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Our interview with successful blogger 'Slummy Single Mummy'

  • Blog
  • 22 April 2016

Recently we spoke to successful blogger, trainer, social media consultant and marketer Jo Middleton – or as her followers know her best ‘Slummy Single Mummy’. We had the chance to ask Jo about what it’s like to go-it-alone and set up your own small businesses and how FSB has been able to support her during that process. Take a look at the interview below!

Our interview with successful blogger 'Slummy Single Mummy'

Could you tell us about your business?

I write a blog, called Slummy Single Mummy. It started life as just a marketing tool, but over the last few years has taken on rather a life of its own! Now most of my income comes through my blog, either directly or indirectly, through training or consultancy work.

What’s a typical day like for you?

A typical day sees me at my desk in the office I share with a couple of other freelancers. I get an awful lot of emails from brands wanting to work with my blog, and I like to reply to everything personal where I can, as you never know who you might want to work with in the future! I have Twitter open all day, and can easily get lost in that, although I try not to. I post about 3-5 times a week on my blog, sometimes personal things, or sometimes brands projects. Over the last couple of weeks I've done all sorts of different things, from making pink doughnut balloons to modelling jeans.

What was the spark that inspired you to set up your own business?

I think I was just sick of working for other people. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do exactly, but I just knew that I wasn't enjoying having my time and income dictated by someone else. I wanted the freedom to create my own way of working.

How long did it take for you to see a significant increase in your blog traffic and engagement?

It was at least a couple of years before I started to get work directly through my blog, but that's okay, because I didn't ever set it up to make money - that just sort of happened! Unless you have masses of money to invest though, it takes a while for traffic to build, so you need to be patient - blog consistently, get involved in your community, and it will come.

You’re really well known, has this changed the way people interact with you on a professional level?

That's an interesting question. I don't think so particularly, as I haven't changed the way that I work. I've always tried to be friendly and helpful, and that's not going to change, regardless of how many Twitter followers I have!

How have you been able to procure clients since starting out?

Clients come from a lot of different sources. When I first started out and was doing a lot more journalism, it was a lot of pitching to editors. Nowadays, I don't really approach people - I'm in that very fortunate position where people come to me! That has taken a while to build up though. Locally, I find networking events have really helped, as they give you the chance to get to know people personally, and build a relationship naturally. I also get a lot of clients who come back to me for other projects, which is about providing value for money and being easy to work with.

What made you want to become a member of FSB?

I like to think that I'm good at what I do, but I'm not always so good at the admin side of things, so I liked the idea of having that 'back office', and expert advice when I need it, without having to employ any staff!

How have you found yourself needing to use our FSB ‘Member Benefits’?

There are a few different services I really like the look of, including the business banking with The Co-op and the health support service. I think working for yourself can be really isolating, and it's good to know that if you are struggling, there is somewhere to turn. 

Networking is a big part of what we do here at FSB. Have you used any of our networking events to make connections?

I've been to one of the networking events so far and saw a fantastic speaker - it was all about apps to help productivity and I picked up loads of great tips. I love getting the chance to meet new people and although I know that some people gets nervous about networking, I actually find it very enjoyable. I think once you remember that networking is just about meeting people, not about trying to sell something, it really takes the pressure off.

We’re really passionate about helping our members and prospective business owners to succeed. What is the best piece of advice you could give to anyone thinking of setting up their own business?

Well, I tend to be a bit flighty, so my advice might not be the best - I'd say go for it! I know that you do need to plan a lot, and think things through, but I do think that sometimes all of that planning can be a bit paralysing, and really you just need to make a start. I have a bit of a motto actually - Ready, fire, aim. Get started, and learn as you go along.

What kind of skills does someone need to have in order to become a successful blogger?

You need to be able to write obviously - that's the main thing! Visual content is really important too, especially if you want to make the most of social media, so if you can learn how to take a decent photo that will help. You need to have a passion for what you're doing, and be prepared to work hard.

What are your tops tips for promoting yourself on social media?

Gosh, I have so many! I guess the key thing is to think of it as a conversation, rather than simply a channel for you to broadcast your messages through. It's fairly common sense really - chat to people who you think might be interested in what you do, reply to people, follow people, share other relevant content, don't be too salesy, be helpful - it's basically the same principles that you would apply to a face to face business networking group, but online.

What are your predictions for upcoming trends in 2016?

Social media wise? I'm going to say native video content and Snapchat. You heard it here first.

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