Sally Beaton aka Women With Sparkle is one of my favourite gals on the grid because rather than believing we are superhuman ‘BUSY’ types, she strips back the B.S and reveals what really makes women tick. Sally is a ‘Sparkle Coach’ and the creator of the hashtag #SparkleUpThursday which speaks to anyone who spends a significant amount of time in leggings and slouchy jumpers and encourages a single day of putting yourself first instead – amen! She also maintains that we need time off the grid, downtime to recover and space to reflect which is a mantra I am on-board with. The next step in her business journey is a book, which I for one, am eagerly awaiting. Let’s find out more about the force behind Women With Sparkle.
NakedPRGirl: What did you study? What was your first job?
I studied English Literature at Reading University and my first job after leaving University was as a street fundraiser! Yes, I know, I know, the people you (and I now too) find really annoying when you’re in a rush and trying to get somewhere, but, I did it on roller skates, I loved the charities that I was raising money for and it taught me the most amazing life skills (rejection doesn’t phase me after that job – it was 99% of the job). I did this job as it meant I had the flexibility to go to auditions as I was trying to get into the music industry at that time.
NakedPRGirl: What was your big break?
Mmm well I’d say it was more of a big breakdown than big break. My husband and I moved abroad for his job and I gave up my career in marketing. I was super lonely and really struggled to find work abroad – it was a really difficult time for me mentally, which affected me physically. However, the upside was I finally had the time to study and become a nutritionist and then afterwards a life coach. So actually, reaching a very low point personally and professionally enabled me to start building the business I had dreamt about where I could build myself and then other women back up.
NakedPRGirl: Tell me about your Women with Sparkle, what is the idea behind it?
I set up Women With Sparkle to help women get their sparkle back – because I’d lost my sparkle and got it back and I wanted that for other women too. And the funny thing is I don’t really have to explain that concept to women as they just intuitively get it. Most women know what it feels like to (or know women who) have sparkle, and far too many women can sadly relate to the feeling of losing your sparkle (due to illness, financial problems, a change in career, becoming a mum, being stressed at work etc).
The idea behind it is I believe all women were created to live with sparkle. Living with sparkle means living as the best version of yourself , glowing with health and vitality, brimming with excitement for your own life, feeling confident in your body and working towards your dreams.
I get women feeling better physically through boosting their health and then work with various techniques to help them mentally move forward into the life they want. I love the work I do because so many of my clients think that’s a tall order to “get their sparkle back” or “reach their dreams” and yet within just a few weeks they feel better, look better, think more confidently and optimistically and start achieving some of the biggest, boldest dreams that they’ve often not even admitted.
NakedPRGirl: How did you come up with the business plan? And name? Who did your branding for you?
I didn’t do a business plan! I know! I know! Me 10 years ago would’ve rolled my eyes at a business woman not doing this but it’s because I was living abroad and I just wanted to dip my toe in the water to see if I could get clients, if my methods worked and then see if it could become a business – and it did! It just organically grew as women saw the transformation their friends had had and I’d get referrals from that. My clients are my best marketing tools and because I work from home and my consultations are over Skype, I get to work with women all over the world and keep my overheads low.
The name came to me as a blog name originally. I wanted to just write a blog teaching women about their hormones, the best foods for energy and any other tips that I knew could keep them in sparkling health. I then realised the name was meant for bigger things and should be my business name.
My branding was done by two amazing women. One a kiwi girl who I met in Switzerland who works freelance on building websites and graphics. She creates the most beautiful (and super affordable) websites – which is so helpful when you’re starting out – Kate Haim and the other superstar I worked (and still work with) is a designer in the Ukraine (who I found via Upwork) Daria Balashova who just gets my style and intuitively creates the most gorgeous designs for my website and other areas of my business.
I love that all the work on my website and branding has been done by women – women with business and design sparkle!
NakedPRGirl: What’s your USP?
As far as I know, I’m the world’s only women’s ‘Sparkle Coach’. My speciality (and 100% success rate so far) is helping women get to the root cause of how/why they’ve lost their sparkle and get it back so that they can live out their purpose and best, most sparkle-filled life.
NakedPRGirl: How did the initiative SparkleUpThursday come about? Why do you think that is so important?
This again came about from when I was living abroad (you see how good stuff really can come out of times of struggle). I’d gone from working in an office with different artists and celebrities and so always being conscious of, and enjoy wearing nice outfits. However, when we moved abroad I was working from home, we lived in a farming village and I never had any big events or things to go to so my wardrobe became comfy, frumpy and grey. I realised one day that my low moods were yes, because I was homesick and struggling BUT, were also because I’d stopped wearing bright colours or anything vaguely fashionable and I never felt nice about myself. So, I vowed at least once a week to do my hair, make-up and choose an outfit I felt amazing in, even if I was just walking the dog around the village. I saw how it immediately lifted my mood and so ever since, at least once a week (even though I try and do it more now), I “SparkleUp” on a Thursday and encourage other women to as well via Instagram.
