The Ambition Series: Meet Natasha Courteney-Smith, Author Of The Million Dollar Blog

Hi guys, welcome to the third instalment of The Ambition Series. My aim with this series is to pick the brains of some seriously successful and driven women to see what ambition means to them. I hope that overall it will show that we don’t have to be ashamed of our drive and ambition and that we can all encourage and support one another in this dog eat dog world. If you have missed the first two instalments be sure to check them out here and here.

Without further ado, this week I am so pleased to introduce Natasha Courtenay-Smith.

Natasha Courtenay-Smith is the author of The Million Dollar Blog and works as a digital strategist and publicist to a number of clients including celebrities, small business owners and charities. A former newspaper journalist, she started, grew and sold the online press agency Talk to the Press and now helps her clients achieve visibility online and through the mainstream media.

Natasha Courtenay-Smith author of The Million Dollar Blog

 

As a successful, well know journalist, author of The Million Dollar Blog and business woman, where do you think your drive and ambition has stemmed from? Have you always had the ambition to achieve or is it something that has grown over time?

That’s a very generous description of me, thankyou! I’ve definitely got more ambitious with time. At school, I was always happy to do pretty well but with minimum effort. I was constantly 3rd or 4th in the class, in terms of test results. During my 20s, I had the same attitude really! I wanted to do pretty well but not at the expense of having to stress myself out too much with hard work. I think it changed when I became a mum at 31. It made me more ambitious. I always had this hippish view that money didn’t matter but actually it does give you more flexibility and freedom. So for me, doing well is about earning great income for those reasons and for my children.

If I asked you to picture an ambitious woman, what type of person would come to mind?

The traditional stereotype is some sort of crazed lunatic putting her ambition before everything else. But then,I see myself as ambitious and I’m definitely not like that! I wish ambition wasn’t a dirty word. What is wrong with wanting to do your very best professionally and push yourself as far as you can go?

Have you ever experienced negativity from other women as you have become more and more successful in your career? If so, why do you think this is and how do you deal with it?

Erm, not outwardly. But I have experienced that passively, whereby people just don’t ask what you are doing and you end up just not having a conversation about it. Which then is odd when its a massive event such as selling a company or other things like that. Maybe that’s just me being too sensitive and they are not actually interested at all!!

I struggle with the lack of addressing big achievements to be honest but I suppose ultimately I hold the view that not all friendships can exist for a whole lifetime as people change for all sorts of reasons so its not worth getting stressed about.

Million Dollar Blog book

 

As an ambitious and successful woman do you think that you are ever stereotyped by the media / society as being ruthless or pushy? If so, what do you think needs to happen in order to dispel the stereotype for women in general?

I think there are sections of the media that demonise them, for daring to think they can ‘have it all’ and who love to feature the stories of women who tried to do this but ended up checking into the priory with depression. But there are other sections of the media that celebrate successful women and they are to be celebrated. The bottom line though is some realism is needed. We live in a society in which much of our economy and house prices are propped up by dual income families in which both people need to work to afford the things they take for granted. So it’s not as though any woman is being that radical by trying to work and enhance her career and run her family!

What does “success” personally mean to you? At what point did you think “yes! I’ve made it!”

Does anyone ever think that!? Isn’t the whole idea of human nature to be constantly striving forward? Isn’t it that inherent drive in us that once kept us safe from predators that now makes it hard for us to sit back and think ‘yes I’ve made it?!’. I have goals, but each time I achieve them, my own goal posts move forward and then it becomes about trying to reach them again! So for me, any single success is short lived because I always look to what is next.

Which key attributes do you think women need in order to get ahead and fulfil their ambitions?

I think to just be calm and to believe that they can do what they want to do. At the moment, there’s a real push towards celebrating mums and women who talk on social media about how hard it all is, parenting, work, etc. And how hard the juggle is and what bad neglectful parents they are because the juggle is so hard and they just can’t cope. Yes it is hard, but at the same time there are legions of women just getting on with it and feeling perfectly happy – even if momentarily frazzled – as they do so. But they are not posting about it on social media and so those consuming social media don’t see those positive stories.

