We caught up with Mandy Nicholson, founder of the Creative Business Academy, on her mission to help women step into their creativity and make money from it.
Tell us about yourself and your journey so far
My name is Mandy Nicholson. I’m recently widowed and I’m Mum to Dan and Becca. They both still live at home with me and our two dogs, Jet and Beau. Home is the beautiful village of Longhoughton in Northumberland.
I’m originally from Manchester but was relocated (against my teenage will) by my parents when I was 16. I finished school at Berwick-upon-Tweed High School before gaining an Art and Design degree in Edinburgh. Art is still a huge part of my life, but my career took a slightly different path. Having worked in pubs, cafes and off-licences during the holidays, I applied for my first ‘proper’ job as wines and spirits supervisor at Fine Fare in Bishop Auckland. Seventeen years later I had climbed the retail ladder to store manager before becoming Divisional Executive, overseeing 16-23 stores in Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Nottingham.
A head-hunter brought me back up to the North East where I became a Manager at B&Q in Scotswood and North Shields before moving to Ikea to work at their Metrocentre store.
In 2009 I experienced my series of unfortunate events, which I have fictionalised in my book The Life I Won. I went from having everything to living in a council house with £30 in my bank and an old banger of a car. I chose not to stay at rock bottom and started a cleaning business – the time and place were both right and my business was a great success. While working on this business I met someone who helped me to start my own financial services, wills and estate planning business.
I’m a lifelong learner and have collected: BA Art & Design, BSc in Psychology, Adv Dip in Management and Business Studies, Adv Dip Leadership Coaching, Adv Dip Life Coaching, Adv Dip NLP, Dip Building Self-confidence Coaching, Dip Therapeutic art Coaching, Dip Therapeutic Art for Relaxation Coaching, Dip Shamanic Art… and I’m still learning, every day.
What’s the story behind your business?
In 2018, my late husband and soulmate bought me an easel and art equipment. He was tired of hearing me talking about my long-lost love of art and challenged me to get back to painting. My passion for art had never gone away but I’d got caught on the hamster wheel of earning money from a corporate career that I thought I would never be able to make a living from my creativity.
But I had an ah-ha moment. What if every creative woman felt the same and was either putting up with being poor or working in another industry that paid better? I decided to work this out so that other women didn’t waste decades thinking that they couldn’t step into their creativity and make money.
The Creative Business Academy was born.
Has Covid-19 changed your business and your approach?
Not a single bit! I offer an online business, so I’ve been really buoyant during Covid-19. I did, however, tweak my offer to adapt to the situation by creating a lower price point program that focused on developing a positive mindset at less than half price. I have also started a promotion in June with £1,000 off my signature program.
This is the element of my business that is most helpful to women at the moment. My current clients on the course are making money even through the lockdown and they’re experiencing growth in their businesses right now.
That sounds fantastic, tell us more about the program
My Creative Business Academy is also known as the Creative Development program. It’s a 12-month program that focuses on building self-confidence and beating blocks, then teaches a rock-solid business strategy that takes the client to abundance thinking.
My clients learn all aspects of how to create multiple income streams selling creative products and services using social media, sales funnels, the internet, and building, growing, and then scaling their creative business. I aim to take my clients past any limiting financial boundaries that they have set and think big. But I don’t just tell them; I teach them.
The program is an online teachable training over 12 modules and includes group coaching with me and group tech calls with my tech manager (an experienced software developer and ‘Digital Artisan’ – Nathan King). There are also four one-to-one coaching sessions with me throughout the program. Every client also has access to separate mindset support from an experienced mindset coach.
The program costs £6,000 per person (currently on promotion during June for £5,000). Yes, that’s a lot of money, but I firmly believe it’s an investment in your business. I’ve taken my clients from having nothing but an initial idea to having an online offer plus several income streams within the 12 months. I offer 50 spots on my program each year and there are only 25 left for 2020. Once they’re full, the program will close its doors until 2021, when 50 new spots will open up.
For those with a tighter budget, I have my 21-day Mindset Transformation Programme at £97 (down from £197). It’s a mini-program which is linked to the lessons in my book. Places on this program are unlimited as it’s all self-learning.
I just can’t see how I can make money doing what I do, so how can you change that?
Your first problem is that you think you can’t and your second is that you haven’t asked the right person. I can show you how to monetise your talent and create more than you can imagine right now.
How can you start a business when you don’t have the money to invest in yourself or the business?
Nobody launches a business with no investment or risk, it’s about being smart. If you invest in improving you and working with the right person then you increase your chances of monetising your idea sooner. I offer a payment plan and currently a promotion on the very program that will have you making money quickly. How do I know? Because it happens with all of my clients once they see the possibilities.
How can you help me to have more confidence and get over my self-doubt?
This is where I start with you, working on confidence, eliminating limiting beliefs, and building a strong mindset. As part of my signature program, you have access to all of my other programs: Money Mindset; 21 Day Mindset Transformation; Funnel Academy and more to come! You also have the benefit of a mindset coach and a tech coach. We have your back all of the way.
“Mandy is an amazing coach! She has changed my life in more ways than she can imagine! Her determination and character are completely inspiring and her book “The Life I Won” is an absolute must-read! It really helped me put things in perspective and shows how far you can go with a little hard work and determination! Thank you for being a part of my life and sharing your story with the world Mandy!” Natasha S
“Mandy is an amazing woman to work with. It’s not often you meet people who have a creative flair mixed with an incredible dose of business savviness. If you want to start making money from your creative business, then look no further than here.” Sarah N
“Mandy is the most inspiring woman I know! She has helped me save my business, supported my Mammas in business and every morning I am transforming my mindset to win!” Rachael B
We spoke to three business owners to find out how they keep their teams motivated and engaged during a global pandemic and lockdown.
One of the region’s most famous faces talks to High Life North about the success of her new book which charts her own struggles with depression.
We caught up with Jane from JEM Illustrations, a watercolour pet portrait artist from Gateshead. She started her business last year and thanks to a lot of effort, her business has flourished.
Amy's confidence was completely knocked when she had to close her clothing boutique. We spoke to her about starting again and founding her new and successful business - Triple A Food Tours.