Women Who Work: Cook & Marketing Guru, Faith Coates
Faith is traveling the world with her husband as she sets out to also show some love to her own career path. Maybe this will prove that you can travel and work without skipping a beat. She runs two successful websites, The Artful Marketer, and XYUandBeyond.
How did you make the leap to your current role?
I like to say my kids wouldn’t run away from home so we did, which is very true. I am constantly astounded at how many young people just hang around their hometowns and don’t grab any opportunity to travel.
Apart from that I grew very tired of crappy jobs that only contracted you for a year and paid you nothing. In my last job over 4 years I raised over 2 million dollars in extra revenues, and my rewards were yearly contracts at pathetic wages. So, when my husband took early retirement from the Post Office I decided to hell with this and we made the decision to go travelling. We didn’t have a fantastic income by any stretch and there was no way to live in Canada on that tiny pension. So, we decided to go and housesit and save ourselves mortgage and rent. We found travelling in Europe is just so damn cheap, I mean I can fly from London to Dublin for less than it costs to take a train from my hometown of London to Toronto.
As a result of that decision and my stay at home boredom I decided to put my talents to use helping other entrepreneurs. I specialize in working with socially minded entrepreneurs who not only want to support themselves but give something back to the community. I work a lot with creative types - from chefs, travel bloggers, not for profits and social enterprises to artists who are starting a new business and need all the practical help with writing a strategic plan, marketing on social media, and just generally business guidance.
I call myself an archi-anthropologist in other words I can see the big picture, the whole building or beyond the box if you like and all the thousands of details that are critical to developing and supporting a business culture.
My third sense can literally ‘see’ the way a business needs to strategically plan for success. I can take an entrepreneur’s dreams and make them a reality.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
What was your first job ever? Did it help you in your current role?
Working in a record store. I suppose it did in a way, I became fascinated by the people who shopped there - they were obsessed with music and it made for fascinating people watching. It also became very clear that the musicians and creative types that were “managing” the place were completely out of their depth in business.
What made you want to start your side hustle? What or who inspired you to do so?
LOL boredom inspired me - I simply can’t sit around on a beach or the house without something to do.
What does your job entail? How do you explain what you do to others?
I just tell people I am a Storyteller, that usually gets them asking more questions at which point I explain that I although I have no particularly artistically creative talents myself that I work with those that are creative to help them build successful businesses.
How long have you been doing this?
Probably for over 20 years, I just didn’t realize it was a talent until I needed to create work for myself. I have been giving away information for years without valuing the fact that information really is power.
What is a day for you like? What is your routine?
We get up around 6ish and Alan walks the dog and I get the animals breakfast for them (if there are pets at our house sit). After that Alan cooks breakfast and I sit down at my computer to work for a few hours. If it’s a hot location (like we are now in Cyprus) we go for a swim either at the pool or find a quiet, easy to access beach and go for a swim.
When we get back I go back to the computer for a few hours if necessary or simply relax outside and read a book. We often just go for a drive if we have a car available just to see the sights and explore new areas. I can’t resist a museum or ancient monuments and sites. I also love a farmer’s market and I am a true foodie at heart so exploring regional cuisines and taking food tours is heaven for me.
How do you end your workday?
Sometimes it feels like I don’t, I am constantly reading or learning things and I love finding information and doing research. Others may call that work but I love it.
How did you go about starting your side hustle? What were some of your initial steps that you took?
I started writing a travel blog to keep our friends and family posted. From there is just sort of grew organically. I got asked to develop blogs for friends and family that had small businesses and I loved it so much I decided to try to do it for other people.
So I started promoting my travel blog as a sort of portfolio of work. I got a lot of traffic from connecting to tourist groups and places through Twitter and Pinterest and it grew from there and then I started mentoring some online entrepreneurs who didn’t realize they were entrepreneurs.
So I started The Artful Marketer and now I work with a few clients that are establishing businesses that have at their hearts a social conscience and give back to the community.
What are your biggest responsibilities as a freelancer?
To understand your value and not compromise it.
To always be totally honest and transparent with your clients.
To do what you say you are going to do and to do it as well as you can.
To be ethical, reliable and meet your deadlines.
To always tell the truth to new entrepreneurs and freelancers.
To give back and share as much as you can without jeopardizing your own business
What has been the hardest part of your transition?
Keeping my husband occupied and not ignoring him when I kept wrapped up in working.
What has been the easiest part of your transition?
Selling everything and becoming totally committed to minimalism. It is so incredibly freeing not owning anything and traveling with a carryon.
What keeps you motivated?
The travel and the seeing new places that I never dreamed I would get the chance to, and getting to stay with and spoil other people’s pets because as a traveler you don’t get to have pets so for a little while we get to love someone else’s furbabies.
How do you define success now?
Same as I always have, being your own person, speaking the truth, standing up for what is right and giving back as much as you can.
How do you prevent burn out?
For me, I go and read a book. I love books that involve history, mystery, and good guys fighting bad guys James Rollins and Kathleen McGowan come to mind. When I want something different I turn to Kelley Armstrong a brilliant Canadian writer - she wrote the Werewolf series they turned into a TV show.
What do you think is the most important characteristic to have for someone who wants to take a similar career route to yours?
Willingness to learn new things and do your homework. Don’t buy into the “dream it believe it and abundance will come mindset”. If you want it you are going to have to work damn hard at it and sometimes you may get some luck that helps but mostly you will work your ass off to make it a success and a lot of times you will fail and that sucks, but you have to brush yourself off and get moving again. Persistence I think would sum it up.
What do you wish you knew before starting out on your own path?
I wish I had valued myself more. I ended up giving away my talents for free and making tons of money for other people.
Be careful who you trust and make sure you listen to your gut instincts.
Do you have a work idol? Is there a working woman or man out there that you admire?
Not really work idols I respect and love women like Gloria Steinem, Maya Angelou, bell hooks, and Audre Lourde are all my heroes.
What is your favorite thing about the industry you work in?
Meeting folks who are so excited and passionate about their business and want to inspire others.
What are some tools that you can’t live without?
I have to admit I am pretty old school when it comes to “tools”. For working online though I like Buffer and Hootsuite, and I am getting to know and love Slack and Google docs - all free of course as I am very cheap and hate spending money on something until it’s proved itself. Oh, and I like Social Warfare on my two websites it is a paid plugin but worth the money.
What do you have on your desk or working space right now?
An iced coffee, my notebook and pens, and my computer and phone. Oh yes and its damned hot here right now so I have a package of baby wipes that I just took out the fridge for cooling down with.
What do you want other women in similar situations to know about your chosen career path?
If you have the desire to get out or are planning it - try to get out as soon as you can. Start getting rid of stuff, research all your options for traveling and living abroad or even another place. Look into housesitting, house swapping, co-work spaces or even just getting an apartment someplace you never thought possible and move. Start building an online business or career now so you can make it move with you.