It’s been a year since Nicky Raby launched her podcast Doing and Dreaming – now on episode 90 and a top 100 business podcast on iTunes. We sat down for a chat with Nicky about her move from acting to a portfolio career encompassing coaching, speaking and writing. She talks about how she structures her schedule around childcare and shares advice about moving into new work areas. Links for Nicky’s coaching (with a Raising Films discount), book and podcast follow too.
You trained as an actor, but have for the past years been wearing other brilliant hats, as a coach, speaker, writer, mother… Can you tell us a bit about what you’re currently doing and what instigated the desire to change? How do you make it work around childcare?
These days I have found a way to combine my passions and carve out my own career; actor, coach, writer, speaker and podcaster. My move into adding other strings to my bow happened just before I turned 30. I didn’t feel in control of my career destination, I was always waiting for permission or the ‘yes’ or to be selected. In between the waiting, I was doing low paid jobs which didn’t really utilise my business brain or entrepreneurial spirit so I decided to take the leap. I trained over a year to become a coach and since then have coached over 1,000 people. I am now at a stage where can I be flexible and create my own projects and ultimately I am more creative which brings more creativity. We have three full-day childcare days per week and the rest of the time we juggle the schedule between us, a very supportive family, nap times, early morning and late evenings.
How have caring responsibilities shape your creative practices?
When I became a mother in 2015 something surprising happened…I became very ambitious again. Even though I am more time squeezed than ever and my recovery and adjustment took some time, I became laser focused. I knew what I wanted to build and just got on with it. Becoming a parent gave me clarity and made me realise what was important and ultimately what would make me happy. 2017 was my best acting year in terms of success rate (audition to landing the job) in 25 years which was unexpected. So I have learnt to be consistent, patient and to trust the process. I am so glad to have a career that I love and can incorporate into my life so I never have to choose between being at home or going to work.
Has parenting affected any specific project you’ve worked on?
If anything becoming a parent has made it better. I no longer overthink or over analysis situations because I don’t have the time, energy or headspace. In terms of my coaching, I have been able to define and attract my target market more easily. I think it has made me bolder as a person, because my home life is grounded, I don’t wait for the ‘perfect time’ I do things that are out of my comfort zone…like starting the podcast.
What advice would you offer someone thinking about becoming an actor or a coach and wanting to have a family life as well?
I think we all have many new chapters in our life and progressing and making new decisions is all part of our learning. I would always ask why you want to do something and know that it is going to take more time and money than you think. I know social media can sell us the ‘overnight success’ theory but I don’t believe it. I would say to try and do the elements that you really love especially if you are short on time and sleep deprived. Make it easy for yourself to succeed. YouTube may just become your best friend and if anyone offers you help- take it.
Is there anyone who has become a role model for you – and why? Any inspirational work practices?
I interviewed the actor Indra Ové for my podcast. I was lucky enough to work with Indra on the second job out of drama school. At time she had two small boys and was managing to combine acting and raising a family. This wasn’t necessarily an option that had been shared with me before, there was the assumption that I would have to choose. Seeing first hand, that in fact I didn’t was a great picture to see aged 21. I now make a point of sharing that I am a mother with younger actors.
You can listen to this podcast episode here.
What good/bad attitudes have you encountered in the industry?
Sometimes I find the industry very old fashioned… i.e the types of roles especially in commercials that are available to females. They tend to be ‘stay at home’ Mums who always put a stop to the fun and are never far from an eye roll. I want to see more diversity in every area and less of the stereotypes that are seriously outdated.
Do you involve your children/parents/partner in your work? Does your child have an understanding of what it is you do – does your partner?
I do because my partner is an actor too. We have been together for 11 years so have always had an open dialogue especially when it comes to touring. Our son is only three so doesn’t understand fully but I always try to talk about work as a positive thing…something that is part of our lives…not something that I *have* to do that takes me away from him.
What would you most like to see change about the industry? What changes would help you most in pursuing your practice sustainably (perhaps particularly in relation to your acting career)?
I would love to childcare options be made available. Filming days are long but also there is a lot of sitting around, options to be able to take my own childcare or childcare be provided would be wonderful. I understand there would be lots of logistics to figure out but all could be workable.
Find out more about Nicky’s coaching using the button below and mention ‘Raising Films’ for 20% off 1:1 coaching. (Thank you Nicky!)