Name of Business: New Life Marketing
Your Name and Age: Michala Levett, 35 years
Tell us about your family: I’m married to Paul who started his business in Dec 2009 – Levett Surveying – he is a Land and Measured Building Surveyor. We have two children.Reuben is 4 and Anya is nearly 10 months. Two businesses and two children! (and 2 cars, 2 cats…). we live in Hereford and started our businesses so that we could have flexible time with our children and also encourage a mindset in our children that ‘nothing is impossible’.
What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition?
I started in sales (with London ad Agencies) but got to the point where I needed to get out of the big smoke and settle down. I landed a fantastic Marketing job with npower (gas and electricity) and was there for over 5 years. By the time I left I was campaign Manager in the retention department managing all the billing marketing communications to over 6 million customers. I was involved in strategy, research and campaign analysis and market planning. After taking voluntary redundancy I chose to take a part time job as I concentrated on what I wanted to do next. I actually fell pregnant and continued to work part time for a local council doing their promotions until we moved to Hereford. Hereford is a rural city and marketing opportunities were hard to come by on the terms I wanted. I decided to go freelance and within two weeks got my first client. I continued to work with this client as an interim marketing manager for over a year and also worked with other local businesses. I then became pregnant again and since having Anya I am now taking my freelance business forward targetting start ups and small businesses. My vision is to not only coach business owners on applying foundational marketing principles and strategies, but also to provide the motivation, inspiration and encouragement needed to succeed.
When did you launch?
How did you get started?
With my laptop, a friend as a designer to design my logo, many evenings with friends and bottles of wine discussing straplines, and a Mr Site template for a website (which temporarily I am still optimising)
What research did you do before launching?
I did a search on the internet to see what other marketing agencies were in my area and saw that there were not any that promoted themselves as freelance support which emphasises affordable marketing help without compromising on expertise and quality.
How have you funded the business?
My costs were very little apart from budgetting our family outgoings while I established a consistent flow of work
How do you promote your business? What has worked best?
I always have my business card on me. I write on a blog site and have recently started sharing my thoughts through this and ‘tweeting’. I recognise that this type of promotion is a long term commitment and still hope to see long term returns from this. I network with other businesses and also rely on referrals from clients. I have found referrals to date most effective but I’m not relying on this alone to grow my business
What has worked well about your business?
My husband and I can work our businesses around the family life. We also both know the ups and downs of running a businesses so we motivate each other. Helping my husband develop his business also helps me to pass first hand experience down to my clients. As I am now starting to focus my attention on start ups and small businesses I feel I am well positioned to offer first hand advice and support plus the inspiration.
What has been your biggest challenge so far? How have you dealt with it?
I believe the biggest stumbling block to success is the way we think. I often have to talk to myself and choose my thoughts wisely to not sabotage my own success. When you are building a business it is a challenge to ensure you continue in the right mindset and ‘believe’ the right things about yourself and what you are capable of achieving. This is something which I also focus on with my clients
How do you fit in work with the family?
My husband and I often have to work in the evenings as he runs a business too. we open a bottle of wine and work in the same room so we don’t feel we’re missing out on each other! To balance this out we will often take an afternoon off together and / or with the kids and treat ourselves to coffee and milkshakes at the cafe! We try and juggle our diaries round each other but Reuben also has preschool and Anya has a couple of days in a nursery.
What advice would you give to someone else wanting to work in this area?
One of the biggest challenges as a women and mum is that we often wait to feel like we know enough or have enough experience and confidence before we step out. I think it’s what we believe that is more important than what we know and I would recommend anyone to really evaluate why you want to do it and that will fuel your vision.
I can offer an initial free consultation and 10% discount for Family Friendly Working readers