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Nicky Marr

Nicky Marr Media
Inverness, Scotland

A writer, broadcaster, magazine editor and event host who is experienced in presentation skills and media skills training, and a qualified coach. A former civil litigation solicitor, Nicky has been working in media and became fully freelance in 2014.

60-Second Interview

Who was your biggest hero when you were younger?
This is an impossible question! As a teenager, I listened to Radio 1 almost all the time, but it wasn't just the music I loved it was the DJs too... from Noel Edmonds, to Steve Wright and Simon Bates to Mike Read, I loved them all.
What initially attracted you to enterprise?
I wanted to be my own boss, to make my own decisions about who I worked for and how I carried out that work, and to be able to stamp my own work ethic, morality and professionalism on every job I did. To be honest, since working for myself, I have never worked harder in my life, but I have never been happier either.
Can you tell us about the first £10 you ever made?
My first paid job was when I was 10 - it was picking tatties at Barclays Farm near Launcekirk on The Mearns. It was backbreaking work but brilliant fun, and we were paid what seemed an absolute fortune (it was late 1970s) of £6 per day! I remember feeling so rich when we were paid; there was also a huge sense of pride in having earned my own money through my own hard work.
What has been your biggest challenge so far with your business?
Learning how to say 'no'. At first I worried that I wouldn't get enough work, so I said 'yes' to every offer that came my way. By the time I was working 60+ hours a week I realised it was probably going to be OK, although I'm still not complacent. I now use my 'gut instinct' before agreeing to take on any project or new client. If I get a good feeling from the people, or the work excites me, I accept it; if not, I pass it on. It's a great position to be in, and it's honest too - if I'm not excited about something I probably won't be the best person for the job.

Having said that, I still find it hard to put myself forward for some jobs. There are things that I would love to do, but unless I put myself forward I won't be considered.
Who is it that keeps you going through any tough times?
Mr Marr! Although I work in partnership with my clients and, at times, with other professionals, I find it hard sometimes not to have colleagues to bounce ideas off. My husband is an extremely astute businessman with a great 'thinking' head, and he helps me steer a path through the trickier moments.
What is it that gets you out of bed in the morning?
The thought of that first cup of tea! And I admit I'm usually at my laptop or on my phone before the kettle has boiled.

The massive variety of my work means there is always something different, and interesting, to get my teeth into. It might be a week of Radio Scotland commitments, or a writing day for my weekly column or for Connect, the magazine I write and edit for Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd. Or I might have a meeting about an event that I'm due to be hosting, or I might be meeting a new client about media training - or actually training. No two days are ever the same and I thrive on the variety.
How do you define success?
Success to me is the satisfaction of a job well done for a happy client. It's knowing that I have written a good article which has made people laugh or think, or hosted and event that went well, or seen someone improve in confidence and ability after a training session - all these things mean the world to me. And the icing on the cake is being paid for it.
Where do you see your business in 5 years' time?
I'd like to develop the training side of my business, perhaps taking on a few members of staff to help roll it out further to a wider client base. At the moment, it's just me which limits my ability to expand.
If you could give your 'teenage self' one piece of advice, what would it be?
To have confidence to follow my dreams. I studied law because it was what my parents wanted for me, but deep down I wanted to be a Blue Peter presenter. I didn't believe an ordinary girl growing up in an ordinary town could ever be on telly, so I never told a soul. I wish I had been brave enough to apply to the BBC for a trainee journalism post - it does make me wonder what I might have been doing now if I had been brave enough to follow that path from the start.
If you could have any one person on your business contact list, who whould that person be and why?
Does Richard Branson count? I admire his business ethos and the variety of his enterprises, but mostly I love the Virgin slogan 'Proudly learning from our mistakes since 1969'.