Lucy Rouse started her own PR consultancy business, Lucecannon PR, during lockdown last year and has recently joined FSB for the ‘peace of mind’. We spoke to Lucy about her experience networking online and taking the first steps in her business journey. You can watch her story below or read the full transcript.
Why did you decide to start your business?
I was working in PR in the arts sector until last year and then I was sent to work from home for a few weeks. When the venues had to close, I was furloughed for six months. As time went on, I knew there would be a restructure, so I took voluntary redundancy and set myself up as an independent PR consultant in October 2020.
What challenges do you face as a new business?
The day-to-day challenge is juggling the actual work for clients and all the work and time that goes into running a business: marketing myself, getting a website, social media, admin around invoices, chasing payments, staying on top of cash flow.
There’s fantastic support out there, including through FSB. I had been self-employed before when I was a journalist but I never thought of myself as a business owner, whereas I do now. It’s a different mindset. It’s not just about earning your wages every month, but about earning enough to cover the operating costs of the business.
How did you find out about FSB?
I knew about FSB before, but I had never joined any of the events. I was alerted to the free online networking sessions and they’re a great bunch of people. It’s where a lot of my positivity has come from, seeing how others are faring in the self-employed sector.
What has your experience of the online networking events been like?
The atmosphere is great and you get to make so many connections. I pick up lots of connections through meetings that I can translate into working relationships.
The online networking carried on during lockdown and it was great to see that everyone was carrying on. I quickly concluded that people had already made the shift back in the first lockdown by pivoting their business or doing business virtually.
Our local FSB group got some time with our local MP, John Glen, who is the Economic Secretary to the Treasury and works closely with Rishi Sunak. It was fantastic to be able to be on a Zoom call with him, ask questions and hear about Government support for small businesses. I really appreciated that opportunity.
Why did you decide to join FSB as a new business?
I decided to join FSB for the additional benefits that it brings, like the insurance. I have peace of mind that there’s an organisation behind me and if times get tough, I can call on legal advice.
I know that if I have something that comes up, and I’m sure it will, like late payments, there are some friendly faces that I can turn to and they’ll have come across this issue before and will be able to help me.
What do you wish you’d known before you started your business? What advice do you have for new businesses?
Find a trusted person and make as many connections as you can. You get back what you put out there, which is why it’s so important to be open and curious.
Don’t be afraid of PR. Everyone’s doing marketing in some form, and PR is part of that. You’re probably already doing some of your own PR if you’re on social media, so think about your visibility in your sector. Build relationships with journalists – they want to hear from businesses and local people!
If you’re passionate about what you do, just got for it. There’s lots of support out there, particularly at the moment, and plenty of demand for businesses in all sectors.