Meet Ollie – an integrative nutritional health coach who left a successful career in music to help others find balance. Why? After leading a busy, work hard, play hard lifestyle, she developed shingles, RSI, tonsillitis, a bad back, bad skin…and was always tired. The founder of MISSION talks to DOSE about turning her life around…
Tell us a bit more about what you do?
I am an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach – I work with individual clients, groups and host corporate workshops and talks in order to give people the tools to make healthier choices, gain more balance in all areas of their lives and have a sustainable approach to their overall health and wellbeing.
Do you consider your coaching to be a little bit different to what other health coaches offer?
I’m a huge realist when it comes to health and wellbeing. It can be so easy to make a decision to lead a healthier life and then feel like things should be ‘perfect’ in all areas (food, exercise, your life in general), especially when you’re scrolling through that constant stream of curated images from health, fitness and wellness people on social media.
The reality is that many of us are working 9-6 jobs in offices with busy commutes so it can be a struggle to fit in many of the things you think you should be doing as a healthy person (e.g. getting up, having a hot water and lemon, meditating, making a proper breakfast, perhaps journalling, maybe doing exercise before work – it can feel very overwhelming!) In addition, we’re all human with our own individual personalities and health needs – what is healthy balance for one person, will be different for someone else.
I work with people and help them to build healthy habits step by step in a way that fits into their current lives and works for them as individuals. It can be fun and easy, and doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice prosecco with your friends or the odd burger along the way.
What made you want to start this business?
I was the cliched ‘work hard, play hard’ Londoner (I never cooked, drank and partied loads, was always ill and tired), and after 8 years in music and marketing, was close to burnout. I started looking into different ways of living that wouldn’t mean that I was so stressed, ill and exhausted all the time and took myself on an inspirational trip to LA where I loved the way that exercise, healthy food and healthy living was just a normal part of life for many people. I came back and actually decided to set up a juice bar with my mum.
As part of the preparation, I did my course with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition just so I could create juice recipes with more nutritional expertise. As I was doing the course, I found myself enjoying the practical, health coaching side of it and when our juice bar didn’t get off the ground (challenges of finding the right location as well as cementing a profitable business model), I decided to progress with setting up as a health coach.
Having experienced the struggles of corporate London life, I am really passionate about supporting professionals to gain balance. I can see myself in so many of the people I coach and give talks to and because we’ve shared that unhappy experience, I’m well placed to give them tips on how to start to make things better.
You left a successful career in music before starting MISSION. Did you start working on it part time before you went into it full time?
I’m still doing the odd bit of music freelancing (I actually enjoy having the variation in my working life) but yes, I started my training and began my business when I was working full time. After about a year, I went down to 3 days a week (my bosses were really supportive and accommodating), until I left permanently in January 2016.
Tell us what a typical day involves for you?
No day is really typical anymore, especially as I mainly work from home on my own. I try and set myself up in the morning for a productive day by showering, getting dressed, perhaps meditating (if I have the time) and having a good breakfast. My day could involve creating new workshops and talk content, emailing coaching clients to encourage them and make sure they’re on track, setting up meetings with potential clients (both corporate and coaching), recipe testing, marketing, hosting workshops, seeing clients, discussing new opportunities with potential partners – it is so varied!
When you work from home, it’s so easy to get up, go straight to your computer and start working without really moving about a lot or even leaving the house so I’m making a big effort this year to try to walk at least 5,000 steps per day (giving myself external tasks to do that mean I have to walk somewhere, even if I’m not at meetings). I’ll try and slot at least one daytime class a week (generally pilates at Yogahome which is 5 mins from my flat).
Is exercise a part of your routine?
Yes. I always used to dabble off and on with exercise but in the last two years I have built up a solid 2 class a week practice that I am increasing to 3 this year (as I mentioned before, building habits up step by step is key to committing to them). I’ll do Pilates once a week, Fight Klub once a week and this year I’m bringing a weekly yoga class back in with my favourite teacher. I schedule them in my diary like meetings at the beginning of the week to ensure that I don’t miss them.
Favourite tipple of choice?
Difficult question, I can never choose one of anything! I love Viogner or Reisling as my white wine choice, a good Malbec if I’m having a red, prosecco as a standard fun drink and I’ve just discovered St Germain cocktails which are a nice treat.
Favourite healthy restaurant in London?
I’m a huge fan of Poco near Broadway Market which is a cute modern tapas restaurant set up by eco-chef Tom Hunt. The menu is a delicious feast of local, organic, seasonal and ethically sourced food. I also like the Duke of Cambridge as my gastropub option. It’s owned by Riverford (I get their organic veg boxes each week which has been a game changer for me in terms of eating loads of quality veg at home), and is always really hearty and tasty.
What’s next in the plan for MISSION?
I’m hosting more and more corporate workshops and also will be coaching, facilitating workshops and carrying out talks abroad for a couple of weeks during the summer which is exciting. As I recommend with my clients, I’ve been gradually building the business step by step to fit in with other areas of my life. My priority is to maintain a solid work/life balance as I know that’s what makes me personally happiest.
It’s about balance, not perfection.