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Gaining Clarity in Business by Unlocking Creativity – Interview with Mandy Nicholson

How many of you changed your major in college? I would say most of us did for sure. Whenever we grow and learn, our choices and decisions often reflect that. That is why young adults in college are likely to change their major at least three times while getting their bachelor’s degree. If you have been in the entrepreneur game for any amount of time, you have probably undergone similar change. In today’s episode of the No Mercy podcast, Emily talks to special guest, Mandy Nicholson.

Creativity doesn’t always scream “career.” How many of you changed your major in college? I would say most of us did for sure. Whenever we grow and learn, our choices and decisions often reflect that. That is why young adults in college are likely to change their major at least three times while getting their bachelor’s degree. If you have been in the entrepreneur game for any amount of time, you have probably undergone similar change. In today’s episode of the No Mercy podcast, Emily talks to special guest, Mandy Nicholson.

Mandy is a Creative Genius consultant who hosts retreats for women to recalibrate by unlocking their creativity. 


You might say, “Emily, that sounds fantastic. I’ve just never been the creative type.”

And I would say, “I get why you might think that, listener– but I will challenge you to shift your mindset.”

Many people think that creativity is a skill that you are born with, or else, you just don’t have it. That really isn’t the case. Creativity is a skill that you practice. Just like you practice entrepreneurship. You get better as you grow and learn. It influences your choices that you make day-to-day. I would even make the argument that entrepreneurship demands a certain level of creativity. Otherwise– your business just won’t be able to adapt and meet the needs of your audience. After all, our audiences grow and change as well. It is our job to keep up… creatively 😉

Mandy is a Creative Genius Consultant, Artist, Author and Creative Retreat owner who helps creative women to launch, grow and scale their businesses and make more money.

Many stepped into the creative space to banish the myth of the starving artist and help more women to see and use the power of creativity. She is doing that through her authentic teachings and her amazing retreat space in Scotland The Art bank.

You can find here here: and check out her retreats here

Mandy Nicholson

Creative Genius Consultant

07831 125288

Blogs are all here:

Freebies here:

My LinkTree takes you everywhere:


Gaining Clarity in Business by Unlocking Creativity : Episode 28

Emily  00:03

Well, hello, everyone. And thank you so much for being with me within for another week on the no mercy business podcast. This is your host Emily Woodruff. And I have Mandy Nicholson with us today. Mandy, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.

Mandy  00:20

I would love to thank you for having me first, Emily, to be here. So I am the creative genius consultant. I’m an artist. I’m an author. And I’m also a creative retreat owner, and I help creative women to launch grow and scale their businesses and make more money. I’m on a mission in the creative space to change things and to change the narrative of society around creativity.

Emily r  00:49

That’s so great. So I love the retreat idea. We first of all, you’re in the UK, right? Yeah. Yeah. So we should just get that out the gate. I love this idea, though, of of having a retreat space, or almost like a co working space for creatives, because there’s so many, like here, there’s a couple places locally, that are just co working offices. And it really limits you if you are a creative, I don’t necessarily need a small desk, I might need a big giant room to be able to spread out and do different things when I’m working on design projects. Or if somebody has an art, something that they need to work on. I would love to see more of this. So how did you come up with this idea? Or where did this where was it born from?

Mandy  01:40

It’s a big story. So I have got a big story all in all, but this idea My late husband, Gary gave me a nudge towards my creativity in 2018 and said, stop talking about it and just do it. So we I launched my creative business on Boxing Day 2019. And I was kind of like, right, I’ve launched the business, this is great. It was going well, what next, and I put a castle on my vision board. And I was like, I want to move to Scotland. I want to buy a castle. And I want to run creative retreats for women from around the world. That was my next big goal. Yeah. I always like to have a what next. And then obviously the pandemic hits was in March of 2020. And then my husband died in April at the end of April 20, which was necessary. Yeah. It’s you know what, though, he had a life limiting condition. And that man knew how to live and he taught me how to live and how to go for your dreams and goals. And I was left then as you know, as a widow with this castle on my vision board. And I kept looking at it. And we were going through grieving myself and my kids. And we got to march 2021. I said to my son, do you know what my daughter is off to uni? I think I’ll sell the house. And I think we’ll move to Scotland. So I can manifest this dream of owning this castle. Yeah. Or fully because if we’re in situ, if we’re in Scotland, then I might be able to manifest it. And he was like, okay, Mom, no problem. He was 17 at the time. So I put the house on the market and sold it the same day. A better get local something in Scotland and a little house and I’d have a studio in the house. And I generate the income through my business to eventually get to this castle a 10 year plan. So I was looking for houses. And this one came up in between two that I was looking at. And it was an X bank that had been left to go to a bit of wrack and ruin and I walked up to it to view it. And I’d literally put it in between two viewings didn’t really know whether I wanted to look at it. And I walked up to the front of it. And I thought that looks familiar. And I walked in it to view it and I thought that looks familiar. And what happened was it’s like the universe gave me a miniature version of the castle that was on my vision board. Yeah. This was a seven bedroom, xx bank in the town of dalbeattie on the west coast of Scotland that needed someone to buy it, love it and renovate it. And I was like the universe has just given me the opportunity to do this now, not in 10 years. I need to just accept this and I bought the house and I’ve automated it over the last year. So I now have three retreat rooms based on artists. So I’ve got a Manet room, a Van Gough room and a Picasso room where women can come and stay here for four days or seven days. And they will work with me. I’ve got a massive studio, a walled garden. We’re in the middle. We’re surrounded by the forests in Scotland. And it’s like we’re hugged in this little town by forests. So the great, wonderful, it’s wonderful and it’s it’s just you quaint little Scottish town. And in it is me with this like what I call my mini castle now. So it’s an 18th century property with big 13 foot ceilings and cornices and the curved staircase, it’s beautiful. So I’ve created a space now where women can come and escape life and really tap into the creativity so that they can elevate their lives and live to their full potential because I followed my dreams to do this and took a huge risk. I want to help people to do the same. So that’s the story.

