Charlotte Armitage is a multi-talented entrepreneur. She divides her time between her roles as a TV presenter, actress, agent and businesswoman. Charlotte owns the YAFTA (Yorkshire Academy of Film and Television Acting) Talent Agency and YAFTA Consultancy, which offer professional screen acting training and representation.
We asked Charlotte what life is like as an entrepreneur, what lessons have most helped her in business and what drives her passion for diversity.
What is the biggest myth about your industry/sector?
That it is easy to do and actors don’t work hard. This could not be further from the truth! The acting industry is entirely subjective and therefore having the skill and a highly professional approach is key to succeeding. Many actors train for years and years to be good at what they do and it is not an easy. Much of an actor’s life is spent attending audition after audition and not receiving any feedback as to why they didn’t get the part. It takes a tenacious and resilient character to keep on bouncing back from this type of scenario. Of course, when an actor does land a role, it is a very exciting time for them but the days on set can be very long, a standard day is 12 hours long. In between long shoot days, which can quite often be based far away from their families, actors have their scripts to prepare for the next filming day. It’s not always as glamourous as it seems!
What is the best professional advice you’ve ever been given?
That you can’t please everyone and to trust your own instincts. It’s really easy when you run your own business to take things personally, at the end of the day, you created the entire company from scratch. Negative comments can feel personal but I’ve now learnt that that isn’t the case. Being emotionally detached allows you to learn from negative feedback and use it to build an even better organisation. Regarding my instincts, I have most definitely learnt to listen to my gut and to trust that it is right, it hasn’t let me down so far.
What gadget can you not live without?
Obviously, my phone! We are so lucky in this generation to be able to work from our phones. 15 years ago, there was no way that you could run a successful business without being sat in an office until late every night - but technology allows us to have it all. We can work from home or anywhere in the world (which can also be a hindrance when you’re trying to enjoy a cocktail on the beach) but it allows us to have the freedom to run a business, whilst also having a life.
On average, how much sleep do you get each night? Is it enough?
I get eight hours sleep every night, if I have any less than that and if it is not good quality sleep, then I really struggle to fire on all cylinders. A good night’s sleep is so important for psychological wellbeing and I am very precious about getting my eight hours.
What has driven your passion for diversity in your industry/sector?
As with most people, my passion has been driven by my own personal experiences. I grew up with a brain damaged brother and dealt with a lot of discrimination surrounding his disability. This was really painful and hurtful. The media is an amazing outlet to change perceptions and I am sure that by influencing onscreen diversity, it will help to educate and change public perception surrounding disability, to a point where it will become normalised in society.
How can networking and support organisations like FL (Forward Ladies) help women on their way up?
Forward Ladies has been amazing! My last business resulted in bankruptcy and I really lost my confidence as a businesswoman. Attending Forward Ladies events helped me to regain my confidence and I met so many inspiring women, many of whom have been in the same situation that I had been in. In the past few years, I’ve managed to create, develop and grow my business into a successful company with the support of Forward Ladies and the contacts that I have made through networking with them.
What tips do you have for managing your inbox?
It’s important to take time away from work emails to ensure that you don’t burn out. At some points I can feel it happening. It’s usually when the last thing I do at night, and the first thing I do in a morning, is read a work email. At times like that, there’s no space to breath, work becomes overwhelming and it’s very unhealthy. I have started to remove my work e-mails from my phone when I am trying to have time away from work. This really lets me switch off properly, regain perspective and refocus my energy. Ultimately, time out from work is what gives me the energy and motivation to continue driving the business forward.
The mother of all awards #FLNationalAwards & Summit 2018 is coming to your region with events in Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, London and Leeds! It’s an inspirational programme showcasing diversity in business, recognising the doers, trailblazers & inclusive leaders across the UK. Join the conversation and don’t miss out - HERE