Q&A with Aleksandra King, Communications Expert, Motivational Speaker & Reality TV Star
“It’s fantastic to enjoy who you are, to not apologise for it… It is totally liberating, and breeds success”: communications expert & 2016 Apprentice UK candidate Aleksandra King talks to AGENT about her business goals and values.
“It’s such a fantastic feeling to enjoy who you are, to not apologise for it… It is totally liberating.”
“I’m really sorry… I’m just not enjoying it,” she said, making no further comment as she calmly walked away from the other Apprentice candidates.
In the image-conscious world of ‘reality’ TV, there was something about the manner of Aleksandra King’s departure—calm and clear-eyed, rather than emotional and irrational; high in drama but low-key in execution—that was more remarkable than the departure itself.
It’s little surprise, therefore, that since The Apprentice UK 2016 aired, Aleksandra King has become something of a byword for positive development and business excellence.
Viewers of the series enjoyed her self-awareness, confidence, work ethic and inner strength, and these are all qualities that she uses to help business organisations and individuals fulfil their growth potential.
Hers is a name that is increasingly synonymous with these qualities — and is set to become more prevalent, after her recent signing with press and media agent Thomas Murphy.
Aleksandra King has worked hard to make it as a successful entrepreneur in her own right, juggling the impulses of business ambition that were instilled in her early childhood by her parents, with her personal commitments as the partner of a successful digital marketing professional and mother of young children.
A natural communicator, Aleksandra King is as comfortable on television, video (she has her own YouTube channel) and the radio (she has appeared on BBC One, of course, as well as BBC Home Three Counties radio) as she is anywhere else, and is also an inspiring motivational speaker, connecting audiences with the inner spark to ignite their ambitions towards long-term personal and professional achievements.
She is also an active business consultant helping brands to connect with their messages via social media, video promotion and events (work that occasionally brings her into collaboration with her husband Elliot King and his successful marketing company MintTwist).
11 Questions for Aleksandra King
Work-life balance is important to Aleksandra King, and we’re glad that she cleared some time in her busy work and home calendar to answers our questions about her career to date, the key lessons she has learned, and the advice she would pass on to her younger self if she were starting out in business today.
1. Briefly tell us how you first got into business, and describe your business goals.
I’m a natural born communicator, so communications is where I’ve always wanted to be. I love appearing on TV and doing bits and bobs on the radio. I have recently started working with Thomas Murphy (Hello@ThomasMurphyPR.co.uk) who is now acting as my agent for all things ‘press and media’.
I am also a motivational speaker, as I adore public speaking. My favorite motivational talk was for staff and partners at Great Ormond Street Hospital. I truly love nothing more than to inspire, help and motivate people to achieve their goals, and to have a platform to do that is an incredible blessing.
On the more formal business side, I do consultancy for a select number of brands and I help these businesses get their messages out via social media, videos, and events. I occasionally get to work with my husband, Elliott King, as he is the director of a very successful digital marketing company, MintTwist, and we often have clients that require communications direction on the digital stage.
2. What age were you when you realised you wanted to run your own business?
As a child, I watched my dad run his own export/import business in South Africa, and I witnessed the huge highs that come with major success and the massive lows that come with failures. I was on the ‘business seesaw’ for many years and initially, it put me off business. My mum had a proper, stable, academic job as Chief Language Practitioner for the South African Defence Force. So, I aimed to also get a ‘proper job’ in IT telecoms billing, and what is exactly what I did.
However, after taking time off to look after my girls, the thought of going back to work as an employee lost its appeal and I found myself drawn to the exciting and risky world of entrepreneurship. I wanted to do things on my own terms, things that I was passionate about, things that I could do my own way while ensuring I could be flexible enough to be there for my children and husband. In short, I decided to become my own boss.
3. Who are your business icons and inspirations?
My dad is an inspiration with his relentless optimism and entrepreneurial drive no matter what. My mum as well, with her strength, commitment and steadfastness. Family aside, I adore Cindy Crawford. Not only is she gorgeous but she is a loyal wife, loving mother and has proven to be an excellent business woman with sound morals and ethics. I also highly respect Oprah Winfrey who had a tough start in life. She let her feelings be her life compass and guide her to success. She maximized her talents and, instead of playing victim, became a true inspiration and motivator to millions.
4. What has been your biggest challenge in business, and how did you surmount it?
Taking the plunge from an employee into business ownership is by far the biggest challenge. It requires a major mindset change. I had to leave behind the security of a well paid, comfortable, and respected profession and take the plunge into the unknown. Change is difficult and we are all naturally resistant to it. My thoughts are that we should go for things while we are relatively young and healthy. If things don’t work out, then we can always make another plan. However, not trying is not an option because a life of regrets is simply boring.
5. Work-Life balance: is it possible? How do you achieve it?
It is possible, and I strongly believe that where there is the will there is a way. I don’t have it all worked out, however, and it’s a constantly evolving and changing process. My husband and I work together to ensure one of us is around with the kiddies while the other is at work. We are a team and we make time to work and play together. After my girls were born, I made sure to take time off work to be there for them when they needed me most. I was lucky enough to be able to do this and I am now able to put much more emphasis on my professional career as all my girls are attending school.
6. What is the first thing you do every day?
I get up 15 minutes early to enjoy a lovely cup of coffee while looking out into the garden. I love doing that as it helps ease me into the day and mentally prepare for what lies ahead.
7. What screen saver picture is currently on your phone?
My black and white cat, Spinu. I like the monochrome look! 😉
8. What is the most important app on your mobile phone, and why?
My calendar. It has everything in it. All my work-related appointments as well as personal appointments including children’s clubs, play-dates, etc. It is packed with daily activities and I check it several times a day.
9. What is the last thing you Googled?
Hmm… maybe this is not something I should own up to, but I did look up ‘toxic mould’. We just purchased a house, so needed to temporarily rent while we waited to move in, and I noticed mould on the walls. Since becoming a parent, I’m totally obsessed with all things ‘health’ so I Googled ‘toxic mould’. The problem with Googling health-related topics is that the most scary and awful things always come up. My advice is don’t Google it. Just see your GP if you are truly scared. We removed the mould and are moving very soon which is great! Stress wont help your situation if there is a problem.
10. What item do you never leave the house without, and why?
I always, always take my phone with me, but that’s the obvious answer, isn’t it? Phone aside, you will always find mascara, lip-gloss and perfume in my bag. I must say that I am always smartly dressed when doing business. I was brought up to show respect for my profession and co-workers by dressing smartly.
11. What advice would you give to your younger self starting out in business?
I would tell my younger self to really enjoy being who you are, and to embrace it wholeheartedly. It’s such a fantastic feeling to enjoy who you are, to not apologise for it and to simply be as much of yourself as you possibly can. It is totally liberating, and this is something that breeds success. People gravitate to that confidence and feeling of self-worth.