Sonia Poleon is an International Best Seller, an Award Winning Business Woman and the liveliest Presenter of a Radio and TV show on two different continents. Yes, you read that right, two different continents. Her life story reads like an action packed novel on how to achieve entrepreneurial success. So here in her own words, Sonia gives the shortened version of her thrilling journey towards entrepreneurial recognition and discovery of her life passion, starting with radio presenting.
My show is aired weekly on Tuesday and Wednesdays on Colourful Radio, it is a magazine and chat show and is broken down into two sections.
The first hour is taken up with articles from magazines and newspapers, it is light-hearted but relevant to what is happening in the community. I usually start the first 15 minutes with what I call my morning rant. I speak about anything that happens – if there was a bad connection on public transport, if passengers were arguing, things of interest to my listeners. The other three quarters is taken up with news.
In the 2nd hour, I focus on interviews with people making waves in the community or in industry.
The Largest Urban Radio Station in UK
The show is well listened to in the whole of the UK, Europe, USA, the Caribbean, Africa and beyond. We are the largest urban radio station in the UK and have won multiple awards for our shows and our fantastic range of music of course.
The people who contact the show are those who mainly run their own businesses or work from home. I suppose because they are busy it is easier for them to send a text message which is their main mode of contacting me while on air.
I receive my most amusing feedback when I am talking about relationships. I get comments from people who disagree with me, but as a whole I don’t make my show controversial as I don’t like the repercussions. I hate having an argument over the phone with people.
So for this reason I suppose I don’t have angry, ranting listeners, my listeners normally comment on the great work my guests are doing.
On Air with Destiny’s Child and Levi Roots
Over the years, there have been quite a few stand out interviews including Barack Obama’s Social Secretary, my interview with Michelle Williams from Destiny’s Child not to mention Levi Roots.
But most recently interviewed a young man called Paul McKenzie. As a young teenager, he was expelled from school, went to prison and received a short sharp shock. However, there was a Prison Officer who paid special attention to him. He could see that prison life was not for Paul and as a result, helped to reform him.
Paul now goes into schools to inspire young children and help older ones keep off the streets, out of gun crime, out of drugs and ultimately out of prison. I had floods of people contacting me, wanting to give him support. It was amazing.
I would love to interview Michelle Obama, Martin Luther King Jr and of course, the Queen of talk shows herself, the lovely Oprah Winfrey. It’s my dream and I am sure one of these days I will surprise you all.
The Big Plan for Life
Believe it or not, being a radio host was not part of my big plan for my life, a few years ago I was a guest on the show with another presenter, the executive producers loved my personality and when the opportunity came up they requested that I become a host.
Needless to say I was shocked but took the challenge anyway. Only to find that this is what I was made for. Would I turn back the clock and not do this? Certainly not, I thoroughly enjoy it and since then I have taken a Radio Presenting course and now I am off to train to become a qualified journalist.
Opening an Affordable Nursery
I have had the pleasure of working for myself and running my own business for almost 15 years. After having twins and knowing how expensive it is to cover child care and not really getting a good service, I vowed that one day I would open my own nursery and show people how it is done.
I didn’t want to concentrate on the financial aspect and from my personal experience I found that because I had twins, people saw twice the money. This grieved me and my vow was to open an affordable nursery. It wasn’t till some years later when my children started going to secondary school did I achieve this.
My Unique Selling Point
We are different because of me. Sonia Poleon is the unique selling point. Most parents who come through our doors go on to tell other parents and some have had two or three children come through our doors.
We thrive on being friendly and welcoming, this is something that a lot of parents comment on when they first visit us. Our core staff have been with us over 10 years. Even the big chain nurseries do not have the atmosphere that both my staff and I have created.
We also cater to our community. The majority of our children are from African and Caribbean communities so we provide food they are familiar with, not forgetting their daily fruit and veg. All our food is cooked from fresh products daily.
In this day and age, childcare is really expensive but of course we need to operate at high standards but this does not mean we should falter on value. We understand that some parents struggle financially but they still need to work be-cause they have responsibilities. For this reason, we don’t increase fees for the duration of time the child is with us.
It all started in Housing
I have almost 20 years’ experience in the Housing Sector, actually my first degree was in housing. It’s a really great industry that I loved to bits. There are so many different aspects to housing. If you exhaust one there are plenty of other areas to choose from. I have worked as a Housing Officer, Lettings Officer, Arrears Officer, Voids Officer, Visiting Officer and Investigations Officer.
One of the most exciting positions was being a housing investigation officer. There was never a dull day and it is amazing what lengths people go through in order to obtain a property by deception.
Being Held Hostage by Tenants!
I have had a few bad experiences in housing. I remember once I was locked up in a property by tenants and they wouldn’t let me out. On another occasion I was held hostage in an office by a tenant that had just spent 15 years in prison for a murder.
I was extremely passionate about working for myself so I left social housing to start a Lettings Agency. With all the skills I had obtained over the years I decided to run my own business. I didn’t have any marketing skills so it proved difficult to build up the business.
I started with family and friends managing their rented properties but I noticed that it was only when they were in difficulties with bad tenants that they wanted my help. I found myself managing only difficult tenants and this is not what I wanted. Constantly going to court became stressful and I gave it up.
I then decided I should work with children and that’s when I opened my nursery.
Walking into the Coaching Business by Way of a Shoe Shop
But it didn’t stop there. I remember I was invited to speak at an event. I went early and sat with another speaker who went round the room asking everyone what kind of business they were going to start. I soon realised they were all starting businesses and I didn’t want to seem as though I was showing off, so I said I was going to start a “shoe shop”. After the seminar lots of people came up to me ask for my details.
I was shocked and realised I didn’t want to keep a lie so I took the task at hand and went on to open my beautiful shoe shop. Since then I found myself being invited to speak at different events. Women kept asking for business support which lead me to start a coaching business.
Achieving International Recognition
Now I find myself being a business coach. I am currently coaching 15 people who are all in the Anthology called Blind Spot, What The Eyes Didn’t See. I am an international best-selling author, my books sold in five different countries, I am also an award winning business woman.
My books have received recognition from USA where I was interviewed on TV in three different states, I have also been interviewed on TV in Jamaica. All this led me to find my latest passion which is being a TV Presenter. I now have my own show on TV in Jamaica called Visibility with Sonia Poleon.
Right now my focus is to go back to college and obtain my Journalism qualification and work on developing my TV presenting skills and developing my show where I interview dynamic people who are making waves in their community.
One of the most valuable lessons I have learnt is that when things don’t go according to plan, do not abandon it, just continue till you have accomplished what you set out to do. I think another one is that you should believe in yourself, when you do this the whole world will believe in you.
Anyway you’ll get all this and more when you tune into my show aired 10am to 12pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. If you have a DAB radio you can find us by using our name Colourful Radio. www.ColourfulRadio.com and my website is www.Sonia-Poleon.com