We have worked with Holly from Honest Communications on various jobs PR and social media content is a huge part of making a business Successful. We asked her to tell us about how she started out in business, here is her story.
Honest Communications is a PR, social media and content creation agency based in Derby. I launched the business two years ago and we’re now a team of four with our client base spanning as far as Holland. We specialise in helping brands in the home, garden and sustainable living sectors to communicate with their target customers and gain new ones. Alongside that, we work with local businesses to help with their PR and news announcements, as well as creating content including blogs, case studies and website copy.
Before launching Honest, I was working at a PR agency where I was in a management role, leading the team while also being involved in the day to day running of the business. It was through that side of the work that I realised I wanted to run my own business to be able to shape things exactly how I envisioned them. In doing that I realised how many different skills are required for running a business and how much there is to juggle, all while keeping clients happy, but that was a challenge I was desperate to take on.
Before starting up on my own, I weighed up my options for a long time before finally taking the plunge in November 2018. I was toying with the idea of working part-time while building up the business slowly but decided that if I wasn’t able to give it my all then I wouldn’t get the results that I wanted.
I chose to work for myself because I wanted the flexibility and autonomy to make my own choices and to bring my vision to life without having to confer with other people or be told I wasn’t able to do something!
The best thing about running my own business is the sense of reward and achievement that I get from it all. It’s by no means easy and has involved far more work and grit that I ever realised, but it’s absolutely worth it.
I get the biggest sense of achievement when we get new client enquiries from people seeing the work that we do or hearing about us and wanting to work with us because of it. It makes it worthwhile to know that people see the value in our work, that they love what Honest does!
The hardest moment I’ve faced in business so far was earlier this year when lockdown hit. There was so much uncertainty, I had no idea which clients would stay afloat financially and which would have to strip back the work they needed, so it made any form of forecasting impossible. I drew up a contingency plan, looking at costs and making sure that the business was secure. Fortunately, it was. As a young business I knew we were potentially vulnerable, but fortunately we were able to weather the storm and, because of it, have built stronger relationships with clients who appreciated our support and flexibility throughout it all.
The two main things I’ve learnt while running my own business that I’d pass onto someone thinking of doing it for themselves, would be to build a strong network they can rely on and to be prepared for some late nights!
The next thing I’m focussing on to develop the business is the launch of a new Brand Voice service. We are constantly seeing disjointed messages from brands across their communications, which we’ve seen escalate even more this year with marketing jobs perhaps falling on people who aren’t usually involved with that side of the business. We’re working with a few brands on this at the moment and can’t wait to do more of this in the future!
There have been a couple of times when I have felt like quitting – fortunately just a couple of blips though! It can take time for things to build in the early days, and to win the right kind of work. There can be brief moments when I question if it’s worth it, particularly at the end of a stressful week. But then I stop and take a moment to reflect on what the business has achieved so far and what could be possible in the future and it makes it all feel worthwhile and gears me up to go again!
The advice I’d give to someone starting a new business would be not to be scared to ask for help and to turn to other business owners for advice. You’ll be surprised how many people have been through similar situations and it gives some peace of mind knowing that they’ve come through it!
It’s really hard to switch off from the business. That’s one of the most notable factors between being employed and doing it for yourself. It’s always there and there’s always something to be done, but it’s important to take time away from it too. Switching off from it all is still something I’m learning to do but (lockdown allowing!) seeing friends and family and getting outdoors to step away from the screen really helps!
The greatest advantage of running your own business is that you have the power to make it absolutely want you want it to be, and to make your vision a reality.