Your Name and Age: Lidia Rumley, 40.
Tell us about your family: I’m married with two young sons, aged 4 and 6.
What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition?
I’ve worked in PR in the videogames industry for the past 18 years. It’s been a really exciting career journey, but more recently I wanted a change of direction and started thinking about using my skills and experience to launch my own PR business. I’ve found the transition easier and smoother than I had imagined. I did a lot of background research and planning before I decided to launch the business and I think that this really helped.
When did you launch?
I only recently launched in July 2013, and have been lucky enough to have two clients on board since launch. One is a gaming company, where I have had the opportunity to represent some former colleagues. And the other is a footwear and clothing company, run by two sisters, one of whom is a fellow mumpreneur!
Over the course of the past year, I noticed a considerable growth in small and creative businesses. Simply browsing on Facebook, I saw company after company popping up, many of them launched by mumpreneurs amongst others. As a working mother myself, I understand the challenges that working life can bring and I understood why so many other talented women were choosing to launch their own businesses so they could continue to utilise their skills and experience, when being employed by a company wasn’t a viable option for them.
As these were businesses that I had a personal interest in and could relate to, I started to think about how enjoyable it would be to give companies like these a voice and a profile. After a lot of consideration, I decided to turn those thoughts into reality.
As I said, before deciding to go it alone I conducted quite a lot of research amongst a range of small businesses. I wanted to understand how PR was perceived and how important people felt it was to their business. I was overwhelmed by the speed and volume of responses I received. In general, people understood that PR provided them with a strong and credible way to put their businesses in front of potential consumers, particularly when budgets for advertising and other forms of marketing were tight. This led me to conclude that there was a market to offer a range of PR services and social media support to small businesses, and that I could add value by offering senior level expertise at cost-effective rates. And so Light Switch was born! I’d love to hear from any small business owners reading this, who feel they could benefit from the services I offer.
What’s your favourite thing about running your own business?
I’ve definitely enjoyed the freedom and flexibility that running my own business has given me. I still have to get the job done of course, but I’m able to do it in a way that works for my family and me and that’s important. Creating a work/life balance after you have had children isn’t always easy. I work for many reasons, but not least because I want to be a positive role model for my children when they are older and developing their own careers. At the same time it’s always been important for me to have a strong presence in their lives, especially while they are small. I think this is giving me the best of both worlds.
What’s the thing you least enjoy about running your own business?
To be honest, right now I’m on a steep learning curve and so I’m really enjoying all the things I am learning about running my own business. It can be daunting getting started but I wouldn’t change this experience for anything. Ask me in again in twelve months!
What has worked well about your business?
Getting the chance to be hands-on again, after a number of years of being in a management role. I love the wide variety of activities involved in the day of a PR. From speaking to media, creating strategic plans and consulting on social media strategies to monitoring coverage and working alongside clients’ other partner agencies – no two days are the same and that keeps life interesting. Having previously worked in-house in one particular industry, I’m also really enjoying the client side of the business in terms of speaking to people from a range of industries and learning about their individual businesses.
What’s been your biggest business mistake? How did you deal with it?
Thankfully there haven’t been any to date. But it’s early days and I daresay mistakes will be made at some point. That said, I always work with care, diligence and integrity and keeping these values close at heart has always served me well in the past.
How do you fit in work with the family? Is your partner supportive of your business?
Since launching the company, I have been able to fit my workload in well around my family commitments. I have strong support around me from my husband and family when I need it, as well as having found some great childcare facilities. I’ve found holiday clubs which cater to my children’s interests and which they enjoy attending, and they go to a fabulous school, which luckily offers a variety of after school activities and wrap around care. Like many other people in my situation, I work when I need to so that includes conducting research, writing pitches or answering emails at night, or on the weekends. But as I love what I do and I feel lucky to have been able to launch my own business, this isn’t a huge issue for me. In many respects, running your own business is a lot harder than working for someone else, but it’s also a lot more rewarding.
Would you ever give up your business to do something else?
I don’t have any plans to do so at the moment. This is the next step in the career path I have always followed and I’m still immensely passionate about what I do.
Have you had your ‘I’ve made it’ moment? Tell us about it. If not when do you think it will come
Having only just recently launched, I would say not yet. But it feels like there have already been so many milestones and small victories along the way, and that helps to spur you on in the early days.
Where do you hope to be in five years time?
Doing this, but with a bigger client base and a team of people working with me.
You can find more information about my business by visiting my website at www.lightswitchpr.co.uk
Please stop by for a look!