind to other areas of personal development. There are some great youtube videos and instagram feeds (just don’t scroll too much!) that explain more about breath work – like Stuart at Breath Pod
Who does the team involve behind you?
I don’t have a team behind me but I have a tribe. I have an amazing group of supportive women, and my husband who lift me up, help to guide me and always keep me smiling. A collective, supportive environment is so important; so even though I don’t have a team, I do tap into my support network. I focus on where my core zone of genius is and this is not in accountancy, web hosting or logo design. I have an amazing array of people who I have on speed dial whether its to help me with a task or to have a glass of wine and a catch up with
Where can you see yourself within the next 3-5 years?
Such a great question. Everyone always asks me when I’m going to quit the day job but I love it so much. So i will always combine my Head of Brand role, non-executive director role (at Curious Brewery) and my coaching.
I want to help as many people as possible and on a global level. I have some retreats planned and a co-host who is amazing so we will have corporate and private retreats from 4 hours to 4 days. As well as coaching on a global level I will be speaking too, presenting tips and tricks to bringing mindfulness and positivity into your daily life – as life gets more complicated, I want to help people remember their true self, their capabilities and help them live their best life yet
Can you tell us what areas you have struggled in professionally?
I definitely struggled with confidence and self belief. Working in an industry that was typically male dominated, as a young woman it was hard to be taken seriously. I remember going into an external meeting once and being asked to make the tea – now I don’t normally mind this, but I was leading the meeting, and the client which was an all male team, thought I was the PA.
I have really had to push myself to do the things that normally i feel uncomfortable with. Particularly networking and meeting new people. Now I host events, host stands at exhibitions and network with people on a global level. Perseverance, sheer guts and just thinking “what’s the worst that can happen” has got me through to where I am today
Have you ever had any other mentor? If so how has this benefitted you to grow?
Yes, I have had two amazing mentors. Jody Shield, success coach, intuitive healer and global speaker really helped me get clear on wanting to become a coach. She guided me, has made me more aware of myself and my skills and really opened my mind up to personal growth. I owe Jody much for her meditation classes, soothing voice and straight talking.
Through Jody, I was introduced to Mindful Talent where I gained my coaching qualification. Stuart Sandeman was my mentor during my coaching training and he really helped me get clarity, answer all those silly questions and gave me the self belief to progress
It’s super important to have supportive people around us, who don’t judge, give their opinion or try to reduce our energy levels. A good mentor is a good listener and spending time with them will raise your energy vibrations
What outlets do use to market your services?
Due to the nature of my clients, I spend a lot of time networking on LinkedIn as this is where the Senior Leaders and CEO’s tend to hang out, rather than Facebook. A lot of my clients come from referrals and events so I make sure I keep my calendar booked up with places I can connect with people I also talk on podcasts and radio shows to try to get my name out there so that people can hear the energy in my voice and understand more about what I do
Which methods are you using to build your own support network?
As I said before, I’m not a great networker – so one way to make sure that you go to networking events is to start your own! I am the Tribe Boss for Girl Tribe Gang in Tunbridge Wells. This is a national network of amazing bosses who have monthly events as part of the Girl Tribe Gang brand in the UK
Girl Tribe Gang is the UK’s leading collective for women who work for themselves or who are aspiring to quit the 9-5. I launched in Tunbridge Wells in October as a way to meet and connect with like minded women. It’s a great empowering event that helps members and guests to grow in confidence and knowledge, in a completely relaxed and informal way.
Here at Girl Tribe Gang, we know that working for yourself can be a pretty lonely place and we thought that if we could help to reduce even a tiny bit of that isolation you’re feeling, well then that’s going to have a positive effect on your overall well-being and success.
We’re talking no suits, no dull hotels, no corporate bullshit, no breakfast meetings, no sticky name labels, no eating in front of strangers, no board tables, no awkward introductions, no men and absolutely no death by power-point presentations – all the things that we know here at Girl Tribe Gang create unnecessary barriers to networking.
We are all about creating a community of like-minded women, an eco-system of support, and we have a real passion for wanting to create something you can feel part of, which fits and supports what you are about. That’s my support network right there in one space!
What is the best piece of business advice you have received to date?
My father left me with a thought that always goes through my mind in stressful situations. “Count to ten, and breathe,” ultimately never react to something straight away, without thought, without time to take a step back and think about things. Counting to ten in our heads gives us time to stop, think, take stock and then take action. It’s a powerful technique whether stressed, anxious, over excited or just not sure what to do!
What is the number 1 critical lesson you have learned in your career so far?
To listen more than I speak. Often in meetings, people may wonder why an earth I am there because I don’t say much. But i am listening, absorbing and constantly thinking. Listening more than speaking is an art form; being able to take in all information and process it to then give inspired action is critical to success. It also means that we can speak with more wisdom and clarity than jumping the gun or saying something for the sake of being heard.
How do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life?
I am quite strict on my time and I always make sure that I do what I need to do for myself and my health and wellbeing. It might seem selfish but these are small acts of self care that allow me to live the best way in my life.
I am a good diary user – so i carve out time for my morning routine, fitness, seeing friends and making appointments. I do live life to the max and make sure I am always busy whether that is coaching, writing or attending meetings – because I have my self care survival kit in my back pocket, I can live life in the fast lane because I always tap into those moments for support
A seminal point in your career so far?
Being named in Management Today’s Top 35 under 35 women in business in the UK. This was in 2015 and it opened up many doors to me. As well as being in a great alumni now, I have built a great network, attended awesome events and gained a non-executive director role. To have such an accolade has meant that it has given me extra courage to strive for what I want in life and to be recognised for my hard work was great
What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?
Seeing other people achieving, reaching their goals and striving for the next. Seeing great results happen, seeing people have mindset shifts and getting great feedback that what I am helping them with is changing their life really boosts me
Which other leading entrepreneurs and pioneering game changers do you also admire and why?
I have always admired Arianna Huffington and had the honour of meeting her at a breakfast event once. Her story of courage and determination makes me feel stronger and I love what she is doing now with her Thrive Global network – we have the same beliefs and values and I think she’s amazing
Top 3 go-to Podcast channels?
- ‘Being Boss’ is great for Inspiration, tips, and real stories about female entrepreneurship and owning a business.
- ‘Don’t Keep Your Day Job’ is a great podcast, it’s my favourite. Cathy Heller interviews some amazing people and it’s just so inspiring hearing everyone’s journey, and stories. I always get a nugget of gold from it that shifts my mind. A great listen
- ‘Jordan Harbinger’ is also a great interviewer – his guests have powerful stories to tell. Not necessarily about business but more about determination, perseverance and pure guts to change their lives.
- How do you define success?
Achieving goals on your own terms. Not comparing to others or doing what you think you should do but doing want you want and need to do for yourself. Success can be big, it can be small, but it should be celebrated. Success is waking up each day with a smile on your face and knowing you are being true to yourself
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
#BEYOUROWN means being being your own boss. Deciding on your path and being confident to stick with it whatever challenges and challengers come your way. Trust in yourself and your path and you will reap the rewards
Finally, what can we expect from you next?
Watch this space for the Self Care Survival Kit coming to Amazon and into your homes to give you tips to last a year of self care. Also, I hope to be featured on more podcasts and I feel like there is a book in me.
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/positivemindsetforsuccess/