‘Starting your own digital marketing business is so easy’…said no one ever. However, what everyone fails to tell you is just how hard it actually is.
Before I became self-employed, I’d always had a ‘proper’ job. As soon as I turned 16, I went out and found myself a part-time job and that was that. For the next 7 and a half years I became used to providing for myself. If I wanted something, I’d take on extra shifts. When I became unhappy in my first job (where I stayed for 5 years) I found a new job with better pay and a nicer working environment and like clockwork, every week, my wages were paid and that was that.
It was in this new job that I got more into social media and PR.
I was given an awful lot of freedom to plan events and advertise the venue and I loved it. But as I came to the end of my university degree, I knew I had to find something more permanent. I began the dreaded job hunt, this time with added pressure as it was time to look for a career, not just something to pass the time and earn some cash. I spent 3 months looking and applying daily for jobs, but I just couldn’t seem to find something that was the right fit for where I wanted to be.
Finally, in July, I was so frustrated with the job search, I decided I’d create my own. Within an hour, Bizzi PR was established. I’d actually saved the social handles years before on a whim when I came up with the name but never pursued it, now here I was. I was lucky in the fact; past employers chose to continue working with me freelance and word of mouth from friends slowly introduced me to new clients. But I was still amongst the unknown.
I’ve been used to a regular (pretty good) wage since I was 16 and all of a sudden it was gone. I could no longer cover someone’s shift or stay a few hours later to make some money. It was down to me to create something that people wanted to be a part of and most importantly, were willing to pay for. Just because my job had changed, didn’t mean my bills (or spending habits) had and I had to adapt pretty quickly to fit my new lifestyle.
The money however, has been secondary to other things.
I know all businesses take time to build and make a good profit. If I’ve got to sacrifice buying handbags and shoes for a year or so to build something that will shape my future, then so be it. The change in wage was something I expected and was the first thing most people told me when I said I was going off on my own.
What people failed to tell me however, was how cut throat it is. Maybe people don’t want to scare you or maybe they think it’s just them but it’s not until I’ve shared my experience with other people, that they’ve admitted it was the same for them.
I almost couldn’t believe the amount of people that will outright ignore you or even worse, get in touch and then flake without an explanation. For every person that’s willing to talk to you, there’s 10 who wont. It’s opened my eyes so much to a different side of the industry, one that I really do not like. I’ve had companies get to the point of agreeing to a pitch and a start date, only to never hear from them again when that date comes around. And I know it’s not just me. It’s the same across the board but for some reason, there’s an element of shame around it, as if it’s your failure. But it’s not.
The PR and marketing industry is one that is so important but it’s also probably the most undervalued.
So many companies ignore the importance of a constant presence to market their brand, yet we also tend to be the first people they turn to when things are going wrong. I quickly had to learn that you can’t force people to see the value in what you’re doing, all you can do is keep going and eventually the people who do understand, will recognise your hard work and hopefully hire you themselves!
The best piece of advice I’ve had so far, is to stop leading with the negative.
I never tend to lead with all the good things that’s happened recently, instead just focusing on something that in the long run is nothing but an annoyance. When you start a small business, there’s so much pressure to succeed, not just from people around you but from yourself. I set the bar so high for myself, that every small issue felt like a huge failure, yet I allowed big successes to pass by like they were unimportant. I suppose it’s a case of changing your mindset, programme yourself to feel comfortable to talk about your successes. When someone asks you how everything’s going, don’t feel like you’ve got to diminish your achievements.
No one wants to hire someone who’s constantly saying how rubbish their job is. The likelihood is, you’re probably doing a lot better than you think you are.
Written by Izzi from Bizzi PR
Izzi is the director of Bizzi PR, a Liverpool based PR and marketing company for independent businesses in the area. Her goal is to make great quality marketing and PR more available to small brands and take away the idea that you need to spend £1000’s for great quality content. She is always looking to speak to potential clients and offer advice on how their brand can reach a wider audience. You can see her Instagram – Bizzi PR.