My Week: Christina Richardson of The Nurture Network

The marketing guru on the joys of rowing, keeping her knowledge up to date, and the scary transition from corporation to entrepreneur.

by Emma Haslett

At least once a week, I’ll wake up at about 7am and go rowing. I have been a competitive rower for years, but this year, I hung up my oars after Henley, so now I just relax and enjoy it. It helps that I live in Barnes, close to the river. The great thing about rowing is that I have to have breakfast before I go, and then another one after I get back. It’s all just a ploy to eat more, really…

I started The Nurture Network at the end of last year – we provide a sort of flexible marketing department to small businesses, so you can get a marketing manager to come and work with you whenever you need them, whether that’s for a day a month or just for a specific project. I came up with the idea when I was 24 – I was frustrated that all the amazing ideas were being had by small, entrepreneurial types, but big businesses had all the people that knew how to make it happen.

At the time, though, I couldn’t work out how to make a business out of it, so I spent 10 years in blue chip organisations like Nestlé, Britvic and Mercedes learning how the big boys did it, getting as much training as I could on things like managing branded businesses, launching innovation and how to run advertising campaigns. And then, at the end of last year, I thought, right. Now’s the time to go down that entrepreneurial route.

When you’ve worked with massive corporations for as long as I have, going it alone is frightening. Launching new brands in five different countries is scary – but setting out on your own is even scarier. It’s very liberating, though: just realising that you’re actually doing some good for the people you’re working with, that you’re making a difference to their business.

The great thing about my business is that I don’t have my own office – I go into my clients’ offices, because it’s important that I work as part of their team. So on Tuesday, for example, I went rowing, then met up with one of the partners within the Nurture Network to discuss how we were going to approach a new client, and then I met up with one of my smaller clients, who I work with for a day a month. It’s always varied, which I love.

This week I also went to a branding talk for London Design Week – I think it’s important to make sure I’m still learning and that I’m still having my marketing perceptions challenged. It’s the first time I’ve been to a Design Week event, though – I think often, when you’re in a corporate environment, you don’t seek out those sorts of opportunities as much. Now that I’m running the business, though, I’m trying to do a lot more of those things.

In the evening, I’ll get in at about 7pm, and then do a bit more work just to finish those final few things on my to-do list. My other half, Greg, and I have a rule where we try to be sat down and relaxing and eating by nine. He runs a business, too, though – so if I’m at some random networking event instead, he understands…

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