Which successful women inspire you and motivate you to follow your own dreams?

Any successful woman who does amazing things – particularly those who do so with kids and (seem) to do so in a calm and relatively stoic way! People like Victoria Beckham, Emily Blunt, those people who get on, do what they plan to do, deliver good work, seem to have it together and look great!

Thanks so much Natasha for taking part in The Ambition Series here on A Mum Track Mind and best of luck with your new book – The Million Dollar Blog.

I am reading The Million Dollar Blog at the moment and will have a full review up on here in the next few weeks. The Million Dollar Blog is a really interesting read though and has provided me with a lot of food for thought in terms of progressing this blog.

What did you think of Natasha’s answers and take on ambition? As always, I’d love to read your comments or questions.

xxx

 

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33 Comments

  1. Julia
    October 13, 2016 / 6:10 am

    “Legions of women just getting on with it & feeling happy”.
    This is a very sensible viewpoint! Also the author always “moves her goalposts” when she reaches a particularly goal,” I liked that idea.
    This is an interesting interview with well thought out questions & answers. Well done!

  2. October 13, 2016 / 12:11 pm

    Really loving this series! I’ve become much more goal oriented in the past year or so. Determined to push forward and grow for myself, as well as my kids and husband. Will check out the book, always on the hunt for inspirational reading material! #brillblogposts

  3. October 13, 2016 / 12:27 pm

    Love this interview, love Tash, such an inspirational, gifted and sisterly lady who I feel honoured to call a friend. I too look up to VB and Emily Blunt as heroes-I wish the media gave a more balanced and realistic view of working mothers. Motherhood empowered me to do more and be more ambitious as it did with you x

  4. October 13, 2016 / 1:13 pm

    I’m loving this series! I’m also now really looking forward to the book 🙂

    One thing that really strikes me from this is that there are so many ordinary women out there soldiering on every day doing extraordinary things. I agree with that. I think too often society looks to people who are shouting about their achievements instead of the ones who are just doing it.

    Love your work 😉
    #brilliantblogpost

  5. October 15, 2016 / 8:25 am

    Ohh what a great interview, such good questions and all really well answered. I’ve not heard of The Million Dollar Blog but definitely want to give it a read now xx #fortheloveofBLOG
    wendy recently posted…A letter to my first bornMy Profile

  6. October 15, 2016 / 8:33 am

    An Interesting read. I think I have become more driven since having my baby – but my goals have changed from climbing upwards in work to my own personal measures of success, Good question about whether she has experienced negativity from women – I think that as women, we need to empower other women. I love the quote: ‘I want us all to make it’ #fortheloveofBLOG

  7. October 15, 2016 / 8:44 am

    A really enjoyable interview. I like her points about loads of women doing fine as a Mum and being very happy just getting on with it. I’ll look up the book! #fortheloveofblog

  8. October 15, 2016 / 9:34 am

    I think motherhood changes your views if he World, I was like you Natasha, I coasted along until I had Miss H now I’m more ambitious than ever! #fortheloveofBLOG x

  9. October 15, 2016 / 9:52 am

    Very interesting, I think very often having children does change your perspective with regards to ambition. There are suddenly other people to think of. Great series #fortheloveofBLOG
    Let your light shine Mummy recently posted…Living with Crohns DiseaseMy Profile

  10. October 15, 2016 / 10:34 am

    Interesting.
    “they are not posting about it on social media and so those consuming social media don’t see those positive stories.” This stood out for me. We need more to read these stories and your series is addressing that. Thanks for a great interview.
    #fortheloveofBLOG
    suz recently posted…Are you teaching your child NOT to read for fun?My Profile

  11. October 15, 2016 / 10:43 am

    This is a great series. It’s so true that believing in yourself is key. If you believe you can do it, go for it!

