Charlotte is a freelance film-maker, journalist and media trainer based in Oxford. She works for the BBC, charities, and private clients producing short films, promos, and news broadcasts. She is also a visiting lecturer at Oxford University, teaching courses on filming, interviews and mobile media. She has been working for herself for the last five years.
Q: What is your background? Why are you doing this?
A: I’m a career journalist, I have written for national magazines, newspapers, and reported for national radio and television. I was on contract as a full-time video journalist for BBC South when I had my first child, but quickly realised that working 10 hour shifts and unsociable hours were not a good match with family life. Another baby later, and I decided that if I wanted to continue to do the work I loved, and spend time with my kids, I needed to figure out a way to do it on my own terms.
Q: What is your definition of entrepreneurship?
A: To me, entrepreneurship means you take control of your work. You make the rules.
Q: What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
A: It was an accident! It was the only way to work the way I wanted. My ideal job did not exist, or I couldn’t find it, so created my own position by default.
Q: So what would you say are the top skills that needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
A: Two things: passion and organisation. Passion, because you have to love what you do. It might sound cheesy, but you need to wake up wanting to work. And you have to be highly organised to work for yourself, you are constantly juggling: pitching for jobs, chasing payments, fitting in work around childcare. I'm always making to-do lists!
Q: What is your favourite part of being an entrepreneur?
A: I love the variety. In the space of a week I can find myself reporting live for BBC South TV; teaching post-graduates how to film interviews; and editing a video promo for a charity.
Q: What individual, company or organization inspires you most?
A: Kate Adie, the veteran BBC war correspondent, has always been my ultimate role model. A fearless, bold, intelligent woman who exhibited the most remarkable courage and composure while literally under fire. It was completely inspiring to grow up watching her TV reports, and I’ve always admired her confidence, clarity and creativity.
Q: If you could have 5 minutes with the above indiv/company/org, what would you want to ask or discuss?
A: I have read all her books, but I would love to know more about what keeps her motivated and how she manages family and work.
Q: What has been your most satisfying or successful moment in business?
A: Recognising my own value. When you are in a salaried role it is easy to believe you are only worth your pay cheque. Now I assess my value differently and it has made me more confident when pitching for work.
Q: What would you say have been some of your mistakes as an entrepreneur?
A: Being too hard on myself. Initially had unrealistic expectations of what I could achieve, and how fast. Now I’ve learnt when I’m most productive, where and how I work best, precisely how much caffeine I need to fuel my day.
Q: What is good about being an entrepreneur in Oxfordshire? Bad?
A: There is so much positive energy, passion and innovation here, it is incredibly inspiring. I’m constantly coming across people who do the most fascinating jobs, and it is really motivating to hear what other people are doing. I would love to find more entrepreneurial women and working parents to connect with - most networking events are predominantly men.
Q: If a new entrepreneur or startup came to you looking for information or resources in Oxfordshire, where would you send them?
A: The Jericho Cafe on Walton Street! It’s my second office. Great coffee, friendly service, and reliable wifi. For a more professional environment, the Oxford Launchpad is perfect.
Q: Any last words of advice?
A: Be open to opportunities. My teaching work at Oxford University came about through a chance coffee with a course co-ordinator. You never know who you’re going to meet or how people can help you.