Emily Speaker  05:39

I love that I’ve like, want to look up plane tickets right now. It sounds so great. I’m so so what kind of things do you like host? Do you host trainings or anything like that? Or is it more of like a just an artistic retreat for someone to do themselves.

Mandy  05:57

So no, it’s an artistic retreat you come. It’s it’s an all inclusive artistic retreat. So we cater for all your meals, all your art equipment is supplied. And you will work with me, you got me 24/7 For the time that you’re here, and I’m obviously a business coach with my coaching business. And I’ve got lots of other income streams and businesses as well. So I know what I’m doing in terms of business. But I like you to set a goal when you come to these retreats with what you want to achieve while you’re here. I like to push people outside of their comfort zones when they come here. And I have guest experts come in to do particular things with people. So I have a lady that comes in and does art journaling for an afternoon and mindfulness and how you can use it for well being. But I’ll have you in the studio covered in pain painting on canvases and painting items that I’ve salvaged from the house and creating projects. And I’ll be in the forest with you teaching you how to paint the energy of the forest. And so it’s it’s a it’s a real inclusive weeks, things that you will never think of doing as a creative you will be doing while you’re here.

Emily Speaker  07:07

Yeah, or things you dream of doing. But don’t ever put pen to paper. That’s so great. Um, I’m coming. I’m coming. So you’ve also you’ve been you’re you’re an author, you have a book that you just wrote, What is that about? A talk about?

Mandy  07:26

Yeah, that’s my story is so it’s the first of I’m signed on a three book deal with Austin Macauley publishers. So I’ve written book one, which is called the lie phi one. And it’s a fictionalized version of my story. So in 2009, I was your typical creative, went to uni did my degree in art ended up in another job because I couldn’t get one in the creative space and spent sort of 1520 years working in retail. built a really successful career was earning six figures had a company car but wasn’t following my creative Sure. Rain. And in 2009 It’s almost like the universe reset me. And I experienced a car crash and then a series of unfortunate events. And I lost everything. I lost my marriage. My dad died, I was made homeless, I ended up bankrupt, I lost everything. And I did a bit rock bottom living in a social housing. With my two kids and my two dogs. It’s all I had left my kids, my dogs, a few bits of furniture, 30 pounds in my bank account and clapped out old car, but the opportunity to rebuild. And that’s the book book. One is the life I won. So in losing everything, I realized what really mattered. And that that was the springboard for me to rebuild my life, which is what I did. And that’s Book Two, Book Two is called the life I created. And I’m about halfway through it now. So

Emily Speaker  09:03

I love that. That’s great. That’s really, that’s a really cool story. I’m sure there’s more to it. A lot more. Yeah. So what do you do? What do you do as a creative people? Do you sell like art pieces yourself or anything? What do you do if people don’t like the things that you make? Or they don’t respond well to them? How do you handle that?

Mandy  09:26

I don’t care. I paint what I love to paint. So and if people don’t like it, it doesn’t matter. You can scroll on and find somebody you do like it really doesn’t matter. So I’m not one of but I deal with a lot of women who do care and do struggle with this thing and it’s getting from I’m very lucky. I’ve worked hard on my mindset. I paint what I love to paint somebody out there will love it. Something painted for one person, isn’t it? It’s yeah, yeah, there’s the one person who’s gonna go that’s the thing. I love so I’ve done a series of paintings about women and empowerment that are not everybody’s cup of tea. I also like to do really small landscapes of the minutiae of the landscape that everybody walks past the detail, the little shrimps and the dark places. So I do what I feel like doing as a creative. So my creativity comes out in painting, it comes out in writing, it depends on how I’m feeling were pulled towards it for us. As creatives, we’re pulled to whatever, aren’t we? Yeah. Oh,

Emily Speaker  10:30

yeah. For sure. How do you how do you feel the most creative? Or when do you feel the most creative?