It’s resonated with so many women who work from home (either with their own businesses, freelance projects or kids) and I think it’s so important. Without a nudge to do our hair, make-up, pick a nice (not practical) outfit, weeks can go by and we’ve only ever worn leggings and a sweatshirt. And whilst comfort is super important to many women and a necessity to others, if we are only ever in “comfy” mode, then we forget all the other elements of ourselves that we love and have neglected like being sexy or sassy or fashionable or fun. I used to think being happier or feeling more sparkly was all about the “inner work” but, I now know the importance of self-care and stuff that’s previously, and erroneously, been labelled superficial. Feeling nice about yourself (even if it’s only once a week) is so important for your physical and mental health.
NakedPRGirl: You have your book, Get Your Sparkle Back – how did that come about, what is it about and who have you written it for?
So I realised that with every consultation I was doing that yes, there were lots of unique situations that needed bespoke coaching, but, actually, there was also lots of things that kept coming up for all women – the need to understand their menstrual cycles (and how that was affecting their mood, energy and even business); the need for them to incorporate better self-care into their lives; the need for them to not suppress their emotions but express them daily, along with lots of other things that are documented in the book. So I wanted to write a book because I know that not all women are in a position to afford my coaching prices but, I still wanted them to have this important, practical and life changing information. I also wanted my clients to have something containing some of the information they go through so that they could read and re-read it in their own time.
So my book is for any woman who feels like she’s lost a little or lot of her sparkle and wants to learn incredible things about her body and mind (that she should, I believe, have been taught in school) to get it back.
NakedPRGirl: How did you find the writing process? Any tips for aspiring authors?
Ok so I found that there were 3 stages. The super easy, everything flowed stage. The trying to get it finished whilst life got in the way (I had a family member get seriously ill 2 months before I was due to submit my manuscript and I just knew I’d harm my health if I tried to be there for my family member and finish the book, so I got a new deadline) and the OH MY GOODNESS I FEEL LIKE I’VE BEEN PREGNANT AND IN LABOUR WITH THIS BOOK FOR SOOOOOO LONG, CAN IT PLEASE JUST BE BORN RIGHT NOW!!!!
So you go through stages of feeling super inspired, then super discouraged, then super passionate about your work, then quite apathetic, but, like a baby it just feels like it has to come out.
My advice would be to make your first and only aim to write a first super crappy draft of your book. Too many writers spend too long, writing their first draft, trying to get it perfect and getting themselves in knots. Don’t. Commit to writing a crappy first draft and then get the best people in the business or around you to help you – editors, coaches, proof-readers etc. I would also say ask yourself this question “would I rather a less than perfect book be completed and published and read and enjoyed by people OR would I rather die and leave this earth with this idea and writing still inside of me?” Once you answer that question you can usually free yourself to proceed without the block of perfectionism stopping you writing.
NakedPRGirl: Do you have a particular career highlight that stands out?
I would say a particular highlight for me was coaching a very tired, anxious, overwhelmed mum of two who felt that she’d lost her sense of identity completely. She’d lost touch with her dream of becoming a writer and had little to no energy to devote to herself. We did a super-charged 8 week coaching programme, where she’d set out a goal to get a book of poetry published in the next 3 years. However, because she felt so good, energised and inspired by the changes she’d implemented from our coaching, she actually found the time and energy to finish her collection of poems and get them published within 3 months! She sent me a picture of herself before working with me and then after and then said “look, I had no sparkle in my eyes before and now I do” – and that made me so emotional.
NakedPRGirl: What’s your personal style? Have you had to look at marketing yourself as a brand?
My personal style is really the extremes – comfies when I’m working at home and then super sparkled-up and sequins when I go out or are doing panels or speaking engagements. Because sequins, bright colours and fabulous clothes are things I naturally love and have always been in my personal style, then my brand is just an extension of this. It’s happened really naturally that my genuine love of wearing sparkly things and my business seeking to bring more sparkle into people’s lives go quite nicely together, to the point where lots of people now call me Sally Sparkles like it’s my real name.
NakedPRGirl: How do you use social media for your business? What’s your favourite social media channel? Do you have any social media tips?
