What was I thinking?
Since launching my Virtual Marketing business, I’ve been asked a lot about how I got to the point to have the courage to do it. To be honest it’s not super courageous to go to Kmart and buy some stationery and other random stuff, set up a desk at home, purchase a website subscription, and a logo, get a second hand laptop from RemarkIT and a next to useless brand new bright red chair from Warehouse Stationery.
What made me do it?
I started to really consider my life in 10 years when my daughters have grown up and don’t have time for me. I was finding the juggle of working 4 days a week and being a part of their lives brought with it too many compromises.
I had also built up the right amount of digital marketing skills and a great network of contacts so was ready to give it a try.
I’m focused on building a lifestyle for my family, and giving my clients the best of me professionally because I have the balance in my life to thrive.
When the word courage came up in conversations, I felt a bit icky, because it wasn’t courage that made me go out into the virtual world of marketing. It was necessity.
I needed more growth and scope from the work I was doing, and I wanted to spend time enjoying seeing my girls grow up. I also had a firm belief that this was possible in today's working age - and have discovered it is. Phew:)
I have 20 years of working my way up/sideways/through media and marketing roles behind me. Having firmly established that money really doesn't grow on trees, my lucky husband Aaron (my main supporter), will ensure the bills will be paid if I don't make ends meet. So I have the benefit of it not all being on my shoulders. I'm pretty sure my two daughters really like having me around more - I’m still at the ‘cool Mum’ stage which won’t last forever (although my mother would beg to differ I'm sure).
100% of my clients have families and have no issues at all about working in this style and having me as their Virtual CMO which is fantastic.
How did I get started?
I was extremely lucky to have a friend, Casey Taylor, owner of The Click Collective, who introduced me to my first 2 clients. I had been planning to work for myself for about 6 months and it was by no way, shape or form a rash decision. I like a plan and feel displaced without one. It was great timing to catch up with Casey for a coffee one day to discover we were both making a big transition professionally - I am so grateful for Casey’s encouragement!
Who else was supportive?
My family. It goes without saying I’m lucky enough to have a great family who help me out all the time, and did before I went into business for myself. I also have a wonderful group of professional and personal friends who always encourage me to do what feels right - as do I them. Some go as far as telling me I’m awesome, even when I’m singing Dancing Queen dancing like I’m 21 again. Those are the friends to surround yourself with when you make changes in your life - you know the ones.
How did I approach it?
I made a planned and open exit from my Trade Me Marketing Manager role. I worked towards my leaving date from my role there ensuring I had delivered all of my requirements to ensure they were in safe hands once I'd left. I was reporting to no 'BS' and hilarious Jaime Monaghan (to this day I still can’t pronounce her last name) so I just call her Jaime M or my BFF, who provided encouragement and support each step of the way.
For those who have known me for one minute or more, you’ll know I’m transparent. There was no way it was going to come as a surprise to my amazing former employer Trade Me. In fact they kindly contracted me back for a Trade Me Jobs project - love those guy
And so it began!
From developing a website, creating a logo, and learning to use accounting software there began a steep learning curve of business owner ‘stuff’.
Since kicking off my business, I have been very lucky to work with some seriously open minded, fun and driven business owners, shareholders and entrepreneurs. They all know digital marketing and platforms have a place in their business. I wouldn’t work any other way for now. It's cemented my view that for any senior digital marketer, it’s really important to be sitting at the decision making table, or within earshot, to learn as much as you can. I also know businesses need this marketing point of view too.
I also grew my team slowly - shout out to Liam who took a punt and was first on board, helping me to deliver great work to my initial clients. Then Martina who helped me lead projects I didn’t have capacity for as the business grew. Things snowballed from there, we now have a range of experience and specialities across the whole marketing spectrum, and increasingly, we’re reaching all corners of the earth too!
My week is a mix of spending time onsite with clients (depending on their needs), and working from home or cafes. I also spend time at my daughter’s dance competitions, practices, cross countries, helping on the school fundraising committee (feel free to donate to our school btw) and reconnecting with friends I'd lost touch with.
Most days it feels like I’m living the dream - and that’s what life is all about - for living the life you want and have the space to dream.