To thrive means to be successful in all areas of life. To live freely, to be happy, healthy and attracting positive experiences and opportunities directly to us. Thriving, of course, is not easy. It requires energy to be invested in our personal mental and physical well being before we can consider focusing on business, financial, social and sustainable activities. I believe that as business leaders, only when we feel mentally and physically well are, we in a position to be able to thrive in other areas of our lives and create opportunities for those around us. As women, it is crucial that we demonstrate more confidence in our ability to do this and remember to take time out when needed to do the things you love.
I had the pleasure to interview Stacey Kehoe. Stacey has worked in digital marketing and brand development for the last ten years. She is also a podcast host and chief editor of the small business magazine, The Vault, which has gained her countless media features and award nominations. Since establishing her first business, Brandlective Communications Ltd in 2012, Stacey has built over 500 websites, brands, and marketing campaigns. As a highly-sought after expert, social media trainer, and speaker, Stacey has developed the one-of-a-kind Gamechanger Six-Step Digital Marketing Methodology after being approached by client after client who were dissatisfied with other agencies. She published this methodology in her newest book ‘Get Online: 6 Simple Steps to Launching a Digital Marketing Strategy For the Non-Tech Savvy’. The method also forms a core part of Brandlective’s services, facilitating campaign development and enhancing the speed at which its clients gain stellar results. Stacey believes those with an entrepreneurial spirit should have the resources to rise above the noise, stand out from the crowd, and show their audience who they really are. These beliefs tie-in with her commitment to equality. She currently leads a movement called #1MillionDays: an initiative to reduce inequality through social, economic, and political inclusion of all people.
Thank you so much for joining us Stacey! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Before I started my business in the digital marketing space, I worked for companies that traditionally operated offline. I had experienced redundancies due to their lack of response to innovate and take the steps needed to move their business operations online and saw how much pressure they were under as competitors acted on new ways to do things and passed them by. It frustrated me. I’ve always been one to voice my opinion if I can see a better way of doing things — which was not always received positively, particularly in the corporate world.
Determined not to allow economic conditions or the stubborn stuck-in-their-ways managers I worked for dictate my career path, I started freelancing. That eventually led to me launching my digital marketing agency, Brandlective, and I now focus on working with businesses who recognise they need to build a digital brand and utilise social media to accelerate their businesses. Watching my clients thrive online, dominate their industries and make a social impact in the world is so motivating. When I look back now at those earlier years in my career which felt so frustrating, I am so grateful, because without that experience I may never have found this niche that I now work within.
Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were hard?
Well, the first thing that is worth understanding is that things are always tricky. Now that I’ve run a business for over eight years, I expect the challenges and completely understand that it is part of the journey. As my business grows, so do the challenges — whether that is demanding clients, struggling team members, or feeling overwhelmed by responsibility, it is always there.
The way that I find the drive to continue is my asking myself the question ‘What else would I rather be doing?’ As long as the answer remains ‘Nothing — I wouldn’t trade this for anything’ then I push through the hardship and use the experience as a lesson.
So, how are things going today?
Business is excellent and very fast-paced. My book launched a few months ago, which has led to so many speaking opportunities that I’m finding myself very busy. Some of the new clientele we are bringing on are exciting, and I have some international trips coming up which revolve around out Giving Initiative #1MillionDays, which I launched at the end of 2017.
Our goal as an agency is to contribute the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals by providing 1 million days of access to things like clean drinking water, shelter and schooling as well as covering human rights workers wages and business training for women in developing countries.
What do you think makes your company stand out?
Working with Small-Medium size enterprises within the direct sales and property industries who are making a social impact is a point of difference for us. I take a particular interest in businesses who have traditionally operated offline and want to dominate the digital world. I am a firm believer that digital marketing has helped to level the playing field for all businesses.
Before the internet, it was difficult for small companies to get the exposure they need to scale and become a household name. That is no longer the case — social media, podcasting, YouTube channels, and online media have changed the game and, in many ways, have made it easier for small-to-medium sized businesses to succeed.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
To thrive means to be successful in all areas of life. To live freely, to be happy, healthy and attracting positive experiences and opportunities directly to us. Thriving, of course, is not easy. It requires energy to be invested in our personal mental and physical well being before we can consider focusing on business, financial, social and sustainable activities. I believe that as business leaders, only when we feel mentally and physically well are, we in a position to be able to thrive in other areas of our lives and create opportunities for those around us.
As women, it is crucial that we demonstrate more confidence in our ability to do this and remember to take time out when needed to do the things you love.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
There are so many people who have contributed to my business success. I couldn’t possibly name just one. I have had great mentors who have helped me to look at situations differently and I have a great business accountability group who I meet with every six weeks to share successes, challenges, and learnings — this is so powerful.
It has helped me to see how other businesses mitigate things that go wrong and share ideas around what to do next. It’s so true that success can’t be achieved alone, and it is crucial for me to surround myself with other business owners at a similar level or slightly further ahead in their journey.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company”?
1. To work in a 10 percent buffer in our profit margins for unexpected expenses, there are always things that haven’t been considered, no matter how thorough you think you have been.
2. It will take time to build the perfect team and be quick to remove the members who aren’t a good fit.
3. Get a great accountant. For the first two years, I didn’t know I qualified for the flat-rate VAT scheme; I could have saved 11 percent on my VAT liability if I’d had the right accountant in place.
4. Don’t try to please everybody. Being a ‘yes’ person makes the journey hard, so stick to your plan/values/packages and be brave enough to push away the business that isn’t right for you.
5. Be clear on your ‘big picture’ goal. Things won’t always go to plan, so it is important to have a clear vision of what you are working towards.