How to be the most resourceful possible
Lauren Hamilton is the founder of marketing agency Digital Narrative. She shares some really practical tips on how to maximize exposure for your business, create a content strategy that is not overwhelming and win at networking.
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Do you recommend being an employee and business owner at the same time?
“It's not easy. I don't know to be honest if I would recommend it to the extent that I'm doing it. I think it's a great idea if you can find a two day a week job. Mine's four days a week, really that's too much. I have to work one day in the week and every weekend I have to get up early. At the moment I'm getting up at five to work for two hours before I start my day for my day job.
I don't think that's for everybody but there was a really good reason for me to do that and to be honest I've done everything backwards in my career and this is just no exception.
I really fell into having my business Digital Narrative just through starting out freelancing when I was on maternity leave. I think it is a common situation for a lot of women but what that led to was brewing impostor syndrome. Part of wanting to get a day job was partly wanting to benchmark my skills or validate what I knew by working for someone else in a ‘real job’.
During lockdown I was just sick of being in my own head and my own space. I wanted an office and I wanted to go someplace, and I wanted to get that validation or do something that was separate to me that was outside of my own business after a decade and test my skill in the big bad world. It's been incredibly validating and excellent from that perspective but the pace is grueling and it's a great idea but you've got to probably cap at it no more than maybe two or three days a week. Unfortunately, this job that I fell in love with is fantastic. I wanted to work in the sustainability space. I wanted a really inspiring energizing sort of start-up vibe and team and that's what I've got and I love it so I keep doing both, but it is hard.”
What's something that you've put in place to help you cope with all of that?
“I try to strip all of the extraneous stuff just to do what I really needed to do. Stop feeling so guilty if I miss an assembly or be realistic. You can't do absolutely everything because I have two children as well and just to put your energy where you can. I try to just do one thing every day to move my business forward even if that's only sending one email so I just have that realistic goal for myself. “
Do you think there are benefits to employees running their own business or having a ‘side-hustle’?
“I think the resourcefulness you learn as a small business owner you can't learn that in a corporate environment. When you've always worked in corporate from what I can see, the solution is to spend money to fix the problem.
When you're a small business owner it’s different. My business is working with other small business owners, on my instagram profile I call myself the small business marketing queen, because I market myself, I market my clients, I live in the small business world.
You become so resourceful. There are so many ways you can do things without money or with a small budget and that makes you really adaptable and able to get things done that you might not be if you've always just been able to call that department and if you offload that problem.”
What’s a foolproof way of getting visibility for a small business?
“I love networking. I've found a lot of visibility through various different groups. Mums & Co was the first one I joined and I found success and I found community through that. I've looked for opportunities to be part of other communities elsewhere and to put my hand up to be involved because to me it’s a great way of getting your message across. It feels more authentic to me, it feels more enjoyable to me. The side benefits of it are so great that you meet friends. I've met lifelong friends now from Mums & Co and I think that that's been a big part of my success with visibility.
The two other things that I've done to improve visibility for my business is to really focus on my website. My Digital Narrative dot com site is fully optimized and I add an optimized blog to that every month with a focus on a keyword that my small business audience are searching for.
That has led to a lot of inbound leads just coming via the website to contact us and we've worked with many of them over the years. Akin to that is guest blogging and collaborating. Guest blogging is great for your SEO. Contributing a blog to somebody else's website or a new site is also great for your networking you’re connected to that business then so it really joins them both together and those are probably the three things I've done most consistently.”
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