We virtually met up with media consultant, content writer and journalist, mental health and wellbeing author, presenter, mind and body fitness columnist and all round #girlboss Sophie Mei Lan to discuss her new lockdown-made initiative Sparkle Up North Magazine.
Tell me about your career background and how it led to Sparkle Up North?
I am Sophie Mei Lan, a multi-award-winning journalist, vlogger, and media consultant who loves to write newspaper columns, present, keep fit in mind and body and most of all I am a single mama to two beautiful girls, and we dance together through life. My passion is mental health, wellbeing and utilising the power of the media to showcase unheard stories. Sparkle Up North does just that whilst celebrating northern women in business.
I work for media outlets, but I also wanted to set up my own outlet as it was through a blog at university that I won my first award and got my first job in TV.
What made you start Sparkle Up North?
For me, International Women’s Day marked necessary strides forward, notably during a pandemic that has exposed huge inequalities, not to mention a huge variety of females in tech, science, media and on the front line who have steered us through the Covid crisis. But whilst it is easy to focus on the end goal, this journey to a more equal and powerful world for all starts from within and acquiring the skill of confidence; which is easier said than done if you have grown up in a world of being prejudiced against explicitly and faced unconscious bias, by others and even ourselves.
I too pledged to be part of this change after surrounding myself with ‘cheerleaders,’ albeit virtually in lockdown, who give each other strength to ‘show up’ through the highs and lows of running businesses and a home.
One of those is fellow entrepreneur Amy Downes and we decided to launch our lockdown-made initiative Sparkle Up North Magazine on International Women’s Day to celebrate the stories of female-run businesses in the north of England and to foster a community of like-minded women.
What are some of the services you offer?
Like most ‘entrepreneurs’ I run several businesses, all with one goal to use the creative power of communication to connect, create, cheerlead and change how we perceive people from a range of diverse backgrounds.
- Content Writing by me Sophie Mei Lan
- Evoke Media Group for video production and multi-media training through online courses and “evoking the emotions through powerful story-telling”.
- Sparkle Up North Magazine for Northern Businesswomen and an influencer marketing network of 500 online leaders
- Mindset and Motivation is my passion at Mama Mei
What is the best part of doing what you do?
Variety is the spice of life! Working flexibly and smart around family, health, and creativity! Plus, the fact that I can help to shape my world the way I want it to be through the power of the media. Which is equality, health, prosperity, peace and providing a platform for all!
Tell us about your wellbeing-focused Instagram and YouTube channel?
I have worked as a journalist for more than a decade and I have always had a personal interest in mental health and wellbeing.
One of my main passions in life is dance and women’s health, so in my spare time, I study mind and body fitness, yoga, face yoga and I have just completed a Mental Health Level 3 qualification.
What might a typical day look like for you?
I have the kids half the week, so it depends on them. But I am big on sleep as it is something I neglected for years as a business owner and being largely home-based.
I now follow this routine:
- 5:45am – to set my intentions for the day and get myself ready
- 6am – Get into activewear
- 6:15am – Workout from home (whilst listening to a mindset podcast or watching an online course! I tend to do my social media post whilst holding a plank position!)
- 7am – Get the kids up and do the school run, or I start writing my newspaper columns, magazine articles and content for clients, everything from blog posts to website copy.
- Then my working day (writing/vlogging/coaching digital skills/pitching for articles/admin), broken up into chunks of activity, continues until the school run or when my partner gets home from running his personal training studio.
- I then have tea and spend the night watching documentaries whilst studying fitness, yoga and doing research for my articles.
- 9pm – I switch my small screen tech off and have some downtime to read a newspaper or personal development book after setting my goals for following day.
- 10pm – Body Scan Meditation to put me to sleep in bed!
Are you working on anything new at the moment that you can share?
I am always creating as I am a born creative! I love feature writing for magazines and making documentaries as well as my own mind/body fitness podcast and channels… so I always have numerous exciting projects not to mention a huge interest in mindfulness, manifestations, and female empowerment.
What are the biggest challenges/pet hates in your role?
Trying to manage it all without human connection/support of a team. And choosing what work to prioritise each day which is why I love deadlines and taking action!
What important factors would you say have contributed to your success?
Always learning, always growing, always experimenting, and keeping an open mind. Our failures are our stepping stones to success.
What tips would you give someone who was following a similar career path?
There is no competition, there is no other you. So follow your heart, learn, and find your purpose, skillset and how you can make money from this.
Success without purpose is not true ‘success’. Do not create your life around a business, create your business around your life. Health is wealth! (And will save you time and money too by putting your health first!).
Is there anything you would have done differently in your career?
Charge your worth and do not judge your worth on your lack of self-belief or your ‘why’… I have done this so much as I love what I do and have such a passion for it as it is my vocation as well as business. But we need to earn what we truly deserve… this is true empowerment!
What do you love about your job?
Showcasing the magic of northern businesses, influencers, and brands. Supporting businesses up north, curating their stories through magazine articles, blogs and vlogs as well as sharing tips, harnessing a supportive community, and upskilling how-tos.