In this week’s Story Jane Thompson MCIM talks about starting small to build your confidence, and the power of referrals for a small business…

Tell me a little about you & your family, what your business is, and the inspiration behind getting started…

I’m Jane, I am 37 and live near Cambridge. Married with 2 children aged 3 and 7. My business is Thompson Marketing and I specialise in working with social ventures (charities, social enterprises etc). I am inspired by their drive and social purpose and after working in the not for profit sector for over 15 years as a marketing communications manager I wanted to see how freelance life would go. I was prompted to try being freelance after having my second child, as I just couldn’t get the hours to suit me and my family in a job.

How did you make the leap from idea on paper to reality with your business idea?

Started small with 1 client, working 4 hours per week on her educational anxiety tool for children. My client was a parent and had little idea about marketing so I was able to lead her and encourage her whilst reassuring my own confidence that I could do it!

How did you get your first sale or client?

I saw an advert on Indeed posted by a business founder and Mum who was launching an educational tool and it really appealed to me as a parent. I occasionally search Indeed for self employed marketing roles, but generally I now rely on repeat business and regular work from clients along with recommendations/referrals from my clients. There’s nothing like good feedback to get new clients!

What ‘lucky breaks’ or helping hands have you had along the way that have really boosted your progress?

A friend told me of her friend who needed a temporary office manager for a few hours per week. Once we met we realised I could help with marketing projects too and this client helped me go on to secure other clients

What do you LOVE about your business and working for yourself?

Freedom to plan my work around school plays, community work, running the house etc. I like how different every week is. I love the wide variety of clients I have. My day can involve a wide range of marketing activities across diverse sectors such as Impact Finance, community arts, Interfaith, social enterprises, fitness etc etc

What’s the scariest thing you’ve had to do since setting up on your own?

Dealing with rates, insurance, tax return, my own accounts… I felt like all of these were new things to me. I knew some basics, but I learnt a lot of useful tips from online communities – like putting by 30% of my income into an ISA, ready to pay my tax bill.

Who is your support network that you simply couldn’t manage without?

Online Facebook groups like Doing It For The Kids. My friends on the school run keep me connected to my town and local area.

What exciting plans do you have for your business over the next 6-12 months that you’d like to share?

I hope to work closely with organisations that champion the social enterprise sector. I have become a supporting member of Social Enterprise UK.

 

You can follow Jane over on Facebook and Twitter and visit her website here.

Would you like some extra support?

I’m Lucy, a Business Coach, and I help women who work for themselves to focus on their goals and stop feeling overwhelmed by getting results, fast – like more bookings, clients and income. Drop me a message if you’d like a free 30-min clarity call to get a handle on your business plans:

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