Success Interview with Danielle Thompson

Welcome to success interviews where I chat with fellow female business owners and find out more about why they started their business and how they measure success. In this post, you can either watch or read the interview with my latest guest Danielle Thompson

Interview Transcript

Today I’m joined by Danielle Thompson, who is connected to me on LinkedIn.

Danielle is the founder of Spinning Plates VA service which started as a sole trader business focusing on providing administrative services to small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Why did you start your business?

I was working for a large corporate firm, working 60 hours a week. It was just me and a director working together so there was quite a lot involved. It was long hours and the company had a tendency to reward working as long as possible so it was very late nights which when you have two small children, that’s not really a convenient career choice. I was incredibly busy all of the time. I wasn’t really seeing the kids they were in nursery for long days.

Then my boss left and the person that replaced him wasn’t a fan of mine and made my life very difficult. There was some bullying and very unpleasant behaviour, It became very difficult going to work every day. It severely affected my mental health. I just couldn’t cope. One day I had what I would describe as a breakdown and just got up and went I don’t want to do this anymore. I can’t do this anymore and I just walked out.

I went to the NHS walk-in centre and up to the reception. I said hello, I’m having a breakdown. I’m going to sit over there and cry because I’ve literally done nothing but work my whole life. I wanted a career. I built a career that was everything I was aiming for. I was earning what I wanted. I’d worked hard to get where I was and I just walked out of that. It was massive for me. I saw a GP and had a chat, got signed off work for a bit and I went and spent three weeks in bed.

I was thinking what have you done? I have my husband to support me and take the kids to and from school and nursery. I just didn’t know what to do and I got up one day and thought right, let’s do something. Let’s do something productive and the first thing I did was book a Dyson repair. The second thing I did was book a haircut. When the Dyson repairman came, the first thing he said was, I know this is a bit weird but you have a really nice telephone voice. I don’t know what you do as a job but I need someone to help me make appointments with my clients. They message me and I need someone to phone them and make appointments. Would it be something you’re interested in?

I went to the hairdresser the same day and I mentioned that to her and her reply was do you do social media? I was like, no, I don’t do anything. I’ve just spent three weeks questioning all of my life. But I went home that evening. I sat down. I thought about it and I turned around to my husband and I said, I think I’ve started a business by accident.

It was like the universe was telling me what I was supposed to do next with my life. I’m not naturally very woo but one sometimes cannot ignore all of the signs that are being thrown at you and there were a lot of signs being thrown at me.

So, I finished the corporate properly tied that all off and started Spinning Plates. It was huge for me because I had my confidence knocked in corporate. I had to build everything up. I had to do stuff I’d never done before, networking and talking to humans and asking for money. Oh, my God. If you never ask someone to pay you before, it’s embarrassing the first time, it was a massive learning curve and I’ve just loved every single minute of it.

How do you measure success?

I’ve never really been motivated by money, although it’s a necessity for me to live and all that kind of thing. It’s not a driving force for me. I’ve always responded incredibly well to praise and recognition, which when you work in corporate you don’t get because you tend to be a tiny little cog in a massive organisation.

In terms of feeding my soul, running my own business has done that because people are very open. I’ve been able to build my self-esteem and self-confidence. I know I’m good at what I do because I’m getting that recognition and because I’m comfortable with it.

On the personal side, I have been able to do the school run every single day. Yes, I might have to work a bit later in the evenings or I might have to do an hour on the weekends but that’s my choice

It’s also helped that if I do have a down day or I have a day when I just feel like I can’t cope, I can take that time. As long as I’ve managed expectations with my clients. I can have that flexibility. I think for me the flexibility and the recognition are the two things by which I measure my success.

What one tip would you give your younger self?

To worry less about what other people think and that comes across business and personal. Until about 18 months ago, I’d never been in a pub on my own because I genuinely thought everyone turned round and looked at you. Nobody turns around and looks at you, nobody cares and it’s not that no one cares about you at all in the world. But generally, they don’t care that you’re walking around at midday in your pyjamas. You might get a few odd looks. They don’t care when you walk into the pub on your own. They don’t look at a single woman in the pub on her own.

Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing. Stop worrying about what everyone else thinks, just do what’s right for you and be you and that will make all the difference to your life.

Watch the Interview


Danielle Thompson

Danielle Thompson

Spinning Plates Business Support Services

Danielle Thompson is a 42-year-old mother of 2 beautiful children (one of each flavour) and she lives in Nottingham, East Midlands. She’s a cat person, she loves Harley Quinn, Alice in Wonderland and Reece Witherspoon. Baking and reading are the two ways she relaxes, she only drinks water or malibu and she’s intolerant to caffeine. which counts out most of the tasty, chocolate things on the dessert menu and any kind of caffeinated drinks.

She is the founder of Spinning Plates VA service which started as a sole trader business focussing on providing administrative services to small business and entrepreneurs. However, since leveraging my corporate background in business, logistics, marketing and creative in blue chip companies such as Bacardi Martini and Boots the Chemist she is  really excited to be involved in a period of change with the business. This change will grow Spinning Plates into a holistic Business Support service with a team in place to continue the work she started.