I thought it was about time we had a catch up with our Business Girls Ambassador Lisa Long who has recently relocated to sunnier shores (not that we are jealous or anything!).  We miss Lisa at the monthly Maidenhead Business Girls meet ups and hope we can persuade her to hop on a plane and visit soon!

 

We hear you have relocated – tell us more about this?

Yes! I relocated to Barcelona at the end of July to join my husband after the boys finished their school year.  He was offered a position with a new company and we decided it was perfect timing to have a family adventure before the boys got too old.  We wouldn’t have been able to do it if I didn’t have my online business.  I’m so lucky I can run it remotely.  My team of designers are still based in the UK, all working from home, as is my print studio who ship things out directly to our customers.  Other than sharing annoying snaps on Instagram, none of our customers would know I’m here!  I’ve even had the phone lines diverted to Barcelona with a UK ring tone.

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Tell us about your daily work routine now you have moved to Barcelona, without making us jealous?!

I’m lucky that we are an hour ahead here so I almost gain an hour to get things out of the way, like the gym and the school run.  Once I’ve dropped the boys off I do some form of exercise then I had back to my home studio to catch up on admin and divide up the team’s design work for the day.  If we are busy then I also get stuck into some of the design work.  I always have lots of emails to answer so that takes up a lot of time, and then any spare time is spent on marketing – social media, newsletters etc, and product development.

 

What words of wisdom can you give to another Business Girl that is just starting out?

  • Do your research first – know your market – who will your target customers be and who are the competition?
  • What will your Unique Selling Point (USP) be?  Without one of these it really is very tough to grow and sustain a business.  Aim to be as UNIQUE as possible!
  • Have a really good think about WHY you are planning on starting your business.  Is it because you don’t like your current job, or you’ve had a brainwave for a unique idea? Maybe you have been out of work for a while and want to do something to keep busy and bring in some extra cash.  Doing this will really help you focus.  It takes a lot of hard work to get things off the ground and success is very unlikely to happen overnight so if you are clear on your WHY then you can set goals around how to make sure you fulfil the reasons around why you started the business in the first place.  It’s important to always remind yourself of these when you face challenges.

 

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How do you achieve work/life balance?

I always make sure that I fit exercise in at least three times a week. I really believe that a healthy body equals a healthy mind.

I am also very strict around my working hours, but this is something I’ve had to learn! I take at least a 30 minute lunch break away from my desk and shut the office door as soon as it’s time for the school run.  If I have extra work to do then I do that for an hour once the boys go to bed.  The only time that I work on weekends is if we have a busy period and I need to get ahead of things for a couple of hours on a Sunday evening.  Basically, when the children are at home I focus on them, when they are at school it’s all about More Than Words.
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After all your success, what do you struggle with now?

I’m sure I struggle with the same things any business owner does.  That you can never 100% switch off from your ‘extra child’.  Yes, you can go on holiday for a week with a great manager taking care of things, and that really eases the pressure, but you are the only one who is constantly thinking about the next product idea, or why your last facebook post didn’t get as many likes as the previous one, or that it’s time to update the website…. These things are still waiting for you when you get back from that little holiday.  However I wouldn’t change it for the world.  I realise I am a very lucky lady!


Tell us one fact we don’t know about you! (could be something stupid like your favourite drink or food or something you have done)

I have travelled the world with the Care Bear that I got from Santa Claus when I was 8 years old.  Whenever I go on a trip he comes with me.  He doesn’t look much like a Care Bear any more but if I lost him I’d be devastated! 😉

 

What are your plans for More Than Words in the future?

I’d love to see More Than Words in Spain.  Alongside hopefully sustaining our current market, of which around 90% is in the UK, it would be great to increase sales in Europe.

I don’t think I can do this at the level I want to until I am more fluent in Spanish so my first rung on the ladder is to keep up with my Spanish lessons which I squeeze in for 4 hours a week! Poco a poco (bit by bit).
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Find out more about Lisa and her award winning products:
Lisa is also on Instagram @lisalong and follow her travels at @barcelonalifeandstyle.

Amanda Ayres

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