We’ve had a wonderful response to our spring interview series, the interviews have been really popular and very insightful. We hope you have enjoyed reading them and finding out more about mothers setting up their own businesses after having children.
Today’s interview post is with Victoria Jackson founder of Andiamo Marketing. Thank you to Victoria for taking the time to answer our interview questions.
Tell us a little bit about you and your business.
I’m a mother of two girls aged 3 and 8 months, and I run a consultancy called Andiamo Marketing, based in Lancaster. “Andiamo” is Italian for “Let’s go” and it represents, for me, enthusiasm & pragmatism – important elements of my approach to my clients’ challenges. I help businesses grow, win more work, and provide their customers with a great service or product.
After having my first daughter, it became clear that a return to my previous job was not going to work for our family as it involved lots of travel and long days. Finding childcare to cover this was going to prove very difficult so I decided to resign and set up on my own.
What did you do before starting your business?
I’d worked for ten years in the property and professional services sectors, most recently with a global construction and design consultancy where I was responsible for marketing and business development within the European arm of the business.
How did you feel when you had just launched your business?
Like a weight had been lifted really. I’d been quite stressed about how I was going to manage returning to work, worrying about juggling everything & leaving my baby. So when I took the plunge, it felt amazing. I also had a fantastic new sense of purpose; I’d grown a bit disillusioned with a big corporate environment and was looking forward to being my own boss and effecting real change in smaller businesses.
What were the main challenges or most important things to learn when you first started?
Personally it was around discipline, planning and allocating time so I could give all my commitments the focus they needed. I didn’t want to be twitching about unanswered emails when I was spending time with my daughter and likewise I needed space and focus to work effectively. This approach has definitely helped as the business has grown, setting clear boundaries between family and work time has made both much more harmonious.
Did you get lots of support from family and friends?
Unfortunately, we have no family living nearby so I couldn’t call on grandparents to fill in any emergency babysitting duties! But, my husband has been wonderfully supportive and I have an incredible support network of friends.
Once you had started how long did it take for you to feel that it was an established business?
One big milestone was definitely my website going live and the arrival of the big pack of business cards. It made it feel real and gave me a massive confidence boost to get out there and talk to people about what I do.
Do you have clients from a variety of businesses and trades?
Yes. Although I specialise in construction and professional services, good marketing principles can be applied to any business. For instance, I’m currently working for a building company and a children’s author – two clients with very different challenges and target markets, but both are benefitting from using marketing to communicate more effectively with their customers.
What services do you offer?
These are all my services:
Marketing strategy, Communications, Proposal management, Business development, Event management, CRM, Online and social media marketing.
Each client would typically draw on a few elements of what I offer based on their individual needs. In practical terms, I might help with launching and marketing a particular new product; re-writing brochures or website copy; helping to increase success in tenders; organising client feedback or just taking the pressure off an in-house team when things get busy.
How can your services help businesses and individuals?
I help my clients prioritise and focus their marketing time and resources, target new markets, maximise opportunities from existing customers and win more business. Many companies want (or need) to grow but are not sure where to start or what to concentrate on. I can help them do this.
Initially, I spend time understanding a client’s business and what they want to achieve. Then we would develop ideas together and I’d help to implement them. It’s really focused on simple, practical steps to deliver measurable results.
What are the best things about running your own business?
Loads of things – the independence to focus on work that I am truly passionate about; the freedom to make decisions and operate in a way I believe in; the buzz I get when I’ve helped someone overcome a challenge and the tangible results that my work has helped produce. I also like the fact that my girls will see me enjoying a career and it’ll inspire them to follow their dreams.
What are the worst?
The late nights, the mummy guilt, and feeling like you’re being torn in lots of different directions. Even the best strategy can’t plan for your child being sick and, as mums, we are often still the ones that are expected to drop everything to look after the kids when this happens. But, this comes with the deal when you’re a working mum.
Is there anything you wished you’d known before you started?
Get some help filing your first tax return. If you know an accountant, pick their brains but otherwise HMRC are really helpful to help you plan and manage your expenses. Organise your finances from the day you set up your business, it will make life much easier come January.
What do you feel has been your greatest achievement so far?
When I look at the journey I’ve made with some of my clients and how my advice has helped grow their businesses. Also, being trusted and accepted as part of a client’s team is a great compliment for a consultant.
Any memorable stories you would like to share with us?
I think discretion would prevent me from covering any specifics but, a good sense of humour and healthy degree of ‘not taking yourself too seriously’ is the name of the game in my job. One day I might be pitching to a management board to sign off a multi-million pound investment, the next, I might find myself blowing up last minute balloons for a client’s event. As a consultant, you step into your client’s shoes and become their wingman when things get tough, if that means blowing up balloons, then go with it.
If you weren’t running your own business what do you think you would be doing?
I feel like I was born to do this job so can’t really imagine doing anything else. But, I do enjoy creating my own baby-friendly recipes so maybe I’d be writing a cooking for kids book.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
We live on the North Lancashire coast so are lucky enough to have an incredible outdoors which we love exploring. I enjoy photography and have been learning Italian, albeit extremely slowly – it’s my dream to retire to Sicily and this is the first step.
What advice would you give to other mums thinking about starting up their own business?
Research your target markets, develop a strong idea about your brand and the value you can offer, invest in a good graphic designer to help you translate this to your website and visual identity, and of course, find a good marketing consultant
What plans do you have for your business in the future?
I’m just starting to upscale the business again after taking a break since June last year when my second daughter was born. Although I’ve retained some clients I’m enjoying getting out there and talking to some potential new ones. Lancaster is benefiting from significant investment and regeneration at the moment so it’s great news for the local economy and a good time to be doing business in the city.
Where can we find out more about Andiamo Marketing?
Click to see more Interviews on morethanmummies.com
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