Lucy Wilkes - social media management
Q: Why did you decide to follow this path/business?
A: Social media came about from my time running a print business. I had opened a print shop in Lewes in 2010 and needed to advertise and took to social media (Twitter in particular) and found it very interesting and successful. I then began to talk to my print customers about it - and they asked my advice on how to 'do it'. I then began to work on some training sessions focussing on business social media. These courses ran in Lewes and then for the last 3 years I have worked with The Swift Project helping women in business alongside my private clients and retained business clients.
Q: Has it always been a passion?
A: I was always a natural writer, and so now I write in sound bites rather than essays! Social media hasn't been around for long enough for me to call it a passion but I really love what I do for each of my clients.
Q: When did you decide to follow your passion?
A: I had to make the difficult decision to sell my existing business (The Print Shop) where I had been in a retail environment for 15 years, to follow the social media path. It was very challenging for me to accept that my life had changed (for the better!) and that I was scared of the change from having the security, social interactions and security of my shop; to working on a laptop - just me and my thoughts! Glad to say it was totally the right path, and I may not have been so able to take it without the support of my business mentor.
Q: Were you encouraged at school? Were your talents recognised?
A: My parents did everything to send me to a private school where success was inspired in each person. I was very lucky to have had that experience - but I left at 16 to continue my education in the state system and was completely unprepared for the change. I would say my education came from work - part time work in kitchens through to American Express where I worked in a dream job for many years!
Q: What were the most difficult things to overcome when you decided to try and make money by following your dream rather than getting a job.
A: Chasing invoices, so time consuming! I now have an accountant who is on hand to write heavy handed letters incase people dont pay up - thankfully I have done my time on this and now work with larger companies on retained contracts. You are not alone in worrying that you have made the wrong choice in life - but i try to remember and appreciate the freedom I have to be my own boss and work when I choose. The downside is you have to be very disciplined to do this job - in some ways I could work 24/7 and it stll wouldnt be enough in the fast pace world of social media - so I have learnt to try and switch off client accounts at weekends!
Q: Did you think you would never make it happen? Did you feel you weren’t good enough to make it happen?
A: Always! Still do! New clients come through the system and you have to work out how they work so you can do your job - and usually after 6 weeks I mutter to myself - 'Thats it! I cant do this anymore! 'My job sometimes involves going into companies and taking over the social media from other people who will naturally feel resentment towards me - and I try to make them feel OK and support them in their job..
Q: If so how did you move through those thoughts? For many these thoughts can seem so real and limiting.
A: Take the emotion out of the situation. Look at things rationally. Do the best job you can and be brave enough to say to a client - 'I am not right for you - Thank you but no thanks' I have done that on several occasions and the clients appreciated it!
Q: What do you love most about what you do?
A: Creative freedom! To make a real difference to my clients business and back this up with data! Also when I am training a business and they come back to me a few weeks later saying that they actually 'get it' now and see them moving forward.
Q: I am sure many people must benefit from your service - does this give you even more satisfaction?
A: Absolutely - it is gratifying to have so many testimonials and watch businesses utilise the tools that I have taught them - The Swift Project has been particularly gratifying on this level.
Q: Where do you see yourself in five years time?
A: Hard to say with the increase in bots - ask me next year'!
Contact Lucy here