I am Angela Knox, co-founder with my partner Mark Nicoll, of Keep Fit Eat Fit – an employee wellbeing platform which we launched in early 2021. We consult with employers large and small, public sector and private, regarding how best to achieve wellbeing in the workforce, with a particular focus on those who work from home – which of course now is a popular topic. We build relationships with HR, wellbeing managers and company owners on the benefits of adopting and using our platform, which is a complete solution to wellbeing in the form of an e-learning programme.
Q1. Did you always want to become a consultant or did you fall into the role?
I first started working as a consultant in the early 1990s, having decided that after several years working in marketing agencies, I wanted to embrace the challenge of going it alone and building my own client base in marketing services. Having always had a keen interest in health, fitness and wellbeing, I later used my digital knowledge to formulate the concept for Keep Fit Eat Fit (in 2016/17), as a comprehensive platform that could be used by anyone no matter what their interest or experience level.
Q2. What makes a good consultant?
There are many things that make a good consultant, one of the main ones is the ability to listen. Listening to what a client says and how they need to achieve stated objectives is a key skill, in order to interpret their needs and provide solutions. In marketing and advertising consultancy it was often a case of understanding the difference between want and need, i.e. listening to what clients think they want and giving them what they need – sometimes two different things. This requires the ability to build a deep understanding of business functions, objectives and required outcomes, as well as the ability to work to budgets.
Q3. Do you feel you manage yourself well or is it a case of ‘the cobbler’s shoes’?
Managing ourselves is always challenging, as there are competing demands on our time. I start most days with to do lists, and prioritising the importance of each task is critical to getting things done. Getting enough down time and work-life balance is also important, and given the business I am in, I am very aware of the need to practise what I preach!
Q4. Are there enough hours in your day?
There are rarely enough hours in a day, as it is often the case that by the end of a day I feel that I haven’t finished some of the tasks I wanted to achieve – however when building a start-up business this is commonly the way things are. The aim in our business is to build it up and take on more people to support us with tasks, so that we can actually delegate to others – so this is in our plan, as we grow and build the company.
Q5. If you could magically stop your clients from making one mistake – what would that be?
I think the answer to this question would be that I would love clients to really prioritise wellbeing for their employees as it is so important. This means support from the top of the company downwards, as budget needs to be made available, and the HR and other specifiers need to be given the authority to make recommendations and timely buying decisions, rather than put off the adoption process or even avoid it altogether. Wellbeing is a major topic across all businesses right now, and will be going into the future, and I think some companies are making a mistake by not acting for the good of their employees.
Q6. What do you find is the best way to market yourself?
We use various marketing techniques, and as we are very budget-conscious as a start-up we find e-mail marketing, PR and social media to be the most impactful and cost-effective routes to market, as well as making sure our SEO for our website is working effectively. Referrals and recommendations are very powerful too, and networking to extend our contacts, as well as joining groups such as the chamber of commerce also work well.
Q7. What do you do to unwind?
Unwinding is something that seems like a rare treat currently – I enjoy playing and listening to music (I trained as a pianist at music college originally), walking and other forms of exercise as time permits, travel (covid-permitting), and cooking (I have been vegetarian for 35 years).
Q8. What advice would you give a starting consultant?
Advice to a starting consultant would be: research your market thoroughly and see where you think you fit into it; get a spreadsheet and work out your outgoings and potential income, and be realistic about when you can start earning and how much you think your monthly fee income will be; keep revising your plans and think about short, medium and long term career and financial goals and work to these; be the best you can at what you do, get further training if needed and update your skills regularly.
Q9. What’s your guilty pleasure?
Guilty pleasure – there’s not much time for these nowadays but I would say the odd Netflix series is my favorite pastime when I get the chance, and next to that it would be watching Strictly!
Q10. What’s your goal for next year?
The goal for next year is to meet our business goals and client acquisition targets, build revenue, work on improving our work-life balance, and buy a house mortgage free.