Interview by Edward Hothersall

Edward: Tell me a little about your education, A levels, Degree etc.

Hannah: I did an apprenticeship when I left school at 16 whilst working in an I.T department of a discount retail chain’s Head Office. I completed Business Administration Level 2 and 3. As a result of my hard work, I won Apprentice of the Year and Advanced Business Services Apprentice of the Year. I have 6 A-C GCSE’s. No A Levels or Degree.

Edward: What made you decide to leave your old job and pursue your own business?

Hannah: I was offered an opportunity by an award- winning London PR agency working with incredible skincare and aesthetic brands to be their social media manager. The opportunity was not full time so I decided that I would launch my own business, working as a freelancer, using the remainder of the 16 hours per week I was offered, to find other clients to fill the working week. I wanted to take the risk as the opportunity to work with the brands the agency did felt like a one-off.

Edward: Did you always have an idea of what you wanted to do? Did you always know you wanted to start your own business?

Hannah: I’ve always said from a young age that I would start my own business one day but truthfully I had no idea how or when. The opportunity arose and I snatched it with both hands and made what I have today of it.

Edward: How did you come up with the idea for Jermedia?

Hannah: Jermedia is currently the name of my freelance business. I knew starting my own business was the only option when the opportunity to work with the PR agency came up, as I didn’t want to only be working part-time. I launched the business and advertise myself as a freelancer, providing expert advise in social media marketing. However, I am working towards my end goal of owning my own digital marketing agency. So hopefully, one day, Jermedia will be a fully fledged, successful agency not only working with companies for social media management but also other aspects of marketing such as SEO, website design etc.

Edward: Did you have any knowledge of the sector you were operating in?

Hannah: I’d like to think so haha! Despite having no physical qualifications in social media marketing, I have a wealth of knowledge as it is my passion and what I have done for 5 years now. I enjoy reading industry updates and keeping myself informed on what’s hot and what’s not!

Edward: Which are the most enjoyable aspects of the job, for you?

Hannah: I love the flexibility that comes with being a freelancer. I get to work from home with my dog, I can have lunch with my mum, choose the hours I work and I don’t even have to get dressed If I don’t want to! I love having the option and it is one of the luxuries of owning your own business. I feel extremely lucky to work with the brands and people I do and I really enjoy sourcing and creating content for them and watching their platforms grow. It makes all of my hard work behind the scenes worth-while!

Edward: Similarly, which are the least enjoyable?

Hannah: I find working from home super isolating sometimes. I left a bustling agency with lots of young people to work from a very quiet and extremely lonely atmosphere. It can be hard to motivate yourself sometimes. Generally speaking, I am a ‘go-getter’ type but we all have days where things feel a bit more of a struggle and working from home can have it’s distractions too so sometimes things don’t always get done as quickly as they should. From experience, working with people in the past who have not had much of a clue about social media, it is very frustrating to have to justify a lot of things and manage people’s expectations about what they can expect from social media (results wise). It can be difficult when every person with a Facebook account thinks they can do your job! It’s more than posting statuses and tweets all day!

Edward: How long did it take from the initial start-up to getting the product on the market?

Hannah: I handed my notice in one month before starting my first day with the PR agency. I pretty much purchased my laptop and away I went!

Edward: How do people hear about your company? Through advertising? Or do you rely on word-of-mouth?

Hannah: The goal is to work on a word of mouth basis (which happens with the agency I work with now) but aside from this, I also promote my services predominantly via social media posts and Facebook paid advertising.

Edward: Did you seek professional help at any point?

Hannah: No. I am in contact with an accountant, that's it. However, I am lucky enough to be surrounded by incredible business owners who I learn a lot from.

Edward: Was this venture personal at all or did you just find a gap in the market?

Hannah: I want to be the best, most effective digital marketing service in Norfolk so I guess that’s the gap I found. There isn’t any agency in Norwich that I would like to work for. Agencies feel like such a conveyor belt now. There is no time or care put into work and people aren’t trained enough. It’s not about general marketing knowledge and having a degree in it, it’s about knowing the “now” as social media changes so quickly. Agencies don’t seem to catch onto trends fast enough and I think being reactive is vital. So I’d like to provide that to businesses.

Edward: What would your typical day look like?

Hannah: My typical day, if I’m honest, is a LOT different to what I had planned. I wanted to set an alarm, get up, do a work out, eat a healthy breakfast and then start the day at my desk. In fact, I wake up, sit at at my desk with my laptop and get cracking with a bowl of Weetabix in my dressing gown. The glam reality! Content creation for all brands, checking social media platforms for comments and messages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), run any reporting and create any reports that are due, reply to my emails, update my brand’s Instagram stories. That’s the average day for me.

Edward: Has this changed much since the start?

Hannah: I’ve tried to become more aware of my time management. As time goes on, you begin to analyse the best ways of working.

Edward: Have you any aims for the next year or two?

Hannah: As mentioned above, the ultimate aim is to expand and hopefully become a digital marketing agency.

Edward: Is there any part of the business that you would like to improve on?

Hannah: I would like to extend my knowledge on Facebook adverts. I feel there are so many options and I always want to feel comfortable in what I’m doing.

Edward: What are the primary attributes someone would have to have to become an entrepreneur and start up a business?

Hannah: Risk taker, positive thinker, motivated, driven, organised, problem solver.

Edward: What would you attribute your success to?

Hannah: Dedicating many, many late nights to my work, always doing my best and taking pride in my work. I have also spent the majority of my time working in this industry creating and maintaining good relationships with my clients to ensure they feel at ease and have confidence in me representing their brand online.

Edward: What would you change if you could start all over again?

Hannah: I wouldn’t change anything. Cliché but everything does shape what you have now. So if things go wrong, you make them right and sometimes better and if they didn’t go wrong in the first place, you wouldn’t be able to improve on thing so well as many you wouldn’t notice.

Edward: What would be your recommendations to someone wanting to start a business in the same industry?

Hannah: Work hard, keep up with the industry news, maintain good and consistent client relationships, always ensure content is professional looking and represents the brand in accordance to their brand guidelines.