Woman In Charge- Nikki Alderson

Nikki Alderson empowers female lawyers to achieve thier career ambitions whilst creating congruent lives.

She keeps herself motivated by setting clear goals that are broken down into chunks- which makes them more attainable.

When and how did you start your business?

I started my business in August 2017 after registering my domain name with Go Daddy and setting up an email addresses associated with it. And then a website containing my mission statement and with information about the services I provide and testimonials about the work I have done.

Why did you decide to start?

I have 19 years experience at the Criminal Bar in Yorkshire, working from Broadway House Chambers, Bradford/ Leeds.

From the outset, I had no hesitation in developing my practice in an unconventional way with a Scholarship to New Zealand (2000) and undertaking pro bono work in Jamaica supporting Death Row Attorneys in their defence of Capital Murder cases (2002-2004). Such inspiring work!

On my return to the UK having become the most junior Grade 4 Prosecutor in Chambers, and unusually early on in my career, a Rape and Serious Sexual Offences Prosecution Panelists, the daily diet of Sex trials created within me a conflict as to the worth/ value of my UK practice.

It was at this point that I first experienced Coaching, understanding the benefits of going “from good to great” through the process, and was able to work with more purpose, vigour and personal congruency.

Such was the profound effect upon me of coaching, between 2010 and 2012, whilst still working full time as a barrister, I trained to become a Corporate and Executive Coach with the highly acclaimed Coaching Academy, and an NLP Practitioner with the NLP Academy. Having met my husband around the same time as I qualified, and then gone on to have 3 children together, it was never the “right time” to take the leap and start a business.

More recently then, having taken extended maternity leave from Chambers, another short course of coaching has been a super resource to help me spring back into the world of work, and business, by rediscovering my confidence and drive at work. And so it was that in 2017 I launched Nikki Alderson Coaching.

Can it be hard to be your own boss?

Having been self-employed since leaving University and doing Bar Finals, I don’t know any different and therefore wouldn’t have it any other way.

There is inevitably a certain mindset required which some may find a challenge, having to be so self motivated, determined, hard working and resilient, but I work well on my own; I am very independent.

The flexibility brought about by being your own boss in my view makes up for the sometimes unconventional working hours.

How do you keep yourself motivated?

I keep myself motivated by having a strong connection which is why I am in business and also by setting very clear business goals. Not only for in 20 years but also broken down in to more manageable chunks- obvious stepping stones to their achievement making me accountable for them and making them happen.

Are there any challenges owning your own business?

Of course, and nothing that can’t be handled!

Maintaining a steady income stream and client flow can be the greatest challenge, as can maintaining motivation over a sustained period. On occasion this can feel relentless without a strong connection to your “why.” I find it key to ask myself, “ if I’m usually up at 6am, what gets me up at 5am?” as a sure-fire way to self-motivate.

Is there a right time to start a business?

I am a great believer in the phrase “start before you are ready,” as procrastination can be one of the biggest dream killers, although making your start in business easier on yourself is of course sensible. I waited, not for the “perfect” time, but certainly for the “right” time. I’d recommend you do your research, get to know your market, be clear about your offering and identify your Unique Selling Point.

I also think it wise to start your business alongside whatever else it is you are doing, to ensure you have enough financial backing before making the leap, and be realistic about what is achievable in your first year or so of business. A thorough and clear business plan is also invaluable.

As your company expands, I guess it may feel overwhelming- how did you keep it together? Do you employ other people to support you or do you manage it all on your own?

I avoid “overwhelm” by prioritizing my workload, knowing the important/ urgent jobs from the not so important/ urgent, and I also get help where I need it, whether for administrative/ technical support or where I need additional specialist skills, such as for marketing. Also, I have a business coach. Coaching is absolutely imperative in business to keep you on track with your goals and to support you move in business from A to B more quickly and effectively than you otherwise would.

Have you noticed any changes in the world of business ?

The level of “noise” from email/ phone notifications can be deafening. I would strongly recommend Air Plane mode and turning off computer notifications to quieten this interference and keep you working “on purpose”.

What is the best thing about being your own boss?

Flexibility. The freedom to be with my children when they need me, be financially independent, and still go to my beloved circuits classes in the middle of the day is priceless!

What is your advice to any young woman who want to start a business ?

After doing your research, just get on and do it. Don’t wait for the perfect time, the website to be ready, the business cards to be ready. As Richard Branson said :”If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you are not sure you can do it, say yes then learn how to do it later” . The same applies to getting on with your own business.

How does it feel to be a woman in charge?

I have learnt alot from my successful career as a barrister, having gained great insights into the responsibilities, pressures and “expected” career paths of women working in law. As a self-employed criminal barrister, I was always “in charge”.

Nothing compares though to the feeling of truly running your own business, being responsible in every aspect for its success or failure. Nothing motivates me more than being the best I can be, for my own sense of independence, pride and to be a truly inspirational role model for my children.

To visit Nikki Alderson Coaching click here

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