Today I have decided to share with you an interview with a special kind of person. I have been lucky enough to have been taken under Chloe’s wing over the summer for work experience and I thought it would be interesting to interview her. She is the MD of her own PR and Marketing consultancy, Bumble & Bloom Media. I first heard about Chloe through a twitter conversation about finding a bloggers list for those in the North East however since then I have learnt that she has quickly become one of the most inspiring people that I have met! Within a year of setting up her business she has won many awards including The Guardian’s ‘Rising Star’ Award 2014, Digital Business Of The Year at the Sage Northern Star Awards 2015 and was officially recognised by The Guardian’s Start-Ups Of The Year 2014.
Can you tell us a bit about Bumble & Bloom Media?
“Bumble & Bloom Media is the PR and Digital Marketing Consultancy I launched in October 2014. Bumble & Bloom Media is a completely different concept to some of the North East’s most respected and established PR or marketing agencies – we are an extra pair of hands, a trusted advice service to give our clients peace of mind by saving them time and money when it comes to raising awareness of their businesses and reaching out to existing customers and new ones.”
Where did the idea to start Bumble & Bloom come from?
“I’d secretly daydreamed about running my own business growing up, but it wasn’t until I had worked as a journalist for two years and a sales and marketing communications assistant for an independent business before studying English Literature at university that I found myself with a key set of skills that small business owners in particular would really benefit from access to. After taking the plunge and leaving journalism to work freelance as a copywriter for businesses to test my theory, starting my own business was a natural, obvious progression as I was having the most fun and rewarding experience.”
Who has been your biggest help or inspiration?
“I started Bumble & Bloom a year ago at the age of 23 which felt incredibly young to start a business. I had a really detrimental habit of telling myself that only “grown-ups” could start a business and be successful in doing so, but what I failed to realise at the time was that I was already grown-up and more than capable enough to do just that.
It’s thanks to local enterprise agencies like Project North East and free courses on everything digital from building WordPress websites and SEO that inspired me to keep on learning, keep on pushing myself out of my comfort zone and giving me valuable advice and support along the way.”
What do you like about your work so far?
“That anything is possible. Bumble & Bloom Media has evolved so much in just a short space of time, but always for the better. Whether it’s working with new clients on exciting new projects, being published in a book or winning the awards I have been very lucky to have won so early on in my business journey. Getting to manage your own time/schedule will never get old either – in theory if I never want to work a Monday again I never have to!”
What’s the best thing about being your own boss?
“I get to be as ambitious as I like, which sounds odd because before I started my business I didn’t necessarily consider myself wildly ambitious. Of course I wanted to get a good job and work hard to get promoted etc and work my way up the career ladder, but suddenly I feel like the world truly is my oyster and all those positive, motivational quotes you always like on social media are talking to you almost! When you are your own boss the only person in your way, or stopping you from achieving your dreams is usually just yourself.”
What challenges have you faced with Bumble & Bloom? Is there anything that you would have done differently?
“I work with up to 20 clients at any one time; sometimes even more, which is essentially like having 20 part time jobs in one month! There are days when I’ll reply to one email and six pop back in its place from various other people, or I’ll wake up refreshed, check my phone and have something crazy like 163 emails which can be overwhelming. I’m also really terrible at taking days off, these days I find it difficult to switch off. I can no longer binge on Netflix and very, very rarely “indulge” in lazy days in my pyjamas unless I’m exhausted or ill because my mind is constantly thinking – “Oh, this could be finished, or this needs doing” so watching TV seems like a waste of time which could be spent completing various tasks on my to-do list. I care a lot about my clients and their businesses, which I think is why I find it hard to put myself first sometimes even when they tell me off for working so much or working so late!”
Have you ever thought about giving up? What stopped you?
“Not even once! It took me a long time to find the courage to leave journalism and the safety of a full time, respectable job but even in the early days when I was still establishing myself and not earning a lot of money for example, I seem to have this accelerator pedal inside me so even when I’m exhausted or have writer’s block I push on, because I am having the best time of my life with Bumble & Bloom and there are always exciting new opportunities that pop up which instantly renew my energy or creativity.”
Where do you see Bumble & Bloom going in the next five years?
“I’d love to run more workshops, helping de-mystify how to use social media and create amazing marketing strategies for people’s businesses or blogs for example. I tested the water and hosted a one-off “Blooming Marvellous PR and Marketing” workshop in June which sold out, so I added a second session a week later in case anyone else wanted to come along and that sold out in just over an hour!
I often daydream about having my own office, it’s going to be a very Pinterest-worthy office! I’d love it to be in an old rustic converted barn or beautiful scenic location – somewhere I could bring my dogs to sit beside me while I work and have space to meet clients. The best of both worlds!”
How do you manage to keep a work/life balance?
“Truthfully I’m still trying. Some days I am absolutely on fire – my paperwork and emails are all answered, my desk is tidy, my to-do list ticked off…. And the next I can be manically typing at 10pm at night because I’ve had a burst of creativity or a full day of meetings and haven’t done any work or answered an email all day.”
What’s your favourite thing to do when your not working?
“I’m not your average 24 year old; I adore flowers and the outdoors so often go for a wander to the beach with my dogs, or drive up Alnwick Garden or a nearby National Trust property to wander around their gardens if it’s a nice day. I love a spa break – so am slowly working my way around the region’s spas when funds allow and have a terrible weakness for handbags so like to go shopping to treat myself after working hard!”
Is there any advice that you would give to aspiring students who are interested in freelance PR work?
“It can be hard; especially when you’re faced with job rejection letters or don’t get answers to your work experience requests but stay open minded. Having a blog definitely helped me build a brand presence and a social media following, which helped even more so when I came to launch my business so try think outside of the box and be resourceful. Sometimes the best jobs are the ones you didn’t even know existed.”
I would like to take the opportunity to say thank you to Chloe for giving me an insight into the world of freelance work. What’s your opinions on freelance work or would you prefer to work in an agency?