Interview with Elaine Farrell | Boss Like A Mum

Name: Elaine Farrell

What do you do? How would you describe your working life?

I work within an influencer and partnerships team at a media agency in London. This means working with brands to design influencer campaigns, i.e. designing campaigns and commissioning content to leverage the audiences of influential people on social media to promote a brand.

Elaine Farrell

Did you show any early signs as a child that indicated that you would end up where you are today? (Feel to tell childhood stories, early influencers, anecdotes etc)

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a journalist, and I still love to write, which is the main driving force behind my blog. The written word is probably the only thread of consistency throughout my career, and I’ve gone from translating and editing words to creating original content. I’ve spent the last few years working with brands on their social media and online content, including blogs and email newsletters, and love helping small businesses develop their voice.

Describe your morning routine.

On a work day, I get up at 6.30am and make a cup of coffee and breakfast before doing anything else. I take them both to the bathroom so I can eat while getting dressed to save time! It also means that I’m making less noise as I’m not moving around the flat. My husband and son usually sleep until around 8am and it would be more than my life’s worth to wake them up! In an ideal world, I would stick the news on in the morning while I get dressed but, with such a small living space, it’s just not possible to do that without disturbing the boys. I try to walk the 3.5 miles to my office just to get a bit of headspace before the start of the working day. As I usually don’t get to see my son in the morning anyway, I don’t feel bad about leaving earlier than I need to so I can walk.

Where do you get your ideas/inspiration from and when do they arrive?

I get inspiration from conversations I have with other people, from films, books and art, and from other people’s blogs and social media accounts. I find that, as long as I’m building a bit of headspace into the day, such as walking to work in the morning, or going out for a run on my days off, I’m usually not short of inspiration. Unfortunately, it’s finding the time to implement the new ideas that I struggle with!

When motivation wavers, how do you get back on track?

I think that, when you are lacking motivation, it’s important to allow yourself to have some time off from whatever it is you’re working on. Often, that’s all it takes to get back on track! If you’re really not motivated for long periods of time, however, then it’s time to ask yourself if you’re working on the right thing or whether it’s time for a change.

Elaine Farrell

What is the best thing about your job/lifestyle?

Digital marketing, and social media in particular, is still a growing industry, which makes a nice change from my last career in translation, which had started to feel like a dying profession. I feel stimulated, inspired and excited by my job, which is really all that I want out of my career!

If you could do something else for the day, what would you do?

I would love to get a glimpse into life as a midwife! I wouldn’t consider it as a career change for many reasons, but I would love to do it for just one day. When I had my son, I felt so much admiration for midwives and thought how amazing it must be to deliver so many babies into the world. I know that the reality is often long hours, poor pay, and some tragedy and heartache, but they do truly amazing work. It must be very fulfilling.

How do you overcome any challenges in your working life?

It’s all about having conversations with people, and having the courage to voice your concerns. That being said, it’s also important to be able to listen, and sometimes accept difficult truths about yourself. Challenges are not always caused by external factors, and we each have to take responsibility for the part we play in creating difficult situations if we want to move past them.

How do you celebrate your successes?

Gin! It’s wine for a tough day, and gin for a good one.

Do you have any tools/resources or rituals that you couldn’t live without?

I need to have exercise in some form in my life. I feel really sluggish if too many days go by without it. I love Pilates and I’m getting back into running again. It’s tough to find the time, but, for the most part, my family understand that I need to exercise for my mental wellbeing. It’s not just about fitting into a pair of jeans!

Which books from your bookcase would you recommend?

Such a difficult question! The one book that changed my outlook completely, and was the impetus for a big change in my life, was Louise Hay’s ‘You Can Heal Your Life’. For fiction, one of my favourite books of all time is Joyce Carol Oates’ ‘Blonde’ and I’ve had to buy it so many times because I insist on giving copies to other people to read all the time. I would also recommend having a really well-thumbed copy of a favourite mindless book on your shelf that you can go back and dip into when you just need a bit of a mental massage. For me, it’s Harry Potter! I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve read the books, watched the films and listen to the audiobooks. 

What are your daily essentials to make you feel ready?

I couldn’t get through the day without my phone and headphones. I love listening to audiobooks and podcasts on my way to and from the office and they’re a big source of both inspiration and relaxation for me.

What advice would you give your teenage self?

Don't be so hard on yourself all the time. And stop letting other people be so hard on you too. My teenage years were difficult. I was bullied, as it seems so many people are in one form or another, and I absorbed the negativity about me like a sponge. It took me a long time to gain self-confidence and acceptance of who I am. I would say that it’s an ongoing process, and I still have moments of terrible self-doubt as a result of my childhood and teenage years.

Where would you like to be in 5 years’ time?

That’s a tough one! I don’t often look that far ahead… I know that I would like to have another child. In 5 years, I will be celebrating my 40th birthday, and I just hope that I feel happy with that and happy with what I have accomplished. When I turned 30, I felt that I was exactly where I wanted to be at that age. I had launched my own business, which was going well. I had a long list of regular clients and freelancers that I worked with. I was happy in my relationship. I hope that I feel the same sense of accomplishment at 40! Perhaps I need to make a bucket list...

Elaine Farrell

Elaine Farrell -  Boss Like A Mum