    #fortheloveofBLOG
    The Tale of Mummyhood recently posted…A Controlled Crying DiaryMy Profile

  12. October 15, 2016 / 12:58 pm

    I love that interview:) First time I see that series I love it
    #fortheloveofBLOG

  13. October 15, 2016 / 2:05 pm

    This series is really good. It is definitely helping with giving me thoughts about where I want to go with my blog and other things.
    #fortheloveofBLOG
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  14. October 15, 2016 / 5:33 pm

    What a great interview. So inspirational. I think I have definitely become more driven now I’m a parent. Thank you!
    #fortheloveofBLOG
    Sam recently posted…​Woe is my Wisdom Tooth..My Profile

  15. October 15, 2016 / 7:27 pm

    What an interesting and inspirational interview!! I think having children does make you more ambitious, I never really had any career plans before the children but now I want to be the best I can be at something, to lead by example and provide them with a better life. I really enjoyed this and I’ll definitely be checking out the book. #fortheloveofBLOG
    five little doves recently posted…Autumn AdventuresMy Profile

  16. October 15, 2016 / 8:19 pm

    Great interview. Thanks for sharing this interview as it’s really motivational to hear the views of such successful people! Look forward to your book review #fortheloveofBLOG

  17. October 16, 2016 / 8:16 am

    This is a brilliant rad, ambition shouldn’t be a dirty word and it comes in many forms. I think many people become a little narcissistic and forget that a success a few years ago doesn’t still make them a success, time moves on. However past success is still something you should be proud of, it’s a learning curve.
    #fortheloveofBLOG
    Kirsty – Winnettes recently posted…The Cake & Bake ShowMy Profile

  18. October 16, 2016 / 9:11 am

    the hubby heard an interview with this woman on radio 4 and told me about her. super super interesting interview. and so true re only the mums posting the crap bits on social media – and that’s what gets shared. it seems if you try and celebrate successes then your made out to be this super mum who can do everything, when deep down, your having your bad days just as much as anyone else is. you just don’t go on about them on fb. does that make sense lol?! I have a lot of “passive” negativity towards me too now that I think about it!
    super interesting read, thanks for sharing Fi! #fortheloveofblog
    Emma me and b make tea recently posted…Cauldron Toad in the Hole for Halloween!My Profile

  19. October 16, 2016 / 7:21 pm

    What a great interview – it’s so inspiring to read about successful people and I love the look of her book. Looking forward to your book review! #fortheloveofBLOG

  20. October 16, 2016 / 10:13 pm

    I’m discovering such inspirational women through this great series, Fi. I popped across to the ‘Talk to the press’ website too. I look forward to your book review. #Fortheloveofblog.

  21. October 17, 2016 / 7:03 am

    A great series and such an inspiring interview. It’s always great to read other success stories. This sounds like a book I’d like to read too! #fortheloveofblog

  22. October 17, 2016 / 9:43 am

    I love this series, it’s really inspiring and as someone who is about to become a mum for the first time it gives me confidence that I will still be able to achieve and be ambitious and that having a child could actually fuel that. Great interview, thanks for sharing! #fortheloveofBLOG

  23. October 18, 2016 / 8:03 am

    OH this was a great read and I certainly will be checking out her book. I love how grounded and supportive she seems, I hate the connotation to successful woman being bitchy. I too think VB is an inspiration and has a work ethic to be proud of. #ablogginggoodtime x

  24. October 18, 2016 / 8:48 pm

    Thank you for running this series. It’s great to read about other people and read their views. #fortheloveofBLOG
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  25. October 18, 2016 / 9:27 pm

    Great series, and another interesting read. Becoming a parent definitely changes your perspective and priorities. #fortheloveofblog
    Grounded Mummy recently posted…Dear Little Girl…My Profile

  26. October 19, 2016 / 8:12 pm

    Fab interview Fi. I remember Natasha’s talks at #BML16. She knows her stuff! Like what she says about being ambitious doesn’t mean that you don’t care about other stuff! #fortheloveofBLOG
    Sunita recently posted…Inspire: Seven things I learned from Melanie CMy Profile

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