The Running a Business One

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In this conversation, Holly, Bianca, and Jo discuss their business origin stories and the challenges faced by women in running their own business. Holly started her business to control her future as a digital nomad, Bianca wanted complete location independence after 15 years as an employee, and Jo aimed to make things better than her experiences working for others. The speakers discuss the emotional connection that women may feel to their businesses and the importance of financial independence. They also discuss a book about systematising a business and separating oneself from it to think about the structure and efficiency of operations. The conversation then moves on to legal and financial aspects of setting up a business, emphasising the importance of getting the right advice upfront. They conclude by discussing investment and ideas for those thinking about starting a business.

Holly MacDonald is the owner and “Chief Spark” of Spark + Co a custom elearning firm, based in Canada who specialize in designing and developing instructional products for external audiences. She’s been in the instructional design and elearning field since the late 1990’s (really). She’s been running Spark + Co for the past 16 ½ years and in that time has worked with over 75 clients on hundreds of projects. She’s a whale nerd and a kayaker who loves spending time in the great outdoors. Also a sucker for a good dog video.

She can be found on LinkedIn: and Twitter

The website is  

Bianca Raby is a passionate Learning Designer, serial entrepreneur, and digital education strategist. With 20 years of experience designing, developing, and delivering learning experiences face-to-face and online, Bianca debuted as a writer in 2021 to inspire educators to become expert Learning Designers. As the CEO of Oppida—a global digital education agency—she works to raise the bar of online learning daily and believes this in-demand, emerging profession will help solve the educational challenges of today and the future.

Through her company Lightbulb Moment, Jo Cook has specialised in training learning professionals about virtual classroom and webinar design and delivery since 2013. Jo is a speaker, instructional designer and classroom facilitator. Jo’s passion is in helping and supporting teams, professionals and organisations embrace the benefits of the live online learning technology and her background includes: further and higher education; the charity sector; small and large organisations, including CNN News and Bupa International.

Find out more about Jo and her work on her website: and follow @LightbulbJo on Twitter

Episode Links:

Feel like your life is a hamster wheel? Here’s how to get off it

Autonomy at work is important (now more than ever)

Ehlers-Danlos syndromes

Flexible working

Women in Business

A Mother’s Role in Raising a Confident Daughter

The Mean Girls One

23 Pro Tips for Running a Successful Business

The E-myth Revisited

What’s the Best Business Structure for a Contractor?

The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship

The Surprising Psychology of Successful Entrepreneurs and Why They Take the Risk

How to employ someone (for the first time)

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