Feelings of loneliness and isolation are a devastating side effect of the current lockdown measures. Even before this, finding somewhere to live as a person over 50 was a difficult process. Suzanne Noble recognised this predicament when her partner tried to find a flatshare in Camden and toured a series of unsuitable students digs. Suzanne set out to change that with Silver Sharers.
Silver Sharers (new name TBA) is a platform that allows those who are over 50 to rent our spare room to suitable lodgers. Suzanne has attracted a lot of interest from the Proptech industry and talks about fundraising as an over 50s woman as well as grant applications. We also had an interesting chat about whether or not the word ‘silver’ to describe an older person is offensive.
On this podcast, we discuss all of this as well as her social enterprise, Startup School for Seniors, a social enterprise for those over 50 who want to start their own businesses. Join us in this informative podcast and please do like, share, and subscribe.
Suzanne is a serial entrepreneur currently working on a solution to help homeowners over 50 ‘age in place’ and reduce social isolation by matching them with compatible long-term lodgers called Silver Sharers.
On the side, she runs a social enterprise called Advantages of Age helping over 50s to access a pro-aging community of like-minded people and host events on behalf of the Soho House Group. Currently working on Startup School for Seniors. Funded by the London Community Response, this 8-week course has been designed for anyone unemployed and over 50 who wants to run a business but doesn’t know where to start.
EP#57: I confess that I couldn’t sleep before recording this podcast. It was the toughest discussion I’ve ever broached; that of ethnic diversity and inclusion.
As a white woman how do you approach it? What language do you even use? Is black socially acceptable for a white person? Is the word black or Black? What about white or White? Or BAME? And what is it about grouping everyone “non-white” into one label like that?
I needn’t have worried because CJ of @urbanistplatform is an expert. And specifically relating to the built environment. Together we discussed the big issues of language, tokenism, meritocracy versus inclusion and the cost to corporates of not having a policy of diversity.
In this episode, CJ helps us answer and understand one of the industry’s posing issues on the importance of ethnic diversity in the workplace. He also delves into the most important bits of the Urbanist Platform and shares how this company act on the issues of diversity.
About CJ : Cj Obi has a Bachelor of Science in Urban Planning Design and Management and he’s also got a Masters in Science of European Property Development both at UCL. He was listed as one of the Property Week’s residential trailblazers. He’s also an experienced consultant, demonstrated with a history of advising planners, surveyors, and other built environment professionals on the important career moves within the industry and also supporting companies with their expansion decisions
“The word ‘authentic’ has become a buzzword and a bit of a joke. Really, we want to be a bit more real and we can do that with video.” Cheryl Laidlaw
When website developer Cheryl Laidlaw told friends she was going to build websites in a single day they laughed. But Cheryl has done just that for years, and successfully with a waiting list that keeps getting longer.
During lockdown we spoke about the initial panic that things would completely shut down to the bounce in motivation as people realised now was a time they could reshape their businesses. What this means for Cheryl is many of her clients requiring shiny new websites.
We also discussed Social Media World 2020 she was lucky enough to attend in San Diageo just before the world shut down including her key learnings. Although, she’s still digesting them.
Then we switch over to a previous podcast I recorded with Cheryl in September 2019 but was never published. Enjoy and as always, I welcome your feedback.
Cheryl Laidlaw, or London Web Girl, is a digital marketer specialising in website creation for business growth. She has a big passion in making web design not only interesting, but accessible to all, she prides herself on her Website In A Day service that leaves her clients not only with a with a fantastic website, but having had a great day learning new skills and new-earned confidence using their website to grow their business.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast belong solely to the host and guest speakers. The view and opinions of the guest speakers do not represent that of the host. Always do your own research.
After Nicole and Paul’s successful first sailing experience as a new couple they decided it would be a great idea to spend the next season sailing with at least four of their children! Things started well until they got stuck just off the coast of the Mal Menor. After two days of trying to lift the anchor were they successful? You might need to wait until the next episode, but first of all, we hope you enjoy this one.
Like many businesses, every aspect of the property industry has been severely impacted by this unprecedented time. By late 2019 I was, in all honestly, a little battle weary by the sector. I’d ridden the wave of 2010 until 2017 and then the perfect storm of landlord tax changes, stamp duty increases and the Brexit vote had taken its toll on my property strategy. Of course I was also suffering a loss on some of my earlier gains, on paper anyway.
