Victoria is a successful personal brand strategist and coach for women in business - she is also the founder of Sojourn which is an online platform and community for women.. Her social media handle is @victoriajanewatson
Victoria, delighted to have you with us! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Delighted to be here! I am a personal brand strategist and coach for women in business. I am currently based in the beautiful city of Malaga in southern Spain and enjoying exploring the growing start up scene here and meeting other female entrepreneurs. I love travel, design and have always had a secret love for fashion from a young age. I am also secretly obsessed with jewellery and it’s exciting to be able to share my story with you.
I admire the work you are doing to support and empower startup founders. What attracted you to this segment in the first place?
I previously worked as a traditional PR and marketing manager for over a decade in the lifestyle and travel sectors and then became freelance back in 2015. The start-up landscape in the UK was starting to evolve and the number of female founders growing. I saw a gap to support these women with consultancy and mentoring which really focused on a one on one bespoke service. My mentoring and coaching services are specifically designed to help women to build their confidence, visibility and create more impact through their personal branding. I help them to own their expertise and communicate it in a way which is aligned with their values and vision.
In your opinion, how important is personal brand building? Do you have any nuggets of wisdom for a newbie founder like me?
Personal branding has never been so important… It really is the only way we can differentiate ourselves from each other, especially online which is where most business owners are trying to build a presence at some level. Even for offline businesses it is still important because we are all so connected through social media, search engines etc. The first thing we tend to do when we meet someone new is to check out their Instagram or their Linkedin especially if we are thinking about working with that person. Taking control of our personal branding allows us to consciously position ourselves, decide what our message is and how we want to communicate it and that is really powerful. It gives us the opportunity to connect with people on a massive scale and to create amazing opportunities to propel our business forwards.
Tell us about Sojourn. How did the idea come about?
Back in 2017 I became location independent. I had been living in London for a while and wanted to shake things up and try something different. That “something different” turned out to be a 30 day co working retreat in Portugal with 30 strangers. It was a life changing experience because I met a whole bunch of people who were living and working on their own terms and it inspired me to see if I could combine my passion for travel with my work and still sustain and grow my business.
Sojourn is a platform for women in business. At the heart is our editorial focus. I wanted to create a hub where I could share the stories of female founders because I believe we can learn so much from each other and I want to encourage more women to do this. To step up and say “you know what I have created/built an amazing business and this is my story - warts and all"
I seek out interesting stories to tell and I am especially interested in women who are living the location independent lifestyle and there are a growing number of women who are living in this way. We are also in the process of launching our first business retreat in Barcelona this May which is very exciting! I have always believed 100% in the benefits of coming together in real life and the powerful shifts which can happen when we sit down together to learn, share and create connections.
For most startup entrepreneurs, a retreat is a luxury? In your opinion, what value does this bring to the founder and business?
Retreats have been around for a long time but they have mostly catered to the wellbeing and fitness markets. Business retreats are on the rise because they are meeting a demand from the growing founder communities which are cropping up all over the world who want to attend a structured trip which meets their needs whether thats to take their business to the next level, gain new knowledge from experts or just immerse themselves in a dynamic environment for a few days which is outside of their normal routine.
These retreats tend to be unique in their approach and tailored to a specific market or purpose. I think as long as you choose a retreat to meet your specific needs and goals then it is more of an investment than a luxury. You have to look at the outcomes you are going to get from attending such an event. If it moves your business to the next level, you make some amazing new connections and you up level your skills that is bringing amazing value to the table for you both personally and professionally.
Most entrepreneurs struggle with running one business! How do you manage two? Do share your secret…
There is no secret and it’s definitely not easy. Loving what you do is a huge help because without that it can be difficult to push yourself forwards. For me, I am focused on serving and helping people and that is the “why” which drives me. If I can make a difference to how someone views themselves and their business then that’s amazing...In terms of managing two businesses I think it comes down to planning, focus and keeping your goals manageable. Also getting support as and when you need to is important.
What does ‘Be your sparkly best’ mean to you?
For me it means showing up as the best version of yourself and not being afraid to be who you are. There is a phrase I love “be unapologetically you” which resonates with me on the same level as this.
What kind of jewellery do you like? Do you have a personal favourite?
I have always loved gold jewellery over silver - especially in the summer! I love chunky jewellery and watches. At the moment I like to layer different gold necklaces.
Which Hep Audrey piece do you like the best?
I love the Hema Handmade Royal Ruby Gold Necklace - so gorgeous!
If you were a gemstone, which one would you be? Why?
I love rose quartz because of its self love and healing qualities - I always keep a piece with me.