Creative Connections with Rachel Matthews is now live on Apple podcasts! I'm so so so excited to have Fiona Grayson as my first guest. The chat with her left me raring to put in the hard work to create opportunities to grow my business and I hope it does the same for you. She is very down-to-earth and relatable, so the perfect guest to kick off the Creative Connections podcast series.
Fiona Grayson is the founder of She can. She did. A network for entrepreneurs to hear from young women who have dared to go solo and launch their own businesses. Fi has made it her mission to call bullshit on the glossy business life shared online, asking her guests to talk about the realities of their working life - the ups and the downs.
It all started when Fi left her corporate job with nothing more than an idea and a company name. She talks me through not earning money for 10 months while creating online resources in the form of over 70 interviews where she put the spotlight on female entrepreneurs in their teens, twenties and thirties across the UK. This was at a time when she had no contacts and no back catalogue to showcase her ideas. She shares her advice on how to get people onboard to back your vision in the early stages of a project and she really emphasises the constant hard work that’s involved in running a business.
Her company has expanded into a podcast and a live event roadshow called the Midweek Mingles, all sponsored by Xero accounting software and endorsed by Forbes as a UK networking and support group that female entrepreneurs should know about.
Fi tells me how she turned her passion project into a profitable business after receiving direct (and at the time cutting) feedback from HSBC about what they’d want to see from She can. She did. Before helping her execute her big vision. Spoiler: It had nothing to do with increasing her social media following but other tangible results.
This gave her the push to start the Midweek Mingles, the friendly panel events that take the stuffiness out of networking - which might have something to do with the free flowing gin cocktails.
Fi has always seen herself as a creative person but admits at the top of her to-do list is to have more fun outside of work. She tells me that academia took a front seat because of her educational choices and she had been creatively stifled in her previous job. But now she embraces creating in her own company and it usually involves a lot of glitter.
She ends with some practical tips on how to realign your life to be more creative and offers suggestions on where to start.
The main message that I took away from speaking with Fi is that nothing comes to you and you have to go and create your own opportunities inside and outside of work.