Mandy  10:38

Don’t I suppose I feel the most creative when the ideas pop in. And that’s where I’m pulled, then, you know, I can be relaxing and doing nothing. And then I’ll be like, right, I’ve got an idea. And I literally go and start writing a book or writing something or creating a piece or I’m in the studio painting some flower at the moment that I saw that looked fantastic. And I snapped a photo off. So that’s it? Yeah, it just creeps over me. And then I don’t have a set time. I do kind of work in my business at set times. But if I feel creative, I’m also prepared to stopping what I’m doing right there and then go and do what I want to do creatively.

Emily Speaker  11:21

Sure. That’s the beauty of being able to manage your own business, right is you can say, Nope, I feel the urge. And I gotta gotta respond to it. Yeah,

Mandy  11:31

that’s why I created the business I’ve got, I wanted to create a freedom business that allowed me to go and do all of those things. Yeah.

Emily Speaker  11:41

That’s great. So what are some it sounds like you’ve you’ve learned a few lessons throughout your life? What are some that you might share with a new entrepreneur, somebody who might be pursuing, pursuing a new business or pursuing a new avenue in their business?

Mandy  12:00

Yeah, I mean, that’s what I do for women. And I say this to all my ladies, or whatever you start with, prepare for the fact that it’s going to change somewhere along the line, because you won’t, might not end up what you started out doing as an entrepreneur. Things change, and you change as you grow. And as you learn in business, I would say expect your business to take two to four years to really get on rails because nothing happens overnight. That’s important, no matter what. And if you go in expecting to be making 10 grand months, in three months, you’re going to feel like a failure, because you might get lucky. But generally 99.9% of people have to work really hard for that level of, of income.

Emily Speaker  12:47

And I think that that is so important to talk about, because there’s so many courses of courses online, and there’s so many coaches who will say, I can scale your business to six figures in 90 days. That’s fantastic, if you can, but it’s hard. It’s hard to understand how if that is not your entire life, you don’t have friends, you don’t have family, you don’t have responsibilities, how it would be possible, and just with how many other people how saturated the market is not doubting it, I’m not saying it’s not possible, but it just as I want to get rich in 90 days, you know, it hasn’t quite happened yet.

Mandy  13:31

Not possible. If you don’t know how to do it, it really isn’t possible. If you don’t know how to do it, the marketing out there. It’s a machine marketing, and you know, hitting on the right thing at the right time. It’s like anything in life, isn’t it, there’s always the top 1%. And there’s always that person that just has that wonderful idea at the right time when people are ready for it and it explodes. What you don’t see is the 10 years of work that went into developing that idea and working behind the scenes on coming up with all the structure that goes with that idea. So there are no, there are no real overnight successes. And the people that are wealthy are the ones that are selling courses telling you that can make you a six figure business owner in 90 days because they can’t. Because if you’re not ready for that, they can’t make you do it.

Emily Speaker  14:19

Right. Right. That’s the key right there, I think. Okay, I have one more question for you. And it’s just about work that you’ve done in the past or some of your accomplishments. Do you have one creative accomplishment that that has given you the most satisfaction?

Mandy  14:40

I think the thing that I have loved doing the most and my biggest creative accomplishment is my creative Mastermind course because and here’s why. I paid 10,000 pounds to a coach to teach me how to build an online business. And what I will It was not how to not do it. What it was was the best 10 grand I ever spent. And I looked at my creative mastermind, and I said, I want to build something totally amazing for women that isn’t going to tank really, genuinely transform them, and build a system of how we bring the right people in, and we help them in the right way. And that’s exactly what I’m doing. And I could have gone down that marketing route of telling everybody I could change their lives and make them millionaires. Most Creative. Women don’t want to be millionaires. They just want to make it No. Right. So why would I market to that? And I think it’s about really knowing your ideal client and building something. And guess what my ideal client is a version of me. And if I can help them to be as successful as me, then that is I love I get up every day happy because I’ve achieved this and created this thing. Women so that’s my without a doubt my biggest accomplishment.

Emily   16:04

That’s great. So where can our listeners find you or connect with you online?

Mandy  16:10

Well, I am literally everywhere on every platform, but me on my website, which is www dot Mandi or for the retreats, it’s the Art Bank

Emily   16:25

Okay. Thank you so, so much for being here with us today. I really appreciate your time and it was great to talk with you.

Mandy  16:32

Yeah, I’m jus it’s gone really quick. Thank you. Yeah. Thank you, Emily.

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