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Where are you based?
Leeds, UK

What job do you do?
The Social Media Geek – Business owner and Social media manager

How did you get into marketing/communications?
If I’m honest, it was something I practically fell into.

During the recession (more on that later), I struggled to find a secure job and ended up working at an accountancy firm in Leicester as a marketing assistant. I had managed their social media account very successfully and got a bit of a taste of social media marketing. Up until 2013 I worked a series of short term roles at multiple different places from construction to tech businesses. Even though the work often short term contracts or tempory, I learned so much about social marketing, SEO and marketing in a very short amount of time.

I really got fed up with relying on others for work opportunities and still had a burning passion for helping businesses to grow their social media presence. In the end, I decided to set up on my own as a freelancer and never looked back. Now I run my own small agency in Leeds!

What are you most proud of in your career as a marketing/communications professional?
I am proud of starting my business under such difficult circumstances. A year into my business, my partner started a new job in Leeds so I moved the business up North. Starting again was really scary but it also opened so many doors. I was headhunted to be the world’s first Digital Garage from Google trainer. Delivering free digital skills training on behalf of Google has been incredibly rewarding. I ended up delivering digital marketing training at the Excel Centre to over 350 people. It was terrifying but brilliant.

How has marketing/communications helped the organisations you’ve worked for?
I have been able to help small businesses to grow to have a national audience. I don’t believe that good marketing should only be for big businesses who have a ton of money behind them. I keep my prices competitive so even small start-ups can get help with their digital marketing. I have helped clients develop leads or pull in huge contracts with digital marketing. In the space of a year, I have doubled or even tripled their online visibility.

What challenges have you overcome on your professional journey to where you are today?
I graduated from university in 2008 with a BSc in Media Production at De Montfort Uni in Leicester. With the recession it is still on record as being one of the worst years ever to graduate. Businesses were closing and it was incredibly difficult to secure a well-paying job. I come from a working-class background and the first person in my family to go to uni, this should have been an amazing time in my life but in fact, the next four years were awful.

My parents had split up and downsized, meaning I couldn’t move back home to Nottingham or ask for their help. I was constantly in and out of jobcentre as there were so few permanent roles available. To save money, I was living with students but they were all about to graduate and leaving the shared house. My financial situation meant that I was about to be made homeless.

As you can imagine with all this going on, I ended up with severe anxiety. I ended up having a mental breakdown at my newest job…so they told me to go home and not come back. My anxiety was now playing a huge factor in being able to work. Eventually, I realised that working for myself would be a more secure option. I could control my workload and I could manage my anxiety. It’s not been easy and I have had to work long hours for little pay to start with but it has all been worth it. I now own my own home and have people working for me, something I never could have imagined during my worst times.

Do you have any words of wisdom for someone starting out in the marketing/communications industry?
Keep going and have faith in your skills. It’s so easy to compare yourself to everyone else (esp on social) but find that one thing you love and become a master of it.

Where can we find you online?           

Linkedin

Website

Twitter

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