I am Natalie Trice I’m 45 and live by the sea in Devon with my husband, two sons (10 and 12) and our dog, Dotty.
What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition?
After teaching English in Japan, I forged a successful PR career in London working on local, regional, UK, EMEA and global levels, managing Pan European teams, mentoring staff and exceeding board level expectations time and again.
From media parties on Red Square to animal antics at London Zoo, I worked my creative magic for Adobe, Animal Planet, Cartoon Network, Discovery Channel, Hewlett-Packard and many, many more organisations. With a first-class portfolio to my name, strategic skills under my belt and an impressive contact book on my desk, I became an independent consultant in 2007 and have never looked back.
Today I work with a range of entrepreneurs and businesses, and as well as retained clients, I also mentor and train people at PR School so they can do their own PR with confidence, and results.
When did you launch?
I launched my consultancy business, Natalie Trice Consultancy (Tally PR in the early days) 13 years ago when I became pregnant with my first son. PR School was created in February 2018 and has gone from strength to strength ever since. I now have a free Facebook group (PR School) a new membership, The PR School Academy, as well as one to one retained clients.
How did you get started?
For me there was no planning, no big light bulb moment but after a bad experience working in-house for a charity, I decided that I had the skills and experience to go it alone and knew it was the right decision.
What research did you do before launching?
I didn’t! Social media was in its infancy, there weren’t the same number of coaches or business support groups around so I updated my CV, contacted various PR agencies and organisations and things grew organically.
With PR School it was different. I kept talking to people who wanted to do some PR, but didn’t have the budget to outsource or the skills to do it themselves. I started things with a free Facebook group, ran some workshops and also set up PR School networking sessions in Devon, and sometimes London. From this the membership was created because I saw the need for my approach to PR with a side of confidence boosting, community and positivity.
How have you funded the business?
There wasn’t a lot of investment initially, just a new laptop, printers and a decent desk and chair. Over the past year I have had website upgrades as well as taking on two VAs and started to work with a coach, and this has been a great investment. I have found that by taking things to the next level and registering as a limited company this month, things have really changed. Maybe it’s experience, maybe it’s mindset, maybe it is the boys being a school, I am not sure, but whatever it is, I love it!
How do you promote your business?
As a PR, I always practise what I preach and PR, as well as word of mouth and testimonials, are how I promote my business. I do use social media and blogging as a way of getting my name out there, and in December my second book, PR School – Your Time to Shine, will be launched.
What has worked well about your business?
That is a great question and has got me thinking. I think what has worked the best is treating my business as a marathon rather than a sprint. I see this as a long-term business for the next ten years or so, and for me it’s about ongoing client retention, strong relationships, industry recognition and having a good reputation. Yes, you can take on lots of clients and bill more money each month, but is that sustainable and does it give you the work life balance that so many of us are trying to achieve? Maybe not.
The other thing that has worked is having a business coach. Over the past year I have worked with two coaches, Helen Campbell and Ruth Kudzi (who is now a client of mine) and they have had a huge, positive impact on my mindset and vision.
I think that it is so easy to sit in your office alone, or with your dog, and become very isolated. So for me, being able to have a cheerleader in the background who doesn’t tell me what to do, but guides me to the next level, has been amazing.
What has been your biggest challenge so far? How have you dealt with it?
My son being diagnosed with hip dysplasia when he was three months has been the biggest challenge both in my personal life and career.
Lucas is now ten, but we have spent the past decade in and out of hospital as he has had multiple operations with months of recovery. At one point I actually closed my business because a baby in a body cast and a toddler don’t make for productivity or great mental health. Looking back I don’t know how I coped, but I decided to put my energy into not only caring for my son, but bridging a gap in support for other parents and this lead to a book deal for Cast Life, a guide for other parents with a child with DDH. I also set up DDH UK, a charitable trust that today supports thousands of people around the world with hip issues. I carried out the PR and social media for this so I still had a place in the media work. By sitting on medical boards and being a part of the advisory team for the International Hip Dysplasia Institute, there is the silver lining to a very difficult situation for my family, but we still have a journey ahead of us with Lucas.
How do you fit in work with the family?
My sons are now 10 and 12 and so I have a longer day than ever. I make the business work around them and having had a child with a chronic condition, there is no way I could have had a 9 to 5 job, not that those exist in the PR world.
I have a home office, with quite a lot of coffee shop working thrown in, and when it comes to the holidays, I work in the mornings, we go out in the afternoons (luckily we live by the beach and are there most days with our dog and friends) and if I need to, I catch up in the evenings.
Have you got an exit strategy?
No. Maybe I need to think about that, but I am not sure there is anything else I would want to do and I don’t buy lottery tickets, so I am happy where I am for now.
What advice would you give to someone else wanting to work in this area?
If you are looking at moving into this area, I would say do your research and read up on PR. Think about what kind of clients you would like to work with, be aware of the media landscape and consider some work experience or even an internship.
If you have a flexible working business opportunity, please explain briefly what you offer and how people find out more.
I recently started to work with two VAs who offer me invaluable support, and the key is, they are totally flexible and that is great. I don’t need someone to be sat next to me, and I think that you have to trust the people who work for you. Moving forwards, if I keep gaining the momentum I am hoping for, I will be looking for freelance PR consultants to join me.
You can more about my membership at www.pr-school.co.uk and if you sign up in June you will get the lifetime founders fee of £30, this goes to £35 a month but a pretty good deal for your own PR guru cheering you on.
Also, look out for my next book – PR School – Your Time to Shine, which will be out at the end of the year and promises to be the ultimate guide to doing your own PR, with a side of confidence boosting too.