This week ZUZU invited Angela Pounder, business owner and Social Media Consultant at Clydeside Social to share her story towards starting her own business. From working in retail for over ten years to gaining an online Diploma in Strategic Social Media Marketing, Angela shares how she used that combined knowledge to start her own social media business.
Dream big they say...
I never had a big dream of where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do.
I followed a path fairly typical of my generation. I got a degree from the Glasgow School of Art and got a job relatively unrelated. I worked my way up and after a little over 3 years I was in a middle management role with M&S working around 50 hours a week yet salaried for 40. But that’s what you do right?
I had some great jobs, made friendships that are like no other and had support in some difficult times in my life. I learnt pretty much everything I know about business and selling from all of those I worked with.
Then in 2018 after getting married having 2 children, an unforeseen spell in hospital, and turning 40 I knew I just didn’t want to keep doing it. The retail landscape has changed and it’s tough, getting tougher by the day. Less people, more task, higher customer expectation at a lower cost, and I have at least another 20 years to work. I had a brief conversation with a senior manager whom I respected and they agreed that a career in retail was no longer sustainable. That surprised me, I thought they’d spin me a politically correct line about work hard, be flexible, there’s always a place for people blah blah. I knew I needed to make a change.
I set out to find my new path. I enjoyed social media I loved seeing how a new item for the store could sell out by being showcased in the right way on the right platform and person. Customers would come in looking for ‘that dress on Instagram’. I wanted to know more about how it worked and how it could help smaller businesses but I was already a working mum.
I found an online Diploma in Strategic Social Media Marketing and after doing my research signed up. 12 months of learning about Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, running a campaign page, writing blogs, hosting a tweet chat (terrifying) I worked in my learning around days off, holidays and nights after the kids were in bed. I loved every minute. The learning was so refreshing – what was missing from my day job.
I graduated in June of 2019. I was still working and just telling a few people what I was doing. I set up my business name, Facebook and Instagram profiles and went to the occasional networking meeting. Then while on holiday someone I knew contacted me to ask if I could do some work for them for their Facebook page. A business owner who was busy growing his business meeting his clients with no real interest in social personally but knew it was vital for his business. He was aware that his clients were on their phones every day commuting to work, eating their lunch, scrolling through 300ft of content a day but he didn’t really know how to fit that into his busy week. I continue to work with this client now. Soon after, another contact emerged through a conversation with my husband and the next thing I had another client.
In November 2019 I resigned after 20 years in retail. Four months in and my business is growing well. I have clients ranging from a football club to nail polish. I manage profiles across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. I have taken a further course in Facebook Advertising and I learn all the time by reading, mini-courses and my online support network.
I do this to keep up with technical changes and advances but it’s also important to try and make time for personal growth. Audiobooks and podcasts can be a good use of any time in the car or travelling. I’m pushing myself this year to grow in real-life networking events and my goal is to host a workshop of my own.
The platforms are changing all the time, you can’t read a book - by the time it’s published it’s out of date. Platforms are emerging- tik tok! Just this week I watched a tutorial. Did you know that there are 1 billion users and 30% of them are over 30?
Instagram stories, hashtags, it was confirmed recently that LinkedIn is trialling a 'stories' feature, and twitter too although that was not as well received.
Social media is here to stay, like it or not. It’s an integral part of any business marketing plan, it’s not a marketing plan in isolation. Build a strategy and build a social strategy. If you don’t know how get some help there are countless resources out there. Learn how to run your social platforms to grid your audience and your business or hire an expert if you want to focus on what your strengths are in driving your business and making money.
I have loved the past 18 months, learning new skills, partnering them with my existing skills and life experience and helping others to grow their business.
The world we live in does not stand still, so move with it. What I tell myself weekly right now - every conversation is worth having.
- Angela Pounder
Congratulations Angela on your success so far and we wish you all the best as you continue to grow!