I feel a bit like a serial business startup at the moment, which is a hard one to explain especially to new people I meet who are getting to know me.
Since leaving my last ’employed’ role working for someone else 18 months ago, I have been building a prestigious health and wellbeing business, launched a mobile nail business and now Jo Long Consulting, supporting small/medium business in strategy & marketing and mentoring/coaching women in corporate following time out after having had a family, a sabbatical or a period of illness.
I actually think Jo Long Consulting was what I was destined to do, ultimately helping other people create success for themselves, but it’s taken me a varied journey to realise this. I recently had a throw back moment where I remembered at Uni (some years ago!) we were asked what career plans we had – I said either a merchant banker (really?!) or have a marketing agency. And strangely here I am building that vision from all those years ago – and I’ve only just realised it!!
My career started as a young, naive marketing assistant working for a household brand name in a team where the dynamics (men vs women) slowly changed and I promoted taking on brand responsibility. I loved this team, it was fun and I learned a huge amount from my time there.
From there I moved in to the Outdoors Industry working for a well known brand but this time in a much smaller set up where it was a marketing team of 2 (including me), the business owner (an accountant) and 1 or 2 sales people.
I enjoyed the small business set up but knew I needed to move to a larger corporate to really expand my knowledge and experience. I went in to the decorative industry working with one of the brand managers, gained promotion working with clients in product development, marketing, strategy, and project management for launches.
I really grew in this role and thoroughly enjoyed myself but also found that I loved the responsibility of working directly with the clients and seeing the successes of our launches. So I moved roles from pure marketing to account/relationship management where I nurtured a bank of influential clients working with two hats, one for my employer and one for my client – I loved it!! I loved the influence and idea generation, the processes and of course the successes of implementing all of this.
Going on from there I worked for another manufacturer growing in to senior management roles, working closely with the board of directors and taking responsibility for over £35 million worth of business.
Unfortunately the changes within the economy and the nature of the industry I was in meant cost saving pressures & larger targets from both the business I worked for and my clients. I found myself disillusioned and so pressured it was affecting my home life, and there was no balance to be seen!
I eventually resigned as my work/life balance had just become untenable. I was gutted but my decision was confirmed as the right thing to do when I found that actually where I had literally breathed my business day and night, I was simply a number to my employer; yes it gave them a bit off difficult situation when I left, a bit of a headache, but there was no loyalty to me for the extra hours I had put in to create such a successful arm to the business.
I left the business going to work for a smaller business again in a totally different industry; teaching babies and pre-schoolers to swim as well as managing the marketing and PR for the business owner. I loved being back in the small business environment again. Yes the budgets were smaller but the impact could be gained more quickly and I loved the tighter relationships that I built internally and externally within the business.
It was around this time I set up my health and wellbeing business giving me a taste of working for myself, something I never thought I would do.
3 years later my husband gained a considerable promotion meaning we had to leave the area, which we were sad to do, however it did unlock the opportunity for me to work purely for myself, choosing the hours worked, who I worked with and allowing me time with my children.
My journey has shown me that I know I want to help others become successful, that’s what makes me feel good. I love the family feel of a small/medium business, I am thrilled to be able to bring my years of experience to the table to work on bespoke plans for a wide variety of businesses and I bask in the realisation of other business owners realising that marketing and strategy isn’t a secret or smoke and mirrors, but a concrete plan developed and implemented with detail and accuracy they can have a phenomenal impact to the success of a business.
One of my favourite quotes is ‘Live, laugh, love’ – live life; it’s the only one you have and you never know what’s round the corner. Laugh a lot; at yourself, at the things life throws at you, it’s infectious. Love what you do; if you nurture it with love the rewards will be greater and more enjoyable when they come.
So if you fancy building on your success with some ‘back to basics’ planning and implementation with some real laughs along the way, maybe we should have a chat?!