Natalie Coulson is the founder & director of Amped Up Marketing & Communications, a content marketing & PR agency dedicated to service-based brands.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I began my career working as a travel journalist, writing online content for sites like Yahoo Travel and features for the Harvey World Travel magazine. It was my first foray into the world of magazine publishing, and I was hooked!
I ended up transitioning into the business side of mags as an Account Manager at Better Homes & Gardens magazine. I couldn’t believe I was getting paid to talk about magazine audiences every day!
My passion for travel and magazines took me across to Canada for nearly a decade, where I worked on a number of titles, including the launch of a home decor publication, travel and a financial industry masthead.
Coming home it was such a privilege to work on innovative campaigns for brands like Toyota and Pandora in a key accounts role across Pacific magazines brands including marie claire, Instyle and Who. But, there was so much change and disruption in the publishing industry at that time and it was no longer for me.
In 2016, after over 15 years in the magazine industry, I started my first business. I started by running Influencer Marketing campaigns, while also working as a Communications Consultant.
I then launched Amped Up Marketing & Communications in July 2020 as I was keen to get back to my media roots, focusing on content marketing and PR. I typically work with service-based businesses, as storytelling is vital in the absence of a tangible product.
I see the same appetite now for publicity and strategic content among clients as I did with Influencer marketing 5 years ago.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
Each day involves a healthy mix of staying connected and focused work – other than that it is varied.
I may be working on a new business proposal, meeting someone for coffee, hosting a zoom call with my team, copywriting, reaching out to journalists on behalf of clients, creating a workshop or training material or getting up to date with invoicing.
As a small business owner I wear many hats, but I outsource too. It’s the only way to achieve balance. Everyday I stay across the current news, and spend time on social media and Slack groups. It’s the digital version of a water cooler and keeps me connected and happy.
I do swear by late nights for creativity though, and will often burn the midnight oil when the mood strikes. I think most of my most innovative business decisions have been made late at night. You won’t catch me up doing yoga at 5am, but 1am? Maybe!
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
I’m extremely grateful I embraced remote work 5 years ago now. My motivations were to live an international lifestyle around my family and passions back then, so I may be in one place these days due to the pandemic, but remote work feels natural.
Yes, I can work flexibly and as a mum, that can mean switching my days around – so days are with my children and night time is the time for focused work.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
Work-life balance for me means incorporating work into life and life into work to achieve a state of flow. Sometimes you need to attend to personal things during a workday, or your child gets sick and needs to be collected from school or childcare so plans go out the window.
For me that means adapting. Postponing any non-urgent work and catching up in the evening or embracing the juggle and having a laugh at the craziness to meet a deadline.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I’ve paid even more attention to my intuition over the past year. If something doesn’t feel right, I don’t force it.
I’ve realised more and more that not every opportunity is meant for us as individuals and business owners, and when doors close, or slam shut in our face, new doors really do open.
I realise busyness does not mean being more productive either, so I’m aware of the importance of taking breaks. I think down time has become even more important during this pandemic, when it’s harder to travel somewhere to take a break.
It’s easy to work non-stop, but that can still lead to burnout, which takes time to recover from.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I recently picked up Carla Zampatti’s 2015 memoir – My Life, My Look – and it blew me away. It made me realise with enough drive, determination and self-belief you can achieve your wildest business aspirations.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
I’ve become a bit of a Twitter junkie, but apart from that, I can’t live without my kettle and coffee plunger! With my love of late nights, coffee is a must.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
I always wonder how high achievers with large families like Emma Isaacs from Business Chicks achieve any semblance of balance. That’s an interview I’d love to read.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
I used to be a real box-ticking, people-pleaser, always racing towards the next set of goal posts. But after burning out, suffering major depression and receiving a thyroid cancer diagnosis, I’ve learned to slow down and focus on energy.
You really can attract who you want into your life and achieve your career or business goals healthily. It’s the best life lesson I’ve ever learnt, even if I had to learn it the hard way.
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