I run a boutique property developer building out 105 homes across nine sites in central, east and west London. Following the election in December house prices were experiencing something of a “Boris-bounce” and I’d started to feel optimistic about securing some much-needed property sales. And then the coronavirus spread and brought the whole industry to a screeching halt. In my view the COVID19 pandemic provided a neat bookend to what was a challenging economic period for the property industry.
There isn’t a single part of the property sector that hasn’t been hit hard by the lockdown. Whole estate agencies, law firms, construction companies and more have furloughed whole teams. People can’t move home, bank valuations can’t be undertaken and construction sites remain closed.
Like most people, the first two weeks of lockdown were spent coming to grips with this new normal. Much like the process of grieving, I was stuck in the denial stage unsure what was required from me and, more importantly, what was acceptable. Many were blasted publicly for their insensitivity in continuing to market their businesses-as-usual at a time when it was anything but.
The new normal and new winners
As I reflected on what was going on and how businesses were reacting to the economic meltdown there were clear winners shining through the wreckage – those with a viable online offering. We all heard about the big companies booming like Netflix and Zoom, but individuals like Joe Wicks (PE classes for school children), Cat Meffan (online yoga and meditation), Sháá Wasmund, MBE (entrepreneur training and support) – those who already had solid online video training offerings are also winning. It’s no fluke that ads for online training are flashing up on your phone, these often solo-preneurs are winning right now too.
The big question was how could I apply these strategies to what I was doing? A couple of days of auditing my business, my goals and, most importantly, my passions allowed me to work out some areas I could work on to add a viable online offering to my business. I also reflected on my longer term goals. While I am passionate about building beautiful homes in London and the south east, it doesn’t fit with my five year goal of living aboard a yacht with my partner and sailing the south Pacific.
While some are calling time on the era of the influencer what the influencer economy has taught us is that it’s no longer enough to be just an accountant, or just an estate agent or just a makeup artist. Those who really won over the last decade are those who build their personal brand. I’m not talking about the Kardashians here but regular people like Antony Slumbers (commercial real estate consultant), Henry Pryor (home buying agent) and Katie Smith (award winning bricklayer).
I’ve been banging the personal branding drum since 2016 and thankfully have built up somewhat of a following across social media; nearly 46,000 followers on Instagram, 34,000 on LinkedIn, 13,000 on Twitter and just under 8,000 on Facebook. However my strategy for posting on these platforms had been haphazard and lacking intent and purpose – two factors I need to add if I too am going to be relevant in the new economy.
One of the good things to come out of this lockdown is that we’re all realising something I’ve known for a long time – we have too many meetings! I despise (most) meetings and find them inefficient. I have to do my hair and makeup and leave the house for a start. Now I’ve moved to the countryside (which is fantastic during a lockdown) it takes me at least an hour and half to get anywhere. Video meetings are also quicker and more succinct. We get through all we want to get through in at least half the time of a face to face. Another efficiency saving! Now we’re not meeting, commuting (or putting on our makeup and doing our hair) we have time to be productive.
The next thing I did was look at the parts of my business that I enjoy the most. They include writing, podcasting and speaking. Writing is an easy one to do remotely, it can be done from anywhere with space and power for my laptop. Podcasting just requires a good WiFi signal (which might prove a problem on a boat but not for the next few years). The public speaking conundrum was interesting to consider.
I’d interviewed public speaker, sports psychologist and corporate trainer Jamil Qureshi in late March. Prior to February he was boarding a plane a couple of times a week for destinations across the globe to deliver training for large multinationals. Overnight planes were grounded and his business dried up. Jamil was quick to contact his clients and offer them video content which they paid for once and were free to repurpose as often as they pleased. While it did impact his revenues, it has now opened up a whole new business for him where one previously didn’t exist. One he can continue alongside his “in-person” speaking when it is again possible.
I’ve also been working on my speaking business over the last month and have secured speaking opportunities in Dubai and Toronto later this year. What’s needed to secure these often lucrative gigs is a clear message of what you will be delivering to the attendees and what they will get from your talk. Previously my talks had all been on property and my property journey. Now that I am moving away from the built environment to something more virtual my topic or theme also needs to evolve. That’s where #reboundfromsetback came about.
I’ve had the trifecta of problems over the last few years, personally with divorce and a big city move, and then professionally with big loss resulting from fraudulent activity in my investment portfolio combined with dwindling asset values.
