What did you used to do?
I’ve always worked in marketing roles – I worked my way up the marketing ladder from Assistant Product Manager to Marketing Director in big companies. The first half of my career was marketing products.
It started with marketing fragrances for personal care products and flavours for toothpaste. Then I moved to London and marketed personal care products and fragrances. With hindsight, the most significant move I made was the next one – marketing Dulux paint colours. This is where I learned about the power of brand and colour.
I started marketing consulting after my son was born. I helped companies develop their marketing strategy and implement their marketing plans. This meant I worked with them to create branded communications like brochures, product packaging, advertising campaigns and to launch new products.
What made you want to change?
It was serendipity! I was working for a business that decided to close their London office. So, I decided to start working from home, set up the business name, bank account and started networking.
How did you make a start?
My first client was someone I’d known for a few years. We’d worked together previously, so he was happy to brief me on a new packaging project. I still work with him now!
So, contacting people in my network was important. And the new leap I made was to start going to networking groups – which I’d never done before. Networking took a different form in big companies.
What were the challenges?
Getting organised! It took about six months to open the business bank account due to people changes at the bank. I had an accountant from day one – so he registered the company and sorted out the accounts, tax and so on.
It took me a while to sort out how to work from home. The best step I took was to make the smallest bedroom into my home office.
How long did it take?
I started working with clients I already knew from the start. However, it took me at least six months to convert a networking contact into a client. Once I had the first client, word of mouth kicked in and others followed.
What would you do differently?
- Sit down and work on a simple marketing plan, so I get clear on my audience and my messaging.
- Work out the processes and admin most important to my business, so I could delegate stuff earlier.
- Plan my website and social media in line with my target audience.
- Give myself goals and targets – daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annual. And work out how to measure and monitor my progress.
- Work with a coach and mentor.
- Read business books.
What do you do now and what does that look like?
My epiphany came about four years ago when I decided to focus on brand consultancy.
This means I utilise my marketing skills and knowledge to help people who’ve worked in corporate, to brand or rebrand their business. My clients are coaches, consultants, therapists and makers with heart and a strong sense of purpose. They want to make a difference in the world, however small.
My services start with Brand Strategy, include Brand Identity Design and Brand Messaging.
I don’t work alone. I collaborate with others – graphic designers, website designer, photographers, SEO specialists, social media specialists, video makers, printers and more. So, together we provide a great service tailored for small businesses.
How has your life /work changed?
I’ve developed new skills and learned how to use apps to help me promote and run my business.
It’s a constant growth process which is both challenging and rewarding.
The hardest part is separating work from personal time because it’s fun – but we all need time off.
What top tips would you give to someone who really wants to change career?
Do your homework on your market sector, who you’ll compete with and what your offer will be.
Work out what you will invest in to help you build your business or career – and make these strategic to your success.
Start thinking about your exit strategy from your business – do you want to sell the business or simply retire?
Work with a great coach!