Emma Beck, who set up Lollipop PR, shares her story with us about why she decided to set up her own business, the challenges she’s faced and her tips and advice.
Visit the “Free Stuff” section of the Lollipop PR website and read guides, such as, “Contacting the Media”.
For help with your PR you can contact Emma here.
What does your business do?
My company is Lollipop PR – and our job is to make our clients famous. We do this by connecting our clients with audiences, creating chatter, building their brands and increasing market share. We cover a wide range of sectors but focus primarily on consumer brands, education clients and small business support. The website is www.lollipop-pr.com and you can follow me on Twitter at @lollipopprlady, where I can be found at some very odd hours of the night!
What made you decide to start your own business?
I’ve spent 20 years working in consumer and big brand PR, but was headhunted a few years ago to work for an education consultancy, which gave me a real insight into how schools worked, and I loved it. Now I can choose to balance my client list across national brands mixed with schools and a number of small businesses too. It’s all about having creative and coherent conversations for my clients – and that applies to a business creating a place in the community or a school getting more pupils through the doors just as much as it does to a national brand launching a major awareness campaign.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Not being able to put the laptop down at midnight, often trying to do my accounts or other stuff that just took up a lot of my time.
I often feel bad that I don’t network more than I do but have to remind myself that one of the other major motivations for setting up my own business was to be able to enjoy being a mum – and that does mean being there for breakfast and bedtime.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I’m still working some pretty odd hours – but it’s my choice to do so. And there’s usually pretty awful telly on anyway!
I also got a good accountant – I just cannot get excited about filling a tax return and, in the time it would take for me to do it myself, I could have got a new client to cover the cost of professional help.
What advice or tips would you give to other business owners?
Join the social media community – and really commit to it. I’ve met so many genuinely great people, and garnered a fair few business opportunities through Twitter and Linkedin.
Don’t be afraid to turn business down if you have a real gut feeling that it’s not right – you’ll usually be right. And I’m a big believer in client chemistry – life really is too short to work for someone you really don’t like or respect (and they will think you work for them, rather than with them!)
Use PR – obviously! So many small businesses think that they have to advertise, print fliers or spend a fortune on a website but will ignore PR because they’re unsure about how to talk to the media. If you need or want to do it yourself there’s a lot of help and advice online that you can access (including in the Free Stuff section on my website) and it can have a big impact on a business very quickly.
What’s your favourite quote?
This just makes me hold my head up a little bit higher whenever I read it. “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
— Dr. Seuss (Oh, the Places You’ll Go!)
Who inspires you?
Camilla Batmanghelidjh, Founder and Director of Kids Company in London, who has dedicated pretty much her whole life to helping vulnerable children and young people.
There are no easy solutions to the problems she’s trying to tackle but she’s giving hope and love to so many kids who’ve fallen through the gaps in the system and would be at rock bottom without her.
And my parents – who are the kindest, least selfish people I know and have never stopped being proud of me.