Interview | from the desk of Lola Hoad - Founder of One Girl Band
This month we spoke to Lola Hoad, creative coach and founder of the One Girl Band community and the host of 'The One Girl Band Podcast'. The OGB community supports and nurtures like-minded female entrepreneurs and creatives who may be feeling stuck or isolated, wanting to start their journey as a small business owner, to those who want to further develop their creative ventures.
Lola's journey to establishing One Girl Band began in 2014 from her first business, LH Design, selling hand-lettered greeting cards and prints on Etsy. Although starting a paper goods brand was exciting and allowed her to pursue her passion, Lola's work-life became increasingly isolated and lonely. Through the impact of social media and the realisation that it also brought a lack of real-life relationships, Lola created a physical meet up in Brighton for all the creative women she had also discovered were in the same boat. This developed into the One Girl Band community we know today.
The success paved a way to a huge offline and online community filled with women who work for or by themselves. There are monthly meet ups, podcasts and newsletters filled with purposeful and practical insights into how to create a sustainable and consistent business, whilst looking after yourself and your wellbeing to a female-only co-working space.
Writing from Brighton, Lola has provided us a peak into how she uses her ola notebook.
ola: When designing and testing our notebooks, we are constantly imagining the journeys they’ll take after they’ve left our studio. Could you tell us a little about how you use your notebook?
Lola Hoad: I tend to have notebooks for all different purposes, one for planning and scheming, another for drawing (badly, may I add) and another one for writing when I get fed up of my laptop. The scans I've sent you are from my ola layflat lines notebook which I use for planning the year, months and weeks - almost like a bullet journal but without giving it the label of a bullet journal because it's too much pressure!
o: Are there any special journeys or trips that you’ve taken a notebook along on? If so what did you fill it with?
LH: When me and my partner moved out at 17 and came down to Brighton, I kept a diary for the first two years- which is probably the longest I’ve ever kept a diary for (diary commitment is an issue with me!). It was in a kraft notebook that was in a pack of 2, and I bought from a high street shop with the last £3 I had that first week. I was suffering quite badly with depression and anxiety at the time, and I heard somewhere that writing down your thoughts was good for self-soothing, so I would fill it with my ramblings, moans and worries, as well as pictures of outfits I wanted to wear (which I still do, actually), food shop lists and any other remnants of memories.
I found that notebook a couple of weeks ago and reading through it made me cry- it was heartbreakingly sad but also really interesting looking back on how I was feeling as a newly independent, council tax-paying individual. On a separate note that not many people know about- for my partner and I’s first anniversary, I wrote all of our ‘big moments’ (moving in together, trips away, gigs, even arguments) in the other notebook that was in that pack and gave it him as a present. I’ve been writing in it for the past 7 years so it’s incredibly tatty and full but I think it’s my favourite notebook ever.
o: Working with female entrepreneurs you must've met some really incredible and inspiring women. Is there a story in particular that has remained prominent in your memory?
LH: Every single woman you meet, even Sally at the post office, has an incredible story to tell if you take the time to listen. I wouldn't say there's one definitive story that stands out as they ALL stand out to me in one way or another - I admire anyone who is doing their own thing, pushing through hard days and creating a life they love without settling.
o: I imagine owning your own business requires good time and goal management amongst meetings with your clients. Could you give me some tips on how you successfully and realistically manage these aspects? What does your typical day look like?
LH: That it does! Up until September last year I was running three businesses, and although I like to think I had a handle on all three, it was incredibly draining when I started to fall out of love with one of them.
So, my first tip would be you can do anything but you can’t do everything! Prioritise the stuff that makes you truly happy and that you’re good at, and delegate the bits that aren’t your calling (we can’t all be accounting whizzes or social media experts). Something else I heavily rely on to manage my day is to write everything down the old-school way. In my notebook I have a breakdown of my week that is then broken down into days (as shown in the scans). I write down everything I need to do that day next to a bullet point, and once I’ve completed that task I’ll cross through the bullet point. If it doesn’t get done, I’ll cross through the task and know that I’ll need to add it into the next day (or week if I really know it’s not going to get done!). Sounds picky, I know, but it works inside my brain!
My day changes regularly as I try to work in ‘batch days’, which is where I’ll batch all similar tasks into one day. For instance, I write all of my content for the week or month on a Monday and Tuesday, as well as social media planning and scheduling. Wednesdays and Thursdays are for clients- so I’ll either be up in London at meetings or in my room on Skype. Fridays are then for admin such as accounts and emails, and weekends are a no-work deal. The key is to work around your energy levels- when are you most energetic and ready to work, and when in the day do you just want to nap/lounge around? Create a routine that works around those times to ensure you’re not running on empty or burning out. We don’t have to stick to the usual 9-5!
o: We have shelves full of books and magazines in our studio which we are constantly revisiting for research and inspiration. Some of the most valued have been recommended by friends. Is there a title you’d suggest we check out?
LH: I’m currently reading ‘Start With Why’ by Simon Sinek for the third or fourth time and it never fails to inspire me. I’d definitely check it out if you’re wanting to become a leader in your field, or even if you just want to be different from other businesses out there.
Pages – Ruled, plain, dotted or something else? Plain.
Size – A4, A5 or A6? A5 (easily portable but not too small!)
Format – Landscape or portrait? Portrait
Favourite Tool – Pencil, pen, something else? Pen or brush pen if I'm lettering, of course!
1. Lola Hoad
2 - 3. Snapshots of Lola's ola Layflat Notebook
4. View inside the OGB co-working space.