In October, Business of the Month had joint winners, Helen Bowman of In The Detail and Lauren McWilliams of For You Photography. Here we talk to Helen Bowman to find out a little bit more about her business…
What does your business do / offer?
In The Detail is all about words. My background is in PR and marketing and I’ve always loved writing and language. When I moved back home from East Anglia in 2006 I decided to cherry pick my favourite aspects of PR (writing, editing and proofreading) and set up as a freelance writer.
More than 13 years later and I work with loads of different organisations, large and small, to put the heart in their business words. Writing, editing and proofreading anything from web copy, blog posts and newsletters to articles, brochure copy and social media content. I’ve even edited a couple of novels along the way, which I love.
What made you set up on your own?
I was working in PR down in East Anglia when my relationship broke down and I moved home to the North East.
At the time I had the choice of getting a full-time job and a mortgage or moving back in with my parents and starting out on my own. Thankfully I have amazingly supportive parents and that’s the route I decided on.
I’d always wanted to work for myself and, planning for the future, I wanted the flexibility of being my own boss to work around a family. It’s worked out fantastically in that regard because I can work the hours I choose and still spend time with my family during school holidays, attend school concerts and help out on the occasional school trip too.
What have you found the biggest challenge to date?
The biggest challenge is maintaining a balance of carrying out the work and getting out and about to promote my business. Networking and referrals are by far the best way to bring new work in to my business, but when I’m busy actually doing my clients’ work, it’s difficult to give over the time to networking and talking to potential new customers face to face.
I’ve made sure to book in two or three networking events every month though, so I can ensure I get out and speak to people.
What do you find most rewarding about running your business?
I’ve always wanted to work for myself so running In The Detail is a dream come true for me. I have a young family, so being my own boss allows me to be flexible around them.
The ability to make all my own decisions about the direction of the business is (while slightly daunting, sometimes) liberating and I thrive on the challenge of keeping my business running smoothly.
What makes North Tyneside a good place to run a business?
I just love the place.
North Tyneside is home and I feel so lucky to be able to run my business here too. The support available to small businesses like mine is incredible and the networking opportunities are many and varied as well.
I’ve built up a brilliant network of people in the local area and I know that if I need advice or support, there’s always someone around who can help me, or at least point me in the right direction.
What one piece of advice would you offer to somebody looking to set out in business?
Get out and network as much as you can. Meet other businesses and explain how you help your customers. Use social media when you can’t get out to face to face meetings and be open and honest about how you do business.
Keep communicating with your audience and take every opportunity to highlight what you’re doing on a day to day basis.
You can find out more about In The Detail at Helen’s website.
Want to nominate yourself or others for North Tyneside Business of the Month? Here’s how…
In no more than 280 characters, let us know about the North Tyneside business you would like to nominate as North Tyneside Business of the Month using the hashtag #NTCBiz. Examples of great reasons a business could win are increased turnover, new employee/s, winning a new contract, taking on new premises, community support, running a successful event or delivering excellent customer service.
The winner will receive a 3 hour Marketing Strategy session, their story added to the Business Factory website to raise their profile and encourage others, a pinned Facebook post on Business Factory Facebook page, tweets about the business by Business Factory Twitter account as well as our other social media platforms.
Nominations can be tweeted to The Business Factory using the #NTCBiz, posted on its Facebook page or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org