The good thing about telling the stories of setback is that they are followed by stories of success. It became clear to me over recent weeks is that this was the topic and theme I was qualified and passionate about sharing. It doesn’t have to define me forever, but it accurately sums up where I am now. It also rings true for so many others right now. Our world is going through a huge economic setback but, we will rebound! Just look at any investment chart of stock market indices or property cycles – they recover.
Now I had homed in on my goals, explored my passions and found my theme I needed to know how to implement it. That’s where I am now. I am using this period of time while my children are busy attending school via remote learning to do the same. I’m exploring developing online courses, hosting webinars, membership groups, email lists and growing my social media followings. I’ve even used this time to learn how to edit videos for a (near) professional finish and launched a new YouTube channel, SailingSavvy, following my family’s sailing adventures aboard my partner’s boat, Savvy of London.
After a six month hiatus I’ve relaunched my podcast as the #ReboundFromSetback podcast and am exploring new collaborations with other top podcasters (Look out for Two Women and a Mic with me and Sháá Wasmund soon). Now I’ve experienced also property fraud and misappropriation of funds within my companies I’m well qualified to launch an exciting new podcast warning others on all the ways you can lose money in property at the hands of those less scrupulous.
On the writing side I have regular columns with Modern Woman and Development Finance Today magazines. Following the success of my first book in 2017, Bricking It, I have at least two more books in me and one nearly completed manuscript ready for publication later this year.
All this is a lot of work, granted, and I’m not sure what is going to gain traction and what will fail spectacularly. What I do know is that they’re all areas I’m deeply passionate about so I’ll have a great time working on them alongside my traditional property business. The important thing here is that I believe it will go a long way towards futureproofing my career. Once I have proven what works and, more importantly, what doesn’t, I hope I can work with others to help them implement these futureproofing strategies into their own careers.
This will be the fourth time I’ve pivoted in my career. I started out in banking as an associate analyst, a role I was completely unsuited for. I then tried my hand at online fashion before stopping to have children and briefly returning to banking. It was between children that the idea of property development came to the fore. This now is my next iteration and one that I’m incredibly excited about. Not only does it allow me to grow a business around times that suit, it gives me the flexibility to grow it as big or small as I want it to be. And hopefully from aboard a yacht somewhere very warm and very blue.
My point here is that yes, change can be a frightening prospect. But if you remain open minded and flexible and listen to what you really want, there is an online business in us all. I’m looking forward to hearing from you what you have decided to pursue and what lessons you have learned from what really are unprecedented times.
Our first episode is live! It’s been a labour of love but you can now watch our story. In the summer of 2018 I’d had a pretty tough few months and Paul invited me out to stay with him and some of his children aboard Savvy of London off the coast of Ibiza. I could tell you the rest of the story but then you won’t watch.
Spoiler alert: we’re still together nearly two years on so it must be a happy story 🙂
Take a look over on YouTube and do all the usual things such as like, subscribe and hit the notifications button.
Dr Louise Wiseman MBBS BSc(Hons) DRCOG MRCGP is a mother, former GP, now health writer and motivational speaker. After working 15 years in the NHS, Louise has written her first book Your Best Life – A Doctor’s Secret Guide to Radiant Health Over 40 (release September 28th 2020), working with experts from all fields of medicine to uncover evidence-based secrets to improve health and maximise longevity. Within the book you can also find the stories of many prolific women who will tell you whether you can really have it all. Louise is also a medical editor and writer for www.netdoctor.co.uk and a medical writer for www.thefrankmagazine.com
I told you I’d have some good news soon. Paul and I had had a tough time of it recently and what’s kept us going is escaping into sailing channels on YouTube like La Vagabone and recently, Sailing Fair Isle.
While we watched we realised that we have a story to tell too. We’re not a young couple sailing the world living on our boat. We’re a couple with careers that require us to be here, and young children still in school. For these reasons we just steal time when we can to head to the boat. Kind of like mini-retirements each year over the summer.
It’s looking unlikely that we’ll get to the boat anytime soon given the tragic pandemic. I’m using this time to up-skill by learning how to edit video, something I have a new respect for as it’s so time consuming! Here is the result of a few weeks of fiddling around with quite a few tips from a friend.
Head over to the new YouTube channel, SailingSavvy, and subscribe to be notified of new videos hopefully every Monday.