My Working Day – Victoria Tomlinson – Founder of Next-Up
As the leader of a company, you are there to set an example and to lead and inspire a team of individuals to achieve a series of business goals. But how do these business leaders go about their daily routine? We spoke to Victoria Tomlinson, the Founder of Next-Up, about her working day.
What time do you wake up?
The alarm goes at 7 am. I used to tip out of bed and put a swimming costume on to do a quick swim at the nearby centre, then towelling robe on and home to shower for the day! It’s closed at the moment, so I try and do a walk first thing.
What do you typically have for breakfast?
Porridge and orange juice
What is the rest of your morning routine?
I am lucky that we have a coach house next to my home, which we converted to our Next-Up office – so no long commute!
We have developed an online platform which we are getting corporates to beta test – it’s to help employees pre-retirement to think about what they want from ‘retirement’ and plan for it. So, my day tends to be a mix of working with our developer (I am 67 and working hard to understand the tech!), talking to corporates about the issues of age diversity and also giving a lot of talks on this subject. Most of them are still on Zoom so that maximises time.
What is the first thing you do at the start of your working day?
Check the news – I still like newspapers but also online. At the moment any business owner is trying to make sense of the roller coaster political and financial scenes for our own businesses.
How do you prioritise your day’s work?
The concept behind our business is still very new. We are also running pre-retirement workshops for professional firms and that is where most of our income is from. I am constantly balancing getting new business ‘over the line’ and being out in the marketplace to start conversations with new corporates and professionals.
Do you plan meetings or are they a waste of time?
Definitely plan! I am a stickler for running everything on time. Also, being very clear in my head about why I am at a meeting and what I want the end goal to be. Or, else you spend too much time ‘talking’ and never ‘achieving’.
Do you have a working lunch or do you take a break?
Because I am next to my house, I tend to have homemade soup or scrambled eggs and stop for five minutes to eat. I am not great at stopping, so this is a five-minute head-clearing time! I love cooking and that is relaxing.
When does your working day finish?
We always try and shut the office around 5.30 pm to 6 pm – I then tend to work a couple of hours in the evening, but don’t want to encourage others to feel they have to do this. It’s my business – this is my choice. I don’t want to pressure others.
How do you prepare for the next day’s work?
I check meetings for the next day and make notes for what I want to achieve from each. Also, I think about my team and if we need to discuss things that may be feeling ‘clunky’.
We are still relatively new as a business and it can feel unsettling for the team. You have to hold on to the vision and where we are going.
What’s your favourite piece of technology?
Without doubt, my laptop. My daughters reckon it is sewn onto my hands! I love it and the fact you can work in any spare moment, wherever you are!
How do you switch off?
My family, cooking, gardening. I am quite creative and need to fill that part of my soul. And I am lucky to have the best husband and family imaginable – they keep me grounded
What is the best piece of advice you have received?
It was in my 20s and I worked in manufacturing, selling banknotes to foreign governments. My boss sat me down at my appraisal and said he didn’t like my attitude to others who might not seem as quick or bright. He pointed out that our products would be nothing without everyone’s contribution to the company. I can feel my cheeks burning even now. It was a real lesson to value and listen to every member of my team – and to create a culture for them to give very honest feedback!