Dalston Darlings May : Ten Tips for Success with Simone Baird

May 3, 2012 · 0 comments

in Dalston Darlings

Whenever I come back from our monthly Dalston Darlings meetings I am always literally fizzing with excitement and, if at all possible, talking even quicker than the breakneck speed that is my normal patter.  I always have to re-tell my evening (in its chronological entirety) to poor Mister Ruffles who patiently contends with my very loud, very fast, very animated chatter until eventually I come down off the ceiling and declare that “yes, I’m now ready to go to bed”. I know, bless him!

Last night this was particularly pronounced as our monthly speaker for May was Simone Baird, Guardian’s Head of Masterclasses and in the words of a fellow Darling ‘a truly awesome bird’. Simone came to talk to us about the two c’s – career and creativity – and oh my did she ever! The talk was to date one of the most practical and invigorating we’ve had and I came away from it feeling like I could take on the world.

I had to resist the urge to relay to you exactly what she said to us Darlings verbatim (as yes, I was the geek at the back of the room taking word-for-word notes!) because it would have made for a colossal post and have instead decided to share her top ten pearls of wisdom, or and in her words “the things if I was starting today I wish I had known”. All of these will apply to you if you’re thinking about changing career, getting further in your existing career or even starting your own business. Here goes;


No one actually knows what the hell they’re doing! If you want to be an author then BE an author, if you want a promotion at work then BE your boss. Think about what that person would be doing and just get on and do it and you’ll be en route to becoming one.


It’s easy to be brilliant when everything is perfect, less so when things get tough. Always have perspective and when things are difficult remember they will get better. And vice-versa.


Not literally.  However if you want to be the one that comes in and bakes cakes and is everyone’s shoulder to cry on then fine, however you could end up adopting a role you don’t want and all of a sudden your time is spent comforting other people. Your time is precious so be careful about giving it away so readily.


Do everything you can to be stand out and be noticed. But be yourself. Don’t try and be the person you think a company wants to employ as undoubtedly they’ll have lots of ‘them’ but they won’t have you. And above all remember that your personality will always accentuate your appearance.


Be collaborative and if you find a like-minded soul then hold onto them! There’s no point being over-protective of your ideas as 50% of something is better than 100% of nothing.

6) DO IT

It doesn’t matter what you get paid (if at all) just start doing what you want to and rinse your contacts. Be engaged and start moving in that direction.


If you really REALLY want to start your own business then you’ll do a day job that maybe you don’t enjoy in order to subsidise your venture and you should then spend every waking and free moment working hard on it.


You have to be comfortable with, and accept that, people will copy your idea. To be ahead of the curve this means you must always innovate.

9) S.A.E

S = subject … A = angle … and E = execution
Practise this when thinking about how to bring your idea to life and turning it into a business venture. It can work on any aspect of life.


If you mean it and you want it then you will start it straight away, no excuses.

Simone really stressed the final point linking it back to point 1, if you can’t do it now then pretend! So there you have it, career advice from the Head of Guardian’s Masterclasses and Owner of Clever Boxer.

Simone Baird inspiring the Dalston Darlings

Simone Baird with Team Dalston Darlings

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