My Work Happy – Louize Clarke

Welcome to My Work Happy, a new series that profiles the many inspirational women in my network, and unpacks their work-life secrets. How do they manage the constant pursuit of balance? How do they set big goals? And, as entrepreneurs, how do they snap out of low mojo fogs?

My Work Happy will bring you the lessons, strategies and habits that have led these female founders and girl bosses to create a life they love.

Over the moon to launch with my wingman – client, mentor and  friend – Louize Clarke.

I’d love your feedback – bear with me while I upgrade my website functionality but please do email if you’d like to take part or nominate someone for My Work Happy.

Louize, introduce yourself
“I’m Louize Clarke, creator of Digital Gum, the skills programme for returners and apprentices, co-founder of ConnectTVT, the platform that connects the tech dots in the Thames Valley, and Hub Mum at GROW@GreenPark, the community that’s re-shaping co-working.”

What’s the big plan right now?
“Digital skills. I’ve finally worked out what I want to be when I grow up. I’ve always found classroom based learning dull and I just don’t learn through online. I know it’s the future but it’s not for me. Digital Gum was developed to give hands-on practical learning combined with real-life projects. The feedback so far has been amazing, so we’ll see what happens over the next year.”

How are you setting goals for your business?
“I’ve never had a five-year plan before – terrible business planning I know! But I now have a very clear vision for where I want to be in five years. That will obviously pivot along the way, but having a clear outcome to work towards is really exciting.”

And what keeps you on track?
“Not wanting to wake up and be mediocre. I love that people are now calling me because they want “someone who just gets things done.””

Where do you get your inspiration from?
“It really depends on what I’m working on, but usually it’s from the great team of other small businesses I partner with. I’m not a big follower of “celebrity” inspiration. I find that people still in the muddy trenches inspire me to keep going.”

How are you growing your community and audience?
“A mixture – a little bit of traditional print combined with a lot of social media. We are still working out what our tribe looks like.”

What’s the one success habit that’s been a game-changer for you?
“Not being afraid so say “no” to business relationships that felt wrong – brand alignment is really important to me. As someone once told me “If it’s not a yes, it’s a no.”  I now have very clear criteria for what a great partnership looks like.”

What’s exciting you most at the moment?
“Championing diversity in digital skills.  I know the female agenda is really important, but having been “in tech” and never a “woman in tech” for over 24 years, I want to see diversity championed. I’m a big fan of #losethelabel”. The most vile boss I ever had was a female and my most inspirational a male. We have to encourage collaborative and diverse teams, not closed networks.”

Work-life balance – what’s the secret?
“Do what you love. I’m still yet to find the classic work-life balance but I thrive on the juggle.  I also have a hugely understanding husband who knows I need to be occupied or I become dangerous.”

How do you celebrate your success?
“Usually with prosecco or somewhere with great gin.”

What makes you happiest about your work?
“Being my own boss, and being able to choose to only work on projects I really love.”

Follow Louize on Instagram @louconnect and Twitter @louizeclarke