Tell us a bit about who you were before the change?
I was working in high end brands in senior marketing roles – working long hours and out most evenings client entertaining or attending events. My personal brand at this time, I feel, was a mixture of professional and fun. I was extremely hard working and reliable but also life and soul of the party and the office. I was known for my approachability, my team ethos and being an all-round nice person (hopefully!). The version of me today is a lot more focussed as I am following my dream of running my own business. I am more serious and more introvert I would say, but that’s not a bad thing. I have slowed down in terms of after-work activities to focus solely on my business which has benefitted my life considerably even if I feel overwhelmed a lot of the time.
Tell us where you are now and how your brand has changed?
I have been running my own marketing, branding and events business for nearly a year now and eight months of that full time. My personal brand is more focussed, astute and in line with my aspirations.
What made you think you needed to change? Was it a bolt of lightning moment or did it happen over time?
I always knew deep down that I wanted to run my own business. Having worked for large brands I saw first hand how much money was wasted and spent unwisely alongside key marketing opportunities missed due to like of knowledge and foresight at board level. For me, this was hugely frustrating and, at times, stifling. An opportunity for redundancy came up in my last corporate role and I knew this was my chance to really make the move and start my business full time. And I’ve not looked back.
How did you set things in motion? Did you leap in or make the change in increments?
I made the decision to do something for myself a long time ago and trained initially to be a coach and was running a coaching business whilst working full time for more than two years. The thinking then transcended into the fact that I really wanted to carry on working in marketing and events for myself so I made the transition and closed my coaching business and formed Karen Campbell Marketing. I did this whilst still in my last senior marketing role so was working a lot of evenings and weekends to set it up so that when I came to leave full-time employment, it was set up and ready to go.
What was the reaction of others? Did they support you or did they resist the change?
It was a mixture to be honest. A lot of people were hugely supportive and encouraging but a few were warning about the dangers and risks of starting my own business. And they were right – it is risky and money can be hard to earn. But I know I made the right decision.
What was your most valuable resource/what kept you going?
The people around me were hugely valuable as when I was feeling flat and ready to question what I was doing there was always somebody to talk to to reassure and encourage me.
How do you feel now that you’ve made the change?
I feel really happy overall but that feeling of overwhelm has always been with me and I doubt will ever leave. There are a lot of things I need to do to elevate my brand further and it can be frustrating not having the time to spend on my own brand but I know there are changes I need to make in order to make this happen.
What’s your advice to anyone contemplating something similar?
Follow you gut – it’s always right. And always think, what’s the worst that can happen? If it doesn’t work – go get a job. Just do it.
Thanks for the inspiring interview, Karen!