Today we are joined by Victoria from VJW Communications! Victoria specialises in working with women in business and female founders who are about to launch a business or are in the early/mid launch phase. She supports them on their journey from startup to success through one on one consultancy sessions in PR and personal branding.
Can you tell me about VJW Communications? How did you get into it?
My aim is to provide a powerful service which allows my clients to access and up-level their knowledge in PR and personal branding in an accessible way. After our time together, they walk away with clarity, insight and actionable steps which they can take in their business right away. Sessions take place either online or in person, primarily in London but my business model allows me to work with clients on a global scale, which is amazing.
I worked as a traditional publicist in lifestyle and travel for over 10 years which I loved and had many incredible experiences but ultimately, I wanted to work for myself and work with business owners in a more rewarding way. As the start-up scene has taken off in the UK, so too has the number of female founders. I found there was a need to support these women with consultancy and mentoring which really focused on a one on one bespoke service. Every business is different and every founder has a different story to tell so I think it’s important to work with someone who can really hone in on that and show you how to communicate it effectively.
What made you decide to take the leap into pursuing your business full time?
I had been working in house and for agencies for most of my career and I just wanted to change things up and find a new way to work which gave me flexibility and freedom. I relocated from Manchester to London at the same time because I wanted to seek out new opportunities. London has many positives as a city when it comes to pushing your business forward, whether that’s through having access to a big network or being able to access resources specifically available to startups and founders.
What do you think were the key factors in what got you where you are today?
Definitely resilience! No matter what business you are in you have to be able to roll with the punches and come out on the other side smiling and sometimes that can be hard. I think being able to react quickly to trends and changes in how we communicate has also been crucial and if you’re in the marketing or PR industry you have to be plugged into what is going on around you. PR, for example, has changed so much since I came into the industry and digital has taken over the media landscape. You have to be able to upskill and adapt your services in line with what your clients want. One of the biggest factors has been pushing my own boundaries constantly and getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Did you face any struggles, and how did you overcome them?
As a business owner, we all face struggles but I think the key to overcoming them is a mix of working on your own self-development and arming yourself with tools that keep you feeling balanced as well as getting expert support when you need it, whether that’s from a coach or mentor. Staying true to your own vision is also important especially as it can be so easy to compare yourself to other people in your industry. Getting a business off the ground can be a struggle and I think being a service provider the biggest challenge is finding and retaining clients and creating a strategy and business model which actively generates new prospects has been a steep learning curve for me.
Is there anything you would have done differently if you were to go back in time?
Not so much done differently but I wish there had been more resources, women’s business groups and events when I started out. We are so lucky now that we have all this available to us and it makes such a huge difference. Oh and co-working places – I wish they had been around when I set up on my own – they are invaluable!
What advice would you give to someone starting their own business?
- Learn to walk before you can run! Get the foundations right and focus on building your business in an organic way.
- Find a mentor and get as much advice and insight from people who have already been on the business journey. Ideally, seek out someone in your sector who you can run your ideas past.
- Work out what your strengths are in your business and focus on them – ideally, that will be the money-making activities!
- Outsource as soon as you can any functions which are not your strength or take too much time away from what you should be doing. Examples might be admin, accounts or social media.
- Make sure you have a strong business plan in place and stick to your core strategy. Plans need to be fluid to a degree but you also need focus.
- Make sure you understand every single part of your business at a level that allows you to make informed decisions. For example, if online marketing isn’t something you really understand, make it a priority to learn the basics so you are future proofing your knowledge. By doing this when it comes to hiring an agency or someone for your team you know what you are talking about and spending your budget on.
- Join one or two business networks or clubs and start building your business tribe – you’ll need them!