MoneyTalk With Frankie Entrepreneur & Marketing Consultant

Frankie Cotton

Hello Frankie!

Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself?

Of course! I’ve always been somewhat rebellious and there’s always been a part of me that knew I wanted to work for myself one day. After seven years of climbing the corporate ladder, fighting for pay-rises and reaching the role of Global Marketing Director at a cloud technology firm, I decided to make the leap into entrepreneurship.

I started by setting up a Marketing Consultancy business to generate an income whilst I figured out what I really felt called to do. Creating the space in my life to do that was essential, I’d never be working on the exciting projects I am now without that headspace away from corporate life.

My business partner Lara Sheldrake and I have recently set up Found & Flourish, and we’re working on a really exciting sustainable business that we hope to launch before the end of the year. My husband and I also co-run The Badass System, which is a complete fitness training program delivered online.

 

What inspired you to start Found & Flourish? What is your mission?

Found & Flourish came from a real need for connection with other female founders who understand the demands of becoming and being a business owner. Our mission is to create a community of like-minded women going through that experience. Found & Flourish offers an inclusive environment where women can support one another and become friends in the process.

We will offer training and workshops, as well as a range of events. From supper clubs to networking gigs, we want to bring women together, to celebrate femininity, empowering each and every member, leaving them feeling invigorated and inspired. There is no reason for business not to be feminine, we just need the courage to do it differently.

We are building a community that lifts each other and provides emotional support and connection. Skills can be learnt and knowledge can be gained, but its the psychological factors that will determine if you can push through the initial inertia to launch a profitable business.

There are days when you feel like the world is against you, you feel overwhelmed and you want to give up. Entrepreneurship isn’t glamorous as it’s marketed to be. Both Lara and I have experienced this on the front-line, building businesses as women in London, so we know how tough it is. We’ve also both experienced major burnout at various stages, which is important for business owners to avoid (easier said than done!).

The startup environment can be pretty competitive, tech-dominated and male heavy. We are creating a community that caters to the under-served women who are building incredible companies and have amazing ideas, but require a different support framework.

 

What’s your relationship like with money and personal finance?

My relationship with money is solid from a savings perspective, but I don’t think I enjoy money as much as I should. I’m pretty generous with friends and family, but not on giving myself what I need. And that’s not martyrdom, I know that if I spent more freely I’d support the economy, look after myself better, be more productive and live easier generally. I get anxious when spending money, I always worry if I’m spending it right and if I’ll have regrets.

 

What does financial independence mean to you?

For me, financial independence means freedom from the daily grind of money-making. I’ve translated this into two goals: (1) creating passive, sustainable income streams that cover essential living costs and (2) living mortgage-free (paying off the rest of the loan early). If I can achieve these in the next 5 years, that’s a success for me!

 

What’s the one thing you indulge in? 

My indulgence is at-home 121 yoga. My husband bought me five sessions for Christmas, and it changed my life. Yoga isn’t just about the physical practice, its effect on your mental health is unbelievable. It’s my crutch when I’m finding entrepreneurship tough. Worth every penny.

 

What is the best financial decision you have ever made? And what is the greatest long term investment?

The best financial decision I made was to seriously save. When I was employed on a steady salary, I saved around £1,000 per month for eighteen months. I actually wasn’t making a huge amount post-tax, and at the time I was supporting my boyfriend (now husband) to launch his own business. Despite this, I kept the saving constant and this became my freedom cash to start a business of my own.

When I made the shift from employed to freelance consulting, I signed up two clients on minimum-term contracts before the end of my notice period. This meant I had guaranteed income for the first 3 months and relieved the financial pressure hugely.

Also, I renewed my mortgage on a five year fixed rate just before I left full-time employment (November 2017). Interest rates were bound to rise (and just have), so I’m very glad I did this.

 

Have you ever experienced a financial epiphany? A sort of wake-up call, where you suddenly think - “I must start doing things differently”? 

Yes. I realised early on in my business that I was stockpiling cash and living very lean. This might sound great, but it wasn’t really. I stopped investing in myself, doing things that I loved, pursuing hobbies, travelling and even going to the hairdressers! I thought I was sacrificing for the good of the business, but really I could afford those things, they weren’t indulgent by any stretch. I was making myself unnecessarily miserable because I thought it was the right thing to do.

My epiphany was that I had to keep reinvesting the money I was making into myself and the future of the business. I couldn’t just stockpile it all for a rainy day, which may never come, without realising the fruits of my work.

If you want people to spend money on your products or services, you have to be sharing that abundance with brands and companies you support too. The economy needs us to spend, and to spend consciously with the amazing brands that are out there doing great things in the world. I still have to remind myself of this, my default mode is to save and not spend.

 

What is Vestpod for you?

Vestpod is going to change women’s lives in the UK. Being financially savvy is hugely empowering, I can’t wait to see the impact of your incredible initiatives.

 

Own up. Have you made any major financial faux-pas?

I think anyone who has started or run a business has made stupid mistakes, its par for the course. My weird thing was spending money on domain names. I went through a period of having loads of business ideas, and kept buying domain names - not just for the actual brand name, but also anything remotely similar. I regret 95% of these! Totally unnecessary!


What do you wish you have done earlier in terms of financial planning?

I wish I had started learning about money earlier. It’s just not something we’re taught or is discussed openly in the UK. Books like ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ and ‘Unscripted: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Entrepreneurship’ are great starters to get open your mind about how to generate income. I wish I’d read them at 20, instead of 27.


What would you recommend to younger women?

Money is essentially a resource. Trust in your ability to be resourceful and that you have the skills and capability to attract money. When you launch a business and you stare the reality of a life without pay-day in the face, it can be scary. But you have to stand your ground and trust in your ability to make money happen.

 

Favourite book & podcast?

This is a tough one! My favourite life-changing book has been Eckhart Tolle’s ‘Power of Now’ (and thereafter, anything he has written!). It’s quite spiritual, but I found that entrepreneurship challenged me to really look differently at the world, and challenge accepted ideas of success and happiness.

I’d also highly recommend ‘Effortless Success’ by Michael Neill. Before reading this book, I’d always worked on the assumption that long-term career success means short-term sacrifice and pain. I couldn’t figure out how to be both ambitious and happy. This book changed my thinking and inspired me to look at my work differently.

Emma Ganon’s ‘Ctrl Alt Delete’ podcast is fab. I think she’s a great role model for modern, independent women in the UK and her guests are too.

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Where can we find you?

www.foundflourish.co.uk

Instagram: @foundflourish

You can also find me personally at www.frankiecotton.com.

 

Thanks a lot!

-- Emilie & Christina