MENTOR | WRITER | MOTHER
Hi, I'm Jen. Your new mate and personal cheerleader. I support creative women building small businesses that truly fit and flourish around every day life.
From 2014-2019 I ran my own printmaking business, Inky and the Beast, creating bespoke stationery and teaching letterpress workshops. I did everything from the design, to the sourcing, making, packing, to the marketing, the teaching, to the accounting!
And then I had twins.
I know something about juggling, and I continued to run Inky alongside my growing girls until they were more than two years old. But something wasn't right. I realised I'd been running on autopilot and growing the business in the direction that seemed the most obvious, rather than the direction that I wanted it to go in. I'd been saying yes to any client who came my way, doing more and more wedding stationery even though it really stressed me out, not to mention undercharging for it all! I looked at other printers and just thought "oh, this is what everyone else is doing, I'd better do that too."
Something had to change to give me and my family a better balance, and give me a more sustainable and enjoyable business. I felt like I was always playing catch up, I was always exhausted, and I felt like my daughters saw the back of my phone more than my face.
I took a step back and realised the only part I still really enjoyed was teaching workshops. Meeting such amazing people, sharing advice and resources, talking to them about their creative plans and then keeping in touch long after they left the studio to cheer them on. I wanted more of that, so I knew what I had to do next.
I made the hard decision to wind down my printing business to start something new - Silly Heart. Making that leap was a scary one but I knew it was the right choice and now I am so happy to spend my working days talking with, learning from, and championing women creating incredible things.
I'm based in Epsom, just South of London, but work with women all over Europe (hoorah for technology!), and run friendly events across London and Surrey.
I live with my cycling-mad, bearded husband, our twin daughters, Poppy and Clementine, and our over-friendly rescue staffy, Dash. You can usually find us running around the woods, mud on our boots and leaves in our hair.
Being in tune with natural cycles - both as women, and being mindful of seasonal ebbs and flows - is so important to me as a business owner, and mother. Bringing cycle awareness into my work has been a game changer and I love to share this knowledge with clients.
I am completely anti growth-for-growth's sake. "Get a million followers and grow your business to six figures in six months!" No thank you, that sounds exhausting. I want to work in my business, not for it. I want to balance working with living, sleep at night, and grow quality time with my family and friends.
I was hopeless at school. I daydreamed so much that teachers would sit me with my back to the window to try and get me to focus. It did nothing for my motivation and I still doodled and wrote myself little stories instead. It took me years to unlearn the story that I was slow and stupid, and realise my creativity and imagination were actually two of my best assets.
ABOUT SILLY HEART
According to most of my school reports back in the day I was chatty, cheeky, "away with the fairies". A silly heart. When I worked in a high pressure job in advertising, I was accused of not taking things seriously because I wasn't getting stressed along with everyone else. Maybe if we'd been planning surgery instead of viral campaigns for sportswear I would have ben a bit more tense(!), but it was frustrating to me that people didn't believe you could possibly be doing good work while also enjoying yourself.
This myth lives on in the freelance community. We leave our 9-5 job to be our own boss and then we're harsher on ourselves then any other employer. We work around the clock for the love of it. We undercharge because we lack confidence. We take on more than we can do because who says no to paying work? We don't take breaks because there is just too much to do.
And then we burn out.
My mission is to help bust the myth around "hustling" (gah, I hate that word) and work with my clients so they can create a truly sustainable and happy business for themselves. Working constantly - whether you're designing, networking, marketing, answering emails - it is not sustainable. You need rest. You need to listen to your body so it can keep on supporting that magical, creative brain of yours. When is the last time you took a break without checking your phone or feeling guilty for not working?
"Nature does not hurry, and yet
everything is accomplished."
- LAO TZU -
WHAT WE'LL WORK ON TOGETHER
TOOLS, RESOURCES, AND PRACTICAL ADVICE
How to price your work (and sell it confidently), how to structure your week so you've time for rest, and break down overwhelming projects into realistic steps.
THE HEART AND SOUL OF YOUR BUSINESS
Why you do what you do, who you dream of working with, and (one of my favourite bits) how to tell your story so they dream of working with you too!
WORKING WITH YOUR BODY, NOT AGAINST IT
Planning your time to suit your physical and emotional needs, harnessing the power of your menstrual cycle, and setting clear and kind boundaries for yourself.