Instagram is my favourite because it’s the only social media channel that I use. Much of my business is from referrals in that a woman normally sees the transformation her friend has had in feeling better, looking better and reaching (or getting nearer) to a lifelong goal and then they want that for themselves to. So whilst I do get clients from Instagram, it’s actually just a lot of fun for me, I love to just use it to inspire women and connect. I’m a one woman business so for me, trying to do one thing well as opposed to lots of things averagely is important.
NakedPRGirl: How have you seen your industry changing over the last few years?
I’ve seen it become less of a joke. Before when you’d tell someone you were a coach it sounded so vague and like something that only American people had, but now people are genuinely interested, normally know someone who has worked with/or is working with a coach and so there’s always an enthusiastic response. I’ve also seen more women becoming proactive in taking care of their health and lives (not enough! But definitely more than when I started out) so are much more open to working with a coach.
NakedPRGirl: Where do you see it evolving in the future?
I think the coaching industry is going to get bigger and more accesible. In the same way people used to associate Personal Trainers with celebrities but now a “normal” person could have one, it’ll be the same with having a coach, which means the price points will likely come down too.
NakedPRGirl: How do you manage your blog/social media workload – are you a planner and a scheduler? And do you get techy in the back end?
When I started the business I’d planned to blog weekly, then it became monthly then since I started writing the book, I’ve only blogged once this year, but do intend to pick it back up again in a month or so. And when I do this they do tend to be scheduled in advance, but I keep that incredibly flexible so that if something else come up I want to write about then I will. I actually can build WordPress websites and do some of the techy stuff but, I like to keep things simple and not over complicate stuff and therefore delegate so I don’t get too overwhelmed or stressed (this is basically the opposite of how I operated in business for most of my 20’s and 30’s).
NakedPRGirl: How important is your Instagram grid? Do you plan everything in advance?
My Instagram grid is really important because it’s a collection of uplifting stuff and #SparkleUpThursday inspiration. I always put a post out on Wednesday night to remind people about #SparkleUpThursday and I usually post on #SparkleUpThursday but other than that I only post when I feel I have something good to say that’ll benefit my audience. I used to come from a world of very male-centric business ideas where everything was planned and scheduled and in a way a bit forced. Now I like to go with the flow and utilise more feminine concepts like what intuitively feels right to post. It’s not for everyone but it works for me and my audience and keeps Instagram “light” and not a chore for me.
NakedPRGirl: Who in the industry inspires you?
People who bring their whole selves! Who ooze authenticity and are super smart and have a little fun with it too. So business wise: Marie Forleo; nutrition/health-wise: Khush Mark and Christiane Northrup coaching: I love Lucy Sheridan’s approach.
NakedPRGirl: How do you split your time between business and real life?
I try and keep weekends free as much as possible (although this has gone a little awry with the writing process) and then I’m really intentional about scheduling times of rest in between all the work. I sometimes take an Instagram break or a week off from coaching. My clients know I’m there for them 100% but I’m not an A&E department so never allow the 24/7 on call approach that some other coaches do. I don’t think that’s appropriate for coach or client, there has to be boundaries. That and when my clients always say to me “oh my god, I need you…” I say “no you don’t, you need you” – my job is to make myself become redundant and not be their coach forever (that’s why I ususally don’t work intensively with someone for longer than 8 weeks) because I want to equip people to understand their physical and emotional health very quickly. I want my clients to see and feel progress very quickly and whilst yes, it’s my coaching methods that support and facilitate that, THEY do the work and I want to instil that trust and confidence in themselves. I want them to know that they can find their way back to their health and sparkle once I’ve taught them the basics.
NakedPRGirl: What’s the one thing we can all do every day to make ourselves our sparkly best?
Put yourself first for at least one whole hour each day. Not your business, your phone, your family, your house, your partner, your pet – just focus on you, tune in to what you really want and how you want life to feel and then take one small step to help you get there. It may be sending an email, drinking a green smoothie, going for a walk – but these little daily things all add up to creating a life with sparkle. Do it in 4×15 minute slots if a whole hour is tough to find, but giving yourself permission to take time for your life is key to getting the one you want.
NakedPRGirl: Do you have a motto or mantra that you live by?
Not really. I love inspirational quotes but I find that different ones speak to me at different times. So currently because I’m busy and a little tired from book writing/editing – any motto or mantra on rest is speaking to my soul.
NakedPRGirl: Where would you like to be in ten years time?
The author of at least 5 books; a regular on anything that Oprah does; teaching other women to become Sparkle Coaches; enabling other women to become published authors (with my own book and music publishing company); having a big portfolio of products/an online shop for Women With Sparkle products (all ethical, non-toxic and anything that helps boost a woman’s sparkle) AND music is my other big love – so creating and producing music that helps women feel super sparkly! Phew! Time to get my own coach to help me plot out a plan to achieve all that I think ☺